Doctors 'told to evacuate' key hospital as WHO admits 'deep concern' for endangered patients

Doctors 'told to evacuate' key hospital as WHO admits 'deep concern' for endangered patients

The Palestinian Red Crescent has said that it has received warnings from Israeli authorities to immediately evacuate al-Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the PRC said that the calls constituted a "clear and direct threat that the hospital must be evacuated at once, otherwise PRCS holds full responsibility for the lives of everyone inside the hospital".

Spokesperson Nebal Farsakh said that Israeli airstrikes had been increasing in the area since Sunday morning, reaching buildings as close as 50 metres away.

The Israel Defence Forces declined to comment.

The director-general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he was "deeply concerned" by the report.

"We reiterate - it’s impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients without endangering their lives," he said in a post on X.

"Under International Humanitarian Law, healthcare must always be protected."

Key Points

  • Gazans break into aid warehouses

  • IDF increases military presence in Gaza

Three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in West Bank

Sunday 29 October 2023 07:47 , Bill Mcloughlin

Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank overnight, the Palestinian health ministry said early on Sunday.

The Hamas-run health ministry had previously said over 7,700 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had been killed since the start of the war.

Pictures: First images emerge from Gaza

Sunday 29 October 2023 08:10 , Bill Mcloughlin

Images have emerged following further overnight attacks across Gaza.

Pictures have shown buildings left in rubble in both Rafah and Khan Yunis.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Gazans break into aid warehouses

Sunday 29 October 2023 08:36 , Bill Mcloughlin

Thousands of residents have broken into aid warehouses and distribution centres, the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has said.

"This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza," UNRWA said in a statement.

"People are scared, frustrated and desperate. Tensions and fear are made worse by the cuts in the phones and internet communication lines."

Ministers to review extremism label

Sunday 29 October 2023 08:57 , Bill Mcloughlin

Ministers are reviewing the definition of extremism in a move that could reportedly allow councils and police forces to cut off funding to charities and religious groups found to have aired hateful views.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is understood to have ordered officials to draw up a new official definition of extremism in a move designed to counter hate, including antisemitism.

It comes after nine people were arrested in central London during a mainly peaceful pro-Palestine demonstration on Saturday, with at least 100,000 protesters calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Seven of those were alleged public order offences, a number of which are being treated as hate crimes, while two are for suspected assaults on officers.

Israel orders hospital to evacuate, aid group says

Sunday 29 October 2023 09:13 , Bill Mcloughlin

The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) said on Sunday it has received warnings from Israeli authorities to immediately evacuate al-Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip.

"Since this morning, there have been raids 50 metres away from the hospital," it added in a statement on Facebook.

"PRCS has just received serious threats from the occupation authorities to immediately evacuate al Quds Hospital in the Gaza Strip, as it is going to be bombarded."

We haven't set Israel any 'red lines', says minister

Sunday 29 October 2023 09:36 , Bill Mcloughlin

A Cabinet minister said the UK Government had not set any so-called "red lines" in Israel's fight back against Hamas in Gaza.

Science Secretary Michelle Donelan told Sky News' Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme: "I don't think we need to do that because there are already structures in place, there is international law that is well established."

Asked whether the UK Government had told Israel that it had pledged its support "come what may", Ms Donelan said: "That is categorically not what we've said.

"The Prime Minister has stood there and said he backs Israel's right to defend itself, just like we would expect our own right to defend ourselves were the shoe to be on the other foot, but that must be done within international law.

"And the protection of civilians must be a priority. We've seen Israel telling the Gazan people to go to the south, we've also seen Hamas telling them not to move."

Ms Donelan said Hamas has been using the Palestinian people as "human shields", adding: "It is very difficult to get to Hamas without hurting innocent civilians.

"We of course though have said that the priority is to try and avoid doing that because we don't want to see any loss of life."

Labour minister questioned on party's stance on conflict

Sunday 29 October 2023 09:48 , Bill Mcloughlin

Labour is not thinking about whether it will lose the support of Muslim voters or win over others as it sets out its position on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Peter Kyle suggested.

The shadow science secretary was asked on Sky News's Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme whether Labour was attempting to win back Jewish voters after the party's antisemitism crisis, while taking Muslim voters for granted with its stance on the Middle East conflict.

Mr Kyle responded: "You have covered a lot of issues in that sentence, but one thing I disagree with is the frame you have put around it.

