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Israel Hamas war: Civil order 'breaks down' in Gaza as strikes damage hospital and death toll rises

A man holds wounded children near livestock animals around the heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks at Nuseirat Refugee Camp on Sunday
A man holds wounded children near livestock animals around the heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks at Nuseirat Refugee Camp on Sunday Copyright Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images
Copyright Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images
By Saskia O'Donoghue with AP & AFP
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All the latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.

Palestinian Red Crescent: Israeli strikes damaged Gaza hospital

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The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has announced that Israeli strikes on Sunday damaged sections in the packed Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, after receiving two phone calls from the Israeli military to evacuate.

A video the Red Crescent posted on X, formerly Twitter, of the hospital following the strikes shows rooms covered in debris and dust and the windows blown out. People covered their noses and mouths, panicking as they tried to leave the hospital with their children.

The PRCS-run hospital administration said that evacuating the hospital was impossible, as its hundreds of patients included children in incubators and wounded people in the intensive-care unit. In a statement, it said many of the 14,000 people seeking shelter there are Palestinians displaced by the ongoing Hamas-Israel war.

Israeli strikes targeted areas around the hospital throughout Sunday. The director-general of the World Health Organization has previously said that it would be “impossible” to evacuate hospitals without endangering people’s lives.

Hamas reports 'violent fighting' with Israeli army in northern Gaza

Hamas has reported "violent fighting" underway between its fighters and Israeli forces in the north of the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli army has been carrying out ground incursions since Friday evening.

“Our fighters are currently engaged in heavy combat using automatic and anti-tank weapons with the occupation forces carrying out an incursion into the northwest of Gaza,” said the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in a statement.

The al-Qassam brigades also announced shortly beforehand that they had fired "mortar shells and rockets" at an Israeli military position in Erez, the main crossing point between the Palestinian territory and Israel, closed since the start of the war

Number of children killed in conflict soars

The number of children killed in the blockaded Gaza Strip since the start of the Hamas-Israel earlier this month has exceeded the number of children killed in armed conflict every year globally since 2019, international charity Save the Children has announced. 

In a statement, the charity cited numbers from the Gaza Health Ministry of at least 3,195 children killed in the war. It also mentioned the deaths of 33 children in the occupied West Bank and 29 children killed in Israel.

“The numbers are harrowing and with violence not only continuing but expanding in Gaza right now, many more children remain at grave risk,” Save the Children Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory Jason Lee said in a statement. “One child’s death is one too many, but these are grave violations of epic proportions. A cease-fire is the only way to ensure their safety.”

People check the destruction following Israeli strikes in Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday
People check the destruction following Israeli strikes in Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip on SundayMajdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

UN Secretary General renews calls for humanitarian cease-fire

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that “the world is witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe taking place before our eyes” in Gaza, with over two million people denied the essentials of life and subjected to relentless bombardment.

“I urge all those with responsibility to step back from the brink,” he told reporters at a meeting with Nepal’s prime minister in Kathmandu on Sunday. “We must join forces to end this nightmare for the people of Gaza, Israel and all those affected around the world.”

The UN chief reiterated his appeal for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, the unconditional release of all hostages and delivery of aid at scale to Gaza.

Guterres again condemned Hamas’ “appalling attacks” on Israel on 7 October, stressing that “there is no justification, ever, for the killing, injuring and abduction of civilians.”

He also reiterated that all parties to conflict are required under international humanitarian laws to protect civilians and provide them with food, water, medicine and other essentials, stressing that “those laws cannot be contorted for the sake of expedience.”

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“The number of civilians who have been killed and injured is totally unacceptable,” Guterres added.

Israel drops leaflets on Gaza, asking civilians to 'surrender'

Israel’s military, which has said repeatedly that it is not at war with civilians in Gaza but rather with Hamas, dropped leaflets on the Gaza Strip Sunday asking civilians to “surrender.” Written in Arabic, the leaflets told civilians to lay down all their weapons, put their hands up, wave white flags and follow instructions from the Israeli military.

“Hamas leaders are exploiting you,” the flyers read. “They and their families are in safe places, while you die in vain.”

Washington calls on Israel to make 'distinction' between Hamas and Palestinian civilians

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The United States said on Sunday that Israel must make a "distinction" in its military operations between Hamas and Palestinian civilians, as the Israeli army intensifies its bombings and ground operations in the Gaza Strip.

“What we believe is that every hour, every day of this military operation, the Israeli government should take every possible measure at its disposal to distinguish between Hamas – terrorists who are legitimate military targets – and civilians who are not,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN.

Hamas militants killed near Erez crossing - Israel

Israel’s military have claimed that ground forces killed a number of Hamas militants as they were exiting a tunnel near the Erez crossing, which used to be the sole pedestrian passageway out of the coastal enclave into Israel before it was destroyed in the fighting. It was unclear how many militants were killed by Israeli forces.

