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Israel-Hamas war: List of key events, day 79

Israel has intensified attacks on Gaza since Friday’s UN resolution and the US claims to have shot down Houthi drones – here are other major updates.

An Israeli military vehicle operates in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, December 24

An Israeli military vehicle operates in Gaza, , as seen from southern Israel, Sunday [Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters]

Here’s how things stand on Sunday, December 24, 2023:

The latest developments

  • The United States said Iran launched a drone from its soil that struck a Liberia-flagged, Japanese-owned chemical tanker in the Indian Ocean. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) also said it downed several drones launched at vessels from Yemen by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement. The Houthis also fired two antiship ballistic missiles in the southern Red Sea, but no ships were hit.
  • Pro-Palestinian marches continued in cities across the world, with some of the latest protests in Australia, Germany and Turkey.
  • Heavy raids by the Israeli army continued in the occupied West Bank. A convoy led by bulldozers entered Tulkarem in the early hours of Sunday, and raids have also been reported in Bethlehem, the town of Beita just south of Nablus, and the towns of Sa’ir and Karma near Hebron.
  • The representative for Hamas in Beirut, Osama Hamdan, said Israel has failed in its stated goal of “destroying” the group, and that it will have to stop the war if it wants the captives released.

Human impact and fighting

  • Thousands of Palestinians were again forced to flee their homes, this time after the Israeli military issued new evacuation orders in the central Gaza Strip. Since a United Nations Security Council resolution was passed on Friday without a clear call for a ceasefire, there has been a surge in aerial bombardments in central Gaza.
  • Israeli air raids killed more than 400 people in Gaza in the past 48 hours. Gaza’s Government Media Office said more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since October 7. The death toll from Hamas’s attack on Israel stands at nearly 1,140, revised from 1,400.
  • At least 101 journalists have been killed since October 7, according to the Government Media Office, which also said more than 50 media offices have been completely or partially destroyed by Israeli attacks. Al Jazeera Arabic’s cameraman Samer Abudaqa was among those killed in Israeli strikes.
  • The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it continues to operate at its medical point in Jabalia, northern Gaza, despite incessant shelling of the area. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said on X: “As the conflict intensifies and the horror grows, we will continue to do our part. We will not give up.”

Diplomacy

  • Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, Israel’s current and former defence ministers, respectively, who, along with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu make up the Israeli war cabinet, visited northern Gaza and promised that more attacks would be forthcoming despite international pressure for an immediate ceasefire.
  • US President Joe Biden had a “private” phone conversation with Netanyahu. He told reporters after that he “did not ask for a ceasefire”.
  • Agnes Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International, said the UNSC resolution for humanitarian relief would only result in a “drop in the ocean of suffering” in Gaza. She said the White House “holds the key” for putting an end to the carnage.
  • During a meeting in Doha, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi discussed the war in Gaza and called for an end to Israeli attacks.
  • The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, is set to give his third speech since the start of the war in the coming days to mark the January 3 assassination of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, by the US.


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