LIVE: Israel pounds Gaza as Hamas militants engage military in fierce street battles

Monday, 9th October 2023

  • More than 1,000 people reportedly killed in latest fighting

  • Oil prices jump as Middle East violence rattles markets

  • Britain advises against all but essential travel to Israel

  • Drone footage of festival in Israel which was target of Hamas attack

  • White House confirms several Americans killed by Hamas attackers

  • Wizz Air cancels flights to and from Tel Aviv

  • Hungary evacuating 110 more people from Israel

  • U.S. leads moment of silence for Israeli victims

  • Misinformation spreads about Hamas and Israel

14:30pm Civilian being rescued from under rubble in northern Gaza

Footage has been released revealing shocking scenes of a civilian being rescued under rubble by a group of men in northern Gaza.

13:54: Delays at Ben Gurion airport as rocket hits nearby

Multiple flights into and out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport were listed as delayed on its website on October 9, after a rocket was reported to have landed close by. The airport said it would continue operating, however.

Footage from Instagram user Sebas Manrique shows the scene as he said a bomb alert was raised.“We are trapped here, flights are on standby … we can’t get out,” Manrique said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

13:18pm: Israeli strike destroys mosque in West Gaza

Footage posted from west Gaza on October 9 showed a destroyed mosque as Israel responded to Hamas’s attacks by hitting what it said were targets linked to the group.

This footage was posted by local journalist Mohammed Fayez Abo Oun, who said that it showed the destroyed Al-Gharbi Mosque.

13:05pm: Commercial buildings destroyed in Gaza after Israeli strikes

Footage posted from Gaza shows the destruction to commercial buildings there as Israel responded to Hamas’s attacks by hitting what it said were targets linked to the group.

This footage was posted by local journalist Mohammed Dahlan. He said that the video shows the aftermath of strikes on buildings including the National Islamic Bank, which Palestinian media reported was destroyed.

12:59pm: Explosions light up night sky in Gaza as Israel responds to Hamas attack

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said over 500 targets they said were linked to Hamas were hit in overnight strikes on the Gaza Strip on October 8-9.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 436 people, including 91 children, have been killed in Israel’s response to the weekend attack by Hamas.

Over 700 Israelis have died, according to the IDF.

11:09am: Video shows Palestinian retaliation

Unconfirmed footage of the Palestinian Al Qassam brigade using MANPADS against Israeli aviation.

The militants also said they adopted the indigenous Mutabar 1 air defence system, which they used to fight IDF aircraft.

11:00am: Airlines suspend flights

Several airlines have suspended or reined-in flight services to or from Tel Aviv and said they are waiting for safety conditions to improve.

Regulators including the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and Israel's aviation authority urged airlines to use caution in the region's airspace, but stopped short of suspending flights.

Israel's civil aviation authority asked airlines to "review current security and threat information" amid the conflict, and changed some air traffic routes. It noted that delays were expected and advised airlines to carry extra fuel.

On Sunday, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines suspended direct flights following the FAA's caution advisories.

The U.S. airlines normally run direct services from major cities such as New York, Chicago, Washington, DC and Miami.

United said it had run two scheduled flights to the United States from Israel late on Saturday and early on Sunday but then suspended services. Delta representatives said flights this week were cancelled and the situation was being monitored.

10:17am: Misinformation spreads about Hamas and Israel

Misinformation around the Hamas assault on Israel has proliferated over the weekend, with several videos circulating online rumoured to be false.

A video shared by an account with the name Junaid Rajput purports to show a militant with Hamas firing a shoulder-mounted weapon and striking an Israeli helicopter.

But the BBC’s Shayan Sardarizadeh pointed out that the footage is actually from the video game Arma 3.

Another video, which depicts children locked behind bars in cages, was originally disseminated with claims that the children were Israelis captured by Palestinians.

However, several accounts on X have claimed the footage was shot four days before the invasion.

09:50am: U.S. leads moment of silence for Israeli victims at UN Human Rights Council

The United States on Monday led a moment of silence at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to commemorate the lives of people killed in the major Hamas attack on Israel.

"The United States unequivocally condemns these heinous acts of terrorism," Michele Taylor, U.S. Permanent Representative to the council, told the U.N.'s top human rights body.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families affected and express our solidarity with the people and government of Israel in these trying times."

