Palestinian militants fire rockets towards Israel from Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Oct. 11, 2023. (Credit: Said Khatib / AFP)


Hamas must be ‘crushed’ like the Islamic State group, says Netanyahu: Day 6 of the Hamas-Israel war

What you need to know

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel.

The provisional death toll is high: More than 1,400 on the Israeli side, Netanyahu's office claims, 1,417 in Gaza according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The situation in South Lebanon on the border with Israel is stable for the moment.

Israel is preparing for ground maneuvers in Gaza but nothing has been decided, the Israeli army claimed.

21:49 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage of Day 6 of the Hamas vs Israel conflict.

We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis, right here at L'Orient Today.

21:26 Beirut Time

For the third day in a row, Lebanon's caretaker Minister of Education declared late Thursday evening that all schools and other public and private educational establishments "in the regions bordering the south" of Lebanon will remain closed tomorrow.

20:58 Beirut Time

Rocket sirens sound off in northern Israeli towns near the Lebanese border, reports Haaretz.

20:46 Beirut Time

Knesset approves emergency government; Gantz, Eisenkot sworn in as ministers, Haaretz reports.

20:38 Beirut Time

White house says 27 Americans have been killed following Hamas attack, 14 of which are uncounted for, Reuters reported

19:52 Beirut Time

The UK will send two Royal Navy ships to the Eastern Mediterranean and begin surveillance flights over Israel in a show of military support designed to reassure Israel, reports Reuters.

The commitment includes the dispatch of navy vessels and spy planes.

19:42 Beirut Time

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, expected in Qatar, will also visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, AFP reported

19:39 Beirut Time

“What is currently happening in South Lebanon is the consequence of repeated Israeli provocations and repeated Israeli violations of Resolution 1701,” said Mikati, calling on the UN Security Council to work towards a ceasefire.

He said Lebanon "supports the rights of the Palestinians to live and to face Israeli oppression," but added that the government is "in constant coordination with all the political forces in Lebanon, and encourages them to exercise restraint."

19:35 Beirut Time

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Thursday evening that Lebanon will lodge an urgent protest against Israel to the UN Security Council.

19:32 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has called for a "solidarity rally with Palestine" on Friday after midday prayers, in the courtyard of the Imam al-Moujataba complex in Hadath. Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem will speak at the event. 

19:30 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has called for a "solidarity rally with Palestine" on Friday after midday prayers, in the courtyard of the Imam al-Moujataba complex in Hadath. Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem will speak at the event. 

19:29 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has called for a "solidarity rally with Palestine" on Friday after midday prayers, in the courtyard of the Imam al-Moujataba complex in Hadath. Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem will speak at the event. 

19:07 Beirut Time

Hamas has called for "a general mobilization ... in Lebanon and the Palestinian camps" in support of Gaza on Friday.

"Hamas calls on the Palestinian people in the Lebanese camps and [the residents] of Lebanese towns and villages to a general mobilization tomorrow, Friday, in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their resistance," read a statement released Thursday.

19:06 Beirut Time

Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas's armed wing the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigade, stated in a video that "the pace of coordination with the Axis of Resistance has quickened and evolved to consolidate efforts concerning the future of the conflict with the Zionist occupation."

18:55 Beirut Time

Israel destroyed a drone sent by Hezbollah that reached Israeli territory, a Hezbollah spokesperson told L'Orient Today.

18:27 Beirut Time

Cyprus Airways suspends flights to Tel Aviv until further notice, the airline said in a statement.

The Cypriot airline had daily flights to Israel, and had in recent days added extra flights to deal with increasing demand.

18:16 Beirut Time

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Qatar on Friday for talks with Qatari leaders about Hamas.

“Tomorrow, Secretary Blinken will travel to Qatar to meet with senior local officials,” a US official said.

18:12 Beirut Time

Sirens sound off in Metula, an Israeli town near the Lebanese border, according to Hareetz.

18:02 Beirut Time

Jordan's King Abdullah and Palestinian President Abbas have called for an end to the escalation and steps to prevent further deterioration in the Gaza crisis, according to Reuters.

17:42 Beirut Time

The United States has set no conditions on the use of its military aid to Israel, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in Brussels on Thursday, AFP reported.

"We have put no conditions on the use of our equipment. This is a professional army run by a professional command. We hope and expect that they will do the right thing in the implementation of their campaign." 

17:37 Beirut Time

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned violence against civilians on Thursday.

