UN general assembly calls for immediate truce – as it happened | Israel-Gaza war

Gaza phone and internet cut off as Israel intensifies attacks

A recap on the situation in Gaza right now: Israel knocked out the internet and communications in the blockaded territory in a stepped-up bombardment during Friday night, largely cutting off its 2.3 million people from contact with each other and the outside world and creating a near-blackout of information, Associated Press reports.

The Israeli military said it was “expanding” ground operations in the territory, in an announcement signalling it was moving closer to an all-out invasion of Gaza.

Explosions from continuous airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza City for hours after nightfall. The Palestinian telecom provider, Paltel, said the bombardment caused “complete disruption” of internet, cellular and landline services. The cutoff meant that casualties from strikes and details of ground incursions could not immediately be known. Some satellite phones continued to function.

Already plunged into darkness after most electricity was cut off weeks ago, Palestinians were thrown into isolation, huddling in homes and shelters with food and water supplies running out.

Relatives outside Gaza panicked after their messaging chats with families inside suddenly went dead and calls stopped going through.

“I was so scared this was going to happen,” said Wafaa Abdul Rahman, director of a feminist organisation based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. She said she hadn’t heard for hours from family in central Gaza.

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Key events

Closing summary

This is where we’ll wrap up this blog and continue our rolling live coverage on a new blog here. Thanks for reading. Here’s a look at the latest as it just passes 8am in Gaza City and Tel Aviv.

  • Israel knocked out the internet and communications across the Gaza Strip during a stepped-up bombardment on Friday night, largely cutting off the blockaded territory’s 2.3 million people from contact with the outside world and creating a near-blackout of information.

  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Friday evening its air and ground forces were stepping up their operations in the Gaza Strip. IDF spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said aerial attacks had been targeting Hamas tunnels and other targets and warned residents of Gaza City to move south. A senior Israeli government adviser said Hamas “will feel our wrath tonight”. “Tonight we are starting payback,” Mark Regev said. “When this is over, Gaza will be very different.”

  • The IDF announcement came amid exceptionally heavy bombing of Gaza. After nightfall, frequent explosions from airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza City. The Red Crescent, the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, Unicef and other aid groups said they had lost all contact with their staff in Gaza.

  • The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has cautioned that “many more will die” in Gaza from catastrophic shortages. “People in Gaza are dying, they are not only dying from bombs and strikes, soon many more will die from the consequences of [the] siege,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the agency chief.

  • Hamas said on Saturday its fighters in Gaza were ready to confront Israeli attacks with “full force” after Israel intensified its air and ground assaults. The Palestinian militant group said earlier that its fighters were clashing with Israeli troops in Gaza’s north-eastern town of Beit Hanoun and in the central area of Al-Bureij.

  • The US said it sought to degrade ammunition supplies of Iranian-linked militias with strikes in eastern Syria but insisted it did not want to widen the Middle East conflict. The strikes on two sites followed attacks by Iran-linked groups against US forces in Iraq and Syria. US president Joe Biden said later in a letter to House speaker Mike Johnson on Friday that the US “stands ready to take further action”.

  • The near-total telecommunications blackout in Gaza risks providing cover for mass atrocities, Human Rights Watch has said. A number of international agencies and NGOs said they had lost touch with their staff in Gaza on Friday, including the UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

  • The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly called for an “immediate, durable and sustainable humanitarian truce” between Israel and Hamas and demanded unhindered aid access to the besieged Gaza Strip. The motion drafted by Jordan is not binding but carries political weight, reflecting the degree to which the US and Israel are isolated internationally as Israel steps up its ground operations.

  • The Israeli military has accused Hamas of using hospitals in Gaza for military purposes and of turning them into “hideouts for Hamas terrorists and commanders”. While it is not possible to verify the precise details of the claims by the IDF, there is evidence that Hamas has in the past taken advantage of cover provided by civilian objects, including hospitals.

