Israel-Hamas war updates and latest news on Gaza conflict

Canada to continue work with Qatar to release hostages held by Hamas, PM Trudeau says

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York, September 21, 2023 as tensions escalate following Canada’s announcement that it was “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in June.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday that Canada would continue to work with Qatar to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, after two American civilians were released a day before.

The Islamist group Hamas released two U.S. hostages on Friday, mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan, who were kidnapped in its attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Trudeau thanked Qatar for its assistance in the hostage release in a post on social media platform X.


Israel says it will increase attacks on Gaza

An arial view shows destoyed buildings in al-Zahra city south of Gaza City on October 20, 2023 following Israeli bombardment overnight amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. 

Belal Alsabbagh | AFP | Getty Images

Israel plans to step up its attacks on the Gaza Strip starting Saturday as preparation for the next stage of its war on Hamas, Israel’s military spokesman says.

Asked about a possible ground invasion into Gaza, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters Saturday night that the military was trying to create optimal conditions beforehand.

“We will deepen our attacks to minimize the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war. We are going to increase the attacks, from today,” Hagari said.

He repeated his call for residents of Gaza City to head south for their safety.

The Associated Press

Doctors Without Borders warns that the humanitarian aid delivered so far is ‘totally insufficient’

The entry of humanitarian aid arrives through the Rafah land crossing into the Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023 in Rafah, Gaza. 

Ahmad Hasaballah | Getty Images

The delivery of aid through the Rafah crossing is “totally insufficient” warned the Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders in a statement.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” the group wrote following reports that the first 20 trucks carrying aid arrived in Gaza.

“Food, water, and medicine are still desperately needed. It is critical that fuel be allowed into Gaza, as this is essential for lifesaving hospital operations as well as the availability of clean water,” the group said, calling for sustained humanitarian deliveries to civilians in Gaza.

— Amanda Macias

Canada offers more funding for humanitarian assistance in Gaza Strip

Canada is providing $50 million in additional funding for humanitarian assistance to address the acute needs of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and neighboring areas, the government announced Saturday. It adds to the initial $10 million announced last week.

The funding will help provide food, water, emergency medical assistance, protection services and other life-saving assistance.

“The critical and immediate needs of civilians affected by the crisis become clearer with each day that goes by,” Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, said in a statement. “As Canada’s partners make their growing needs known, this new assistance will allow us to provide them funding quickly so they can scale up their efforts to help people in urgent need.”

— Yun Li

Muslim Americans in swing state say they won’t vote Biden 2024

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a prime-time address to the nation about his approaches to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, humanitarian assistance in Gaza and continued support for Ukraine in their war with Russia, from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. October 19, 2023. 

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden is losing support of the Muslim-American voting base in the swing state of Michigan, as frustrations mount over elevated Islamophobia amid the Israel-Hamas war and the U.S.’s backing of Israel, according to an NBC report.

Michigan has one of the highest Muslim and Arab American populations in the country, with an estimated population of 240,000 Muslims.

Biden won the state in the 2020 election against former President Donald Trump. It has become increasingly uncertain whether he can repeat that success as he receives backlash from the Muslim-American community for his support of Israel and the financial backing of its military.

Ahmad Ramadan, a former Biden advisor who is now helping organize the Democratic Party in Michigan, said he has heard a variety of reports of growing Biden opposition from Muslim Americans. Many of them voted for Biden in 2020 and are now reconsidering whether to reelect him next November amid his stance on the Israel-Hamas war.

Abdullah Hammoud, the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan took to social media earlier in the week on Tuesday to express his horror of Israel’s attacks in Gaza, “emboldened by a green light from the Biden administration.”

The mayor called on all federal and state officials to demand a ceasefire in the region, as the death toll on innocent civilians ticks higher: “Failure to do so will never be forgotten.”

Read the NBC report here.

Rebecca Picciotto

UN aid chief says second aid convoy for Gaza could lead to sustained relief

In this aerial view, a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023.

Mohammed Abed | Afp | Getty Images

The United Nations is hoping a second convoy of trucks will be sent into Gaza on Sunday under a light inspection system that will allow relief deliveries to scale up into next week, its humanitarian chief said.

