US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) and Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi hold a press conference, after meetings amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in Amman on November 4, 2023. (Photo by JONATHAN ERNST / POOL / AFP)


US Secretary of State Blinken says no to ceasefire, despite calls from Egypt, Jordan and Arab League - Day 29 Israel-Hamas war

What you need to know

After a calm early morning, shelling has resumed in south Lebanon.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Amman today, where he met with Lebanese caretaker premier Najib Mikati. Blinken is also due to meet the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The Palestinian Red Crescent claims to have received 421 trucks of aid over the past two weeks via the Rafah border crossing.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rebuffed pressure from Blinken to enact a temporary humanitarian truce.

Hezbollah's chief, Hassan Nasrallah, spoke live yesterday for the first time since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, saying his party entered the conflict on Oct. 8 

21:40 Beirut Time

Thank you for joining our LIVE blog coverage of day 29 of the Israel-Hamas war. We will be back tomorrow with more news updates.

21:40 Beirut Time

The New York Times reported that the authorities in Gaza will suspend the evacuation, via the Rafah crossing into Egypt, until ambulances carrying wounded individuals are allowed to safely reach the border and cross into Egypt for treatment.

21:37 Beirut Time

The evacuation of foreigners and binationals from Gaza towards Egypt is suspended, according to a Palestinian official quoted by AFP.

20:49 Beirut Time

US Navy aircraft carrier the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group has arrived in the Middle East, according to a post on X (formerly Twitter) by the US Central Command. 

Read more about the US deployment in the Eastern Mediterranean here.

20:34 Beirut Time

30 aid trucks carrying humanitarian aid have passed through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Four of the trucks carried medical equipment and medicine, and the rest carried food, water and other humanitarian supplies.

Since Oct. 21, 451 trucks have entered Gaza, about 30 each day.

19:51 Beirut Time

There are unconfirmed reports that several missiles were fired towards Israel from southern Lebanon, according to Hezbollah-affiliated channels Al-Manar and Al Mayadeen.

The reports did not specify whether these missiles were launched by the Hezbollah. The channels added that the Israeli Iron Dome "attempted" to intercept the missiles. L'Orient Today could not confirm this. The Israeli army also did not confirm these reports.

Our correspondent in the region, Mountasser Abdallah, reported that Israeli artillery strikes have hit the vicinity of Jibbayn and Tayr Harfa in southern Lebanon, according to local residents. They suggest that at least 12 shells were fired. A correspondent from Annahar also reported a bombardment in these areas.

When contacted by L'Orient Today, Hezbollah and the Lebanese army were unable to confirm these reports. United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) did not respond to our calls.

19:47 Beirut Time

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said that "Israel will find the head of Hamas in Gaza and eliminate him," according to AFP.

19:02 Beirut Time

Leader of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a visit to Tehran in recent days, a Hamas official said on Saturday in remarks broadcast by al-Mayadeen television.

A senior official of Hamas, Osama Hamdan, gave no further details about the visit to Tehran, speaking in Beirut. Haniyeh has resided between Qatar and Turkey since 2019.

18:42 Beirut Time

UN Secretary-General António Guterres repeated his call today for a "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza and release of all hostages in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

"All those with influence must exert it to ensure respect for the rules of war, end the suffering and avoid a spillover of the conflict," he said.

17:57 Beirut Time

“Continued fighting and Israeli attacks, through bombardments and the blockade, worsen the humanitarian situation in Gaza to a gruesome degree, and can be qualified as the genocide and ethnic cleansing of hundreds and thousands of Palestinians,” Arab League President Ahmad Aboul Gheit said in a statement, decrying Gazans’ inability to access clean water and fuel.

Aboul Gheit denounced “Israeli strikes on ambulances, which is a flagrant violation of the laws of war.” He issued an “urgent call to UN Security Council member states to achieve an immediate stop to the aggression and a humanitarian truce.”

17:53 Beirut Time

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at press conference in Amman, Jordan: He called for Israel to "take every possible measure to prevent civilian casualties." He said that Israel has a right to defend itself.

He added that more than 100 trucks are moving towards Rafah but that more are needed.

He said that both Washington and Arab states believe the status quo of a Hamas-controlled Gaza cannot continue and that he has discussed with his Arab counterparts how to chart a better path forward towards a two-state solution.

17:52 Beirut Time

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at press conference in Amman, Jordan: He called for an "immediate and intensive" ceasefire in Gaza "without any condition."

17:51 Beirut Time

Press conference in Amman, JordanL'Orient Today just heard from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at a press conference in Amman, Jordan.

