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Day 19 of the War on Gaza

October 25, 2023
Photo credit: Care International

As the conflict enters its 19th day, Israel intensifies its aerial attacks on Gaza, launching more than 700 airstrikes in the past three days. On Monday night alone, 704 casualties were reported.

Video footage from Quds News Network shows recent Israeli air raids near Al Wafa Hospital, putting the hospital in danger of destruction.

The continuous shelling of the enclave has wiped out entire neighborhoods with more than 42 percent of all housing units destroyed, according to the United Nations (UN).

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are offering Gaza residents financial incentives to reveal the locations of hostages. This follows the recent release of hostages Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz after negotiations involving Egypt and Qatar. Two American women were also released by Hamas on 20 October.

US military advisers have urged Israel to refrain from launching a full-scale ground assault on Gaza. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to indicate on Tuesday, 24 October, that a ground offensive was still being considered.

Happening Today

Update 8:

Libya’s east-based parliament has called on the government to halt oil exports to nations that support Israel if it doesn’t cease its attacks on Gaza, according to a statement. The statement has also urged envoys that support Israel to leave.

Update 7:

British media personality Piers Morgan will host Egyptian podcaster and activist Rahma Zein, who confronted CNN journalist Clarissa Ward at the Rafah crossing on the border of Gaza and Egypt, shortly on his show ‘Piers Morgan Uncensored’. Morgan is also set to once again host Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef on 31 October, after their first round on 17 October made waves in the region and around the world, becoming the show’s most viewed episode on YouTube with 19 million views in a single week.

Update 6: Emergency Relief Coordinator at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Martin Griffiths, was denied a visa by Israeli authorities in retaliation for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ speech on 24 October in which he called for a ceasefire and said that Hamas’ attacks do not justify “collective punishment” on Palestinians.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, claimed that “the time has come to teach them a lesson.”

“Due to [Guterres’] remarks we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives,” Erdan was heard saying on Israeli army radio.

Update 5: French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi later today in Cairo. The French head of state, who was previously in Israel and Jordan, is expected to discuss the war on Gaza with Al-Sisi as a part of his current Middle East tour.

Update 4: Israeli airstrikes, as reported by Syrian state media, struck multiple military sites in the Daraa countryside in southern Syria, today, 25 October.

The Israeli military posted on Twitter that its fighter jets targeted the “military infrastructure and mortar launchers” of the Syrian army. This action was taken “in response to rocket launches from Syria toward Israel yesterday.”

The attack resulted in the death of eight Syrian soldiers and injuries to seven more.

Update 3: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has issued a warning that relief operations in Gaza might have to cease by Wednesday, 25 October, night unless fuel is delivered to the Strip.

Essential fuel supplies, necessary for the operation of hospitals, water pumping and desalination, as well as powering bakeries, are running critically low. The primary aid agency in Gaza has emphasized that the severe humanitarian crisis is deteriorating rapidly.

Update 2: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in his remarks to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday, October 24, on the Middle East that the 7 October attacks by Hamas on Israel “did not happen in a vacuum.”

He also observed that the “grievances” of the Palestinian people should not be used to justify the horrendous attacks carried out by Hamas. Additionally, Guterres emphasized that the Palestinian population should not face collective punishment for the actions of Hamas.

Update 1: Queen Rania of Jordan has criticized Western leaders for what she sees as a “glaring double standard” in their failure to denounce the civilian casualties resulting from Israeli bombardments in Gaza.

“When October 7 happened, the world immediately and unequivocally stood by Israel and its right to defend itself and condemned the attack that happened, but what we’re seeing in the last couple of weeks, we’re seeing silence in the world,” she told CNN.

The Conflict So Far

After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,405 people and more than 220 being taken ‘hostage’ by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.

So far, more than 5,971 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including an estimated 2,000 children— and 16,297 others injured. Meanwhile 91 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and 1,250 have been injured.

The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least four times, and three aid conveys have crossed to Gaza so far.

Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, Arab governments have called for an immediate ceasefire.

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