Live updates | Day 7 of the latest Israel-Hamas war
(AP) - Israel’s military ordered hundreds of thousands of civilians living in Gaza City to evacuate Friday ahead of a feared Israel ground offensive. The directive came on the heels of what the United Nations said was a warning they received from Israel to evacuate 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza within 24 hours.
Suffering in Gaza has been rising dramatically with Palestinians desperate for food, fuel and medicine and the territory’s only power plant shut down for lack of fuel. The morgue at Gaza’s biggest hospital overflowed as bodies came in faster than relatives could claim them.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was set to visit on Friday, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The war has claimed at least 2,800 lives on both sides since Hamas launched an incursion on Oct. 7.
Here’s what’s happening on Day 7 of the latest Israel-Hamas war:
ISRAEL MILITARY DENIES ALLEGATIONS IT USED WHITE PHOSPHORUS IN GAZA
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military denied accusations Friday that it has used white phosphorus as a weapon in Gaza, after Human Rights Watch published a report alleging that Israel had deployed it several times in the recent Israel-Hamas war.
“The current accusation made against the IDF is unequivocally false,” a statement from the military said. “The IDF has not deployed the use of such munitions.”
ERDOGAN CHIDES BLINKEN FOR COMMENTS IN ISRAEL ABOUT HIS JEWISH HERITAGE
ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday criticized U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s approach to the latest Israel-Hamas war.
“He is saying ‘I’m not approaching Israel as a foreign secretary but rather as a Jew.’ What kind of approach is this?” Erdogan said, referring to Blinken’s comments in Israel on Thursday in which he emphasized his Jewish heritage.
Addressing a Turkey-Africa business conference in Istanbul, Erdogan added: “What if your counterpart tells you ‘I’m approaching the region as a Muslim.’ How would you answer? Whether Jewish or Turkish or anything else, we don’t care. You should approach everyone as human.”
The president also criticized the U.S. deployment of an aircraft carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean as “not in line with mediating tensions between parties.”
UN AID CHIEF CRITICIZES ISRAEL’S EVACUATION ORDER
CAIRO — Martin Griffiths, the United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, publicly criticized Israel’s evacuation order, suggesting that it was completely unviable.
“How are 1.1 million people supposed to move across a densely populated warzone in less than 24 hours?” he wrote on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday. “The noose around the civilian population in Gaza is tightening.”
NORWAY TO DONATE $6.4M IN HUMANITARIAN S UPPORT TO GAZA
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – The Norwegian foreign minister, Anniken Huitfeldt, said Friday that Norway was donating 70 million kroner ($6.4 million) in humanitarian support to Gaza, citing the “terrible images and tragic stories.”
“The suffering and scale of destruction is enormous. The U.N. reports that almost 500 children were killed. This is completely unacceptable,” Huitfeldt said in a statement.
The situation “gets worse hour by hour. It is extremely important that the civilian population receives food, medicine, water.”
The money, which she said will be paid out as quickly as possible, will go to the United Nation’s emergency aid agencies and Norwegian humanitarian organizations.
GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ISRAEL, REITERATES SOLIDARITY WITH ISRAELIS
BERLIN – Germany’s foreign minister has visited southern Israel and declared that “we are all Israelis in these days.”
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock met her Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, in Netivot on Friday. They visited a house where three members of a family were killed by a rocket fired by Hamas.
Baerbock assured Cohen of Germany’s “comprehensive solidarity.”
She also met with relatives of German citizens kidnapped by Hamas.
WEST BANK DEATH TOLL RISES TO 44 WITH 9 PALESTINIANS KILLED FRIDAY
JERUSALEM — The Palestinian Health Ministry reported Friday that 44 Palestinians have been killed in West Bank since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, with nine Palestinians killed today.
BIDEN TO SPEAK WITH FAMILIES OF U.S. HOSTAGES HELD BY HAMAS
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he would speak Friday to families of U.S. hostages held by Hamas.
“They have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what’s happening. Deeply,” Biden said. “We have to communicate to the world this is critical. This is not even human behavior. It’s pure barbarism. And we’re going to do everything in our power to get them home if we can find them.”
The meeting is expected to take place virtually.
JAPAN TO EVACUATE ITS NATIONALS FROM ISRAEL ON SATURDAY
TOKYO — Japan will send a charter flight to evacuate its nationals from Israel as the clashes between Israeli military and Hamas intensified, officials said Friday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that the charter flight will transport evacuees from Israel’s commercial airport of Tel Aviv to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
The government is arranging the flight based on survey results that showed Japanese citizens in the region wanted to evacuate, Matsuno said.
The Japanese Defense Ministry said Friday it is preparing to dispatch a Self-Defense Force transport plane to nearby Djibouti in eastern Africa to have the aircraft on standby in case escalating conflict makes a charter flight difficult.
FLAGS IN COPENHAGEN TO FLY AT HALF-MAST ON SATURDAY
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Flags in Copenhagen will fly at half-mast on Saturday, the capital city’s mayor said Friday, “to show the capital’s sympathy for all civilian victims” in Israel.
Sophie Hæstorp Andersen said “it is important” that “we show the people of Copenhagen that we stand together across all parties.”
