Israel-Hamas war live: US says ‘far too many’ Palestinians have died as Gaza’s health ministry says toll is over 11,000
US secretary of state says country has proposed longer ‘humanitarian pauses’ to Israel; Hamas-run health ministry says 11,078 people have been killed
Speaking in New Delhi, Blinken has said the US “appreciates” Israel’s steps to minimise civilian casualties but that it is not enough, the Associated Press reports.
He said the US has proposed additional ideas to the Israelis, including longer “humanitarian pauses” and expanding the amount of assistance getting into Gaza.
Israel’s efforts to formalise pauses in its military operations and the creation of a second safe corridor for them to use to escape harm are appreciated, he said.
The steps, he said “will save lives and will enable more assistance to get to Palestinians in need,” but at the same time, “much more needs to be done to protect civilians and to make sure that humanitarian assistance reaches them.”
The US diplomat said “far too many Palestinians have been killed, far too many have suffered these past weeks” and that everything possible should be done to prevent them harm and maximise the assistance they need.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Lt Col Richard Hecht, has said that the Israeli military was maintaining its focus on Hamas in Gaza despite sporadic attacks on Israel from Lebanon and Syria involving drones.
During a press briefing on Friday, Hecht said that in Gaza the IDF last night “took out” two commanders in Hamas’ elite Nukhba forces: one who was involved in the attacks into Israel on 7 October which killed 1,400 people, mainly civilians, and the head of the Islamist organisation’s sniper teams in the north of Gaza.
Rocket fire is continuing out of Gaza aimed at Tel Aviv, he told reporters.
Answering questions about the IDF advance towards al-Shifa hospital, in the centre of Gaza City, which is full of seriously wounded or otherwise incapacitated patients, Hecht said the IDF was aware of the sensitivities of the hospitals in Gaza. He said:
The IDF does not fire on hostages but if we see a Hamas terrorist we will kill him.
The IDF has repeatedly claimed that Hamas is using the hospitals and similar sites to shield military installations, and using ambulances to transport militants.
At 8.30 on Friday morning, Jenin’s morgue was crowded. Outside, dozens of young men in black baseball caps, T-shirts and jeans stood quietly, some with their weapons between their knees, their green Hamas headbands tied tight across their foreheads. Older men sat in front of shuttered shops.
Inside, a metal door was opened and a corpse wrapped in the green flag of Hamas was drawn out on a stretcher. A teenager with an assault rifle in one hand touched the dead man lightly on the forehead, then helped to shoulder the stretcher and with five others set out through the throng, down the rubble-strewn streets to the home of Hamed Fayed, where the women of the family waited.
Moments later, a second body, wrapped in the black flag of Islamic Jihad, was carried out. Then a third body, a fourth, and more.
As the Israeli offensive in Gaza continues, a month after the Hamas attacks that killed 1,400 Israelis, mainly civilians, and wounded many more, levels of violence in the occupied West Bank are rising fast.
Nineteen Palestinians were killed across the territory on Thursday as clashes took place with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), 14 in the small northern town of Jenin. Casualties were aged from 15 to 40, and included several civilians.
Since 7 October, 167 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces; and a further eight, including one child, have been killed by Israeli settlers. Three Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians according to the UN.
Ziad, a 35-year-old Palestinian, recounts another day in Gaza when, amid the hunger and the shortages, an interminable queue for breakfast becomes a ‘falafel journey’ for her diary in the Guardian:
Thursday 9 November
8am Falafel is one of the most popular traditional foods in Gaza. We call it “the poor people’s food” because it is cheap. Palestinians who travel abroad are surprised at the prices of falafel sandwiches, and I know I speak for everyone in Gaza when I say that we believe the ones made in Gaza are the best.
Luckily for us, in the area we evacuated to there were two shops selling falafel. Unfortunately, one closed soon after we arrived because the owner ran out of gas. But we are among the few neighbourhoods that still have the luxury of getting falafel. The remaining shop works two shifts, one in the morning and one from 3 to 5pm. They no longer sell sandwiches, only falafel, since getting bread is very difficult. I usually go in the evening, because until recently we didn’t eat breakfast. I would wait for about 45 minutes to get my order, but it is OK: now you have to wait for everything, if it is available.
