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Latest news on Gaza conflict

By Sampad Nov1,2023

Rafah Crossing to open for evacuation of some foreign nationals out of Gaza, UK foreign minister says

The Rafah Crossing bridging the Gaza Strip and Egypt is likely to open on Wednesday and allow the evacuation of a first batch of foreign nationals, Britain’s foreign minister said on social media.

“The Rafah crossing is likely to open today for a first group of foreign nationals,” James Cleverly said. “UK teams are ready to assist British nationals as soon as they are able to leave. It’s vital that lifesaving humanitarian aid can enter Gaza as quickly as possible.”

The Rafah Crossing is the only exit out of the Gaza enclosure that is not controlled by Israel. It has so far been used for the transport of humanitarian aid into the besieged strip, rather than evacuation.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israel defends military importance of Jabalia strike, advises caution on casualty figures from Gaza

An Israeli spokesperson has warned against relying on immediate casualty numbers emerging from Palestinian territories, after an Israeli airstrike killed dozens and wounded hundreds in the Jabalia refugee camp, according to a local hospital.

In a CNN interview, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Jonathan Conricus advised caution and warned that casualty numbers were previously “greatly inflated” by Palestinian authorities in the case of a blast at the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza. He added that the figures are supplied by the Gaza health ministry, which Israel says is controlled by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Israeli Army Spokesperson for International Media, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.

Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images

“I have not seen confirmed numbers of any of the civilian casualties. I understand that there may be, but I would recommend caution when claiming they have been killed,” he said.

Israel on Tuesday said it had struck the encampment and killed senior Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari.

“I’m not saying that there are no civilian casualties,” Conricus said. “What I am saying is that we struck an important military objective.”

He also warned that the northern part of the Gaza Strip is an “active combat zone” and that Hamas “uses civilians as their human shields.”

In a separate post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Conricus said it was a “misnomer” to refer to the Jabalia site as a refugee camp.

“These are the permanent dwellings of Palestinians under Palestinian rule,” he said.

Human rights groups have repeatedly called on Israel to minimize harm on civilians in its retaliatory campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Ruxandra Iordache

Saudi Arabia condemns Israel in ‘strongest terms possible the inhumane targeting’

Saudi Arabia has condemned “in the strongest terms possible the inhumane targeting by the Israeli occupation forces of the Jabalia refugee camp in the besieged Gaza Strip,” its Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia denounced “the repeated targeting by the Israeli occupation forces of densely populated civilian areas, and its continuing violation of international law and international humanitarian law.”

The Israeli military said a lethal air strike on the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip killed a senior Hamas commander on Tuesday. Dozens of other people were killed, while hundreds were wounded, a local hospital says.

Saudi Arabia has historically supported the cause of the Palestinian people, refusing to knot diplomatic ties with Israel as a result. Progress was being made on normalizing relations between the two countries — encouraged by the United States, which seeks coordination between two strong Middle East allies — prior to the Oct. 7 terror attacks perpetrated against Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Ruxandra Iordache

Bolivia cuts diplomatic ties with Israel; Chile and Colombia recall ambassadors

Bolivia on Tuesday announced it has severed diplomatic ties with Israel as a result of civilian losses caused by its war campaign in the Gaza Strip, while Chile and Colombia have recalled their ambassadors to the Middle Eastern country for consultations.

The Bolivian decision took place after a Monday meeting with the Palestinian ambassador to the South American country, said Maria Nela Prada, minister of the Bolivian presidency, in an update.

In addition to dissolving diplomatic ties with Israel, she said Bolivia’s government “demand the end of attacks in the Gaza Strip, which have so far led to thousands of civilian deaths, and the forced displacement of Palestinian people,” according to a CNBC translation.

Bolivia’s new President Luis Arce’s Presidency Minister Marianela Prada delivers a speech during her inauguration ceremony at the Casa Grande del Pueblo government palace in La Paz on November 9, 2020. – Leftist economist Luis Arce assumed the Bolivian presidency facing the challenge of uniting a polarized society and reactivating an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by AIZAR RALDES / AFP) (Photo by AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images)

Aizar Raldes | Afp | Getty Images

“The government of Bolivia’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with Israel is a surrender to terrorism and to the Ayatollah’s regime in Iran,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “By taking this step, the Bolivian government is aligning itself with the Hamas terrorist organization.”

It added, “In any case, since the change of government in Bolivia, relations between the countries have been devoid of content.”

Bolivia interrupted diplomatic ties with Israel between 2009 and 2020 also because of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Overnight, Colombian President Gustavo Petro and his Chilean counterpart Gabriel Boric Font both announced recalling their countries’ ambassadors to Israel for consultations in separate social media posts translated by CNBC.

Several countries have called upon Israel to be proportionate in its military response in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli military says it is only targeting the forces and position of Hamas, after the Palestinian militant group’s terror attacks of Oct. 7.

