Israel-Hamas war live updates:
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will travel to Egypt today and hold talks with counterparts in the region to discuss the Israel and Gaza conflict. In the talks, he will stress “the imperative of avoiding regional escalation and preventing the further unnecessary loss of civilian life”, his office said.
Earlier on Thursday, as the Israel-Hamas war escalates, Rishi Sunak visited Tel Aviv to show his solidarity with Britain’s close ally in the Middle East.
After meeting with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, he said that he “grieves” with Israel and stands with them against the “evil that is terrorism”.
The war-torn Gaza health ministry said that at least 3,785 Palestinians have been killed and 12,493 injured in Israeli strikes since the October 7 attack by the Hamas group.
Here are the live updates on the Israel-Hamas war:
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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani today agreed on the need to prevent escalation in violence across the Middle East and urgently get humanitarian aid into Gaza.
“They underlined the imperative of avoiding any escalation in the violence across the region and agreed that leaders had a responsibility to do everything possible to prevent it,” Mr Sunak’s office said in statement following a meeting between the pair.
“They agreed on the urgent need to get food, water and medicine to civilians who are suffering,” the statement added.
The UN high commissioner for refugees today said that any escalation of Israel’s military action in Gaza will be “catastrophic” for people there.
“(I) can tell you with certainty that any further escalation or even continuation of military activities will just be catastrophic for the people of Gaza,” AFP quoted UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi as saying.
The death count from a raid by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank rose to 13, the news agency AFP reported citing Palestinian health officials.
At least 81 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops or settlers in the West Bank since the Gaza conflict erupted after the Hamas group attacked Israel cities on October 7.
One member of the Israeli security forces has also been killed in the territory.
On Thursday, the Israeli military had said it carried out an air strike which killed “a number of terrorists” in Nur Shams.
Egypt has removed concrete blocks near the border with Gaza, the news agency AFP reported, citing an Egyptian security source.
Egyptian state-linked broadcaster Al Qahera News had said the Rafah crossing would open on Friday, but Cairo said it needed more time to repair roads.
Egypt is still repairing these roads and on Friday “vehicles and Egyptian equipment went in to repair the road on the Palestinian side”, witnesses told AFP.
Senior Israeli officials have spoken about the prospect of an imminent large-scale ground offensive of the Gaza Strip to eliminate the terrorist group Hamas. Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told soldiers near Gaza that the order to enter the Palestinian enclave would be given “soon,” The Times of Israel reported.
“You now see Gaza from afar, soon you will see it from the inside,” he told troops of the Givati Brigade. He further said, “The order will come.”
Israel has announced plans to evacuate the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, after days of clashes with Hezbollah fighters along the border with Lebanon.
“A short while ago, the Northern Command informed the mayor of the city of the decision. The plan will be managed by the local authority, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Defence,” the military said in a statement.
Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah has traded cross-border fire with Israel for days, after Hamas group attacked Israeli cities on October 7.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will travel to Egypt today and hold talks with counterparts in the region to discuss the situation in Israel and Gaza.
In the talks, he will stress “the imperative of avoiding regional escalation and preventing the further unnecessary loss of civilian life”, his office said.
Amid an ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the aid for Gaza has been piling in Egypt’s Sinai region at El Arish airport.
Rafah, the border crossing into Gaza that Egypt had promised to open on Friday, is a few dozen kilometres to the east and is the only crossing into the blockaded Palestinian territory that is not controlled by Israel.
On a visit to Cairo, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Thursday that there needed to be “rapid, unimpeded humanitarian access” after dire warnings about the impact of the sustained Israeli blockade.
Israel today shared a picture, in which the volunteers of “Zaka” — Israel’s Search and Rescue Organization — can be seen holding human ashes. The Israel Defense Forces said that until today, the volunteers are “still on the ground” in southern Israel “looking for human remains”.
In this picture, you can see the volunteers of “Zaka”-Israel’s Search and Rescue Organization-holding human ashes.
Until today, they are still on the ground in southern Israel looking for human remains. pic.twitter.com/LkMg42KNGK
– Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 20, 2023
China’s special envoy for the Mideast pinned the cause of the Israel-Gaza crisis on the lack of guarantee for the rights of Palestinians.
China’s envoy for Middle East issues Zhai Jun landed in Qatar on Thursday where he reaffirmed with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov Beijing’s alignment with Moscow in their efforts to help de-escalate the Gaza crisis.
“The fundamental reason for the current situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is that the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people have not been guaranteed,” he said.
Israel today said that this is the 13th day that Hamas has fired rockets targeting both southern and central Israel, “endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands”.
The Israel Defense Forces also shared a picture that mapped the rocket strikes over Israeli cities.
This is the 13th day that Hamas has fired rockets targeting both southern and central Israel-endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands. pic.twitter.com/cFIZ1v6rXe
– Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 19, 2023
The Hamas-controlled interior ministry said several displaced people who had taken shelter at a church compound in the Gaza Strip have been killed and injured after an Israeli strike on Thursday.
The strike left a “large number of martyrs and injured” at the compound of a Greek Orthodox church, the ministry said.
President Joe Biden today also asked Americans to spend billions more dollars to help Israel fight Hamas.
In his televised White House speech, he stressed the urgency of getting relief to Palestinian civilians in Gaza who lack food, water and medicine.
“We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have opportunity,” Mr Biden, who made an eight-hour visit to Israel on Wednesday, said.
President Joe Biden today said that the Hamas group and Russia are both out to “annihilate” democracies, in an impassioned speech to the nation from the Oval Office where he made the case for assistance to Ukraine and Israel as a vital US interest.
“We can’t let petty partisan angry politics get in the way of our responsibility as a great nation. We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win. I refuse to let that happen,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
The terror and tyranny of Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.
Let me share with you why this is vital for America’s national security: https://t.co/MoClTKCBCw
– President Biden (@POTUS) October 20, 2023