Israeli airstrikes hit two refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing scores of people, health officials said. The strikes came as the U.S. keeps urging Israel to take a humanitarian pause from its relentless bombardment of Gaza and rising civilian deaths.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Ramallah in the West Bank for a previously unannounced meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Blinken on Saturday met with Arab foreign ministers in Jordan, after holding talks in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who insists there could be no temporary cease-fire until all hostages held by Hamas are released. President Joe Biden suggested that progress was being made on the humanitarian pause.
The Palestinian death toll in the Israel-Hamas war reached 9,700, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. In the occupied West Bank, more than 140 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, most of them in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that started the fighting, and 242 hostages were taken from Israel into Gaza by the militant group.
Roughly 1,100 people have left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing since Wednesday under an apparent agreement among the United States, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas.
1. Blinken meets Palestinian leader in West Bank, stepping up Mideast diplomacy as Gaza war escalates.
2. Protest marches from U.S. to Berlin call for immediate halt to bombing.
3. These numbers show the staggering toll of the Israel-Hamas war.
4. Israel deports thousands of Palestinian workers back to Gaza’s war zone.
5. A U.N. official says the average Palestinian in Gaza is living on two pieces of bread a day.
6. Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Here’s what is happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
ISRAELI TROOPS FIND WEAPONS CACHE IN GAZA
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said Sunday that it discovered an extensive stash of weapons in a home in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip as it searched the area. It found rifles, grenades, explosives, suicide drones and missiles in the residence, bringing some of the weapons back to Israel to inspect them. The military said that forces had also destroyed a nearby explosives lab.
U.S. FORCES SHOOT DOWN ATTACK DRONE NEAR BASE IN SYRIA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. forces shot down another one-way attack drone Sunday that was targeting American and coalition troops near their base in Tel Baider, Syria, a U.S. official said on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the strike.
There was no information immediately available on the origin of the attack drone, but it marked at least the 32nd attack on U.S. and coalition military facilities in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17. To date there have been at least 17 attacks in Iraq and 15 in Syria. At least 21 servicemembers have been injured by the attacks but all have returned to duty, the Pentagon said.
RELATIVES OF SCOTLAND’S FIRST MINISTER RETURN HOME FROM GAZA
LONDON — Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf says his in-laws have returned home after being allowed to leave the Gaza Strip. The parents of his wife, Nadia El-Nakla, were were visiting relatives when the conflict erupted on Oct. 7, trapping them in Gaza.
Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla were among about 100 British nationals permitted to pass through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt on Friday. But they had to leave behind Maged El-Nakla’s mother, son and grandchildren.
“We are, of course, elated. But my father-in-law said, ‘My heart is broken in two,’” Yousaf said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “He then broke down telling me how hard it was saying goodbye to them.”
Yousaf has regularly shared updates on his in-laws’ plight including that they had to drink sea water. He said his brother-in-law is a doctor treating the wounded in Gaza.
The past four weeks had been “a living nightmare for our family,” Yousaf said on Friday. He said he and wife will continue to call for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict.
“Although we feel a sense of deep personal relief, we are heartbroken at the continued suffering of the people of Gaza,” the couple said in a statement on Friday.
PROTESTERS IN TURKEY MARCH TO THE US EMBASSY
ISTANBUL – Supporters of an Islamist group marched to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Sunday, hours ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s expected arrival in the Turkish capital.
Several hundred protestors chanted “God is Great” and held their index fingers skywards as they approached the compound in the city’s Cukurambar neighborhood.
Riot police lined up in front of the U.S. complex as the crowd, many carrying black and white flags with Arabic script, called for Turkish soldiers to be sent to Gaza.
The demonstration was organized by Radical Change, which says it promotes the “living of authentic Islamic ideas” and “the intellectual and political aspects of Islam.”
The demonstration was the latest in Turkey to highlight the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Israel’s operations in Gaza.
“We, as Muslims, gathered to state that we will speak out against this genocide and that we will not accept it, that our armies and our nation are against Israel and on the side of the people of Gaza,” protester Ebru Petek told The Associated Press.
NETANYAHU REITERATES NO CEASE-FIRE UNTIL HOSTAGES ARE FREED
RAMON AIR FORCE BASE, Israel — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Ramon Air Force base in southern Israel on Sunday and reiterated his opposition to a cease-fire in Gaza.
Addressing pilots, Netanyahu said, “There will be no cease-fire without the return of our hostages.”
“We say this to both our enemies and our friends. We will continue until we beat them,” he added.
ISRAELI JETS HIT A HOUSE NEAR A SCHOOL, KILLING AT LEAST 13
BUREIJ REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip — Israeli jets struck a house near a school at the crowded Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday. At least 13 people were killed, hospital workers said.
Dozens of residents scrambled to remove the wounded and dead trapped under the rubble. Young men rushed carrying the wounded to ambulances near the school, which took them to Al-Aqsa Hospital. Hospital workers told The Associated Press that at least 13 people died.
