Israel-Hamas war: Mother watches daughter get murdered as husband is abducted

Welcome back to our live coverage of the war between Israel and Hamas.

An Israeli mother whose daughter was brutally killed by Hamas in front of her and whose husband was abducted has shared a horrifying account of what happened.

The deadly rampage was filmed by the terrorists and callously uploaded on the woman’s Facebook account. Gali Idan has now spoken about the ordeal to raise awareness about her husband’s plight.

There has been more carnage in Gaza with a new video emerging purportedly showing at least a dozen Gaza residents shot dead in the streets by Hamas terrorists as they were attempting to flee from the north to the south of the Hamas-controlled region.

The footage comes as the leader of militant group Hezbollah made a much anticipated speech early on Saturday morning (AEST) – his first since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas.

There were concerns Hassan Nasrallah, who runs the Iranian backed anti-Israel militant group, could escalate the conflict with Israel leading to a war on two fronts.

He didn’t go that far. At least not yet.

Nasrallah said “all options are open” depending on Israel’s actions in Gaza. The US immediately warned Hezbollah not to “take advantage” of the conflict.

But one particular comment Nasrallah made raised eyebrows. He sought to distance both Hezbollah and its backer Iran from Hamas’ October 7 massacre that killed 1400 Israelis saying it was a “100 per cent Palestinian” organised attack which had been “kept secret” from all others.

Meanwhile, Israel has admitted it carried out a deadly attack on a convoy of ambulances leaving Gaza City saying Hamas was using the vehicles to transport terrorists.

Around 15 people are thought to have died.

But a Hamas spokesman denied the allegations and said the group holds “United States of America and the international community responsible” for the strike.

Read on for the latest updates.

Israel fires missile at Hamas leader’s house

An Israeli drone fired a missile at the Gaza house of Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh who is currently outside the enclave, Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa Radio reported on Saturday.

It was unclear whether any of his family members were at the house when it was struck.

Haniyeh, Hamas’ political chief, has been outside the Gaza Strip since 2019, residing between Turkey and Qatar.

— Reuters

Israel strikes temporary home shelter

At the Osama bin Zaid Boys School north of Gaza City, AFP saw the aftermath of what Hamas authorities said was Israeli tank shelling that killed 20 people.

Ambulance teams rushed into the debris-littered building to aid the injured and remove the dead.

Stunned onlookers wept and wandered the scene with hands clasped above the head in horror and disbelief.

A long row of washing still hung from windows on the building’s first storey, evidence that the school had become a temporary home for some of the hundreds of thousands displaced by the war.

Israel’s military describes Gaza City as “the centre of the Hamas terror organisation” and says it is targeting Hamas operatives, weapons stores, tunnel complexes, drone launching posts and command centres there.


Israeli military’s new ‘terrorist’ claim

Israel’s military has claimed it “eliminated terrorists” and found weapons belonging to Hamas while exploring tunnel shafts in northern Gaza throughout the past day.

Israeli soldiers fought 15 militants, killed several of them and destroyed three Hamas observation posts, Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari wrote to X.

The troops reportedly took to “an area from which many attempts to attack the IDF forces through tunnel shafts and military compounds were detected,” the post read.

Truce ruled out

A “temporary truce” has been ruled out despite efforts from US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, who arrived in Amman last Friday to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Mr Blinken left Israel empty handed as he attempted to secure “humanitarian pauses” in the war against Hamas.

The US leader encouraged Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to temporarily pause Israel’s military offensive so aid could be provided, but the request was denied.

Mr Netanyahu, following the meeting, said there would be no “temporary truce” in Gaza until Hamas released Israeli hostages.

Mr Blinken will also be joining foreign ministers from five Arab countries, expected to be attended by a representative of the Palestinian Authority, a rival of Hamas.

Israeli mother’s distressing account of attack

An Israeli mother whose daughter was killed in the deadly October 7 attack and whose husband was taken hostage has given a distressing account of what happened.

Gali Idan told CNN the family’s distress was compounded by the terrorists using her phone to livestream the ordeal to her family and friends on Facebook.

She said she struggled to keep her three children quiet as they were “crying and fearful” during the attack.

With no lock on the safe room her husband Tsachi, tried valiantly to wedge furniture in front of the door to protect the family once they heard Hamas had breached the kibbutz.

She said she heard the Hamas terrorists walking on glass in the house before eventually shooting her 17-year-old daughter Maayan through the door.

“It’s my daughter, my daughter, she is 18 in four days,” she said crying.