Safadi said that there is a "mutual keenness" to "stop what we can describe as a catastrophe that will haunt the region for a generation."

He said that Arab countries are demanding an immediate ceasefire, adding that they do not accept that Israel is acting out of self-defense.

17:24 Beirut Time

Palestinian rescuer stands in the dust and smoke following a strike by the Israeli military on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Nov. 4, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP)

17:12 Beirut Time

During a press conference in Beirut, Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the group’s armed forces inflicted heavy losses on the Israeli military and prevented it from advancing.

The statement said civilians, journalists and media offices were being directly targeted in Gaza.

Hamdan called for the Rafah crossing to be completely opened, noting the catastrophic situation in hospitals due to fuel and medical equipment shortages. The Hamas official called for global movements in solidarity with Palestinians to continue in order to stop the attack on Gaza and said Arab states’ official positions were too weak compared to the scale of casualties.

16:28 Beirut Time

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has been touring its northern border with Lebanon. Reportedly, Gallant said that the Air Force is "maintaining most of its capacity in the Lebanese area, against Hezbollah."

Haaretz also reported that Gallant said that "Yahya Sinwar made a mistake and sealed the fate of Hamas and the fate of Gaza. If Nasrallah makes a mistake, he will seal the fate of Lebanon." He said that Israel is not interested in a war against Lebanon.

16:18 Beirut Time

Hezbollah claimed that its strikes on Jal al-Alam, Jardah, Hadb al-Bustan, al-Malkiyya and Metula resulted in direct hits and destroyed Israeli military installations and equipment.

16:07 Beirut Time

An Israeli strike that struck an ambulance close to the gate of Al-Shifa hospital yesterday killed at least 15 civilians, according to a Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) statement reported by the BBC.

The ambulance was part of a convoy that was forced to turn back due to roads blocked by rubble while attempting to transport casualties to the Rafah crossing. An earlier death toll from the Gaza Health Ministry estimated that 13 people had been killed in the attack outside al-Shifa.

In a statement reported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on X (formerly Twitter), Dr. Obaid, an MSF doctor at al-Shifa, said he saw a direct hit on the ambulance. “Many were killed immediately, while we rushed others to the operating room for emergency care,” he continued. MSF said the attack was a “a new low in an endless stream of unconscionable violence.”

15:57 Beirut Time

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on X (formerly Twitter) that he is "horrified" by the attack in Gaza on a hospital convoy outside al-Shifa hospital yesterday.

AFP reported that fifteen people were killed on Friday by the strike, confirmed to be Israeli.

Israel said it targeted Hamas members who were using the vehicle. Hamas denied the allegation.

The Red Crescent said in a statement that the bombing occurred just two meters from the entrance of the largest hospital in Gaza, al-Shifa.

"Now, for nearly one month, civilians in Gaza, including children and women, have been besieged, denied aid, killed and bombed out of their homes. This must stop," Guterres wrote in his post on X (formerly Twitter).

15:27 Beirut Time

Palestinian man gestures to the rubble of a collapsed building as a fire burns following a strike by the Israeli military on Khan Yunis in southern Gaza on Nov. 4, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP)

14:49 Beirut Time

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said.

According to AFP, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Sakir Ozkan Torunlar was being recalled "in view of the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Gaza caused by the continuing attacks by Israel against civilians, and Israel's refusal [to accept] a cease-fire."

14:44 Beirut Time

Around 2 p.m., the Israeli army said that in the past hour it had launched airstrikes, artillery shells and tank fire on “infrastructure, weapons depots and compounds” used by Hezbollah in retaliation for cross-border strikes launched from Lebanon earlier in the day, the Israeli army's Arabic-speaking spokesman Avichay Adraee announced on X (formerly Twitter).

14:03 Beirut Time

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza increased the death toll in a strike on a UN school today to at least 15, AFP reports.

The United Nations school was being used to shelter thousands of displaced Palestinians.

"The massacre at the al-Fakhura school committed by the occupation [Israel] this morning left 15 martyrs and 70 wounded," ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said at a press conference.

The ministry had earlier said that 12 people had been killed and 54 wounded.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, and AFP was unable to independently confirm the toll.

There was also no immediate comment from the UN aid agency supporting Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

On Thursday, UNRWA said that four its schools in the Gaza Strip housing people displaced by the war had been damaged by bombings.

13:31 Beirut Time

Caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati left Jordan for Cairo, where he has met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

Image: Photo sent by the office of the caretaker prime minister

13:30 Beirut Time

The Israeli army is again bombing south Lebanon, this time in the vicinity of Houla (Marjayoun). The assault was launched in retaliation for an attack on the Israeli site of al-Abad, according to our correspondent in the region, Muntasser Abdallah.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for this latest attack in a statement, specifying that it had managed to destroy Israeli military installations.