"We reject the practices of killing civilians or abusing them on both sides because they contravene morals, religion and international law," the official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as saying.

17:21 Beirut Time

Israeli Army spokesperson Avichay Adraee announced on X that an intercept missile was fired minutes ago from northern Israel in response to reports of an object in the sky. The reports turned out to be false.

17:12 Beirut Time

At a cabinet meeting at the Grand Serail in Beirut — the first since the start of the conflict between Hamas and Israel  — Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed, "the importance of holding such a meeting in light of the current circumstances, to inform ministers of ongoing contacts, including a call from the French president and other prime ministers concerning developments in the south."

16:54 Beirut Time

The Israeli army fired an artillery shot on the Wata al-Khyam area in southern Lebanon, according to Lebanon's state-run National News Agency.

16:37 Beirut Time

The Gaza Health Ministry reports that 1,417 Palestinians have been killed and 6,268 wounded in Israeli strikes since Saturday, according to Reuters.

16:18 Beirut Time

"We did not meet the challenge of protecting Israel," said the Israeli military's chief of staff, according to Reuters. "Will learn, we will investigate, but now is the time for war." 

15:52 Beirut Time

Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Thursday accused Israel of seeking "genocide" by enforcing its total siege on Gaza, according to Iranian state TV, on the eve of the diplomat's visit to the Iraqi capital Thursday.

"Today, the continuation of war crimes by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and Zionists against the civilians of Gaza — besieging, cutting off water and electricity, and denying entry of medicine and food — has created conditions where the Zionists are seeking a genocide of all people in Gaza," said Amirabdollahian, according to Reuters.

"The war we witness today in the Gaza Strip is not just the Zionists' war against Hamas, it is the Zionists' war against all Palestinians."

15:24 Beirut Time

Egypt has received its first shipment of Jordanian humanitarian aid to Gaza, according to media outlets close to the state authorities, who control the only non-Israeli access point to the Palestinian enclave.

15:19 Beirut Time

In the wake of Israeli strikes, AFP report that, based on Syrian state media, Syria's two main airports in Damascus and Aleppo are out of service.

15:17 Beirut Time

Hamas media reports, picked up by Reuters, say Israeli airstrikes in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip have killed 18 Palestinians.

15:16 Beirut Time

The citizens of Gaza “generally don’t believe the planned ground invasion of Gaza by Israel will actually happen," Gaza resident Mohammad Abu Lobda told L’Orient Today Thursday.

Referring to Hamas militants' Al-Aqsa Flood operation Saturday, he said "resistance fighters entered their homes and they became terrified. They don’t have the courage to invade us. Their only power is attacking us from afar, by air.”

He went on to say that “the people have nowhere to go. Some tried to leave to Egypt via the Rafah crossing, but they were brutally bombed by the occupation.”

If the invasion ends up taking place, he added, “we will only have God to support us. The world has given up on us.”

He lamented the “traitorous Arab leaders who have given up on the Palestinian cause,” and called on “Arabs everywhere to cross the border by force, and enter Palestine to liberate it.”

“In the end,” he concluded, "whatever happens is in God’s hands and we accept it."

15:08 Beirut Time

Israeli airstrikes targeted the airports of the capital, Damascus, and the northern city of Aleppo Thursday, Syrian state television reported. These are the first air strikes on Syria since the start of the Israel-Gaza war, triggered by the Hamas attack on Israel last Saturday, which has so far claimed thousands of lives.

15:06 Beirut Time

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, promised during his visit to Tel Aviv Thursday that the United States would "always" support Israel, stating that the "legitimate aspirations" of the Palestinians were not represented by the Islamist Hamas movement. "You may be strong enough to defend yourselves, but as long as the United States exists, you will never have to do so. We will always be by your side."

Blinken made he remarks during a press conference after his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

14:36 Beirut Time

Israeli military sources told AFP that the army is preparing for  ground operation in Gaza, but that nothing has been decided.

14:35 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, in comments covered by Reuters, that "Hamas should be treated exactly as ISIS was treated."

He added, "Thank you, America, for standing with Israel today, tomorrow, and always."

14:01 Beirut Time

International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva said the "heartbreaking" Israel-Hamas conflict threatens to darken an already murky global economic outlook.

"We are closely monitoring how the situation evolves, how it is affecting, especially oil markets," Georgieva told Reuters. There had been some fluctuations in oil prices and reactions in markets, she added, but it was too early to predict the economic impact.

