An Israeli government spokesman has said there will be no ceasefire “no matter how temporary”, saying it would “let Hamas get away with murder”. Listen to a Daily podcast special while you scroll.
Tuesday 7 November 2023 16:35, UK
Hezbollah’s second-in-command has said the group aims to “lower the pressure on Gaza” with its attacks.
Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, warned of escalation depending on the circumstances.
He told our US partner network NBC News: “If [Israel and America] continue in their aggression in this way and escalate this aggression and leave a negative impact that is larger than what is currently happening now, it will increase the situation and will lead to a complete confrontation.”
The Iran-backed group has been engaging Israel across the Lebanese border since 7 October, with fears the skirmishes could escalate.
On Sunday, Hezbollah said it launched a barrage of grad rockets for the first time at a northern Israeli town after claiming an Israeli strike killed three girls aged 10 to 14.
Israel’s military said its troops had engaged a vehicle “identified as a suspected transport for terrorists” in Lebanon and it was looking into reports there were civilians inside.
In another first, Hezbollah recently declared it used anti-aircraft missiles during hostilities.
At least 600 people are sharing one toilet at an overcrowded UN shelter in southern Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Some 22,000 people have taken refuge at Khan Younis Training Centre, a UN Relief and Works Agency facility – leaving only two square metres for each person.
They are among some 717,000 people sheltering in facilities provided by the agency, of a total 1.5 million internally displaced people, OCHA said.
Another 122,000 people have taken shelter in hospitals, churches and public buildings – but those hospitals are struggling.
At least 40% of hospitals with inpatient capacities and 71% of all primary care facilities have stopped functioning in Gaza due to damage or lack of fuel, OCHA said.
Strikes hit the “close vicinities” of four hospitals in the territory on Sunday, killing eight people, said OCHA, citing monitoring by the World Health Organisation.
Evacuation calls were made by the Israeli military yesterday to all hospitals in the north, in some cases alleging the premises were being used by militants, the agency said.
Smoke has been rising over northern Gaza as Israeli troops battle Hamas.
The Israeli military said at the weekend it had cut the territory in half and encircled Gaza City.
Food, medicine, fuel and water are running low, and United Nations-run schools-turned-shelters are overflowing.
Troops are expected to enter Gaza City soon, Israeli media reports.
Hamas “broke the ceasefire” when it “murdered 1,400 people and retreated back to the Gaza Strip”, a government spokesman has said.
Asked by Germany’s DW News if Israel would agree to a ceasefire at some stage, Eylon Levy said this would not happen until Hamas was “destroyed”, adding that a ceasefire was in place until the day Hamas attacked southern Israel.
“We will not consider any ceasefire no matter how temporary, without the return of our hostages,” he said.
“There was a ceasefire on 6 October. Hamas broke it. It brutally murdered 1,400 people and then retreated back to the Gaza Strip.
“A ceasefire would literally let Hamas get away with murder. It would leave it free to do it again.”
Mr Levy went on to say that Israel would not cease fire until it achieved its “war goals of destroying Hamas so it can never again hurt our people and never again perpetrate what it did on 7 October”.
The British government is set to hold an emergency response meeting on the impact of the Israel-Hamas war on community cohesion in the UK.
Ministers have raised concerns about pro-Palestinian protests planned on Armistice Day this Saturday.
“The deputy prime minister will chair a COBRA [emergency response] meeting to coordinate the government’s response to the situation in Israel and Gaza,” Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said.
“It will look at a wide range of areas but it’s obviously particularly focused on the impact of the [Hamas] terrorist attack on the UK domestically and how we can address some of the importance around community cohesion particularly.”
The UK has seen a stark rise in both antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents since the Israel-Hamas war broke out.
The Community Security Trust said last week said it had recorded the highest number of hate incidents in a 28-day period in modern times, with 1,019 incidents across the UK since 7 October.
The IDF has released a number of images throughout the day of its fighters purportedly operating inside Gaza.
Earlier today, it said it captured a major Hamas military stronghold, where it found anti-tank missiles, launchers, weapons and “various intelligence materials” were reportedly found inside.
“Furthermore, IDF troops located a number of Hamas terrorists who barricaded themselves in a building adjacent to the al Quds Hospital, and planned to carry out an attack on the forces from there,” a statement said.
Hamas has said they were going to release 12 hostages in Gaza with foreign passports several days ago “but the occupation obstructed that”.
In a statement on Telegram, the al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said it was still “ready to release them, but the situation on the ground and the Zionist aggression that threatens their lives is what hinders this from being completed”.
