Here is the situation on Wednesday, October 18, 2023:
At least 500 people have been killed in an Israeli air attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials have said.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the targeting of the hospital in Gaza as a “hideous war massacre” that cannot be tolerated.“The entire world should know: it was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, referring to the Israeli army.Daoud Shehab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, told Reuters: “This is a lie and fabrication, it is completely incorrect. The occupation is trying to cover for the horrifying crime and massacre they committed against civilians.”UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has just now called for an “immediate” ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas.He also said that attacks by Hamas did not justify the “collective punishment” of the Palestinian people.At least 37 more people have been killed in separate air raids targeting two neighbourhoods at a refugee camp in northern Gaza, according to officials.The Israeli army has identified two more soldiers who died since the war started on October 7.
Diplomacy and protests
Jordan cancelled a summit it was to host in Amman on Wednesday with US President Joe Biden and the Egyptian and Palestinian leaders to discuss Gaza, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said. “I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted,” Biden, who is travelling to Israel, said in a statement.“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy.”The hospital blast drew condemnation across the Arab world, and protests were staged at Israel’s embassies in Turkey and Jordan and near the US embassy in Lebanon, where security forces fired tear gas towards demonstrators.Palestinian security forces in Ramallah fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters throwing rocks and chanting against President Mahmoud Abbas as popular anger boiled over after the deadly Gaza hospital attack.Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group denounced what it said was Israel’s deadly attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, which is run by the Anglican Church, and called for “a day of unprecedented anger” against Israel and Biden’s visit.The United Nations Security Council will now vote on Wednesday on a Brazilian-drafted resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.The US State Department will continue to offer government-sponsored charter flights to Europe from Tel Aviv to help Americans leave Israel through at least Sunday.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited a marked rise in anti-Semitism in Canada after Hamas attacked Israel and Israel’s subsequent deadly air strikes in Gaza.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies