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Israel latest: Over 2,000 dead, US sends ammunition

TEL AVIV – At least 1,200 Israelis have been killed since Hamas attacked the nation, while some 900 people have been killed in Gaza in reprisal. United States President Joe Biden vowed to provide full military and intelligence support to Israel and China called for humanitarian aid for Palestinians.

Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Washington’s aid and sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region to hear directly on what more Israel needs. The first plane carrying advanced American ammunition arrived in Israel overnight.

All time stamps are Israeli time.

China envoy backs aid to Gaza in first public response to crisis (7.12am)

China’s special envoy for the Middle East called for humanitarian support for the Palestinian people in his first public response to the Hamas attack on Israel.

Zhai Jun, who has served as China’s special envoy on Middle East issues since 2019, made the call for aid in a telephone conversation with an official at Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry late on Tuesday.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has not spoken with Israel’s Netanyahu or Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas since the conflict began, according to public statements.

US discussing safe passage for Gaza civilians (6.46am)

The US is discussing safe passage for civilians in Gaza with Israel and Egypt, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said at a briefing on Tuesday.

“We are focused on this question, there are consultations ongoing,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “The details of that are something that are being discussed among the — the operational agencies, and I don’t want to share too much of that publicly at this time.”

Death toll in Gaza teaches 900, Palestinian authorities say (6.30am)

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said around 900 people, including 260 children, were killed in retaliatory attacks on Gaza by Israel. More than 4,500 others were wounded.

Israeli death toll rises (5.58am)

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lieutenant Jonathan Conricus said the “overwhelming majority” of the 1,200 Israeli fatalities were civilians. The count has risen as more bodies are found and not from new fighting, he said on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.

“Sadly, something tells me that these numbers are not the final numbers,” he said in a video posted online. There were more than 2,700 wounded so far, he added.

Israel’s military deployed 300,000 reservists in different brigades and divisions close to the Gaza Strip, he said. They are “getting ready to execute the mission” that has been “given by the Israeli government to make sure that Hamas at the end of this war won’t have any military capabilities by which they can threaten or kill Israeli civilians.”

Israel conducts new counterstrike (5.11am)

Israeli jet fighters struck over 200 targets in the Al-Furqan neighbourhood, Israel Defense Forces said in a social media post, calling the area a “hotspot from which Hamas devises and executes their attacks.”

It was the third counterstrike in the area during the last 24 hours, in which 450 targets were struck, the post said.

Biden, Netanyahu discussed US support (4.30am)

Biden spoke with Netanyahu on a call, according to a readout from the White House, and said support that arrived or would soon be on its way includes ammunition, Iron Dome interceptors and the world’s largest aircraft carrier. The two leaders agreed to speak again in the next few days.

Blinken heads to Israel and Jordan (3.17am)

Blinken will travel to Israel and Jordan from Wednesday to Friday, the State Department said in a statement.

Blinken wants to hear from Israel about what it needs and how to support the country, department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a news briefing. “The first tranche of security assistance is on its way and will arrive in the coming days, and more will follow,” he said.

Iran likely knew Hamas was planning the attacks, but the US has no confirmation Tehran was involved in the preparations, Miller said.

US wants Qatar to help with Hamas hostage talks (12.43am)

The US will encourage Qatar to help facilitate conversations with Hamas about the return of American hostages seized during the weekend incursion into Israel, the White House said.

“Qatar has access to Hamas that we certainly don’t have and the Israelis don’t have,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power“. At least 20 Americans remain unaccounted for, but the US has not yet determined how many are being held captive. Determining their location and condition of the Americans will likely prove difficult in the immediate future, Kirby said, because the US expects militants to move them around to avoid detection.

Israel responds to fire from Syria with artillery (11.30pm)

Israel’s military said it was responding with artillery and mortar shells in response to weapons fire from Syria. “Part of the launches crossed into Israeli territory and presumably fell in open areas,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a post on X, the former Twitter.

Israel army radio said there were no reports of anyone wounded.

Palestinians inspect a mosque destroyed in Israeli strikes in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Monday. (Photo: Reuters)

US believes at least 20 Americans missing after attack (10.02pm)

The US believes at least 20 American citizens are missing after the Hamas attack over the weekend but still does not know the number of US hostages being held, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

US days no confirmation Iran planned Hamas attack (10pm)

The US has no confirmation that Iran planned or directed the Hamas attack on Saturday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

“While Iran plays this broad role — a sustained deep and dark role — in providing all of this support and capabilities to Hamas,” Sullivan told reporters. “In terms of this particular gruesome attack on Oct 7, we don’t currently have that information, we will continue to look for it.”

“We did not see anything that suggested an attack of this type was going to unfold any more than the Israelis,” he said.

‘We stand with Israel,’’ Biden says, promising full support (9.30pm)

Biden said his administration will push for congressional approval of a new aid package soon.

“In this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel,” he said in a White House address. “This was an act of sheer evil,” he said of the weekend attack by Hamas.

“Israel has the right to respond, indeed has the duty to respond,” Biden said, adding that he’d told Netanyahu that if the US had been attacked in a similar way, “our response would be swift, decisive and overwhelming.”

