The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has condemned the targeting of a convoy of ambulances in Gaza by Israeli forces on Friday, which it says killed 15 people and wounded more than 60 others.
The PRCS said in a statement early on Saturday that one of its ambulances was struck “by a missile fired by the Israeli forces” about 2 metres from the entrance to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Agence France-Presse reports.
The attack resulted in the deaths of 15 civilians and wounded 60 other people, the PRCS said, mirroring figures released earlier by the Hamas-run health ministry.
Another ambulance, belonging to the health ministry, was “directly targeted” by a missile about a kilometre from the hospital, causing injuries and damage, it said.
The PRCS, part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, added that deliberately targeting medical teams constituted “a grave violation of the Geneva conventions, a war crime”.
Israel’s military said it had launched an airstrike on “an ambulance that was identified by forces as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to their position in the battle zone”.
“A number of Hamas terrorist operatives were killed in the strike,” a military statement said.
Hamas official Izzat El Reshiq said allegations its fighters were present were “baseless”.
In a statement on the incident, Israel’s military gave no evidence to support its assertion that the ambulance was linked to Hamas but said it intended to release additional information.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, told reporters that Gaza must be part of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state once the Israel-Hamas war is over, adding Ankara would not support models “gradually erasing Palestinians from history”.
Speaking to media on a return flight from Kazakhstan on Friday, Erdoğan also said his intelligence chief, Ibrahim Kalin, was in contact with Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as Hamas, broadcaster Habertürk and others reported.
He said he would not take the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as a counterpart, but added Ankara would not sever its ties with Israel either, according to Habertürk.
An Israeli airstrike on a UN-run school sheltering displaced people in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza killed 15 people and injured dozens more, said Mohammad Abu Selmeyah, the head of al-Shifa hospital.
“There are 15 martyrs and the number is expected to increase,” said Abu Selmeyah, who is also an official in the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave, Reuters reported.
US special envoy David Satterfield said on Saturday that between 800,000 to a million people have moved to the south of the Gaza Strip, while 350,000-400,000 remain in the north of the enclave.
Talking to reporters in the Jordanian capital, Amman, he said that there were no recorded instances of Hamas interdicting or seizing aid.
“Fuel in depots in Gaza has been accessed by UNRWA for aid trucks, de-salinisation and hospitals in the south of Gaza,” he noted.
The death toll of French citizens killed as a result of Hamas’s attacks in Israel has risen to 39, with nine other French nationals still missing, France’s foreign ministry has said.
The stench of death still pervades Kfar Aza, an Israeli kibbutz on the periphery of the blockaded Gaza Strip. The street closest to the barbed wire border fence, just 50 metres away from the 3 mile (5km) buffer zone that separates the territories, previously housed the kibbutz’s volunteers. These young adults lived in around 40 small homes designed for single occupancy, staying for a few months at a time to explore the socialist and environmental principles typical of a kibbutz lifestyle.
As there are several communal bomb shelters in the vicinity, the houses were not designed with safe rooms in which to wait out rocket attacks. Even if they were, the occupants would not have escaped Kfar Aza’s fate on 7 October, when Hamas burst out of its cage.
What came next has forever changed the region. Four weeks after the Palestinian militant group’s horrifying attack that killed 1,400 Israelis across southern Israel, there is only silence in this community, previously home to 750 people, perforated by blasts of nearby Israeli artillery fire and a warning of an incoming anti-tank missile.
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, met with the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, in Amman on Saturday and emphasised the importance of working towards a ceasefire in Gaza and stopping Israeli aggression in southern Lebanon, Lebanon state news agency said.
Mikati also stressed Lebanon’s commitment to international legitimacy and the implementation of UN resolution 1701, calling on the international community to pressure Israel to cease its violations.
Blinken, in turn, emphasized his efforts to halt military operations for humanitarian reasons and to address the issue of prisoners.
Reuters has more on an Israeli drone firing a missile at the Gaza house of Hamas’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, according to a report on Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa Radio.
It was unclear whether any of his family members were at the house when it was struck.
Haniyeh, Hamas’s political chief, has been outside the Gaza Strip since 2019, residing between Turkey and Qatar.
The father of a young family that has escaped Gaza and returned to Australia has thanked everyone who “felt their pain”, and praised the “relentless” efforts of Australian diplomats who secured their safety.
The family of four from Adelaide travelled to Gaza so that the two children, aged seven and 10, could visit their grandparents and family. It was their first visit to Gaza. They arrived two weeks before the conflict began and, according to their lawyer, have been through hell since then.
The family were among 25 Australians who managed to escape the territory into Egypt via the Rafah border crossing.
Henry Belot has the full story:
Palestinians in Gaza reported Israeli airstrikes overnight into Saturday across the besieged territory, including the southern part, where Israel had told civilians to seek refuge as its ground operation intensifies in northern Gaza, the Associated Press reports.
Raed Mattar, who had fled northern Gaza early in the war and is sheltering in a school in the southern town of Khan Younis, said he heard explosions, apparently from airstrikes.
People never sleep. The sound of explosions never stops.
Airstrikes were also reported in Gaza City, while attacks hit the western outskirts of the city and near al-Quds hospital.
The Israeli military repeatedly hit close to the hospital in recent days, said Adly Abu Taha, a Gaza City resident who has sheltered in the hospital grounds for the past three weeks.
He said over the phone:
The bombardment get closer day by day. We don’t know where to go.
An Israeli drone has fired a missile at the Gaza house of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, Reuters has said in a quick snap, citing the Hamas-affiliated Aqsa Radio.
The report said Haniyeh was currently outside the territory.