Videos of the ground operation released by the military showed tanks traversing small, sandy hills and bulldozers clearing mountains of debris. Hamas has a sprawling network of tunnels underneath Gaza where it is believed to be stockpiling weapons, food, and other supplies.

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Sunak and Macron insist on the need for 'urgent humanitarian support' - Downing Street

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office says he has spoken to French President Emmanuel Macron about the importance of getting urgent humanitarian support into Gaza and maintaining regional security following the expansion of Israel’s military operation against Hamas.

The leaders “agreed to work together on efforts both to get crucial food, fuel, water and medicine to those who need it, and to get foreign nationals out,” Downing Street said in a statement on Sunday.

“They expressed their shared concern at the risk of escalation in the wider region, in particular in the West Bank. The Prime Minister and President Macron updated on the conversations they have had with leaders in the region to stress the importance of working to ensure regional stability,” the statement added.

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Sunak and Macron agreed that it was important not to lose sight of the long-term future of the region and, in particular, the need for a two-state solution, the statement said, adding, "They underscored that Hamas does not represent ordinary Palestinians and that their barbarism should not undermine the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Pope calls for cease-fire and release of hostages

Pope Francis repeatedly called for a cease-fire in Gaza on Sunday.

“Let’s continue to pray for Ukraine and for the serious situation in Palestine and Israel and for other regions with wars,” Francis said.

“In particular, in Gaza, leave space to guarantee humanitarian aid. And let the hostages be freed immediately. Let no one abandon the possibility to stop the arms. Cease fire,” he added, speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace above St. Peter’s Square.

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The pope cited the Reverend Ibrahim Faltas, the vicar of the Custody the Holy Land, as joining him in the urgent plea for a cease-fire.

“Stop yourselves brothers and sisters, war is always defeat. Always! Always!” he concluded.

Netanyahu apologises after criticising security officials

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologised after criticising security officials for having underestimated the risks of a major Hamas attack.

He posted a message on X - formerly Twitter - which he later deleted before apologising.

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“Never, under any circumstances, has the Prime Minister been alerted to the warlike intentions of Hamas,” Netanyahu wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

"All security officials, including the head of military intelligence and the head of internal security, believed that Hamas was afraid to act and was seeking an arrangement. This is the assessment that was submitted several times to the prime minister and to the cabinet by all security officials and the intelligence community. Until the moment the war broke out,” Netanyahu continued.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to apologise for his post on X
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to apologise for his post on XABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The post was removed in the morning and no longer appeared on X, only to be replaced a few minutes later by an apology.

"I was wrong. What I said after the press conference should not have been said and I apologise for it. I fully support all security officials. I support the chief of staff, the commanders, and the soldiers of the IDF (Israeli Army) who are on the front lines and who are fighting for our home. Together we will win,” Netanyahu wrote.

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During his press conference with Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, member of the Knesset, the Prime Minister admitted the Hamas attack was "a terrible failure" for Israel.

"There has been a terrible failure here and it will be examined to the end. I promise that there will not be a stone left unturned. For now my mission is to save the country and lead the soldiers to total victory over Hamas and the forces of evil,” Netanyahu declared.

Many political analysts in Israel believe that Netanyahu's political career has been seriously compromised by not having been able to ensure the protection of his population - one of his electoral promises.

Thousands loot UN aid warehouses in Gaza as desperation grows and Israel widens ground offensive

Thousands of people broke into aid warehouses in Gaza to take flour and basic hygiene products, a UN agency said on Sunday, in a mark of growing desperation and the breakdown of public order three weeks into the war between Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas rulers.

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Thomas White, director of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said the warehouse break-ins were “a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza. People are scared, frustrated and desperate."

UNRWA provides basic services to hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza. Its schools across the territory have been transformed into packed shelters housing Palestinians displaced by the conflict. Israel has allowed only a small trickle of aid to enter from Egypt, some of which was stored in one of the warehouses that was broken into, UNRWA said.

Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the agency, said the crowds broke into four facilities on Saturday. She said the warehouses did not contain any fuel, which has been in critically short supply since Israel cut off all shipments after the start of the war.

Situation in Gaza becomes 'increasingly desperate', warns UN chief

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed alarm at an "increasingly desperate" situation in the Gaza Strip, deploring that Israel had "intensified its military operations" there.

“The situation in Gaza is becoming more desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a sorely needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations,” Guterres said during a visit to Nepal, after a four-day trip to Qatar.

He described as "totally unacceptable" the number of civilians killed and injured in the war between Israel and Hamas, sparked by the Islamist movement's bloody attack on 7 October on Israeli soil.

