November 5, 2023 Israel-Hamas war


Humanitarian agencies have lost contact with aid workers in Gaza, as the Palestinian enclave faces its third communications blackout of the Israel-Hamas war, according to operators.

The company Paltel announced a “complete interruption” of its telecom and network services in a statement posted on Facebook. It said the interruption was due to “the main routes that were previously reconnected being cut off again from the Israeli side.”

The main United Nations agency supporting Palestinians in Gaza said it lost contact with “the vast majority” of its teams in the strip. The Palestine Red Crescent Society also said it couldn’t reach aid workers in the territory.

Here are some of the day’s other major developments:

Israel’s offensive in Gaza: The Israeli military said it was carrying out a significant strike on Gaza Sunday evening, after its forces reached the enclave’s coast earlier in the day.

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari provided few further details about the nighttime strike, beyond saying it was very extensive and targeted Hamas infrastructure both above and underground.

A CNN team in Sderot, southern Israel, which is not far from the Israel-Gaza border, observed a number of explosions and flares in the direction of Gaza on Sunday evening local time.

Earlier in the day, the IDF said its soldiers had reached the coast as part of an effort to encircle Hamas forces and strike targets in Gaza.

Blinken criss-crosses the region: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s whirlwind diplomatic trip to the Middle East continued Sunday, including an unannounced visit to Iraq.

Blinken met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad for more than an hour, emerging to say the meeting was “productive.”

The leaders discussed making sure the conflict in Gaza does not spread into the wider region, the top US diplomat said. That has been a key concern for the US, which has repeatedly warned Israel’s foes not to take advantage of the fighting with Hamas to launch a multi-front war.

The Iraq stop was the latest in a series of high-level meetings this weekend. Blinken visited Israel on Friday and met with key Arab leaders on Saturday in Jordan. He also met with the Palestinian Authority president Sunday in Ramallah, where the two discussed escalating settler violence in the West Bank.

He has now arrived in Turkey for his last stop of the tour.

Tension rising at Lebanon-Israel border: Tensions continued to flare at the northern Israel border Sunday, with Israel and Lebanon both announcing civilian casualties from the ongoing strikes between the Israel Defense Forces and Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah spoke on Friday about the October 7 Hamas attacks and ensuing war in Gaza. He said Hezbollah would be “prepared for all scenarios,” and that any escalation by the Israeli army at the border would be a “historic folly” that would prompt a major response. But he also said Hezbollah’s “primary goal” was to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

IDF accuses Hamas of using civilian infrastructure: The Israeli military released what it said was evidence of Hamas using civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and children’s playgrounds, as shields for its attacks on Israel. Images and video showed what a military spokesperson described as “launch pits” that Hamas used to fire rockets from the civilian areas. Officials with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-controlled government media office in Gaza rejected the claims.

Unrest at Turkey airport: Turkish police broke up a pro-Palestinian protest after demonstrators tried to storm an air base housing US Air Force troops in southern Turkey, according to Turkish state news outlet, Anadolu Agency. 

In a post on its website, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation said it had organized the protest to “amplify the voice of the oppressed in Gaza” and show its opposition to what it described as the “pro-Israel attitude adopted by the United States.”

Police intervened, using tear gas and water cannons, after some protesters broke down barricades and attempted to enter the airbase, Anadolu added. 

Hostages in Gaza: The Israeli military’s current count of hostages being held by Hamas is 240, Hagari, the Israel Defense Forces’ spokesperson, said Sunday. The IDF has said the number can fluctuate based on updated intelligence.


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