An Israeli army self-propelled howitzer fires rounds near the border with Gaza
An Israeli army self-propelled howitzer fires rounds near the border with Gaza in southern Israel on October 11, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

The war , which has claimed more than 2,200 lives on both sides, is expected to escalate. The Israeli military said more than 1,200 people, including 155 soldiers, have died in Israel since Saturday’s incursion. In Gaza, the health ministry says more than 1,050 have been killed and over 5,100 injured. The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency says 250,000 people have been displaced in Gaza.

Follow the latest developments from the conflict zone:

US-Israel discuss over safe passage of civilians

The Biden administration is having active discussions with Israel to help transport Gaza civilians as Israel strikes the enclave after a deadly Hamas attack over the weekend, White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday.

"We believe that safe passage is important and we want to see a safe passage corridor opened up," Kirby said.

He said 22 Americans were killed and 17 remain unaccounted for in Israel.

Egypt discusses Gaza aid, rejects corridors for civilians

Egypt has discussed plans with the United States and others to provide humanitarian aid through its border with Gaza Strip but rejects any move to set up safe corridors for refugees fleeing the enclave, Egyptian security sources said on Wednesday.

Egypt has long restricted the flow of Gazans on to its territory, even during the fiercest conflicts.

Cairo, a frequent mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, always insists the two sides resolve conflicts within their borders.

Putin calls for Israeli-Palestinian talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian forces and hoped the war, which has already killed thousands over the last five days, would not expand.

"It is necessary to avoid the expansion of the conflict at all cost, because if it happens it will have an impact on the international situation," Putin said, adding that parties "need to return to a negotiation process that should be acceptable to all sides, including to the Palestinians."

11 UN staff, 30 pupils at UN schools killed

At least 11 UN staff and personnel, as well as 30 students at UN schools, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Hamas militants launched their attack on Israel, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"11 UNRWA staff and personnel have been killed since Saturday," spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters, referring to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees which also runs schools in Gaza.

"30 UNRWA students have also been killed and another eight have been injured."

The dead included five teachers, a gynecologist, an engineer, a counselor and three support staff, UNRWA's deputy director Jennifer Austin said in a statement.

'Emergency unity government' announced in Israel

Israel formed an emergency unity government on Wednesday as it pounded Gaza to root out Hamas and deploying forces north of the densely populated Palestinian enclave, where the militants said they were still fighting after their cross-border assault.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to form a war cabinet with former defence minister and centrist opposition party leader Benny Gantz and focus entirely on the conflict, a joint statement from Gantz's National Unity party said.

Several French children likely among hostages

Many French children are missing and are likely among the hostages held in Gaza following Saturday's attack by Hamas against Israel, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Wednesday.

"I want to have a special thought for the French victims (in Israel) and for our missing compatriots, whose situation is extremely worrying. Among them, several children, probably kidnapped," she told senators.

Borne said 10 French citizens are now confirmed to have been killed in the attacks, and 18 - including children - are missing.

The overall number of hostages held in Gaza following Saturday's attack remains unclear.

Putin criticises US response to war

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the latest Israel-Gaza war is rooted in the failure to create a Palestinian state and the latest botched mediation efforts by the US.

Speaking at an international energy forum in Moscow, Putin charged that Washington has mostly focused on trying to create material incentives for the Palestinians while failing to help create a Palestinian state in line with UN resolutions.

Putin emphasised the need to quickly find a settlement — warning that the conflict could spiral out of control, resulting in “grave consequences.”

He also described the allegations of Iran’s involvement as baseless and argued that the US response was only fueling the conflict, saying that he doesn’t understand why the US has deployed an aircraft carrier to the region.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad fire heavy rocket barrage at Israel

The armed wings of Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said Wednesday they were targeting southern and central Israel with rockets, as sirens sounded in areas surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said it was targeting the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Ashkelon as well as communities near the Gaza border with "heavy rocket fire".

Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said it had fired a rocket at Ben Gurion airport, where Israeli officials reported no hit.

UK foreign secretary arrives in Israel

Britain’s top diplomat has arrived in Israel to express “unwavering solidarity” with the country following the attacks by Hamas.

The government says Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will meet survivors and senior Israeli officials “to outline UK support for Israel’s right to defend itself.”

The UK’s Conservative government and the opposition Labour Party have both strongly backed Israel’s right to retaliate for the attacks that killed more than 1,200 Israelis.

The British government has said 10 or more UK citizens are dead or missing after the attacks on southern Israel.

A soldier stands on the turret of a tank as Israeli forces take positions
A soldier stands on the turret of a tank as Israeli forces take positions near the city of Sderot near the border with Gaza on October 11, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Gaza's only power plant runs out of fuel

Gaza’s only power plant has run out of fuel, forcing it to shut down after Israel cut off supplies, the Energy Ministry said Wednesday.

That will leave only generators to power the territory.

