Hundreds of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza hospital: Day 11 of the Hamas-Israel war

What you need to know

Biden is expected to visit Israel tomorrow.

Israel strikes a hospital compound in Gaza, killing at least 300 and prompting demonstrations throughout Lebanon.

Iran threatens possible “pre-emptive action” against Israel if it maintains its planned ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Hezbollah announces the death of several of its fighters and continues launching rockets against Israel.

Approximately 1,200 people, including over 200 children, are trapped under the rubble in Gaza.

23:05 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage of Day 11 of the Hamas vs Israel conflict.

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

23:01 Beirut Time

The Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday condemned "the heinous war crime that resulted in hundreds of Palestinian civilian martyrs and casualties," referring to the Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza. It also called on the international community to "intervene immediately to stop Israeli massacres."

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese caretaker Minister of Education announced Tuesday that private and public schools and universities would close throughout the country on Wednesday.

22:57 Beirut Time

Demonstrators on Martyrs' Square in Beirut late Tuesday evening in response to an Israeli strike that targeted a hospital in Gaza, killing hundreds. (Credit: João Sousa/L'Orient Today)

22:52 Beirut Time

BREAKING: Protesters attempt to enter the Israeli embassy in Amman, according to AFP.

22:31 Beirut Time

Palestinian forces in the Israeli-occupied West Bank clashed on Tuesday with protesters opposed to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, reported an AFP journalist.

Palestinian forces in Ramallah fired tear gas at demonstrators who had gathered, calling for Abbas to step down, apparently over his conciliatory tone since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza began earlier this month.

The clashes came after the health ministry in Gaza, ruled by Hamas militants at war with Israel, said hundreds were killed in an Israeli strike on a hospital where displaced people had sheltered in the coastal enclave.

22:29 Beirut Time

Former Hamas Chief Meshaal calls on supporters to immediately stage protests in front of Israeli embassies to condemn the deadly Israeli strike on Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds, reports Reuters.

22:23 Beirut Time

Hundreds of residents from the al-Baddawi Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon took to the streets to condemn the Israeli strike on a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of Palestinians, L'Orient Today's correspondent in the north reported.

Similar gatherings took place at Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon, Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in southern Beirut, and Martyr's Square in central Beirut.

22:22 Beirut Time

The World Health Organization strongly condemned the Israeli airstrike on Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, which left hundreds dead, according to an official statement.

22:13 Beirut Time

Testimony from Gaza: "We are overwhelmed. We are struggling to help the victims," says Dr. Houssam Abou Safeya, a Palestinian pediatrician and the chief medical officer of MedGlobal in northern Gaza, in response to the Israeli airstrike that resulted in hundreds of deaths in a Palestinian territory hospital.

"We cannot cope with the high number of deaths and injuries," he adds. "Most of the victims are women and children who sought refuge in the hospital. We expect that other hospitals will be targeted. There is no safe place in Gaza."

Zaher Sahloul, co-founder and president of MedGlobal, a Chicago-based medical NGO that provides healthcare in disaster-stricken areas, tells L'Orient Today that "the attack by the Israeli army on the hospital is the worst attack on attack on a medical facility in the 21st century."

"The cruelty of this attack and the number of deaths among innocent patients, civilians, and medical staff are staggering," said Sahloul. He emphasizes that "bombing hospitals is a violation of international law."

"It is a war crime. It compromises medical neutrality and the texts of the 150-year-old Geneva Convention, thus depriving a distressed local Palestinian community of access to healthcare," said Sahloul. He added that this attack "adds to the trauma in the Gaza Strip" and sends the message that "no place is safe."

22:05 Beirut Time

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has canceled a planned meeting with US President Joe Biden, following an Israeli strike on a Gaza hospital on Tuesday that killed hundreds, a senior Palestinian official said.

The meeting was due to take place in Jordan. The senior Palestinian official said Abbas is returning to Ramallah, the seat of his government in the occupied West Bank.

22:03 Beirut Time

In a statement Tuesday evening, Qatar strongly condemned the Israeli air strike on the Gaza hospital. 

Turkish President Erdogan said the hospital strike, which killed at least 300 Palestinians, is the latest example of how Israel's attacks are "devoid of most basic human rights," according to Reuters.

Via state media, Iran called the strike "a savage war crime." 

21:57 Beirut Time

The spokesperson of the Palestinian presidency described the Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza as a "genocide" and "humanitarian disaster," reports Reuters.

21:55 Beirut Time

Hundreds of Palestinians protest against President Abbas in the West Bank, according to AFP.

