Gaza health ministry says more than 7,000 killed in air strikes as Israel’s military launches ‘biggest ground incursion’

Gaza health ministry says more than 7,000 killed in air strikes as Israel’s military launches ‘biggest ground incursion’

Gaza's health ministry said on Thursday that more than 7,000 Palestinians had now been killed in the retaliatory air strikes following the Hamas attack on Israel, including nearly 3,000 children.

It issued a 212-page document with lists of names and identification numbers for 7,028 Palestinians that the Hamas authorities, which control Gaza, state have been killed by Israel’s bombardments there since 7 October.

It came after US President Joe Biden and the Israeli military questioned the casualty figures issued by authorities in Gaza.

It comes after Israeli ground forces launched an hours-long incursion into the Gaza Strip - described as the “biggest” in Israel's current war with Hamas.

In grainy video of the overnight action issued by the military, armoured vehicles including tanks could be see proceeding through a sandy border zone.

A military statement said the incursion was carried out “in preparation for the next stages of combat” - a possible reference to the large-scale invasion that Israeli leaders have threatened as part of the war to destroy Hamas.

Follow live updates

Key Points

Israel launches ground raid in northern Gaza

07:04 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Good morning, and welcome to the Standard's live blog.

We'll be bringing you everything you need to know today on the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

Last night saw Israeli troops and tanks launch a brief ground raid into northern Gaza, the military said, striking several militant targets in order to "prepare the battlefield" ahead of a widely expected ground invasion after more than two weeks of devastating air raids.

Below is video shared by the Israel Defence Forces on X, formerly Twitter.

UK calls for 'pause' in fighting but rejects calls for ceasefire

07:14 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The UK Government is calling for a “pause” in conflict in the Middle East for humanitarian reasons, but has rejected growing calls for a ceasefire.

Rishi Sunak has said temporary breaks in the violence could allow British nationals and hostages to be freed and aid to be provided to the Gaza Strip.

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday “specific pauses” are necessary for humanitarian purposes as Israel pummels the small strip of land, which is home to more than two million Palestinians.

Mr Sunak said “the first and most important principle is that Israel has the right to defend itself under international law” after Hamas’s atrocity on October 7, while Downing Street said a ceasefire would “only serve to benefit Hamas”.

Read the full story here.

'Before and after' photos of Gaza lay bare scale of damage

07:27 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

New photos coming to us this morning show the extent of damage Israeli bombings have caused in parts of Gaza.

Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip on May 1, 2023, and (bottom) on October 21 (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Tech)
Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip on May 1, 2023, and (bottom) on October 21 (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Tech)
The Izbat Beit Hanoun neighborhood in Gaza Strip on October 10, 2023, and (bottom) on October 21 (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Tech)
The Izbat Beit Hanoun neighborhood in Gaza Strip on October 10, 2023, and (bottom) on October 21 (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Tech)

COBRA meeting to be held today on UK response to conflict

07:38 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The government will convene a meeting of its COBRA emergency response committee today to consider its strategy and approach towards Gaza and the Israeli-Hamas conflict, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has told Times Radio.

Britain is pushing for a humanitarian pause to the conflict, for Britons in Gaza to be able to leave safely, and for the release of British hostages.

"We will discuss the hostages and we'll discuss the wider situation in the region and we will also discuss...securing humanitarian aid," Mr Dowden, who will chair the meeting, said in a separate interview with Sky News.

Deputy PM says 'civilian impact' inevitable in Hamas fight-back

07:54 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The Deputy Prime Minister has said Israel could not fight back against Hamas "without there being some civilian impact" in Gaza.

Asked on Sky News about the loss of life in Gaza, Oliver Dowden said: "I deplore and I'm heartbroken by every loss of innocent civilian life.

"But actually the way to stop further losses of innocent civilian lives is to remove the terrorist threat and to move to a position where we can restore stability and peace to this region."

He added: "You can't conduct a military offensive against an enemy that hides among the civilian population, that targets your country from among a civilian population without there being some civilian impact.

"But I believe that Israel is seeking to minimise those numbers and we continue to urge Israel to respect international law and minimise civilian casualties."

Off-duty British-Israeli soldier 'died saving festival-goers from grenades'

08:28 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A British-Israeli soldier was killed while protecting others by flinging Hamas grenades back at militants, according to a report by Sky News this morning.

Aner Shapiro, 22, was off-duty and at a music festival in Israel when it was targeted by Hamas during the group's bloody incursion on October 7.

