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Israel agrees to 4-hour daily ‘pauses’ in northern Gaza, says US

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Israel has agreed to pause operations in northern Gaza for four hours a day from Thursday, in the first predetermined pauses in fighting of the more than month-long conflict. The pauses would allow people to flee along two humanitarian corridors and will be announced three hours in advance, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said. FollowRead our blog to see how the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

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This blog is no longer being updated. For more coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, please click here.

  • Israel has agreed to daily four-hour military pauses in northern Gaza, the White House said Thursday, even as President Joe Biden said there was no chance of a full ceasefire.
  • Speaking at a humanitarian aid conference for Gaza on Thursday in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said that there must be a humanitarian pause in the fighting in the Gaza Strip and that countries must “work for a ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas war
  • The Israeli military said its troops had advanced into the heart of Gaza City, Hamas‘s main bastion and the biggest city in the coastal enclave. The militant group said its fighters had inflicted heavy losses on the Israeli forces.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Washington opposed any Israeli “reoccupation” of the Gaza Strip after the conclusion of the Israel-Hamas war. Blinken also said the US opposed any “attempt to blockade or besiege” or reduce the size of the Palestinian territory after the conflict.
  • The number of Palestinians killed in the war has surpassed 10,812, a toll that includes more than 4,412 children, the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Wednesday.

 

Table of Contents

10:00pm: Palestinian activist detained in France after expulsion order

French authorities have detained a Palestinian activist after a top court ordered her expulsion, the woman’s lawyer said Thursday.

Mariam Abu Daqqa, a 72-year-old leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is now in “administrative detention”, lawyer Julie Gonidec told AFP.

Abu Daqqa was detained by plainclothes police on Wednesday night after attending a cinema debate in Paris, her associates said

“Four or five of them set upon Mariam. They lifted her up like a sack of potatoes,” said one supporter, Sarah Katz, who added that she was manhandled during the incident.

8:50pm: Yemen’s Houthis claim to have launched ballistic missiles against Israel

Yemen’s Houthis have launched a batch of ballistic missiles at various targets on Israel including military targets in Eilat, the group’s military spokesperson said on Thursday.

The Israeli military earlier said that an unidentified drone had hit a civilian building in Eilat, causing only light damage and no injuries.

6:20pm: Israel slams new Gaza hostage video as ‘psychological terrorism’

A video which Palestinian militants said shows two hostages in Gaza was slammed Thursday as “psychological terrorism” by Israeli military spokesman Richard Hecht.

His remarks to journalists came moments after Islamic Jihad released a video of a woman in her 70s and a 13-year-old boy, purportedly held by the Palestinian militant group after their abduction from Israel on October 7.

FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Israel, Irris Makler, discussed the parameters of a deal for hostage releases being reportedly discussed by US and Israeli intelligence officials.

Palestinian group Islamic Jihad releases video of Israeli hostages


4:55pm: Israel agrees to 4-hour daily pauses, White House says

The White House says Israel has agreed to put in place four-hour daily humanitarian pauses in its assault on Hamas in northern Gaza. The Biden administration says it has secured a second pathway for civilians to flee fighting. President Joe Biden had asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to institute the daily pauses during a Monday call.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the first humanitarian pause would be announced Thursday and that the Israelis had committed to announcing each four-hour window at least three hours in advance.

4:45pm: Israeli military says unidentified drone hits southern city of Eilat

An unidentified drone hit a civilian building in the southern Israeli port city of Eilat, the Israeli military said on Thursday, causing only light damage and no injuries.

In recent weeks, the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen has launched repeated missile and drone attacks on Israel, but all were either shot down or fell short.

“The identity of the UAV and the details of the incident are under review,” the military said in a statement, referring to an unmanned aerial vehicle.

4:25pm: Hamas delegation including group’s chief Haniyeh in Cairo for talks

Senior Hamas officials including political leader Ismail Haniyeh and its former chief Khaled Meshaal arrived in Cairo on Thursday, a statement by the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip said.

The high-level Hamas delegation met with the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel, and discussed the situation in Gaza, the statement added.

Read moreMost wanted: The Hamas leaders on Israel’s radar

3:30pm: Biden says ‘no possibility’ of Gaza ceasefire

US President Joe Biden said on Thursday there was currently “no possibility” of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“None. No possibility,” Biden told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to Illinois when asked about the chances of a ceasefire.

2:50pm: Gaza death toll reaches 10,812, including 4,412 children, says Gaza health ministry

The health ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave of Gaza said on Thursday that at least 10,812 Palestinians, including 4,412 children, had been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7. The ministry’s figures could not be independently verified.

