Palestinians described intense bombardments early Tuesday near two towns in southern Gaza, where Israel had ordered civilians to seek refuge.
Thousands of people trying to escape Gaza are gathered in Rafah, which has the territory’s only border crossing to Egypt. Mediators are pressing for an agreement to let aid in and refugees with foreign passports out. The U.S. hoped to break a deadlock with President Joe Biden set to head to Israel and Jordan on Wednesday.
Aid workers warned that life in Gaza was near complete collapse because of the Israeli siege that followed a Hamas attack on Israel.
The war that began Oct. 7 has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,778 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel.
1. U.S. President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced.
2. A shortage of drinking water continues across Gaza, leading humanitarian workers to warn of the risk of disease from drinking untreated water.
3. Overwhelmed doctors at the territory’s largest hospital struggle to care for patients as supplies of water, fuel and medicine run dangerously low.
4. Hundreds of civilians killed in the Hamas attacks have yet to be identified by Israeli forensics teams.
Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY SEES BAD NEWS FOR MARKETS FROM MIDEAST WAR
FRANKFURT, Germany — The Israel-Hamas war is affecting oil markets already stretched by cutbacks in oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia and expected stronger demand from China, the head of the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
“As we see the tensions in the Middle East, the market becomes much more jittery, and it is definitely not good news coming out of this crisis,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based IEA, told The Associated Press.
“We may very well see much more volatile prices, and it can push prices higher, which is definitely bad news for inflation,” he added.
Developing countries that import energy would be the most affected by higher prices, Birol said.
International benchmark Brent crude traded close to $90 per barrel on Tuesday, up from $85 on Oct. 6, the day before Hamas attacked Israel. Fluctuations last week pushed prices as high as $96.
WFP WARNS FOOD IS RUNNING OUT IN GAZA
CAIRO — In addition to dire water shortages, Gaza is running out of food stocks with only a few days worth of supplies remaining in shops, the World Food Program says.
Shops only have four or five days’ worth of essential food stocks available, said spokeswoman Abeer Etefa. There is enough food in warehouses to last about two weeks, but these are difficult to access because they are located in Gaza City, where Israel has ordered residents to evacuate.
Out of five mills in Gaza, only one is operating due to security concerns and the unavailability of fuel and electricity. Etefa said the primary challenge for WFP is being able to get food to shops amid the constant bombardment. Long lines have formed outside the few bakeries that are still able to operate.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONDEMNS REPORTED KILLING OF FLEEING CIVILIANS
GENEVA — The U.N. human rights office is decrying “appalling reports” that civilians who were trying to flee to southern Gaza were hit and killed by a military strike.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani urged Israeli forces to avoid “aerial bombardments, indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks” and to “take precautions to avoid – and in any case, to minimize – loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.”
She said those who managed to evacuate are now trapped in southern Gaza with scant access to shelter, food, water, sanitation and medicine.
“Appalling reports that civilians attempting to relocate to southern Gaza were struck and killed by an explosive weapon, must be independently and thoroughly investigated as must all allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law,” she said.
Shamdasani also reiterated the call from the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to Palestinian armed groups “to immediately and unconditionally release all civilian hostages and to halt the use of inherently indiscriminate projectiles against Israel.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT CALLS FOR AN END TO ‘ODIOUS’ HOSTAGE-TAKING
TIRANA, Albania — French President Emmanuel Macron said the situation of hostages is “absolutely odious and unacceptable” after Hamas’ military wing released a hostage video showing a dazed woman having her arm bandaged.
The woman identified herself as Mia Schem, 21, a French-Israeli national.
Speaking at a news conference during a visit to Albania, Macron said he watched the video and expressed “support and affection” to Schem’s family and all other hostages’ loved ones.
“To have taken hostages, both civilian and military, of all nationalities and to use blackmail at this time is absolutely odious and unacceptable,” he said.
Macron said France is using contacts with Israeli authorities and also with Hamas “through friendly intermediary powers,” which he did not identify, to get the release of French and other hostages.
In her statement, Schem said she was taken from Kibbutz Reim, where she was attending a rave near the Israel-Gaza border.
The Israeli military said Schem’s family was told of her abduction last week, and officials dismissed the video as propaganda.
A CRUISE SHIP CARRYING FOREIGN NATIONALS FROM ISRAEL DOCKS IN CYPRUS
A cruise ship carrying some 160 U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals who opted to leave Israel has arrived in Cyprus’ main port of Limassol.
The Rhapsody of the Seas docked at dawn Tuesday and were met by the U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, Julie Fisher. Passengers were processed by Cypriot authorities and local U.S. embassy officials before being bussed to temporary accommodation prior to their flight back home.
Barbara Zwillick, 73, was escorting her granddaughter to New York City at the request of her daughter, who has stayed behind to continue her work as a nurse.
“She doesn’t want to leave. I don’t want her to leave. But she wants her daughter out,” Zwillick told The Associated Press.
