Israel-Hamas war: The latest developments
The Gaza conflict raged for a 27th day on Thursday after the October 7 attacks when Hamas militants stormed the border, killing 1,400 people and kidnapping more than 240, Israeli officials say.
Since then, Israel has relentlessly bombarded the Palestinian territory and sent in ground troops, with the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza saying 9,061 people have been killed, including 3,760 children.
Here are five key developments from the past 24 hours:
Israel says Gaza City encircled
Israel’s army said late on Thursday it had encircled the Hamas stronghold of Gaza City, following days of expanding ground operations in the besieged territory.
“Israeli soldiers have completed the encirclement of the city of Gaza, the centre of the Hamas terror organisation,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari told journalists.
Shortly afterwards, Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, said Gaza would be a “curse” for Israel and that its invading soldiers would go home “in black bags”.
Hezbollah targeted by Israel
The Israeli military said it targeted Lebanon’s Hezbollah with a “broad assault” on Thursday.
The Iran-backed militant group said four of its fighters died in the strikes, after announcing it had attacked 19 Israeli positions simultaneously.
Earlier, a barrage of rockets wounded two people in the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona near the Lebanese border, medics said.
The Lebanese section of Hamas’s armed wing said it had fired a dozen rockets at the town “in response to the occupation (Israeli) massacres against our people in Gaza”.
The cross-border fire comes ahead of the first public speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday since the Israel-Hamas war began, amid fears the conflict could spill over.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said as he departed for another Middle East diplomatic tour that the United States was “determined to deter any escalation”.
More Gaza evacuations
More foreign passport holders and dual nationals crossed into Egypt on Thursday, the second day the Rafah crossing was opened to people seeking to flee Gaza.
The health ministry in Cairo said 21 wounded Palestinians and “344 foreign nationals, including 72 children” entered Egypt.
Cairo said it would help evacuate “about 7,000” foreigners and dual nationals with passports issued by more than 60 countries.
More than 20,000 wounded people are still trapped in Gaza, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
Gaza’s Hamas government said on Thursday that 195 people had been killed in two days of Israeli strikes on Jabalia refugee camp, the biggest in the Palestinian territory.
It said officials “have recorded 195 martyrs, 120 missing under the rubble, and 777 wounded” at the camp on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Hamas-run health ministry said 27 people were killed in an Israeli strike near a UN school in the camp. AFP was unable to independently verify the toll.
The Israeli army said Tuesday’s strike killed a Hamas commander, but the UN Human Rights Office described the strikes as “disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes”.
West Bank bloodshed
Unrest has increased in the occupied West Bank in tandem with the war in Gaza, with three Palestinians killed by Israeli fire on Thursday and an Israeli killed in a Palestinian shooting attack, according to first responders.
Two Palestinians were shot dead during an Israeli raid in El-Bireh near the city of Ramallah, while a third was killed in the northern town of Qalqilya, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Around 130 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with troops or Jewish settlers since October 7, according to the ministry.
The Israeli victim died when his car came under fire near Einav settlement in the northwest of the territory.
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