Israel-Gaza latest: ‘Bodies of hostages’ found in first incursion
Israel says Palestinians can flee from the north of Gaza along two main routes without being harmed between 10am and 4pm local time today. But Hamas claims an airstrike destroyed a convoy of 70 fleeing Gazans, mainly women and children.
Saturday 14 October 2023 13:30, UK
Hospital in Gaza given new deadline to evacuate
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has received an order from Israeli forces today with a new deadline to evacuate its Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City by 1pm (4pm local time), according to a statement.
An initial deadline was given for 3am (6am local time) but was later extended.
But the association has said they cannot evacuate the hospital and it is obliged under a humanitarian mandate to continue providing services to the sick and wounded, the statement added.
By Victoria Seabrook, news reporter at SKY NEWS
As we have been reporting, a pro-Palestinian march is under way in central London, organised by groups including Stop the War Coalition and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).
What do the protestors want?
They are calling for both Israel and Hamas to be judged equally by international law. Both sides have been accused of potential war crimes by groups like the United Nations.
The UK government has condemned the massacre of civilians and hostage taking by Hamas. But it has refused to be drawn on Israel’s siege, starving Gaza of water, food and power, and on its ordering of 1.1 million civilians in the north to evacuate to the south, which the UN warned is unsafe.
Israel says the existing siege is necessary to contain Hamas, while the escalation is an attempt to pressurise Hamas to release hostages.
The protesters want:
- All political leaders in the UK to call for an immediate ceasefire;
- Israel to lift the siege on Gaza so that humanitarian aid – including food, fuel, and medical supplies can reach the population.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office told Sky News on Friday evening: “Israel has our full support in fighting Hamas terror.
“Israel’s efforts to provide advance warning to civilians are in stark contrast to Hamas’s disregard for the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, especially with Hamas telling Gazans to ignore this warning.”
But they continued: “Given that Hamas has embedded itself in the civilian population in Gaza, it’s important that Israel takes all possible measures to protect ordinary Palestinians and facilitate humanitarian aid.”
Telling those in the north to leave is “not a humanitarian gesture”, said PCS in a statement.
“Statements by the leaders of the main political parties in the UK giving unqualified support for Israel’s actions, including the commission of war crimes, is giving Israel the green light to move ahead with the mass slaughter of civilians and contributing to the widespread dehumanisation of Palestinians in political discourse here in the UK.”
‘UK could be complicit in Gaza war crimes’
The UK “could be complicit in Gaza war crimes”, the former chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee has said.
Speaking to Sky News, Crispin Blunt said “you cannot encourage powers to commit war crimes” and “everyone must act to restrain people” if you know a war crime could be committed.
He said the UK needed to be pointing out to the Israelis that “their actions are breaches of international law and breaches of the fundamental settlement that followed the Second World War”.
“If you know that a party is going to commit a war crime – the forcible transfer of people is a precise breach of one of the statues that governs international law – then you are making yourself complicit,” he added.
“As international law has developed in this area, being complicit makes you equally guilty to the party carrying out the crime.”
‘Do not punish all the Gazan people’: Thousands descend upon London for pro-Palestinian march
Sky News correspondent Adele Robinson is currently in central London where thousands are gathering for a pro-Palestinian march.
The Metropolitan Police has already said it will deploy more than 1,000 officers to police the demonstration and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) earlier said it was working closely with the police to provide cover for people being charged.
Speaking to Robinson from London today, Narimane Hourier said she had come out in solidarity with Palestinians.
She said the attack by Hamas last Saturday was “appalling”, but added: “Do not punish all the Gazan people.”
And Katy Colley, who is Jewish and travelled from Hastings today, said “Palestinians have been screaming for decades”.
She said: “No one has listened. I’m speechless – every country should stand up right now and raise up against our leaders and demand a ceasefire.”
Meanwhile, Saira Ahmad, who is also joining the march, said there “should be an immediate ceasefire”.