21:54 Beirut Time

Egypt calls on Israel to "cease targeting" the Rafah crossing to allow the passage of aid to Gaza, reports AFP.

21:42 Beirut Time

Palestinian President Abbas to return to Ramallah after the Gaza hospital attack, a senior official told Reuters.

21:33 Beirut Time

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, when questioned about the Israeli strike on a hospital in Gaza, expressed his deep concern, reports Reuters.

"The reports emerging from Gaza are devastating; it's a horrific and unacceptable situation," said Trudeau. He further emphasized that "attacking a hospital is illegal."

21:25 Beirut Time

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning following a deadly air strike on a hospital in Gaza, killing hundreds of Palestinians on Tuesday, state media reported.

A civil defense source put the dead at 300, while the Palestinian Ministry of Health said over 500 people were killed in the strike.

"What is taking place is genocide. We call on the international community to intervene immediately to stop this massacre. Silence is no longer acceptable," said a statement issued by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

21:03 Beirut Time

The United Nations warned Tuesday that Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip are being "packed into an ever-smaller area" and life-saving essentials have essentially run out, appealing for a humanitarian truce to allow aid access.

"It is now estimated that as many as 1 million people have fled their homes to other parts of Gaza," senior UN aid official Joyce Msuya told a meeting convened by Arab envoys on the enclave, which is controlled by Hamas militants.

Israel last week ordered some 1.1 million people in Gaza — almost half the population — to move south as it prepares for a ground offensive in retaliation for the worst Hamas attack on civilians in Israel's 75-year-old history.

"In reality, civilians have nowhere to go — nowhere to escape the bombs and missiles, and nowhere to find water or food, or to escape the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe," Msuya said, urging a "humanitarian suspension of hostilities."

20:43 Beirut Time

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be in Cairo on Thursday to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, primarily to discuss the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

The spokesperson for the UN Chief, Stephane Dujarric, stated that "to transport humanitarian aid to Gaza, we need safe crossing points. It is not possible to move trucks and humanitarian convoys during ongoing bombardments." The spokesperson did not specify whether Guterres would also visit Israel or other Middle Eastern countries.

20:34 Beirut Time

BREAKING: At least 200 people have been killed in an Israeli airstrike that struck a hospital compound in Gaza, reports the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Ministry of Health.

In a statement, the ministry mentioned "200 to 300 martyrs" who were killed in the airstrike that hit the Ahli Arab Hospital. The statement also mentioned that "hundreds of casualties were trapped in the rubble," without specifying whether these people were dead or injured.

20:14 Beirut Time

Hamas' armed wing claims responsibility for firing an R160 rocket at Haifa, reports Reuters.

20:06 Beirut Time

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to visit Israel this week, Sky News reported on Tuesday without citing its source. Sunak's office was not immediately available to comment on the report, adds Reuters.

20:05 Beirut Time

The Israeli army's Arabic-speaking spokesperson Avichay Adraee wrote on X that the Israeli army “is currently striking Hezbollah terrorist targets in Lebanon.”

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Israel is “retaliating on Hezbollah’s strikes" in towns along the border.

According to Lebanese TV station LBC, the Israeli army carried out an “airstrike and fired two rockets towards the outskirts of the town of Ramieh" in southern Lebanon.

19:39 Beirut Time

Israeli army Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi visited the Northern Command and warned that if "Hezbollah makes a mistake, it will be destroyed," Haaretz reported.

19:21 Beirut Time

At least six people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a UNRWA school in Gaza's al-Maghazi refugee camp, according to UNRWA, reports Reuters.

19:20 Beirut Time

Caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati stated Tuesday that he "continues his contacts within Lebanon and abroad to, as much as possible, protect the country from the repercussions of the Gaza war," reports the National News Agency.

He also assured that he is "increasing ministerial meetings to implement preventive measures to address any emergencies." Mikati made his remarks during a meeting of the Disaster and Natural Crisis Management Committee.

19:13 Beirut Time

According to the government media office in Gaza, the death toll among children in the Palestinian strip has risen to 940 since Oct. 7, while the death toll for women reached 1,032, reports Reuters.

18:45 Beirut Time

A fifth Hezbollah fighter, Ibrahim Habib Dabak, was killed, the party announced Tuesday afternoon, without specifying the circumstances or the date of his death.

18:35 Beirut Time

An Israeli military spokesperson says Israel has seen an increase in Hezbollah activities on the northern border, Reuters reports.