"We are not thinking 'how do we win votes?' or what votes we will lose at a time when there is war and conflict unfolding before us, and there are human tragedies of a scale we have not seen for a very long time.

"There are two truths here that are unfolding. The first is that everybody has the legitimate right in a democratic society, as ours is, to advocate for two sovereign solutions within the area, the territory we are talking about.

"There is also a right and a wrong. What Hamas did was wrong and we stand on the side of Israel, within international law, to defend itself.

"These two things can happen if we get it right."

Lib Dem MP opens up on 'torturous' situation for her family in Gaza

Sunday 29 October 2023 10:29 , Bill Mcloughlin

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said it was "torturous" not knowing whether her family in Gaza were "dead or alive" following a communications blackout in the territory.

Members of Ms Moran's extended family, who are Palestinian Christians, are currently living with around 100 people in a church in Gaza.

The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokeswoman said her family members had moved into the church after their home was bombed by the Israel Defence Forces during its retaliation for Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel.

Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, Ms Moran said: "We are deeply worried for their safety.

"The 24-48 hours where the internet and everything else was cut was torturous. Not knowing whether they were dead or alive - we are worried for them anyway - I can't tell you what that did to us as a family.

"We have heard since, because someone in the church has a foreign SIM that can connect to the Israeli networks, has put out a message saying that, for now, they are safe."

IDF increases military presence in Gaza

Sunday 29 October 2023 11:07 , Bill Mcloughlin

In an update, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari said the military increased its presence in Gaza overnight.

He said: "We're gradually expanding the ground activities and the extent of our forces in the Gaza Strip.

"The ground operation is complex and involves risks for our forces too.

"We will do everything in our power - from the air, sea and ground - to ensure the safety of our forces and to achieve the war's objectives."

Humza Yousaf says in-laws still alive in Gaza after days without contact

Sunday 29 October 2023 11:35 , Bill Mcloughlin

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has said he has spoken to his in-laws trapped in Gaza amid the ongoing conflict.

He had said on Saturday that he and his wife, Nadia-El Nakla, had not been able to contact her parents since the previous day after communications were knocked out and they did not know if they were dead or alive.

Ms El-Nakla’s parents, Elizabeth and Maged, travelled to Gaza from Scotland prior to the conflict to visit family.

On Sunday, Mr Yousaf said on X, formerly Twitter, that he has now heard from them.

Read our story here.

Pope calls for Israel-Hamas ceasefire

Sunday 29 October 2023 12:36 , Bill Mcloughlin

Pope Francis on Sunday called for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas and renewed an appeal for the release of hostages held by the Palestinian militant group in Gaza.

"Let no-one abandon the possibility of stopping the weapons," he said at his weekly blessing in St. Peter's Square.

"Ceasefire," he said, mentioning a recent television appeal by Father Ibrahim Faltas, one of the Vatican's representatives in the Holy Land.

He then added in his own words: "We say 'ceasefire, ceasefire'. Brothers and sisters, stop! War is always a defeat, always."

Referring to "the grave situation in Palestine and Israel," he said "in Gaza, in particular, let there be room to guarantee humanitarian aid and may the hostages be freed immediately", he said, speaking about Israeli hostages seized by Hamas on October 7.

Updated Gaza death toll numbers

Sunday 29 October 2023 12:54 , Bill Mcloughlin

The total death toll in Gaza rose to 8,005 people and 20,242 others injured, according to the official spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza on Sunday.

The dead include 3,324 children, 2,062 women and 460 among the elderly, the spokesperson said.

Two further arrest after Pro-Palestine march

Sunday 29 October 2023 13:55 , Bill Mcloughlin

Two women have been arrested "on suspicion of inciting racial hatred in Trafalgar Square", the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.The Met said: "Following our appeal yesterday evening, two women have now been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred in Trafalgar Square.

"We'd like to thank the public for their assistance in sharing our appeal and for reporting the incident at the time.

"The suspects remain in custody."

UK and France stress importance of getting aid into Gaza

Sunday 29 October 2023 13:59 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron expressed their concern about getting aid into Gaza in a phone call on Sunday, according to a readout by Downing Street.

"The leaders stressed the importance of getting urgent humanitarian support into Gaza. They agreed to work together on efforts both to get crucial food, fuel, water and medicine to those who need it, and to get foreign nationals out," a spokesperson for Mr Sunak said.