Today, I decide to get some falafel for breakfast. I thought I went early, but the line is so long. I am told that people start queueing shortly after 6am to secure a spot. I try to count how many people are ahead of me and get tired after 85. I see my friend so we stand together and decide to spend “the journey of getting falafel” together. I send a message to my sister telling her it will probably take me a long time to return.
The largest hospital in Gaza, where up to 50,000 people are sheltering, is facing bombardment, the World Health Organization has said.
Palestinian officials said Israel launched airstrikes on or near at least three hospitals on Friday, as the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, warned that ‘far too many Palestinians have been killed’ in the war.
Night-time footage shows people gathered outside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. An explosion can be heard and people are seen shouting and fleeing from the site. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, said 20 hospitals in Gaza were out of action and that there was “intense violence” at Shifa.
In the UK, two dozen climate justice groups have written to Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary of state for energy and net zero, describing his party’s refusal to support a ceasefire in Gaza a “disastrous moral abdication”.
Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader, faces a growing rebellion over his stance on Gaza, which has included saying that Israel had a right to cut off Palestinians’ power and water supplies. Sources say Starmer faces a string of potential resignations from his parliamentary team over his refusal to call for a ceasefire.
But Miliband, himself a former Labour leader, has so far remained silent. “We find this silence even more unconscionable given the unprecedented scale of the catastrophe facing the Palestinian people in this moment,” the letter, signed by Labour for a Green New Deal, Extinction Rebellion and War on Want, among others, says.
The Labour leadership’s refusal to back a ceasefire is a disastrous moral abdication. The notion of a ‘humanitarian pause’ to such an unspeakable crime is insulting: it will not end this mass killing. That’s why we support those frontbench Labour MPs who have publicly called for a ceasefire.
For the Palestinian people, for the planet, and for the sake of your ethical standing and legacy as a political leader, we implore you to immediately speak out for a ceasefire.”
The letter, which was sent to Miliband on Thursday afternoon, notes that Miliband did call for a ceasefire during Israel’s campaign in Gaza in 2014 when he was Labour leader. The 50-day war killed more than 2,100 Palestinians.
Palestinian officials said Friday that Israeli airstrikes hit three Gaza hospitals and a school on Friday, killing at least 22 people, and a ground battle was under way at another hospital, further stressing the Palestinian territory’s crumbling health system as it struggles to cope with thousands of people wounded or displaced in Israel’s war against Hamas militants. A senior Israeli security official said initial findings indicated that one strike at Shifa was the result of a misfire by militants. The Israeli army has alleged that Hamas hides in and under hospitals and that it has set up a command centre under Shifa – claims the militant group and hospital staff deny.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, says ‘far too many’ Palestinians have died. While Blinken said the US “appreciates” Israel’s steps to minimise civilian casualties, he said it was not enough. He said the US has proposed additional ideas to the Israelis, including longer “humanitarian pauses” and expanding the amount of assistance getting into Gaza.
The number of people killed in Gaza by Israeli military actions since the start of the war on 7 October has risen to 11,078, including 4,506 children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Another 27,490 Palestinians in Gaza have been wounded, it said.
The UN’s human rights chief, Volker Türk, has called for an investigation into what he described as Israel’s “indiscriminate” bombardment and shelling in densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. “The extensive Israeli bombardment of Gaza, including the use of high-impact explosive weapons in densely populated areas ... is clearly having a devastating humanitarian and human rights impact,” Türk told reporters in Jordan. “The attacks must be investigated ... We have very serious concerns that these amount to disproportionate attacks in breach of international humanitarian law.”
Hamas fires rockets deep into Israel, setting off sirens in Tel Aviv.Medics reported two women in Tel Aviv suffered shrapnel wounds from the salvo.
Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel does not seek to conquer, occupy or govern Gaza after its war against Hamas, but a “credible force” would be needed to enter the Palestinian territory if necessary to prevent the emergence of militant threats.
Earlier, the Guardian reported that Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a deal for a five-day ceasefire with Palestinian militant groups in Gaza in return for the release of some of the hostages held in the territory early in the war, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Israeli officials say that a Gaza evacuation corridor opens for a sixth day. Cogat, the Israeli military civil body responsible for government policy in the occupied Palestinian territories, said the corridor will remain open for seven hours.