18:06 Beirut Time

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Tuesday urged Canadian citizens in Lebanon to leave the country while commercial flights are still available, amid mounting instability in the region, according to Reuters.

Canada said has evacuated 1,300 people from the region so far, though it is unclear how many of those nationals were in Lebanon. 

18:02 Beirut Time

The chief of Israeli military intelligence assumed responsibility for the failure to anticipate the Hamas attack on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

17:52 Beirut Time

Approximately 3,000 people have been killed and 12,500 have been injured in Gaza since Oct. 7, announced the Palestinian Ministry of Health on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

In the West Bank, 61 Palestinians have been killed and 1,250 injured during the same timeframe.

17:36 Beirut Time

In a statement, Hezbollah claimed that its fighters targeted Israeli soldiers gathered in the Branit barracks in Israel with rockets on Tuesday, resulting in one fatality and one injury.

17:29 Beirut Time

Lebanon's Middle East Airlines (MEA) announced Monday that it grounded five of its aircraft in Istanbul "as a precautionary measure" due to the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas, which has spilled over into southern Lebanon.

Read more here. 

17:19 Beirut Time

Hezbollah said in a statement that its fighter had targeted an Israeli military position “across from the town of Ramya on the Lebanese-Palestinian border,” Tuesday afternoon, “using precision-guided missiles, resulting in several confirmed casualties, including fatalities and injuries.”

They also said in another statement that their fighters had targeted a group of Israeli soldiers who were stationed at the site of Bayad Blida, “causing confirmed injuries.”

17:18 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced on Tuesday the death of two more of its fighters, Hussein Hani Tawil and Mohammad Atwi, as the exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israel continue on the southern border.

Earlier in the day, the party announced the deaths of two other fighters.

16:39 Beirut Time

In a Tuesday statement, Hezbollah announced the killing of two of its members, Abbas Fasaee and Mohamad Beez, without specifying how, when or where they were killed, as fire exchange between Israel and Hezbollah continues in South Lebanon.

16:38 Beirut Time

An Israeli air strike killed senior Hamas armed commander Ayman Nofal in Gaza, the Hamas armed wing Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades said Tuesday, in comments relayed by Reuters.

16:26 Beirut Time

"We are not proponents of war," said Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, in Beirut, Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported.

Bou Habib laid out two conditions for restoring calm and stability: "Halting Israeli provocations and aggressions in southern Lebanon, including the deliberate killing of journalists and the targeting of civilians, the army, and its facilities."

The minister added that these actions "add fuel to the fire." The second condition, according to him, is "putting an end to the escalation in Gaza."

As for Fidan, he indicated that he is "continuing his contacts to prevent the spread of war to other countries, especially Lebanon." He reiterated his country's support for Lebanon, stating, "We reject destabilizing the security of this country."

16:15 Beirut Time

Hezbollah said in a statement that they targeted an Israeli tank at the Ramim base in Israel and "inflicted direct injuries."

16:13 Beirut Time

Approximately 1,200 people, among them over 500 minors, are trapped under the rubble in Gaza, according to health authorities in Palestine via Associated Press.

16:12 Beirut Time

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin placed approximately 2,000 personnel and a range of units on a heightened state of readiness through a prepare-to-deploy order, according to a statement by the Defense Department via Reuters.

The order “increases DoD's ability to respond quickly to the evolving security environment in the Middle East. No decisions have been made to deploy any forces at this time,” the statement added.

16:09 Beirut Time

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is expected to visit Egypt as the humanitarian situation in Gaza worsens, according to a Financial Times report via Reuters.

Guterres is expected to arrive in Cairo on Wednesday and meet officials including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the report said.

16:06 Beirut Time

"The situation is bad. But thanks to God, we were able to stay in our house," Hurya, a 27-year-old woman living in Gaza City, told L'Orient-Le Jour.

"I was proud of Hamas at the very start of the conflict, but I regret it now. We're paying the price for everything they do," she added.

"The current priority must be to stop the war in Gaza and the Israeli aggressions on southern Lebanon," said caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati after a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan at Beirut's Grand Serail.

Mikati thanked Turkey "for its continuous support to Lebanon in all fields," according to state-run National News Agency (NNA).

Fidan said he was "in contact with the Israelis, urging them to cease fire, allow aid into Gaza and work towards a solution to the conflict, starting with the two-state solution."

15:51 Beirut Time

BREAKING: 2,000 members of the US military were placed on high alert for a possible deployment to the Middle East in support of Israel, which has been at war with Hamas since the Islamist movement's attack on Saturday, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

"Today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin placed some 2,000 soldiers and a range of units on high alert through a deployment readiness order," the Pentagon's statement said, "to increase US Defense's ability to respond rapidly to an evolving security situation in the Middle East."

