Israel-Hamas war latest: Hostage deal is 'near,' Biden says

US President Joe Biden takes part of the annual Thanksgiving Turkey pardon on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on November 20, 2023
US President Joe Biden takes part of the annual Thanksgiving Turkey pardon on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on November 20, 2023 - ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Image

US President Joe Biden has said that he believes a hostage deal is near amid reports of a halt in fighting in exchange for dozens of captives.

Asked whether a deal was near during a Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House, Mr Biden said “I believe so”, before holding up crossed fingers.

The main sticking points to a hostage release deal are now “very minor” and just logistical issues, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who has been mediating the negotiations, said at a press conference on Sunday.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby briefing reporters this evening on the possible hostage deal said: “We are still working this hour by hour… We believe we’re closer than we’ve ever been, so we’re hopeful. But there’s still work to be done. And nothing is done until it’s all done. So we’re going to keep working on this.”

Asked if the US has confidence that the American hostages are alive, Kirby said “we have no indications otherwise.”

Israel’s government is under increasing pressure to secure a hostage deal more than six weeks after some 240 were taken into Gaza by Hamas on the October 7 raids.

Gaza’s most wanted man,Yahya Sinwar, is reportedly leading talks with Israel. Talks briefly hit a pause over the weekend as Mr Sinwar stopped engaging with envoys in Doha after the IDF raided the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City.


10:00 PM GMT

Today's live blog is now closed

That’s all from us for today, we will be back in the morning with all of the latest developments from the war between Israel and Hamas.


09:51 PM GMT

Mastermind behind Hamas attacks personally handling hostage negotiations

The Hamas leader who masterminded the Oct 7 attacks is personally handling negotiations for a hostage release even as Israeli troops seek to find and kill him.

Yahya Sinwar, who spent 22 years in an Israeli prison, has taken control of the deal and has been in-and-out of touch with Qatari mediators, according to reports.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has described Sinwar as a “dead man”. The terrorist leader has stayed inside Gaza, unlike Hamas’s political-wing which lives in luxurious exile in Qatar and Turkey.

Israeli defence officials told Haaretz newspaper that they were concerned that Sinwar was still “euphoric” after the events on Oct 7 and was sticking to hard-line negotiating positions.

They said a deal should be concluded urgently in case Sinwar cuts off communication in the event of an escalation in the war. Israeli officials are reportedly finalising plans for “targeted” raids into southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled.

On Monday, Joe Biden, the US president, said he believed a deal to free around 50 of the 240 hostages captured by Hamas was “near”.

Read more from Nataliya Vasilyeva here.


09:42 PM GMT

German president to visit Israel for talks with Israeli counterpart next week

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will travel to Israel on November 26 and 27 to hold “political talks” with his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog, according to a statement from the president’s office.

During his visit the German President is also planning to hold meetings in southern Israel and east Jerusalem.


09:22 PM GMT

200 patients evacuated from Gaza's Indonesian hospital, Hamas-run ministry of health says

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said Monday 200 patients were evacuated from a hospital with the help of the Red Cross just hours after it was hit by a deadly Israeli strike which they said killed 12.

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP 200 people were evacuated from the Indonesian hospital in Jabaliya and taken by bus to Nasser hospital in the southern town of Khan Yunis.

“The Israeli army is laying siege to the Indonesian hospital,” he said.

“We fear the same thing will happen there as it did in Al-Shifa,” he added, referring to the largest hospital in Gaza which Israeli troops have been searching since Wednesday.

The evacuation of the 140-bed hospital, which is close to the Jabaliya refugee camp, was carried out in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), he said, in a condition laid down by doctors after Israel struck an ambulance in northern Gaza, claiming it was being used by Hamas militants.

“There are still 400 patients in the hospital and we are working with the ICRC to evacuate,” he said, indicating that “around 2,000 displaced persons” were in and around the hospital.

The Hamas-run government earlier reported that dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles were deployed around the outskirts of the hospital and were firing towards the facility.


09:07 PM GMT

US "would welcome China playing a constructive role in the Middle East"

The United States “would welcome China playing a constructive role in the Middle East,” US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said in a press briefing after the Chinese Foreign Minister met with Arab counterparts in Beijing over the war in Gaza.

