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Israeli deadline to flee Gaza expires as Palestinians face desperate race to escape

Israeli deadline to flee Gaza expires as Palestinians face desperate race to escape

Palestinians are facing a race to escape to safety as Israel’s deadline for them to leave the combat zone passes.

Familes in cars, carts and on foot have been fleeing after warnings that they would be in the firing line in any Israel full scale onslaught on the ground into Gaza.

Hamas has claimed 70 people have been killed in a fleeing convoy already and have been urging citizens to remain in their homes.

Civilians were given until 2pm (UK time) to move although with hundreds of thousands expected to heed the advice as up to 300,000 Israeli soldiers have massed on the border.

Meanwhile, the Hamas commander, Ali Qadhi, who led the cross-border attack on Israeli settlements that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians has been killed by a drone strike, Israel’s air force said.

The IDF has said that over 120 civilians are still being held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas militants.

It is thought that the airstrikes on Gaza have killed at least 2,215 people and displaced a further 330,000, the Palestinian Health Authority has said - in Israel, an estimated 1,300 people have died. The Palestinian health authority has reported that 53 people have now died in the West Bank since last Saturday.

Key developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict:

08:11 , Sami Quadri

- Israel has sent the first elite troops into Gaza as the country’s defence minister warned of a “protracted, powerful” ground offensive to permanently destroy Hamas.

- The Israeli Defense Force said last night it was already engaged in an “extensive attack” on Gaza after it pounded more than 750 targets from the air to prepare the ground for the invasion.

- Israel gave 1.1 million people 24 hours to leave northern Gaza before it begins an offensive now said to be “imminent”. Although no precise timings were issued, the 24-hour warning was due to expire early this morning.

- Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, expressed his country’s "ironclad" support for Israel during his visit and told the international community it was "no time for neutrality", effectively telling world leaders to pick a side.

Israel says many Palestinian civilians moving south

08:15 , Sami Quadri

The Israeli military said on Saturday it had seen a “significant movement” of Palestinian civilians in Gaza fleeing south.

“We have seen a significant movement of Palestinian civilians towards the south,” Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus told a video briefing early on Saturday. He did not mention the deadline and did not take questions.

“Around the Gaza Strip, Israeli reserve soldiers in formation (are) getting ready for the next stage of operations. They are all around the Gaza Strip, in the south, in the centre and in the north, and they are preparing themselves for whatever target they get, whatever task.”

UK Government charter flight leaves Israel with more expected in coming days

08:20 , Sami Quadri

A Government charter flight left Israel on Friday night with more expected to follow in the coming days.

According to FlightRadar24, a Royal Air Force A400M made two flights from Tel Aviv to Cyprus, the first on Friday night and the second during the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Ministry of Defence and The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) did not confirm either A400M flight was the charter flight.

A Foreign Office statement said: “A UK Government charter flight has now left Israel (October 13), with further flights expected to leave in the coming days while commercial options are limited.”

Thousands to march in London pro-Palestinian protest as Gaza expects invasion

08:52 , Sami Quadri

Thousands of people are expected to march in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in central London as police warn that anyone showing support for Hamas or deviating from the route could face arrest.

The Metropolitan Police Service will deploy more than 1,000 officers to police the demonstration, in which people will be marching in solidarity with Palestine.

A Section 12 will be in force from midday Saturday covering the demonstration route, which starts at Portland Place and finishes in Whitehall.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told a press briefing on Friday: “Whilst people have the right to protest, they do not have the right to incite violence, they do not have the right to incite hatred and they do not have the right to commit criminal offences and we will robustly police that situation.”

British Jews worried sick and weeping at ‘terrible’ Israel-Hamas conflict, family says

09:07 , Sami Quadri

A family of British Jews have said they are “weeping and praying” for loved ones on the front line in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Eddie Hammerman and his wife Ronit Tam-Hammerman are worried for family and friends living in Israel, including relatives in its army.

Speaking from his family home in Hertfordshire on Friday, Mr Hammerman, 47, who works in PR, said: “We’ve got friends and family in Israel, and so there’s a big connection with them, with what they’re going through.

“Many of them have been called up to the army, so they will, some of them be on the front line, and we’re really concerned, and we feel really helpless here of what we can do for our friends and family and the wider community in Israel who have suffered in this terrible massacre.”

You can read full coverage here.

