Fighting between Israeli forces and the Palestinian group Hamas is in its second day with hundreds of people killed on both sides after a surprise attack on Israel prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to warn of “a long and difficult war”.
Here is the situation on Sunday, October 8, 2023:
- Gun battles continued between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters in Ashkelon and several areas of southern Israel.
- Israeli jets destroyed a building housing the Palestinian Islamic National Bank, a short distance from where Al Jazeera was reporting live.
- Palestinians in Gaza have received messages on their phones from Israeli authorities, especially those living near the eastern part of Gaza, to evacuate immediately and move to more central areas.
- In a sign the conflict could spread beyond Gaza, Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah exchanged artillery and rocket fire while in Alexandria, Egypt, two Israeli tourists were shot dead along with their Egyptian guide.
- The attack by Hamas launched at dawn on Saturday represented the biggest and deadliest incursion into Israel since Egypt and Syria launched a sudden assault in an effort to reclaim lost territory 50 years ago.
- Netanyahu has promised “mighty vengeance”.
- The United Nations Security Council will hold emergency closed consultations on Sunday over the escalating violence.
- The meeting was first called by Malta with the United Arab Emirates and Brazil supporting it.
- China said it was “deeply concerned” by the weekend’s dramatic escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, urging all sides to show “calm”.
- Egypt is in talks with Saudi Arabia and Jordan to defuse Palestinian-Israeli tensions, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned of the “volatility” of the situation, “particularly in light of what cities and areas of the West Bank are witnessing of Israeli attacks and violations against the Palestinian people”.
- Saudi Arabia called for an “immediate cessation of violence”.
- US President Joe Biden described Saturday’s Hamas attacks in Israel as “unconscionable”, and his administration pledged to ensure Israel has “what it needs to defend itself”.
- Gaza’s Ministry of Health said 370 people have been killed and 2,200 wounded in Israel’s retaliatory strikes.
- In Israel, at least 600 people have been killed, according to reports by Israeli TV stations. Israel has not released an official toll.