The latest Israel-Palestine war, ignited by a wide-ranging attack by the militant group Hamas on Israel, has already claimed thousands of lives on both sides.
The immediate trigger was Hamas militants firing thousands of rockets and sending fighters -- through land, air and sea -- into Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip during a major Jewish holiday (Simchat Torah) on October 7 in a deadly offensive branded "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood".
Israel has been responding to Saturday's attack with a massive bombardment of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to “crush and destroy” Hamas.
Meanwhile, the first batch of Indians who had been waiting to return from Israel have been flown back home.
On Monday, Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza halting the supply of electricity, food, water and fuel to the Palestinian enclave. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, described the siege as "nothing less than genocidal".
Palestinians saycivilians are paying the price in strikes on Gaza, a small coastal strip of land (140 square miles) packed with 2.3 million residents, which has been blockaded for more than 15 years.
A spokeswoman for Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, warned that the “Israeli decisions to cut electricity, fuel, food and medicine supplies" would severely affect Palestinians.
The conflict is expected to continue to escalate.
The latest developments:
The first flight bringing 212 Indian nationals back from Israel successfully landed at Delhi Airport on Friday. Upon arrival, the returning citizens were received by Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
"We are thankful... Most of the students had panicked a little," Shubham Kumar, a student in Israel, said.
Gaza’s interior ministry on Thursday said that an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza has killed at least 45 people and wounded dozens more.
Eyad Bozum, the spokesperson of the interior ministry, told The Associated Press that a late afternoon airstrike hit the al-Shihab family house at the center of the Jabaliya camp.
The al-Shihab house was packed with dozens of relatives at the time of the airstrike. Some family members had fled heavy bombing from other parts of the strip and taken refuge there.
Bozum said the death toll was likely to rise from that airstrike, because civil defense workers were still pulling bodies from the rubble and counting the dead.
The Israel military pulverized the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with airstrikes, prepared for a possible ground invasion and said Thursday its complete siege on the territory — which has left Palestinians desperate for food, fuel and medicine — would remain in place until Hamas militants freed some 150 hostages taken during a deadly weekend incursion. Read More
“Not a single electricity switch will be flipped on, not a single faucet will be turned on, and not a single fuel truck will enter until the Israeli hostages are returned home,” Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said on social media.
Hospitals, overwhelmed by a constant stream of wounded and running out of supplies, have only a few days worth of fuel before their power cuts off, aid officials say. The cut-off has also caused dire water shortages for over 650,000 people, according to the UN
“Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues,” said Fabrizio Carboni, regional director of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Newborn incubators, kidney dialysis machines, X-rays, and more, are all dependent on power, he said.
The US State Department formally announces that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be adding stops in Qatar, Egypt and UAE after visiting Israel and Jordan on Friday and Saturday, according to The Times of Israel.
The US has said it has been in contact with Qatar, which has ties to Hamas, regarding efforts to release the hostages taken by terror groups into Gaza from Israel, the report said.