October 29, 2023

Israel-Hamas conflict LIVE updates: Anti-Israel demonstrators at Russian airport; aid arrives in Gaza; death tolls continues to climb

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Jordan asks US for support

Staunch US ally Jordan asked Washington to deploy Patriot air defence systems to bolster its border defence at a time of heightened regional tensions and conflict, the spokesperson for the country’s army said on Sunday.

“We asked the American side to help bolster our defence system with Patriot air defence missile systems,” Brigadier General Mustafa Hiyari, Jordan’s army spokesperson, told state television.

US Patriot missiles were stationed in the kingdom in 2013 following an uprising in northern neighbour Syria where the kingdom feared a civil war could spill over and ignite a regional conflict.

Jordan has been increasingly nervous that Israel’s relentless bombing of Gaza since a deadly assault on Israel by Hamas on October 7 could also spread into a wider conflagration, officials said.



They want Israel to take full control of Gaza, but controversially they won’t enlist to fight

By Matthew Knott and Kate Geraghty

Reporter Matthew Knott and photographer Kate Geraghty are in Jerusalem. Here’s their latest report:

Schmuel Zilberman has two big hopes for Israel’s war against Hamas. He wants to see his nation occupy and take full control of the enclave of 2.3 million people, almost all of whom consider themselves Palestinians. And he wants Jews to again begin building settlements in Gaza to solidify their presence there.

Zilberman is 18, the age at which Israelis begin their compulsory military service. But he won’t be serving on the frontline. He is an ultra-Orthodox Jew, meaning that he is exempt from conscription on religious grounds. Standing in the old city of Jerusalem he and his friend Josef Haim explain how ultra-Orthodox Israelis have an entirely different view of military service to zionist Israelis, who are driven primarily by their commitment to the nation state.

Orthodox Jewish males in front of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.Credit: Kate Geraghty

Known as the Haredim, meaning “those who tremble before God” in Hebrew, ultra-Orthodox Jews can claim a military exemption because they have to devote themselves full-time to the study of the Torah, the holy Jewish text.

“Each one of us has our own way to contribute,” Haim, 21, says. “Ours is to study and learn the Torah. By doing that we help the war effort.” Haim is wearing tefillin: a pair of black leather boxes containing Hebrew parchment scrolls. The Torah commands Jewish men to bind tefillin onto their head and upper arm every weekday as part of their religious practice.

Read more here


Anti-Israel protesters removed from Russian airport: authorities

There is an update on the situation at the Russian airport of Makhchkala, where a group of anti-Israel protesters tried to prevent a plane from Tel Aviv landing.

The Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsia said security forces had by 10.20pm (local time, 6.20am AEDT) removed the group from the airport in Dagestan, one of several areas in the north Caucasus region that is home to large Muslim communities.

The authority said the airport would remain closed pending “normalisation” of the situation. Russia’s Investigative Committee ordered a criminal probe into the incident.

Israel urged Russian authorities to protect Israelis and Jews in their jurisdictions following the reports.

A statement by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said the Israeli ambassador in Moscow was working with Russian authorities. “The State of Israel views gravely attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews anywhere,” the statement said.

Kavkaz-Realii, a division of US-funded Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, posted videos of noisy crowds waving Palestinian flags in and around the terminal building in Makhachkala.

Other Russian media showed one group attempting to approach the aircraft, but the passengers remained safely on board. Reuters could not determine if the passengers were able to eventually disembark.

The identification number on the tail of the plane indicated it had arrived from Israel, according to the FlightRadar24 flight tracking website.



Reuters journalist in Lebanon a targeted strike: RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Sunday that the killing of Reuters visual journalist Issam Abdallah in Lebanon on October 13 was the result of a targeted strike from the direction of the Israeli border.

“According to the ballistic analysis carried out by RSF, the shots came from the east of where the journalists were standing; from the direction of the Israeli border,” RSF said.

Mourners carry the body of Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah on Saturday.Credit: Associated Press

“Two strikes in the same place in such a short space of time (just over 30 seconds), from the same direction, clearly indicate precise targeting.”

The Israeli military has said it does not deliberately target journalists and that it is investigating the October 13 incident. Reuters has asked the Israel Defence Forces for comment on the RSF report.



‘Do or die’: Israel declares next phase of battle

By Matthew Knott

Sderot, Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his nation’s military has begun a new phase in its battle against Hamas, declaring that Israel is fighting a second war for independence in its bid to crush the terror group while urging his citizens to prepare for a drawn-out conflict.

The fractures in the Middle East continued to expand on Sunday. Israel recalled diplomats from Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused it of behaving like a “war criminal” and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi labelled the region a “ticking time bomb”.

