Israel-Hamas war: List of key events, day 63

Gaza’s ‘literary giant’ Refaat Alareer has been killed as the death toll in the enclave mounts – here are major updates.

Here’s how things stand on Friday, December 8, 2023:

The latest developments

  • Prominent Palestinian poet and academic Refaat Alareer was killed by Israeli strikes on Thursday. Tributes have been pouring in for Alareer who edited books on Gaza and regularly posted updates and perspectives on the war on the enclave to his X account. The strike also killed his brother, sister and her four children.
  • Marking the start of Jewish festival Hanukkah, Jewish American activists held a ‘Chanukah for Ceasefire’ event in New York City on Thursday, urging an end to the Gaza war.
  • On Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for the immediate release of  Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reporter, Diaa al-Kahlout, who was detained by Israeli forces on Thursday during a mass arrest in northern Gaza’s Beit Lahiya.
  • Israel has reportedly agreed to open the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing with Gaza to speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid into the enclave. The time frame for its opening is unclear as negotiations are still under way.
  • After a controversial Congress hearing on campus anti-Semitism, the University of Pennsylvania has lost a $100m donation while billboard trucks spotted around campus called on President Elizabeth Magill to resign. A Republican-led House Committee also opened an investigation into Penn, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday.

Human impact and fighting

  • Latest figures from the Palestinian health ministry put Gaza’s death toll at 17,177 while 46,000 people have been wounded. An additional 266 people have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7.
  • Israel’s military announced on Friday that two of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza, bringing the total count of those killed during the ground offensive to at least 93.
  • Israeli forces carried out a bombardment and air strikes across the Gaza Strip overnight, with strikes from warplanes killing several people, particularly in Nuseirat refugee camp, according to Al Jazeera Arabic and Wafa.
  • Lebanese group Hezbollah said it conducted 10 attacks on Israeli military positions along the border between the two countries on Thursday, including an antitank missile that killed an Israeli citizen near Mattat settlement, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Israeli forces in the north of Israel on Thursday and issued a warning that his military would “turn Beirut and south Lebanon into Gaza and Khan Younis” if Hezbollah “makes a mistake”, according to the ISW.


  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is expected to convene today to address the Israel-Gaza war while the United Arab Emirates has asked the UNSC to vote on their draft resolution that demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, according to Reuters.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow on Thursday where the two leaders criticised Israel and the US role in the war on Gaza.
  • Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry told CNN on Thursday that Palestinians “should not be forcibly displaced” since it would be a “violation of humanitarian law”, and Palestinians do not want to leave.
  • US President Joe Biden and Jordan’s King Abdullah II discussed the Israel-Gaza war in a phone call on Thursday. They discussed humanitarian aid for Palestinians and the need to bring “durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East”, according to a White House readout of the call.
  • In a post on X on Thursday, Canadian parliament member, Don Davies, described poet Alareer’s killing as part of a “cultural genocide” in Gaza.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israel on Thursday to conclude and release the findings of a probe into artillery strikes that killed a journalist and wounded six others in Lebanon.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies