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Israel-Hamas war: 5 key developments on Saturday

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

Palestinians evacuate after their tower building was hit by Israeli air strikes, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Palestinians evacuate after their tower building was hit by Israeli air strikes. (Reuters) (Mohammed Salem / reuters)

A deadline for Palestinians to leave northern Gaza has expired as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his soldiers if they “are ready for the next stage”.

Israel had ordered one million Palestinians living in the north to evacuate by 4pm local time (2pm UK time) ahead of an expected ground invasion.

Netanyahu visited troops on the Gaza periphery in a possible precursor to the attack, with his security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi later warning Lebanese Hezbollah not to get involved in the conflict.

The war has claimed thousands of lives since Hamas, proscribed by the UK as a terrorist organisation, launched a brutal incursion on Saturday, with Israel placing the 25-mile Gaza Strip under siege and subjecting it to a torrent of retaliatory air strikes.

Israel has said more than 1,300 of its citizens have been killed since last Saturday, including children.

The Palestinian health ministry said on Saturday morning that 2,215 Palestinians have been killed, including children.

Here are the main stories from today:

1. Gaza deadline expires

  • A deadline for Palestinians to leave northern Gaza by 4pm local time (2pm UK time) has expired. Some families had fled after warnings they would be in danger in case of a full-scale Israeli ground invasion.

  • The BBC reported women and young children were killed when their vehicles were hit by a strike as they left northern Gaza. The UN added many at-risk Palestinians, including children and the elderly, were unable to leave.

Read more: Israeli deadline to flee Gaza expires as Palestinians face desperate race to escape (Evening Standard)

2. Israel planning ground attack

  • The Israeli military said on Saturday its forces were preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans as expectations grew of an imminent invasion of the Gaza Strip.

  • Israeli prime minister Netanyahu was seen visiting forces outside the Gaza Strip. In a video clip he asks them: “You ready for the next stage? The next stage is coming.”

Read more: Biden administration fears fallout from Israel’s Gaza invasion (The Telegraph)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Israeli troops in tanks and other armoured vehicles amass in a field near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on October 14, 2023, as fighting between Israel and the Hamas movement continues for the eighth consecutive day. Thousands of Palestinians fled on October 14, to southern Gaza seeking refuge after Israel warned them to evacuate before an expected ground offensive against Hamas in retaliation for the deadliest attack in Israel's history. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli troops in tanks and other armoured vehicles amass in a field near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. (Getty) (THOMAS COEX via Getty Images)

3. Israel warns Hezbollah

  • Netanyahu's national security adviser Hanegbi said hostilities with Lebanese Hezbollah in parallel with the Gaza war appeared to be restrained and warned the group not to take action that could lead to Lebanon's "destruction".

  • Hanegbi said more limited clashes across the Lebanese border showed Hezbollah was staying "under the escalation threshold" after two Lebanese civilians were killed in the southern village of Shebaa from Israeli shelling.

Read more: Two civilians killed in Israel shelling of Lebanon (AFP)

4. Tory MP warns UK

  • Conservative MP Crispin Blunt has warned that the UK could be “complicit” in Gaza war crimes if it does not do more to "restrain" Israel. Blunt, co-director of The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), has said the government could face legal action over the war between Israel and Hamas.

  • ICJP has written a notice of intention to prosecute government officials in the UK for "aiding and abetting war crimes in Gaza".

Read more: UK could be complicit in Gaza war crimes, Tory MP warns (Sky News)

5. Tens of thousands march across UK

  • Tens of thousands of people gathered for pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the UK amid growing international concern over the situation in Israel and Gaza. Marchers filled the streets of central London on Saturday as thousands also gathered in Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and other parts of the UK.

  • Demonstrators carried flags and flares and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans as calls for world leaders to condemn Israel’s actions were heard. As marchers made their way to a stage outside Downing Street, chants of “Rishi Sunak, shame on you” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” rang out among the crowd.

Read more: Tens of thousands march across UK as situation worsens in Gaza (PA)

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.

Read more