Her husband tried to save Maayan “sitting in her blood to help her”.

“I told the kids not look because I didn’t want them to see their sister in a pile of blood,” she said.

Her husband was so distraught he could not speak, adding to the confusion.

Eventually Tsachi was told to get up, she said, as the children screamed at the terrorists not to take their father.

‘Significant’ pause needed in conflict: US

Talks are being held on a “very significant” pause in the Middle East conflict to win the release of dozens of hostages taken by Palestinian militant group Hamas, a senior White House official said on Friday.

“It is something that is under a very serious and active discussion. But there is no agreement as of yet to actually get this done,” the official said, as fighting between US ally Israel and Hamas raged in the Gaza Strip.

An estimated 240 Israeli and foreign hostages were kidnapped by Hamas during its October 7 assault on Israel.

The US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “nobody knows” the exact number of hostages, adding that it was “well over 100 and maybe over 200.”

To get that many people out “is going to require a fairly significant pause in hostilities.”

But the official warned: “There’s absolutely no guarantee a) that is going to happen or b) when it’s going to happen.”


Blinken in Jordan as war rages

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday after leaving Israel empty-handed in his efforts to secure humanitarian “pauses” in its war to destroy Hamas.

Blinken arrived late Friday in Amman where he will also join a meeting of foreign ministers of five Arab countries which will be attended by a representative of the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by president Mahmud Abbas, a rival of Hamas.

In Israel, he discussed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the idea of “humanitarian pauses” to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and to allow aid to be distributed to the beleaguered population of the Gaza Strip.

But after meeting Blinken on Friday, Netanyahu warned there could be no “temporary truce” in Gaza unless Hamas releases the hostages it holds. .

Jordan said in a statement Friday the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as well as a PA representative will meet Blinken in Amman to discuss the war.

Biden’s stance could ‘cost votes’

President Biden’s strong support for Israel is inflaming anger among Democratic activists and there are signs that it could be the final straw for many younger voters who helped put him in the White House.

Several polls suggest that Biden, 80, is out of step with a generation increasingly sympathetic with the Palestinian cause and less inclined to give Israel the benefit of the doubt.

University campuses and secondary schools had students hold pro-Palestinian protests, with some seeing this as an extension of the racial justice campaign in 2020 after the police murder of George Floyd.

While young voters who backed Biden in 2020 are unlikely to defect to the Republicans, they are already showing strong support for independent candidates planning to stand in 2024.

This week a poll by Quinnipiac University put the total of those aged 18-34 backing the campaign of Robert F Kennedy Jr, who abandoned a challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination, on 31 per cent, with a further 10 per cent supporting the left-wing academic Cornel West. Biden was on 29 per cent and Trump 27 per cent.

“This is a very different youth electorate today than it was four years ago,” said John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.

-with AFP

Hamas deception exposed

The New York Post reports on quite an extraordinary statement from a senior Joe Biden administration official during a call with reporters, going some way to explain the slow pace of getting foreign nationals out of the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas was not allowing anybody to leave,” the person said. “And then they said that they would allow foreign nationals to leave, subject to a number of wounded Palestinians being allowed to leave, as well, which of course is not objectionable.

“But the list that was provided, once it was vetted, about a third of the wounded Palestinians on the list were members of Hamas,” the official went on, calling the subterfuge “unacceptable”.

War crimes complaint against Hamas

The families of nine Israeli victims of the October 7 Hamas massacre have lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for suspected war crimes, according to the Times of Israel.

Lawyer Francois Zimeray, who is representing the families of the victims, said in a statement on Friday that the families also want Hamas prosecuted for genocide, and for the ICC to issue an international arrest warrant for its leaders.

‘Brutality’: Brother of young woman murdered by Hamas speaks out

On October 7, the terror group carried out a bloody onslaught in southern Israel, killing some 1,400 people and taking at least 246 hostages, of whom just four have been released, while one was rescued by the Israel Defense Forces.

The vast majority of those killed that day were civilians, many of them slaughtered in their homes. At least 260 were massacred at an outdoor music festival.

In his statement, Zimeray confirmed that the complaint being submitted to the ICC concerned only civilians, several of whom were at the music festival near Re’im on the Gaza border.

Horrifying video of Gaza attack

A horrifying new video purportedly shows at least a dozen Gaza residents shot dead in the streets by Hamas terrorists as they were attempting to flee from the north to the south of the Hamas-controlled region.

In the video posted on X, a man films the carnage as he rides a bicycle down the Al Rasheed beach road, crying out in anguish as the camera focuses on the dead bodies, many of them lying in pools of blood.