A first convoy of 20 trucks arrived in Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Saturday, but efforts to deliver supplies to the besieged enclave have been held up by Israeli demands to verify aid.

The 20-truck convoy was announced by U.S. President Joe Biden following a trip to Israel on Wednesday and was not subject to an inspection of the kind that officials say will be needed for continuous deliveries.

“I’ve been hearing this afternoon – but we’re in negotiation on it right now – that we may get another convoy tomorrow, maybe even slightly bigger, 20 to 30 trucks,” U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference about Gaza in Cairo.

“It’s incredibly important that there is no gap in the aid going across the border,” he said. The U.N. says 100 trucks daily are needed to meet essential needs in Gaza, where Israel has imposed a “total siege” as it bombards the enclave in retaliation for a deadly incursion by Hamas militants.


Hezbollah official says his group already ‘is in the heart’ of Israel-Hamas war

Lebanon’s Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Kassem.

Aziz Taher | Reuters

A top official with Hezbollah vowed that Israel will pay a high price whenever it starts a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and said Saturday that his militant group based in Lebanon already is “in the heart of the battle.”

The comments by Hezbollah’s deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Kassem, came as Israel shelled and made drone strikes in southern Lebanon and Hezbollah fired rockets and missiles toward Israel.

For Hezbollah, heating up the Lebanon-Israel border has a clear purpose, Kassem said: “We are trying to weaken the Israeli enemy and let them know that we are ready.” Hamas officials have said that if Israel starts a ground offensive in Gaza, Hezbollah will join the fighting.

There are concerns that Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has a weapons arsenal consisting of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, as well as different types of drones, might try to open a new front in the Israel-Hamas war with a large-scale attack on northern Israel.

Kassem said his group, which is allied with Hamas, already was affecting the course of the conflict by heating up the Lebanon-Israel border and keeping three Israeli army divisions tied up in the north instead of preparing to fight in Gaza.

“Do you believe that if you try to crush the Palestinian resistance, other resistance fighters in the region will not act?” Kassem said in a speech Saturday during the funeral of a Hezbollah fighter. “We are in the heart of the battle today. We are making achievements through this battle.”

Associated Press

Biden shares video of his call with U.S. hostages released by Hamas

President Joe Biden shared a video from the Oval Office of his discussion with the two U.S. citizens who were held hostage by Hamas.

“Judith and Natalie, I’m so glad you’re coming home,” Biden wrote in a social media post on X.

In the video, Biden is on the phone with Judith and Natalia Raanan but you can’t hear what they are saying.

— Amanda Macias

Web Summit CEO steps down after Israel-Hamas war comments

Tristan Fewings | Getty Images

Paddy Cosgrave, the co-founder and CEO of the Web Summit tech conference, on Saturday announced his resignation following backlash from his comments condemning Israel’s counterattacks.

Read the full story here.

Rebecca Picciotto

Blinken calls for all parties to keep the Rafah border crossing open for humanitarian supplies

People on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing watch as a convoy of lorries carrying humanitarian aid crosses to the Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023.

Mohammed Assad | AFP | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the arrival of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza and thanked regional partners.

“We thank our partners in Egypt and Israel, and the United Nations, for facilitating the safe passage of these shipments through the Rafah border crossing,” Blinken said referencing the 20-truck convoy carrying humanitarian supplies.

“With this convoy, the international community is beginning to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that has left residents of Gaza without access to sufficient food, water, medical care, and safe shelter,” he added.

Blinken called on all parties to continue to keep the Rafah border crossing open for additional supplies and humanitarian convoys.

— Amanda Macias

Gaza death toll climbs to 4,385; over 1,400 people in Israel killed

The Israel-Hamas war, which is in its 15th day on Saturday, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Saturday that the death toll has reached 4,385, while 13,561 people have been wounded.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly in the initial attack on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants stormed into Israel. In addition, 203 people were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, the Israeli military has said.

Associated Press

More than 44,000 water bottles delivered to Gaza, UNICEF says

Aid workers gather around trucks carrying humanitarian aid that entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023. 

Said Khatib | AFP | Getty Images

The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, said that more than 44,000 bottles of drinking water were delivered to civilians in Gaza via the Rafah crossing.

