US defence secretary says deployment aims to prevent any entity ‘seeking to escalate this war’; ground assault on Gaza appears imminent as troops gather
Here are some of the latest images coming in from Gaza and Israel over the news wires.
Welcome to our continuing coverage of the war between Israel and Hamas. Here is a summary with a selection of the latest developments.
The US is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean, the US defence secretary has confirmed, saying it is “to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack”. Lloyd Austin said on Saturday the deployment signalled Washington’s “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war”. The USS Eisenhower and its affiliated warships will join another carrier group already deployed to the region in the wake of the attack on Israel a week ago and Israel’s ongoing response. The US has sent munitions to Israel and warned other countries not to escalate the conflict.
The World Health Organization has condemned Israel’s order to evacuate 22 hospitals in northern Gaza that are treating more than 2,000 inpatients. Moving that many patients to southern Gaza, “where health facilities are already running at maximum capacity and unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number patients, could be tantamount to a death sentence”, the organisation said.
Iran has warned of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel’s “war crimes and genocide” are not stopped immediately. On Saturday, the permanent mission of Iran to the United Nations added: “The responsibility of which lies with the UN, the security council and the states steering the council toward a dead end.”
Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, Qatar. Hamas said the two had agreed to continue cooperation to achieve Hamas’s goals. Earlier, Haniyeh said in a televised speech that “there will be no migration from Gaza to Egypt” in the wake of Israel’s order to evacuate, and that Egypt “welcomes the Palestinian people, but not on the basis of migration or an exodus”.
US president Joe Biden spoke separately with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday. Netanyahu’s office said that the prime minister told Biden that “unity and determination” were needed to achieve Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas. Meanwhile, Abbas’s office said Abbas told Biden he rejected the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza as thousands fled amid deadly Israeli airstrikes.
Russia has asked the United Nations security council to vote on Monday on a draft resolution on the Israel-Hamas conflict that calls for a humanitarian ceasefire and condemns violence against civilians and all acts of terrorism.
The Syrian defence ministry has confirmed Israel’s targeting of its Aleppo airport on Saturday night, putting it out of action. “The Israeli enemy carried out an air attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo international airport, which led to material damage to the airport and it being out of service,” Reuters reports the ministry saying.
Israel’s military said on Saturday that it had fired back at Syrian areas from which two rockets were launched towards Israeli territory and fell into open areas. The military also said it fired an interceptor towards a “suspicious target” that crossed into Israeli territory from Lebanon but did not provide any additional details.
The European Council chief has called on a virtual summit with EU leaders next week to discuss the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. “It is of utmost importance that the European Council, in line with the treaties and our values, sets our common position and establishes a clear unified course of action that reflects the complexity of the unfolding situation,” said Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
Médicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has called on the Israeli authorities to “show humanity”. In a statement issued on Saturday, MSF condemned Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip “without restraint for a week”.