Updated Oct 18, 2023 - World

Hamas-Israel war: Latest major updates

Civil defense teams and residents launch a search and rescue operation around the buildings that were destroyed after Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip

Civil defense teams and residents launch a search and rescue operation around the buildings that were destroyed after Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images

More than 1,400 Israelis and over 2,800 Palestinians have been killed, thousands have been injured and more than 1 million have been displaced since the latest fighting between Israel and Hamas began after the militant group's Oct. 7 attack. Hamas is believed to be holding 199 hostages in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

The latest: Israel's Defense Forces (IDF) in an online post Wednesday called on Gaza City residents "to evacuate south for their protection" to Al-Mawasi, where it said international humanitarian aid would be provided.

  • President Biden will visit Tel Aviv on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with Israel, but his meeting with Arab leaders in Amman scheduled for after the trip was called off soon after the bombing of a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday that the Hamas-run Health Ministry said killed 500 people.
  • The IDF denied involvement in the blast, saying intelligence shows it was a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group. The PIJ denied this allegation. Both the PIJ and Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike for the massacre.

Hospitals across Gaza will run out of fuel within 24 hours, meaning backup generators — currently the only way for these facilities to get electricity — will stop working and the lives of thousands of patients will be put at serious risk, the UN Palestinian refugee agency warned on Tuesday.

  • "Concerns over dehydration and waterborne diseases are high given the collapse of water and sanitation services, including today's shutdown of Gaza's last functioning seawater desalination plant," UNRWA said.
The father of Naor Hassisim is comforted during his son's funeral, a victim of the Kibbutz Kfar Aza attack last week by members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, at a cemetery, in southern Israeli city of Ashdod
The father of Naor Hassisim is comforted during the funeral of his son, who was killed by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack. Photo: Gill Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images

It's not only fuel. Health authorities and aid groups in Gaza warned the situation at hospitals in the enclave was "catastrophic," with supplies and medicines running out and "not enough body bags for the dead."

  • "[W]e are on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on social media this week calling for Hamas to immediately release the hostages and urging Israel to enable "unimpeded access" for humanitarian aid.
  • Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Monday that the U.S. and Israel had agreed to develop a plan to enable international aid to reach civilians in Gaza without harming civilians. It's unclear what that plan may look like.

The Israeli military bombardment of Gaza continued Tuesday and sirens went off across parts of Israel due to incoming rocket fire from Palestinian militants in the enclave.

  • Dozens have reportedly been killed while evacuating to the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
  • Violence has also intensified in the occupied West Bank where dozens of Palestinians have been killed in unrest there. Hundreds have been arrested.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department on Tuesday night raised its travel alert for Lebanon to "do not travel" due to the "unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges" between Israel and Hezbollah or "other armed militant factions."

Graphic: Kavya Beheraj and Sarah Grillo/Axios; Icons: Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu via Getty Images
Graphic: Kavya Beheraj and Sarah Grillo/Axios; Icons: Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu via Getty Images

Aid groups and Palestinian health officials continued their urgent calls for Israel to rescind its evacuation order for Palestinians living in northern Gaza.

  • Israel cut electricity and blocked food, fuel and other supplies from getting into Gaza after declaring a "complete siege" of the enclave, which had already been under a strict Israeli blockade, supported by Egypt, for 16 years.
  • Human Rights Watch slammed Israel's "complete siege" as a "call to commit a war crime." HRW has also said the killing of civilians and the taking of hostages constitute a violation of international law and war crimes.
  • More than 1 million people have been displaced in Gaza, according to the UN Palestinian refugee agency. Several schools, where many are sheltering, and hospitals have sustained damage from airstrikes.
A Palestinian boy injured in Israeli airstrikes receives medical treatment at the Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on Oct. 15. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images
A Palestinian boy injured in Israeli airstrikes receives medical treatment at the Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on Oct. 15. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images

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