The statement added that "no decisions have been made regarding troop deployments at this time", and that Lloyd Austin is assessing the US posture while remaining in close contact with allies and partners in the region.

The forces involved could carry out advisory and medical assistance missions, according to Pentagon officials quoted on condition of anonymity by the Wall Street Journal and CNN.

Lloyd Austin announced on Saturday that the US would be sending a second aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean, in order to "deter hostile action against Israel or any effort to expand this war."

These announcements come as US President Joe Biden is expected to visit Israel on Wednesday for a solidarity visit.

15:28 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The Lebanese Red Cross said in a post on X that four of its teams headed to Alma Shaab to transport the bodies of four victims killed by Israeli bombing.

15:26 Beirut Time

21 French citizens died as a result of Hamas attacks in Israel, said the French Foreign Ministry via Reuters.

15:14 Beirut Time

United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) provided shelter to civilians for the past few days in one of the Ghanaian battalion sites near Dhaira, said UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti in a statement published by state-run National News Agency (NNA).

Tenenti said that "people may not be allowed to enter UN sites if there is no imminent threat of violence ... We remind all concerned parties that attacks against civilians or United Nations personnel are violations of international law that may amount to war crimes."

14:48 Beirut Time

Palestinians in the aftermath of Israeli strikes on houses in Rafah, southern Gaza, Oct. 17, 2023. (Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

14:37 Beirut Time

Jordanian King Abdullah II will convene a quadripartite summit tomorrow in Amman with US President Joe Biden, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas, according to a post on X (formerly Twitter) by the Royal Hashemite Court.

The summit "will focus on the dangerous developments in Gaza, their regional impact and ensuring aid to the Gaza Strip," said the post.

14:14 Beirut Time

Iranian commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Ali Fadavi said that Israel will face another shockwave by the "resistance front" if its "atrocities" do not stop in Gaza, according to Iranian state media.

14:04 Beirut Time

Michel George Hage, a witness living in the village of Rmeish, told L'Orient-Le Jour that "the Israeli bombardment began at around 1:10 p.m. and lasted around fifteen minutes ... More than 12 missiles fell on the village, one of them very close to a house. This is the first time a missile has fallen so close to a house," he explained, showing our reporter the building in a video call.

"Fortunately, all these buildings very close to the border are currently empty due to the situation. No injuries have been reported yet," he concluded.

14:00 Beirut Time

Photo of Palestinian journalist Mohammad Baloucha, also known as "Abu Jamil," who was killed with his family this morning by Israeli bombardment in northern Gaza. Mohammad Baloucha worked for Palestine Today (Falastine el Yawm) news channel. (Credit: Palestine Today website)

13:57 Beirut Time

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced from Beirut that Egypt will host a summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this Saturday, according to Reuters.

Fidan said that "discussions are underway with Hamas to negotiate the release of the hostages."

13:56 Beirut Time

Palestine Today channel journalist Mohammad Baloucha was killed "with his family" in Israeli Army shelling early this morning in northern Gaza. The news, first reported by the Turkish news agency Anadolu and then Al Jazeera, was confirmed by Palestine Today.

Before Tuesday, the Palestinian journalists' syndicate reported the deaths of 11 colleagues since the start of the war between Hamas and Israel. Mohammad Balloucha is at least the 12th to be added to this list.

13:51 Beirut Time

BREAKING: There have been new Israeli airstrikes near Rmaish and Aita al-Shaab in South Lebanon, a spokesperson for Hezbollah confirmed to L'Orient Today. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Israeli Army confirmed the airstrikes.

The Israeli Army claimed that anti-tank missiles and gunfire targeted its positions, and it responded with artillery fire.

13:49 Beirut Time

Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah Sheikh Naim Kassem said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that with a presence on the ground, the "resistance" would defeat Israel.

"They demand Hezbollah not to expand the battle, and we demand that they stop the reason for such expansion, which is the aggression and occupation," he added.

He said that Operation Al-Aqsa Flood showed that Israel is facing a security failure, is militarily weak and needs American-Western support to prolong the occupation.

He listed other results for the operation: "The true values ​​of America, France, Germany and Britain were exposed as the values ​​of brutality, crime and killing of humans, and the West was no longer able to deceive humanity with the noble values ​​of human rights."

13:41 Beirut Time

French President Emmanuel Macron is considering a trip to the Middle East, including a visit to Israel, as stated during a press conference broadcast on X (formerly Twitter).

