As the conflict between Israel and Gaza enters its 25th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Tuesday, October 31, 2023:
- Israel has claimed they freed one soldier from Hamas’s captivity in a ground operation in Gaza. The Palestinian armed group, however, has denied the claim. Spokesperson Daniel Hagari also said the Israeli army “shot and killed” one person who crossed from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
- Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a ceasefire in Gaza, declaring this is “a time for war” after Hamas released a video of three captives. One of them slammed Netanyahu for failing to protect Israelis. On Tuesday, Israeli tanks attempted to move deeper into Gaza City. Palestinian groups claim they have destroyed several tanks and resisted Israeli advancement.
- Israel’s foreign ministry confirmed the death of 23-year-old German-Israeli, Shani Louk, who was abducted by Hamas. The circumstances of her death have not been made clear.
Human impact and fighting
- Relentless overnight Israeli air raids have continued on the Gaza Strip, killing nearly 40 people, based on medical sources and the Palestinian News Agency, WAFA. Some of the areas most affected include Rafah in the south and the al-Zawayda area in the central Gaza Strip.
- The United Nations Children’s Fund’s executive director has said that more than 420 children are being killed or injured in Gaza every day.
- Early on Tuesday, the Israeli military said its fighter jets struck Hezbollah “infrastructure” in Lebanon.
- Hospitals continue to be targeted across the Gaza Strip. Al-Quds and Indonesian Hospital in the north have been facing air strikes and artillery shelling. The Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital in the eastern part of the strip reported severe air attacks which Turkey’s foreign ministry condemned “in the strongest terms”, according to Reuters. Early on Tuesday, the European hospital in southern Gaza also reported being hit by air raids.
- Israeli forces have warned Al Jazeera reporter Youmna ElSayed to evacuate her house. The threat comes five days after Israeli strikes killed the family of Al Jazeera Arabic’s bureau chief in Gaza.
- Japan announced new sanctions on companies and individuals linked to Hamas on Tuesday.
- United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he discussed the latest in Gaza with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. They talked about the urgent need for increased aid. Blinken expressed his appreciation for Qatar’s involvement in the release of Israeli captives.
- The non-permanent member states of the UN Security Council are working on another draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza after four previous resolutions failed to be adopted by the council.
- Thailand’s foreign minister will visit Qatar late on Tuesday and Egypt a day later to try and secure the release of 22 Thais being held captive by Hamas. Iran’s foreign ministry also announced on Tuesday morning that Hossein Amirabdollahian is travelling to Qatar for talks with senior officials.
- Saudi Arabia’s defence minister said he met US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday and discussed “the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza” and the protection of civilians.
Escalation in the West Bank
- On Monday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Israeli forces or settlers have killed 121 Palestinians, including 33 children in the occupied West Bank since October 7. Nearly 1,000 Palestinians have also been forcibly displaced.
- Israeli forces “blew up” the home of Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas, according to correspondent Bernard Smith. They had taken over his house in Aroura about 10 days ago, while al-Arouri is said to be in exile.
- Israeli night raids targeted Hebron, Nablus, Jenin and several other villages in the West Bank.