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Live updates Israel escalates its bombardment in the Gaza Strip


Israel is escalating its bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground invasion against Hamas militants. The war is rapidly raising the death toll in Gaza, and the U.S. fears the fighting could spark a wider conflict in the region.

Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been running out of food, water and medicine since Israel sealed off the territory following the Hamas attack on Israeli towns on Oct. 7. The aid convoys allowed into Gaza so far have carried a fraction of what’s needed, and the U.N. said distribution will have to stop if there’s no fuel for the trucks.

The war, in its 18th day Tuesday, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Hamas-run Health Ministry said at least 5,791 Palestinians have been killed and 16,297 wounded. In the occupied West Bank, 96 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 wounded in violence and Israeli raids since Oct. 7.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians who died in the initial Hamas rampage. In addition, 222 people including foreigners were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, Israel’s military has said. Four of those have been released.



1. The U.S. Department of Defense is assisting Israel in its war planning by sending military advisers

2. 40 years after bombing that killed Americans in Beirut, US troops again deploy east of Mediterranean

3. The war is giving Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system its toughest challenge yet

4. Release of more hostages gives some hope to families of others abducted in the attack on Israel

5. Find more of AP’s coverage at

Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip have killed at least 704 people in the past day, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said Tuesday.

That represented a massive increase in the death toll amid widening Israeli bombing attacks in the territory.

Israel has been bombing Gaza since Hamas militants attacked southern Israeli towns on Oct. 7.

That has brought the death toll from the war to 5,791, including 2,360 children, ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement. At least 16,297 others were wounded, he said.

He said they have received 1,550 reports of missing people, including 870 children, suggesting that those missing could still be under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The World Health Organization said 12 hospitals out of a total of 35 in Gaza were not functioning as of Monday. It said 46 out of 72 health care facilities across Gaza, or 64%, were not operating, mostly in Gaza city and northern Gaza.

Al-Qidra said the health facilities went out of service because of the attacks or because of a lack of fuel to keep them operating. “The Health Ministry announces a total collapse of hospitals in Gaza Strip,” he said.

A Health Ministry report issued Tuesday said 61 Palestinian medical workers and professionals have been killed since Oct. 7.

Al-Qidra called for the Egyptian government to open the Rafah crossing point and ensure the delivery of medical supplies and fuel to Gaza and allow the wounded to be treated in Egypt. Egypt says it didn’t close the crossing, but Israeli airstrikes on its Palestinian side forced its closure.


NUSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip — An airstrike hit a bustling marketplace in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, killing several shoppers and wounding dozens, witnesses said.

Men used sledgehammers to break up concrete and dug with their bare hands through the jagged wreckage to save anyone they could -– or recover the dead who had been buying meat and vegetables when the explosion hit.

A man buried up to his chest in rubble looked up at his rescuers with wide eyes, his face coated in dust from the blast.

An oxygen mask was placed on his face as rescuers worked to free him. About 15 minutes, he was unearthed and placed on a stretcher.

A roar rose from the dozens of men watching, several with their arms raised in triumph as they cheered the rescue.

On Tuesday, Israel said it had launched 400 airstrikes over the past day, killing Hamas commanders, hitting militants as they were preparing to launch rockets into Israel and striking command centers and a Hamas tunnel shaft. The previous day, Israel reported 320 strikes. The Palestinian official news agency, WAFA, said many of the airstrikes hit residential buildings, some of them in southern Gaza where Israel had told civilians to take shelter.

Hamas’s military arm, Qassam Brigades, said it fired a salvo of rockets on southern Israeli on Tuesday afternoon, including Beersheba, Israel’s largest city in the area. There was no immediate word on any damage or casualties.


JERUSALEM — French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking after meeting Israel’s prime minister on Tuesday, proposed a coalition to fight terror groups in the region “that threaten all of us.”

He compared the proposal to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. He was referring to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran itself and the Houtis in Yemen, among others, saying they must not take the risk of opening a new front.

Macron, on a two-day visit to the region, met with families of hostages held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, and said “we will neglect nothing” to obtain freedom for French citizens. Nine French citizens are being held or have disappeared.

Macron will head to Jordan on Wednesday to meet with King Abdullah II and possibly some other regional leaders, his office said. He also planned a stop later Tuesday in Ramallah, West Bank, to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Standing at the side of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron stressed Israel’s right to defend itself in its war with Hamas.