UNICEF said the water is enough for 22,000 people in one day.

“With one million children in Gaza now facing a critical protection and humanitarian crisis, the delivery of water is a matter of life or death. Every minute counts,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

“This first, limited water will save lives, but the needs are immediate and immense – not just for water, but for food, fuel, medicine, and essential goods and services. Unless we can provide humanitarian supplies consistently, we face the real threat of life-threatening disease outbreaks,” she added.

— Amanda Macias

China and Russia appear to deepen relationship amid Israel-Hamas conflict

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands during a meeting in Beijing on October 18, 2023. 

Sergei Guneyev | AFP | Getty Images

China and Russia appear to be tightening their relationship as the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifies.

Read the full story on NBC News.

— Amanda Macias

Tainted water and viruses put Gaza residents, especially kids, at further risk

Displaced people at a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, school in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on Oct. 20, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.

Majdi Fathi | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Doctors warn the situation in Gaza is putting people, especially children, at risk for waterborne bacterial illnesses as well as other viruses.

“If we look at the issue of water — we all know water is life — Gaza is running out of water, and Gaza is running out of life,” Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, said in a statement last weekend. 

Read the full story on NBC News.

— Amanda Macias

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators march in London as Israel-Hamas war roils the world

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched in London and other cities on Saturday to demand Israel stop its bombardment of Gaza, as the Israel-Hamas war entered its third week and its ripples spread around the globe.

On the day a trickle of aid entered Gaza, where more than 1 million people have had to leave their homes because of the conflict, protesters gathered in the rain at Marble Arch near London’s Hyde Park before marching to the government district, Whitehall.

Waving Palestinian flags, participants called for an end to Israel’s blockade and airstrikes launched in the wake of a brutal incursion into southern Israel by the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza.

Demonstrators protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in London, Britain, on Oct. 21, 2023.

Hannah Mckay | Reuters

British authorities have urged demonstrators to be mindful of the pain and anxiety felt by the Jewish community. London’s Metropolitan Police force says it has seen a 13-fold upsurge in reports of antisemitic offenses in October compared to last year. Reports of anti-Muslim crimes have more than doubled.

Police said there were “pockets of disorder and some instances of hate speech” during protests, but “the majority of the protest activity has been lawful and has taken place without incident.”

In Australia, thousands marched through central Sydney on Saturday, shouting “Shame, shame Israel” and “Palestine will never die.”

Authorities in Gaza say more than 4,300 people have been killed in the territory since the latest war began. More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, mostly civilians slain during Hamas’ deadly incursion on Oct. 7.

Israel continued to bombard targets in Gaza on Saturday ahead of an expected ground offensive. A small measure of relief came when 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were allowed to enter Gaza across the southern Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

The war sparked protests across the Arab world and beyond on Friday, including in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians burned tires and threw stones at Israeli military checkpoints. Israeli security forces responded firing tear gas and live rounds.

Crowds gathered in Israel’s northern neighbor Lebanon; in Iraq at the country’s border crossing with Jordan; in Jordan itself; in cities and towns across Egypt; in Turkey’s capital Ankara and its most populous city of Istanbul; and in Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco and South Africa.

Demonstrators protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in London, Britain on Oct. 21, 2023.

Hannah Mckay | Reuters

In New York, hundreds of protesters from Muslim, Jewish and other groups marched to U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand’s Manhattan office, many shouting “cease fire now.” Police later arrested dozens of protesters who blocked Third Avenue outside Gillibrand’s office by sitting in the road.

Brooklyn-based Rabbi Miriam Grossman told the crowd she knows many people grieving the loss of family members killed in the Hamas attack or have friends and family taken hostage. Yet Grossman said she also knows many Palestinians “living in terror” as they lose contact with loved ones in Gaza.

In Mexico City, dozens gathered outside the Israeli Embassy on Friday evening, lighting candles and chanting “Free Palestine.”

Pro-Israel demonstrations and vigils have also been held around the world, many focused on securing the return of hostages captured by Hamas.