"I will go to the region as soon as I believe we have a useful agenda and very concrete actions to carry out there. I will continue the discussions ... but the intention is to be able to travel there when we can obtain a concrete agreement on either de-escalation, humanitarian issues and more broadly on everything," Macron stated.

In this "inseparable" set, he included "Israel's security, the fight against all terrorist groups, as well as the peace process and the political solution," and emphasized that France does not want to see the conflict spill over into Lebanon.

During her visit to Beirut on Monday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna called on Lebanon to "do everything" to avoid being drawn into the war between Israel and Hamas

12:35 Beirut Time

Deputy Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Elias Bou Saab said to Lebanese channel MTV after Tuesday's parliamentary session that the Parliament should convene to discuss the latest regional developments.

"I have asked Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri to hold a parliamentary session dedicated to the gas events," he told MTV.

Bou Saab warned that the fighting between Hamas and Israel could spill over into Lebanon if the situation continues to deteriorate.

12:18 Beirut Time

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reported on X (formerly Twitter) that the Israeli Army continues to shell the town of Khan Younes and "other southern areas" of the Gaza Strip, where the inhabitants of the northern part were initially told to take refuge by Israeli authorities. The organization warned of the seriousness of water shortage affecting the inhabitants of the Palestinian enclave, due to the severe blockade imposed by Israel, warning that the inhabitants were going to "start dying".

The Rafah crossing is still closed, and trucks carrying humanitarian aid remain parked nearby.

12:13 Beirut Time

According to the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP), the situation in the Gaza Strip is worsening every minute with only four or five days of food stocks left in the shops, AFP reported.

In comments relayed by AFP, WFP's Middle East spokeswoman Abeer Etefa said that "inside the shops, the stocks are getting close to less than a few days, maybe four or five days of food stocks [are] left."

12:03 Beirut Time

The Palestinian death toll since Oct. 7 is now at 2,837, according to latest figures from the Gaza Strip's Ministry of Health, as reported by Israeli newspaper Haaretz. At least 1,400 Israelis have died.

11:56 Beirut Time

"The bombing of Gaza must immediately stop," said Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in a speech reported by Reuters.

"Israeli officials should be tried for their crimes ... Those living in the occupied Israeli settlements are not civilians, they are mostly armed," continued Khamenei.

"We must respond, we must react to what is happening in Gaza," Khamenei added.

11:51 Beirut Time

Another journalist was killed by an Israeli air raid on a residential building in northern Gaza, according to Al Jazeera.

Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that journalist Mohammad Balousha was killed in an Israeli air raid on Al-Saftawi neighbourhood in northern Gaza. Balousha worked with “Palestine Today”, which is a local news website. Many others were injured in the air raid, according to eyewitnesses.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said that 11 Palestinian journalists were killed by Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip and 20 others were injured.

11:47 Beirut Time

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan arrived in Beirut, reported the National News Agency (NNA). He was greeted by the Turkish ambassador and other officials in Beirut.

11:45 Beirut Time

Analysis on President Biden's visit to Israel by Editor in Chief of L'Orient Le Jour and L'Orient Today Anthony Samrani in our Beirut newsroom:

The Israeli offensive on Gaza was supposed to begin on Friday or Saturday. The Israeli Army deployed its forces and gave civilians 24 hours to evacuate the area, knowing that it was impossible for them to do so.

Then everything was suspended. The military operation was postponed several times, in part due to threats from Hezbollah on the northern border of the Israeli state, according to an article in the Jerusalem Post. The United States seems to play a significant role in this delay, attempting to negotiate on multiple fronts to avoid a regional escalation, to open the Rafah crossing point and try to secure the release of hostages.

Joe Biden's visit to Israel on Wednesday is within this context. This means that nothing serious is expected to start before the American president sets foot on Israeli soil. His visit demonstrates that Washington remains the sole superpower in the Middle East, despite its desire to withdraw since the first term of Barack Obama in 2008.

This can be interpreted in two ways, which are not necessarily contradictory: The American president may want to use his influence to avoid the risks of a regional conflagration due to Iran's and its allies' involvement. At the same time, he may want to be on-site to represent the Israeli-American response in the event of an Iranian attack.

Washington will do everything to prevent an escalation, especially as it is focused on Ukraine. But if escalation cannot be avoided, it wants to show that it stands by its Israeli ally.

11:33 Beirut Time

The Israeli Army spokesman said that they are preparing for the next stage of war, according to Reuters.

