Israel Hamas war: Ground invasion of Gaza expected soon as Netanyahu warns 'next stage is coming'

A Palestinian carrying a child runs following an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues for an eighth day
A Palestinian carrying a child runs following an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues for an eighth day Copyright YASSER QUDIH/AFP via Getty Images
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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That's the end of our live coverage for today, thanks for reading. We'll be back again at 09:00CET on Sunday morning with all the latest developments. For now, read our live blog below to see how events unfolded on Saturday:



  • Israel has instructed all 1.1 million Palestinians in north Gaza to leave, including those in hospitals. That figure is around half the strip's population

  • The UN warns Israel's evacuation plan would have "devastating humanitarian consequences"

  • At least 2,215 Palestinians, including 724 children, have been killed and thousands more wounded in Israeli air attacks on Gaza

  • The number of people killed in Israel has reached over 1,300, with more than 3,400 wounded

  • Gaza hospitals are reportedly overwhelmed - and say 60% of casualties women and children

  • Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using white phosphorus munitions in its military operations in Gaza and Lebanon

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns this is 'just the beginning' 


Two civilians killed in Israeli bombing in southern Lebanon - local mayor 

Two Lebanese civilians have been killed in an Israeli bombardment in Chebaa, in southern Lebanon, the village's mayor, Mohammad Harb, told AFP on Saturday.

“A man and his wife were killed in their house by an Israeli bombardment,” he said.

Exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli army have intensified for several days in this region at the border between the two countries.



Blinken seeks China’s help to prevent spread of Israel Hamas war - State Department

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to seek China’s help in preventing the Israel-Hamas war from spreading.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken called Wang on Saturday from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to ask China to use whatever influence it has in the Middle East to keep other countries and groups from entering the conflict.

Miller would not say which countries and groups the US believes Beijing has influence with but China is known to have close trade and political ties with Iran, which in turn supports Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

Miller declined to characterize Wang’s response, but said the US believes it and China have a shared interest in Middle East stability.



The war against Hamas must be waged with 'the greatest respect' for the humanitarian situation - Germany

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Saturday for the war against Hamas to be waged with "the greatest respect" for the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

“The fight against Hamas must be carried out with the greatest respect for the humanitarian situation of innocent women, children and men,” Baerbock said following a meeting with her Egyptian counterpart in Cairo.



Israel-Hamas war: Cyprus welcomes refugees from Israel

Cyprus has been welcoming a constant flow of refugees from Israel, evacuated by boats or planes, since the Hamas attack on October 7, Cypriot officials said on Saturday.

Hundreds of foreign nationals arrived this week from Israel aboard military flights or cruise ships to the island of Cyprus, some 250km from the Israeli coast.

Cypriot authorities expect more arrivals in the coming days, including US nationals who will fly in. 

A liner is also expected at the port of Limassol, in the south of the island.

According to the Cypriot news site Philenews, some 2,100 people, having boarded a ship leaving from the Israeli port of Haifa, are expected on Sunday, while another ship is also heading towards the island.

On Friday, a boat leaving from Haifa carrying 300 European nationals, mainly Hungarian, docked in the Cypriot port of Larnaca in the south.

Some 150 Israelis are expected to board this ship to return to Israel.

Commercial flights between Cyprus and Israel have been suspended.



Israeli PM visits troops near Gaza

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has paid a visit to Israeli ground forces stationed near the conflict-hit Gaza Strip.

“With our fighters in the Gaza Strip, on the front line. We are all ready,” he wrote on X - formerly Twitter - alongside pictures and videos of his visit.


IN PICTURES: Thousands of Palestine supporters march in London 


(Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu via Getty Images)
(Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to the streets in London

Thousands of people have demonstrated in central London on Saturday, under heavy police surveillance, in support of the Palestinian people.

Contrary to bans in France and Germany, the London march was authorised - but the police had warned that they would arrest anyone showing support for Hamas.

The procession set off from Regent Street in front of the BBC headquarters, with numerous Palestinian flags and signs reading “Freedom for Palestine”, “Stop the massacre in Gaza” and demanding sanctions against Israel.

The police and the government had deployed more than 1,000 officers.

The move came as authorities recorded an increase in anti-Semitic acts over the past week and a young woman was arrested on Friday.

She was suspected of having displayed his support for Hamas who are classified as a terrorist organization in the United Kingdom.

The British are very divided on the issue: according to a YouGov poll, 22% think that the United Kingdom should be more critical of Israel, while 16% would like stronger support for the Jewish state.


Thousands take part in a 'March For Palestine', part of a pro-Palestinian national demonstration, in London on Saturday (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Reports of exchange of fire with Israeli troops - Hezbollah TV 

Hezbollah’s TV station has reported an intense exchange of fire along Lebanon’s border with Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Al-Manar TV reported that Hezbollah fighters pounded Israeli positions in the Chebaa Farms and Kfar Chouba hills area on Saturday.

It was the latest exchange of shelling between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters since last Saturday following Hamas’ attack on southern Israel.

Israel’s military said that it was striking Lebanon after coming under fire from Hezbollah. Chebaa Farms was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war, but Lebanon considers it and the nearby Kfar Chouba hills as Lebanese territories.

Golan Heights were annexed by Israel in 1981.



Avoiding a 'generalised' crisis is still possible - Head of Iranian diplomacy

The head of Iranian diplomacy has suggested that it is still possible to avoid a "generalised crisis", against a backdrop of fear of regional conflagration since the attack carried out by Palestinian Hamas against Israel on October 7.

“There is still a political opportunity to avoid a generalized crisis in the region,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

“Perhaps it will be too late in the coming hours,” he warned.

The Israeli state and the United States fear the opening of a second front in northern Israel on the border with Lebanon, especially if Hezbollah, supported by Iran, decides to intervene in the war between their Islamist ally Hamas and Israel.

Speaking from the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Amir-Abdollahian reiterated that Iran's regional allies (Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, among others), known informally as the "Axis of resistance", could react in the event of an escalation of the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

“The resistance (to Israel, editor’s note), on other fronts, has placed all possible scenarios before it, it has its finger on the trigger,” he added.


Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian holds a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Saturday (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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