Miller noted that Antony Blinken had “made this clear personally” in conversations with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian National Authority and Indonesia, as well as the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, met with Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday to discuss “de-escalating” the conflict.

“One of the things that we heard repeatedly from every party with which we engaged on our last trip is the indispensability of the United States in every aspect of this conflict, whether it comes to getting humanitarian assistance and whether it comes to preventing the conflict from widening,” Miller said.


08:47 PM GMT

Pro-Iran Iraqi militia claims to have a seaborne drone that can reach 500km

Iraqi militia Nujaba, which is close to Iran, has claimed in a statement that they have a seaborne drone with a range of 500 kilometres.

“Just as our rockets targeted you on land, we have things waiting for you in the sea,” the statement read.


08:38 PM GMT

Pictured: Police remove activists from 'lock-ons' in protest of an Israeli arms company

Specialist police officers release the activists from the lock-ons on November 20, 2023 in Leicester, United Kingdom. Activists with the group Palestine Action attached themselves to lock-ons and block roads leading to UAV Tactical Systems (UTACS), owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. As casualties have increased in Gaza during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war the activists have stepped up their direct action, announcing that companies selling weapons to the Israel Defence Force and their partner companies will be targeted.

08:19 PM GMT

Red Cross president meets with Hamas chief

The Red Cross said Monday that its president had travelled to Qatar to meet with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh “to advance humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza”.

“President Mirjana Spoljaric met with Ismael Haniyeh, Chair of Hamas’ Political Bureau, and separately with authorities of the state of Qatar,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement.

“The ICRC is insisting that our teams be allowed to visit the hostages to check on their welfare and deliver medications, and for the hostages to be able to communicate with their families. Agreements must be reached that allow the ICRC to safely carry out this work. The ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location.”

The statement comes as Israeli media is reporting that Tel Aviv has given the green light over a hostage negotiation deal and is awaiting confirmation from Hamas.


08:11 PM GMT

US demands immediate release of ship, crew by Yemen's Houthis

The United States on Monday denounced the seizure of a cargo ship in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement as a violation of international law and demanded the immediate release of the vessel and its crew.

“The Houthi seizure of the motor vessel Galaxy Leader in the Red Sea is a flagrant violation of international law,” US State Department spokeman Matthew Miller told a press briefing. “We demand the immediate release of the ship and its crew and we will consult with our allies and UN partners as to appropriate next steps.”


07:56 PM GMT

Family members of hostages hold press conference at Israeli embassy in London

Aviram Meir, the uncle of Almog Meir, addresses journalists during a press conference at the Embassy of Israel by family members of some of those held hostage in Gaza, on November 20, 2023 at the Israeli embassy in London, England.
Aviram Meir, the uncle of Almog Meir, addresses journalists during a press conference at the Embassy of Israel by family members of some of those held hostage in Gaza, on November 20, 2023 at the Israeli embassy in London, England. - Leon Neal/Getty Images

07:23 PM GMT

Families of Israeli child hostages make plea on World Children's Day

The families of Israeli children held hostage by Hamas in Gaza pleaded Monday for international voices to demand their release at a protest outside the UN children’s fund in Tel Aviv, AFP reported.

Several hundred demonstrators joined the protest on World Children’s Day.

At least 35 of the hostages are children, with 18 of them aged 10 and under, according to an AFP count. That figure includes a baby which the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was born in captivity.

Demonstrators held Israeli flags, portraits of the children and stuffed toys, with a projector casting enormous pictures of their names, faces and ages onto the side of the building housing the offices of UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, as participants chanted: “UN do your job!”

“How can it be that in the face of this horror, my 12-year-old boy Erez and Sa’ar, 16, and many other children are hostages - brutally taken hostage - and the world is silent?” said Hadas Kalderon whose two sons have been held in Gaza by Palestinian militants since October 7.

“Large institutions like UNICEF are silent. Have you forgotten your role?” she said.

“Where are the rights of my children?”

The rally took place shortly before the families were to meet with Israel’s war cabinet as rumours circulated that a possible hostage deal was in the offing.