"Everyone is talking about ground operation but it may be something else," he stated.

11:31 Beirut Time

Reuters reiterates its call for a "thorough probe" into the killing of its journalist Issam Abdallah in southern Lebanon in a video posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Reuters Editor-in-Chif Alessandra Galloni said Issam Abdallah "was just doing his job when he was killed" on Friday Oct. 13 when a shell hit him while he was filming cross-border fire between Israel and Lebanon.

"Eyewitnesses at the scene said the shell that killed Issam came from Israel," she said.

"I am reiterating my call to the Israeli authorities who have said they are investigating, to conduct a swift, thorough and transparent probe into what happened. By transparent I mean an investigation with clear evidence and explanation. I reiterate my call to the Israeli Defence Forces for clarity regarding the terms of engagement in this conflict," she added.

"I also ask Lebanon which has said it has gathered evidence on the attack, and any other authority with information,  to provide it. 
I urge all parties in this conflict to respect and work with all media to ensure the safety of journalists reporting in the region," she continued. 

"Issam was an experienced, talented and passionate journalist who was much loved by his colleagues here at Reuters," she concluded.

11:20 Beirut Time

A World Health Organization official says there have been 2,800 deaths in Gaza and 11,000 people have been injured — half of them women and children, Reuters reports.

11:14 Beirut Time

Israeli bombardment of eastern sector of southern Lebanon continues: NNA

The Israeli army is bombing the Lebanese border in the eastern sector of southern Lebanon, dropping bombs on the hill of al-Hamames, the Lebanese state-run National News Agency (NNA) reports. The NNA adds that Israel has dropped phosphorus bombs on the Marjayoun-Khiam plain.

11:12 Beirut Time

Lebanon's caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib spoke this morning with the ambassadors of several countries cooperating within UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reports.

Bou Habib said that "discussions focused on the situation in South Lebanon and Gaza" and "asked the ambassadors for their help in calming the situation on the southern borders and getting Israel to stop its strikes, especially since the Lebanese response to [these strikes] is focused on the Lebanese Shebaa Farms occupied by Israel."

11:03 Beirut Time

Image: Palestinians search through the rubble of a building after an Israeli strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 17, 2023. (Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP)

10:48 Beirut Time

'No refugees in Jordan, no refugees in Egypt': Jordan's king draws 'red line'

Jordan's King Abdullah has warned against trying to push Palestinian refugees into Egypt or Jordan, adding that the humanitarian situation must be dealt with inside Gaza and the West Bank, Reuters reports.

"That is a red line, because I think that is the plan by certain of the usual suspects to try and create de facto issues on the ground. No refugees in Jordan, no refugees in Egypt," King Abdullah said at a news conference following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. 

10:39 Beirut Time

BREAKING: Hezbollah's al-Manar correspondent reports that Israel is shelling southern Lebanon in the areas of Kfar Kila and al-Hamames, facing the Israeli settlement of Metula.

For its part, the Israeli army reports a "shooting near Metula," without giving any further details for the moment.

Quoted by Haaretz, Metula local council head David Azulay said that a civilian's car had been hit in a "security incident" in Metula, adding that two people were wounded and that "a lot of mortar fire" had hit the town.

10:38 Beirut Time

Gaza's status post-assault will be 'global issue': Israeli army 

An Israeli military spokesman said today that the status of the Gaza Strip after Israel's planned assault on the Palestinian enclave would be a "global issue" for discussion by Israel's politicians and with other countries, Reuters reports.

"We've had all kinds of end games," Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told media during a news briefing, in response to a question about whether Israel would fully occupy the territory.

"The cabinet is also discussing what that could look like ... this is also a global issue, what the situation will look like in this region," he said.

Hagari added that the military had "presented an operational plan" to the Israeli cabinet but did not elaborate.

"Gaza borders other countries ... So when we say things on the final status, they will combine the orders of the political level and the military," Hagari said.

10:36 Beirut Time

'If Hezbollah makes a mistake, we will respond with great force'

"Message to the Lebanese state: We remain vigilant and ready in the northern region. If Hezbollah makes a mistake, we will respond with great force," Arabic-speaking Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee writes on X.

"The Lebanese state must ask itself whether it wants to put Lebanon at risk for the ISIS saboteurs in Gaza," he adds.

10:26 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has announced on X that it received a report regarding shooting toward the town of Metula on the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon.

10:24 Beirut Time

“I have expressly warned Hezbollah and Iran not to intervene in the conflict,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Reuters reports.