Jordan says Palestinian displacement pushes region to 'abyss' of wider conflict

09:16 , Sami Quadri

Jordan on Saturday said any move by Israel to impose a new displacement of Palestinians would push the region to the “abyss” of a wider conflict.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also said Israel's blocking of humanitarian aid to Gaza and forcing its residents to leave their homes as it escalates its military action were a “flagrant” breach of international law.

Over 300 Palestinians killed in the last 24 hours, reports state

09:53 , Bill Mcloughlin

The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes over the last 24 hours has reached 324, Gaza's health ministry reports, according to Reuters.

A further 1,000 people have been wounded by airstrikes.

Palestinian health ministry: 2,269 Palestinians killed and 9,814 others wounded

10:26 , Sami Quadri

At least 2,269 Palestinians have been killed and 9,814 others wounded due to Israeli attacks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry said in a report on Saturday.

The death toll included 2,215 dead from Gaza with 8,714 injured. The other 54 dead and 1,100 wounded were from the West Bank, the report added.

US working to get Gaza crossing to Egypt open, official says

11:00 , Sami Quadri

The United States has been working with Egypt, Israel and Qatar to open the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt on Saturday afternoon, a senior State Department official said.

“We have been trying to facilitate access for it to be open from 12 to five today. The Egyptians, the Israelis and the Qataris have been working with us on that,” the official told reporters travelling with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Israel examining death of Reuters journalist in Lebanon

11:02 , Sami Quadri

The Israeli army said it has launched an investigation into an incident in southern Lebanon in which a Reuters journalist was killed.

“We are aware of the incident with the Reuters journalist. We are looking into it. We already have visuals. We're doing cross examination. It's a tragic thing,” a military spokesperson told reporters.

Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah was killed and six other journalists injured in southern Lebanon on Friday when missiles fired from the direction of Israel struck them, according to a Reuters videographer who was at the scene.

Hamas commander who led cross-border attack on southern Israel reportedly killed

11:03 , Sami Quadri

Israel’s air force has said it has killed the Hamas commander who led the cross-border attack on Israeli settlements last Saturday.

The Israeli military said Ali Qadhi was killed in a drone strike following intelligence efforts by the Shin Bet security agency and Military Intelligence Directorate.

Pictured: Israeli tanks mass near Gaza border

11:37 , Sami Quadri

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Qatar rejects any attempt to forcibly displace Palestinians in Gaza Strip

11:48 , Sami Quadri

Qatar said on Saturday that it categorically rejects any attempt to forcibly displace the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

A statement from the Qatari foreign ministry said that the state of Qatar “call on lifting the siege of Gaza Strip, and provide full protection for the Palestinian civilians according to the international and humanitarian laws”.

BBC Broadcasting House sprayed with red paint

12:06 , Sami Quadri

The BBC’s Broadcasting House headquarters in London has been targeted and daubed in red paint.

Presenter Victoria Derbyshire posted images and footage of the scene showing the vandalised revolving glass doors and pale stone brickwork at Portland Place as she arrived for work on Saturday morning.

You can read full coverage here.

Pictured: Hundreds gather in London for pro-Palestine march as Gaza braces for invasion

12:17 , Sami Quadri

Protesters attend a march for Palestine in London (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
Protesters attend a march for Palestine in London (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
 (James Manning/PA Wire)
(James Manning/PA Wire)
 (James Manning/PA Wire)
(James Manning/PA Wire)

Lebanon to complain to UN over ‘deliberate killing’ of Reuters journalist

12:24 , Sami Quadri

Lebanon's foreign ministry said it will submit a formal complaint to the UN Security Council over what it called “Israel's deliberate killing” of Reuters journalist Issam Abdullah.

Abdullah was killed in southern Lebanon on Friday when missiles fired from the direction of Israel struck a group of journalists, a Reuters witness at the scene has said.

Counter-terror police review 55 cases of potential terrorist content online

12:44 , Sami Quadri

Counter-terror police in the UK are reviewing 55 new cases of potential terrorist content online amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Metropolitan Police said there had been a “significant number” of reports from the public about potential terrorist content on the internet in the days since the Hamas attack last Saturday.

Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, urged people to report online content that appears to incite terrorist violence or activity.

He said: “When it comes to tackling the use of the internet to further terrorism, support from the public is essential.

“Following last week’s horrific terrorist attack by Hamas, and the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has led to significant concern in communities in London and across the country, I want to thank the public for helping us by reporting potential terrorist content online to our Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU).

“These referrals have already made a significant impact and we are currently reviewing 55 cases.

