Israel-Gaza live updates: UN secretary-general invokes Article 99

Written by on December 7, 2023

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(NEW YORK) — The temporary cease-fire between Hamas and Israel ended early Friday, and Israel has resumed its bombardment of Gaza.

The end of the cease-fire came after Hamas freed over 100 of the more than 200 people its militants took hostage during the Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel. In exchange, Israel released more than 200 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

Here’s how the news is developing:

Dec 06, 9:44 PM EST
Over 80% of people in Gaza have inadequate food consumption, WFP report says

Around 83% of households in southern Gaza suffering from inadequate food consumption, according to a new report from the World Food Programme.

The organization also reported Wednesday that 97% of households in northern Gaza have inadequate food consumption.

As a result, 95% of households are adopting extreme food consumption strategies to cope with food shortages in northern Gaza, the report said, with 82% of households doing the same in southern Gaza.

Dec 06, 5:25 PM EST
US, G7 partners call for opening of Gaza crossings into Israel

The United States and its Group of Seven allies called for crossings from Gaza into Israel to be opened for the transfer of humanitarian aid in a statement released Wednesday evening following a virtual meeting.

“The population is increasingly vulnerable, and with winter approaching, we must continue to increase the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza to meet fully the needs on the ground, including by opening additional crossings,” the G7 leaders said in the statement.

Only the Rafah crossing into Egypt is open, while all of the other crossings into Gaza border Israel and have been closed. The White House provided its readout of the meeting but did not mention this joint call for the opening of additional crossings.

The White House said the leaders “expressed deep regret that Hamas refused to release all of its women hostages and military operations resume.”

“Hamas offers nothing but suffering to the Palestinian people, and it is an obstacle to a better future for them and for the region. We will continue to coordinate our efforts to isolate Hamas and ensure it cannot threaten Israel,” the G7 leaders said in its statement.

Dec 06, 2:26 PM EST
Kids in Gaza share their experiences through art

Children in Gaza are sharing their traumatic experiences from the war through drawings.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it organized the event to help children process their complicated feelings.

The art was displayed in the rubble of a bombed house.

The children’s art included portraits of families and drawings of homes. One showed an injured person in a hospital bed, and another depicted a journalist’s camera and bulletproof vest.

Dec 06, 2:15 PM EST
Israeli soldiers fighting in southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis

Israeli soldiers are fighting for the first time in the heart of Khan Yunis, a city in southern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said.

“The city of Khan Yunis is a terrorist stronghold,” the IDF said. “The entire leadership of the Hamas terrorist organization — both military and political — proliferated in the area of Khan Yunis.”

Israeli troops have eliminated terrorists and their infrastructure in the area, the IDF said. One strike was on a mosque that the IDF said was being used to store weapons.

Dec 06, 1:22 PM EST
UN secretary-general invokes Article 99, calls for humanitarian cease-fire

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Wednesday that he’s invoked Article 99 of the U.N. Charter for the first time in his six years as leader.

Article 99 says that the secretary-general “may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

“Facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I urge the Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe & appeal for a humanitarian cease-fire to be declared,” Guterres said in a post on X.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council president, Guterres said, “The situation is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region. … The international community has a responsibility to use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis.”

Dec 06, 12:41 PM EST
IDF encircling Hamas leader’s house: Netanyahu

Israeli forces are now “encircling” the house belonging to Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“It’s only a matter of time until we catch him,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister also said Israel is exerting pressure to allow Red Cross workers to visit the more than 100 hostages still being held by Hamas.

Dec 06, 11:24 AM EST
Biden calls reports of Hamas’ sexual violence against Israeli women ‘appalling’

Editor’s note: This report contains graphic descriptions of sexual violence.

President Joe Biden has blamed Hamas’ refusal to release civilian female hostages for the end of a temporary cease-fire and called reports of women allegedly sexually assaulted by Hamas “appalling.”

“We had a report in the earliest days that Hamas used rape to terrorize women and girls during the attack on October the 7th in Israel,” Biden said, according to pool reports of his remarks Tuesday at a closed-door fundraiser.

“Over the past few weeks, survivors and witnesses of the attacks have shared the horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty,” he said. “Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive — of women corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them. It is appalling.”

It’s on all of us — government, international organizations, civil society and businesses — to forcefully condemn the sexual violence of Hamas terrorists without equivocation — without equivocation, without exception,” Biden said.

ABC News’ Libby Cathey

Dec 06, 9:02 AM EST
IDF says it struck 250 targets in Gaza over last day amid ‘intensive battles’

The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday morning that its aircraft had bombed “approximately 250 terror targets in the Gaza Strip” over the last day amid what it described as “intensive battles.”

“During these strikes, terrorists from the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations were eliminated, and a number of terrorist infrastructure were destroyed,” the IDF said in a statement.

Israeli soldiers also located “one of the largest weapons depots” in Gaza “near a clinic and a school” in the northern part of the Hamas-controlled territory, according to the IDF.