07:01 PM GMT

IDF says it located Hamas rocket-making lab, weapons and tunnel entrance inside Gaza City mosque

In an evening press briefing to the Israeli media, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, has reportedly claimed that the 188th Armored Brigade located a Hamas rocket-making lab, weapons, and a tunnel entrance inside a mosque in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood.

“A mosque, in the Zeitoun area, is used as a lab for weapons,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari is quoted as saying on The Times of Israel live blog.

“Troops enter the mosque, carry out scans, and make sure there are no traps. They head inside and find a tunnel shaft and a staircase,” he says.

In the basement, Hagari says the troops found “a workshop for making rockets.”


06:43 PM GMT

Pictured: Israel's border with Gaza

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on November 20, 2023, shows an Israeli soldier working on a tank near the Palestinian enclave
A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on November 20, 2023, shows an Israeli soldier working on a tank near the Palestinian enclave - GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images
Israeli soldiers manoeuver armored military vehicles along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.
Israeli soldiers manoeuver armored military vehicles along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. - AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg

06:34 PM GMT

New Yorker says its contributor, poet Mosab Abu Toha, was taken by the IDF in Gaza

Editors at the New Yorker have confirmed widespread reports that Gazan poet Mosab Abu Toha has been taken into custody by the Israeli military, adding that they have lost contact with him.

The literary NGO PEN said on Twitter on Monday that it is concerned about reports that Abo Toha, who is also the founder of Gaza’s only English-language library, has been taken into custody by the IDF.

“Israeli forces KIDNAPPED my friend, the award-winning brilliant poet from Gaza, Mosab Abu Toha,” Laura Albast, an editor at the Institute for Palestine studies,” posted on X. “His brother says Mosab and his young family were evacuating to the south as his brother says they have been asked by the State Department to head to the Rafah Crossing to evacuate because Mosab’s youngest son, Mostafa who is 3.5 years old, is a U.S. citizen.”

“As they approached a checkpoint heading toward the south, Israeli soldiers snatched Mosab from his family and no one has heard anything about him since,” Albast added.


06:14 PM GMT

Israel recalls its ambassador to South Africa for consultations

Israel has recalled for consultations its ambassador to South Africa following the “latest statements from South Africa”, Israel’s foreign ministry said.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party on Thursday had said it would support a parliamentary motion calling for the Israeli embassy in South Africa to be closed.

South Africa, which is highly critical of Israel’s campaign in Gaza against Hamas, has recalled its diplomats from Israel.


06:01 PM GMT

Pictured: Rocket sirens continue to sound in Israel

A mother covers her daughter as a siren sounds signalling incoming rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel during a protest calling on the UN and UNICEF to assist children being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas, near the offices of UNICEF in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 20, 2023.
A mother covers her daughter as a siren sounds signalling incoming rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel during a protest calling on the UN and UNICEF to assist children being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas, near the offices of UNICEF in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 20, 2023. - REUTERS/Itai Ron

05:44 PM GMT

Mother of one of 28 Gaza babies moved to Egypt recounts her ordeal in Reuters report

Born prematurely in Gaza just before war broke out, the baby girl was treated at Al Shifa Hospital as it gradually collapsed, separated from her displaced family, then evacuated to Egypt on Monday along with her mother and 27 other Palestinian newborns.

Lobna al-Saik, the baby’s mother, was one of a few parents accompanying some of the 28 infants as they were taken in a convoy of ambulances from a hospital in southern Gaza, through the Rafah border crossing, into Egypt to receive treatment.

“They are innocent children, premature babies,” an exhausted al-Saik said in a video interview provided by the Egyptian government. “My message to the world is ‘enough’”, Reuters reports.

Egyptian television footage showed medical staff at Rafah carefully picking up tiny babies from inside Palestinian ambulances and placing them in mobile incubators, which were then wheeled across a car park towards Egyptian ambulances.

The family left their home on the third day of the war to escape Israeli bombardment. Like hundreds of thousands of others, al-Saik moved to the south of the Gaza Strip with her three other children, while the baby girl stayed at Al Shifa.

With shortages of electricity, water, medicines and other basics, conditions at Al Shifa deteriorated and the baby lost weight and got sick.

“There was no milk and she kept getting worse, she was back to zero, to living on oxygen again,” said al-Saik.

The mother was reunited with her baby in Rafah, but to accompany her to Egypt, she said she had to leave her other children behind in Gaza.