10:22 Beirut Time

France's president, Emmanuel Macron, has described the Hamas video of a Franco-Israeli hostage as an "ignominy" and "odious," AFP reports.

According to the news agency, the Elysee presidential palace said Macron "calls for her immediate and unconditional release," adding: "France is fully mobilized and is working with its partners to free French hostages held by Hamas."

10:11 Beirut Time

Image: An Israeli military unit near the border with the Gaza Strip at dawn, Oct. 17, 2023. (Credit: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters)

10:07 Beirut Time

The Israeli army says it assassinated the Hamas commander responsible for the raid on Kibbutz Nirim and Nir Oz, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli Army and Israel's security agency the Shin Bet have announced that they killed Bilal al-Kadra, the commander of the Noh'ba force (Hamas' special forces) in the South Khan Younis battalion, who according to them was responsible for the raid on the Nirim and Nir Oz kibbutzim on Saturday, reports Haaretz.

According to the announcement relayed by Haaretz, other Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in attacks overnight in Zeitoon, Khan Younis and Jabalia. It was also reported that the Israeli army attacked headquarters and military compounds, dozens of launchers, anti-tank posts and observation posts belonging to Hamas.

09:56 Beirut Time

In case you missed it: Yesterday, L'Orient-Le Jour journalist Stéphanie Khouri sought to answer this question: Who decides Hezbollah’s decision for war: Nasrallah, Khamenei or both? Read her analysis here.

Image: Hezbollah supporters carry posters of Ali Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah (Credit: AFP)

09:41 Beirut Time

Image: Palestinians search for casualties under the rubble of a building destroyed by Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, Oct. 17, 2023. (Credit: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

09:35 Beirut Time

Humanitarian aid access update: Trucks carrying aid for the Gaza Strip have arrived this morning at the only border crossing into the territory not controlled by Israel, Reuters cites a witness and Egyptian security sources as saying, after the US said it was developing with Israel a plan for aid delivery.

Egypt says the Rafah crossing, a vital artery before the fighting and now a key route for desperately needed supplies into the Israeli-besieged Palestinian enclave, had not been officially closed but was made inoperable due to Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza side.

On Monday, local media and Egyptian security sources said that Israel had struck the vicinity of the crossing in Gaza. Two of the sources Reuters spoke to said the aid deliveries are now waiting for the Gaza side of the border to open and for assurances of safe passage before entering the crossing.

Some 160 trucks left al-Arish in Egypt's Sinai peninsula in the early hours of today, where hundreds of tons of aid have been awaiting an agreement on aid delivery, the witness told Reuters.

Image: A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid from Egyptian NGOs for Palestinians start to move from al-Arish to Rafah city as they wait for an agreement on the opening on the Rafah border crossing to enter Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the city of al-Arish, Sinai peninsula, Egypt, Oct. 17, 2023. (Credit: Reuters/Stringer)

09:30 Beirut Time

US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander Gen. Michael Kurilla has landed in Israel, according to a press release published by the body on X (formerly Twitter).

CENTCOM is responsible for United States military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia.

09:27 Beirut Time

Dozens of US citizens from Israel arrived in Cyprus early this morning on the first evacuation boat organized by the United States amid the escalating crisis in the Middle East, Reuters reports. Some 159 people were on board the luxury liner Rhapsody of the Seas which left Haifa and sailed into Limassol port in Cyprus early today. More such evacuation vessels are expected to arrive over the next 12 hours.

Image: The "Rhapsody of the Seas" cruise liner carrying US citizens leaves the Israeli port of Haifa on Oct. 16, 2023. (Credit: Aris Messinis/AFP)

09:18 Beirut Time

Lebanon: Overnight cross-border fire

Strikes were exchanged between Hezbollah and Israel in south Lebanon overnight. At around 2:30 a.m., the Israeli army indicated in a message published on X (formerly Twitter) that it had “struck terrorist targets belonging to Hezbollah.” In another message, it indicates having foiled an infiltration attempt by four people “who were trying to plant a bomb on the Lebanese border fence,” without causing any casualties.

Hezbollah's TV channel al-Manar, for its part, reported that “more than 100 shells fell in two hours” near Dhaira, in south Lebanon, and that white phosphorus was fired. “The bombings continued until 5 a.m.,” the al-Manar report added.

The Lebanese Army, meanwhile, confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour that intense strikes took place overnight. However, the army did not confirm the use of white phosphorus. The amry also indicated that a house was hit in Aita al-Shaab but that no injuries were caused.