13:49 Beirut Time

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is in contact with both Hamas and Israeli authorities to work toward having the Islamist movement release hostages taken in Israel over the weekend, AFP reported, quoting a press release issued Thursday.

“As a neutral intermediary, we are ready to conduct humanitarian visits, facilitate communication between the hostages and their family members, and assist in any potential release,” said the the statement from Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC’s regional director for the Near and Middle East.

13:22 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has launched a rebuilding campaign to “repair homes damaged by Israeli aggression in the south,” the party said in a statement Thursday.

“Following Israel's recent attacks in southern Lebanon, which damaged several homes, businesses, vehicles, and other properties, especially in the villages of al-Dhaira, Marwahin, and Yarin, the Hezbollah leadership in the south Lebanon region has dispatched specialized engineers to assess the damage and conduct on-site surveys. This is in preparation for compensating affected property owners, marking the initial step in the reconstruction process,” the statement explained.

(Credit: Mountasser Abdallah/L'Orient Today)

13:18 Beirut Time

"A fragile calm has prevailed in south Lebanon since Thursday morning," Andrea Tenenti, the spokesperson for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) told L'Orient Today Thursday. "No incidents to report today. We continue to monitor the situation as usual."

"The UNIFIL Force Commander is in constant contact with both parties to assist in de-escalating any potential tensions," he added.

A Lebanese army spokesperson confirmed to L'Orient Today that the situation was "calm" along the border with Palestine Thursday.

12:49 Beirut Time

The Israeli military's objective is the "elimination" of Hamas, an Israeli military spokesperson told AFP.

"At this moment, we are focusing on their top leaders, not just the military leadership but also their government officials, right up to [Hamas head in Gaza, Yahya] Sinwar. They are all directly involved in the deadly Saturday attack that shocked Israel and beyond with its brutality," said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht.

12:41 Beirut Time

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip will become "unmanageable very soon," Fabrizio Carboni, the regional head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told AFP Thursday.

The Gaza Strip, home to around 2.3 million people, is under a complete blockade by Israel, which has also been shelling the Palestinian territory in response to unprecedented attacks by Hamas in Israel over the weekend."

11:52 Beirut Time

Omar Al Qatta, a Gaza-based photographer told L’Orient Today Thursday that “Gaza has been in complete blackout since Wednesday” and that its residents are expecting this situation to become “the new normal for the citizens of Gaza strip after Israel announced a complete besiege.”

“People are standing in long lines to fill buckets from private water companies. 338,000 people are now in UNRWA schools, and outside aid to us has been completely cut off,” Qatta said.

An UNRWA spokesperson told L’Orient Today Tuesday that 66,000 people were seeking refuge in UNRWA schools, but the number has increased dramatically during the continuing conflict.

11:49 Beirut Time

UN experts tell Reuters: Israel's "indiscriminate military attacks" against Gaza amount to "collective punishment."

11:15 Beirut Time

The ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict "has not had a direct impact on oil flows" since it began Saturday, AFP reported, and the "prospect" of a risk to oil supplies is "currently limited," according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

"While there has been no direct impact on physical supply [of oil], markets will remain on alert as the crisis unfolds," the IEA warned in its monthly report. The agency also stated it is "ready to act if necessary to ensure that markets remain adequately supplied." Oil prices have been declining since Tuesday, following a more than 5 percent jump Monday due to a "higher geopolitical risk premium."

11:01 Beirut Time

Germany will ban activities on its soil deemed to be Hamas linked, declared Chancellor Olaf Scholz, targeting an association whose members have expressed support for Hamas attacks against Israel, reported AFP.

“The Federal Ministry of the Interior will issue a ban on Hamas activities in Germany,” the chancellor declared to German MPs. “An association like Samidoun, whose members celebrate the most brutal terrorist acts in the streets, will be banned in Germany.”

10:51 Beirut Time

Gaza latest: Israeli Minister of Energy Israel Katz stated Thursday that his country would allow the entry of no essential products or humanitarian aid into Gaza until Hamas releases individuals kidnapped in Israel Saturday.

"Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water tap will be opened, and no fuel truck will enter until kidnapped Israelis return home," he said in a statement reported by AFP. According to the Israeli government, about 150 Israelis, foreign nationals, and dual citizens have been taken hostage by Hamas.

