Live blog: Israel strikes Gaza refugee camp again as UN warns of ‘war crimes’

0431 GMT  Israel hit Gaza’s largest refugee camp with renewed air strikes, prompting UN rights officials to warn that targeting densely populated residential areas “could amount to war crimes.”

Bombs struck the Jabalia camp for a second time in two days, pulverising buildings and, according to local health ministry, killing dozens of people.

AFP witnessed extensive damage at the scene, with people frantically clawing through rubble to extract bloodied casualties.

Rescuers said “whole families” had died, but casualty details could not be immediately confirmed.

The United Nations decried Israel’s most recent bombings, joining a chorus of international condemnation from as far afield as Bolivia, which severed diplomatic ties in protest.

The UN’s top human rights body — citing “the high number of civilian casualties” and scale of destruction — said it had “serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes.”

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0545 GMT  First Australians leave Israeli-besieged Gaza for Egypt

Twenty Australians were among the first group of foreign citizens to leave the Israeli-besieged Gaza and enter Egypt via the Rafah border crossing, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts said.

At least 320 foreign nationals left the Palestinian enclave to cross into Egypt on Wednesday, the first to benefit from a deal mediated by Qatar.

Watts said there were still 65 Australians trapped in Gaza and the government had urged them, u sing all available communication channels, to move toward the Rafah crossing as soon as possible.

0516 GMT — Thailand held direct hostage talks with Hamas in Iran: negotiator

Thai officials held direct talks with Hamas in Iran last week over the fate of 22 of the kingdom’s nationals taken hostage by the Palestinian resistance group in its attack on Israel, the head of the Thai delegation said.

Negotiators met Hamas officials in Tehran on October 26 and were given a pledge that the Thais would be released at the “right time”, Areepen Uttarasin told reporters in Bangkok.

0514 GMT  More than 20,000 wounded people still in Gaza: MSF

More than 20,000 wounded people are still trapped in Gaza, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), despite initial evacuations of foreign passport holders and badly injured Palestinians across the border to Egypt.

MSF noted the evacuations of “a number of severely injured” people in a statement, saying that its 22 international staff members in Gaza had also been among those who left the territory via the Rafah border crossing.

“However, there are still over 20,000 injured people in Gaza with limited access to healthcare due to the siege,” it said.

2306 GMT — Gaza says 195 Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on Jabalia

At least 195 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday and Wednesday, Gaza government’s media office has said.

Some 120 were still missing under the rubble, and at least 777 more were wounded, the office said in a statement.

The death toll of Palestinians killed since the start of the Israeli aggression on blockaded Gaza, has surged to 8,805, mostly children and women.

0256 GMT — Biden voices support for humanitarian ‘pause’

President Joe Biden, when responding to a heckler at a Minnesota campaign event, said he thinks there should be a humanitarian “pause” in the Israel war’s on Gaza to get “prisoners” out.

The 80-year-old Democrat was delivering remarks to some 200 supporters in the northern US state when a member of the audience shouted out to him.

“As a rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire right now,” she said, referring to the deadly conflict.

The president responded: “I think we need a pause. A pause means giving time to get the prisoners out.”

Asked about his remarks, the White House later clarified that by “prisoners” the president was referring to hostages held by Hamas.

Biden engaged further with the woman, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the nickname Bibi.

“I’m the guy that convinced Bibi to call for a ceasefire to let the prisoners out. I’m the guy that talked to [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-] Sisi to convince him to open the door” along Gaza’s border with Egypt to allow freed hostages to leave.

0238 GMT — Hezbollah says it downs Israeli drone

Lebanon’s Hezbollah has said it destroyed an Israeli drone over south Lebanon with a surface-to-air missile, an account disputed by Israel’s military which confirmed the missile launch but said its aircraft suffered “no damage”.

It was the second time this week that Hezbollah claimed to down an Israeli drone with a surface-to-air missile, with cross-border clashes escalating as Israel wages a ground invasion against Gaza.

Hezbollah said in a statement its fighters shot down the drone just after midnight over two villages on the Lebanese side of the frontier. “It crashed and fell instantly,” it said.

The Israeli military said, “There was no damage to the (drone).”

0135 GMT — Latin America ramps up condemnations of Israel’s attack on Gaza

Some of Latin America’s largest countries have came out to condemn Israel’s attacks on a densely populated refugee camp in Gaza, widening the diplomatic rift between the region and the Middle Eastern country.