People attend the Israel Solidarity Rally organised by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation at the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach, Florida, on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

Israel-Hamas conflict adds to dangers for Ukraine’s war effort (8.51pm)

Russia is set to benefit from the Gaza conflict, as Israel’s requests for US military aid risk diverting weapons and focus from Ukraine while the rising price of oil bolsters Moscow’s economy.

There is a clear understanding in the Kremlin that the war between Israel and Hamas will work to Russia’s favour, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. The conflict may, at the very least, work to distract US and European attention from the war in Ukraine, the people said, even while Russia has concerns about its escalation.

Publicly, US and European leaders have rebuffed concerns about their ability to continue supporting Ukraine militarily.

Bipartisan US House bill seeks US$2 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome system (8.32pm)

US House lawmakers introduced bipartisan bill to appropriate $2 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome air-defence system, a measure that is likely to draw wide support.

The initiative “will make sure that Israel has the resources it needs to defeat Hamas, rescue hostages, and protect innocent civilians,” Democratic Representative Brad Schneider said. The House could take up the measure even before a new speaker is selected if lawmakers authorise the current interim one, Patrick McHenry, to move legislation.

Most EU states want to keep up aid to Palestinian authority, Borrell says (8.15pm)

An “overwhelming majority” of European Union (EU) member states are against cutting any funding or cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after an emergency gathering of foreign ministers to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The comments come after initial confusion about the bloc’s aid plans following a social media post by a senior European Commission official saying funding to Palestine would be cut. The commission later walked back the remarks, saying it was launching a review to ensure no EU support is used to fund Hamas.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, near the Israeli embassy in London, Britain, on Tuesday. (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli military distributes weapons to volunteer defence teams in towns (8.10pm)

The Israel Defense Forces is distributing thousands of weapons to strengthen volunteer defence teams all over the country, according to a military spokesman.

Switzerland moves to label Hamas terrorist organisation (7.45pm)

A Swiss parliamentary committee has called on the government to label Hamas a terrorist organisation — something traditionally neutral Switzerland has so far refrained from doing.

This would oblige Swiss banks to report transactions related to Hamas. Yet, a final decision on the issue usually requires a vote by the full parliament, that will only meet again in December. The US and EU already have categorised Hamas as a terrorist group.

Boeing sped 1,000 smart bombs to Israel after the Hamas attacks (7pm)

Boeing accelerated delivery of 1,000 smart bombs to Israel after the devastating weekend attack by Hamas, industry and defence officials said.

The 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs, part of a 2021 contract, were flown from an Air Force base in the US by Israeli Air Force transport, according to an industry official who asked not to be identified discussing the arrangements. A Boeing spokesperson declined to comment.

Turkey’s Erdogan criticises US military support for Israel (6.58pm)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted the US for dispatching naval ships to support Israel, his first public criticism of his NATO ally over its handling of the crisis.

“What is a US aircraft carrier doing in Israel?” Erdogan asked at a press conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Ankara. “It is going to shoot around Gaza and cause a very serious massacre.”

Erdogan later held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the latest of a series of calls he is already held with leaders across the region.

Yemen’s Houthis threaten Israel if US supports Gaza strikes (6.30pm)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, backed and financed by Iran, said they would send drones and missiles against Israel if the US joined in the attack on Hamas in Gaza.

The Houthis have claimed damaging drones and missile strikes far beyond the territory they hold — including in Saudi Arabia in 2019, when they briefly knocked out half the kingdom’s oil production. Still, they have never struck targets as far away as Israel.

Israel uses tanks, artillery after rocket barrage from southern Lebanon (5.13pm)

Israeli soldiers responded with tanks and artillery fire against Hezbollah observation posts in Southern Lebanon after rocket launches were detected there, the Israel Defense Forces said.

In response to anti-tank missile launched form Lebanese territory, an Israeli military helicopter struck a Hezbollah observation post.

State-run Lebanon news agency says rockets were fired from Sahl Al-Qlayleh toward western Galilee.

Hamas says 830 killed, 4,250 wounded in Israeli strikes (4.45pm)

A third day of Israeli strikes on targets in Gaza killed 830 people and left 4,250 wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Tuesday. (Photo: AFP)

Israel says two members of Gaza politburo killed (3.59pm)

An Israeli airstrike killed two members of the Gaza politburo, Hamas’s decision-making body, the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday. It named them as Zakarya Abu Muamar, who was in charge of coordination between the different Palestinian factions, and Jawad Abu Shamalla, who held the economic portfolio.

The 20-member politburo was formed following internal Hamas elections in 2021.

Putin says Israel-Palestine ‘vivid’ example of US policy failure (3.51pm)

The Israel-Hamas conflict is a “vivid example of the failure of US policy in the Middle East,” the Russian president said.

Putin, speaking a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani in Moscow, accused the US of trying to monopolise efforts toward a resolution, putting pressure on both sides “without taking into account the fundamental interests of the Palestinians.” He said an independent, sovereign Palestinian state was a necessity.

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