Aner Shapiro (right) (Sky News)
Aner Shapiro (right) (Sky News)

His grandmother, Yamima Ben-Menahem, told Sky News he had taken refuge in a shelter along with around 30 other people, when Hamas approached it and threw hand grenades inside it.

"When the terrorists came nearer, he stood at the entrance, and when they started throwing grenades into the shelter, he said 'I'm going to throw them back', and if I miss one, you do the rest of the work," his grandmother told Sky News.

"He just stood there and threw back one grenade after the other.

"From what his friends told us he managed to throw back about seven grenades, and then the last one exploded in his hands."

Mrs Ben-Menahem said her family has been called by survivors, who credit Mr Shapiro with saving their lives.

Stills from IDF video show tanks rolling into Gaza

08:46 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A grainy, black-and-white video shared by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) this morning appear to show Israeli tanks rolling into the Gaza Strip overnight.

The IDF launched a brief ground raid into northern Gaza, it said, striking several militant targets.

 (Israeli Army/AFP via Getty Image)
(Israeli Army/AFP via Getty Image)
 (Israeli Army/AFP via Getty Image)
(Israeli Army/AFP via Getty Image)

It is not the first raid it has launched into Gaza, ahead of a widely expected ground invasion, but Israeli media has described it as the 'biggest' so far.

The video appeared to show tanks and armoured vehicles rolling into the territory

Israel says it has struck 250 Hamas targets in 24 hours

08:51 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

"In the last day, IDF warplanes attacked over 250 targets of the terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip," the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) claims this morning.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, it said "terrorist infrastructures, operational headquarters, terrorist tunnel shafts and rocket launchers placed in a civilian environment" are among targets attacked.

The post was accompanied by a compilation of aerial videos showing massive explosions in built-up areas on the ground.

EU to call for 'humanitarian corridors and pauses'

09:17 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

EU leaders will call for the establishment of "humanitarian corridors and pauses" to get urgently-needed aid into Gaza, according to the final draft of a text to be approved at a summit in Brussels today.

"The European Council expresses its gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses," the text says.

"The European Union will work closely with partners in the region to protect civilians, provide assistance and facilitate access to food, water, medical care, fuel and shelter, ensuring that such assistance is not abused by terrorist organisations."

Fresh photos show Palestinians fleeing amid strike on homes

09:28 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Photos are coming across our desk of Palestinians fleeing amid fresh strikes on the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza this morning.


Number of casualties from strike on residential Gaza building not yet clear

09:41 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

More photos have just come through of residents running through dust amid explosions in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

An airstrike hit a residential building in the city that reportedly housed 75 people, early this morning.

Photos show people screaming, running through the streets clutching children and carrying other adults.

Ambulances have streamed into the nearby Nasser Hospital, but there is not yet official word on casualties.


The human toll - in figures

09:46 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

  • More than 6,500 Palestinians have been killed in the war so far, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says. That figure includes the disputed toll from an explosion at a hospital last week.

  • More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, mostly civilians slain during the initial Hamas attack of October 7, according to the Israeli government. Hamas also holds some 222 hostages in Gaza.

  • Around 1.4 million of Gaza's 2.3 million residents have fled their homes, with nearly half of them crowded into UN shelters. Hundreds of thousands remain in northern Gaza, despite Israel ordering them to evacuate to the south, saying those who remain might be considered "accomplices" of Hamas.

Confirmed number of Gaza hostages rises to 224, Israeli military says

09:51 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The Israeli military said on Thursday that the number of people confirmed held hostage in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 cross-border raids by Hamas had reached 224, and could rise further.

This two higher than the previous figure of 222.

Four hostages have been released by Hamas so far. A US mother and daughter were released on Friday, followed by two Israeli women, aged 79 and 85, who were released on Monday.

Palestinians search for people trapped in ruins of buildings in wake of Khan Younis strikes

10:56 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

New photos show people searching through the ruins of buildings in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, which have been hit by fresh airstrikes.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Border Force are in Egypt to help Brits fleeing Gaza - PM

11:19 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The UK has “pre-positioned” Border Force teams in Egypt to help any British nationals trying to leave Gaza, Rishi Sunak has confirmed.

“We’re very keen to be able to bring them out and bring them home. What I can tell you is we’ve pre-positioned Border Force teams to Egypt," said the Prime Minister this morning.

“So that if there is a possibility for our nationals to cross the Rafah crossing, we’re ready to get them in and bring them back.”