The morning, the Lebanese state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported bombings “which caused injuries” in the area, including “the villages of the western sector” and those “adjacent to the Blue Line” between Israel and Lebanon.

“What is new is that the enemy used phosphorus bombs and targeted civilians,” the NNA adds, specifying that the wounded had been transported to Sour. The Lebanese army indicates for the moment that it does not have any further information on these strikes.

09:07 Beirut Time

According to Israeli publication Haaretz, the Israeli army claimed this morning to have bombed 200 positions belonging to Hamas in the last 24 hours.

09:03 Beirut Time

BREAKING: Israel's military said it killed four people who had tried to cross the fence bordering Lebanon and plant an explosive device this morning, Reuters reports.

08:57 Beirut Time

Relief convoys, which had been waiting in the Egyptian city of al-Arish yesterday, have headed towards the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, aid officials say, according to AFP.

"We have arrived at the terminal and are now waiting for the next step," AFP quotes Heba Rashed, who runs the aid group Mersal, as saying. Hundreds more lorries were headed along the coast road for the 40-kilometer (25 mile) journey to Rafah, the agency reports aid officials as adding.

08:55 Beirut Time

Gaza's Interior Ministry says that at least 49 Palestinians were killed in overnight Israeli strikes on homes in Khan Younis and Rafah, Reuters reports.

08:47 Beirut Time

What you need to know to start the day:

- Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday, a visit of "solidarity" in response to the Hamas attack, which also aims to facilitate the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip. Mr. Biden will also meet with the Egyptian president, the King of Jordan, and the head of the Palestinian Authority in Amman.

- The Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has, for his part, threatened a possible "preemptive action" against Israel "in the coming hours" if the country proceeds with its ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza. New exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israel took place on Monday evening in southern Lebanon.

- The Israeli military spokesperson, Jonathan Conricus, stated that Mr. Biden's visit does not affect the ground offensive against Hamas. "We will commence enhanced military activities when the timing is right to achieve the objective," he said before the announcement of the visit.

- According to The Wall Street Journal on Monday, the U.S. military has selected approximately 2,000 of its personnel for possible deployment in support of Israel. These troops are not meant to engage in combat but, if necessary, to perform advisory and medical assistance missions, according to unnamed Pentagon officials cited by the newspaper.

- On Monday evening, Hamas released a video of "one of the prisoners in Gaza," identified by the Israeli army as Mia. According to Israel, Hamas kidnapped 199 people during the attack. Hamas mentions "200 to 250" hostages in Gaza and reports 22 hostages killed in Israeli raids.

- The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday of an imminent "humanitarian catastrophe." "There are only 24 hours of water, electricity, and fuel left in Gaza, and if aid does not enter, doctors will only have to 'prepare death certificates,'" said Ahmed Al-Mandhari, director of WHO for the Eastern Mediterranean, based in Cairo. Under Israeli blockade by land, air, and sea for more than 15 years, the Gaza Strip has been under "complete siege" by Israel since October 9. After his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Blinken also announced that the United States had obtained guarantees from Israel regarding the delivery of foreign humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

- On Monday, hundreds of people gathered at the border with Egypt, hoping for the opening of the Rafah crossing, controlled by Egypt. According to the UN, one million people fled from the northern Gaza Strip to the southern territory in a week.

- On the Israeli side, nearly 500,000 Israelis have also been displaced, according to the Israeli army spokesperson Jonathan Conricus.

- The Israeli army and intelligence services announced the "elimination" of Oussama al-Mazini, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip who played a significant role in the exchange of prisoners between Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and Palestinian detainees in 2011.

- On Monday evening, the UN Security Council rejected a resolution proposed by Russia for a "humanitarian ceasefire." Approved by five Council members, including Russia and China, it was rejected by four others (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan), and six abstained, including Brazil.

- Over 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since the Hamas attack. Most of them are civilians who died on the day of the October 7 attack. Israeli retaliatory strikes have killed at least 2,750 people, mostly Palestinian civilians, including hundreds of children, according to local authorities. Eleven Palestinian journalists were also killed, as announced on Monday by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. In addition to this toll, Issam Abdallah, a Lebanese journalist, was killed in Israeli bombardments in southern Lebanon last Friday.

- On Monday, the Canadian government urged its citizens in Lebanon to "consider leaving the country" as long as commercial flights remain available. A few minutes later, the Swiss airline Swiss announced in a statement that it was suspending its flights to Beirut."

08:40 Beirut Time

Good morning, thank you for joining us for this new day of LIVE coverage on the evolving situation between Israel, Gaza, and also Lebanon.