“I didn’t even get a chance to hug them because I couldn’t leave my daughter in this state. I didn’t say goodbye to them. Something might happen to them, they could be bombed or martyred,” she said, her voice breaking as tears welled up.


05:34 PM GMT

Three premature babies still trapped in Gaza

Three premature babies are still trapped in Gaza after dozens of others were evacuated from the enclave’s main hospital to Egypt for treatment.

The trio of newborns were being treated at the Emirati Hospital in the territory’s south, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

The update came after a group of 28 premature babies were taken into Egypt via the Rafah Crossing after being evacuated from the besieged Al Shifa hospital on Sunday. The babies had been taken to the Emirati Hospital before being transferred into Egypt.

Several other newborns died at the Al Shifa hospital, the largest of its kind in Gaza, in recent days amid a collapse in medical services partly caused by power cuts when fuel ran out.

Israeli forces seized the hospital last week to search for what they said was a Hamas tunnel network built underneath the complex.

Hundreds of patients, medical staff and displaced people evacuated the complex at the weekend, with doctors saying they were ejected by troops and Israel saying the departures were voluntary.

20 November 2023, Palestinian Territories, Rafah: Premature babies pictured in a hospital in Rafah before they are transferred to Egypt to receive the proper medical care.
20 November 2023, Palestinian Territories, Rafah: Premature babies pictured in a hospital in Rafah before they are transferred to Egypt to receive the proper medical care. - Mohammed Talatene / Avalon

05:26 PM GMT

Pictured: Israel takes detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip

Israeli soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on November 20, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue.
Israeli soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on November 20, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue. - GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images

05:22 PM GMT

Gaza health ministry says death toll above 13,300

Gaza’s Hamas government said Monday the death toll in the Palestinian territory had passed 13,300 since war began on October 7 between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.

The Hamas government said more than 5,600 children were among the dead, alongside 3,550 women, with another 31,000 people wounded. Its health ministry has previously said it can no longer give exact tolls as intense fighting has prevented bodies from being recovered.


04:44 PM GMT

Houthis military media release footage of their hijacking of an Israeli-linked ship yesterday

The Galaxy Leader is flagged in the Bahamas, but is owned by a British company and operated by a Japanese one, according to Israel.

The ship’s Israeli link is believed to stem from the nationality of the billionaire who owns the ship’s parent company, Ray Car Carriers Ltd.

Abraham Ungar, the Israeli billionaire, is listed in public shipping databases as being the company’s owner.

The Houthis have said that this is just the first and that Israeli-linked ships should not dare to use the Red Sea.


04:42 PM GMT

Jordanian crown prince arrives in Egypt to oversee field hospital


04:12 PM GMT

UN protectorate in Gaza is not a solution, says Guterres

A UN protectorate in Gaza would not solve the conflict, the UN Secretary-General said on Monday, calling instead for a “transition period” involving Arab nations and the United States that will lead to a two-state solution.

Antonio Guterres said it was “important to be able to transform this tragedy into an opportunity” - which, for him, meant moving “in a determined and irreversible way to a two-state solution.”

This means, after the current war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza ends, “a strengthened Palestinian Authority, assuming responsibilities in Gaza,” he said.

But the Palestinian Authority cannot go into Gaza backed by Israeli tanks, he added - meaning the “international community needs to look into a transition period.”

“I do not think that a UN protectorate in Gaza is a solution,” however, Guterres said.

Instead, he called for a “multi-stakeholder approach” that would see the US act as the “main guarantor” of Israel’s security, while Arab nations are “essential” to support Palestinians.

“Everybody needs to come together to create the conditions for the transition, allowing for a strengthened Palestinian Authority to assume responsibilities in Gaza,” and from there to a two-state solution, he said.


03:51 PM GMT

Israel eliminating Hamas commanders, senior official says

In a press briefing a senior IDF official has said that Israel is “dismantling Hamas’ ability to fight” by targeting commanders.

The senior official, who we are not allowed to name, said that within Hamas’ military wing there are 24 battalions that each has around 1,000 fighters.

More than 10 out of these 24 battalions have been “significantly hurt,” the senior official said. “In some of them we eliminated hundreds of terrorists and most of their commanders,” they added.

