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Israel-Hamas war updates and latest news on Gaza conflict


Rafah border crossing may open for foreigners, says U.S. embassy in Israel

Kerolos Salah | Afp | Getty Images

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, the only border into the enclave that’s not controlled by Israel, may open on Saturday at 10 a.m. local time, according to the U.S. embassy in Israel.

“If the border is opened, we do not know how long it will remain open for foreign citizens to depart Gaza,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy said many people are expected to try to cross into Egypt if the border opens, and warned U.S. citizens it will be a “potentially chaotic and disorderly environment on both sides of the crossing.”

“The situation remains dynamic and fluid and the security environment is unpredictable,” the embassy said.

Joanna Tan

UN chief António Guterres: ‘We must stop this dramatic impasse’

UN chief António Guterres said he stood at the Rafah crossing with a “broken heart.”

Standing just meters from the only crossing to the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side, Guterres said: “We must stop this dramatic impasse.”

“Children, mothers, elderly people, all without water, without electricity, without food, without medicine,” he said. “We absolutely need to move the trucks as quickly as possible, and as many as possible, from Egypt into Gaza.”

More than 200 trucks carrying approximately 3,000 tons of aid have been waiting at the Rafah crossing, the Associated Press reported. Thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Palestinian enclave are running out of food and water.

The United Nations said aid trucks have been waiting at the Rafah border since Saturday last week, and are ready to move into the Gaza Strip to “provide aid to everyone in Gaza regardless of where they are.”

“These are a lifeline. They are the difference between life and death for so many people in Gaza,” the UN chief said.

— Joanna Tan

Thousands in Australia join pro-Palestinian march over Gaza

Palestinian supporters gather during a protest at Town Hall on October 21, 2023 in Sydney, Australia.

Lisa Maree Williams | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Thousands took part in a pro-Palestinian march in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, on Saturday, getting last-minute approval amid concerns after some protesters at an earlier rally had chanted anti-Jewish slogans.

Protesters worldwide on Friday demanded an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza after nearly two weeks of intense air and artillery strikes that authorities in the narrow strip say have killed 4,100 people.

In Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, around 15,000 people attended Saturday’s march, organizer Palestine Action Group said, with demonstrators chanting “Palestine will never die” and waving Palestine flags. Police, including officers on horseback, patrolled the event that closed city streets, and a police helicopter circled overhead.

Police said no arrests had been made, and Palestine Action Group spokesperson Amal Naser said the march was peaceful.

Reuters

Israel says it hit over 100 Hamas targets in Gaza overnight

The Israel Defense Forces said that more than 100 Hamas targets were struck overnight, “including a Hamas terrorist from Hamas’ naval commando who took part in the murderous massacres.”

In an update, the IDF said it is continuing to “prepare for the next stage of the war.”

Other targets that were hit included were an underground tunnel, ammunition storage sites and dozens of operational command centers, the IDF said.

— Joanna Tan

‘I’ve been waiting for this moment,’ says father of American teenage hostage

Chicago-area residents Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan, two American hostages freed on Friday by the armed wing of Hamas, pose in this undated picture obtained by Reuters on October 20, 2023.

Obtained By Reuters | via Reuters

The father of U.S. hostage Natalie Raanan said he’s going to hug and kiss her when he sees her.

“It’s going to be the best day of my life,” Uri Raanan told reporters Friday night in Bannockburn, Illinois.

Seventeen-year-old Natalie and her mother, Judith, were released by Hamas militants following a two-week ordeal. They were among 200 people that the Palestinian armed group abducted into the Gaza Strip after the Oct. 7 rampage.

Raanan, Natalie’s father and Judith’s ex-husband, said he spoke briefly to his daughter after her release. “She sounds very good. She looks very good … and she’s waiting to come home,” he said.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, for two long weeks,” the 71-year-old said. “Tonight, I’m going to sleep good.”

Joanna Tan

Netanyahu vows Israel ‘will not relent’ in efforts to bring home the kidnapped

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that his country “will not relent” in efforts to bring home the 200 people who were abducted by Hamas during their incursion into Israeli territory.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Netanyahu said: “Two of our kidnapped are home. We will not relent in our effort to return all of the kidnapped and the missing.”

American citizens Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie, were released by Hamas militants on Friday.

“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the entire security apparatus will continue to do all they can, using any means available, to locate all those missing and bring home all the kidnapped,” the Israeli prime minister said.

Joanna Tan

Biden says Hamas attack was aimed at disrupting Israel-Saudi normalization

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Oct. 18, 2023.

Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

President Joe Biden suggested the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas was aimed at halting normalization ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“One of the reasons why they acted like they did, why Hamas moved on Israel, is because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” Biden said at a campaign fundraiser in Washington.

“Guess what? The Saudis wanted to recognize Israel” and “were about to recognize Israel,” Biden said, according to NBC News.

There was growing anticipation that relations would normalize between Israel and Saudi Arabia — two important U.S. allies in the Middle East, as Biden sought to bring the two together.

However, hopes of clinching a deal have been dashed since Hamas’ terror attack two weeks ago, with one analyst saying there is now “zero chance” of it going through.

Joanna Tan

Biden spoke with two American hostages released today

President Joe Biden tweeted a photo of him speaking with the two American hostages who were released on Thursday.

 “Jill and I will continue holding close in our hearts all the families of unaccounted for Americans,” Biden said on X, formerly Twitter.

Riya Bhattacharjee

Israel ramping up attacks, Gaza ministry says

A Palestinian recites Salah Azan (Adhan) in the rubble of the Al-Amin Muhammad Mosque, hit by Israeli airstrike, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 20, 2023. 

Abed Zagout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Israel is intensifying its attacks, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza said, accusing the country of “targeting a number of inhabited civilian homes in the north, center and south of the Gaza Strip.”

The Gaza Ministry of Health said that Israeli forces had killed more than 350 civilians in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll in the Strip to 4,137.

The ministry said a large number of victims are still under the rubble of destroyed buildings, including a possible 720 children who have been reported missing.

— Chris Eudaily

Satellite images show massive aid convoy waiting to cross into Gaza

Satellite images show long lines of aid trucks waiting to cross the Rafah border from Egypt to deliver much-needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

Maxar satellite imagery of a second set of cargo trucks near Sheikh Zuweid, Egypt (location: 31.215, 34.143) 

Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

Maxar satellite imagery of a second set of cargo trucks near Sheikh Zuweid, Egypt (location: 31.215, 34.143) 

Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

-Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

Updates on the two released hostages

The two American hostages released Friday are a mother and daughter, NBC News reported. The pair was released after being held hostage for two weeks in Gaza and are now back in Israel.

The two women who were released, Natalie and Judith Raanan, are members of former NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief Martin Fletcher’s family. Calling the release “a miracle,” Fletcher said the women, who are from Evanston, Illinois, were released to the Red Cross.

Hamas said 50 more hostages are held by other armed groups nearby, Reuters reported. The militant organization also told Reuters that more than 20 hostages were killed by Israeli air strikes.

— Elisabeth Cordova



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