10:45 Beirut Time

"Germany will use all its contacts to prevent an escalation in the Middle East and to free the hostages," said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"In this dramatic situation, it would be irresponsible not to utilize all contacts that can provide assistance," the German leader stated before the Bundestag, defending his scheduled Berlin meeting with the Emir of Qatar who, as a financial backer of Hamas, is seen as a potential intermediary.

10:29 Beirut Time

Israeli minister warns, "No water or fuel for Gaza until the hostages are released," AFP reported.

10:24 Beirut Time

The spokesperson for the Iranian Embassy in Beirut confirmed Thursday morning to L'Orient Today that Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian will soon visit Beirut as part of his Middle East tour. The spokesperson did not specify a date or provide details about the minister's Lebanon itinerary.

Earlier, Iranian Ambassador to Beirut Mojtaba Amaani announced on X (formerly Twitter) that "in light of developments in Palestine and the crimes committed against Gaza, and their dangerous repercussions, Hussein Amir Abdollahian is embarking on a regional tour today [Thursday], which will include a visit to Lebanon."

10:01 Beirut Time

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi tells his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, that Islamic and Arab countries must reach a unified position of support of the Palestinians, Reuters reported.

10:00 Beirut Time

Jordan flies its first humanitarian aid shipment to Gaza since the beginning of the conflict, Reuters reported.

09:58 Beirut Time

Hamas said they had fired rockets towards Tel Aviv Thursday, in response to Israeli airstrikes targeting "civilians" in two refugee camps in the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas' Ezzedine al-Qassem Brigades [Hamas' armed wing] fired rockets at Tel Aviv in response to Israeli airstrikes targeting civilians in the Al-Shati and Al-Jabalia camps," stated Hamas. AFP correspondents witnessed dozens of airstrikes Thursday morning targeting Al-Shati camp and in the northern part of Gaza.

09:41 Beirut Time

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that hospitals in Gaza are turning into "graveyards," after medical equipment shut down for want of electricity.

ICRC Gaza staff Hisham Mhanna said in a video posted on X (former Twitter), that in the next hours the Palestinian territory’s lone power company could completely shut down.

Hospitals across Gaza are already reeling from shortage of staff and supplies, while the number of critically injured grow by the hour due to the continuous Israeli bombardment.

09:40 Beirut Time

The air force attacked headquarters belonging to the Hamas commando unit throughout the Gaza Strip overnight, the Israeli army spokesman announced according to Haaretz reports. A high-ranking member of the Hamas naval force was reportedly killed in the strikes.

09:39 Beirut Time

According to al-Jazeera, citing Palestinian media, Israeli strikes at dawn on a residential neighborhood in Jabaliya, in the north of the Gaza Strip, killed at least 15 people and wounded several others.

09:39 Beirut Time

Former President Donald Trump criticized Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday for what he described as a lack of preparation in the face of the Hamas attack. "He wasn't prepared. He wasn't prepared, and Israel wasn't prepared. And under Trump, they wouldn't have needed to be," Trump said on Fox News. He is seeking the Republican party's 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

09:39 Beirut Time

Palestinian officials told Reuters that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would meet Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.

09:39 Beirut Time

On Wednesday evening, an official source told AFP that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had launched negotiations with Hamas to secure the release of the Israeli hostages kidnapped by the Islamist group. « They are negotiating to obtain the release of the hostages », said the source, confirming a report by the private TV channel Habertürk.

09:38 Beirut Time

Here's a quick recap of what you need to know to start the day:

Israel carried out destructive air raids in the Gaza Strip for the fifth consecutive day Wednesday. Also Wednesday, Netanyahu announced the formation of an emergency government with his rival Benny Gantz for the duration of the conflict with Hamas.

Hamas fighters fired rockets into Israel Wednesday, one of which hit a hospital in the southern town of Ashkelon, causing no casualties, while warning sirens sounded in Jerusalem.

The Gaza Strip's only power station is at a standstill for lack of fuel, and its hospitals, short of supplies, are overwhelmed by the influx of wounded. More than 263,000 people have been displaced by the war.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel Thursday morning. He was preceded by a plane carrying American weapons. The delivery comes on the heels of the arrival in the eastern Mediterranean of a US battle group headed by the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

The latest figures: at least 1,200 killed in Gaza, at least 1,200 killed on the Israeli side. And thousands more wounded.

09:38 Beirut Time

Good morning, we resume our live coverage of the war between Hamas and Israel. Thursday marks the sixth day of the conflict.