October 16, 2023

Hamas-Israel conflict LIVE updates: Gaza ground invasion imminent as Biden warns Iran over possible involvement; Dutton accuses Labor of antisemitism following PM’s speech

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yesterday 10.12pm

Wrapping up

By Latika Bourke

And this is where we will end today’s live coverage.

To recap:

The number of hostages Hamas captured during its massacre of men, women, children and babies across Southern Israel on October 7 was revised upwards to 199, the Israeli military said

Personal belongings surround a bomb shelter located near the Supernova party and outside Kibbutz Be’eeri where hundreds were killed days earlier by Hamas militants near the border with Gaza on October 11, 2023 in Be’eri, Israel.Credit: GettyThe Palestinian Health Authority said the number killed in Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes was 2750 and almost 10,000 wounded

Palestinians stand by the rubble of a building destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Deir el-Balah Gaza Strip on Sunday.Credit: APIsrael said it had restored water services to the Gaza Strip – Israel has cut off food and fuel to Gaza as it prepares a land, sea and air assault to wipe out HamasEgypt accused Israel of not cooperating to allow aid into Gaza and the evacuation of foreign passport holdersIsrael began evacuating residents living within two kilometres of the border with Lebanon in the north, amid fears a second front of fighting could open up

Thank you for joining us today. Our coverage will resume in the morning.

yesterday 9.39pm

Wong cans Japan, Korea trip

By Latika Bourke

Foreign Minister Penny Wong is canning her trip to Korea and Japan that was scheduled for this week.

Penny Wong and former foreign minister Julie Bishop during a Voice referendum campaign event in Perth.

Wong made the announcement in a post on X and said she regretted the delay in meeting her counterparts.

“I am postponing my planned travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan for this week,” the minister said.

“I will remain in Australia to lead the Government’s consular, humanitarian and diplomatic response to the attacks on Israel by Hamas and the ongoing conflict.”

yesterday 9.16pm

UN aid boss to take part in negotiations

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths will travel to the Middle East to support negotiations on getting aid into the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Palestinians look fro survivors after Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Monday, October 16.Credit: AP

Griffiths said his office was in “deep discussions” with Israel, Egypt and others.

“I shall be going myself tomorrow to the region to try to help in the negotiations, to try to bear witness and to express solidarity with the extraordinary courage of the many thousands of aid workers who have stayed the course and who are still there helping the people in Gaza and in the West Bank,” he said in a statement.

yesterday 8.47pm

Malaysia says its relationship with Hamas will continue

By Latika Bourke

Not all leaders condemn Hamas.

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he did not agree with Western pressure to condemn the organisation over the deadly massacre it waged on Israeli men, women, children and babies on October 7.

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s prime minister, during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York.Credit: Bloomberg

He said that Western leaders had been asking him to condemn the group, which is listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia, the United States, UK and EU.

“I said that we, as a policy, have a relationship with Hamas from before and this will continue,” Anwar told parliament.

“As such, we don’t agree with their pressuring attitude, as Hamas too won in Gaza freely through elections and Gazans chose them to lead.”

Muslim-majority Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

yesterday 8.27pm

China calls for UN Security Council to act on Israel

By Latika Bourke

China has called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take action, as it called for a ceasefire ahead of Israel’s planned air, sea and land assault on the Gaza Strip, in pursuit of Hamas.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments Beijing after holding talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

In this photo released by Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy chief Wang Yi shake hands.Credit: Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP

“The United Nations Security Council must take action, and the major powers should play an active role,” Wang told Lavrov, according to a Chinese transcript of the meeting.

“It is imperative that a ceasefire be put in place, that the two sides be brought back to the negotiating table, and that an emergency humanitarian channel be established to prevent a further humanitarian disaster.”

China is providing aid to the UN and Palestinian National Authority.

China’s call for the UNSC, on which China and Russia both sit, is in stark contrast to the position they have taken on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine where their veto votes have rendered the UNSC all but useless.

with Reuters

yesterday 7.33pm

Israel says Hamas holding 199 hostages

By Latika Bourke

The Israeli military has upgraded the number of people it now believes Hamas is holding hostage to 199.

Previously the number had been estimated to be around 150.

Hamas captured civilians, including babies and children, during their deadly raids on southern Israel on October 7.

Late Sunday, the EU’s 27 member countries called on Hamas to “immediately release all hostages without any precondition” but Hamas has refused to heed their pleas and those of other world leaders who have made the same demand.

Hamas has also claimed that Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed a number of the hostages.

On Sunday, Mark Regev, an Australian and advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told British television that while Israel wanted to bring all the hostages home, he could not guarantee doing so.

yesterday 6.51pm

Palestinians trapped under rubble

By Latika Bourke

More than 1000 Palestinians are trapped under the rubble in Gaza, according to Eyad Al-Bozom, a spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry.

Israel has been bombarding Gaza as it seeks to eradicate Hamas.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that at least 2750 Palestinians have been killed and 9700 wounded as a result of the Israeli air strikes since October 7.

Palestinian citizens inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli airstrikes on October 15, 2023 in Khan Younis, Gaza. Credit: Getty

yesterday 6.28pm

Israel evacuating communities on Lebanese border

By Latika Bourke

Hello, Latika Bourke here taking you through developments tonight.

It’s approaching 10.30am in Israel as the world watches and waits for Israel’s ground, air and sea assault on Gaza in its bid to decapitate Hamas.

A short time ago, Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Ministry of Defence and the Israeli Defence Force announced they would begin evacuating residents of 28 communities living within two kilometres of the Lebanese border.

This announcement comes amid fears that Hezbollah, which like Hamas is funded by Iran, could open up a second front of fighting.

yesterday 5.56pm

Israel denies truce

Israel appeared to deny that a truce was underway in southern Gaza, just half an hour after Reuters reported that security sources in neighbouring Egypt said a deal was likely.

“There is currently no truce and humanitarian aid in Gaza in exchange for getting foreigners out,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.


yesterday 5.42pm

Footage of man who threw flare at Sydney Opera House

By Olivia Ireland

NSW Police have released footage of a man throwing a flare during a pro-Palestinian protest at the Opera House last Monday night.

In the aftermath of the October 9 rally, police established a strike force to investigate reported unlawful activity including the use of flares and some people chanting antisemitic slurs.

NSW Police have released footage of a man throwing a flare at the Opera House as they call out to members of the public to assist in giving information. Credit: NSW Police

Investigators today released an image of a man they wish to speak with as part of their inquiries.

He is described as being of medium to heavy build, with short dark hair and a beard, and at the time he was wearing spectacles.

In the photo, the man is shown wearing a black hooded jacket, grey pants, black shoes and a black and white scarf.

Anyone with further information is urged to contact Sydney City Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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