Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that the military would have to retain open-ended security control over the Gaza Strip long after the war against Hamas ends.
The remarks came as Israel's military said its troops had entered Gaza's second-largest city in its its pursuit to wipe out the territory's Hamas rulers. The war has already killed more than 15,000 Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza's 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go.
The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since Oct. 7 has surpassed 16,248, with more than 42,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children. Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods.
The United States, Qatar and Egypt, which mediated an earlier cease-fire, say they are working on a longer truce. Hamas said talks on releasing more of the scores of hostages seized by militants on Oct. 7 must be tied to a permanent cease-fire.
— ‘Widespread’ sexual and gender-based crimes were committed during Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, Israeli officials say. Biden calls reports of Hamas raping Israeli hostages ‘ appalling,’ says world can’t look away
— Hamas officials join Nelson Mandela’s family at ceremony marking 10th anniversary of his death.
— A senior EU official warns of a huge security risk in Europe over Christmas due to the fallout from the war.
— At COP28 summit, activists and officials voice concern about Gaza’s environment.
— In a rare action against Israel, US says extremist West Bank settlers will be barred from America.
— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Here’s what’s happening in the war:
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says 16,248 Palestinians have been killed and more than 42,000 wounded since the Israel-Hamas war broke out two months ago.
The ministry said Tuesday evening that the death toll included more than 6,000 children and more than 4,000 women. The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.
The figures show a sharp rise in deaths since a weeklong truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed late last week. Since the resumption of fighting on Friday, more than 1,000 Palestinians were killed, according to the Health Ministry.
Last week, the United States urged Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians as its air and ground campaign shifted to southern Gaza, particularly in and around Khan Younis, the territory’s second largest city.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations says limited humanitarian aid is being delivered only to the Rafah region in southern Gaza because of intense hostilities. It also says that all telecom services have shut down due to cuts in the main fiber routes.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday that only 100 aid trucks with humanitarian supplies and 69,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt on Monday, about the same amount as Sunday.
That is well below the daily average of 170 trucks and 110,000 liters of fuel that entered Gaza during the humanitarian pause from Nov. 24-30, he said.
Dujarric quoted Lynn Hastings, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian territories, saying “shelters have no capacity, the health system is on its knees, and there is a lack of clean drinking water, no proper sanitation and poor nutrition.”
He reiterated that there are no safe places in Gaza and that “those places that fly the U.N. flag are not safe either.”
Dujarric said the main telecommunication provider in Gaza announced the shutdown of all telecom services Monday night..
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused international human rights groups of turning a blind eye to rapes that Israel says were committed by Hamas militants during their Oct. 7 cross-border rampage.
Witnesses and medical experts have said that Hamas militants committed a series of rapes and other attacks before killing the victims in the attack, though the extent of the sexual violence remains unknown.
Experts have been piecing together evidence in recent weeks in a case that is complicated because there are no known victims to testify and limited forensic evidence.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Netanyahu accused the international community of playing down the attacks and even ignoring them. He said he expects "all civilized leaders, governments, nations to speak up against this atrocity.”
Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Boston, U.S. President Joe Biden called on the world to condemn the acts by Hamas “without equivocation” and “without exception.”
He also stressed that “Hamas’ refusal to release the remaining young women” is what ended a temporary truce and hostage agreement that the U.S. helped broker.
JERUSALEM — Family members of Israeli hostages still held in Gaza held a tense meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet Tuesday. Participants said the meeting ended after nearly half the room had left in disappointment with the government’s efforts to return their loved ones.
It was the first time the war cabinet had heard directly from recently released hostages. At least five shared harrowing details of their experience in Gaza and called on the government to do more to bring home some 138 still in captivity.
A group representing the hostages’ families said one recently freed hostage testified during the meeting to Hamas “touching” female hostages. Another hostage, according to the group, told the war cabinet the militants shaved off a male hostage’s body hair to humiliate him. Others said they were deprived of water.
Witnesses and medical experts have said Hamas militants raped women during the Oct. 7 cross-border rampage that triggered the war. The Associated Press has not been able to verify reports that hostages were sexually abused in captivity.
Some 110 hostages were freed in exchange for Palestinian prisoners during a weeklong cease-fire that ended Friday. The Israeli army says 138 people remain in captivity in Gaza.