  • At least 7,326 Palestinians, including 3,038 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said in its latest update on Friday. The claims have not been independently verified.

  • The UN has said it is concerned that war crimes are being committed on both sides of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. “We are concerned about the collective punishment of Gazans in response to the atrocious attacks by Hamas, which also amounted to war crimes,” a spokesperson for the UN human rights office, Ravina Shamdasani, said on Friday.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said its medics had entered Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of war. Six medical staff passed through the Rafah border crossing on Friday, alongside four other ICRC specialists and six aid trucks carrying urgently needed medical material and water-purification supplies, an ICRC spokesperson said.

  • The Egyptian military reported that two drones fired from the southern Red Sea had landed in two resorts on the Sinai peninsula, one of them falling on Taba, which sits on the border with Israel. Six people were reported hurt in the incident, in a worrying sign of the conflict’s potential to spread.

  • EU leaders have unanimously called for humanitarian corridors and “pauses” in the Israel-Hamas war. An official declaration was to be issued after a two-day summit of leaders in Brussels that wrapped up on Friday.

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Aid trucks trickle into Gaza while Israel steps up attacks and the UN’s general assembly calls for an immediate truce – here’s a rundown of what happened each day during week three of the war.

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A fifth of bakeries supported by the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza have been bombed so far, as warnings have been issued of “catastrophic” food shortages due to a lack of fuel.

The UN Relief and Works Agency said 10 of the 50 bakeries it supplied with flour – helping to lower the soaring cost of bread – had been hit in airstrikes and fuel was running out for vehicles to transport flour to those that remained.

Bread has been desperately sought after, with long queues at bakeries, and has become the main food for many people in the shelters, which now house more than 600,000 people – triple their intended capacity.

Before and after shots of Gaza’s destroyed al-Maghazi bakery. Photograph: Alkofiya TV | AP

The World Food Programme (WFP) said only two bakeries it had contracted had enough fuel to keep their ovens going and those that were operating were producing six times their capacity. The WFP had been supplying an average of 200,000 people a day with bread but that dropped to 150,000 on Wednesday, a spokesperson said.

Tens of thousands of people rely on small bakeries to find a loaf of bread to bring back to their families. People risk their lives and queue for hours, but they often go home empty-handed.

The full story from Kaamil Ahmed and Elena Morresi is here:

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Joe Biden said in a letter to House speaker Mike Johnson on Friday that the US “stands ready to take further action” following attacks by Iran-linked groups against US forces in Iraq and Syria.

The US president’s comments in the letter, quoted by Reuters, came after US fighter jets carried out air strikes in eastern Syria on Friday.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has cautioned that “many more will die” in Gaza from catastrophic shortages.

“People in Gaza are dying, they are not only dying from bombs and strikes, soon many more will die from the consequences of [the] siege,” Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA chief, said.

Agence France-Presse also reports that the first tranche of critically needed aid was allowed in last weekend but only 74 trucks have crossed since then. The UN says an average of 500 trucks entered Gaza every day before the conflict.

Lazzarini said:

These few trucks are nothing more than crumbs that will not make a difference.

A first team of six medics from the International Committee of the Red Cross entered Gaza on Friday via its Rafah crossing with Egypt, along with six aid trucks, the Red Cross said.

Between the bombardments and the fuel shortages, 12 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals have been forced to close, and UNRWA said it has had to “significantly reduce its operations”.

A man carries an injured girl to the al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza. Photograph: Adel Al Hwajre/ImagesLive/Zuma Press Wire/Shutterstock

Hamas ready to confront Israeli attacks with ‘full force’, it says

Hamas said on Saturday its fighters in Gaza were ready to confront Israeli attacks with “full force” after Israel intensified its air and ground assaults, Reuters reports.