Food shortages affecting every single person in Gaza, a spokesperson for the UN’s World Food Programme has said. “We can safely say that 100% are food insecure at this moment,” said Kyung-nan Park, the director of emergencies for the UN agency.
The IDF has confirmed it struck what it said was a group in Syria that was responsible for a drone that hit a school in the southern Israeli city of Eilat on Thursday. The military did not say what organisation in Syria had launched the drone. It said: “The IDF holds the Syrian regime fully responsible for every terror activity emanating from its territory.”
The White House announced earlier that Israel would begin to implement four-hour “humanitarian pauses” in parts of northern Gazato allow people to leave. But there are yet to be clear signs of this taking place. The Israeli military has said it has not agreed to a ceasefire but that it will continue to allow “tactical, local pauses” to let in humanitarian aid into Gaza. Any plans for short-term pauses in the fighting in Gaza must be carried out in coordination with the UN and after agreement by all sides to be “truly effective”, a UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has said.
In Israel, healthcare professionals and the families of hostages and their supporters held a demonstration outside the International Committee of the Red Cros (ICRC) headquarters in Tel Aviv on 9 November. They were calling on the organisation to demand access to visit and treat the hostages still being held inside Gaza.
A UN report paints a stark picture of the Palestinian economy after a month of war and Israel’s near-total siege of Gaza. The gross domestic product shrank 4% in the West Bank and Gaza in the war’s first month, sending more than 400,000 people into poverty – an economic impact unseen in the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, or any previous Israel-Hamas war, the UN said.
The Palestinian Red Crescent has said that one person was killed and 28 others were injured in a shooting by Israeli forces at Al-Quds hospital in Gaza, according to Reuters.
The majority of the injured were children, the organisation said in a statement. Two are in critical condition as a result of sniper fire targeting the hospital, it added.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
Palestinian officials said Friday that Israeli air strikes hit three Gaza hospitals and a school on Friday, killing at least 22 people, and a ground battle was under way at another hospital, as Israel’s forces took on Hamas in the heart of the territory.
More than 1,000 officials at the US Agency for international development (USAID) have signed an open letter urging the Biden administration to call for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.
“As development, public health, and humanitarian assistance professionals, we are alarmed and disheartened at the numerous violations of international law; laws which aim to protect civilians, medical and media personnel, as well as schools, hospitals, and places of worship,” the letter reads.
Published earlier this month, the letter has since garnered 1,029 signatures from across the aid agency.
Reuters described it as the latest sign of unease within the US government over the President Joe Biden’s unwavering support for Israel in its response to the 7 October attacks by Palestinian Hamas militants that killed 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians.
Washington has rebuffed calls from Arab and Palestinian leaders and others to call for Israel to halt its assault on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip which has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including over 4,500 children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Lebanon has said the spillover from the Israel-Hamas war has already caused “significant damage” in Lebanon where Hezbollah and allied groups have been clashing with Israeli forces on the border for more than a month, according to the Associated Press.
In a statement, Imran Riza said that there have been “concerning signs of escalating tensions” along the border.
Riza said there have been “alarming attacks killing and injuring civilians in South Lebanon, including women, children, and media personnel” and much damage to private property, public infrastructure and farmland which has forced the displacement of more than 25,000 people.
On Sunday, an Israeli airstrike hit a car driving between the towns of Ainata and Aitaroun and killed four civilians, including three children and their grandmother, the Associated Press noted. The children’s mother was also wounded.
An Israeli military statement later said the car had been “identified as transporting terrorists” and that it was reviewing “allegations that there were civilians in the vehicle.”
Three Palestinian human rights groups have said they have asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel, accusing it of committing war crimes including genocide by bombing and besieging Gaza, Reuters reports.
The request comes one week after the families of Israeli victims of the 7 October attacks filed papers at the ICC urging the court to probe Hamas’ indiscriminate killing of hundreds of non-combatants, including children, and the abduction of more than 200 others in Gaza.
On Friday the three rights groups – Al Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign – said they had asked the ICC to focus on Israeli air strikes on densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, the siege of the territory and the displacement of the population.
“These actions amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide and incitement to genocide,” they said in a joint statement.
Israel – which is not a member of the Hague-based court and does not recognise its jurisdiction – did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reuters noted that officials in the country have previously said allegations of genocide are deplorable and that its actions target Hamas militants, not civilians.