Denmark’s Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard previously said that the Danish flag will be lowered Saturday on the parliament building, the ministries of defense, finance and foreign affairs following “the cynical terrorist attack in Israel.”
HAMAS SAYS IT’S LAUNCHED 150 ROCKETS TOWARD ASHKELON AND SDEROT
JERUSALEM — A Hamas official said Friday that Hamas had launched 150 rockets toward the southern cities of Ashkelon and Sderot. Israel’s rescue service reported no major injuries.
3 MORE PALESTINIANS KILLED IN THE WEST BANK, DEATH TOLLS RISES TO 39
JERUSALEM — As tensions flare in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported Friday that two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops in Tulkarem and a third was shot dead in Nablus, bringing the death toll in the territory to 39 since the start of the war.
GERMAN PRESIDENT CALLS FRIDAY A ‘DAY OF FEAR’ FOR JEWS
BERLIN — Germany’s president has visited a synagogue to show his solidarity on what he called a “day of fear” for Jews.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke on Friday at the Fraenkelufer synagogue in Berlin, the first in the city where an official service took place in 1945 after the Holocaust.
Steinmeier was flanked by community members, including some holding posters depicting people missing in Israel.
He said that Hamas had called for violence against Jewish communities worldwide on Friday, “and this Friday is a day of fear for German Jews, as well.”
He added: “So my place today is among you. At this time, I represent our whole nation at the side of our threatened compatriots, at the side of all Jews in Germany.”
WHO SAYS FORCED EVACUATIONS WOULD BE A ‘DEATH SENTENCE’ FOR SOME HOSPITAL PATIENTS
GENEVA — The World Health Organization says the forced evacuation of severely ill or badly injured people from hospitals in northern Gaza would amount to a “death sentence” for some.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing in Geneva on Friday that the two major hospitals in northern Gaza have already exceeded their combined 760-bed capacity, and warned of a shortage of blood in hospital blood banks across Gaza. Furthermore, several medications are in short supply, including for diabetes, seizures and asthma, as well as painkillers and dialysis solution.
In general, “hospital corridors are overflowing. Dead bodies are piling up as there is no more space in morgues,” he said.
Jasarevic said some patients — many of whom are children — were on life support systems like mechanical ventilators, “so moving those people is a death sentence. Asking health workers to do so is beyond cruel.”
BEDOUIN VILLAGE IN WEST BANK IS LATEST TO EVACUATE
JERUSALEM — An entire Bedouin village in the West Bank packed up and evacuated their home Thursday, a leading Palestinian rights group said, amid a wave of violence from Jewish settlers that Palestinian residents say has escalated dramatically since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
With the evacuation of Wadi Seeq, six villages in the West Bank have entirely pulled up stakes since 2022. Dror Sadot, a spokesperson for the rights group Btselem, said that many more villages are in danger of leaving.
“The settlers are going crazy and receive active backing from the army, now more than ever before,” said Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the executive director of Torah of Justice, an Israeli human rights nonprofit.
Ascherman said that in recent days, Jewish settlers from nearby outposts descended from hilltop outposts to brutalize Palestinians in the village, even as they packed up.
Israeli authorities did not immediately respond to requests to comment.
HEZBOLLAH’S DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL REITERATES SUPPORT FOR HAMAS
BEIRUT — Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general on Friday said that the Iran-backed militant group will be “on the lookout” following news that the United States and United Kingdom will send military barges to the Mediterranean Sea near Israel in its ongoing war with Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Naim Kassim reiterated Hezbollah’s support for Hamas, and while the group has clashed with Israeli troops along the border for almost a week, the group has not declared its involvement in the war.
“Your battleships do not interest us, nor do your statements frighten us,” Kassim said at a rally in a southern suburb in Beirut, Lebanon. “We as Hezbollah … follow the steps of the enemy and have full preparedness. And when the time is right take action, we will do so.”
Thousands of Hezbollah supporters waving Lebanese, Palestinian and Hezbollah chanted slogans supporting Gaza and “Death to Israel.”
ABBAS SAYS DISPLACEMENT OF PALESTINIANS WOULD AMOUNT TO ‘SECOND NAKBA’
AMMAN, Jordan — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in Jordan, emphasized his “complete rejection” of displacing people from Gaza, saying it would amount to a “second Nakba,” or catastrophe. That’s the term Palestinians use to describe their mass displacement from what is now Israel during the 1948 Mideast war surrounding its creation, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven out.
The fate of the refugees and their descendants, who now number nearly 6 million and are scattered across the Middle East, is one of the thorniest issues in the conflict.
EGYPTIAN NEWS OUTLET SAYS ISRAELI FORCES ATTACKED ITS CREW
CAIRO — An Egyptian TV news station said Israeli forces attacked its crew in Jerusalem.
The state-owned Al-Qahera News, which is close to security agencies, said some Israeli forces pointed their weapons at its crew filming the firing of sound bombs on Palestinians in the holy city.
The station said Israeli troops forced them to leave the area.
FIRST ROUND OF HUMANITARIAN AID FOR GAZA ARRIVES IN EGYPT, TURKISH GROUP SAYS
ISTANBUL — The Turkish Red Crescent said Friday that its first planeload of aid for Gaza had arrived in Egypt.
The organization included photographs in a social media post of a cargo plane being unloaded at El Arish airport, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Gazan border.
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