Rome’s Jewish community on Friday remembered the more than 200 people believed held by Hamas by setting a long Shabbat table for them outside the capital’s main synagogue and empty chairs for each of the hostages.

On the backs of each chair was a flyer featuring the name, age and photo of each missing person. On the table were candles, wine and loaves of challah, the braided bread typically eaten during the Friday night meal.

— Associated Press

Biden is dangling border security money to try to get billions more for Israel and Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a prime-time address to the nation about his approaches to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, humanitarian assistance in Gaza and continued support for Ukraine in their war with Russia, from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Oct. 19, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden is trying to sweeten his pitch for more money for Ukraine and Israel by mixing in billions of dollars for securing the U.S.-Mexico border in the hope that it will bring more Republicans on board.

The idea came up late last month after Ukraine assistance was stripped out of a stopgap measure to keep the government running due to growing Republican resistance to financing the war effort. A lot has changed since Sept. 30: The House has lost its speaker and Republicans are in disarray over selecting a new one, and the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel has prompted a much bigger funding request by the White House.

It’s not at all clear that including roughly $14 billion in border money as part of the $106 billion spending package the White House sent to Congress on Friday will placate those who are resisting.

Associated Press

Blinken and Austin set to testify on Biden’s supplemental funding request

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austinand US Secretary of State Antony Blinken look on ahead of a press conference by the US President at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on March 24, 2022.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinkena and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee later this month on President Joe Biden’s supplemental funding request.

“We are carefully reviewing the President’s request right now and working with our colleagues to craft a strong, bipartisan package that we aim to get across the finish line as soon as possible,” wrote committee chair Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington and vice chair Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

The hearing is slated to begin at 9:30 am ET.

On Friday, the Biden administration on Friday requested more than $105 billion from Congress to support the security needs of Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the U.S. southern border. 

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

Israeli air strikes hammer Gaza anew after Hamas frees two U.S. hostages

Israel kept up heavy bombardment of targets throughout Gaza overnight on Saturday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “fight until victory” following the release of the first two hostages by the enclave’s ruling Hamas group.

After Netanyahu signaled no pause in Israel’s aerial onslaught and expected ground invasion, its military said fighter jets had struck a “large number of Hamas terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip” including command centers and combat positions inside multi-story buildings.

Palestinian medical officials and Hamas media said Israeli aircraft had overnight targeted several family houses across Gaza, one of the world’s most densely populated places, killing at least 50 people and injuring dozens.

The Israeli military reported a fresh salvo of rockets from Gaza against southern Israeli border communities before dawn, then a lull until sirens sounded in the port city of Ashdod some 40 km (25 miles) north of the Palestinian enclave. There was no immediate word of casualties in either incident.

Hamas on Friday freed Americans Judith Tai Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie, 17, who were among 210 kidnapped in its Oct. 7 cross-border attack on southern Israel by militants of the Islamist movement.


‘We won’t leave, we will remain on our land,’ Palestine leader says at Cairo peace summit

Seen on a large screen, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the International Peace Summit hosted by the Egyptian president in Cairo on Oct. 21, 2023.

Khaled Desouki | Afp | Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday during an opening speech at the Cairo peace summit in Egypt that, “we won’t leave, we will remain on our land.”

His comments came as Middle Eastern and European leaders convene in Egypt’s capital city to discuss how to bring an end to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Abbas said the event was taking place in the midst of circumstances that were “extremely cruel” and warned about the dangers of the displacement of Palestinian civilians.

“We will never accept this forcible displacement and will stand tall on our land despite the pivotal challenges,” Abbas said.

— Sam Meredith

Cairo peace summit grapples with Gaza war as risks to region rise

Seen on a large screen the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi opens the International Peace Summit in Cairo on October 21, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

Khaled Desouki | Afp | Getty Images

Egypt opens a summit on the Gaza crisis on Saturday to try to head off a wider regional war but assembled Middle Eastern and European leaders are expected to struggle to agree a common position on the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants.

Two diplomats said it was unlikely there would be a joint statement from the gathering because of sensitivities around any calls for a ceasefire, and whether to include mention of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself.

The absence of a top official from Israel’s main ally the United States and some other major Western leaders has cooled expectations for what the hastily-convened event can achieve.