“The depot contained hundreds of RPG missiles and launchers of various types, dozens of anti-tank missiles, dozens of explosive devices, long-range missiles aimed at central Israel, dozens of grenades and UAVs,” the IDF added. “All of the terrorist infrastructure was found close to civilian buildings in the heart of a civilian population. This is additional proof of Hamas’ cynical use of the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields.”

Hamas has denied Israel’s claims that it deliberately shelters behind civilians in Gaza.

Dec 06, 7:37 AM EST
US believes eight American hostages remain in Gaza, Kirby says

The United States believes eight Americans are still being held hostage by militants in the war-torn Gaza Strip, according to White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

“We think there’s about eight hostages that are Americans. We know of at least one woman in that group,” Kirby told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview Wednesday on Good Morning America.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to get them released,” he continued. “We’re constantly engaged with our partners in the region to try to get this humanitarian pause back in place, so that the flow of hostages can renew.”

Although a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s militant rulers, Hamas, ended last week, the U.S. is “still flowing in humanitarian assistance” to civilians in Gaza, according to Kirby.

“And we’re trying to get it up to the level that it was during the pause,” he noted.

When asked about what Israel’s “endgame” might be in its war against Hamas as Israeli troops expand their offensive across all of Gaza, Kirby said: “That’s really something for the Israeli’s to speak to.”

“We obviously want to see Hamas eliminated as a threat to the Israeli people,” he added. “That hasn’t been achieved yet. They’re going after the leadership as best they can. They believe they need to operate in the south. We’ve told them you know we’ll continue to support their military operations but we want to make sure that as they do that they’re factoring in those innocent civilian lives as much as possible.”

Dec 06, 7:16 AM EST
Gaza hospital says it’s ‘besieged’ by Israeli forces

Al-Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip is “besieged” by Israeli forces, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

There are currently 95 employees and 38 patients inside the hospital in the city of Jabalia, north of Gaza City, according to the spokesperson.

Just four hospitals remain operational in the north, according to the Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

Dec 06, 5:32 AM EST
Gaza hospital receives scores of dead, wounded in past 24 hours

A hospital in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip has seen an influx of dead and wounded arrive at its doors over the last day, according to Palestinian health officials.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health said Wednesday morning that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital has received 73 dead and 123 injured patients in the past 24 hours amid intense bombardment by the Israeli military.

Dec 05, 6:12 PM EST
Over 1,000 Americans and family members seeking to depart Gaza: State Department

More than 1,000 Americans and their family members are still stranded in Gaza, more than a month after the Rafah border crossing first opened to outbound traffic, according to the State Department.

“We know of approximately 1,050 individuals (about 350 U.S. citizens, plus lawful permanent residents and family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents) who we are in touch with and who are seeking to depart Gaza,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News, adding it “remains a fluid and quickly evolving situation.”

These figures come a day after State Department spokesperson Matt Miller told reporters that the number of American citizens trying to exit the area stood at 220, and that there were 750 individuals eligible to leave Gaza who had not yet been able to depart.

Dec 05, 3:48 PM EST
State Dept. imposes visa restrictions on individuals ‘undermining peace’ in West Bank

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new visa restriction policy on Tuesday “targeting individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security or stability in the West Bank.”

The policy includes those “committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities,” Blinken said in a statement.

The State Department has already started pursuing initial action against individuals and will designate others “in the coming days,” spokesperson Matt Miller told reporters Tuesday.

The department expects the policy will impact “dozens of individuals and potential their family members,” he said.

During a visit to Israel last week, Blinken said he “made clear that the United States is ready to take action using our own authorities” and that Israel must “take additional measures to protect Palestinian civilians from extremist attacks.”

He added that the U.S. would also continue to engage with the Palestinian Authority to stress that it needed “to do more to curb Palestinian attacks against Israelis.”

ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford

Dec 05, 3:26 PM EST
Netanyahu says Gaza must be demilitarized through ‘sheer force’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address Tuesday that Gaza must be demilitarized and that he is not ready to accept an international force being responsible for Gaza post-war.

“Gaza must be demilitarized and the only country that can do this and ensure it lasts is Israel,” Netanyahu said. “I’m not ready to close my eyes and accept any other arrangement.”

The prime minister said half of Hamas’ battalions have already been “destroyed.”

Netanyahu also said a tactic of sheer force made sense for bringing home the remaining hostages.

“The only way to bring home the rest of the hostages is through massive military force in Gaza and that’s what we are doing,” he said.

He also criticized those calling for a short war, saying, “I say to our friends who call for a short war, the only way for the war to end quickly is by applying sheer force. So I say stand with us. Stand with Israel. Stand with civilization.”

Dec 05, 1:14 PM EST
State Dept. imposes visa restrictions on individuals ‘undermining peace’ in West Bank

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new visa restriction policy on Tuesday “targeting individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security or stability in the West Bank.”

The policy includes those “committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities,” Blinken said in a statement.

During a visit to Israel last week, Blinken said he “made clear that the United States is ready to take action using our own authorities” and that Israel must “take additional measures to protect Palestinian civilians from extremist attacks.”

