Israel-Hamas war: 4 key developments on Saturday 28 October

Yahoo News runs down the latest important updates from the crisis in the Middle East.

SDEROT, ISRAEL - OCTOBER 28: Smoke rises from an explosion in Gaza on October 28, 2023 in Sderot, Israel. In the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas that left 1,400 dead and 200 kidnapped, Israel launched a sustained bombardment of the Gaza Strip and threatened a ground invasion to vanquish the militant group that governs the Palestinian territory. But the fate of the hostages, Israelis and foreign nationals who are being held by Hamas in Gaza, as well as international pressure over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, have complicated Israel's military response to the attacks. A timeline for a proposed ground invasion remains unclear. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Smoke rises from an explosion in Gaza on 28 October. (Getty)

Israel confirmed it had stepped up ground operations inside Gaza overnight during internet and power blackouts in the area.

Israel said it had now expanded its ground incursion and added its forces were still fighting Hamas.

Gaza has now faced nearly three weeks of unrelenting air strikes from Israel.

The bombardment began after more than 1,400 people in southern Israel were killed by gunmen from Hamas - the UK-proscribed terrorist organisation which runs Gaza - during its assault on 7 October.

Since then, the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry has said more than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory strikes, which have caused destruction to civilian neighbourhoods.

Here are the main stories from today:

1. Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza

  • Israeli jets dropped more bombs on Gaza on Saturday and suggested a long-threatened ground offensive against Hamas militants running the Palestinian enclave was starting. In a video, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of general staff Herzi Halevi said his forces were moving on to the next stage of the conflict.

  • He said: "Our forces are currently operating on the ground in the Gaza Strip." Halevi added they were being helped by "precise and heavy fire" and Israel's "best soldiers and commanders" were on the ground in Gaza as they continued to target members of Hamas.

Read more: Israel says war with Hamas has 'entered new phase' with Gaza attacks (Telegraph)

2. Erdogan says he will 'declare Israel a war criminal'

  • Erdogan addressed hundreds of thousands of supporters at one of the largest pro-Palestinian rallies since the Israel-Hamas war began, courting his Islamist political base a day ahead of the centenary of Turkey's secular republic.

  • "Israel has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days, but the Western leaders cannot even call on Israel for a ceasefire, let alone react to it," Erdogan told the crowd in Istanbul, who waved Palestinian flags.

Read more: Turkey-Israel ties in tatters over Erdogan address (AFP)

ISTANBUL, TURKIYE - OCTOBER 28: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY - MANDATORY CREDIT - 'TURKISH PRESIDENCY / MURAT CETINMUHURDAR / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the ''Great Palestine Meeting'' at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkiye on October 28, 2023. (Photo by TUR Presidency/ Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the ''Great Palestine Meeting'' at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. (Getty)

3. Musk says Starlink to provide connectivity in Gaza through aid groups

  • Tech billionaire Elon Musk said on Saturday that SpaceX's Starlink will support communication links in Gaza with "internationally recognized aid organizations". Musk said in a post on social media platform X it was not clear who has authority for ground links in Gaza, but we do know that "no terminal has requested a connection in that area".

  • Gaza's phone and internet services have been almost completely cut since Friday evening, which the Palestinian Red Crescent blamed on Israel.

Read more: Musk says Starlink to provide connectivity in Gaza through aid organizations (Reuters)

4. Protests continue in the UK

  • Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched in central London as they continued to call for an immediate ceasefire. Demonstrators took to the streets at midday on Saturday, with the march ending at Parliament Square at 4pm.

  • It followed a similar protest last week where an estimated 100,000 people marched through the capital demanding an end to Israel's war on Hamas. Rallies were also organised elsewhere in the UK – including in Manchester and Glasgow.

Read more: Tens of thousands of Pro-Palestinian protesters march in central London (Yahoo News UK)

Where is Gaza?

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)

Gaza, also known as the Gaza Strip, is a densely-populated Palestinian enclave on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, north-east of the Sinai Peninsula.

Bound by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Israel to the north and east and Egypt to the south, it is just 25 miles long and six miles wide.

Gaza is one of two Palestinian territories. The other is the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

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