October 28: Today’s news on Palestine & Israel

October 28: Today’s news on Palestine & Israel

Current situation in Gaza; Bombing intensifies; Blackout continues; Israeli troops inside Gaza; US calls for protection of innocents; children at risk; Israeli settlers; Elon Musk assistance; Russian hostages.

This is a developing story, check back for updates

Find daily casualty figures and previous daily news updates here. For more news, go here and here. Live news is here.

Latest statistics:

Palestinian death toll 7,342* (7,232 in Gaza* (including at least 3,500 children and 1,709 women, and at least 110 in the West Bank); 20,880 injured (18,967 in Gaza and over 1,967 in the West Bank). It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties. About 1.4 million people have been displaced, more than 1,700 missing (940 children) and presumed to be under rubble. *NOTE: The official OCHA death toll includes 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast. IAK does not yet include those deaths since the source of the projectile is in dispute; although much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, experts are still looking into the incident. Israel is blocking an international investigation.

Israeli death toll remains near 1,400 (1 killed in West Bank, 1 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and 5,431 injured. (It is unclear how many of the Israeli deaths and injuries may have been caused by Israeli soldiers.)

The names of the Palestinians killed are here (scroll down; we are working on obtaining an English translation), and the names of the Israelis are here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.
Source: IsraelPalestineTimeline.org

Israel says its ground troops are fighting inside Gaza as it subjects the besieged territory to the heaviest bombardment since the war began. Hamas says its fighters have confronted Israeli troops in various locations.

International media and aid agencies say they lost contact with staff in Gaza amid a near-total communications blackout.

US quietly expands secret military base in Israel 

As Americans ponder the possibility of being pushed into another disastrous regional war in the Middle East, it appears that we may already be investing in one, as the Intercept reports:

Hamas attacked Israel, the Pentagon awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to build U.S. troop facilities for a secret base it maintains deep within Israel’s Negev desert, just 20 miles from Gaza. Code-named “Site 512,” the longstanding U.S. base is a radar facility that monitors the skies for missile attacks on Israel [from Iran].

Though President Joe Biden and the White House insist that there are no plans to send U.S. troops to Israel amid its war on Hamas, a secret U.S. military presence in Israel already exists. And the government contracts and budget documents show it is evidently growing.

Read the full article here.

Medical casualties

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, at least 110 medical staff in the Gaza Strip have been killed by Israeli shelling and air raids since October 7, and more than 100 have been injured.

50 ambulances have been attacked, of which half are no longer functioning.

12 hospitals and 46 primary healthcare clinics have shut down because of damage from bombing or lack of fuel, and 24 hospitals – with a bed occupancy of 2,000 – have been told to evacuate in northern Gaza.

OCHA news

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that Israel permitted 10 trucks full of humanitarian aid into Gaza on Friday, for a total of 84 trucks since October 21. Prior to the hostilities, an average of 500 truckloads entered Gaza every working day.

None of the aid trucks that have entered thus far contained urgently needed fuel. Consequently, humanitarian actors have been forced to drastically limit the use of fuel and prioritize the most essential activities.

For the first time since the start of hostilities, a small team of medical specialists, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was allowed into Gaza.

Over 40 per cent of Gaza’s education facilities have been hit since hostilities started, including 38 schools destroyed and/or severely damaged; 75 which sustained moderate damage; and 108 with minor damage. In the West Bank, 150-200 schools report daily disruptions due to movement restrictions and settler harassment.

After voting against truce, US envoy to UN says ‘innocent Palestinians must be protected’

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, has called for protecting Palestinian civilians, citing the killing of family members of Al Jazeera correspondent Wael Dahdouh in an Israeli air attack.

Thomas-Greenfield stated, “The lives of innocent Palestinians must be protected…The lives of UN personnel and humanitarian workers and journalists must be protected. We mourn the loss of every single innocent life in this crisis. Every single one.”

The US has pledged to support Israel militarily and diplomatically throughout the war, and President Biden has asked Congress for $14bn in aid for the country. Israel already receives $13.1 million per day from the US due to the influence of the Israel lobby.

Full Israeli ground invasion would threaten more than 1 million children: Aid group

As Israeli forces expand ground operations in Gaza, Save the Children says children will “bear the brunt” of Israel’s intensified attacks.

“While the scale and nature of this operation remain unclear, in the event of a full ground incursion, more than one million children’s lives – nearly half of the 2.3 million population of Gaza – will be on the line,” the group said in a statement.

Jason Lee, the group’s country director in the occupied Palestinian territories, stressed that Palestinian children and their parents are experiencing “pure horror.”

“The Gaza Strip is a small, densely populated urban environment, with no way out. Any military ground operation inside Gaza puts children in immediate danger and has devastating impacts on access to healthcare, water, shelter and food,” he said.

Journalists at risk

Over the past three weeks, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has documented the deadliest period for journalists covering conflict since CPJ began tracking in 1992. From October 7 to October 27, 2023, at least 29 journalists were among more than 8,000 dead on both sides since the war began.

This deadly toll is coupled with harassment, detentions and other reporting obstructions that include the West Bank and Israel.

Israeli settler violence and threats

A Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank was shot dead by an Israeli settler as he harvested olives.

Bilal Muhammed Saleh, 40, was shot in the chest; his death was confirmed by the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry, and by military sources. Saleh was part of a group harvesting olives outside the village near Nablus when they were attacked by settlers.

There is no immediate comment on the incident from the Israel Defense Forces.

In another part of the West Bank, Palestinians returning to their cars after harvesting olives found threatening leaflets under their windshield wipers. The leaflets said, in Arabic, “You wanted war, wait for the great Nakba [the ‘catastrophe,’ in which 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948]” and warned that it was “their last chance to flee to Jordan in an orderly fashion before we forcefully expel you from our holy lands bequeathed to us by God.”

Elon Musk promises communication assistance

After virtually all communication in and out of Gaza was cut off on Friday, the hashtag #starlinkforgaza went viral, calling for Elon Musk to provide internet access to Gaza via his Starlink satellite. Musk replied on X (formerly Twitter), “Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza.”

8 Russian hostages may be released

Hamas is reportedly looking for eight people, identified by Russia as possibly being among the hostages in Gaza, and is ready to free them. All of them have dual citizenship.

Hamas reportedly said, “We are very attentive to this list and we will handle it carefully because we look at Russia as our closest friend…Now we are looking for those people. It’s difficult, but we are looking. And as soon as we find them, we will release them. Despite the difficulties due to the current situation.”


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