Mr Sunak said it remains complex on the ground in Israel and Gaza.

“So it’s not something we can do immediately but when the moment arises, we’ll be ready to take it quickly.”

Smoke seen billowing high above northern Gaza Strip as Israeli strikes continue

11:25 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot this morning shows black smoke billowing over the northern Gaza Strip.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Ground manoeuvre will be part of a 'long process, says Israeli war cabinet member

11:52 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

An Israeli ground offensive will form part of "a long process" aimed at defeating Hamas, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet said on Thursday.

Benny Gantz, pictured last year during his time as Israel's Defence Minister (AP)
Benny Gantz, pictured last year during his time as Israel's Defence Minister (AP)

Benny Gantz - an ex-general and former Israeli Defence Minister who joined Mr Netanyahu from the opposition to form an emergency government - said in a speech: "The battle against Gazan terror will continue within the strip's territory - going deep, anywhere and at any time required to ensure security for the communities that will be restored and will rebuild the region.

"The [ground] manoeuvre will be but one stage of a long process that will include defensive, diplomatic and social aspects that will take years."

Palestinian offical accuses Israel of war of 'revenge'

12:30 , Josh Salisbury

Israel is waging a "war of revenge" on Gaza aimed at its total destruction, the Palestinian Foreign Minister has claimed.

It comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "preparing for a ground invasion" that could be one of several.

Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in the Hague: "So many wars have taken place (in Gaza), this is different. This time it's a war of revenge.

"This war has no real objective, rather than the total destruction of every livable place in Gaza. This war is not directed by military plans, there are no norms respected. All international rules of war are violated."

More than 7,000 Palestinians killed, says Palestinian ministry

13:08 , Josh Salisbury

At least 7,028 Palestinians have been killed, including 2,913 children, in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7, the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza said on Thursday.

The fatality numbers cannot be independently verified.

Al-Jazeera journalist lays to rest wife and children killed in Gaza airstrikes

13:48 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

An Al-Jazeera journalist is mourning the loss of his entire immediate family after they were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, the brodcaster said in a statement.

Wael al-Dahdouh, Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza had moved his family to the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, following calls from Israel for civilians to move south.

His wife, son and daughter, and several other family members, were killed following the airstrike late on Tuesday.

Al-Jazeera correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh attends the funeral of his wife and children (via REUTERS)
Al-Jazeera correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh attends the funeral of his wife and children (via REUTERS)

Footage later showed Al-Dahdouh in tears as he knelt next to the bodies of his family at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah.

Palestinian officials said a further 21 people were killed by the airstrike.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on his way out of the hospital, Al-Dahdouh said: “What happened is clear. This is a series of targeted attacks on children, women and civilians.

“I was just reporting from Yarmouk about such an attack, and the Israeli raids have targeted many areas, including Nuseirat.

“We had our doubts that the Israeli occupation would not let these people go without punishing them. And sadly, that is what happened. This is the ‘safe’ area that the occupation army spoke of.”

Israel has not commented on the incident and insists it does not target civilian locations.

Mr Dahdouh and other mourners attended funerals of his loved ones today, dressed in the blue flak jackets used by reporters in the Palestinian territories.

Read the full story here.

Arab countries condemn targeting of civilians in Gaza

14:43 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Morocco have today condemned the targeting of civilians and violations of international law in Gaza which has been under Israeli bombardment.

Their joint statement mentioned that the right to self-defence does not justify breaking law and neglecting Palestinians' rights.

The Arab foreign ministers also condemned forced displacement and collective punishment in Gaza, it added.

Israel has insisted it does not target civilian locations.

Israeli military carries out drill near Lebanese border

14:54 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Photos coming through this afternoon show the Israeli military participating in a drill involving soldiers and tanks, near Israel's border with Lebanon in northern Israel.


Hamas delegation visits Moscow

15:07 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A delegation from Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza, is currently visiting Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has told a weekly briefing, without providing any further details.

Russia's state-run RIA news agency, quoting a source from the Palestinian delegation, said senior Hamas member Abu Marzook was among those visiting Moscow.

Russia has ties to all key players in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Moscow has repeatedly blamed the current crisis on the failure of US diplomacy, and called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the resumption of talks aimed at finding a peace settlement.

Separately, Zakharova also said Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baghiri Kani was also currently visiting Moscow and had held talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin. Baghiri Kani is Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.