The U.S., which has no ambassador currently assigned to Egypt, is represented by its embassy Charge d’Affaires.

— Reuters

Israel says 210 people held hostage in Gaza; around 700,000 Palestinians move south

Israel Defense Forces said Saturday that the number of people confirmed held hostage in Gaza is 210, warning that this figure could change as investigations continue.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters that roughly 700,000 Palestinians had now moved to the southern part of Gaza as its aerial bombardment continued. The update follows a sweeping evacuation order for almost half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people — an order the UN warned would not be possible “without devastating humanitarian consequences.”

The military also pledged an “even stronger” attack on Hamas in order to bring home all those abducted by the Palestinian militant group.

“The message is clear: whoever tries to infiltrate will be killed; and whoever fires at Israel will be hit,” Hagari said.

— Sam Meredith

Israel tells citizens in Egypt and Jordan to leave immediately

Israel on Saturday urged its citizens to immediately leave Egypt and Jordan, saying the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict has coincided with a “significant increase in anti-Israel protests” in countries across the globe — and particularly in Arab countries in the Middle East.

A joint statement from Israel’s National Security Council in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has raised the travel alert level for Egypt and Jordan, recommending that citizens not travel to these countries, “and for those who are already there to leave immediately.”

The travel alert for Morocco, meanwhile, has also been raised, with the recommendation for Israelis to avoid any non-essential travel to the North African country.

— Sam Meredith

In pictures: Trucks carry aid into Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war

An aid convoy on Saturday entered Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, swiftly prompting UN officials and policymakers to call for the sustained delivery of vital essential goods to meet the needs of those living in the besieged enclave.

Lorries carrying humanitarian aid enter the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023.

Mohammed Abed | Afp | Getty Images

A worker organises food aid after a convoy of trucks entered the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on October 21, 2023.

Mohammed Abed | Afp | Getty Images

Egyptian volunteers celebrate as the first trucks carrying aid to the Gaza Strip cross the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

First convoy of relief trucks begins to enter the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, in Rafah, Gaza on October 21, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

First convoy of relief trucks begins to enter the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, in Rafah, Gaza on October 21, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

UN says Gaza aid must be delivered ‘in a safe, dependable, unconditional and unimpeded manner’

The United Nations welcomed Saturday’s delivery of aid into Gaza, saying the humanitarian supplies followed days of “deep and intense” negotiations.

“I am confident that this delivery will be the start of a sustainable effort to provide essential supplies – including food, water, medicine and fuel – to the people of Gaza, in a safe, dependable, unconditional and unimpeded manner,” Martin Griffiths, the United Nations undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, said in a statement.

“Two weeks since the start of hostilities, the humanitarian situation in Gaza – already precarious – has reached catastrophic levels. It is critical that aid reaches people in need wherever they are across Gaza, and at the right scale,” he continued.

“The people of Gaza have endured decades of suffering. The international community cannot continue to fail them.”

— Sam Meredith

Hamas says truckloads of aid ‘will not change the catastrophic medical conditions in Gaza’

Aid convoy trucks cross the Rafah border from the Egyptian side on October 21, 2023 in North Sinai, Egypt.

Mahmoud Khaled | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Saturday that the expected delivery of truckloads of humanitarian aid via the Rafah crossing “will not change the catastrophic medical conditions in Gaza,” Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Hamas media office.

It was estimated that 20 trucks carrying vital supplies such as food, water and medicines had crossed from the Egyptian side of the border to the Gaza side.

World Health Organization Director General-Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said via social media that the health supplies being delivered to people in Gaza included trauma and chronic disease medicines and basic essential medicines.

Tedros said via X, formerly known as Twitter, that WHO called for the protection of humanitarian teams in Gaza and sustained humanitarian access.

— Sam Meredith

British Foreign Minister says aid crossing into Gaza ‘cannot be a one off’

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said Saturday that the aid crossing into Gaza via the Rafah crossing is a “lifeline for those suffering”, but warned “it cannot be a one off.”

“The UK continues to push for humanitarian access to Gaza,” Cleverly said via X, formerly known as Twitter.