The Palestinian militant group said earlier that its fighters were clashing with Israeli troops in areas near the Israeli border.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised news briefing on Friday evening that its “ground forces are expanding their operations tonight”, raising the question of whether a long-anticipated ground invasion of Gaza might be starting. Israel’s air force was conducting extensive strikes on tunnels dug by Hamas and on other infrastructure, he said.

The armed wing of Hamas said late on Friday its fighters were clashing with Israeli troops in Gaza’s north-eastern town of Beit Hanoun and in the central area of Al-Bureij.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, said in a statement early on Saturday:

The Al-Qassam brigades and all the Palestinian resistance forces are completely ready to confront [Israel’s] aggression with full force and frustrate its incursions.

“Netanyahu and his defeated army will not be able to achieve any military victory,” Hamas said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Al Jazeera, which was broadcasting live footage overnight showing frequent blasts in Gaza, said Israeli air strikes had hit areas around the enclave’s main hospital.

Reuters could not verify the reports of the strikes near Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. Israel’s military accused Hamas on Friday of using the hospital as a shield for its tunnels and operational centres, an allegation the group denied

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Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s first minister, has said he is praying his family survive the night of heavy bombardment in Gaza as they mark the end of a third week “trapped in this war zone” .

The Scottish National party leader said on social media he has been unable to contact his wife’s mother and her husband after communications were cut off, PA Media reports.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband, Maged, travelled to the region before the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October and have been caught since in the Israeli retaliation.

Yousaf said on X/Twitter:

How many more children have to die before the world says enough?

Humza Yousaf: ‘We can only pray they survive the night.’ Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

Britain’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, recognised that Israel was “expanding their military campaign against Hamas” and said the UK’s “top priority remains the safety of British nationals in Gaza and the region”.

Cleverly tweeted:

We support Israel’s right to self defence, in line with IHL [international humanitarian law], and continue to push for the protection of Palestinian civilians.

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Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters are expected to take to the streets of Britain on Saturday as Israel steps up its offensive on Gaza.

PA Media reports that police expect about 100,000 people to join a demonstration in London demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, with other rallies organised elsewhere in the UK, including in Manchester and Glasgow.

About 200 British nationals remain in Gaza, the UK government says.

Metropolitan police said officers were expected to intervene if protesters use the word “jihad” in chants in London over the weekend.

A video emerged of a pro-Palestinian protester chanting “jihad” at one event last week, but officers had said no offences were identified in the footage from the demonstration.

The Met commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, differed with government ministers this week over how to police pro-Palestine protesters using the phrase.

The prime minister, Rishi Sunak, signalled that police were unlikely to be given more powers to address chants deemed to be extremist after the comments at last Saturday’s rally.

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Here are some of the latest images of Gaza coming in via news agency wires as Israel intensified its bombardment overnight on Friday.

Balls of fire and smoke rise above Gaza City. Photograph: Yousef Hassouna/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke from explosions in the northern Gaza Strip. Photograph: Abed Khaled/AP
Blasts and smoke northern Gaza. Photograph: Abed Khaled/AP
A salvo of rockets fired from Gaza City. Photograph: Yousef Hassouna/AFP/Getty Images
Flares fired by the Israeli army light up the sky east of Khan Yunis, southern Gaza. Photograph: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images
Explosions in northern Gaza. Photograph: Abed Khaled/AP

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The near-total telecommunications blackout in Gaza amid Israel’s ongoing bombardment risks providing cover for mass atrocities, Human Rights Watch says.

The group said in a statement on Friday:

Widespread phone and internet outages occurred in Gaza on October 27, 2023, amid a concerted Israeli bombardment, almost entirely cutting off the 2.2 million residents from the outside world

Agence France-Presse also reported the NGO’s senior technology and human rights researcher, Deborah Brown, as saying:

This information blackout risks providing cover for mass atrocities and contributing to impunity for human rights violations.

A number of international agencies and NGOs said they had lost touch with their staff in Gaza on Friday, including the UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Its humanitarian coordinator, Lynn Hastings, said in a statement that UN hospitals and humanitarian operations “can’t continue without communications”, alongside energy, food, water and medications.