The visual poet and the graffiti artist never expected to set off a global phenomenon and then a furious backlash.
Nitzan Mintz and her partner, Dede Bandaid, launched the now ubiquitous red and white posters of Israelis abducted by Hamas – each one with a photograph and the age of the disappeared under the banner “KIDNAPPED” – a couple of days after the 7 October attack in an attempt to ensure that the 200-plus hostages were not forgotten in the looming war in Gaza.
But after posting a few hundred flyers around New York, the couple was taken aback at how swiftly the posters became plastered across cities from the US to Argentina, to the UK and around Europe. The faces of grandmothers, three-year-old twins, young men and women, and entire families with small children, stare out from Manhattan lampposts, London telephone boxes and railings at Sydney’s Bondi beach.
Then came the firestorm.
UN staff around the world will observe a minute of silence and flags will fly at half mast on Monday, the global body has said, to mark the deaths of more than 100 UN employees in Gaza since 7 October.
UNRWA, the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, described the war as deadliest conflict ever for the UN in such a short period of time.
“They represent what is happening to the people of Gaza. They happen to work for the UN,” Juliette Touma, the director of communications at UNRWA, told Reuters. “They and every other civilian in the Gaza Strip...should never have been killed.”
In London, the organisers of the pro-Palestine march due to take place on Armistice Day believe “hundreds of thousands” of people will turn out for what they say will be one of Britain’s biggest days of mass protests after the row over whether the event would be banned.
Ben Jamal, director of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, a lead organiser of the protests, said he understood that people would be travelling from all over the UK to march on Saturday from Park Lane towards the US embassy in south-west London.
“We think it is going to be huge,” Jamal said.
Palestinian evacuees fleeing Gaza’s northern combat zone have told the Associated Press that thousands of displaced people who had sheltered at al-Shifa hospital in the heart of Gaza City have fled following overnight explosions there.
The hospital had been sheltering nearly 80,000 people.
Some of those fleeing Friday said only a few hundred badly wounded patients and doctors remained behind. Doctors at Shifa hospital could not immediately be reached for comment because of phone and internet connectivity disruptions.
The Israeli army has alleged that Hamas hides in and under hospitals and that it has set up a command centrr under Shifa – claims the militant group and hospital staff deny.
Gaza health officials said strikes were carried out near four hospitals overnight and early Friday.
A senior Israeli security official told the Associated Press that a review was being carried out and that initial findings indicated that one strike at Shifa was the result of a misfire by militants.
The UN’s human rights chief, Volker Türk, has called for an investigation into what he described as Israel’s ‘indiscriminate’ bombardment and shelling” in densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reports.
“The extensive Israeli bombardment of Gaza, including the use of high-impact explosive weapons in densely populated areas ... is clearly having a devastating humanitarian and human rights impact,” Turk told reporters in Jordan. “The attacks must be investigated ... We have very serious concerns that these amount to disproportionate attacks in breach of international humanitarian law.”
Türk did not specify what weapons he was referring to.
Asked for comment, Israel’s permanent mission to the UN in Geneva told Reuters: “Israel abides by international humanitarian law at all times. Terrorists don’t.”
Israel has laid blame on Hamas for the civilian deaths in Gaza, saying the group uses the population as human shields and hides weapons and equipment around hospitals, which have been hit by bombardments.
The Palestinian group killed 1,400 Israelis in a cross-border Oct. 7 attack, according to Israeli tallies, and the U.N. has said the assault involved war crimes. Israel’s subsequent bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians according to Gaza health authorities.
Türk pointed to both sides’ obligation to protect civilians:
Any use by Palestinian armed groups of civilians and civilian objects to shield themselves from attack is in contravention of the laws of war … But such conduct by Palestinian armed groups does not absolve Israel of its obligation to ensure that civilians are spared.”
Gaza’s health ministry has said 11,078 people have been killed since the hostilities began, including 4,506 children, Reuters reports.
The figures provided by the ministry do not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths.
While the US president, Joe Biden, has challenged the figures from the Hamas-run ministry as exaggerated, the Associated Press notes that US assistant secretary of state, Barbara Leaf, told lawmakers earlier in the week that it was “very possible” the numbers were actually even higher than reported.