Israeli forces unleashed an aerial and ground blitz against Hamas in Gaza after a cross-border rampage by the enclave's ruling Islamist group on Oct. 7. At least 17,177 Palestinians have been killed since then, according to Gaza Health Ministry figures, while 1,200 people were killed in Hamas' incursion into Israel, according to Israeli tallies.
Aid agencies warn that a humanitarian disaster in Gaza is worsening by the hour with most of its 2.3 million people homeless and trapped in a tiny, embattled coastal enclave, with little food, water, medical care, fuel or secure shelter.
'We do not target civilians': Israeli spokesperson responds to reports that Israeli tank killed Reuters journalist
An Israeli government spokesperson said on Thursday he was not aware of investigators' findings that Israeli tank fire had killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and wounded six others in Lebanon but denied Israeli forces targeted non-combatants.
"We do not target civilians," spokesperson Eylon Levy said in a televised briefing, when asked about the findings in reports from Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. "We've been doing everything possible to get civilians out of harm's way."
Situation in Gaza is 'apocalyptic', says UN human rights chief
(AFP) – In an interview with FRANCE 24, the UN high commissioner for human rights expressed deep concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, describing the situation as "apocalyptic".
Volker Türk denounced "grave breaches of international humanitarian law" in Gaza, citing the Israeli blockade of the territory and the use of explosives in densely populated areas. Asked if Israel was deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza, Türk said "the facts speak for themselves".
"If you have over 7,000 children who have been killed, if you have 70 percent of the victims women and children, there are very serious issues that arise from the perspective of whether or not this is proportional, whether the principle of distinction has been applied and whether or not precaution has been made," the UN human rights chief explained.
Israeli army says rockets fired from Gaza refugee zone
Israel accuses Hamas of having launched 12 rockets from within an area in the southern Gaza Strip where civilians had evacuated to and near UN facilities.
The military claimed the rockets landed inside the strip, putting civilians at risk.
‘Israel must not be allowed to kill and attack journalists with impunity’: Amnesty
An investigation by Amnesty has concluded that the Israeli strike which killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injured six other journalists was most likely a tank round fired from Israel.
The report, like the HRW statement we reported on earlier, called for the incident to be “investigated as a war crime”.
“No journalist should ever be targeted or killed simply for carrying out their work. Israel must not be allowed to kill and attack journalists with impunity,” said Aya Majzoub, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.
UNRWA says attacks on Gaza has made situation ‘desperate’
The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) says the heavy bombardment of the Gaza Strip has made the situation “desperate”.
“Conditions required to deliver aid do not exist. UNRWA shelters are overflowing,” the UN agency said on X. “There is not enough aid to meet the overwhelming needs. UNRWA operations are being strangled.”
Israel has resumed its heavy bombardments on the besieged enclave since the truce deal expired on Friday.
Heavy bombardment & resumption of military operation have made the situation in #Gaza desperate.— UNRWA (@UNRWA) December 7, 2023
Conditions required to deliver aid DO NOT exist.@UNRWA shelters are OVERFLOWING.
There is NOT ENOUGH aid to meet the overwhelming needs. @UNRWA operations are being strangled. pic.twitter.com/811ch3KSSx
Northern Gaza facing distressing levels of hunger: WFP
The United Nations World Food Programme has published a report highlighting food insecurity in the Gaza Strip, pointing out that households in northern Gaza are “experiencing alarming levels of hunger”.
At least 97 percent of households in northern Gaza have “inadequate food consumption”, with nine out of 10 people going one full day and night without food.
In the southern governorates, a third of the households have reported high levels of severe or very severe hunger, with 53 percent experiencing moderate hunger.
Since October 7, 1,249 trucks carrying food assistance have reached Gaza. Before the war, about 500 trucks would enter the Gaza Strip on a daily basis. WFP says that in order to provide food assistance to the affected population in Gaza, 100 trucks with food would be required to cross inside every day.
Shocking @WFP data out today:— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) December 6, 2023
97% of households in north Gaza have "inadequate food consumption"
9 of 10 spent 1+ full day + night without food
48% experience "severe levels of hunger"
High #s also for displaced people in south Gaza Starvation as a method of war is a war crime https://t.co/SeagDX1ANv pic.twitter.com/LGbfEIDJ0S
More Israeli civilians to be armed: Defence Ministry
Israel’s Ministry of Defence has announced that the Israeli army’s southern command started distributing weapons and additional combat equipment to civilian squads, according to Israeli media.
The program includes the arming of 12 groups every week, starting from communities living close to the fence with Gaza. They will be followed by local authorities in other areas.
The move comes to “allow better conditions for the return of the residents to their communities in the upcoming weeks”, read a statement.
G7 leaders demand measures be taken to protect civilians in Gaza
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) have released a statement in which they express concern over the devastating impact that the war is having on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza.
Here are some of the key points:
More effective action must also be taken to prevent the displacement of additional people and protect civilian infrastructure.