Last week, Abu Obeida, spokesman of al Qassam Brigades, said some countries had stepped in through intermediaries to release some of the hostages in Gaza who are of foreign nationality.
He said: “We received the requests of these countries. We have therefore informed the mediators that we will release a number of foreigners in the coming days in line with our position stated earlier, about our lack of desire or need to keep them or continue holding them in Gaza.”
The Israel Defence Forces says it intercepted a “suspicious aerial target” fired from Lebanon across the northern border earlier today.
“A short while ago, the IDF aerial defence array intercepted a suspicious aerial target that was identified in the area of the border with Lebanon before it crossed into Israeli territory,” a statement read.
It also said an Israeli “post” in northern Israel was fired at – although no injuries were reported.
“IDF soldiers responded with artillery fire toward the origins of the shooting in Lebanon.”
Dr Medhat Abass, director-general of the Hamas-led Gaza health ministry, has sent Sky News a voice note from inside the enclave, where he says conditions are deteriorating.
“The situation in our hospitals is miserable, my colleagues are suffering too much,” he says.
“Patients are thrown on the ground and I think if the war continues like this the situation will be more miserable and more children will die, this is the only thing I know.”
The UN warned yesterday that Gaza is becoming “a graveyard for children”, with the Hamas-led health ministry claiming more than 4,000 of the 10,000 people it says have been killed by Israeli action since 7 October are children.
“We have already reached the end, there is nothing worse than what we are living now,” Dr Abass says.
“Simply because the wounded are lying on the ground, there is no place inside the hospital – patients and wounded are lying on the corridors and wounded are being operated upon without anaesthesia.”
Even amputations are being done without anaesthesia, he says.
“This is the worst thing that I could ever see in my life and there is nothing worse than working without electricity, without medication.
“All my colleagues are exhausted, tired, with the bombardment around the hospital every hour.
“It’s miserable, it’s really miserable.”
By Ben van der Merwe and Michelle Inez Simon, data and forensics unit
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 10,000 people have been killed since 7 October, but doubt has been cast on the reliability of fatality figures.
An Israeli military spokesman has said the ministry “continuously inflates the number of civilian casualties”. That concern was echoed by US President Joe Biden, who said he has “no confidence” in the figures.
Israel’s fatality figures have not attracted the same scepticism. The Israeli military says that “over 1,400” people were killed by Hamas on 7 October.
Whereas journalists and UN investigators have been able to visit the Israeli villages attacked by Hamas to corroborate the figures, Israel has not allowed observers to enter Gaza since the war began.
Analysts say that even for Gazan journalists, periodic phone and internet outages, widespread fuel shortages and the risk of airstrikes have hindered movement within the territory.
Satellite imagery shows graveyards expanding
Footage posted online shows the rapid expansion of cemeteries in Gaza, where dozens of new, makeshift graves have been dug.
Sky News was able to locate this video, uploaded to Snapchat on 19 October, to a cemetery on the outskirts of Gaza City.
Satellite imagery obtained by Sky News shows how the Deir al-Balah cemetery in central Gaza has undergone a significant expansion.
The scale of the conflict and the difficulty of obtaining on-the-ground documentation means that open-source verification can, for now, only provide a partial view of the war’s impact.
‘There’s nothing that would lead us to distrust the numbers’
In the meantime, outside observers are likely to continue relying on Gaza’s ministry of health.
“The ministry of health in Gaza has historically been fairly reliable,” says Emily Tripp, director of Airwars, an organisation specialising in the verification of airstrike casualties. “They know the number of people in hospitals, they’ve got the infrastructure, they’ve got the data.”
In recent Gaza wars, figures published by the ministry of health during the fighting have ended up being broadly in line with those later produced by the UN and Israel Defence Forces.
In response to the questions raised about the reliability of their statistics, the ministry recently published the names and ages of all 6,474 victims who had been identified.
In a recent investigation into an airstrike in Gaza City, Airwars verified the death of surgeon Dr Medhat Saidam and 23 of his family members.
“We were able to find pretty much every one of those names in the ministry of health database,” Tripp says.
Brian Root, a senior quantitative analyst at Human Rights Watch, says the ministry’s figures have “always been comparable” to his own findings.
“There’s nothing that would lead us to distrust the numbers.”
Sky News has also looked at the number of deaths among UN staff, which Mr Root says serves as a “good gut check” on the figures.
The UN says that 89 of its staff in Gaza have been killed, approximately 0.71% of the total.
That’s slightly higher than the death rate for all Gaza residents reported by the ministry of health, which stands at 0.45%.
You can read our data team’s full analysis on this topic here…
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