— Sam Meredith

Aid trucks start entering Gaza from Egypt as the Rafah crossing opens

Aid convoy trucks make their way to cross the Rafah border from the Egyptian side on October 21, 2023 in North Sinai, Egypt.

Mahmoud Khaled | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A convoy of trucks carrying vital supplies of humanitarian aid on Saturday started entering Gaza from Egypt via the Rafah crossing.

Twenty trucks were estimated to have crossed from the Egyptian side of the border to the Gaza side. It is thought the aid will be removed from the Egyptian trucks on the Palestinian side of the crossing before then being loaded onto Palestinian trucks.

The supplies of essential goods were described by U.N. chief António Guterres as “the difference between life and death for so many people in Gaza.”

— Sam Meredith

Israel forces continued to strike Hamas targets in Gaza overnight

Local citizens search for victims in buildings which were destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023 in Khan Yunis, Gaza.

Ahmad Hasaballah | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Israel Defense Forces said Saturday that fighters continued to strike “a large number” of Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip.

The update comes as the Israel-Hamas war enters its 15th day.

“Among these terror targets were operational command centers, anti-tank missile launchers, and strategic Hamas infrastructure used for terror purposes,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“Furthermore, the IDF struck Hamas anti-tank missile, sniper, and observation posts located inside multi-story buildings.”

— Sam Meredith

Rafah border crossing may open for foreigners, says U.S. embassy in Israel

Kerolos Salah | Afp | Getty Images

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, the only border into the enclave that’s not controlled by Israel, may open on Saturday at 10 a.m. local time, according to the U.S. embassy in Israel.

“If the border is opened, we do not know how long it will remain open for foreign citizens to depart Gaza,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy said many people are expected to try to cross into Egypt if the border opens, and warned U.S. citizens it will be a “potentially chaotic and disorderly environment on both sides of the crossing.”

“The situation remains dynamic and fluid and the security environment is unpredictable,” it said.

Joanna Tan

UN chief António Guterres: ‘We must stop this dramatic impasse’

UN chief António Guterres said he stood at the Rafah crossing with a “broken heart.”

Standing just meters from the only crossing to the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side, Guterres said: “We must stop this dramatic impasse.”

“Children, mothers, elderly people, all without water, without electricity, without food, without medicine,” he said. “We absolutely need to move the trucks as quickly as possible, and as many as possible, from Egypt into Gaza.”

More than 200 trucks carrying approximately 3,000 tons of aid have been waiting at the Rafah crossing, the Associated Press reported. Thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Palestinian enclave are running out of food and water.

The United Nations said aid trucks have been waiting at the Rafah border since Saturday last week, and are ready to move into the Gaza Strip to “provide aid to everyone in Gaza regardless of where they are.”

“These are a lifeline. They are the difference between life and death for so many people in Gaza,” the UN chief said.

— Joanna Tan

Thousands in Australia join pro-Palestinian march over Gaza

Palestinian supporters gather during a protest at Town Hall on October 21, 2023 in Sydney, Australia.

Lisa Maree Williams | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Thousands took part in a pro-Palestinian march in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, on Saturday, getting last-minute approval amid concerns after some protesters at an earlier rally had chanted anti-Jewish slogans.

Protesters worldwide on Friday demanded an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza after nearly two weeks of intense air and artillery strikes that authorities in the narrow strip say have killed 4,100 people.

In Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, around 15,000 people attended Saturday’s march, organizer Palestine Action Group said, with demonstrators chanting “Palestine will never die” and waving Palestine flags. Police, including officers on horseback, patrolled the event that closed city streets, and a police helicopter circled overhead.

Police said no arrests had been made, and Palestine Action Group spokesperson Amal Naser said the march was peaceful.


Israel says it hit over 100 Hamas targets in Gaza overnight

The Israel Defense Forces said that more than 100 Hamas targets were struck overnight, “including a Hamas terrorist from Hamas’ naval commando who took part in the murderous massacres.”

In an update, the IDF said it is continuing to “prepare for the next stage of the war.”

Other targets that were hit included were an underground tunnel, ammunition storage sites and dozens of operational command centers, the IDF said.