At a meeting of the U.N. refugee agency in Geneva, the U.S. envoy also requested a minute of silence to honour victims of the conflict in Israel and of an earthquake in Afghanistan. All but a handful of delegates stood up.

09:30am: Hungary evacuating 110 more people from Israel

Hungary is currently evacuating 110 more people from Israel, bringing the total number of people it has brought out of the country to 325 including 46 children, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a Facebook post on Monday.

He said that 15 of the 325 evacuees were foreign citizens, among them Israeli, Swedish, Austrian, German, British and Portuguese nationals. Szijjarto said the latest flight, the third it has organised, was currently en route to Budapest.

Boys cry as they attend the funeral of Palestinians from the Shamalkh family, who health officials said were killed in Israeli strikes, in Gaza City, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

09:03am: Wizz Air cancels flights to and from Tel Aviv

Hungarian airline Wizz Air said flights to and from Tel Aviv were cancelled until further notice, citing the situation in Israel.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and are in touch with the relevant authorities," a spokesperson for Wizz said in an emailed statement on Monday.

08:53am: White House confirms several Americans killed by Hamas attackers

A White House National Security Council spokesperson confirmed several Americans have been killed by Hamas attackers.

This comes as the United States has said it will send multiple military ships and aircraft closer to Israel as a show of support, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

He said Washington believes Hamas' deadly attacks may have been motivated to disrupt a potential normalising of Israel-Saudi Arabia ties.

President Joe Biden gives remarks on the conflict between Israel and Palestine alongside Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the White House

Austin in a statement said he ordered the moving of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean closer to Israel. The force includes the carrier, a guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers.

Austin also said the United States had also taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region. He said the United States would also provide munitions to Israel.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that additional assistance for the Israeli Defense Forces was on its way to Israel and more would follow in the coming days, the White House said after their call. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris also held a call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

08:45am: Drone footage of festival in Israel which was target of Hamas attack

At least 260 bodies have been removed from the site of a music festival in Israel that was attacked by Hamas during its incursion, rescuers have said.

Those killed at the Supernova festival near Re'im, in the south of the country, are among hundreds killed so far.

The number of dead at the music event in the desert region of Negev was given by the Israeli rescue service Zika on Sunday.

08:15am: Britain advises against all but essential travel to Israel

The British government said it had updated its travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, advising against all but essential travel as fighting continued near Gaza.

Britain already advised against all travel to Gaza, but on Sunday also added several areas in Israel close to the border with Gaza to that recommendation, and changed its advice for the country as a whole.

The British Foreign Office also asked all Britons in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to register their presence there, so they can be kept updated of further changes to travel advice.

A policeman stands as the flag of Israel is projected onto the Prime Minister’s official residence of 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, October 8, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

08:05am: Israeli military hits back striking hundreds of Hamas and Jihad targets in Gaza Strip

The Israeli military on Monday said it struck hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip overnight and had sent four combat divisions south where it continued to battle Islamist militants two days after a bloody incursion.

A military spokesperson said fighting was ongoing at seven or eight locations near Gaza two days after gunmen from Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis and abducted dozens more in the deadliest raid into Israeli territory since Egypt and Syria's attacks in the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago.

Hamas fighters also continued to cross into Israel from Gaza, the spokesman said.

Fighter jets, helicopters and artillery struck over 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, with targets including Hamas and Islamic Jihad command centres and the residence of senior Hamas official Ruhi Mashtaa who allegedly helped direct the infiltration into Israel.

Medics in Gaza said at least seven Palestinians were killed in two Israeli air strikes on two houses. Israeli planes carried out dozens of air strikes, many in the northern town of Beit Hanoun.

Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Gaza, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Israeli air strikes on Sunday hit housing blocks, tunnels, a mosque and homes of Hamas officials in Gaza. The Palestinian health ministry said more than 400 people including scores of children had been killed.

"The price the Gaza Strip will pay will be a very heavy one that will change reality for generations," said Defence Minister Yoav Gallant in the town of Ofakim, which suffered casualties and had hostages taken.

Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said the country had called in around 100,000 soldiers.

An Israeli man looks out from a window of a building that was hit following rockets from Gaza that were launched towards Israel in Ashkelon, southern Israel October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

"Our job is to make sure that at the end of this war, Hamas will no longer have any military capabilities to threaten Israeli civilians with, and in addition to that we also need to make sure Hamas will not govern the Gaza Strip," he said.