The blackouts come as Israel has decided to block fuel shipments into the Gaza Strip as part of what the Israeli government has called a “complete siege” on the territory run by the Hamas militant group.

Gaza neighbourhoods demolished in Israeli strikes

Palestinians in the sealed-off Gaza Strip struggled to find any safe area Wednesday, as Israeli strikes demolished entire neighbourhoods, hospitals ran low on supplies and a power blackout was expected within hours, deepening the misery of a war sparked by a stunning and deadly assault by Hamas militants.

Airstrikes smashed entire city blocks to rubble in the tiny coastal enclave and left unknown numbers of bodies beneath mounds of debris. The bombardment raged on even though militants are holding an estimated 150 people snatched from Israel — soldiers, men, women, children and older adults.

An aerial view of buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the Jabalia camp
An aerial view of buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the Jabalia camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City, on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Israel shells south Lebanon after rocket strikes

Israel shelled south Lebanon Wednesday following rocket fire from the border area, Lebanese state media said, the latest exchange on Israel's northern border as it battles Hamas militants in Gaza.

"The area around Dhayra is being bombarded by enemy artillery, while the area around Yarin is being hit with phosphorus shells," Lebanon's National News Agency said, earlier reporting "two rockets fired from Lebanese territory".

The Israeli military said that "in response to the anti-tank missiles that were launched at... soldiers a short while ago, the IDF (army) is currently striking in Lebanese territory".

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Relatives of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes, react at a hospital in Gaza City. Image Credit: Reuters

Hezbollah fires missiles from Lebanon

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group said it fired missiles on Israel Wednesday drawing retaliatory Israeli fire, after three of its members were killed earlier this week amid soaring border tensions.

Hezbollah “targeted a Zionist [Israeli] position... facing Dhayra village, with guided missiles,” in a “firm response to Zionist attacks... which led to the martyrdom of a number of brothers,” the group said in a statement.

The group warned of a “decisive” response to Israeli attacks “targeting our country and the security of our people, especially when these attacks lead to the deaths of martyrs”.

169 Israel soldiers killed in war

At least 169 Israeli soldiers have been killed in fighting with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas after its militants launched a shock cross-border attack, the army said on Wednesday.

"As of this morning, we've informed the families of 169 fallen IDF (army) soldiers," military spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters, adding that the families of 60 people abducted and taken to Gaza have also been contacted.

Gaza is set to run out of electricity

Gaza’s power authority says its sole power plant will run out of fuel within hours, leaving the territory without electricity after Israel cut off supplies.

Israel said it would cut off all electricity to the territory after Hamas’ bloody rampage over the weekend.

All of Gaza’s crossings are closed, making it impossible to bring in fuel for the power plant or the generators on which residents and hospitals have long relied.

The power authority said Wednesday that the plant would shut down in the afternoon.

Overnight toll

The death toll from five days of ferocious fighting between Hamas and Israel rose sharply overnight as Israel kept up its bombardment of Gaza Wednesday after recovering the dead from the last communities near the border where Palestinian militants had been holed up.

At least 30 people were killed and hundreds wounded as Israel pounded the Gaza Strip with hundreds of air strikes overnight, a Hamas government official said Wednesday. The Israeli military confirmed it had hit dozens of Hamas targets during the night.

They also hit 80 Hamas targets in the Beit Hanoun area of the northeastern Gaza Strip, including two bank branches used by the Islamist group to "fund terrorism" in the enclave, the military said.

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Explosions illuminate the sky during Israeli strikes on Gaza City. Image Credit: AFP

Pope urges to free hostages 

Pope Francis called Wednesday for the immediate release of hostages taken in fighting between Hamas and Israel, and expressed his concern over the siege of Gaza.

"I ask that the hostages be released immediately," he said at the Vatican, adding that "it is the right of those who are attacked to defend themselves, but I am very worried about the total siege in which the Palestinians live in Gaza, where there have also been many innocent victims".

People trapped under rubble unreachable

As airstrikes are reported nonstop in the Karama district north of Gaza city, many dead and injured are stuck under rubble that Gaza lacks the equipment to handle, officials said Wednesday.

With streets badly damaged and the ongoing and intense nature of the airstrikes, ambulances and civil defense teams are unable to approach areas where people were reported trapped under crumbled infrastructure, Eyad Bozum, the Interior Ministry spokesperson, said in a statement.

Bozum said that heavy airstrikes were also reported in the southern town of Khan Younis and in an area east of the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Israel strikes Hamas-linked campus

Israeli fighters jets struck the Islamic University in Gaza City on Wednesday, an AFP correspondent and an official with the Hamas-linked institution said.

"The intense air strikes destroyed completely some buildings of the Islamic University," Ahmed Orabi of the university management told AFP.

Dozens of residential buildings, factories, mosques and shops were hit, the head of the government's media office, Salama Marouf, told AFP.

The Israeli military confirmed it had hit several Hamas targets during the night.

