With the war between Israel and the militant group Hamas entering its eighth day, hundreds of Palestinians scrambled to flee northern Gaza after Israel’s military ordered about 1 million people to leave for the territory’s south ahead of an expected ground invasion. The UN, meanwhile, has warned that a large scale evacuation of nearly half of Gaza’s population could be calamitous. Israel had declared a “complete siege” on Gaza earlier this week, following a surprise attack by Hamas militants.
Amid scenes of chaos in the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel’s retaliation for the Hamas attack had “just begun”. Meanwhile, Hamas has told residents to ignore the evacuation order, calling the impending talk of Israel’s ground offensive “fake propaganda.”
Meanwhile, an Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in southern Lebanon on Friday, killing Reuters videographer, Issam Abdallah, and leaving six other journalists injured. Israel’s UN envoy said it would investigate what had happened in the area following the journalist’s death.
Here’s a round-up of developments from Day 8 so far:
About 70 people killed in mass exodus during airstrikes in Gaza
About 70 people, mainly women and children, have been killed in Israeli air raids while trying to flee the northern Gaza Strip, according to officials from the media house of Hamas, after the Israeli military ordered more than one million residents to evacuate in a demand rejected by the United Nations as “impossible”.
Thousands of Palestinian civilians began to flee to southern Gaza on Friday under air strikes after the Israeli military order, as reported by Al Jazeera.
IDF allows ‘safe movement’ of Gaza residents between 10 am and 4 pm
An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said that the military will allow the safe movement of Gazans moving south on two main roads between 10 am and 4 pm today. On Friday, the IDF had ordered more than one million residents of Gaza to flee to the south “for their own safety”, as it started preparing for a ground offensive, for which it has also amassed tanks.
IDF says over 120 civilians being held captive by Hamas
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it has confirmed that “over 120 civilians” are being held as hostages in Gaza by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
On Friday, Hamas had said that 13 hostages, including foreigners, had been killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Earlier, when Hamas had launched its attack on southern Israel on October 7, it had taken an estimated 150 Israelis, mostly civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, back with them into Gaza.
‘They (Hamas) make al-Qaeda look pure. The United States stands with Israel’: US President Joe Biden
Palestinian militant group Hamas, which attacked Israel last week, is worse than al-Qaeda, US President Joe Biden has said. “These guys make — they make al-Qaeda look pure. They’re pure evil. Like I said from the beginning, the United States, make no mistake about it, stands with Israel. The United States stands with Israel,” he said at the top of his remarks on Hydrogen Hubs in Philadelphia on Friday. He expressed grief about the about the 1,000 “innocent lives lost, including at least 27 Americans.” “The US is making sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself and respond to these attacks. It’s also a priority for me to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he said.
Reuters journalist killed in Israeli shelling on Lebanon border
Issam Abdallah, a Reuters videographer, was killed in an Israeli shelling on the border in south Lebanon on Friday. Six other journalists were left injured. “We are deeply saddened to tell you that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed,” the Reuters news agency said in a statement. It added that two of its journalists, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, were wounded in the shelling. Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV, said two of its employees, Elie Brakhya and reporter Carmen Joukhadar, also were among the wounded. France’s international news agency, Agence France-Presse, said two of its journalists also were among the wounded, but the agency did not release their names.
The shelling occurred during an exchange of fire along the Lebanon-Israel border between Israeli troops and members of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.
235 Indians onboard Operation Ajay’s second flight from Israel reach Delhi
Amid the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, another batch of stranded Indians were brought back to India on Saturday as part of the country’s ongoing repatriation mission, Operation Ajay.
The special chartered flight with the second batch of 235 Indian nationals, including two infants, took off from the Ben Gurion airport Friday at 11.02 pm local time. Passengers were seen shouting chants of ‘Vande Mataram’ inside the airplane in a video shared vis ANI.
#WATCH | Chants of ‘Vande Mataram’ by passengers on the second flight carrying 235 Indian nationals from Israel. The flight landed at Delhi airport today
(Video Source: Passenger) pic.twitter.com/gAf8dkRocN
— ANI (@ANI) October 14, 2023
China’s Middle East envoy meets Arab League & extends support on ‘Palestinian issue’, says Chinese Foreign Ministry
China’s Special Envoy on the Middle East Friday met with representatives of the Arab League in China for an emergency session on the crisis in Israel and Gaza, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry released on Saturday.
China’s special envoy, Zhai Jun, told the meeting that China supports the 22-member strong Arab League in playing an important role on the “Palestinian issue” and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.
“The international community should earnestly enhance its sense of urgency to return to the correct basis of the Two State Solution to realise the peaceful coexistence of the two states of Palestine and Israel,” Zhai said in the statement.
Hamas does not speak for the Palestinian people, US Congressmen tell Indian diaspora
Saudi Arabia categorically rejects calls for ‘forcible displacement’ of Gaza residents
As the deadline for Gaza residents to relocate to the south draws near, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry has put out a statement categorically rejecting the call for what it called a ‘forcible displacement’ of civilians.
“The Kingdom renews its call to the international community to act quickly to stop all forms of military escalation against civilians; prevent a humanitarian disaster, and to provide the necessary relief and medical assistance for the people of Gaza,” the statement said.