About casualty figures from Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry:

Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the largest in the enclave, receives data from every hospital in the strip. Hospital administrators say they keep records of every wounded person occupying a bed and every body arriving at a morgue. The ministry collects data from other sources also, including the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The health ministry does not report how Palestinians were killed, whether from Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages or errant Palestinian rocket fire. It describes all casualties as victims of “Israeli aggression”. The ministry also does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. 

Throughout four wars and numerous skirmishes between Israel and Hamas, UN agencies have cited the Hamas-run health ministry’s death tolls in regular reports. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Palestinian Red Crescent also use the numbers.

In the aftermath of war, the UN humanitarian office has published final death tolls based on its own research into medical records. The UN’s counts have largely been consistent with the Gaza health ministry’s, with small discrepancies. 

For more on the Gaza health ministry’s tolls, click here.

(FRANCE24 with AP) 

1:54pm: Israeli army says it has overcome Hamas ‘stronghold’ in Gaza

Israeli and Hamas forces are locked in heavy, close-quarters fighting in Gaza, with Israel saying a 10-hour battle had toppled a Hamas “stronghold”.

The army said it had secured a military position in Jabalia after fighting both above ground and in Hamas’s tunnel network.

It said it had killed dozens of militants, while the overall death toll for Israel’s troops in the offensive has risen to 34.

Tens of thousands of Gazans have fled south to escape the violence, with 50,000 leaving in the past day alone, the army said.

1:44pm: Macron says France will boost 2023 aid for Palestinians to €100 million

President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that France will increase aid for Palestinians from €20 million to €100 million in 2023.

Macron is hosting a conference devoted to humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip in Paris on the 34th day of the Israel-Hamas war.

12:46pm: At least eight Palestinians killed during an Israeli raid in the West Bank, health ministry says

At least eight Palestinians were killed and 13 others were injured by Israeli forces in a raid on Jenin city and refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said on Thursday.

Israel’s military said it was conducting counter-terrorism raids in Jenin, but gave no further details.

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, more than 150 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Israeli forces have arrested more than 1,000 Palestinians in the West Bank in that time, the army said, most of them affiliated with Hamas. Clashes have often erupted during such operations.

11:37am: ‘Eliminating Hamas is not going to happen,’ Palestinian PM tells FRANCE 24

Speaking to FRANCE 24 one month after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called for “an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza, but said that “the Israelis don’t want any ceasefire because today the Israelis are in the mood of revenge”.

Shtayyeh argued that Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas “is totally not going to happen”, and called for a “comprehensive solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as an “international intervention to put serious pressure on Israel”.

Finally, Shtayyeh said he would like to see “general elections” held for the Palestinians.

TÊTE À TÊTE
TÊTE À TÊTE © FRANCE 24

Read moreCan the Palestinian Authority lead a post-Hamas Gaza Strip?

11:20am: ‘No humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip’, says Israeli military official

An Israeli military official on Thursday denied there is a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, even as he acknowledged the Palestinian territory faces several challenges amid the ongoing war.

“We know the civil situation in the Gaza Strip is not an easy one,” said Colonel Moshe Tetro, head of coordination and liason at COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry body handling civil affairs in Gaza.

“But I can say that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” he told reporters. 

Tetro’s remarks came on the same day as an international conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza was taking place in Paris.

More than 10,500 people have been killed in the besieged enclave since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.

11:00am: UNRWA chief says aid entering Gaza through Rafah crossing is inadaequate

Philippe Lazzarini, the chief of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said Thursday that there is a need for meaningful continuous humanitarian aid to Gaza, including fuel.

Speaking at the opening of a conference in Paris on Gaza aid, Lazzarini also said aid coming in through the Rafah crossing with Egypt was inadequate, adding that all crossings into Gaza should be opened.

The UNRWA chief also said he was concerned about the spillover risk of the situation in the war-torn Palestinian territory, adding that the West Bank “is boiling”.

10:46am: Macron says Israel has ‘eminent responsibility’ of abiding by law

Speaking at the opening of a Paris conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Israel has the right to defend itself, but that it also has an “eminent responsibility of abiding by law” as it responds to Hamas’s deadly October 7 attack.

Civilians in Gaza are “paying the price” of the Israel-Hamas war, Macron said, adding that the population “has to be protected”.

He added that “fighting terrorism can never be carried out without rules. Israel knows that. The trap of terrorism is for all of us the same: giving in to violence and renouncing our values.”

“All lives have equal worth and there are no double standards for those of us with universal and humanist values,” he said.

10:36am: Macron says countries must ‘work for a ceasefire’ in Gaza 

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that there must be a humanitarian pause very quickly in Gaza and that countries must also work for a ceasefire.

“Civilians must be protected, that’s indispensable and non-negotiable and is an immediate necessity,” Macron said at the start of a humanitarian conference on Gaza in Paris.

8:49am: Israeli troops facing ‘intense urban warfare’ in Gaza as Hamas exploits tunnel network

Israeli troops are facing difficult conditions in Gaza as Hamas fighters exploit a vast tunnel network to stage quick attacks.

