Jerusalem- Israeli warplanes are striking targets across Gaza ahead of an expected ground offensive in the besieged Hamas-ruled territory. Fears of a widening war have grown as Israel struck targets in the occupied West Bank, Syria and Lebanon and traded fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.
Two aid convoys arrived in the Gaza Strip over the weekend through the Rafah crossing from Egypt.
Israel said the trucks carried food, water and medical supplies. Israel has not allowed in fuel, which is critically needed for water and sanitation systems and hospitals.
The war in its 17th day on Monday is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Monday that at least 5,087 Palestinians have been killed and 15,270 wounded.
In the occupied West Bank, 96 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 wounded in violence and Israeli raids since October 7.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians who died in the initial Hamas rampage into southern Israel. In addition, 222 people including foreigners were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, Israel’s military has said. Two of those have been released.
1. Premature babies hooked up to incubators are at risk of dying because of dwindling fuel in the Gaza Strip
2. Biden walks tightrope with support for Israel as allies and the left push for restraint
3. A second convoy of trucks carrying desperately needed aid reaches Gaza
4. Blinken and Austin say the US is ready to protect American forces should the war escalate
Attacks In Rafah City Leave Casualties
Gaza’s Hamas-run Interior Ministry said at least 18 people were killed in Israeli attacks on neighbourhoods in Rafah city on Monday. It said scores of Palestinians were also wounded.
An airstrike hit a residential building about 200 metres (yards) from the UN headquarters in Rafah on Monday, killing and wounding several people, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene, underscoring the perils of humanitarian operations.
Videos released by the Israeli military showed airstrikes decimating buildings in the Gaza Strip. The military said the videos showed attacks on Hamas infrastructure but did not specify the locations.
Flashes of yellow light were followed by an explosion sending gray smoke and debris shooting upward as multistory buildings collapsed or toppled over.
The explosions could be seen from Israel.
Hamas-Run Health Ministry Says More Than 5,000 Have Died In Gaza
The death toll in Gaza has climbed to at least 5,087 Palestinians since the war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups broke out on October 7, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Monday.
Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the ministry in Gaza, said the fatalities included 2,055 children and 1,119 women.
More than 15,270 others were wounded, he said.
The tally includes the disputed toll from a hospital explosion last week, which the two sides have traded blame for.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed mostly civilians slain during the initial Hamas attack. At least 222 people were captured and dragged back to Gaza, including foreigners.
Gaza’s Health Ministry Appeals For Blood Donations As Shortages Worsen
As conditions rapidly worsen, Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry appealed on Monday for blood donations for hospitals in the besieged territory that are suffering from dire shortages of blood and medical supplies.
The ministry urged residents to rush to hospitals and blood banks across Gaza for blood donations and called for the International Committee of the Red Cross to bring blood to the territory.
Ireland Calls For An Immediate Cease-Fire
Ireland is calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza so that civilians can get access to desperately needed aid and supplies.
Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said “this is a matter of the utmost urgency. The loss of life is enormous, is at a scale that has to be stopped”.
Speaking Monday in Luxembourg at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, Martin called for food, water and medical supplies to be allowed into Gaza at an “accelerated and comprehensive scale”.
“We understand Israel’s need to deal with Hamas, because it was an appalling attack. But the degree of suffering now – the innocent civilians in Gaza suffering – is just not acceptable at all,” he said.
Iraq Says It Will Pursue Militants Who Attacked Bases Housing Us Troops
Iraq’s army spokesperson says the state will go after militants who have carried out attacks against army bases housing US troops in the country.
Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said in a statement on Monday that military advisers from the US-led coalition are in the country “at the invitation of the government” and their mission is to train Iraqi forces.
Rasoul said the prime minister has ordered the country’s security agencies to go after those who carried out attacks and prevent any attempt to harm Iraq’s national security.
Over the past week, several bases housing US troops in Iraq came under rocket and drone attacks that were believed to have been carried out by Iran-backed groups.
There are about 2,500 US troops in Iraq, whose main mission to train Iraqi forces and prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group.
Europe Ministers Discussing Getting Aid Into Gaza
European Union foreign ministers are meeting on Monday to discuss ways to help vital aid get into Gaza, particularly fuel, after two convoys entered over the weekend.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that “in normal times, without war, 100 trucks enter into Gaza every day. So it’s clear that 20 is not enough.”
Borrell said the emphasis must be on getting power and water-providing desalination plants running again. “Without water and electricity, the hospitals can barely work,” he told reporters in Luxembourg, where the meeting is taking place.
He said the ministers will also look at ways to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians longer term.
“The great powers have forgotten about the Palestinian issue, thinking it was going to be solved alone, or it doesn’t matter. Yes, it matters,” Borrell said.
Israel Says 2nd Batch Of Humanitarian Aid Entered Gaza
Israel says on Sunday that a second batch of humanitarian aid was allowed into Gaza, at the request of the US and according to instructions from other political officials.
On Saturday, 20 trucks entered in the first shipment into the territory since Israel imposed a complete siege two weeks ago. Sunday’s batch included only water, food, and medical equipment, with no fuel, Israel said.
US President Joe Biden and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “affirmed that there will now be continued flow of this critical assistance into Gaza”, the White House said in a statement after a phone call between the leaders.
The Israeli military said the humanitarian situation in Gaza was “under control”, even as the UN called for 100 trucks a day to enter.
Hospitals say they are scrounging for generator fuel in order to keep operating life-saving medical equipment and incubators for premature babies.
On Sunday, Associated Press journalists saw seven fuel trucks head into Gaza. Juliette Touma, spokeswoman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and the Israeli military said those trucks were taking fuel that had been stored on the Gaza side of the crossing deeper into the territory, and that no fuel had entered from Egypt.
No Humanitarian Response Without Fuel: UNRWA
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees says it will run out of fuel in Gaza in three days.
“Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries. Without fuel, aid will not reach many civilians in desperate need. Without fuel, there will be no humanitarian assistance,” Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA Commissioner General, said in a statement on Sunday.
A first delivery of aid that was allowed to cross into Gaza from Egypt on Saturday did not include any fuel.
“Without fuel, we will fail the people of Gaza whose needs are growing by the hour, under our watch. This cannot and should not happen,” Lazzarini said.
He called on “all parties and those with influence” to allow fuel into Gaza immediately, while ensuring that it is only used for humanitarian purposes.
World Leaders Call For Adherence To Humanitarian Law
Several world leaders on Sunday spoke about the war between Israel and Hamas, reiterating their support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism and called for adherence to humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.
US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom also welcomed the release of two hostages and called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages.
They committed to close coordination to support their nationals in the region, in particular those wishing to leave Gaza.
The leaders welcomed the announcement of the first humanitarian convoys to reach Palestinians in need in Gaza and committed to continue coordinating with partners in the region to ensure sustained and safe access to food, water, medical care and other assistance required to meet humanitarian needs.
They also said they would continue close diplomatic coordination, including with key partners in the region, to prevent the conflict from spreading, preserve stability in the Middle East, and work toward a political solution and durable peace.
Israeli PM Warns Hezbollah To Stay Out Of War
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops stationed near the border with Lebanon, where the Israeli army and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants also have traded fire during the Hamas-Israel war.
A top official with Iran Hezbollah vowed on Saturday that Israel would pay a high price whenever it starts a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and said on Saturday that his militant group based in Lebanon already is “in the heart of the battle”.
Speaking to troops in the north on Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel would react more fiercely than it did during its short 2006 war with Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon.
“If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will miss the Second Lebanon War. It will make the mistake of its life. We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine and the consequences for it and the Lebanese state are devastating,” the Israeli leader said.