Ruxandra Iordache

Doubts on opening of Rafah border crossing

Military personnel stand guard on the day of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s visit to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, Egypt, October 31, 2023.

Mohamed Abd El Ghany | Reuters

There are still doubts surrounding the opening of the Rafah border crossing for wounded people on Wednesday, according to NBC News.

The news outlet reports that there has been no confirmation from the Egyptian side and it would also need the approval of Israel.

That comes despite the media director on Palestinian side saying “The Rafah land crossing will be opened tomorrow, Wednesday, for a number of wounded to leave to complete their treatment in Egyptian hospitals.”

The BBC reported late Tuesday that the U.K. Foreign Office had informed British nationals trapped in Gaza about “credible reports” that Rafah might open for limited exits.

— Matt Clinch

Palestinian telco says internet service has been interrupted in the Gaza Strip

Palestinian telecommunications provider Paltel said all internet and communications services in the Gaza Strip have been interrupted, according to a statement on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

— Christine Wang

WHO chief: ‘There’s no time to waste’

A boy stands holding a fresh and cracked loaf of bread along an alley in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 31, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. 

Mohammed Abed | Afp | Getty Images

The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued an urgent call for “unrestricted” access to Gaza so that aid organizations can deliver life-saving supplies.

Calling the scale of the casualties “staggering,” Tedros said that without access, “tragedy will continue unfolding before our eyes.”

“The limited aid flow is a mere trickle of the growing needs,” Tedros posted on X. “Without urgent, unrestricted access at scale, tragedy will continue unfolding before our eyes. The conflict started on 7 October, the first aid crossing was on 21 October. Since then, @WHO has only been able to transport enough supplies for approximately 370,000 people, including for traumatic wound and burn care, and treatment for serious chronic conditions.”

Tedros called for an “immediate humanitarian pause:” “There’s no time to waste. Every moment matters.”

A boy sits on donkey-drawn cart loaded with a water tank, as drinking water and fuel become increasingly scarce, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 30, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Mahmud Hams | Afp | Getty Images

A Palestinian kid is seen amidst the rubble from a damaged building following an Israeli military raid in a Jenin refugee camp in the occupied northern West Bank. According to health officials, Israeli military attacks have reportedly resulted in the deaths of 110 individuals and injuries to over 1,000 in the occupied West Bank. These figures have been recorded since the onset of the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Children sit together around a boy cooking instant noodles on a fire in a make-shift oven from a recycled barrel, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 31, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)

Mohammed Abed | Afp | Getty Images

Biden says he ‘will continue to support safe passage for Gaza civilians seeking safety’

U.S. President Joe Biden holds an event about American retirement economics in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, October 31, 2023.

Leah Millis | Reuters

President Joe Biden said on X that he is “not done pushing for more aid and will continue to support safe passage for Gaza civilians seeking safety.”

“Yesterday saw the largest delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance into Gaza so far, and more trucks are being cleared to enter today. But many more are needed,” Biden posted on Tuesday.

Human rights groups have been sounding the alarm about an escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid heavy bombardment by Israeli troops, as Gaza health officials report more than 8,500 people have lost their lives since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Oct. 7. Stark images of entire families stranded without food, water, sanitation and other basic necessities have emerged on social media and television networks across the world, sparking protests globally.

NBC News reported that although Muslim Americans voted overwhelmingly for Biden, community leaders in swing states say that the president’s handling of the war in Gaza risks losing their support.

“It literally may dissuade enough voters to sit back in the next election and watch Donald Trump control the presidency, watch the Republicans control the Congress and also know that conservatives will have control of the Supreme Court,” said Wa’el Alzayat, the CEO of Emgage, a group that mobilizes American-Muslim voters.

Read the full report on NBC News.

Riya Bhattacharjee

Blinken, in call with Israel’s president, emphasizes minimizing harm to civilians

This image grab taken from AFPTV video footage shows Palestinians looking for survivors in a crater following a stike on a refugee camp in Jabalia on the northern Gaza Strip, on October 31, 2023, amid relentless Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian territory. The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said at least 50 people were killed on October 31 in Israeli bombardment of the refugee camp in the Palestinian territory.

Fadi Alwhidi | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday “emphasized the need to take feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians” during a telephone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, the State Department said, amid the conflict with Hamas.

“The Secretary reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism consistent with international humanitarian law,” spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.


Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday, State Department says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a United States Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing on Capitol Hill October 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced plans to travel to Israel on Friday to consult with Israeli officials about their ongoing war on Hamas.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Tuesday that Blinken would visit Israel “and then will make other stops in the region.” He did not identify the other planned stops.

Blinken made an urgent trip to the Middle East earlier this month, visiting Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Associated Press

CNBC’s previous coverage

By Sampad

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