Israel-Hamas war, live updates: Israel blocks United Nations visas amid calls for UN head to resign

ByRahul

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Welcome to our live coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

More than 1400 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on October 7, according to Israeli authorities.

The Gaza health ministry, which is under the control of Hamas, says the Palestinian death toll has risen to 5791, including 2360 children, with 704 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Those numbers have not been independently verified.

A statement from the Palestinian media office said “more than 80 people” were killed and “hundreds wounded” after raids by Israel were carried out on Tuesday night.

Israel has reacted furiously to a speech by United Nations chief António Guterres about the conflict and has halted visas for UN staff. While a US ally has turned on Israel and called Hamas a “liberation group”.

In addition, Australia has now committed troops and aircraft to the Middle East as the global leaders continue to show support for Israel.

“The deployment of Australian aircraft and supporting Defence personnel is a precautionary measure to support whole of Australian Government contingency options due to the risk of the security situation deteriorating further,” defence minister Richard Marles said on Wednesday.

Read on for the latest news.

‘Teach them a lesson’: Tensions flare at UN

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire” saying that “clear violations of international humanitarian law” are occurring every day in Gaza.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan hit back immediately at Mr Guterres, demanding he “resign immediately” and claiming he was “not fit to lead the UN”.

It came as Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who was at the United Nations on Tuesday, said he would not meet with Mr Guterres and that “there is no place for a balanced approach”.

Mr Cohen described Mr Guterres’ comments as “shocking” and “disconnected from the reality in our region”.

Israel later announced it would halt visas for UN officials following Mr Guterres’ comments.

“As a result of this, we will refuse visas to UN representatives,” Mr Erdan told the Israeli Army Radio on Wednesday.

“It‘s time we teach them a lesson.”

Meanwhile, US military officials are attempting to persuade Israel against a full-scale ground invasion, citing past experiences with urban combat against insurgents during the Iraq War.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong also called for an immediate “pause on hostilities”.

“We call for humanitarian pauses on hostilities, so food, water, medicine and other essential assistance can reach people in desperate need, and so civilians can get to safety,” Ms Wong said in a statement posted on her official X account.

Turkey calls Hamas a ‘liberation group’

In a speech which is sure to anger Israel, Turkey’s president has said Hamas is not a terrorist group, but rather a “liberation group”.

Turkey is a member of NATO and an ally of the US. While it is a Muslim majority country it is officially a secular government.

In a speech to parliament on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey “doesn’t owe” Israel anything.

Mr Erdogan did say that Turkey had “no problem with the state of Israel,” but said it disapproved of the “atrocities” caused by Israel.

“We say, do not kill children. Killing people, women and children, innocent people cannot be justified, even if in response to some acts which we do not condone.”

Mr Erdogan, who met Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York just last month, has now said he has cancelled a planned trip to Israel.

US warns against all-out ground assault

Israel says it may be poised to move into the Gaza Strip, but the US is further advising caution against what could be a bloody and difficult battle.

According to CNN, US military officials have told Israel that the lesson it learned in Iraq was not to get embroiled in brutal house to house combat.

Specifically, military planners have recalled the battle of Fallujah in 2004 as an example of what could lie ahead. It was the deadliest battle of the Iraq War for US troops with almost 100 killed and more than 500 wounded. Around 800 civilians died.

The US has sent a senior Marine Corps general, James Glynn, to Tel Aviv. Gen Glynn has experience in urban warfare in Iraq.

He is expected to urge the Israelis to continue with air strikes and smaller targeted raids on Gaza rather than a full invasion.

CNN said the view in Washington was a plan to invade Gaza was “half baked” and could led to many deaths and Israeli forces unable to leave the territory.

“I don’t think Israel has a strategy for what they do next,” a source familiar with the US Government told the network.

But, the concern is, expectations are running high in Israel that a ground invasion takes place.

UN warns power will run out within hours

The United Nations says fuel in Gaza will run out on Wednesday night (Israel time), unless fresh supplies are delivered immediately. Hospitals are now being forced to only operate on life-threatening injuries as essential medical reserves deplete.

The World Health Organisation’s Dr Richard Peeperkorn said healthcare facilities are running on the lowest possible generator levels as they await further aid.

“We have teams on the ground in Gaza and we know from the ground that fuel is absolutely limited,” he said.

“The hospitals we work with, they all run the generator at minimum levels, only for lifesaving operations.”

Syrian soldiers killed in Israel air strikes

Eight Syrian soldiers have been killed and a further seven wounded after Israeli strikes on military positions in the nation’s south.

Syria’s state news agency SANA said the attack occurred after midnight local time on Wednesday.

Israel’s military confirmed it had attacked Syrian targets near the Jordan border, reporting that fighter jets carried out a strike on military infrastructure and mortar launchers after rockets were fired.

Female IDF squad eliminates nearly 100 Hamas militants

An all-female Israel Defense Force unit eliminated nearly 100 Hamas terrorists, according to their commander, who cited it as proof there “are no more doubts about female combat soldiers.”

Israeli Caracal Battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Or Ben-Yehuda praised her unit for its bravery in the southern Gaza Strip, where the female troops took down approximately 100 Hamas terrorists

Ben-Yehuda said she received a message reporting an infiltration of heavily armed terrorists near Sufa and Nirim and told her soldiers: “We are going out to eliminate terrorists. Infiltration into Israel is happening, and it’s spreading.

“Stay alert. We might cross paths. We are a strong squad,” she told her unit as they headed to Sufa.

Combat between the female battalion and the terrorists lasted nearly four hours and included large firefights. It took the IDF about 14 hours altogether to secure the base.

At least 1,400 Israelis and 5,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, while tens of thousands on both sides have been injured or displaced from their homes due to the conflict, officials on both sides have said.

Australia sends troops, planes

Australia is sending troops and two military transport aircraft to the Middle East as concern grows for Australian citizens in the region.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said a “significant number” of troops were being sent but declined to give the number. Two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft had also been deployed.

Mr Marles would not say where the aircraft and troops would be based. The planes will add to a C-17A Globemaster heavy transport aircraft and a KC-30 air refueller already in the area.

“The point of this is to provide support to Australian populations who are in the Middle East if this gets worse,” he told the ABC.

More than 800 Australians have been flown out of Israel since October 13. Mr Marles said the Australian government is trying to help 79 citizens in Gaza and 51 in the West Bank who have asked to leave.

The chief of the ADF, General Angus Campbell, warned the conflict was in its early stages.

“The conflict that we see between Israel and Hamas appears to be in its early stages, and we want to be well-positioned,” he said.

“I would very much encourage Australians to follow DFAT’s advisories in regard to travel and to pay attention to their safety.”

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