In a separate post, author and journalist Amjad Taha said the victims were among “dozens” killed by Hamas snipers, including women and children, because “they do not want citizens to leave”.

“They want to use them as human shields and will kill anyone who attempts to leave. Hamas terrorists in Gaza will, as usual, blame #Israel because it is easy and there is media that accepts this propaganda,” he wrote.

The video is fuelling disturbing speculation that Hamas has been killing Gaza citizens and attempting to blame their deaths on Israeli air strikes.

Taha says the man shooting the video from the bicycle is saying “Airstrikes? Does this look like air strikes?” in Arabic.

Israel has faced mounting pressure to broker a temporary ceasefire with Hamas in recent days, including from President Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, following a prolonged military campaign in Gaza that began when terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1400 people.

-New York Post

US renews talk of Palestinian state

With Israel’s campaign against Hamas raging, the United States has renewed calls to work toward a Palestinian state, but few expect success now after decades of failure.

President Joe Biden’s administration, which has faced heated criticism in the Arab world for supporting Israel’s retaliation over an October 7 Hamas attack that largely targeted civilians, has in recent days subtly changed tone by emphasising the need to minimise harm to Palestinian civilians.

Speaking Friday on his latest trip to Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for “humanitarian pauses” to let in assistance and said that longer term a two-state solution was “the best viable path – indeed, the only path.”

“That’s the only guarantor of a secure, Jewish, and democratic Israel; the only guarantor of Palestinians realising their legitimate right to live in a state of their own, enjoying equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity and dignity; the only way to end a cycle of violence once and for all,” Blinken said in Tel Aviv.

But a two-state solution was blessed almost exactly 30 years earlier by the Oslo Accords and has not come to fruition, with the Palestinian Authority enjoying only limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank, and the United States not leading a concerted diplomatic effort to the goal since John Kerry’s efforts a decade ago.

– With AFP

‘Some would like us to join a war’: Hezbollah chief

In a highly anticipated speech on Friday (local time), Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened more attacks on Israel – and that its actions could escalate – but he did not declare war.

“Some would like Hezbollah to engage in an all-out war, but I can tell you: What is happening now along the Israeli-Lebanese border is significant, and it is not the end.

“ We have been engaged in a true battle. The amount of our martyrs — 57 — testifies to this”.

Continued warnings from Israel that it could attack if Hezbollah escalates; the presence of US military hardware just off the coast and that most in Lebanon do not want a war, may have tempered the group.

But, he warned, Hezbollah’s stance could change depending on Israel’s actions in Gaza: “The possibility of the Lebanese front escalating into broad battle is a realistic option”.

“All options are open”.

The US shot back at the comments.

“We and our partners have been clear: Hezbollah and other actors — state or non-state — should not try to take advantage of the ongoing conflict,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. She added the US does not want to see an escalation.

Nasrallah warned Israel against a “pre-emptive attack” against Hezbollah.

“It will be the most foolish mistake you make in your entire existence”.

Nasrallah also called for a ceasefire.

“I tell Israel: Do not go any further. Many civilians have already died. I promise you: A civilian for a civilian.”

Hezbollah chief’s surprising reveal

Unexpectedly, Nasrallah distanced Hezbollah from the October 7 attacks.

“This was 100 per cent Palestinian. The international community keeps bringing up Iran and its military plans, but the attack was planned and executed by Palestinians for the Palestinian cause, it has no relation at all to any international or regional issues.

“This element of secrecy was the linchpin to the shocking success.”

Nonetheless, Nasrallah said the outcomes of the attack were profound and showed how “weak” Israel was.

“The glorious operation,” exposed “the frailty, weakness and total fragility of Israel … it’s more fragile than a spider’s web”.

Nasrallah added that the US, not Israel or Hamas, was “responsible” for the current conflict.

“The United States is completely responsible for the war raging in Gaza … It is the US that must pay the price for the crimes perpetrated in Gaza.

“If an all-out war breaks out, you Americans will pay with your ships, your aircraft and your soldiers,” he threatened.

Hezbollah leader’s bizarre claim

During his speech Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made the preposterous claim that most of the 1400 victims on October 7 were killed by Israeli soldiers.

That’s despite Hamas militants in some cases gloating over their kills and footage of gunmen shooting Israelis.

IDF soldiers were “acting insanely as they were caught by surprise” he said, reported The Times of Israel.

Nasrallah also said that Israel “cannot achieve” its goal of eliminating Hamas.