Buildings destroyed by the ongoing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City.Credit: AP

Highlighting the new phase of attacks, the Israeli military released grainy images showing tank columns moving slowly in open areas of Gaza, many apparently near the border. It now appears Israel will conduct a staged escalation on the ground in Gaza, instead of the sudden and overwhelming offensive many had expected.

Israeli airstrikes hit areas around Gaza’s largest hospital, destroying roads leading to the Shifa facility, which has sheltered Palestinians fleeing Israeli bombardment. Israel says the hospital sits above underground Hamas bunkers used as military command posts.

Read more of Matthew Knott’s report here.


Up to 88 Australians, families and visa holders trapped in Gaza

By Caroline Schelle

There are up to 88 Australians, visa holders and their families who are trapped in Gaza, according to Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

Here’s what she just told ABC Radio:

We have 88 Australians and families, so that’s citizens, those on visas and family members, and we have been working since this conflict began to try and get them out of Gaza.

We’re in the same situation, very sadly, that every other nation with foreign nationals is … in terms of foreign nationals in Gaza. There has not been exit permitted.

We have been engaging with the Israelis, with the Egyptians, with others to try and assist or ensure that the Rafah crossing, which is the crossing which would enable people to exit, is opened.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts, not just this government … but many others, that crossing has not yet been opened.


Crowd storms Russian airport to protest flight from Israel

Here’s a little more on the situation from the main airport in Russia’s Dagestan region, where hundreds of people are on the landing field to protest the arrival of an airliner coming from Tel Aviv, Russian news agencies and social media reported.

Authorities on Sunday, local time, closed the airport in Makhachkala, capital of the predominantly Muslim region, and police converged on the facility.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

Russian news reports said people in the crowd were shouting antisemitic slogans and tried to storm the airliner belonging to Russian carrier Red Wings that had landed from Tel Aviv.

Video on social media showed some in the crowd on the landing field waving Palestinian flags.

The Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsia said all aircraft bound for Makhachkala, in the region of Dagestan, were diverted to other airports.

Israel urged Russian authorities on Sunday to protect Israelis and Jews in their jurisdictions following media reports of potential reprisals by pro-Palestinian protesters in Dagestan.

A statement by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said the Israeli ambassador in Moscow was working with Russian authorities. “The State of Israel views gravely attempts to harm Israelis citizens and Jews anywhere,” the statement said.

Reuters, AP

Read more here


Dire situation for displaced Palestinians

Displaced Palestinians staying in tents in Gaza’s Khan Younis described dire living conditions, with little access to food and water and having to queue hours for the toilet.

“I wish God will have mercy on us and the war stops,” said Rami Al-Erqan, a father cradling his daughter, one of his six children. “We reached a state where we wish to have died under the rubble just to find some rest. Our life is torture.”


Central Israel also came under heavy rocket fire on Sunday and sirens sounded in several major cities.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said on its Telegram account that it was “bombing Tel Aviv in response to the Zionist massacres against civilians”.

Palestinian officials said around 50,000 people had also taken shelter in the Gaza Shifa Hospital and said they were concerned about ongoing Israeli threats to the facility.



Three dozen aid trucks arrive in Gaza

Nearly three dozen trucks entered Gaza on Sunday in the largest aid convoy since the war between Israel and Hamas began, but humanitarian workers said the assistance still fell desperately short of needs after thousands of people broke into warehouses to take flour and basic hygiene products.

The Gaza Health Ministry said the death toll among Palestinians passed 8000, mostly women and minors, as Israeli tanks and infantry pursued what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “second stage” in the war ignited by Hamas’ incursion on October 7.

The toll is without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence. More than 1400 people have died on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during the initial attack.

Communications were restored to most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people Sunday after an Israeli bombardment described by residents as the most intense of the war knocked out phone and internet services late on Friday.



Good morning

By Laura Chung

Good morning, my name is Laura Chung and I will be taking you through this morning’s events.

Here’s a recap of what you need to know:

Hundreds of people have stormed into the main airport in Russia’s Dagestan region and onto the landing field to protest the arrival of an airliner coming from Tel Aviv, Russian news agencies and social media reported. Russian news reports said people in the crowd were shouting antisemitic slogans and tried to storm the airliner belonging to Russian carrier Red Wings that had landed from Tel Aviv.

People on the tarmac at Makhachkala International Airport in Dagestan.Credit: Julia Davis/X

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday took a jab at his intelligence chiefs, saying they never warned him Hamas was planning its wide-scale attack on October 7, causing a political uproar and a rift within his war cabinet.

Thousands of Gaza residents broke into warehouses and distribution centres of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) grabbing flour and “basic survival items”, the organisation said on Sunday. “This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza,” UNRWA said in a statement.

The decision to abstain from a UN resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas has fuelled frustrations with Labor in Australia’s Muslim community, according to the Federation of Islamic Councils.

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