Every effort must be made to ensure unhindered and continued humanitarian assistance for civilians, including food, water, medical care, fuel and shelter, and access for humanitarian workers.
The population is increasingly vulnerable, and with winter approaching, we must continue to increase the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza to meet fully the needs on the ground, including by opening additional crossings.
More Israeli raids across occupied West Bank
At least 21 Palestinians were detained in overnight and pre-dawn raids across the occupied West Bank, according to initial reports by the Palestinian Prisoners Society.
Here’s a breakdown:
- In Hebron, Israeli forces confiscated more than a dozen scrap cars from Beit Ummar town north of the city – often used within villages as they cost less; Israel fears they can be used to carry out attacks, since they are not registered.
- In Bethlehem, at least five Palestinians were detained, in addition to three workers from Gaza.
- At least five other Palestinians were detained from Tulkarem, where Israeli forces raided the city with bulldozers destroying infrastructure in and around Nour Shams and Tulkarem refugee camps.
- Three Palestinians were detained from Nablus’ old city a short while ago, during yet another raid.
- A print shop was closed in downtown Ramallah after its contents were confiscated during a pre-dawn raid.
Panic in Rafah as Israeli army strikes city overnight
Al Jazeera reported that on Thursday despite Israeli orders for people from central Gaza and Khan Yunis to evacuate to the city for safety, the city experienced heavy shelling overnight.
The Israeli army “ordered with a threatening tone to move to Rafah because it is safe, but as of last night overnight… at least five residential homes were targeted and destroyed. And we’re talking about a large number of people who were killed,” he said.
“[These strikes] are not concentrated in one area of Rafah… multiple locations were targeted, just sending waves of fear and concern that confirm what people have talked about and expressed before – there is literally no safe place in the Gaza Strip, including the Israeli designated areas as safe.”
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza
ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) - Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has stressed the need for immediate ceasefire in Gaza, citing that hitting the innocent people is not justified.
During an interview with a private TV channel, she said a country involved in war crimes must be held accountable. She said it’s a matter of grave concern that pressure is not being mounted yet for the ceasefire.
Malala Yousafzai appealed to people across the globe to pressure their respective governments for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Speaking on the Nelson Mandela's 10th anniversary in Johannesburg, she criticized the Taliban, stating being a girl is challenging in Afghanistan. She said everything was good in Afghanistan before the Taliban government.
“Women in Afghanistan had been working, performing their tasks while holding the ministries, playing cricket and football, joining their schools and progress was being made even,” she added.
However, she said that Taliban revoked women’s rights after assuming power barring women’s education in Afghanistan due to misconceptions.
US discourse on Israel changing in ‘important ways’
US President Joe Biden “miscalculated” his approach towards Israel at the start of the current conflict with Hamas, according to Steven Cook, senior fellow for the Middle East and North Africa at the Council on Foreign Relations.
He told Al Jazeera that Biden’s “bear hug” approach after October 7th – in which he thought he could embrace Israel and influence its approach to Gaza – has failed, with his administration now “bereft of any ideas about how to go forward.”
“The American foreign policy establishment is appalled by what happened on October 7th, has grave questions about the Israeli military operations since then, but doesn’t have an answer,” Cook said. “My fear is that without any new ideas, we’re going to return to some very, very disturbing version of the status quo.”
Israel allows more fuel to enter Gaza to avoid ‘humanitarian collapse’
Israel approved a “minimal” increase in fuel supplies to be allowed into the Gaza Strip to avoid a “humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics” according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
Kan, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, reported that the National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich voted against the measure.
Kan also reported that 120,000 litres would be delivered on Thursday which is double the daily amount allowed into the besieged enclave. Channel 12 news reported the amount could be as high as 180,000 litres.
ISRAELI MILITARY SAYS HAMAS LEADER IS HIDING UNDERGROUND
JERUSALEM — An Israeli army spokesman says Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar is hiding underground and it is the mission of the Israeli military to “find Sinwar and kill him.”
Israeli forces have pushed deeper into Sinwar’s hometown of Khan Younis over the past two days, heightening the focus on the Hamas leader seen as the mastermind of the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel.
Sinwar grew up in the refugee camp of Khan Younis which over the decades evolved into a crowded neighborhood of the city. Mohammed Deif, the shadowy military leader of Hamas, is from the camp as well.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that troops “are encircling Sinwar’s house,” adding that “he can escape, but it’s only a matter of time before we get him.”
Asked later whether this meant troops were closing in on the Sinwar home, as some media had reported, Israeli army spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said: “The house of Sinwar is the area of Khan Younis.”
“Sinwar is not above ground; he is underground,” Hagari said. “I don’t want to elaborate where and how and what we know in terms of intelligence. This is not the place to talk about such things in the media. Our job is to find Sinwar and kill him.”
Death, injuries reported in latest Israeli strike on Rafah
Medical sources told Al Jazeera that at least one person was killed and a number of others injured in an Israel strike on a residential building in the Yabna refugee camp in southern Gaza’s Rafah area.