50 Hamas captives killed in Israeli strikes - reports

15:16 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The estimated number of Hamas-held captives killed in Gaza due to Israeli strikes is around 50, Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, has said this afternoon according to the al-Qassam Brigades' Telegram account.

The spokesperson did not give any further details.

The numbers have not yet been independently verified

Up to '50 hostages killed by Israeli strikes,' spokesperson says

15:35 , Bill Mcloughlin

Approximately 50 people held hostage in Gaza have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, a spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, said on Thursday.

The claim has not been verified by other sources but Israel has said up to 224 people were taken hostage by Hamas militants.

Families in Gaza running out of food as bakeries run out of fuel, charity warns

15:47 , Bill Mcloughlin

Global charity, ActionAid, has warned that many civilians may die of starvation due to a lack of food and water.

According to the UN, up to ten bakeries have been destroyed due to airstrikes and a further three have closed due to lack of fuel.

Unless more fuel is provided, many more will be forced to close.

Riham Jafari, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication for ActionAid Palestine, said: "The situation in Gaza is nothing short of a complete catastrophe.

"With over 2 million people in urgent need of food, it is completely barbaric to see bakeries under bombardment as civilians line up every day to get food for their families. Those who survive the bombings may die from starvation instead.

"Bakeries are the bedrock that keeps Palestinian society running, but many have run out of fuel to make bread. Everyday hundreds of people line up outside of bakeries waiting long hours and risking their lives to put bread on the table for their starving families. Food is a basic human right, not a weapon of war.

"We should be clear: indiscriminate attacks on bakeries, hospitals, and schools' amount to a gross violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

Israeli President meets man who saved 30 people

16:19 , Bill Mcloughlin

Israel's President Isaac Herzog has met with the man credited with saving at least 30 people during the massacre at a music festival.

Some 260 people were killed when Hamas militants entered the Supernova event in Re'im, but Youssef Alziadna is said to have helped move 30 casualties away for treatment.

French death toll rises to 35

16:34 , Bill Mcloughlin

The number of French citizens who died in Hamas' attacks on Israel has risen to 35, the French foreign ministry said on Thursday, up from 31 previously.

It added in a statement that nine nationals were still missing, with some of those being held hostage by Hamas.

17:23 , Matt Watts

The King has been briefed at Buckingham Palace by aid agencies on the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Charity leaders from Medical Aid for Palestinians, the British Red Cross, Unicef UK and Christian Aid met with the monarch in-person on Thursday.

Charles, who is president of the British Red Cross, discussed the "acute humanitarian situation" in the region, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.

The British Red Cross said the King had made a "generous donation" to its fundraising appeal.

"We are immensely grateful to HM King Charles for his generous donation to our Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory appeal," the charity wrote on social media.

Buckingham Palace did not comment on whether the King discussed the plight of the hostages and the work to free them during the private meeting.

At the audience were the chief executive of Unicef UK Jon Sparkes, Medical Aid for Palestinians chief executive Melanie Ward, vice chair of the board of trustees for Medical Aid for Palestinians Shireen Jayyusi, Christian Aid chief executive Patrick Watt, and Rory Moylan, head of region for the Middle East, North Africa and Europe at the British Red Cross.

Gaza authorities give new statement on death toll

18:49 , Matt Watts

The health ministry in Gaza issued a 212-page document on Thursday which it said contained the names and ID numbers of more than 7,000 Palestinians killed during the Israeli bombardment of the enclave.

The ministry acted after US President Joe Biden and the Israeli military questioned the casualty figures issued by authorities in Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

EU calls for 'humanitarian corridors and pauses'

21:43 , Miriam Burrell

EU leaders agreed at a summit to call for the establishment of "humanitarian corridors and pauses" to get urgently needed aid into Gaza.

In a declaration at the summit in Brussels, the leaders of the Union's 27 nations expressed the "gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza".

They called for "continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs."

In their declaration, the leaders reiterated their previous condemnation "in the strongest possible terms" of the Hamas attack and emphasised Israel's right to defend itself "in line with international law and international humanitarian law".

They also repeated a call for Hamas to immediately release all hostages "without any precondition".

"The European Union will work closely with partners in the region to protect civilians, provide assistance and facilitate access to food, water, medical care, fuel and shelter, ensuring that such assistance is not abused by terrorist organisations," the declaration also said.

Live coverage ends

21:53 , Miriam Burrell

That's all for today. Please check back in tomorrow morning for our live coverage of the conflict.