In the Northern Gaza brigade two battalions have lost over 50 per cent of their commanders, they said, as well as in four battalions in the Gaza City brigade which has lost more than half of its commanders in the fight, the official claimed.

“By eliminating the commanders we are harming the ability of Hamas to carry out command and control in the Hamas army… it dismantles the ability of Hamas to fight right now,” the official said.

“The harm we are making to the Hamas commanders is cutting off the field from Hamas leadership, including Sinwar,” they added.


03:43 PM GMT

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) clinic in Gaza City under fire this morning

An MSF clinic in Gaza City came under fire this morning, the NGO has said in a statement as it called for a stop to the fighting in the area.

This morning, the MSF clinic in Gaza City came under fire. Our colleagues saw that a wall was torn down and part of the building was engulfed by fire as heavy fighting took place all around it. An Israeli tank was seen in the street.

Four MSF cars were burnt. A fifth car was parked across the street and broken in two pieces as if crushed by a heavy-duty vehicle or a tank. All the cars and the clinic were clearly identified with MSF logos.

An MSF member of staff and 20 family members are in the clinic and in extreme danger, we don’t know their status. We urgently call for a stop to the fighting in the area. Over 50 other people, including MSF staff, are in nearby buildings, with a wounded person needing medical attention.

The cars destroyed are the same that were used to attempt the aborted evacuation of MSF staff and their families on 18 November, resulting in the killing of one of their family members. They were the only means of transport they had to facilitate their evacuation.


03:41 PM GMT

WHO Chief 'appalled' by attack on Indonesian Hospital

The head of the World Health Organisation said on Monday he was “appalled” by an attack on the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza that he said had killed 12 people, including patients, citing unspecified reports.

“Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, and especially while inside a hospital,” he said on X/Twitter.

Gaza’s health ministry said Israeli forces had struck the Indonesian Hospital and killed at least 12 people, including patients.


03:32 PM GMT

Pictured: The Houthis, who yesterday seized an Israeli-flagged ship in the Red Sea

Houthi troopers riding a truck patrol at a street, a day after the Houthis seized a ship, in Sana'a, Yemen, 20 November 2023.
Houthi troopers riding a truck patrol at a street, a day after the Houthis seized a ship, in Sana'a, Yemen, 20 November 2023. - YAHYA ARHAB/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

03:27 PM GMT

Israel's far-right finance minister demands expanded war cabinet

Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s far-right finance minister has demanded that lawmakers who want to take a harsher line against Hamas to be included in the war cabinet.

Smotrich, in a statement, said the war cabinet should include “opinions that until today have not been heard.”

His calls for an expanded war cabinet came after he, alongside other far-right politicians, hit out at the decision to allow limited amounts of fuel into to the collapsing Gaza Strip.

“I think this grave mistake necessitates the expansion of the war cabinet,” said Smotrich, arguing that giving the UN fuel to use to ease the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, gave Hamas a lifeline during the war.


03:16 PM GMT

Hezbollah attacks Israel with drones and missiles in 'direct hits'

Hezbollah said that it targeted troops in northern Israel with drones, artillery and missiles today, claiming a string of new cross-border attacks.

Hezbollah fighters targeted soldiers west of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel “with three attack drones”, the Iran-backed group said in a statement, adding shortly after that it had also targeted troops in the area with artillery fire.

Both statements claimed the attacks were “direct hits”.

Earlier Monday, Hezbollah said it had fired “Burkan missiles” at an Israeli barracks, and also claimed a number of other attacks on Israeli positions.

Israel’s army said “three UAVs (drones) were identified striking adjacent” to an army post, without specifying where. It added that “no injuries were reported”.

In a statement, it said “25 launches were identified from Lebanon toward several locations adjacent to the border”, and added that aerial defences “intercepted a number of the launches and the rest fell in open areas”.

“Tanks, a fighter jet, and a helicopter struck Hezbollah terror infrastructure in Lebanon” in response to “launches toward Israeli territory”, it said, while the army struck fighters attempting to fire “anti-tank missiles” in south Lebanon.


03:14 PM GMT

Watch: Significant damage on northern Israeli army base from Hezbollah attack

Good afternoon, I’m Abbie Cheeseman taking over the live blog from Beirut for the coming hours. 