13:28 Beirut Time

While the Israeli army has bombarded the surroundings of several localities in south Lebanon since this morning, Hezbollah has announced that it attacked six Israeli positions with “rockets and adequate weapons.” The party claims to have “reached its targets” and “destroyed technical equipment.”

13:23 Beirut Time

US-allied Arab states are expected to press Secretary of State Antony Blinken for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza at a meeting of foreign ministers in Amman today. Read more here. 

13:11 Beirut Time

"Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We have written him off," Turkish media has quoted Erdogan as saying. Read more here. 

12:50 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has announced the killing of another of its fighters: Yousef Mohamad Sabra from Hadatha in south Lebanon. As usual, Hezbollah did not specify the date and time of Sabra's death. Hezbollah has so far announced the deaths of 59 fighters since the beginning of cross-border clashes in the south Lebanon on Oct. 8.

12:45 Beirut Time

DEATH TOLL UPDATE: 9,488 Palestinians have been killed, including 3,900 children, in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run enclave.

12:39 Beirut Time

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi would visit Turkey at the end of November to hold talks on Gaza, and that he would also attend a summit of Muslim countries in Riyadh later this month, Reuters reports.

Speaking to reporters on his return flight from Kazakhstan yesterday, Erdogan said there would no longer be any trust in the global system if Israel was not stopped and held accountable for what he described as "its war crimes and human rights violations," broadcaster Haberturk and others reported.

He also said the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would push for a cease-fire and discuss the parameters of such a move during its summit in Riyadh later this month.

12:20 Beirut Time

The Israeli military says it will allow Palestinian evacuees to use the main Gaza highway south between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. GMT today, Reuters reports.

12:10 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says that at least 12 people have been killed when Israel struck a United Nations school where thousands of displaced Palestinians were sheltering, AFP reports.

The ministry reported in a statement "12 martyrs and upwards of 54 wounded so far as a result of targeting al-Fakhura school, which is sheltering thousands of displaced people in Jabalia [refugee] camp in the northern Gaza Strip."

An earlier statement by the Interior Ministry said it was an "occupation [Israeli] strike" that hit the school. There was no immediate comment from Israel.

Image: A view of a damaged chair lying on the ground near cooking utensils following a strike at a UN-run school sheltering displaced people, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 4, 2023. (Credit: Anas al-Shareef/Reuters)

12:05 Beirut Time

Hamas will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. today at its headquarters on the airport road in Beirut to talk about the latest developments regarding the "zionist terrorist aggression on our people in Palestine," Hamas' office announced this morning.

12:00 Beirut Time

Israeli shelling is ongoing in the Lebanese districts of Marjayoun, Nabatieh and Sour, around the border villages of Naqoura, Marwahin, Chihine,  Dhayra, Teir Harfa, Aitaroun and Rmaish, residents of the villages have told L'Orient Today. Residents of Kafr Kila told L'Orient Today that the Israeli army shelled a house in the village.

11:35 Beirut Time

Image: People surround the bodies of people killed a day earlier in an Israeli strike that hit the entrance of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, during a funeral held for the victims on Nov. 4, 2023. (Credit: Bashar Taleb/AFP)

11:31 Beirut Time

Between 800,000 and 1 million people have been displaced to the south of the Gaza Strip, while between 350,000 and 400,000 have remained in the northern part, according to David Satterfield, the US envoy appointed by Washington on Oct. 15 to deal with humanitarian issues in the Middle East, Reuters reports.

Satterfield also asserted that there has been "zero interference" with the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza since the Rafah border crossing reopened and that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has had access to fuel for aid trucks, water desalination operations and the running of hospitals in southern Gaza.

He also said that there is an "agreed mechanism" to supply fuel as soon as it runs out.

He indicated that Israel is in "discussions with other countries" to charter and bring in ships with hospital capacity to receive people awaiting treatment in Gaza.

Lastly, he said that the US has not seen instances of Hamas seizing or interdicting aid in the Gaza Strip.

The enclave has relentlessly bombarded by the Israeli army since the war broke out on Oct. 7. Israel has also imposed a total siege on the Strip and has been conducting a ground offensive in Gaza for almost a week.

11:21 Beirut Time

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly has urged Iran to use its influence with groups in the Middle East region to prevent an escalation of Israel's conflict with Hamas, Reuters reports.

Britain's Foreign Office said Cleverly spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian yesterday, telling him "Iran bore responsibility" for the actions of groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that it has supported for many years.

