We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel. Alamy Stock Photo

Israel rules out ceasefire as Gaza health officials say over 11,000 now killed in conflict

Daily humanitarian pauses, which Israel has agreed to, are expected to begin today.

LAST UPDATE | 10 Nov 2023

PALESTINIANS HAVE SAID a deadly strike today hit Gaza’s largest hospital compound as medical facilities sheltering tens of thousands were caught in intense combat between Israel and Hamas.

Officials in Gaza have reported a death toll of 13 and the director of Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital blamed Israeli forces for the strike. Israel did not immediately comment.

Al-Shifa hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya reported two people were killed and 10 wounded in a strike that he said hit the compound’s maternity ward.

A statement from officials in Gaza added that dozens were wounded in an Israeli strike on the hospital compound, giving a toll AFP was not immediately able to independently verify.

Yesterday, Israel reported heavy fighting near the hospital, saying it had killed dozens of militants and destroyed tunnels that are key to Hamas’s capacity to fight.

“There is no safe place left. The army hit Al-Shifa. I don’t know what to do,” said 32-year-old Abu Mohammad, who was among those seeking refuge at the hospital. “There is shooting… at the hospital. We are afraid to go out.”

The Israeli army has repeatedly accused Hamas of using hospitals, particularly Al-Shifa, to coordinate their attacks against the army and also as hideouts for its commanders. Hamas authorities deny the accusations.

Today, the Israeli military has said that it will kill Hamas militants if they are seen firing from hospitals in the Gaza strip. 

“If we see Hamas terrorists firing from hospitals, we’ll do what we need to do… If we see Hamas terrorists we’ll kill them,” military spokesman Richard Hecht told reporters.

“Hamas are operating from within the hospital,” Hecht claimed. 

Hamas is an Islamic militant group who are deemed a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU, among other powers. It has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 after winning the 2006 Palestinian elections and taking power by force.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas fighters poured across the militarised border on 7 October, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages.

Vowing to destroy the militants, Israel retaliated with bombardment and a ground campaign that the health ministry says has killed more than 11,000 people - Hamas says it tallies these figures from hospital directors, and they are generally used by international news outlets despite an inability to independently verify them because foreign media and observers have been unable to access the Gaza Strip since the conflict began.

Witnesses told AFP that hundreds of people sheltering at Gaza City’s Al-Rantisi hospital fled on instruction from the Israeli military, which was surrounding it with armoured vehicles.

AFPTV footage showed a fireball and smoke rising over the city at dawn. Early today, sounds of apparent gunfire and explosions could be heard.

As the fighting raged in Gaza, air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv, while Hamas’s military wing said it targeted the Israeli commercial hub with rockets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Health system in ruins

The Red Cross called today for medical facilities and workers in war-ravaged Gaza to be protected, warning the health system there had “reached a point of no return”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that its teams in recent days had distributed critical supplies to medical structures across Gaza, and had seen “horrendous images that have now gotten worse due to sharpened hostilities”.

This was severely affecting hospitals and ambulances, and taking a heavy toll on civilians, patients and medical staff, it said in a statement.

“Overstretched, running on thin supplies and increasingly unsafe, the healthcare system in Gaza has reached a point of no return.”

Medical facilities and personnel across Gaza have repeatedly come under attack since Israel’s war with Hamas erupted just over a month ago.

Such attacks have dealt “a heavy blow to the healthcare system in Gaza, which is severely weakened after more than one month of heavy fighting,” ICRC said.

‘No safe place’

The United Nations called for an end to the “carnage” in Gaza, saying “razing entire neighbourhoods to the ground is not an answer for the egregious crimes committed by Hamas”.

“To the contrary, it is creating a new generation of aggrieved Palestinians who are likely to continue the cycle of violence. The carnage simply must stop,” Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, wrote in an opinion piece.

The war in the densely populated coastal territory, which is effectively sealed off, has prompted repeated calls for a ceasefire to protect civilian lives and allow in more humanitarian aid.

rafah-palestinian-territories-10th-nov-2023-palestinians-inspect-a-destroyed-house-following-an-israeli-airstrike-on-rafah-southern-gaza-strip-credit-abed-rahim-khatibdpaalamy-live-news Palestinians inspect a destroyed house following an Israeli airstrike on Rafah, southern Gaza Strip Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Tens of thousands of people have fled to the south of the territory in recent days, often on foot and with only the things the could carry.

“Enough destruction, there’s nothing left. We need a truce to see what will later happen to us, a truce to bring medicine or aid to the hospitals,” said Mohammed Khader, who was displaced in Rafah.

“Those hospitals are now full of displaced people and not only injured and martyrs,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected halting the fighting, telling Fox News yesterday that a “ceasefire with Hamas means surrender to Hamas, surrender to terror”.

He also said Israel does not “seek to govern Gaza” in the long run.

“We don’t seek to occupy it, but we seek to give it and us a better future,” he told the US broadcaster.

Almost 1.6 million people have been internally displaced since 7 October, UNRWA said, more than half Gaza’s population.

But the UN estimates hundreds of thousands of civilians remain in the fiercest battle zones in the north.


Complicating Israel’s military push is the fate of the hostages abducted on 7 October.

CIA director Bill Burns and David Barnea, head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, were in Doha for talks on pauses that would include hostage releases and more aid for Gaza, an official told AFP yesterday.

Four hostages have been freed so far by Hamas and another released in an Israeli operation, and the desperate relatives of those still held in Gaza have piled pressure on Israeli and US authorities to secure the release of their loved ones.

The conflict has also stoked regional tensions, with cross-border exchanges between the Israeli army and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels saying they launched “ballistic missiles” at southern Israel.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the expansion of the Israel-Hamas war has become “inevitable”.

The Islamic republic, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the militant group’s attack on Israel as a “success” but denied any involvement.

Saudi Arabia is hosting Arab leaders and Iran’s president for two summits this weekend for emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The world’s biggest oil exporter and its neighbours are “united in fearing one thing in particular, which is a broader escalation”, said Elham Fakhro of Chatham House.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a marathon diplomatic push today in India after a whirlwind Middle East trip and G7 talks, saying Israel’s pauses in its Gaza offensive would “save lives” but more was needed.

“Far too many Palestinians have been killed,” Blinken said in New Delhi, his last stop before heading home, where he repeated US support for ally Israel but was firm that more aid had to reach civilians in Gaza.

© AFP 2023 with reporting by Hayley Halpin