JERUSALEM — Israel’s army chief has confirmed that Israel is considering flooding Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza with seawater to destroy the militant group’s underground network. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the army has assembled a system of large pumps that could flood the approximately 300 miles of Hamas tunnels in Gaza. Asked about the report, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said flooding the tunnels could be a “good idea” and that it was “one of a number of options we are considering.” Hamas is believed to have a sprawling network of tunnels it uses to move fighters, weapons and supplies throughout Gaza. Israel has said it already has destroyed hundreds of tunnel sections during the war. It is unclear if flooding the tunnels with seawater could threaten Gaza’s already overtaxed underground freshwater aquifer or potentially damage soil with salt and hazardous materials.
EL-ARISH, Egypt — The United States has pledged an additional $21 million in humanitarian assistance for Gaza to help establish a field hospital.
The aid was announced Tuesday by Samantha Power, who heads the U.S. Agency for International Development, during a visit to the Egyptian city of el-Arish.
The city is some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Gaza’s western border and has become the drop-off point for international aid before it’s packed in trucks and transported to the besieged enclave. The war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers has forced many of the territory’s hospitals to close.
Power also reiterated that the U.S was committed to boosting aid and protecting civilians as Israel presses ahead with its offensive.
“Military operations need to be conducted in a way that distinguishes fighters from civilians,” Power said.
The U.S., a close ally of Israel, has backed Israel’s offensive but urged Israel to reduce civilian casualties. It has also called for humanitarian pauses to ease the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.
A weeklong cease-fire that ended Friday saw an uptick in aid enter Gaza, including fuel. Since Oct. 7., a trickle of aid has flowed intermittently into Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing.
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — White House Principal Deputy Secretary Olivia Dalton said Tuesday the U.S. had organized a second aid flight into Gaza with 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms) of food and medical supplies.
An Air Force C-17 aircraft delivered the items to Egypt, where they were to be transported into Gaza and distributed by United Nations agencies, Dalton said.
The aid came as USAID administrator Samantha Power arrived in Egypt to meet with local officials and Egyptian and international humanitarian organizations.
Dalton spoke as President Joe Biden traveled to Boston for a series of fundraisers for the 2024 campaign.
BEIRUT — Israeli shelling hit an army post in south Lebanon on Tuesday, killing one soldier and wounding three others, the Lebanese army said.
It was the first report of a death of a Lebanese army soldier during the clashes between the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the border against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war. The Lebanese army has not been an active party in the conflict.
The Israeli military said in a statement that the Lebanese soldiers were not the intended target of the strike, which it said was launched in “self-defense to eliminate an imminent threat.” It added that the Israeli army “expresses regret over the incident.”
Hezbollah said in a statement that it had fired guided missiles at a group of Israeli soldiers in Manara in northern Israel in retaliation for the killing. The militant group also claimed an earlier drone attack on an Israeli position in Metula.
Hezbollah started attacking Israeli positions on Oct. 8, a day after the Israel-Hamas war began, in the disputed Chebaa Farms area along the
CAIRO — The ruler of Qatar, which has played a key role in mediating between Israel and Hamas, has accused Israel of carrying out “crimes of genocide” in Gaza.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani lashed out at Israel at a summit of Gulf Arab leaders in Doha on Tuesday.
He said “all religious, ethical and humanitarian values have been violated in occupied Palestine through crimes the occupation forces are committing against humanity.”
Israel says it is acting in self-defense after Hamas launched an attack deep into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and capturing scores of men, women and children.
Qatar’s emir said self-defense “doesn’t permit the crimes of genocide that Israel is committing.”
The war has killed over 15,000 people in Gaza, 70% of them women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel says it makes every effort to spare civilians and accuses Hamas of using them as human shields.
Qatar has long hosted a Hamas political office, and some of the group’s top leaders are based there.
In an audio recording released this week, Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, threatened to target Hamas leaders everywhere, including in Qatar.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Israel should not be allowed to “get away” with alleged crimes committed in Gaza.
In an address Tuesday to a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Erdogan also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is entangle in legal troubles, of putting the entire region at danger for his alleged political survival.
“The Netanyahu administration is endangering the security and future of our entire region in order to extend its political life,” Erdogan said in televised comments.
“The loss of life of 17,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women, is a crime against humanity and a war crime. Israel should not get away with these crimes,” he said.
A vocal critic of Israel’s actions in Gaza, Erdogan has repeatedly called for Netanyahu to be put on trial for alleged war crimes.
PARIS — France froze all assets belonging to Hamas’ top leader in Gaza starting Tuesday and lasting six months.
Yehya Sinwar is considered the mastermind of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. A decision published in the Official Journal of the French Republic said that “funds and economic resources owned, held or controlled” by Yehya Sinwar were being frozen. The total value of Sinwar’s assets in France was not provided.