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Israel-Hamas war live: Troops ‘completed the encirclement of Gaza City’, says IDF; WHO says ‘almost impossible’ to bring aid to Gaza | Israel-Hamas war

Israeli troops have ‘completed the encirclement of Gaza City’, says IDF

Israeli forces are fighting “with full force” in Gaza and focused on “destroying” Hamas and “making every effort” to bring all of the hostages home, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.

A statement from Hagari on Thursday said IDF troops “completed the encirclement of Gaza City, which is the focal point of the Hamas terror organisation”.

Israeli forces are “killing terrorists in close combat, in any place in which fighting is required”, he said.

Key events

Summary of the day so far

It’s 1am in Gaza City and Tel Aviv. Here’s where we stand:

  • Israeli forces have “completed the encirclement of Gaza City” and are fighting “with full force”, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said. Israel’s top military commander said his country’s forces have surrounded Gaza City on three sides and that Israeli troops are operating inside the city. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also said Israeli forces had pushed further in than the outskirts of Gaza City. “We’re at the height of the battle,” he said.

  • At least 9,061 people have been killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, including 3,760 children, the health ministry in Gaza said on Thursday. The current conflict began on 7 October when Hamas launched an onslaught on southern Israel that killed more than 1,400 people and swept up hundreds more as hostages. It has not been possible for journalists to independently verify figures from either Israeli or Palestinian authorities.

  • The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said four of its schools in Gaza that are being used as shelters have been damaged in less than 24 hours. At least 20 people have reportedly been killed and five others injured on Thursday after a school that is being used as a shelter was damaged at the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, the agency said in its latest update. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said at least 27 people were killed in a blast near a UN school in the Jabalia camp on Thursday.

  • At least 15 people have been killed after a blast in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said. A spokesperson for Gaza’s civil defence said the blast took place in a residential building, and residents reported scores of people trapped beneath the rubble.

  • At least 195 Palestinians were killed in two rounds of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday and Wednesday, a Hamas-run government media office said. Israel claims it killed senior Hamas officials in both attacks. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said Muhammad A’sar, the commander of Hamas’s anti-tank guided missile array, was targeted in Wednesday’s airstrike. The UN human rights office said Israel’s airstrike on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday could amount to war crimes.

  • Eighteen Israeli soldiers have been killed amid fierce fighting in Gaza, the IDF said, in a series of incidents that have underlined the mounting challenges facing the IDF in their attempts to push further into built-up areas of Gaza.

  • A journalist working for the Palestinian Authority’s television channel was killed in an Israeli strike on Gaza, his network reported. Mohammed Abu Hatab was killed along with 11 members of his family after an Israeli aistrike on their home, according to the PA’s official news agency WAFA. His death marks the 36th journalist who has been killed in the conflict, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

  • Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam brigades, said its fighters in southern Lebanon were behind the shelling of the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, where four rockets landed in an industrial area, injuring two people and damaging buildings.

  • Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militant group, said it had simultaneously attacked 19 positions in Israel on Thursday evening. The strikes came hours after Hezbollah said it had used two drones packed with explosives to attack an Israeli army command position in the disputed Shebaa Farms area on the Lebanese-Israeli border earlier in the day. It is the first time Hezbollah has acknowledged carrying out an attack against Israeli forces using such drones, and comes a few days after it said for the first time it had used a surface-to-air missile against an Israeli drone.

  • The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened for a second day to allow the evacuation of some injured Palestinians requiring hospital treatment and foreign passport holders. British nationals were able to get out of Gaza on Thursday, the UK Foreign Office confirmed. The US has been able to get 74 dual citizens out of Gaza, Joe Biden said. A total of 400 foreign passport holders as well as 60 severely wounded Palestinians were due to cross by the end of Thursday, a spokesperson for the Palestinian side of the crossing said.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is “almost impossible” to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. The WHO’s emergencies director, Michael Ryan, said the basic safety of staff on the ground in Gaza could not be guaranteed at the moment. It was “unconscionable”, he said. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the situation on the ground in Gaza is “indescribable”.

  • A group of United Nations experts have called for a ceasefire in Gaza, warning that “time is running out” as Palestinian people there find themselves at “grave risk of genocide”. In a statement, they expressed “deep frustration with Israel’s refusal to halt plans to decimate” the Gaza Strip and said they felt “deepening horror” about Israeli airstrikes against the Jabalia refugee camp.

  • Turkey is ready to take in cancer patients from the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital in Gaza after it went out of service after running out of fuel, Turkey’s health minister, Fahrettin Koca, said. Health officials yesterday said the hospital – the only cancer treatment hospital in the Gaza Strip – had used up its fuel and was out of service.

  • The US will not seek to impose any conditions on the support it gives Israel to defend itself in the wake of the Hamas attacks of 7 October, vice-president Kamala Harris said on Thursday. She refused to comment on Israel’s bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp, adding: “We are not telling Israel how it should conduct this war.”

  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken will urge the Israeli government to agree to a series of “humanitarian pauses” to the fighting in Gaza, according to a report. Blinken told reporters on Thursday he would seek “concrete steps” from Israel to “minimise harm” to civilians in Gaza. He is due to spend the day on Friday in Israel, his fourth visit since 7 October.

  • Joe Biden called for a “pause” in the Israel-Hamas war on Wednesday and the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is expected back in the region on Friday. Biden has been under pressure to call for a ceasefire or a meaningful humanitarian pause in Israel’s campaign. Israel did not immediately respond to Biden’s remarks, but Netanyahu has previously ruled out a ceasefire.

  • Netanyahu’s office announced that ministers have voted to transfer tax funds it had collected for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Ramallah, but deducted the money earmarked for the Gaza Strip. “Israel is cutting off all contact with Gaza,” a statement from the office said on Thursday.

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