Oil prices were up more than $3 a barrel in Asian trade on Monday as the violence deepened political uncertainty across the Middle East and raised concerns about supplies from Iran.

Iran is an ally of Hamas and while it congratulated Hamas on the attack, its mission to the United Nations said Tehran was not involved in the attacks.

Any sustained rally in oil prices would act as a tax on consumers and add to global inflationary pressures, which weighed on equities as S&P 500 futures shed 0.7% and Nasdaq futures lost 0.6%.

Several international air carriers have suspended flight services with Tel Aviv in light of the Hamas attack, saying they are waiting for conditions to improve before resuming.

Palestinians carry their belongings as they walk on a debris-strewn street in the aftermath of Israeli strikes, following a Hamas surprise attack, at Beach refugee camp, in Gaza City, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Beyond blockaded Gaza, Israeli forces and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah militia exchanged artillery and rocket fire on Sunday, while in Egypt, two Israeli tourists were shot dead along with a guide.

Appeals for restraint came from around the world, though Western nations largely stood by Israel.

The Palestinian foreign ministry denounced what it called a "barbarous campaign of death and destruction" by Israel.

"As an occupying power, Israel has no right or justification to target the defenceless civilian population in Gaza or elsewhere in Palestine," it said on Sunday.

In southern Israel, Hamas gunmen were still fighting Israeli security forces after their surprise assault with rocket barrages and bands of gunmen who overran army bases and invaded border towns.

"It's taking more time than we expected to get things back into a defensive, security posture," Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told a briefing with journalists.

07:56am: At least 700 killed in Saturday's attack on Israel

Israel's military, which faces awkward questions for not thwarting the attack, said it had regained control of most infiltration points along security barriers, killed hundreds of attackers and taken dozens more prisoner.

Tens of thousands of soldiers had been around Gaza, a narrow strip of land that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, and the military was starting to evacuate Israelis around the frontier.

Israel has not released an official toll but its media said at least 700 people were killed in Saturday's attacks, children among them. Military spokesperson Daniel Hagari called it "the worst massacre of innocent civilians in Israel's history."

Several Americans were killed by Hamas attackers, a White House National Security Council spokesperson confirmed. Thailand said 12 of its nationals had been killed and 11 kidnapped.

Palestinians inspect damages in the aftermath of Israeli strikes, following a Hamas surprise attack, at Beach refugee camp, in Gaza City, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Palestinian fighters took dozens of hostages to Gaza, including soldiers and civilians, children and the elderly. A second Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad, said it was holding more than 30 of the captives.

About 30 missing Israelis attending a dance party that was attacked by gunmen emerged from hiding on Sunday, Israeli media reported, putting the death toll at the outdoor gathering at 260.

"The cruel reality is Hamas took hostages as an insurance policy against Israeli retaliatory action, particularly a massive ground attack and to trade for Palestinian prisoners," said Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

07:50am: Biden speaks to Netanyahu

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the second straight day on Sunday, saying in a post on the social media platform X that he expressed "my full support for the people of Israel in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists."

The United States led Western denunciations of Hamas' attack, with Biden issuing a warning to Iran and others that this was "not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks."

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he had ordered the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean as a show of support to Israel.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem condemned the U.S. announcement as "an actual participation in the aggression against our people".

The violence may undermine U.S.-backed moves towards normalising relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia - a security realignment that could threaten Palestinian hopes of self determination and hem in Hamas' main backer, Iran.

Palestinians inspect a mosque destroyed in Israeli strikes in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, October 8, 2023. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/File Photo

Tehran's other main regional ally, Lebanon's Hezbollah, fought a war with Israel in 2006 and said its "guns and rockets" stand with Hamas.

The escalation follows surging violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where a Palestinian authority exercises limited self-rule, opposed by Hamas that wants Israel destroyed.

Conditions in the West Bank have worsened under Netanyahu's hard-right government, with more Israeli raids and assaults by Jewish settlers on Palestinian villages, and the Palestinian Authority called for an emergency Arab League meeting.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the assault would spread to the West Bank and Jerusalem. Gazans have lived under an Israeli-led blockade for 16 years, since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

"How many times have we warned you that the Palestinian people have been living in refugee camps for 75 years, and you refuse to recognise the rights of our people?" Haniyeh said.

The U.N. appealed for the creation of humanitarian corridors to bring food into Gaza and said at least 70,000 Palestinians in Gaza are seeking shelter in schools it runs.

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