In Gaza, Israel razed a northern district after issuing a 30-minute evacuation notice to families and targeted an Orthodox Christian church where some people had sought shelter, signaling an imminent ground invasion of Gaza.
The Palestinian death toll has climbed to over 3,785, including more than 1,500 children, as per Palestinian officials. The United Nations reports that more than a million people have been left homeless.
Desperately needed international aid is stockpiled near Gaza as Palestinians face severe shortages of food and water following relentless Israeli airstrikes, marking the deadliest attack in the country’s history.
Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas following the group’s attack from the Gaza Strip on October 7. In response, Israeli warplanes have extensively damaged city blocks in Gaza, preparing for an impending ground invasion.
Over a million of Gaza’s 2.4 million residents have been displaced, and the humanitarian situation is deteriorating daily. However, there has been no clearance yet to allow the trucks waiting at the border to deliver aid.
Medicine, water purifiers, and blankets are being unloaded at El Arish airport near Gaza, but the situation remains dire. Sara Alzawqari, UNICEF spokeswoman for the Gulf, describes the situation inside Gaza as “beyond catastrophic,” with a rising number of child casualties.
While there were initial reports that the Rafah crossing, the sole entry point into Gaza, would open on Friday, Egypt later announced a delay due to road repairs.
In Geneva, the WHO’s emergencies director called the U.S. agreement to allow 20 trucks in “a drop in the ocean of need” and urged that it should be 2,000 trucks.
Within Israel, still grappling with the deadliest attack in its history, the prospect of a ground offensive is becoming more prominent. Israeli leaders are rallying troops for such an operation.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing body armor, visited troops near Gaza, urging them to fight with full force. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told troops awaiting the ground invasion that new orders would be coming soon.
During a rare Oval Office address, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed strong support for Israel and announced plans to request urgent aid from Congress to assist both Israel and Ukraine. He emphasized the need to address the urgent humanitarian needs of those trapped in Gaza.
Biden is trying to prevent a broader Middle East conflict, and the U.S. has deployed two aircraft carriers in the eastern Mediterranean to deter potential involvement by Iran or Hezbollah, both allies of Hamas.
Fears of a wider conflict are growing, with Israel announcing plans to evacuate the northern city of Kiryat Shmona after clashes with Hezbollah fighters along the Lebanon border.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II have warned of the potential spread of the conflict and criticized the “collective punishment” of Gazans.
The text continues to describe the ongoing conflict, including blame and accusations between the parties, airstrikes on a church compound, and the response to those events.