She said: “Already living in worst conditions as it is, and now are being made to flee. The warnings don’t help . Nobody has anywhere to go . It’s inhumane.”
Asked how he felt about the loss of life on both sides, Moumoud Taalai from east London, said: “I feel so sad.
“In Palestine, there are innocent people who defend their home. They have suffered for a long time.”
BBC headquarters sprayed in red paint
The BBC’s Broadcasting House headquarters in London has been daubed in red paint.
Images show the piazza has been closed off, with metal barriers in place behind yellow cleaning-in-progress warning signs.
Large brooms can also be seen leaning against the glass doors, with the paint spread over the pavement.
The Metropolitan Police said the incident has not yet been linked to any protest group.
“We are aware of criminal damage to a building in Portland Place, W1A,” they said in a statement.
“At this stage there is no suggestion this is linked to any protest group.”
Israel must take ‘all possible measures to protect ordinary Palestinians’, UK says
Israel has “suffered a shockingly brutal terrorist attack and Hamas alone is responsible for this conflict”, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has said today.
The FCDO said in a statement that it “supported Israel’s right to defend itself” and to “take action against terrorism”.
It also said that unlike Hamas, Israeli President Herzog had said their armed forces would operate in accordance with international law.
“Given that Hamas has embedded itself in the civilian population in Gaza, it’s important that Israel takes all possible measures to protect ordinary Palestinians and facilitate humanitarian aid,” the FCDO added.
Police call on public to report online terrorist content
Counter-terrorism police have called on the public to report terrorist content they see online following the attack by Hamas on Israel.
The force said they had opened reviews into 55 new cases this week, following a significant number of referrals from the public reporting potential terrorist content online.
Dominic Murphy, head of the Met’s counter-terrorism command, said when it came to tackling the use of the internet to further terrorism, “support from the public is essential”.
He said following “last week’s horrific terrorist attack by Hamas”, there had been “significant concern in communities in London and across the country”.
The police will also work with tech companies to remove content assessed to breach UK terrorism legislation, he said.
Palestinians fleeing homes shelter at UN-run school
Palestinians who fled their houses amid Israeli strikes have been sheltering at a United Nations-run school in Khan Younis, which is in the southern Gaza Strip.
People in the region have been streaming south after the Israeli military ordered nearly half the population to evacuate.
The UN and aid groups have said such a rapid exodus could cause untold human suffering, with hospital patients and others unable to relocate.
Border crossing between Gaza and Egypt could open today
The PA news agency says an agreement has been reached to allow foreigners to exit Gaza through the Rafah border crossing today.
Moments earlier, Reuters reported that the US had been working with Egypt, Israel and Qatar to open the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt on Saturday afternoon.
They quoted a senior State Department official travelling with US secretary of state Antony Blinken.
“We have been trying to facilitate access for it to be open from 12 to five today,” the official told reporters.
“The Egyptians, the Israelis and the Qataris have been working with us on that.”
Egypt regularly blocks the crossing to all but a small number of people – and is currently doing so.
Water running out in Gaza – UN
More than two million people are at risk as water runs out in Gaza, a UN body has warned.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East says no humanitarian supplies have been allowed into Gaza for a week amid an Israeli blockade (which it says will continue until Hamas releases all hostages).
Clean water is running out after Gaza’s water plant and public water networks stopped working, the UNRWA says.
“People will start dying of severe dehydration, among them young children, the elderly and women.”
“People are now forced to use dirty water from wells, increasing risks of waterborne diseases. Gaza has also been under an electricity blackout since 11 October, impacting the water supply,” says Philippe Lazzarini, from the UNRWA.
Nearly one million people have been displaced in one week alone.
“We need to truck fuel into Gaza now. Fuel is the only way for people to have safe drinking water.
“If not, people will start dying of severe dehydration, among them young children, the elderly and women. Water is now the last remaining lifeline. I appeal for the siege on humanitarian assistance to be lifted now.”