03:02 PM GMT

Israeli tanks 'surround hospital'

Israeli tanks have surrounded the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, according to health officials, where at least 12 people were reported to have been killed by an airstrike.

“We had information earlier that tanks were besieging the Indonesian Hospital,” Nahed Abu Taaema, director of Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, told Reuters.

“Unfortunately..., communications there are almost cut,” he added.

Earlier, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said Israeli forces had struck the Indonesian Hospital and killed at least 12 people, including patients.

Dozens more were wounded and around 700 people remained trapped inside the “besieged” medical centre, said ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

There was no immediate response to the claim from Israel, which says Hamas uses medical facilities throughout Gaza “as an instrument of war”.


02:29 PM GMT

Egypt 'best place on earth,' says mother of baby who was evacuated from Gaza

Egypt is the “best place on earth,” the mother of a premature baby who was evacuated from Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza has said.

In comments carried by Egyptian state media, Lubna El-Seik said “it never occurred to us that the hospital would be targeted and that those children would have to go through what they went through.”

She said the coordinated evacuation of babies was “very good.”

“Within hours, we came over here and we were well received,” she said. “Egypt is the best place on earth.”


02:05 PM GMT

Hostage families shouted down by MPs in angry clash in Israeli parliament

Hardline Israeli MPs shouted at relatives of hostages captured by Hamas as they clashed over a bill supporting the death penalty for terrorists, reports Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Telegraph’s Middle East Correspondent, in Jerusalem.

Right-wing members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, told families they were being exploited by Hamas in an ugly confrontation.

Relatives of hostages in return told the MPs to “stop talking about killing Arabs and start speaking about saving Jews” during the row, which exposed the deepening division in Israel.

The families were attending the Knesset on Monday to oppose a bill introducing capital punishment for convicted terrorists, which could be applied to Hamas attacks.

The hearing descended into chaos as both parties started shouting and pointing at each other across parliament.

Almog Cohen, from the hard-Right Otzma Yehudit party, which drafted the bill earlier this year, told families: “You have no monopoly over pain: We have also buried more than fifty friends!”


01:57 PM GMT

Pictured: Black smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel

Black smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel
Black smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel - AP/AP

01:46 PM GMT

Fight against evil, says mother of man believed to be held hostage

The mother of a young man who was kidnapped by Hamas has pleaded with the world to “fight against evil.”

Iris Haim, whose son Yotam, 28, was due to play the drums at a festival in Tel Aviv before the October 7th attack, said she “cannot explain” how she feels that he is not with her.

“We lost contact with him at 10.44am that day, and since then we only have the basic clues that he is in Gaza now,” she added.

“He left his room healthy and not wounded, which gave us little comfort. But he has a chronic disease, he needs a vaccine every month.”

Speaking at a press conference in London, she called on the world to “fight against evil,” adding that “it starts in Israel, but it will continue to harm every person in the free world if you do not open your eyes.”


01:13 PM GMT

'This is my worst nightmare' says father of Irish-Israeli girl held hostage

The father of an Irish-Israeli girl being held hostage by Hamas has said this is his “worst nightmare.”

Thomas Hand, the father of nine-year-old Emily Hand, said: “We are just waiting for news. This is my worst nightmare - believe me, it’s a nightmare.”

Mr Hand, 63, initially thought his daughter had been killed in the October 7 attacks, but later discovered she was a hostage in Gaza.

Speaking at a press conference for the families of hostages, he said: “If you have families and kids, just imagine one day [that] one of them is gone. The sheer terror of a 9-year old-girl down in those dark tunnels.”

“Sheer terror and panic every hour of every day. She must be saying every day: ‘Where is my daddy - why isn’t he coming to save me’.”


01:03 PM GMT

Indonesia condemns 'attack' on hospital

Indonesia’s foreign minister has condemned what Israel’s alleged attack on a hospital in northern Gaza.

Retno Marsudi said: “The attack is a clear violation of international humanitarian laws.

“All countries, especially those that have close relations with Israel, must use all their influence and capabilities to urge Israel to stop its atrocities.”

Indonesia’s foreign ministry said it had lost contact with three Indonesian volunteers at the hospital who are part of the group that set up the facility in 2016 with Jakarta’s funding.

