United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has arrived at Egypt’s Rafah crossing ahead of the anticipated aid delivery into Gaza.
Stay with us as we bring you what he says.
The United Nations says the first aid delivery into Gaza via the Rafah crossing should take place “in the next day or so”.
“We are in deep and advanced negotiations with all relevant sides to ensure that an aid operation in Gaza starts as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths says.
Dozens of trucks are backed up at the crossing on the Egyptian border, carrying food, water, and medicine but no fuel. It’s believed that only 20 will initially be allowed to cross.
As we reported earlier, Egypt says it has opened its side of the Rafah border crossing into Gaza but Israel said the entrance of aid was yet “to be determined”.
A plane carrying the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also landed near the border and he is expected to speak shortly to appeal for the dozens of trucks carrying aid to be allowed into Gaza.
There is an ominous sense of 2003 about the Middle East right now. Just as back then, Al-Qaida and violent Islamist extremism had been on the wane.
But then, the US-led invasion of Iraq reinvigorated the jihadists, leading eventually to the rise of Islamic State.
Today analysts are warning that the soaring number of civilian casualties caused by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza are so enraging populations in the region that something similar could recur.
So while Rishi Sunak and other Western leaders search for ways to avoid the situation escalating out of control, there are multiple risks emerging.
One is that Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed militia in Lebanon, feels compelled to join in the fight against Israel.
Another is that angry street protesters turn against their own governments, many of whom are Western allies.
And a third is that what is happening in Gaza so radicalises some individuals, including in Europe, that they turn to terrorism.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has met the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to agree on the “urgent need” to get food, water and medicine into Gaza.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the pair underlined the importance of avoiding any escalation in the violence across the region and that “leaders had a responsibility to do everything possible to prevent it”.
They also agreed that “the loss of civilian life following Hamas’s attacks was shocking and tragic”.
Sunak will travel to Egypt later today to meet his counterparts in the region.
Egypt says Israeli strikes have hit the area around the Rafah crossing point four times since it began its air bombing of Gaza.
Egyptian media said the crossing was shut down after three Israeli strikes on 9 and 10 October, which it said left injuries on the Egyptian and Palestinian sides of the border.
On Monday, a BBC correspondent in southern Gaza confirmed an air strike had hit the area around the crossing, damaging a building on the Palestinian side of the crossing as well as the road.
Video analysed by BBC Verify appeared to show a strike on the crossing that day.
Egypt now says it has opened its side of the crossing into Gaza but it remains unclear when the Gaza side will be opened.Copyright: .
Details are still emerging after an explosion hit the Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza late on Thursday. Here’s a look at what’s being said on the ground:
- In a statement, Hamas said an explosion rocked the Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City, where many Christians had sought shelter
- The group said the blast caused “huge damage”, leaving a “large number” of people injured
- Hamas blamed an Israeli strike
- The Israel Defense Forces told the AFP news agency its fighter jets had hit a command and control centre involved in launching rockets and mortars toward Israel, and as a result, “a wall of a church in the area was damaged”
- The BBC has not been able to independently assess what happened but images from the scene show significant damage to church buildings
- The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem said “targeting churches and their institutions… constitutes a war crime” in a statement which also expressed its “strongest condemnation”
- Saint Porphyrius Church dates back to 12th century and is located near the Al-Ahli hospital, which was hit by a deadly blast on Tuesday
We will update you as we get more on what happened.
reporting from Jerusalem
The humanitarian crisis gripping Gaza is deepening with about a million people displaced amid the continuing Israeli bombardment that killed hundreds more people yesterday.
Many sheltering in school buildings or camps now can’t afford the few remaining supplies of bottled water.
Meanwhile, rocket fire from Gaza deep into Israel continued last night, with no reports of fatalities.
There was further fighting between Israel on its northern border and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
As fears grow of the crisis spreading, the Pentagon said a US warship shot down three cruise missiles launched by Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen.
It said the missiles were heading north, potentially towards Israel, but added it wasn’t certain of the target.
- Egyptian diggers are trying to repair the bomb-damaged Rafah crossing into Gaza as relief organisations hope 20 aid lorries could go in, possibly today
- Gaza is still under siege with Israel blocking supplies of water, electricity, food and fuel across its border
- The territory is now a “hellhole” and time is running out to get aid to desperate civilians, says the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees
- UK PM Rishi Sunak is attending talks in Egypt as fears grow that the conflict could spread
- Palestinian officials say more than 3,700 people have been killed in Gaza since Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October and killed more than 1,400 people
- The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem says an explosion at an ancient church in Gaza on Thursday is a “war crime”
- In a televised speech earlier, US President Joe Biden said he would ask Congress for billions of dollars in military funding for Israel and Ukraine
- He also urged Israeli leaders to avoid being “blinded by rage” as they plan a ground offensive in Gaza