Live updates | Israel says it’s stepping up attacks on the Gaza Strip

Israeli warplanes have struck targets across the Gaza Strip as well as two airports in Syria and a mosque in the occupied West Bank allegedly used by militants, while a second convoy of humanitarian aid reportedly began crossing into Gaza from Egypt on Sunday afternoon.

Israel’s military spokesman said the country is stepping up its attacks, and there are growing expectations of a ground offensive.

The war, now in its 16th day, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Palestinian Health Ministry said Sunday that the death toll in Gaza had reached at least 4,651 people, with another 14,254 people wounded in the besieged territory.

The ministry said 93 Palestinians were also killed in violence and Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank since Hamas militants stormed into Israel on Oct. 7. More than 1,650 others were wounded, it added.

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


Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:


Several world leaders on Sunday spoke about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, reiterating their support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism and called for adherence to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.

U.S. 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 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 Saturday that Israel would 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.”

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.


Israel says Sunday that a second batch of humanitarian aid was allowed into Gaza, at the request of the U.S. 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.

U.S. 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.

Earlier Sunday, Egypt’s state-run media had reported that 17 aid trucks were crossing into Gaza on Sunday, but the United Nations said no trucks had crossed.

On Sunday, Associated Press journalists saw seven fuel trucks head into Gaza. Juliette Touma, spokeswoman for U.N. 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.


AMMAN, Jordan — The U.N. 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 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.


Thousands of pregnant women in the Gaza Strip who are expected to give birth this month are in grave danger because they are not able to reach a medical facility to deliver, an aid agency says.

Guillemette Thomas, medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in the Palestinian territories, said women have already given birth in UNRWA schools that have turned into shelters housing tens of thousands of displaced people.

“These women are in danger and the babies are in danger right now,” she said. “That’s a really critical situation.”

According to the U.N. population fund, there are 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza. Some 5,500 of them are due to give birth in the coming month, meaning 166 births per day, the U.N. agency said.

Earlier Sunday the U.N. health agency said that at least 130 premature babies are at “grave risk” because of a lack of fuel at Gaza hospitals. Thomas said some of them could die within hours.


CAIRO — At least 130 premature babies are at “grave risk” because of lack of fuel at Gaza hospitals, the U.N. health agency said Sunday.

The babies are being cared for at six neonatal units, according to Medical Aid for Palestinians, an aid group working in Gaza. Doctors have warned that the babies are in imminent danger if fuel does not reach hospitals soon.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the World Health Organization called for “immediate and sustained” access of fuel into Gaza to keep health facilities operating.

Melanie Ward, chief executive of Medical Aid for Palestinians, urged world leaders to press Israel to allow the delivery of fuel to Gaza.

“The world cannot simply look on as these babies are killed by the siege on Gaza. … A failure to act is to sentence these babies to death,” she said.

Hospitals in Gaza have been struggling with the large number of wounded from the ongoing war between Israel and Palestinian militants which was triggered by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon working with Doctors without Borders in Shifa hospital, said the hospital’s generators “are cutting out more regularly now than before.”

He said hospitals in the territory are facing severe shortages of medical supplies, including bandages, medication and other supplies.

“You can imagine the amount 14,000 severely wounded patients would consume,” he told the AP.


KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Hospitals across the Gaza Strip are scrounging for fuel stocks to keep the lights on in critical wards and continue to save the lives of the relentless stream of wounded patients.

Serious shortages in other supplies, including ventilators, are forcing medical teams to prioritize the lives of those who can be saved for certain over severe cases that require complex care, said Dr. Mohammed Qandeel, who works in the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he told The Associated Press. “Every day, if we receive 10 severely injured patients, we have to manage with maybe three or five ICU beds available. We have to choose who must face death, or manage them in regular wards or do some limited care because we think as a medical team, between two patients in a life-threatening situation, we have to give the ventilator to the patient who has a higher chance of improving in 24 hours.”

Many departments in the hospital are plunged in darkness as medical staff allow electricity only in critical departments where patients risk death without it. On Friday the hospital was on its last stock of fuel, but managed to get another tank from UNRWA’s existing stock on Saturday, said Qandeel. “This amount should last for three to five days,” he said.

The World Health Organization says Gaza’s Health Ministry is reporting that its daily use of medical consumables during the war is equivalent to its monthly consumption before the war. The report said “an imminent public health catastrophe looms” in the setting of mass displacement, overcrowding of shelters and damage to the water and sanitation infrastructure.


KATHMANDU — Nepal has repatriated the bodies of three of 10 Nepali students who were killed during the Hamas attack in Israel two weeks ago.

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud and Israeli Ambassador Hanan Goder received the bodies at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. The bodies will be flown to the students’ home district of Kailai.

Another body of a Nepali student is expected to be flown to Kathmandu later Sunday. One Nepalese student is missing and believed to be held captive by Hamas, officials said.

Israeli authorities have so far handed over four bodies to the Nepalese Embassy in Tel Aviv. They are in the process of identifying the remaining six bodies, a statement from the embassy said. More than 200 Nepalese nationals returned home from Israel on Oct. 13. As many as 265 Nepali students were in Israel attending a program launched by the Israeli government.


NEW DELHI — India on Sunday sent nearly 6.5 tonnes (7.1 tons) of medical aid and 32 tonnes (35 tons) of disaster relief supplies to Palestinians.

An Indian air force plane carrying the materials left New Delhi for Egypt’s El-Arish airport, said Arindam Bagchi, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman. The aid includes essential life-saving medicines, surgical items, tents, sleeping bags, tarps and water purification tablets among other items, he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed condolences and sympathy for those killed and wounded as a result of the attacks in Israel and said that Indian people stand in solidarity with Israel. India has reiterated its position in favor of direct negotiations for establishing a two-state solution.


Syrian state media reported that Israeli airstrikes early Sunday targeted the international airports of the Syrian capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, killing one person. The runways were damaged and put out of service.

The attack is the second this month on the Damascus International airport and the third on Aleppo’s airport as tensions increases in the Middle East over the Israel-Hamas war.

Syrian state media quoted an unnamed military official as saying the airports were struck by the Israeli military from the Mediterranean to the west and from Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in the south. It said one employee was killed and another wounded in Damascus in addition to material damage.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Since the war between Israel and Hamas started on Oct. 7, Israel has carried out several strikes in Syria including one on the Damascus airport and two on Aleppo’s airport putting them out of service.

Flights were directed in the past to an international airport in the coastal province of Latakia.

Israel has targeted airports and sea ports in the government-held parts of Syria in an apparent attempt to prevent arms shipments from Iran to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Thousands of Iran-backed fighters from around the region joined Syria’s 12-year conflict helping tip the balance in favor of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations.


The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that the death toll among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank Sunday climbed to eight.

Israeli forces shot dead Jihad Mazen Subhi Saleh, 29, and Mohammed Qasim Abu Zar, 17, in Zawata, roughly 70 kilometers (44 miles) north of Jerusalem; as well as a 20-year-old man close to the al-Arroub refugee camp south of the West Bank, the ministry said.

Two others were killed in the Jenin refugee camp, which includes the Al-Ansar mosque where Israel’s military said it launched an airstrike, the ministry said. The two fatalities have yet to be identified. It also said Israeli forces shot and killed two men in northern cities of the West Bank: a 19-year-old in Tubas and a 26-year-old in Nablus.

Sunday’s fatalities brought the death toll in the West Bank to 93 Palestinians since the latest Israel-Hamas war broke out on Oct. 7, according to the Health Ministry.

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