Israeli tanks have surrounded the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, according to health officials, where at least 12 people were reported to have been killed by an airstrike.

“We had information earlier that tanks were besieging the Indonesian Hospital,” Nahed Abu Taaema, director of Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, told Reuters.

“Unfortunately..., communications there are almost cut,” he added.

There was no immediate response to the claim from Israel, which says Hamas uses medical facilities throughout Gaza “as an instrument of war”.


12:46 PM GMT

EU foreign policy chief calls for immediate humanitarian pauses

Josef Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.


12:39 PM GMT

Pictured: Premature babies are transported in a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance through the Rafah crossing to Egypt

Premature Palestinian babies evacuated from Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital, are transported in a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance through the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip to Egypt
Palestinian premature babies, evacuated from Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital, are transported in a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance through the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip to Egypt - MOHAMMED ABED/AFP

12:21 PM GMT

Labour: 'We mourn the death of every civilian, Palestinian and Israeli, equally'

Labour will be “tirelessly committed to the hard diplomacy required to help deliver lasting peace,” David Lammy has said, in the party’s first visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the Hamas terror attack.

The shadow foreign secretary said: “The horrors of Hamas’ terrorist murders and kidnappings on October 7th have been followed by an unimaginable humanitarian emergency in Gaza, with unbearable civilian casualties and images of children pulled from the rubble.

“We mourn the death of every civilian, Palestinian and Israeli, equally.”

Mr Lammy will meet with Israeli president Isaac Herzog and other officials in addition to meeting with the Palestinian Authority’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Amal Jadu, in the West Bank.

The Labour MP added that the ultimate end to conflict we all want to see “won’t happen simply by affirming that we want it to happen.”

He said that “hard diplomacy” is required with all governments in the region to “deliver a longer pause immediately” to respond to the shocking humanitarian emergency in Gaza, secure the release of hostages so cruelly taken by Hamas and as a “necessary step to an enduring cessation of violence.”


12:04 PM GMT

First field hospital enters Gaza Strip

A field hospital sent by Jordan has entered the Gaza Strip, officials have said

Mohammed Zaqout, the director-general of Gaza hospitals, said:

The hospital will be established in Khan Yunis, to receive the wounded and the sick, under catastrophic conditions which southern hospitals are experiencing, with the influx of hundreds of wounded each day and continued aggressive aerial and artillery strikes.

The field hospital is the first sent since the war began on October 7th.


11:49 AM GMT

Babies arrive in Egypt

Babies evacuated from Gaza’s Shifa Hospital have arrived in Egypt, state-run media has reported.

Egypt’s Al-Qahera satellite channel broadcast images of the babies inside Egyptian ambulances, without specifying how many had arrived. Over the weekend, 31 babies were evacuated from Shifa.

Earlier, the Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said it was transporting 28 premature babies from a hospital in southern Gaza to another across the border in Egypt on Monday [see post at 10:28].

It was not immediately possible to resolve the discrepancy in the numbers.


11:41 AM GMT

Several killed in airstrike on Gaza hospital, Hamas-run health ministry claims


11:03 AM GMT

'This must stop,' says UN Secretary-General


10:34 AM GMT

Sunak: Gaza situation 'tragic' and 'getting worse'

The Gaza situation on the ground is “truly tragic and getting worse,” Rishi Sunak has said, as he opened the Global Food Security Summit in London.

Speaking on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Mr Sunak reiterated his stance that Israel has the right to defend itself, but added: “It must also act within international humanitarian law.

He said the UK is pushing for substantive humanitarian pauses, “because the suffering of innocent civilians must end”.


10:28 AM GMT

Breaking: Premature babies leave hospital for Rafah crossing


10:25 AM GMT

'Drone flies through Hamas tunnel near Al-Shifa hospital'


09:57 AM GMT

Mapped: Israeli advance into Gaza


09:28 AM GMT

IDF 'struck several locations in Lebanon'

The Israel Defense Forces have released a statement about strikes this morning in Lebanon

In a statement, they said:

This morning, IDF artillery struck in several locations in Lebanon.

A number of launches were then identified from Lebanon into Israeli territory.

No injuries were reported.