"They expressed their shared concern at the risk of escalation in the wider region, in particular in the West Bank."

UN peacekeeper wounded in southern Lebanon

Sunday 29 October 2023 14:39 , Daniel Keane

The UN mission in Lebanon says one peacekeeper was lightly wounded after his base in the country's south was hit by a mortar shell.

Two mortar shells hit a UNIFEL base near the southeastern border village of Houla, the UN mission said. The wounded peacekeeper suffered minor injuries and is in stable condition.

UNIFIL did not specify where the shelling came from, and said that they were investigating both incidents.

It comes amid ongoing clashes on the Lebanese border between Israeli troops and militant group Hezbollah, who are allies of Hamas. The skirmishes have remained relatively contained and mostly along a handful of border towns.

WHO 'concerned' by reports of hospital evacuation order

Sunday 29 October 2023 14:58 , Daniel Keane

The director-general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that he is "deeply concerned" by reports of an Israeli warning to evacuate the al-Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent says al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City received two calls from Israeli authorities Sunday morning demanding it evacuate.

"We reiterate - it’s impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients without endangering their lives," he said in a post on X.

"Under International Humanitarian Law, healthcare must always be protected."

US says Israel must protect civilians in Gaza

Sunday 29 October 2023 15:26 , Daniel Keane

Israel has a responsibility to protect the lives of innocent people in Gaza, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said.

It comes amid growing pressure on Washington to make clear that its steadfast support of Israel does not translate into a blanket endorsement of all its military activities.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Sullivan said: "What we believe is that every hour, every day of this military operation, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Israeli government should be taking every possible means available to them to distinguish between Hamas terrorists who are legitimate military targets and civilians who are not."

The US has been clear on the issue and President Biden will reiterate the position in a call later on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Sullivan added.

He noted that Hamas had embedded themselves among the Palestinian population and in civilian infrastructure, making an operation against them extremely difficult.

"That creates an added burden for Israel, but it does not lessen Israel's responsibility under international humanitarian law, to distinguish between terrorists and civilians, and to protect the lives of innocent people, and that is the overwhelming majority of the people in Gaza," Mr Sullivan said.

Chief ICC prosecutor visits Rafah crossing point

Sunday 29 October 2023 15:53 , Daniel Keane

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, visited the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza on Sunday, a senior Egyptian official said.

Speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, the official said Khan inspected the crossing and briefed on the damage caused by Israeli airstrikes to the Palestinian side.

Khan's office has opened an investigation into potential war crimes by Israel in Gaza in the 2014 war. He is scheduled to talk about his trip to the Egyptian border with Gaza in a news conference in Cairo Sunday evening.

Iran 'does not want war to spread', says foreign minister

Sunday 29 October 2023 16:26 , Daniel Keane

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Sunday said Iran does not want war to "spread out" following the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.

Israel has since bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes and begun ground operations with the aim of destroying the Iran-backed Islamist group.

"We don't want this war to spread out," Amirabdollahian said during an appearance on CNN.

He denied claims that Tehran was connected to the attacks, calling them "baseless."

"We always had political media and international support for Palestine. We have never denied this," he said.

"This is the truth, but in relation to this operation called the Al Aqsa Storm, there was no connection to that data between Iran and this Hamas operation, not my government nor part of my country."

President Biden 'having conversations with Middle East regional leaders'

Sunday 29 October 2023 16:53 , Daniel Keane

US President Joe Biden is having conversations with Middle East regional leaders on Sunday, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.

"It's something I was on the phone late last night working on. Something the president will be working on today in conversations he's having with regional leaders and we will continue to pound away at this problem until we've gotten any American who wants to leave Gaza out," he told MSNBC.

Mr Sullivan did not specify which leaders that the President had spoken to.

Biden speaks with Netanyahu, Israel confirms

Sunday 29 October 2023 17:28 , Daniel Keane

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday with US President Joe Biden, Mr Netanyahu's office said.

It comes after Israel expanded ground incursions in a Gaza war now in its fourth week.

The Israeli statement did not expand on the conversation.

Labour 'unlikely to sack senior MPs rebelling over Gaza stance'

Sunday 29 October 2023 17:53 , Daniel Keane

Labour will not sack shadow cabinet members rebelling over the party's position on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Peter Kyle has suggested.