Naama Kopelman, who has relatives believed to be Hamas hostages, said she decided to leave Israel for the sake of her daughter.
“It’s a big relief to be out of there in a safe place. No alarms, no sounds of the planes going about all the time,” Kopelman said.
IRANIAN LEADER CALLS ISRAEL’S ASSAULT ON GAZA ‘GENOCIDE’
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader Tuesday has insisted that his country will not stop Hamas, and repeated a call for Israeli leaders to be tried for war crimes.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “If the crimes continue, Muslims will be impatient, resistances forces will be impatient, and nobody will be able to prevent them.”
“Bombardments should be immediately stopped, Muslim nations are angry,” said Khamenei.
He reiterated Iran’s stance in calling Israel’s assault against Hamas,” genocide” and urged the prosecution of the Israeli government for its killing of civilians in Gaza.
He also urged the U.S. to “pay attention to its responsibility” in the war.
FAMILIES KILLED IN ISRAELI AIRSTRIKES ON GAZA
DEIR AL BALAH, Gaza Strip — Palestinians in Gaza are taking stock of the latest deadly airstrikes from Israel.
A strike in Deir al Balah, south of Gaza City, reduced a house to rubble, killing nine members of the family living there, mostly women and children. Three members of another family that had evacuated from Gaza City were killed in a neighboring home. Witnesses said there was no warning before the strike.
In Khan Younis, in a neighborhood just a few hundred meters away from Nasser Hospital, Samiha Zoarab looked around at the destruction in shock as children rummaged through the piles of debris and detritus around a leveled home, which lies within a dense cluster of buildings. At least four people from the same family were killed in the attack, locals said. “There are only two survivors,” Zoarab said.
ANTI-TANK MISSILE FIRED FROM LEBANON INTO ISRAEL, WHICH RESPONDS WITH SHELLING
BEIRUT — An anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon landed in the town of Metula in northern Israel Tuesday morning. Three people were injured in the attack, according to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, which was expecting to receive them.
No group in Lebanon immediately took responsibility for the rocket. It was not immediately clear if the injured were civilians or soldiers, but Israel has ordered civilians to evacuate from the area near the Lebanese border.
Israel responded by striking several areas along the border in southern Lebanon with shelling and white phosphorus, the state-run National News Agency in Lebanon reported. The Israeli military said its tanks fired back into Lebanon over the anti-tank missile fire it received.
TURKISH OFFICIAL SUGGESTS NATION COULD BE 2-STATE GUARANTOR
ISTANBUL — Turkey and other regional powers should act as guarantors of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians to ensure peace, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said late Monday.
The international community should insist that Israel accept the creation of a Palestinian state, Fidan said in a briefing with the Turkish media.
“After an agreement is reached … the guarantor countries should assume responsibility for fulfilling its requirements,” state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Fidan following a briefing with Turkish media.
He added: “Unless peace is guaranteed, the state of Israel and its people can never feel safe in the region.” The minister did not provide further detail on the plan. Turkey, along with the U.K. and Greece, has acted as a guarantor on the divided island of Cyprus since 1960.
Fidan has had a series of diplomatic meetings focused on Gaza in recent days and has others scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fidan said he had presented to idea of guarantors to those he had spoken with.
“The important thing is to realize the two-state solution by using this crisis as an opportunity,” he said. “It is to bring permanent peace to the region.”
JORDAN’S KING SAYS IT WON’T ACCEPT PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
BERLIN — King Abdullah II of Jordan has said at a meeting with German Chancellor OIaf Scholz in Berlin that neither Jordan nor Egypt would be willing to take in any Palestinian refugees.
The Jordanian king told reporters on Tuesday that “this is a red line … no refugees to Jordan and also no refugees to Egypt.”
“This is a situation that has to be handled within Gaza and the West Bank,” he said. “And you don’t have to carry this out on the shoulders of others.”
Abdullah also said that everything needs to be done to prevent a further escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The whole region is on the brink,” Abdullah said. “This new cycle of violence is leading us towards the abyss.”
Scholz, who is traveling to Israel later on Tuesday, stressed that the country has every right to defend itself and can count on Germany’s support.
ISRAEL SAYS MILITARY KILLED 4 MILITANTS CROSSING BORDER FROM LEBANON
BEIRUT — The Israeli military said it killed four militants attempting to cross into the country from Lebanon with an explosive device, its Arabic spokesperson Avichay Adraee said.
A video from a reconnaissance drone the Israeli army shared showed the militants near the separation wall before they were targeted, causing an explosion.
No group in Lebanon claimed immediately claimed responsibility. Last week, militants from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in southern Lebanon crossed the border and clashed with Israeli troops, killing 3 and wounding several others. The militants were killed, and the Palestinian group held funerals for two of them.
Tensions have flared along the Lebanon-Israel border between the Hezbollah group and Israeli military. While shelling has been limited to towns along the border, there are fears Hezbollah and other Iran-backed groups would escalate their actions to support Hamas should Israel begin a ground operation in Gaza.