The NGO Amnesty International said it had also lost contact with colleagues in Gaza, adding:

This communications blackout means that it will be even more difficult to obtain critical information and evidence about human rights violations and war crimes being committed against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Internet access and the phone network were completely cut across the Gaza Strip on Friday as Israel said it was expanding its military operation.

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This video shows explosions flashing across the sky over Gaza overnight as Israel ramped up its aerial bombardment of the besieged territory.

The continuous explosions went for hours, but with communications cut off, the number of casualties and details of any ground incursions could not immediately be known.

Explosions seen across Gaza night sky as Israel steps up bombardment – video

Palestinians, aid groups, journalists and civil society organisations have said they have lost touch with staff and families in the Gaza Strip, after Israel knocked out the territory’s internet and communications.

NetBlocks, a watchdog organisation that monitors cybersecurity and the internet, reported a collapse in connectivity in Gaza late on Friday.

The Palestinian telecom provider, Paltel, said the bombardment caused “complete disruption” of internet, cellular and landline services.

Shortly after reports of lost service, exceptionally heavy bombardment was heard in the territory and the Israel Defense Forces said their air and ground forces were intensifying their attacks in Gaza.

Already in darkness after most electricity was cut off and fuel for generators ran out, Gaza’s 2.3 million people were thrown into isolation from the rest of the world.

See the full story from Hibaq Farah and agencies here:

Demonstrations have been held in New York City’s Grand Central Station calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

NYPD reportedly made arrests at the scene on Friday evening.

The rally in Grand Central Station.
Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters call for a ceasefire. Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images
Police arrest a protester at the rally. Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images
Another protester is arrested. Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

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Gaza phone and internet cut off as Israel intensifies attacks

A recap on the situation in Gaza right now: Israel knocked out the internet and communications in the blockaded territory in a stepped-up bombardment during Friday night, largely cutting off its 2.3 million people from contact with each other and the outside world and creating a near-blackout of information, Associated Press reports.

The Israeli military said it was “expanding” ground operations in the territory, in an announcement signalling it was moving closer to an all-out invasion of Gaza.

Explosions from continuous airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza City for hours after nightfall. The Palestinian telecom provider, Paltel, said the bombardment caused “complete disruption” of internet, cellular and landline services. The cutoff meant that casualties from strikes and details of ground incursions could not immediately be known. Some satellite phones continued to function.

Already plunged into darkness after most electricity was cut off weeks ago, Palestinians were thrown into isolation, huddling in homes and shelters with food and water supplies running out.

Relatives outside Gaza panicked after their messaging chats with families inside suddenly went dead and calls stopped going through.

“I was so scared this was going to happen,” said Wafaa Abdul Rahman, director of a feminist organisation based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. She said she hadn’t heard for hours from family in central Gaza.

Updated at 

Before the White House’s latest comments on its strikes on Syrian sites it said were used by Iranian-linked militias, it said Joe Biden had relayed a direct warning to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, against militias striking US troops in Syria and Iraq.

The US forces are stationed as part of efforts against the Islamic State group, which also has clashed with Iran, Agence France-Presse reports.

There have been at least 14 attacks on US and allied forces in Iraq and six in Syria since 17 October, a period in which 21 US military personnel suffered minor injuries and one contractor died from a cardiac incident, according to the Pentagon.

The US strikes on Thursday were the first on Iranian interests since March, breaking a stretch of calm after the Biden administration opened quiet diplomacy with the US arch-enemy that led to a prisoner swap and conversations on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

The defense secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes were “narrowly tailored” to protect US personnel and were “separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas”.

The Pentagon said on Friday evening that its current assessment was the strikes did not cause casualties.

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The United States has said it sought to degrade ammunition supplies of Iranian-linked militias with strikes in Syria but insisted it did not want to widen the Middle East conflict.