“Among the gravest mistakes committed by the enemy in the past is setting high goals that they cannot achieve. They set as the top goal to annihilate Hamas, the whole of Hamas”.

Israel admits to hitting ambulance convoy

On Friday (local time) an Israeli strike hit several ambulances. It’s been claimed around 15 people died in the attack near the territory’s largest hospital.

A government statement said Israeli forces targeted “a convoy of ambulances which was transporting the wounded” from Gaza City towards Rafah, in the south.

Pictures from the seen have shown what appear to be several dead bodies as well as a dead horse.

In addition to the fatalities, Hamas has said around 50 people were injured.

Israel has claimed responsibility for the missile strike but claimed that Hamas militants were using the ambulances as cover.

But a Hamas spokesman denied the allegations and said the group holds “United States of America and the international community responsible” for the strike.

“An IDF aircraft struck an ambulance that was identified by forces as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in proximity to their position in the battle zone,” the IDF said in a statement.

“A number of Hamas terrorist operatives were killed in the strike. We have information which demonstrates that Hamas’ method of operation is to transfer terror operatives and weapons in ambulances.”

It’s the latest strike by Israel this week which has caused uproar. Even if Tel Aviv is correct, and the targets have been Hamas operatives and command centres, civilians have also been casualties.

Head of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said he was “utterly shocked” by the strike, near Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital. Israel says the hospital is on top of Hamas infrastructure.

“We reiterate: patients, health workers, facilities, and ambulances must be protected at all times. Always. Ceasefire NOW,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.

Blinken told there will no ‘pause’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on Friday in a trip focused on measures to minimise harm to civilians in the war in Gaza.

The office of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted pictures of the meeting between the Israeli PM and Mr Blinken.

Mr Blinken is on his third visit to the country since the deadly Hamas attacks on 7 October.

Prior to his departure from the US, Mr Blinken said he would seek “concrete steps” from Israel to ensure that harm to Palestinian civilians is reduced, as US President Joe Biden also called for humanitarian pauses in the conflict.

“When I see a Palestinian child — a boy, a girl — pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building, that hits me in the gut as much as seeing a child in Israel or anywhere else,” Mr Blinken said.

“So this is something that we have an obligation to respond to, and we will.”

But Mr Netanyahu seemed to rebuff Mr Blinken saying that there would no pauses until all the hostages were freed – likely to be a high bar.

“Israel is objecting a temporary ceasefire which does not include freeing all our hostages,” he said on Friday.

Biden promises ramped up military aid

Biden has promised full support and ramped-up military aid to Israel for its campaign in Gaza, but in a visible shift of tone has also voiced empathy for Palestinian suffering which has stoked anger in parts of the world.

“I think we need a pause,” Biden said on Thursday at a campaign event.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby later clarified what such a pause would entail.

“A humanitarian pause … is temporary, localised and focused, focused on a particular objective or objectives, humanitarian aid in, people out,” Kirby told reporters

UN reveals huge figure required to assist Gaza civilians

The UN on Friday launched an emergency aid appeal seeking $1.2 billion to help some 2.7 million people in Gaza and the West Bank.

“The cost of meeting the needs of 2.7 million people – that is the entire population of Gaza and 500,000 people in the occupied West Bank – is estimated to be $1.2 billion,” the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

“The original appeal, launched 12 October, asked for $294 million to support nearly 1.3 million people. The situation has grown increasingly desperate since then,” it added.

It came after Israel began sending thousands of Palestinian workers back to Gaza who had been stranded inside Israel since its war with Hamas erupted, a Gaza border official said.

“Thousands of workers who were blocked in Israel since October 7 have been brought back,” Hisham Adwan, head of Gaza’s crossings authority, told AFP.

AFPTV footage shot early on Friday showed groups of workers arriving through the Karem Abu Salem crossing between Israel and southern Gaza, which is normally only used for goods.

Israel ‘severs all contact’ with 18,500 workers

The Israeli government has announced that thousands of Gazans working in Israel will be sent back to the region under siege, as part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bold retaliation plan following the October 7 attacks.

“Israel is severing all contact with Gaza. There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza. Those workers from Gaza who were in Israel on the day of the outbreak of the war will be returned to Gaza,” a post from Mr Netanyahu’s office on X, formerly Twitter, said.

Israel’s security cabinet has also made moves to “deduct all funds designated for the Gaza Strip … from Palestinian Authority [PA] funds”.

Prior to the current conflict, approximately 18,500 Palestinians from Gaza had been given permits to enter Israel.

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