Though declared a so-called “safe zone”, Rafah is one of the cities in the southern Gaza Strip that has experienced intense bombardment in recent days, as Israel widened its ground military operation since the end of the truce a week ago.
We will bring you more details on this strike as soon as we gather more information.
ISRAEL’S SECURITY CABINET APPROVES FUEL DELIVERIES TO GAZA
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his Security Cabinet has approved small deliveries of fuel into the Gaza Strip to prevent a humanitarian crisis and the spread of disease in the crowded southern part of the besieged territory.
Netanyahu says the “minimal amount” of fuel will be set by the three-member authority in charge of managing the war against Hamas.
Israel has greatly restricted fuel shipments into Gaza, saying that Hamas diverts it for military purposes. Humanitarian officials say the fuel shortages have crippled the health care system and hindered deliveries of basic humanitarian supplies.
Netanyahu’s office said shipments would be approved “from time to time” for the southern Gaza Strip, where the vast majority of Gaza’s population is concentrated.
The decision comes as Israel faces mounting pressure from the United States to ramp up aid to Gaza to avoid mass civilian casualties.
ISRAEL FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICAL OF U.N. CHIEF
JERUSALEM — Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is sharply criticizing the U.N. secretary-general after he issued a dire warning over the situation in the Gaza Strip, calling Antonio Guterres’ tenure at the world body “a danger to world peace.”
Guterres wrote to the 15-member Security Council on Wednesday urging it to use its influence to avert “a humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza. He also reiterated an urgent call for a humanitarian cease-fire and warned that Israel’s bombardment will soon lead to a complete breakdown of public order.
Posting on the social media platform X, Cohen said Guterres’ call for a cease-fire and request to activate Article 99 of the U.N. Charter “constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organization and an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies and the rape of women.”
“Anyone who supports world peace must support the liberation of Gaza from Hamas,” Cohen concluded.
It was the first time since Guterres took the helm of the United Nations in 2017 that he has written to the Security Council under Article 99, which lets him bring to the council’s attention any matter he believes threatens international peace and security.
Displaced Palestinians forced to fend for themselves in Gaza's south
RAFAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – A plastic sheet rigged up as a tent, branches gathered from here and there to make a fire -- at the southern tip of Gaza, displaced Palestinians are settling in as best they can.
Thousands of Palestinians are fleeing Khan Yunis -- Gaza's main southern city, now surrounded by the Israeli army -- towards Rafah, less than 10 kilometres (six miles) away on the territory's closed border with Egypt.
Many among them had already been displaced once in recent weeks, heading south to escape heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas in the north.
Israeli military announces deaths of two more soldiers
The Israeli military has said that two more soldiers have been killed in fighting in Gaza, while four more were seriously injured.
One of the soldiers was killed during fighting on Wednesday, while the other was injured in combat on Tuesday and succumbed to his wounds the following day. Both were 22 years old.
The UN has reported that 88 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the start of the ground invasion of Gaza, citing official Israeli sources.
It is not known if the latest deaths are included in that total.
EU foreign policy chief backs Guterres’s emergency call for Gaza ceasefire
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has urged EU members of the UN’s Security Council and other countries to support UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The Security Council “must act immediately to prevent a full collapse of the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” Borrell wrote on social media.
On Wednesday, Guterres invoked the rarely-used UN Charter’s Article 99 to push the Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.
In a follow up post, Borrell also called on Israel to allow UN agencies, and the UN’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine, Lynn Hastings, “to provide urgent support to civilians in Gaza”.
I ask the EU members of the UN Security Council and like-minded partners to support @UN Secretary General @AntonioGuterres’s call.— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) December 7, 2023
The #UNSC must act immediately to prevent a full collapse of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
UN chief rings alarm bell on global security threat from Gaza war
UNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a rare move on Wednesday (Dec 6) to formally warn the Security Council of a global threat from the Gaza war as Arab states seek to leverage that to renew a push for the council to call for a ceasefire.
The United States, one of five veto powers on the 15-member council, is opposed to a ceasefire between its ally Israel and Hamas because it believes such a move would only benefit the Palestinian militants.
Washington does support humanitarian pauses to protect civilians and allow for the release of hostages taken by Hamas in an Oct 7 attack on Israel. It abstained last month to allow the Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for pauses in fighting.
Israeli forces battle Hamas in southern Gaza as civilians say no place is safe
GAZA/CAIRO (Reuters) - Israeli troops fought fierce battles with Hamas in an expanding offensive into southern Gaza on Wednesday, forcing tens of thousands of displaced Palestinian civilians to cram into a city close to the Egyptian border to avoid Israeli bombardment.
However, many feared they would not be safe in Rafah either with their options for refuge dwindling, and at least nine people were killed on Wednesday in the Israeli shelling of a house in the city, Palestinian medical sources said.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians already fled from northern Gaza to the south during the two-month-old war between Israel and the Palestinian enclave's ruling Islamist militant movement that Israel is trying to wipe out.