Argentina, home to Latin America’s largest Jewish community, Peru and Mexico lambasted the Israeli attacks, which the Gaza government said had killed nearly 200 people while hundreds others were wounded or unaccounted for under the debris.

UN human rights officials have said the strikes could constitute war crimes.

The criticisms come a day after Bolivia cut diplomatic ties with Israel over its bombardment and siege of Gaza and mounting civilian casualties, while Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors to the country.

“Peru condemns, and will continue to condemn, violence from wherever it comes from,” the South American nation’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Mexican diplomat Alicia Buenrostro, speaking at a UN emergency special session on Gaza, called for the “occupying power” of Israel to cease its claim to the Palestinian territories, arguing for a two-state solution.

“This needs to stop,” she said, adding that Mexico would increase its aid to Palestinian refugees.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is more alarming by the day,” Argentina’s foreign ministry also said, urging Israel to allow aid into the occupied territory.

2232 GMT — Biden promises to combat Islamophobia as Gaza war rages

The administration of US President Joe Biden has said it would develop a strategy to combat Islamophobia — an announcement that comes as tensions simmer nationwide over the war between Israel and Palestine in Gaza.

“President Biden ran for office to restore the soul of our nation. He is unequivocal: there is no place for hate in America against anyone. Period,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“For too long, Muslims in America, and those perceived to be Muslim, such as Arabs and Sikhs, have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fuelled attacks and other discriminatory incidents.”

The strategy will be developed in concert with the communities concerned, the White House said.

Jean-Pierre singled out what she called the recent “barbaric” killing of a six-year-old Palestinian American boy outside Chicago, which police have linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza.

2226 GMT — First Australian nationals leave Israeli-besieged Gaza for Egypt

Twenty Australians were among the first group of foreign citizens who entered Egypt from the Israeli-besieged Gaza via the Rafah border crossing, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts has said.

At least 320 foreign nationals left the Palestinian enclave to cross into Egypt on Wednesday, the first to benefit from a deal mediated by Qatar.

Watts said there were still 65 Australians trapped in Gaza and the government had urged them, using all available communication channels, to move toward the Rafah crossing as soon as possible.

“We are providing all possible support we can, communicating through all available channels,” Watts told ABC television. “It is not always perfect. This is a conflict zone.”

2100 GMT — Yemen’s Houthis claim drone attack on Israel amid Gaza war

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have said they launched drone attacks towards Israel, the latest in a spate of such raids since the start of the Israel-Palestine war. “The Yemeni armed forces launched a large batch of drones during the past hours at several targets … in occupied Palestine, and they reached their goals,” said a Houthi military statement.

“The Yemeni armed forces will continue to carry out their military operations in support” of the Palestinian people, the statement added.

The latest attack came a day after the Houthis pledged more attacks against Israel if its war on besieged Gaza continues, saying it had already fired drones and ballistic missiles in three separate operations.

Israel has sent ground forces into besieged Gaza after weeks of air and artillery strikes, killing at least 8,796 Palestinians in the narrow coastal enclave, including 3,648 children.

2024 GMT — Biden says American citizens will be able to exit Gaza

US President Joe Biden said that Americans will now be able to exit war-torn Gaza and the administration will work hard to get additional Americans out of the region in the days ahead.

He also cheered regional partners for their help paving the way for some wounded Palestinians and foreign nationals, including some US citizens, to escape Gaza.

“I personally spent a lot of time speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and President Sisi of Egypt and others, to make sure that we could open this access for people to get out,” Biden said during a visit Wednesday to Northfield, Minn. “I want to thank our partners, in particular Qatar, who worked so closely with us to support negotiations to facilitate the departure of these citizens.”

2012 GMT — US condemns Israeli settler violence in occupied West Bank

US has expressed concern over the increased violence by illegal Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, calling it “unacceptable”, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

“We have made quite clear to the government of Israel that we are very concerned about settler violence in the West Bank. We find it incredibly destabilising. We find it counterproductive to Israel’s long term security,” Miller said.

“In addition to, of course, being extremely harmful to the Palestinians living in the West Bank. And we have sent a very clear message to them that it’s unacceptable, it needs to stop, and those responsible for it need to be held accountable.”



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