Fighting raged in Gaza and on Saturday marked the 29th day since the war in Israel began and Hamas fighters stormed across the Israeli border, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and abducting more than 240 others, Israeli officials said. Since then, Israel has relentlessly bombarded the Gaza Strip and sent in ground troops, and the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory said 9,488 people had died, about two-thirds of them women and children.
Here are five key developments from the past 24 hours:
Blinken in the Middle East
The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was in Jordan on Saturday for talks with the foreign ministers of five Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority after visiting Israel in an effort to secure humanitarian “pauses” in the war. Blinken is due to visit Turkey on Sunday and Monday, but the State Department has not yet confirmed a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, although people close to him are expecting it. Turkey recalled its ambassador from Israel and announced it was ending contacts with its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Israel struck the Al-Fahura school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in the northern part of the Palestinian territory. Thousands of displaced Palestinians were sheltering in the school in the Jabalia refugee camp when it was struck, a ministry spokesman said. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported at least 15 deaths in an Israeli strike on Friday against an ambulance convoy in Gaza City, while Israel accused Hamas of using the vehicles to transport fighters. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled by the attack… on an ambulance convoy” and called for an end to the fighting. pic.twitter.com/a1G2Yi8SEa
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Invasion of southern Gaza
Israel’s military said Saturday that its forces carried out a “targeted attack” overnight in southern Gaza, where it has struck before but rarely sent troops. Soldiers were “operating to target buildings and neutralize explosive devices,” the army said, without specifying the location. Its message specified that “soldiers encountered a terrorist cell emerging from a tunnel shaft. In response, troops fired projectiles at the terrorists and killed them.” Southern Gaza is the region to which the population of northern Gaza was urged by Israel to evacuate in order to avoid the consequences of the subsequent military operation against Hamas.pic.twitter.com/NvqzWqDmeb
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Israel hit Lebanon
Israel’s military said Saturday it struck “two terrorist cells” and a Hezbollah post in response to an attempted shooting from Lebanon. It also returned mortar fire from Lebanon into northern Israel, where no casualties were reported. The latest clashes came a day after Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist movement, warned in a televised speech that the war between Israel and Hamas could turn into a regional conflict.
Hundreds of Palestinians and foreigners, including Gazans in need of urgent medical care and dual nationals, are expected to leave Gaza on the fourth day of evacuations through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. At least that’s according to a list published by the Palestinian Border Authority. On Friday, a senior White House official said Hamas had tried to use a US-brokered deal to open the Rafah crossing on humanitarian grounds to get its fighters out of Gaza. A third of the names on the list of wounded Palestinians for evacuation provided by Hamas were of members and fighters of the group, the official said. “This was simply unacceptable for Egypt, for us, for Israel,” the official added, writes BGNES.