Here is the situation on Monday, October 16, 2023:
- A “massive fireball” has been reported in Gaza, after “multiple air strikes” by the Israeli military, leaving several people dead in the last few hours.
- Iran warned Israel of escalation if it failed to end aggressions against Palestinians. Its foreign minister said other parties in the region were ready to act, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
- The expected Israeli ground offensive and air attacks have raised fears of unprecedented suffering in the narrow, impoverished Gaza Strip, one of the most crowded places in the world.
- At least 2,670 Palestinians, a quarter of them children, have been killed in Israeli air raids. The number of Israelis killed in Hamas’s military operation stands at 1,400, including 286 soldiers.
- Gaza health officials are storing the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli air strikes in ice cream freezer trucks because moving them to hospitals is too risky and cemeteries lack space.
- Military forensic teams in Israel examined the bodies of victims of last week’s Hamas attack on communities around the Gaza Strip and found multiple signs of torture, rape and other atrocities, officers said.
- Reserves of fuel at all hospitals across the Gaza Strip are expected to last only around 24 more hours, the United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) said on Monday.
- A Hamas official rejected reports of a temporary ceasefire or the opening of the Rafah border crossing.
- Palestinians are desperate to find a safe hiding place, but the journey to the south is also fraught with risks. Hamas has told people not to leave and says roads out are unsafe.
- US President Joe Biden warned Israel that any occupation of Gaza would be a “big mistake”.
- Egypt said it stepped up diplomatic efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel’s bombardment was disproportionate.
- Blinken will return to Israel on Monday, a senior State Department official said, extending his Middle East shuttle diplomacy by a day. He arrived in Israel on Thursday and has since visited six Arab countries.
- Israel has announced that it is “halting security exports” to Colombia following President Gustavo Petro’s remarks on the war with Hamas.
- Commenting on Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant announcing a “complete siege” of Gaza in a fight against “animals”, Petro said: “This is what the Nazis said of the Jews.”
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he spoke by phone to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the situation in Gaza and pressed for the establishment of a humanitarian aid corridor to help the local population.
Business and economy
- The war will have an impact on Israel’s budget, but it will be manageable since it entered the conflict with a solid fiscal position, Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron said. It is difficult to put exact numbers on how the budget may be affected, he told a panel of the G30 – a group of high-profile economists and policymakers.
- Geopolitical risks for financial markets are rising while investors wait to see if the conflict draws in other countries, with the potential to raise oil prices and deal a new blow to the world economy.
- The backlog of ships is growing at Israeli ports amid preparations for Israel’s ground assault.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies