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Latest developments in Israel-Hamas war

Author: AFP | Published: Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Smoke and debris rises over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas (Jack Guez/AFP)

Fighting has raged for more than two weeks in the Gaza Strip after Hamas gunmen stormed into Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials.

More than 5,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across Gaza in relentless Israeli bombardments in retaliation for the attacks, the Hamas-run health ministry said on Monday.

There have also been increasing cross-border exchanges of fire along Israel’s northern frontier with Lebanon, between Israeli troops and Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas.

Here are five things about the war from the last 24 hours:

– Two more hostages freed –

Hamas announced it freed two more women abducted during its bloody October 7 attack on Israel and since detained in the Gaza Strip.

Israel confirmed their release and identities: Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, both Israeli citizens who lived at the Nir Oz kibbutz. Their spouses are still being held in Gaza.

Their release follows that of American mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan, who were freed on Friday, with the militants citing humanitarian reasons and efforts by Qatar and Egypt.

– Israel pounds Gaza –

Gaza’s Hamas government said Israeli strikes overnight killed more than 60 people, including 17 in a single attack on a house in Jabaliya, in northern Gaza.

It said at least 10 more were killed on Monday morning.

The Israeli military said it pounded Gaza with hundreds of strikes overnight, hitting “over 320 military targets” among them “tunnels containing Hamas terrorists, dozens of operational command centres… and Islamic Jihad terrorists, military compounds, and observation posts”.

– New aid arrives –

About a dozen aid trucks — the third convoy in three days — arrived in Gaza on Monday via the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

The United States has vowed to ensure a “continued flow” of relief goods into Gaza, where Israel has cut off most water as well as food, power and fuel.

On Sunday, 14 trucks entered the enclave after an initial contingent of 20 on Saturday.

The United Nations says Gaza needs about 100 truckloads of aid per day to meet the needs of its 2.4 million people, nearly half of whom have been displaced by Israel’s bombardment.

– Border unrest displaces Lebanese –

Some 19,646 people have left villages in south Lebanon due to cross-border fire between Hezbollah and Israel, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said Monday.

The Iran-backed Shiite group has launched increasing attacks on Israel, raising fears it intends to open a Lebanese front in support of ally Hamas.

Israel has ordered the evacuation of thousands of people from a string of communities near its northern border, without giving an exact figure for the displaced.

At least 40 people have been killed in Lebanon, according to an AFP tally — mostly combatants but also at least four civilians, one of them a Reuters journalist.

And four people have been killed in Israel, including three soldiers and a civilian.

– EU wants ‘humanitarian pause’ –

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday urged faster aid deliveries to Gaza, saying the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers would debate calling for a “humanitarian pause” in the war.

“I think a humanitarian pause is needed to allow the humanitarian support to come in and be distributed, seeing that half of the population of Gaza has been moving from their houses,” Borrell said.

– Diplomatic action –

French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Tel Aviv on Tuesday for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his office says.

His trip follows similar visits by US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

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