11:19 Beirut Time

At least 41 children have been killed in the West Bank since Oct. 7, child protection NGO Save the Children says in a statement, citing UN figures of an average seven incidents per day as part of an increase in “settler-related violence and resulting forced displacement.”

The organization’s director for occupied Palestinian territory, Jason Lee, said that “by September, this was already the deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, and we’re nearing the same number in less than a month.”

11:11 Beirut Time

The French death toll from the Hamas attacks in Israel has risen to 39, Reuters reports, citing the French Foreign Ministry.

11:07 Beirut Time

The Israeli army is bombarding the surrounding areas of Aita al-Shaab and Rmaish (Bint Jbeil) in southern Lebanon, the Aita al-Shaab municipality head tells L'Orient Today.

11:05 Beirut Time

The Israeli army at around 10:30 a.m. shelled locations between the south Lebanon border villages of Alma al-Shaab and Naqoura, UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti tells L'Orient Today.

10:26 Beirut Time

The Israeli army says it has targeted two terrorist squads that attempted to fire from Lebanon into Israeli territory today and that it has destroyed a Hezbollah observation post, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.

10:23 Beirut Time

The impacts of war in south Lebanon go well beyond the fears associated with daily shelling. Journalists Philippe Pernot and Amélie David report on how Israel is "weaponizing the environment" in the south and, as a result, compromising resource provision and livelihoods. Click here to read their article. 

Image: Saher, a hairdresser from Dhayra, shows pictures of an Israeli phosphorus bomb attack on Oct. 16 at the Tyre Technical School, Oct. 24, 2023. (Credit: Philippe Pernot/L'Orient Today)

10:09 Beirut Time

Relative calm prevails this morning on the Lebanon-Israel border after days of intense exchanges of fire across the frontier between Hezbollah and Palestinian factions on the Lebanese side and the Israeli army on the other.

09:53 Beirut Time

Lebanon's caretaker prime minister has asked US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the international community to "pressure Israel to stop its daily violations of [Lebanese] land and sovereignty in its land, sea and air," Mikati's office says.  

Najib Mikati's request came during a meeting with Blinken in Amman earlier today.

Mikati’s office also quoted Blinken as saying that he is "doing his best to stop the military operations [in Gaza] for humanitarian reasons that would be associated with the beginning of discussions regarding solving the hostage file.”

Image: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gestures towards Lebanon's caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati to sit down at a hotel during a day of meetings in the Jordanian capital Amman on Nov. 4, 2023. (Credit: Jonathan Ernst/POOL/AFP)

09:45 Beirut Time

State-organized rallies were held across Iran today to mark the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy. The rallies were accompanied by cries of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" in support of Palestinians under Israeli bombardment in Gaza. Click here for more. 

09:38 Beirut Time

An Israeli drone has fired a missile against the Gaza house of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, who is currently outside of the enclave, Reuters reports, citing Hamas Aqsa Radio.

09:00 Beirut Time

Yesterday, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) received 47 trucks of humanitarian aid from the Egyptian Red Crescent via the Rafah border crossing, the PRCS said in a post on its account on the X social media platform. The post adds that these trucks contained food, water, relief supplies, medications and medical equipment.

"So far, a total of 421 trucks have been received, but fuel has not been allowed to enter till this moment," the PRCS post adds.

08:48 Beirut Time

Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken are currently meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, the Lebanese state-run National News Agency reports.

08:44 Beirut Time

US officials are making intense efforts to gain the release of hostages from Hamas control in Gaza, but there is no guarantee of success or a timeframe, Reuters cites a senior Biden administration official as saying yesterday.

According to Reuters, the official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said there is "indirect engagement" aimed at finding a framework to get hostages out of Gaza, but that the work is extremely difficult.

08:42 Beirut Time

In case you missed it: Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah spoke yesterday afternoon for the first time since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7. Click here to read the four main takeaways from his speech.

Image: Photo of Hassan Nasrallah held up on Nov. 3 in the southern suburbs of Beirut, during the Hezbollah leader's speech. (Credit: Joao Sousa/L'Orient-Le Jour)

08:38 Beirut Time

Hezbollah overnight announced the death of another of its fighters: Hussein Ali Srour from the south Lebanon village of Aita al-Shaab, which Israel bombarded yesterday. As is usual, the party did not specify the place or time of Srour's death.

This announcement brings the total number of Hezbollah fighters killed since Oct. 7 to 58.

08:31 Beirut Time

Good morning, 

Welcome to our live coverage of events in and related to the Israel-Hamas war on day 29 of the conflict.