“I’m hearing from someone I know [who] came out of the fighting,” ABC News foreign correspondent Jordana Miller reports to FRANCE 24 from Jerusalem. “He said, ‘it’s so difficult because some of the … Hamas fighters are jumping out of tunnel shafts, they’re firing anti-tank missiles, and then they’re jumping back in and disappearing’.”

ABC News foreign correspondent Jordana Miller speaks to FRANCE 24.
ABC News foreign correspondent Jordana Miller speaks to FRANCE 24. © France 24 screengrab

8:34am: Macron to speak with Israel’s Netanyahu after Gaza aid conference in Paris

Israeli authorities will not be in attendance at a conference on humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip in Paris on Thursday, but French President Emmanuel Macron, who will deliver remarks at the opening of the event, is set to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after its conclusion. FRANCE 24’s Clovis Casali reports.


7:53am: Negotiations under way for Gaza ceasefire in exchange for hostage releases, officials tell AP

Negotiations are under way for a three-day humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of about a dozen hostages held by Hamas, according to two officials from Egypt, one from the UN and a Western diplomat, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The deal would enable more aid, including limited amounts of fuel, to enter the besieged territory to alleviate worsening conditions for the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped there. Qatar, Egypt and the United States are brokering it, according to the officials and the diplomat.

7:26am: Officials from more than 50 countries expected to attend Gaza humanitarian aid conference in Paris

Officials from Western and Arab countries, the United Nations and nongovernmental organisations are gathering Thursday in Paris for a conference on how to provide aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip during the Israel-Hamas war, including proposals for a humanitarian maritime corridor and floating field hospitals.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for a “humanitarian pause” in the conflict, wants the conference to address the besieged Palestinian enclave’s growing needs including food, water, health supplies, electricity and fuel.

More than 50 nations are expected to attend including several European countries, the United States and regional powers like Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf countries, the French presidency said. Also attending is Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Israeli authorities won’t participate in Thursday’s conference, the Élysée Palace said.

All governments nevertheless have “an interest in the humanitarian situation improving in Gaza, including Israel,” a Macron aide told reporters on condition of anonymity ahead of the gathering.

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the UN’s top aid official and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross are expected to provide details about urgent needs in the Gaza Strip.

More than 1.5 million people – or about 70 percent of Gaza’s population – have fled their homes, and an estimated $1.2 billion is needed to respond to the crisis.

2:35am: Israeli forces and Hamas fighters battling in Gaza City

Palestinians living in the heart of Gaza’s largest city said Wednesday they could see and hear Israeli ground forces closing in from multiple directions, accelerating the exodus of thousands of civilians as food and water become scarce and urban fighting between Israel and Hamas heats up.

The Israeli army has not given specifics on troop movements as it presses its ground assault, vowing to crush Hamas after its deadly October 7 attack on Israel. But residents said Israeli forces had moved into inner neighbourhoods of Gaza City amid intense bombardment all around the surrounding north.

Clashes took place within a kilometre (0.6 miles) of the territory’s largest hospital, Shifa, which has become a focal point in the war.

2:15am: US says Palestinians should govern Gaza after the war

Palestinians should govern Gaza once Israel ends its war against Hamas, the United States said on Wednesday, pushing back against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‘s idea that Israel would be responsible for security indefinitely.

A month after Hamas gunmen from Gaza launched their deadly attack on Israel, Washington has begun discussing with Israeli and Arab leaders a future for the Gaza Strip without Hamas rule.

While a plan has yet to emerge, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday outlined in the most comprehensive comments on the issue to date Washington’s red lines and expectations for the besieged coastal territory.

“No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza,” Blinken said at a press conference in Tokyo.

Blinken said there may be a need for “some transition period” at the end of the conflict, but that post-crisis governance in Gaza must include Palestinian voices.

12:25am: US senator says Gaza civilian toll ‘too high’

US Senator Chris Murphy said Wednesday that it is “vital” for Israel to carry out a more targeted offensive in the Gaza Strip to limit civilian casualties.

“I think that the civilian death toll has been too high and a more surgical approach would be important and vital,” Murphy, a Democratic member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told AFP.

12:04am: US strikes Iran-linked site in Syria

The United States, for the second time in recent weeks, carried out strikes on Wednesday against a facility in eastern Syria that the Pentagon said was used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups.

As tensions soar over the Israel-Hamas war, US and coalition troops have been attacked at least 40 times in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed forces since the beginning of October. Forty-five US troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries or minor wounds.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the strikes were conducted by two US F-15 fighters and were in response to the recent attacks against US forces.

Austin said the attacks against US troops must stop.

“If attacks by Iran’s proxies against US forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people,” he added.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and Reuters)

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