Father of American teenage hostage freed by Hamas says she is ‘doing very good’
The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has opened to let desperately needed aid flow to Palestinians for the first time since Israel sealed off the territory, as the health ministry has announced the death toll in Gaza now tops 4,300.
More than 200 trucks carrying roughly 3,000 tons of aid began heading into Gaza on Saturday. The enclave’s 2.3 million Palestinians have been rationing food and drinking filthy water, while hospitals say they are running low on medical supplies and fuel for emergency generators amid a territory-wide power blackout.
The number of dead in Gaza rose to 4,385 on Saturday, with 13,651 injured since the conflict between Hamas and Israel escalated two weeks ago, the Palestinian health ministry said. It added the dead include 1,756 children and 976 women.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather for protests in support of Palestinians in central London on Saturday, according to Director Ben Jamal of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which is the group organising the main demonstration.
It comes as an Israeli military spokesperson confirmed on Friday night that American mother Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie who were being held hostage by Hamas have been released.
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Gaza death toll rises to 4,385, says Palestinian health ministry
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 4,385 dead with 13,651 injured since the conflict between Hamas and Israel escalated two weeks ago, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The dead include 1,756 children and 976 women, the health ministry added.
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 12:31
Humanitarian aid convoy crosses into Gaza Strip from Egypt
The border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has opened to let desperately needed aid flow to Palestinians for the first time since Israel sealed off the territory following Hamas’ bloody rampage two weeks ago.
Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, half of whom have fled their homes, are rationing food and drinking filthy water. Hospitals say they are running low on medical supplies and fuel for emergency generators amid a territory-wide power blackout.
Israel has launched waves of airstrikes across the territory that have failed to stem ongoing Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.
The opening came after more than a week of high-level diplomacy by various mediators, including visits to the region by US President Joe Biden and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Israel had insisted that nothing would enter Gaza until some 200 people captured by Hamas were freed, and the Palestinian side of the crossing had been shut down by Israeli airstrikes.
More than 200 trucks carrying roughly 3,000 tons of aid, which had been positioned near the crossing for days, began heading into Gaza. Hundreds of foreign passport holders also waited to cross from Gaza to Egypt to escape the conflict.
Aid workers on the Egyptian side of the crossing could be seen chanting and clapping as trucks passed through the main gate to Gaza.
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 08:30
‘Israel must respect international law,’ James Cleverly
James Cleverly said he has reminded the Israeli government of its “duty to respect international law”.
The foreign secretary repeated his support for the country’s “right to defend itself” against Hamas and to “secure the release of those kidnapped” by the terror group.
But, speaking at the Cairo Peace Summit, Mr Cleverly added: “We are also clear that we must work and they must work to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza, and that their actions are in accordance with international law.
“I have spoken directly to the Israeli Government about their duty to respect international law and the importance of preserving civilian lives in Gaza.”
Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent21 October 2023 13:02
Cleverly: ‘Probably the most challenging situation I have had to deal with’
James Cleverly said Israel’s war against Hamas is “probably the most challenging situation that I have had to deal with in my professional personal or political life”.
The foreign secretary said he suspects “I am not alone,” but said he believes countries can “work together to secure a future where Israelis and Palestinians live in peace”.
As Israel prepares a ground invasion of Gaza in retaliation against Hamas’s terrorist attacks, Mr Cleverly said: “We can and should work together to achieve that peaceful, sustainable, two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians not just living beside each other, but working with each other and securing peace for future children.”
Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent21 October 2023 13:01
Cleverly: ‘Regional conflict is what Hamas wants’
James Cleverly has called on world leaders to ensure conflict between Israel and Hamas does not spread across the Middle East, because “that is exactly what Hamas wants”.
The foreign secretary told the Cairo Peace Summit countries have “a duty to work together to prevent instability from engulfing the region, and claiming yet more lives”.
“This has been an issue which has long stimulated passions and we are now all seeing on social media and in our communities, how divisive and polarising the current situation has become,” Mr Cleverly said.
He added that Hamas “has long stood in opposition” to peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.
“And we must therefore, ensure that Hamas does not win,” he said.
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 13:01
Concern over exclusion of fuel from aid reaching Gaza
The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza issued a statement stressing that the exclusion of fuel from humanitarian aid reaching the enclave will leave the lives of the sick and wounded in danger.
“We appeal to the international community and Egypt to work immediately to bring in fuel and emergency health needs before more victims are lost in hospitals,” the statement said.
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 12:55
Trucks carrying aid arrive in southern Gaza, says official
Trucks carrying aid for Gaza exited the Rafah crossing and arrived into the southern part of the enclave on Saturday, a Palestinian border official told Reuters.
At least 20 trucks that are expected to enter the Gaza Strip “constitute only three percent of what was entering the Gaza Strip daily in terms of health and humanitarian needs before the aggression,” a statement from the Palestinian health ministry said.
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 12:54
Marble Arch Station forced to close as crowds descend for protest
Marble Arch Underground Station has been forced to close as huge crowds have descended on the station for protests being held in central London in support of Palestine on Saturday.
Transport for London said: “This station is closed to prevent overcrowding on the platforms.”
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the march, according to Director Ben Jamal of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which is organising the demonstration.
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 12:19
Italy’s Meloni says conflict in Middle East must not escalate
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Saturday that the international community must avoid an escalation in the war between Israel and Hamas and set a roadmap towards the two states solution.
Meloni made the remarks while speaking in Egypt at the Cairo international summit for peace in the Middle East.
The summit is being held as Israel prepares a ground assault on Gaza following Hamas’ attack that killed 1,400 people.
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 12:05
Hundreds of thousands expected at London protest, says organiser
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to march in support of Palestine in central London on Saturday, according to the organiser of the protest.
Director Ben Jamal of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “We’re expecting hundreds of thousands joining us today. We’ve got coaches coming from cities and towns all across the UK – dozens of coaches arriving.”
Tara Cobham21 October 2023 12:00