The shadow science secretary said the Labour leadership would likely "continue engaging" with its own frontbenchers who do not agree with Sir Keir Starmer's stance on the conflict.

Sir Keir has called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting to allow for aid to be delivered to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, but has stopped short of calling for a ceasefire - sparking anger among MPs and councillors.

Local councillors across England have also resigned from Labour to sit as independents amid the rift with the leadership's position.

Asked if those speaking against Sir Keir Starmer should be sacked, Mr Kyle told the BBC: "Well look, what we are going to do, I suspect, is continue engaging with them.

"I think the fact that we have a vigorous debate within our party, as we are doing as a country, and as we are doing actually as a globe right now, reflects a strength, because we have a leader that has channelled that and turned it into a policy that is in step with all of our international partners."

Hezbollah claims to have downed Israeli drone in south Lebanon

Sunday 29 October 2023 18:24 , Daniel Keane

Hezbollah has claimed to have shot down an Israeli drone over southern Lebanon with a surface-to-air missile, the first time it has announced such an incident, as clashes on the Lebanese border escalate.

The drone was hit near Khiam, about 5 km from the border with Israel, and was seen falling in Israeli territory, Hezbollah added.

Two security sources in Lebanon told Reuters that it was the first time Hezbollah had announced downing an Israeli drone.

"They have insinuated they have this capability but it is the first time they declare they have this kind of capability to shoot down a drone," Mohanad Hage Ali of the Carnegie Middle East Center said.

The Israeli Defence Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Impeding relief aid to Gaza may be a crime under ICC jurisdiction, says prosecutor

Sunday 29 October 2023 18:59 , Daniel Keane

Impeding relief supplies to Gaza's population may constitute a crime under the International Criminal Court's (ICC) jurisdiction, the court's top prosecutor said during a visit to the Rafah border crossing on Sunday.

Karim Khan also told a news conference in the Egyptian capital Cairo that Israel must make "discernable efforts" to make sure civilians get basic food and medicine.

Biden presses Netanyahu on protecting civilians

Sunday 29 October 2023 19:14 , Daniel Keane

US President Joe Biden underscored the need for Israel to defend its citizens from terrorism in a manner that protects civilians during a call on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.

Mr Biden also "underscored the need to immediately and significantly increase the flow of humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of civilians in Gaza", they added.

Crowd 'storms Russian airport to protest flight from Israel'

Sunday 29 October 2023 19:46 , Daniel Keane

Russian authorities have closed an airport after footage posted online appeared to show scores of people storming the runway in search of passengers from a flight that had been due to land from Tel Aviv.

Hundreds of people on Sunday descended on the main airport in Makhachkala, in Russia's Dagestan region. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

Russian news reports said people in the crowd were shouting antisemitic slogans and tried to storm the airliner belonging to Russian carrier Red Wings that had landed from Tel Aviv.

In a statement released Sunday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Israel "expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to protect the safety of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they may be and to act resolutely against the rioters and against the wild incitement directed against Jews and Israelis."

Mr Netanyahu's office added that the Israeli ambassador to Russia was working with Russia to keep Israelis and Jews safe.

Israel says its two-week-old Gaza evacuation call is 'now urgent'

Sunday 29 October 2023 20:19 , Daniel Keane

The Israeli military said on Sunday that its calls on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to evacuate southward, away from the main focus of the war against Hamas, was now urgent.

"Over the last two weeks we have been calling on residents of the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City to relocate southward temporarily. Relocating southward is for their personal safety," chief spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

"We are today emphasising that this is an urgent call," he said in a televised briefing.

IDF spokesperson 'troubled' by rise of antisemitism in UK

Sunday 29 October 2023 20:43 , Daniel Keane

Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), said he was "troubled" by the rise in antisemitism in the UK since Hamas's attack on Israel.

In a video recorded on Friday and played during an online Jewish community briefing organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews on Sunday, the military spokesman said: "I'm aware and troubled by the many manifestations of antisemitism and Jew hatred in Britain.

"We see it, it is reported in Israel as well. My best wishes go out to you and, just as we are going to be strong in what we are going to endure here and already have endured, I hope you will find it within you to be brave, strong, unrelenting and be able to stand up against the masses of thinly-veiled Israel haters and Jew haters who claim to be speaking about the rights of Palestinians and political solutions."

That's all for today

Sunday 29 October 2023 21:19 , Daniel Keane

Thank you for following our live coverage.