Plane carrying US armaments lands

A plane carrying advanced armaments “designed to facilitate significant military operations” landed Tuesday evening at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.

“We are grateful for the US backing and assistance to the IDF, and to the State of Israel in general, during this challenging period. Our common enemies know that the cooperation between our militaries is stronger than ever, and is a key part in ensuring regional security and stability,” the IDF said in a statement.

More than 260,000 people displaced 

Over 260,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the Gaza Strip, as heavy Israeli bombardments from the air, land and sea continue to hit the Palestinian enclave, the United Nations said.

Fierce fighting has left thousands dead on both sides since Hamas launched a surprise assault on Saturday, spurring Israel's reprisal bombing campaign.

"Over 263,934 people in Gaza are believed to have fled their homes," said UN humanitarian agency OCHA said in an update Tuesday, warning that "this number is expected to rise further".

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Palestinians watch others looking for injured in the rubble of a destroyed residential building following an Israeli airstrike. Image Credit: AP

Israel death toll rises to 1,200

More than 1,200 Israelis have been killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict, an Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson said Wednesday, up from 1,000 previously reported.

"The death toll is a staggering 1,200 dead Israelis," IDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said in a video message, adding that "the overwhelming majority of them" were civilians.

2 Filipinos killed in attacks by Hamas

Two Filipinos have been killed as a result of the attacks by Hamas militants on Israel, where thousands of Filipinos live and work, said Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo.

Manalo condemned the killings in a brief statement he posted Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, but did not provide other details, including the circumstances of the deaths and the identities of the victims.

“The Philippines condemns the killing of two Filipino nationals and all other acts of terrorism and violence as a result of Hamas actions against Israel,” Manalo said.

He added that the Philippines is ready to work with other countries toward a long-lasting resolution to the conflict, in accordance with a U.N. Security Council resolution.

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Canada planing to airlift citizens

Canadian citizens will be flown out of the country from the Tel Aviv, Israel, airport in coming days in the wake of Hamas' attack on Israel, Canada's foreign minister said Tuesday.

The government plans to conduct the evacuation using aircraft from the Canadian Armed Forces, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The post did not mention those Canadians who are believed to be trapped in Gaza after Israel closed off the Hamas-controlled territory.

Canada is trying to determine how many of its citizens are among the dead or missing. Friends and family have confirmed that 22-year-old Ben Mizrachi from Vancouver and former Montreal resident Alexandre Look, who recently celebrated his 33rd birthday, were two of the hundreds killed while attending a music festival in southern Israel.

US intelligence didn't see attack coming

US intelligence did not pick up signs of the Hamas attack on Israel, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

We did not see anything that suggested an attack of this type was going to unfold any more than the Israelis did

- Jake Sullivan | White House National Security Adviser

As other White House officials have done in recent days, Sullivan also reiterated that the U.S. government has also not seen any direct linkage between Iran and the Hamas attack over the weekend.

US special operations forces working with Israelis

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday that a small group of U.S. special operations forces is now working with the Israelis to help with planning and intelligence in their counteroperations against Hamas.

“We also have the ability to rapidly deploy other resources into the region,” Austin said.

Austin released the information to reporters traveling with him to a Ukraine contact group meeting in Brussels.

8 French citizens killed

The number of French people killed in Israel has risen to eight — with 20 unaccounted for — the French Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. Several of those are believed to be held hostage.

The ministry previously confirmed the deaths of four other French citizens killed in the Hamas militant attacks in Israel. At the time, the ministry said another 13 French citizens were missing and that some of them have “very likely” been kidnapped, including a 12-year-old boy.

French media identified the boy by his first name, Eitan, and reported that he lived with his family in the Nir Oz kibbutz in southern Israel. Le Parisien newspaper quoted an aunt as saying that the boy was captured Saturday by Hamas militants who took him away on a motorbike.

Red Cross officials working for prisoner access

An official at the International Committee of the Red Cross says his organization has been in touch with both Hamas and Israeli officials about accessing prisoners, but so far have had no access to them.

Fabrizio Carboni, the regional director for the Near and Middle East for the ICRC, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that this includes the Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during its unprecedented incursion into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Dire situation worsening in Gaza: UN

The already dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is worsening now that Israel has cut water, electricity and medical supplies to the region, the United Nations said Tuesday.

According to U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Gaza said Palestinians in Gaza now only have electricity for three to four hours per day, which is hindering the functioning of health facilities and treatment of the injured.

The humanitarian coordinator, Lynne Hastings, reported that access for humanitarian staff and supplies in Gaza has also been cut and the intensity of the hostilities is limiting the ability to deliver aid, the U.N. spokesman said. Hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed with mass casualties and running low on medical supplies and ambulances are running out of fuel, Hastings said, according to Haq.

Since the Hamas attacks began on Saturday, eight health care facilities in Gaza have been damaged and at least 200,000 of Gaza’s 2.2 million residents have been displaced, Haq said.