Relentless bombing, urban combat, countless deaths: Live Updates on Israel-Hamas war
Palestinian armed group Hamas launched thousands of missiles at Israel and sent its militants across the border from Gaza on October 7. At least 1,300 Israelis were killed and thousands injured as a result of the surprise incursion, according to local authorities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the country was “at war” and promised retaliation against Hamas that they “have never known before.” The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded by sending warplanes to strike targets in Gaza, ordering a blockade of the Palestinian enclave, and announcing plans for a ground invasion of the densely populated territory.
20 November 202320:59 GMT
Israeli and Hamas negotiators, though US and Qatari mediators, are “closing in” on a deal to secure the release of some of the hostages taken during the October 7 attack, in exchange for a humanitarian pause in Israeli airstrikes and ground campaign in the Gaza Strip, unnamed sources familiar with the talks told NBC News.
According to various media reports the deal, which has yet to be finalized, could involve the release of some 50 women and children held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian women and minors held in Israeli prisons, as well as a temporary ceasefire. Israel’s Channel 12 said that the Israeli war cabinet expressed willingness on Sunday to move forward with the talks.
That's all from Live Updates for now, but follow RT.com for continued coverage.
- 19:45 GMT
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 13,300, the enclave’s Health Ministry has announced. Among the dead are more than 5,600 children and 3,550 women, the ministry claimed, adding that a further 31,000 people have been wounded in the six weeks since Israel began bombarding the strip.
- 19:19 GMT
US President Joe Biden has told reporters that a deal to release some of the roughly 240 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas militants is close at hand. Asked whether an agreement would be struck in the near future, Biden responded “I believe so.”
According to Reuters, Qatari mediators are working on a deal whereby 50 hostages would be freed in exchange for a three-day ceasefire that would allow essential humanitarian supplies into Gaza. On Sunday, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, told ABC News that he was “hopeful we can have a deal in the coming days.”
- 17:33 GMT
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have released a video showing their seizure of an Israeli-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea. The Galaxy Leader, a Bahamian-flagged car and truck carrier partially owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar, was seized while en route to India from Turkiye on Sunday.
The video shows a team of armed men landing on the ship via helicopter, before storming the bridge and holding the vessel’s crew at gunpoint. One of the militants can be heard chanting “Death to America, Death to Israel, Cursed be the Jews, Victory to Islam” over a megaphone, before a final shot shows a Palestinian flag raised over the ship as it is escorted away by speedboats.
Unbelievable footage from the Houthi seizure of the Israeli-owned ship "Galaxy Leader" in the Red Sea yesterday.A helicopter, emblazoned with the flags of Yemen and Palestine, drops a Houthi squad onto the ship, wearing Palestinian flag headbands and photos of Hamas' spokesman. pic.twitter.com/4DAHKA88r9— Séamus Malekafzali (@Seamus_Malek) November 20, 2023
The IDF has condemned the “hijacking,” stressing that the boat is not Israeli, and that no Israeli nationals were among its crew.
- 17:02 GMT
Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden, has arrived in Israel for talks with Israeli government and military officials aimed at preventing the outbreak of war with Lebanon, Axios reported. According to the news site’s sources, American officials are concerned that Israel is trying to bait Lebanese Hezbollah militants into an open conflict, which would likely draw in US forces.
Hezbollah and the IDF have engaged in daily exchanges of fire along the Lebanese border for more than a month, with Hezbollah using rockets and drones to target Israeli military bases and population centers, and the IDF responding with artillery fire and airstrikes.
Hezbollah has thus far refrained from sending its fighters into Israel or using its long-range missiles. In a speech earlier this month, the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warned that Israel would “commit the most foolish mistake in [its] existence” if it launched a full-scale assault on Lebanon.
- 16:48 GMT
Around 1,000 boats will set sail from Türkiye to Gaza this week in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade, Turkish news site Haber7 has reported. Claiming that the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 different countries, Haber7 said that the organizers of the flotilla aim to stop in international waters off the Gazan coast and block shipping lanes into Israel to protest the Israeli military operation in the Palestinian enclave.
The sailing is being organized by the Mavi Marmara Freedom and Solidarity Association, which took part in a similar flotilla in 2010 to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. The operation ended in tragedy when Israeli commandos stormed the ships, killing ten Turkish activists aboard the MV Mavi Marmara.
Organizer Volkan Okcu told Haber7 that participants in this week’s sailing would “strictly follow international rules” and would not carry “even a single pocket knife.”
- 16:04 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in an extraordinary video conference between the BRICS nations on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing escalation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the Kremlin has said.
The event is to be chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and will involve the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, along with the usual BRICS members.
Read full story here.
- 09:46 GMT
The units observing the Palestinian territories had warned the IDF’s leadership that Hamas was preparing to attack Israel prior to the October 7 incursion, but those messages were ignored due to sexism and ageism, Haaretz paper has reported, noting that the observers are mainly “young girls and young commanders.”
“There’s no doubt that if men were sitting on those screens, things would look different,” a female IDF member, who survived the attack by the Palestinian militants, told the outlet.
Other women who serve in the unit said they had notified their superiors of preparations by Hamas along the border fence with Gaza, the group’s increased drone activity in the area, exercises during which the Palestinian fighters trained to attack the IDF’s outposts and tanks, as well as other suspicious activities. The female troops claimed they were accustomed to being “discounted” by the commanders over the years.
Read full story here.
- 05:37 GMT
Two Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting with Hamas in northern Gaza on Sunday, the IDF has said. This puts the overall losses of the Israeli military since the launch of its ground operation in the Palestinian enclave at 65 troops.
- 04:48 GMT
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged more humanitarian aid for Gaza.
In a statement on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, he said that a military plane will soon deliver more than 10 tons of medical supplies, including two mobile units capable of treating 500 seriously injured patients each.
Macron added the French military has already brought three shipments of aid intended for the Palestinians to Egypt. The Egyptian authorities are allowing groups of injured Palestinians to be transported in from the Gaza Strip.