As a result of the launches toward the area of Biranit, a fire broke out. IDF and Israel Fire and Rescue Services are at the scene. The IDF also struck the sources of the launches.

The Telegraph has not been able to independently verify these claims.


08:49 AM GMT

Shelter conditions 'unliveable,' says UN


08:33 AM GMT

Pictured: Residents try to save their belongings in their houses in Rafah which were damaged in Israeli attacks

Residents try to save their usable belongings in their houses, which were heavily damaged in Israeli attacks, in Rafah
Residents try to save their usable belongings in their houses, which were heavily damaged in Israeli attacks, in Rafah - Anadolu Agency/Anadolu

08:22 AM GMT

World must 'act urgently' to cool down Middle East situation, says China

The world must “act urgently” to calm the Israel-Hamas war, the Chinese Foreign Minister has said, as he hosted diplomats from Arab and Muslim-majority nations in Beijing.

“Let us work together to quickly cool down the situation in Gaza and restore peace in the Middle East as soon as possible,” Wang Yi told ministers at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in the Chinese capital.

“A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Gaza,” he said, adding “the situation in Gaza affects all countries around the world, questioning the human sense of right and wrong and humanity’s bottom line.”

“The international community must act urgently, taking effective measures to prevent this tragedy from spreading,” Beijing’s top diplomat added.


08:05 AM GMT

Iran denies involvement in Red Sea ship seizure by Yemen's Houthis

Iran denied Israeli claims that it was involved in the seizure of a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthis, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said at a press conference.

“We have said multiple times that resistance groups in the region act independently and spontaneously based on their interests and that of their people,” Mr Kanaani said.

On Sunday, Israel said the incident was an “Iranian act of terrorism” with consequences for international maritime security.


07:59 AM GMT

Japan 'directly approaching' Yemen rebels over seized ship

Japan said it was “directly approaching” Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels after they seized a ship owned by an Israeli businessman and operated by a Japanese firm with around 25 crew on board.

Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Tokyo was “communicating with Israel, and in addition to directly approaching the Huthis, we are also urging Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and other countries concerned to strongly urge the Houthis for the early release of the vessel and crew members.”

“Our government will continue to take necessary measures in cooperation with the countries concerned, while taking into account the situation,” she added.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree had said that the rebels had seized “an Israeli ship” on Sunday but Israel said the vessel was owned by a British company.

Maritime security company Ambrey said that the owner was listed as Ray Car Carriers, whose parent company belongs to Abraham “Rami” Ungar, an Israeli businessman.


07:52 AM GMT

Israel-Hamas war in pictures:

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp
Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp - STRINGER/REUTERS
Palestinians wounded in Israeli strikes lie on the floor at the Indonesian hospital
Palestinians wounded in Israeli strikes lie on the floor at the Indonesian hospital - STRINGER/REUTERS

07:49 AM GMT

More than 100 Gaza evacuees to arrive in Turkey

More than 100 evacuees from Gaza are set to arrive in Turkey, including dozens of people who will receive medical treatment there, Turkey’s health minister and a foreign ministry source said.

Sixty-one patients, accompanied by some 49 relatives, arrived in Egypt from Gaza on Sunday evening and were scheduled to fly to Ankara on Monday morning after spending the night at Al Arish hospital, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

He said last week that Ankara wanted to bring as many of the nearly 1,000 cancer patients from Gaza to Turkey as possible. The first 27 patients arrived in Ankara last Thursday.

Separately, a group of 87 people, consisting of Turks, Turkish Cypriots and their relatives, arrived in Egypt from Gaza on Sunday and was set to fly to Istanbul on Monday evening, a foreign ministry source said.


07:48 AM GMT

Israel on brink of deal to free hostages and pause fighting

A deal to halt the fighting in Gaza in return for the release of up to 50 hostages is expected in the coming days, Israel said on Sunday night.

It came as US officials said negotiations had entered a “sensitive” phase after the prime minister of Qatar, where talks are being hosted, said only “minor details” remained to be resolved.

Under a US-brokered deal between Israel and Hamas “dozens of women and children” would be released “in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting”, draft agreement documents are reported to say.

Read more here


07:47 AM GMT

Good Morning

Good morning, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

We will be bringing you all the latest on what is happening in the war.