As the conflict between Israel and Gaza enters its 22nd day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Saturday, October 28, 2023:
- Gaza is being subjected to the largest bombardment of Israeli attacks since the start of the war, as Israel’s military is “expanding” ground operations in the besieged territory.
- Israeli warplanes bombed 150 underground targets in the northern Gaza Strip, including tunnels, underground combat spaces and additional underground infrastructure, Israel’s army said on Saturday.
- Hamas said its fighters were clashing with Israeli troops in Gaza’s northeastern town of Beit Hanoon and in the central area of al-Bureij late on Friday.
- Telecommunications services are down across Gaza. Palestinian telecom provider, Paltel, said the bombardment caused “complete disruption” of internet, cellular and landline services late on Friday. Some satellite phones continued to function.
- The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza, despite US and Israeli opposition. There were 120 votes for; 14 against; and 45 abstentions.
- In New York, hundreds of protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza forced Grand Central Station to close after they took over the concourse on Friday night as part of an “emergency sit-in” organised by anti-war group the Jewish Voice for Peace.
Human impact and fighting:
- Gaza’s health ministry said on Friday that Israeli strikes had killed 7,326 people, more than 3,000 of them children.
- UN agencies say they are unable to contact staff in Gaza amid the near-total communications blackout and call for civilians to be protected. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Friday: “In the last 24 hours 14 additional UNRWA staff were killed, bringing the total to 53 staff killed.”
- Deborah Brown, the senior technology and human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “This information blackout risks providing cover for mass atrocities and contributing to impunity for human rights violations.”
- Amnesty International said the lack of communication in Gaza “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, and to hear directly from those experiencing the violations”.
- Save the Children says children will “bear the brunt” of Israel’s intensified attacks on the Gaza Strip. “In the event of a full ground incursion, more than one million children’s lives – nearly half of the 2.3 million population of Gaza – will be on the line.”
- Witnesses told an Al Jazeera reporter in the Gaza Strip that Israel has been bombing around the Indonesian Hospital and al-Shifa Hospital in the besieged territory. Hospitals in Gaza, including al-Shifa, have been sheltering thousands of civilians forced to flee their homes amid Israel’s continued bombardment.
- After the US voted against the UN resolution calling for a truce in Gaza, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, posted on social media: “The lives of innocent Palestinians must be protected … The lives of UN personnel and humanitarian workers and journalists must be protected. We mourn the loss of every single innocent life in this crisis. Every single one.”
- Former UN special rapporteur Michael Lynk says the resolution, despite being non-binding, is “a fairly accurate barometer of international diplomatic opinion and international public opinion” on the war in Gaza.
- The Biden administration says it is “not drawing red lines” for Israel, reiterating its unwavering support for the Israeli military campaign.
- Two US officials told the American media outlet ABC News that the US government has been “pressuring Israel to adopt a narrower scope for its offensive and take a more incremental approach”. The Washington Post also reported that the Biden administration is urging Israel to pursue “surgical” operations in Gaza, as opposed to a full ground incursion.
- The US embassy in Lebanon has urged American citizens to leave the country “now” amid fears that the conflict may widen.
- Republican Mike Johnson, the new US house speaker, spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he posted on X. “The House of Representatives stands with Israel and I reaffirmed our strong support,” he said in the post.
- The Pentagon said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to his Israeli counterpart on Friday and “underscored the importance of protecting civilians” during the Israeli military’s operations and focused “on the urgency of humanitarian aid delivery for civilians in Gaza”.
Escalation in the occupied West Bank:
- In the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops killed four Palestinians during raids, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.
- Israeli forces raided the Jalazone refugee camp north of Ramallah, bring a bulldozer with them, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim said, reporting from the West Bank.
- Thousands of Palestinians prayed on the streets in the West Bank early on Saturday in a show of support for the Gaza Strip amid an Israeli military offensive against the enclave.
- Protests in solidarity with the people of Gaza also took place in Hebron in the West Bank on Friday.
- At least 108 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank in the last three weeks, the Palestinian health ministry said.