Pro-Palestine protesters gather outside BBC HQ

13:11 , Sami Quadri

Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the BBC’s Broadcasting House in Portland Place ahead of a pro-Palestinian march in London.

Palestine flags and supportive placards were waved as people chanted, with Metropolitan Police and community support officers stationed nearby.

A cordon had been placed outside the main entrance to the BBC building after red paint was thrown at its entrance early on Saturday morning.

Pro-Palestine activist says conflict is ‘entirely one-sided’

13:12 , Sami Quadri

A supporter at the pro-Palestinian march in central London has said the Israel-Hamas conflict is “entirely one-sided”.

Speaking on Regent Street, Mike, 55, from north-west London, told the PA news agency: “The injustice of the situation is just totally outstanding.

“Gaza has been under siege for 17 years and the conflict is entirely one-sided, and yet the media are presenting it as though it’s some kind of equal struggle or that Israel’s response is a justified response to terrorism.

“(There was) not a single word about the terrorism of the Israeli state over the last few decades.”

13:51 , Sami Quadri

The pro-Palestinian march set off from Portland Place just before 1pm.

Supporters let off red, green and black flares and chanted “Free, free Palestine”.

Several individuals jumped on top of a bus shelter on Regent Street before waving Palestinian flags.

Tensions briefly boiled over between a protester and a member of the public outside Hamley’s toy store on the street, with the former shouting angrily at the latter and calling him “a liar”.

Hamas says 9 captives including 4 foreigners killed in Israeli air strikes

13:53 , Sami Quadri

Hamas said on Saturday that nine captives, including four foreigners, were killed following Israeli air strikes in Gaza over the past 24 hours.

A statement from Al Qassam Brigades on its Telegram channel said the captives were killed “because of the zionist bombardment on the areas they were staying in”.

China's Foreign Minister calls US Secretary of State on crisis in Israel and Gaza

14:13 , Sami Quadri

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken by phone on Saturday on the crisis in Israel and Gaza, a statement from his ministry said.

“China calls for the convening of an international peace conference as soon as possible,” the statement read, while warning that “the Palestinian-Israel conflict is escalating and risks getting out of control”.

Wang told Blinken that “China opposes all acts that harm civilians and condemns practices that violate international law”.

The two also touched on US-China relations, the statement said, which Wang said were showing signs of stabilising.

Israel attacks locations in Lebanon

14:47 , John Dunne

Israel has attacked locations in Lebanon following reports of multiple rocket launches from the south of the country.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, the Israel Defence Forces spokesperson said: “Following the initial report of a number of launches from Lebanese territory towards the Mount Dov area, IDF forces are now attacking the source of the shooting.”

Missiles were fired at an Israeli army post in southeastern Lebanon, witnesses said. Heavy shelling from Israel and the sound of gunfire was also heard.

China urges peace meeting in call to discuss Gaza crisis with US

14:56 , John Dunne

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken to Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to ask for Bejing’s help in working to contain the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Wang said Washington should “play a constructive and responsible role”, during the exchange.

He said: “When dealing with international hot-spot issues, major countries must adhere to objectivity and fairness, maintain calmness and restraint, and take the lead in abiding by international law,”

The Chinese foreign minister said Beijing has called for an “international peace meeting” as soon as possible.

Two charter flights leave Israel in effort to help Britons leave the country

15:04 , John Dunne

Two charter flights have now left Israel as efforts to help Britons leave the country continues, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

A Government spokesperson said: “Two flights facilitated by the UK Government have now departed Israel.

“Further flights are expected to leave in the coming days while commercial options are limited.”

‘At least 12 dead after convoy fleeing Gaza hit'

15:08 , John Dunne

At least 12 people, including young children, have been killed after a convoy of vehicles heading toward southern Gaza was hit. The Palestinian Health Ministry has blamed Israel for the attack.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) says it is investigating.

President Biden says US is working on humanitarian efforts in Gaza

15:42 , John Dunne

President Joe Biden has said the US is working with Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the United Nations to give e humanitarian support to Gaza as as Israel’s military continues to attack Hamas militants.

Biden wrote on X that the US was working to “create conditions needed to resume the flow of assistance and advocate for the upholding of the law of war”. His words came as the deadline for civilians to move in Gaza ahead of an expected Israeli ground offensive expired.

Netanyahu asks troops: ‘Are you ready for the next stage’ as Gaza evacuation deadline expires

15:47 , John Dunne

A video has emerged showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting forces outside the Gaza Strip.