He added that the U.S. would also continue to engage with the Palestinian Authority to stress that it needed “to do more to curb Palestinian attacks against Israelis.”

ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford

Dec 05, 10:43 AM EST
IDF says it has ‘hundreds of testimonies of rape and sex crimes’ from Oct. 7

Israeli authorities say they have collated “hundreds of testimonies of rape and sex crimes” they claim was committed by Hamas militants during the Oct. 7 terror attack.

A document from the Israel Defense Forces details allegations of sexual violence, with “almost all of the testimonies” coming from eyewitnesses and first responders who were present at the scene during or after atrocities, the document states. This is because “virtually all” of the victims of sexual violence were also murdered on Oct. 7, according to the document.

The IDF said the document offers “only a small part of an immense body of information of evidence of Hamas’ sex crimes” and said the evidence “proves beyond all doubt that Hamas and other … terrorists used rape and sexual violence systemically against Israeli women and children,” according to the IDF.

One IDF volunteer quoted in the document described seeing many young women “in bloody, shredded rags, or just in underwear.”

“Our team commander saw several (female) soldiers who were shot in the crotch and intimate areas,” the IDF volunteer said, according to the document.

The IDF alleges that some members of Hamas who were captured and then interrogated also gave testimony that women were sexually abused on Oct. 7.

An Israeli paramedic quoted in the document said they inspected the bodies of two teenage girls who had been murdered. One of the girls “had her pants pulled down towards her knees … and there’s the remains of semen on the lower part of her back,” the document states.

A survivor of the Oct. 7 attack, Gad Liebersohn, quoted in the document said that “for two hours I’m hiding and hearing people getting kidnapped and women getting raped … begging for their lives.”

Hamas, the militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, has denied the allegations that its fighters committed sexual violence during the Oct. 7 attack on neighboring southern Israel.

Cochav Elkayam-Levy, the head of Israel’s Civil Commission on Oct. 7 Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children, has described what she called “widespread rape evidence.”

ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge

Dec 05, 8:57 AM EST
At least two injured after rocket hits Israeli residential building, authorities say

Rocket fire struck a residential building in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Tuesday afternoon, according to Israel’s emergency medical service MDA.

At least two people — a 67-year-old and a 60-year-old — were wounded by shrapnel while standing in the parking lot next to the building’s entrance, according to MDA, which said its staff provided treatment on site and transported the two victims to a nearby hospital.

Dec 05, 6:55 AM EST
Hospital in northern Gaza under siege, health ministry says

Another hospital in the northern Gaza Strip is under siege by Israeli troops, Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health said Tuesday.

Israeli tanks and snipers have surrounded Kamal Adwan Hospital, where more than 7,000 displaced people are sheltering, according to the health ministry. Israeli troops are allegedly firing at “anyone who moves,” the health ministry said.

The power was also cut from the hospital, according to the health ministry.

Dozens of wounded people as well as the bodies of at least 108 who have died are currently inside Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to the health ministry.

There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

Just four hospitals remain operational in northern Gaza, according to the health ministry, as medical services in the besieged enclave struggle to deal with the mounting casualty toll.

Dec 05, 6:28 AM EST
At least 30 killed in airstrike on school in southern Gaza, hospital says

Dozens of people were killed or wounded in an Israeli airstrike that allegedly targeted a school housing displaced families in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, according to local medical staff.

A spokesperson for Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis told ABC News that it had received scores of patients from the scene, including 30 who had died and dozens who were injured.

There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

The strike came on the heels of the IDF’s announcement that it would be expanding its offensive on Gaza’s militant rulers, Hamas, across the entire strip.

Dec 05, 1:38 AM EST
‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza’: WHO

The World Health Organization painted a bleak picture of the situation in Gaza on Monday night and called for Israel “to take every possible measure to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, as per the laws of war.”

According to the latest information from the WHO, there are only 18 functioning hospitals in Gaza, with three only providing first aid and the remainder just partial services.

With an increasing number of Palestinians displaced as the war continues, the WHO says, “syndromic surveillance has noted increases in infectious diseases, including acute respiratory infections, scabies, jaundice, diarrhoea, and bloody diarrhoea. Shelters in the south are also reporting cases of acute jaundice syndrome, a worrisome signal of hepatitis.”

The WHO previously said, “syndromic surveillance systems seek to use existing health data in real-time to provide immediate analysis and feedback to those charged with investigation and follow-up of potential outbreaks.”

The WHO warned thousands are likely to be cut off from health care services due to increased ground operations by Israel in southern Gaza. The open hospitals are operating beyond capacity, with the bed occupancy rate at 171% and intensive care units at 221%, the WHO said, based on data from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

WHO workers called the situation at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis “catastrophic, with the building and hospital grounds grossly overcrowded with patients and displaced people seeking shelter.”

The WHO said in a statement Monday night it has recorded 203 “attacks on hospitals, ambulances, medical supplies, and the detention of health-care workers attacks on hospitals, ambulances medical supplies” between Oct. 7 and Nov. 28.

“This is unacceptable,” the WHO’s statement read. “There are means to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and they should be instituted.”

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