— Joanna Tan

‘I’ve been waiting for this moment,’ says father of American teenage hostage

Chicago-area residents Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan, two American hostages freed on Friday by the armed wing of Hamas, pose in this undated picture obtained by Reuters on October 20, 2023.

Obtained By Reuters | via Reuters

The father of U.S. hostage Natalie Raanan said he’s going to hug and kiss her when he sees her.

“It’s going to be the best day of my life,” Uri Raanan told reporters Friday night in Bannockburn, Illinois.

Seventeen-year-old Natalie and her mother, Judith, were released by Hamas militants following a two-week ordeal. They were among 200 people that the Palestinian armed group abducted into the Gaza Strip after the Oct. 7 rampage.

Raanan, Natalie’s father and Judith’s ex-husband, said he spoke briefly to his daughter after her release. “She sounds very good. She looks very good … and she’s waiting to come home,” he said.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, for two long weeks,” the 71-year-old said. “Tonight, I’m going to sleep good.”

Joanna Tan

Netanyahu vows Israel ‘will not relent’ in efforts to bring home the kidnapped

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that his country “will not relent” in efforts to bring home the 200 people who were abducted by Hamas during their incursion into Israeli territory.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Netanyahu said: “Two of our kidnapped are home. We will not relent in our effort to return all of the kidnapped and the missing.”

American citizens Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie, were released by Hamas militants on Friday.

“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the entire security apparatus will continue to do all they can, using any means available, to locate all those missing and bring home all the kidnapped,” the Israeli prime minister said.

Joanna Tan

Biden says Hamas attack was aimed at disrupting Israel-Saudi normalization

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Oct. 18, 2023.

Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

President Joe Biden suggested the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas was aimed at halting normalization ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“One of the reasons why they acted like they did, why Hamas moved on Israel, is because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” Biden said at a campaign fundraiser in Washington.

“Guess what? The Saudis wanted to recognize Israel” and “were about to recognize Israel,” Biden said, according to NBC News.

There was growing anticipation that relations would normalize between Israel and Saudi Arabia — two important U.S. allies in the Middle East, as Biden sought to bring the two together.

However, hopes of clinching a deal have been dashed since Hamas’ terror attack two weeks ago, with one analyst saying there is now “zero chance” of it going through.

Joanna Tan

Biden spoke with two American hostages released today

President Joe Biden tweeted a photo of him speaking with the two American hostages who were released on Thursday.

 “Jill and I will continue holding close in our hearts all the families of unaccounted for Americans,” Biden said on X, formerly Twitter.

Riya Bhattacharjee

Israel ramping up attacks, Gaza ministry says

A Palestinian recites Salah Azan (Adhan) in the rubble of the Al-Amin Muhammad Mosque, hit by Israeli airstrike, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 20, 2023. 

Abed Zagout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Israel is intensifying its attacks, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza said, accusing the country of “targeting a number of inhabited civilian homes in the north, center and south of the Gaza Strip.”

The Gaza Ministry of Health said that Israeli forces had killed more than 350 civilians in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll in the Strip to 4,137.

The ministry said a large number of victims are still under the rubble of destroyed buildings, including a possible 720 children who have been reported missing.

— Chris Eudaily

Satellite images show massive aid convoy waiting to cross into Gaza

Satellite images show long lines of aid trucks waiting to cross the Rafah border from Egypt to deliver much-needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

Maxar satellite imagery of a second set of cargo trucks near Sheikh Zuweid, Egypt (location: 31.215, 34.143) 

Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

Maxar satellite imagery of a second set of cargo trucks near Sheikh Zuweid, Egypt (location: 31.215, 34.143) 

Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

-Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

Updates on the two released hostages

The two American hostages released Friday are a mother and daughter, NBC News reported. The pair was released after being held hostage for two weeks in Gaza and are now back in Israel.

The two women who were released, Natalie and Judith Raanan, are members of former NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief Martin Fletcher’s family. Calling the release “a miracle,” Fletcher said the women, who are from Evanston, Illinois, were released to the Red Cross.

Hamas said 50 more hostages are held by other armed groups nearby, Reuters reported. The militant organization also told Reuters that more than 20 hostages were killed by Israeli air strikes.

— Elisabeth Cordova


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