Agence France-Presse reports that the Pentagon on Thursday announced air strikes on two sites in eastern Syria it said were used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) after a string of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

John Kirby, the US national security council spokesman, told reporters on Friday:

The purpose for those two sites that we targeted was to have a significant impact on future IRGC and Iran-backed militia group operations

It went right at storage facilities and ammo depots that we know will be used to support the work of these militia groups, particularly in Syria.

The main goal was to disrupt that ability and also to deter – to prevent – future attacks.

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Summary of the day so far

If you’re just joining us, here’s where we stand:

  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have announced its air and ground forces are stepping up their operations in the Gaza Strip. IDF spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said aerial attacks had been targeting Hamas tunnels and other targets, and warned residents of Gaza City to move south, where there will be “better conditions”.

Israeli military expanding ground operations in Gaza, says spokesperson – video

  • Hamas’s military wing said it was confronting Israeli forces in the areas of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza and Bureij in the centre of the territory – both entry points that have been used by IDF forces in previous conflicts. “Violent engagements” are taking place on the ground, the al-Qassam brigades said.

  • The Israeli military’s announcement came amid exceptionally heavy bombing and a communications blackout across the Gaza Strip. After nightfall, frequent explosions from airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza City. The Red Crescent, the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, Unicef and other aid groups said they had lost all contact with their staff in Gaza.

Explosions seen across Gaza night sky as Israel steps up bombardment – video

  • A senior Israeli government adviser has said Hamas “will feel our wrath tonight”. “Tonight we are starting payback,” Mark Regev said. “When this is over, Gaza will be very different.” Israel is “beefing up the pressure” on Hamas and that pressure will continue to increase until it has achieved its goal, he said.

  • The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly called for an “immediate, durable and sustainable humanitarian truce” between Israel and Hamas and demanded unhindered aid access to the besieged Gaza Strip. The motion drafted by Jordan is not binding, but carries political weight, reflecting the degree to which the US and Israel are isolated internationally as Israel steps up its ground operations.

  • The Israeli military has accused Hamas of using hospitals in Gaza for military purposes and of turning them into “hideouts for Hamas terrorists and commanders”. While it is not possible to verify the precise details of the claims by the IDF, there is evidence that Hamas has in the past taken advantage of cover provided by civilian objects, including hospitals.

  • At least 7,326 Palestinians, including 3,038 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, the health ministry in Gaza said in its latest update on Friday. The claims have not been independently verified.

  • “Many more will die” as a result of Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has said. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) chief, Philippe Lazzarini, warned at a news conference on Friday that basic services in Gaza are “crumbling”, with medicine, food and water running out.

  • The UN has said it is concerned that war crimes are being committed on both sides of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. “We are concerned about the collective punishment of Gazans in response to the atrocious attacks by Hamas, which also amounted to war crimes,” a spokesperson for the UN human rights office, Ravina Shamdasani, said on Friday.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said its medics had entered Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of war. Six medical staff passed through the Rafah border crossing on Friday, alongside four other ICRC specialists and six aid trucks carrying urgently needed medical material and water-purification supplies, an ICRC spokesperson said.

  • The Egyptian military reported that two drones fired from the southern Red Sea had landed in two resorts on the Sinai peninsula, one of them falling on Taba, which sits on the border with Israel. Six people were reported hurt in the incident, in a worrying sign of the conflict’s potential to spread.

  • US fighter jets launched airstrikes early on Friday on two locations in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Pentagon said, in retaliation for a slew of drone and missile attacks against US bases and personnel in the region that began early last week.

  • EU leaders have unanimously called for humanitarian corridors and “pauses” in the Israel-Hamas war. An official declaration will be issued after a two-day summit of leaders in Brussels that wrapped up on Friday.

  • Antisemitic and Islamaphobic incidents have almost doubled in just over a week in London, according to police data on Friday.

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