The Bureij refugee camp is home to an estimated 46,000 people. Many Palestinians fleeing northern Gaza have stayed in refugee camps and schools as temporary shelters.
SOME PALESTINIANS HEED ISRAEL’S ORDERS AND HEAD SOUTH ON FOOT
BUREIJ, Gaza Strip — Some Palestinians appear to have heeded Israeli orders to head to the southern part of the Gaza Strip during a four-hour window Sunday as intense bombardment rages on in the northern part of the territory.
Crowds of people, including women and children, were seen walking down Gaza’s main north-south highway with only what they could carry in their arms. Others were seen leading donkey carts on the road.
One man said they had to walk 500 meters (yards) with their hands raised while passing Israeli troops and tanks on the road. Another described seeing dead bodies in damaged cars along the road linking northern Gaza to the southern part.
“We saw tanks, we saw bodies lying around … the children saw tanks for the first time. Oh world, have mercy on us, have mercy on us,” said one Palestinian, who declined to give his name.
Israeli planes earlier once again dropped leaflets urging people to head south as its forces advance in the outskirts of Gaza City.
POLICE IN TURKEY PREVENT PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS FROM APPROACHING US BASE
ISTANBUL – Police fired tear gas and water cannon as thousands of pro-Palestine protesters converged on a U.S. air base in southern Turkey on Sunday, Turkish media reported.
The intervention came as demonstrators tried to cross fields to enter the base, according to the Karar newspaper and other outlets.
The protest at Incirlik, home to the U.S. Air Force 39th Air Base Wing, was the culmination of a convoy that set off on a 940-kilometer (585-mile) journey from Istanbul on Friday.
Hundreds of vehicles arrived in Incirlik Sunday afternoon and a large crowd gathered near the base to listen to speeches. Many waved placards and Turkish and Palestinian flags.
The convoy and demonstration was organized by the IHH aid group, which Israel has accused of links to Hamas. In 2010, the group organized an aid flotilla that sought to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Ten Turkish citizens were killed after Israeli commandos stormed one of the vessels, the Mavi Marmara.
The Incirlik protest came hours before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was due to arrive in Turkey for talks with Turkish officials over Gaza.
HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT TARGETED AN ISRAELI MILITARY VEHICLE
BEIRUT — The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah said it targeted an Israeli military vehicle across the border with guided missiles Sunday, killing and wounding its crew members.
The Israeli military confirmed in a statement that an antitank missile was launched from Lebanon at Yiftah in northern Israel, and said it was striking the sources of fire. It did not confirm whether there were casualties.
Hezbollah announced several other missile launches Sunday and said it had destroyed Israeli equipment along the border. The Israeli military said Israel’s Iron Dome defense system had intercepted a drone flying toward Israel from Lebanon.
ABBAS SAYS PA WOULD TAKE OVER GAZA ONLY AS PART OF COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION
CAIRO — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority would only assume power in Gaza as part of a “comprehensive political solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the official WAFA news agency.
Abbas condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as a “genocidal war,” urging Blinken “to immediately stop them from committing such crimes,” WAFA reported.
He also called for an immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and fuel, and the restoration of water and electricity in Gaza.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, headed by Abbas, has not been a factor in Gaza since Hamas took it over by force in 2007.
Abbas said that security and peace would be achieved only through ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 Mideast war borders with east Jerusalem its capital.
FRANCE REITERATES CALL FOR A CEASE-FIRE, URGENT AID
PARIS — France is repeating its call for a cease-fire in Gaza and urgent aid for civilians caught in the Israel-Hamas war.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna voiced “the need for an immediate truce” in a tweet Sunday after meeting with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
She said they shared the view that lasting humanitarian aid for Gaza civilians and a cease-fire are needed and added: “We are working on it together.”
France is looking to Qatar for help as it seeks the release of French-Israeli citizens held hostage by Hamas since its Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel that ignited the war. France has confirmed the deaths of 39 of its citizens in the attack and lists nine other French citizens as missing, including some confirmed hostages.
BLINKEN MAKES A STOPOVER IN CYPRUS
LARNACA, Cyprus — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is making a short detour on his urgent Mideast diplomacy tour, stopping in Cyprus where he’s meeting the nation’s leader.
The State Department said Blinken was meeting briefly on Sunday with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides and Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos mainly to thank them for Cyprus’ role in temporarily hosting some American citizens who fled from Israel in the first weeks of the Gaza war.
The U.S chartered at least one cruise liner that took Americans from the Israeli port of Haifa to Larnaca as Israel’s military operations against Hamas intensified and the group accelerated rocket attacks on Israel following its Oct. 7 surprise attack.
Christodoulides detailed to Blinken his proposal for a sea corridor from Cyprus to Gaza intended to deliver by ship a constant flow of humanitarian aid to the enclave, a statement from his office said.
Blinken is on his way to Turkey to meet senior officials on Monday.