“The fight must be without mercy, but not without rules” because democracies “respect the rules of war,” Macron said, adding that for example democracies don’t target civilians. His statement appeared to be a message to Israel, which has been criticized by some for attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. He called for access to aid for Gaza and for electricity to be supplied to Gaza hospitals — not for making war.

Netanyahu said it is Hamas that is responsible for civilian casualties, but that “we will do every effort to avoid them.” He added, “It could be a long war.”

“Hamas must be destroyed,” Netanyahu said, calling it a condition for ending the war.

Macron said any peace “cannot be durable” without restarting a “decisive” political process with Palestinians. But he said, “Hamas does not (represent) the Palestinian cause.”


JERUSALEM — The U.S. is issuing a new warning to ships traveling through the Red Sea after a drone and missile attack launched from Yemen during the Israel-Hamas war.

The U.S. Maritime Administration warning on Tuesday urged vessels to “exercise caution when transiting this region.”

The U.S. Navy says it shot down missiles and drones believed to have been launched by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in recent days amid wider tensions across the Middle East over the war.


BEIRUT — A prominent Lebanese Christian politician allied with Hezbollah said Tuesday that Lebanon would not initiate a war with Israel but would defend itself if attacked.

The comments by Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement of former President Michel Aoun, came as sporadic clashes continue on the Lebanese border with Israel between Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups in Lebanon on one side and Israeli forces on the other.

“No one can drag us into war unless the Israeli enemy attacks us, and then we will be forced to defend ourselves,” Bassil said after a meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, another Hezbollah ally. Bassil also spoke by phone to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday. “All the Lebanese agree that they do not want war, but that does not mean that we should allow ourselves to be attacked without a response.”

There has been widespread speculation as to whether and under what circumstances Hezbollah and its arsenal of an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles would fully enter the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The ongoing clashes on the border and anxieties about a wider conflict have internally displaced 19,646 people in Lebanon, according to the International Organization for Migration.


TEL AVIV — Yocheved Lifshitz, an 85-year-old woman released by Hamas, told reporters Tuesday that the militants beat her with sticks, bruising her ribs and making it hard to breathe, as they kidnapped her during their attack on towns in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

They drove her into Gaza, then forced her to walk several kilometers (miles) on wet ground to reach a network of tunnels that looked like a spider web, she said. Lifshitz is one of only four hostages to be released — and the first to speak publicly — of the more than 220 believed held by Hamas.

She said the people assigned to guard her “told us they are people who believe in the Quran and wouldn’t hurt us.”

Lifshitz, whose husband remains a hostage, said that after she and four other people were taken into a room, they were treated well, conditions were clean, and they received medical care, including medication. They ate one meal a day of cheese and cucumber, she said, adding that her captors ate the same.


JERUSALEM — The ruling emir of the small Middle East nation of Qatar, which hosts an office of Hamas and has served as an intermediary in hostage negotiations, said Tuesday that it “is untenable for Israel to be given an unconditional green light and free license to kill.”

The comments by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Qatar’s consultative Shura Council come as negotiations continue to free more of the approximately 200 hostages Hamas has held since its Oct. 7 assault on Israel. About 1,400 people in Israel died in the assault, while the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip says over 5,000 people have died in Israeli airstrikes since then.

“We are against attacks on innocent civilians, regardless of their nationality, by any party,” Sheikh Tamim said. “But we do not accept double standards, nor do we accept acting as if the Palestinian children’s lives are not worth to be reckoned with, as though they are faceless or nameless.”

He added: “We are saying enough is enough. It is untenable for Israel to be given an unconditional green light and free license to kill, nor it is tenable to continue ignoring the reality of occupation, siege and settlement. It should not be allowed in our time to use cutting off water and preventing medicine and food as weapons against an entire population.”

Sheikh Tamim renewed calls for a Palestinian state based on Israel’s 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, something long called for by other Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia.

Qatar had a trade office for Israel from 1996 until 2000, but broke ties in 2009 over an Israel-Hamas war at the time. Under arrangements stemming from past cease-fire understandings with Israel, the gas-rich emirate of Qatar has paid the salaries of civil servants in the Gaza Strip, provided direct cash transfers to poor families and offered other kinds of humanitarian aid.

The Associated Press