Palestinians wait in front of a bakery shop to meet their daily food needs on Sunday
Palestinians wait in front of a bakery shop to meet their daily food needs on SundayAbed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images

Israeli army increases troop numbers in Gaza - spokesperson

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The Israeli army has increased the number of its troops entering the Gaza Strip where it is at war against Palestinian Hamas, its spokesperson announced on Sunday.

“During the night (Saturday to Sunday), we increased” the number of army forces entering the Gaza Strip “and they joined those already fighting there,” General Daniel Hagari said. 

“We are gradually increasing ground operations and the extent of our forces in the Gaza Strip,” he added.

Palestinian Red Crescent: Israel says Al-Quds Hospital 'going to be bombed'

The Palestinian Red Crescent - PRCS - say they have received “serious threats” from the Israeli forces to “immediately evacuate the Al-Quds Hospital as it is going to be bombed”.

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Since this morning, there have been raids 50 metres away from the hospital, a statement on X - formerly Twitter - said.

Israel strikes near Gaza's largest hospital after accusing Hamas of using it as a base

Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes early Sunday near Gaza's largest hospital, which is packed with patients and tens of thousands of Palestinians seeking shelter. Israel has said Gaza's militant Hamas rulers have a command post under the hospital, without providing much evidence.

The strikes came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a "second stage" in Israel's war on Hamas, three weeks after Hamas launched a brutal incursion into Israel on 7 October. Ground forces pushed into Gaza over the weekend as Israel pounded the territory from air, land and sea.

The bombardment - described by Gaza residents as the most intense of the war - knocked out most communications in the territory late Friday, largely cutting off the besieged enclave's 2.3 million people from the world. Communications were restored to many people in Gaza early Sunday, according to local telecoms companies, Internet-access advocacy group NetBlocks.org and confirmation on the ground.

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Residents said the latest airstrikes destroyed most of the roads leading to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which is part of the northern half of the besieged territory, which Israel has told people to evacuate. Israel says most residents have fled to the south, but hundreds of thousands remain in the north, in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones. Tens of thousands are sheltering in Shifa, which is also packed with patients wounded in strikes.

"Reaching the hospital has become increasingly difficult," Mahmoud al-Sawah, who is sheltering in the hospital, said over the phone. "It seems they want to cut off the area." Another Gaza City resident, Abdallah Sayed, said the Israeli bombing over the past two days was "the most violent and intense" since the war started.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment when asked about reports of strikes near Shifa.

The army recently released computer-generated images showing what it said were Hamas installations in and around Shifa Hospital, as well as interrogations of captured Hamas fighters who might have been speaking under duress. Israel has made similar claims before, but has not substantiated them.

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People search through buildings that were destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday in Khan Yunis, Gaza
People search through buildings that were destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday in Khan Yunis, GazaAhmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

Internet and telephone connectivity restored for many in Gaza

Internet and telephone connectivity has been restored for many people in Gaza, according to the telecoms company Paltel, Internet-access advocacy group NetBlocks.org and confirmation on the ground.

The besieged Gaza Strip had suffered a communication blackout since late Friday, leaving its 2.3 million residents cut off from the outside world amid heavy Israeli air and land bombardment.

Hamas Health Ministry announces death toll of more than 8,000

The Hamas health ministry has announced that more than 8,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war with Israel.

“The death toll linked to Israeli aggression exceeds 8,000, half of whom are children,” on the night of Saturday to Sunday the ministry told AFP.

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UN warns of collapse of ‘civil order’ after looting of aid centres

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees warned on Sunday of a collapse of "civil order" in the Gaza Strip after the looting of warehouses and food aid distribution centres it runs.

“Thousands of people entered several UNRWA warehouses and distribution centres in the central and southern Gaza Strip,” the UN agency said in a statement. “It is a worrying sign that civil order is beginning to collapse after three weeks of war and a siege on Gaza,” they add.

Israel aims to bring back all the hostages

Netanyahu told the nationally televised news conference that Israel is determined to bring back all the hostages, and maintained that the expanding ground operation "will help us in this mission." He said he couldn't reveal everything that is being done due to the sensitivity and secrecy of the efforts.

"This is the second stage of the war, whose objectives are clear: to destroy the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas and bring the hostages home," he said in his first time taking questions from journalists since the war began.

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Netanyahu also acknowledged that the 7 October "debacle," in which more than 1,400 people were killed, would need a thorough investigation, adding that "everyone will have to answer questions, including me."

The Israeli military said it was gradually expanding its ground operations inside Gaza, while stopping short of calling it an all-out invasion.

"We are proceeding with the stages of the war according to an organised plan," Hagari, the military spokesman, said. The comments hinted at a strategy of staged escalation, instead of a massive and overwhelming offensive.

Despite the Israeli offensive, Palestinian militants have continued firing rockets into Israel, with the constant sirens in southern Israel a reminder of the threat.

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