In the video, Mr Netanyahu asks them: “You ready for the next stage? The next stage is coming.”

He did not give any more details in the video, which showed infantrymen nodding in response.

Jeremy Corbyn addresses pro-Palestine rally in London

15:50 , John Dunne

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the thousands at a pro-Palestine rally in London, calling on political leaders to condemn Israeli’s assault on Gaza.

“It is a day of solidarity and it is a day of hope,” the independent MP for Islington North told the crowd.

He said that around the world people were standing in support of the people in Gaza.

“There are many who say that nobody should be here today because they’ll be condoning terrible things. None of us are here to condone killing. None of us are here to condone occupation.

“None of us are here to allow this assault on the people of Gaza and the people of the West Bank to go on.

“Today, as we wave the Palestinian flag, let’s hear it for the people of the West Bank, for the people of Gaza, for the people of the refugee camps, and say very bluntly to our political leaders in this country@ ‘do not condone war crimes, do not condone the starvation and the denial of medicine to desperate people in Gaza or anywhere else’.

“If you believe in international law, if you believe in human rights, then you must condemn what is happening now in Gaza by the Israeli army.”

Pro-Palestine demonstrators hurl red paint over BBC HQ in protest

15:53 , John Dunne

A Pro-Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for vandalising the BBC’s Broadcasting House headquarters with red paint over its coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Palestine Action accused the broadcaster of having “blood on it hands” after staging the protest in London in the early hours of Saturday morning.

It also targeted the BBC’s Hanover Building in Liverpool city centre, again spraying it with red paint to symbolise its “complicity in spilling Palestinian blood”.

US tells its citizens in Gaza to move to crossing with Egypt

16:01 , John Dunne

The US government has advised its citizens in Gaza to move south toward the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Rafah is the sole crossing in and out of Gaza not controlled by Israel.

The US State Department says that its citizens should be ready at the crossing for its possible reopening amid the humanitarian crisis.

A State Department spokesperson said: “We have informed US citizens in Gaza with whom we are in contact that if they assess it to be safe, they may wish to move closer to the Rafah border crossing.

“There may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time.”

Pro-Palestine protest ends with appeal for funds and setting off fireworks

16:35 , John Dunne

Organisers of the pro-Palestinian march ended activities on stage by asking for donations towards their campaign.

Fireworks were let off in the crowd as supporters dispersed from Whitehall.

A crowd surrounded a man in Parliament Square wearing a kippah with the Israeli flag on it, who was shielded by a team of Met Police officers.

Lebanon submits complaint to UN over killing of journalist

17:07 , John Dunne

Lebanon is submitting a formal complaint to the UN Security Council over what it says is “Israel’s deliberate killing” of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah, who is also a Lebanese citizen.

He was killed in southern Lebanon on Friday when missiles fired from the direction of Israel struck a group of journalists, witnesses at the scene have said, according to a report published by Reuters.

The journalist was working close to the Lebanese-Israeli border, where clashes between militants and the Israeli military have intensified.

Six other media workers including from Reuters, Al Jazeera and Agency France-Presse, were wounded.

An Israeli army spokesperson later said that the army was “deeply regretful for the incident” and that it was “actively investigating it”.

Israel had no concrete warning of impending Hamas attack says security adviser

17:22 , John Dunne

Hamas attacks on southern Israel last Saturday were a complete surpries, Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser has said.

The expert told reporters Israel received no concrete warning of the onslaught, including from Egypt.

He said the chief of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service was summoned for an “unusual” 4am briefing that day - some two and a half hours before the attack began - on new intelligence information. However, he said that information didn’t warrant military mobilisation.

Israeli’s ‘find bodies of some hostages on edge of Gaza strip'

17:35 , John Dunne

Israel has said it has discovered the bodies of some hostages taken in last week’s Hamas attack.

The bodies were on the edge of the Gaza strip, Israel has said.

Hamas had previously claimed some hostages had been killed in Israeli bombing.

Man arrested at Pro-Palestine rally after hurling object at police in Trafalgar Square

17:48 , John Dunne

A man has been arrested in Trafalgar Square after allegedly throwing an object at a police van at pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

He allegedly launched a wooden stick at the passing Met van next to Nelson’s Column before being chased by officers and detained whilst jumping into a fountain in the square.

The arrest sparked a fierce reaction from nearby Palestinian protesters, with a large crowd confronting Met officers by shoving and throwing objects at them, including bottles.