PARIS — French lawmaker Meyer Habib said Tuesday on RTL radio that a third French person died in the weekend attack by Hamas militants on southern Israeli towns. France’s Foreign Ministry previously confirmed two French deaths in the latest war between Israel and Hamas and reported that 14 others missing. They include a 12-year-old boy who the French Foreign Ministry said has “very likely” been kidnapped. Habib said the boy appears to have been captured by Hamas militants who attacked his French-Israeli family.
BEIRUT — The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group announced Tuesday that two of its members were killed by Israeli fire after crossing from Lebanon into Israel on Monday as part of the Hamas-led attack that started over the weekend. Funerals were set to be held in Ein el-Hilweh on Tuesday.
Islamic Jihad said in a statement that seven Israeli soldiers were wounded in Monday’s cross-border operation, while the Israeli army reported that its troops shot and killed several gunmen who crossed into the country from Lebanon. Israel also intensified shelling of southern Lebanon in response to the incident.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says an additional 596 Romanian citizens were repatriated from Israel overnight on four separate flights. Monday night’s repatriation comes after around 600 people were flown back to Romania over the weekend, bringing the total number to at least 1200 in the past few days after Hamas launched its unprecedented attacks against Israel.
VIENNA — The Austrian government says three Austrian-Israeli dual citizens may be among the people kidnapped by Hamas during its attack on Israel.
The Foreign Ministry in Vienna said on Tuesday that the three were in southern Israel independently of each other. It said that there is no official confirmation that they were abducted and noted that the situation on the ground is still very unclear.
Several countries have said their citizens were killed or apparently abducted in the attack.
CAIRO — The United Nations and other aid agencies were talking with Egypt to send humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza through the Rafah crossing point between the strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, an Egyptian official and aid worker said Tuesday. They said Egyptian authorities have contacted Israel and the United States to secure humanitarian corridors in Gaza amid Israel’s unrelenting bombardment of the strip.
Both the official and the aid worker spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
The efforts came as Israel sealed it off from food, fuel and other supplies to over 2 million people in Gaza in retaliation for a bloody incursion by Hamas militants.
BEIRUT — The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that it has been struggling to accommodate over 187,518 Palestinians in Gaza displaced by ongoing Israeli strikes as hospitals and schools that it runs across the Gaza Strip were damaged in the fighting.
The agency said in a situation report that they are sheltering some 137,500 people in 83 schools that they run in the Gaza Strip, but have become overcrowded, with some only providing limited potable water. They have struggled to provide adequate mattresses, cleaning supplies, and jerrycans for fuel as well. The ongoing conflict has disrupted their operations in the tiny territory, with UNRWA saying that nearly half a million people were unable to receive food aid this week because they had to close distribution centers.
In a briefing Tuesday, Israel's military spokesperson said Gaza’s parliament and civilian ministries were legitimate targets in its offensive against Hamas.
Spokesperson Richard Hecht also said that because Israel’s air force is stretched thin, there might not be the same “level of fidelity” in warning targets before strikes. Asked if Israel considered Hamas’ civil government, such as parliament and ministries, legitimate targets, Hecht said “if there’s a gunman firing rockets from there, it turns into a military target.”
The Israeli military said it had largely gained control in the south and “restored full control” over the border. Spokesperson Richard Hecht said 1,500 bodies of Hamas militants have been found in Israeli territory and no Hamas fighters have crossed into Israel since Monday night, although infiltrations could still be possible.
Hecht said the military struck hundreds of Hamas targets overnight in Gaza’s City Rimal neighborhood, which is home to many of Hamas’ ministries and government buildings. He said residents were being notified over social media before the strikes to evacuate, but did not elaborate further. He suggested that Palestinians should try to leave through the Rafah crossing, though he did not specify where they would go or how they would use the crossing that is periodically closed.
TOKYO — Japan’s top government spokesperson pledged Tuesday to do the utmost to protect the safety of a small number of Japanese citizens in the coNFLict area, condemning Hamas and Palestinian militants over their attacks on citizens. Japan is also carefully watching the development out of concern about energy supply. Japan imports more than 90% of its oil from the Middle East.
A vigil for victims of the attacks in Israel at the University of Florida erupted into chaos over a misunderstanding and at least five people were hurt, officials said.
A crowd gathered at the Gainesville campus for the “United With Israel” candlelight vigil when someone fainted and others began calling for people to call 911, the UF Police Department said in a statement. “The call was misunderstood by the crowd, which dispersed in a panic,” the police statement said. Five people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, campus police said.
BANGKOK — Eighteen Thais are feared dead based on reports from employers, while the numbers of those injured and abducted stand at 9 and 11 in the fourth day of the latest Israel-Hamas war, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke said Tuesday.
The first batch of 15 evacuees is scheduled to board a flight to arrive in Thailand on Thursday, and Thai Ambassador to Israel Pannabha Chandraramya said the embassy is in touch with Israeli authorities about Thai nationals who have been abducted, but has not been informed of their conditions or whereabouts.
HONG KONG — Hong Kong leader John Lee said Tuesday the government had received requests for assistance from 28 Hong Kongers, and 20 of them already left Israel. Authorities will keep in contact with the remaining eight and make arrangements according to their needs, he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Monday that Israel's fierce offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has “only started.”
Netanyahu delivered the pronouncement in a nationally televised address as Israel pressed ahead with a third day of heavy airstrikes in Gaza following Hamas' unprecedented and deadly incursion into Israel.
“We have only started striking Hamas,” he said. “What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”
Israel formally declared war on Sunday. The hostilities so far have killed around 900 people in Israel and more than 680 people in Gaza, according to authorities on each side.
An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City killed three Palestinian journalists Tuesday. The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that editor Saeed Al-Taweel and photographer Mohammed Sobih were killed in an airstrike close to an area housing several media offices.
Hisham Nawajha succumbed to injuries sustained from the same airstrike near Hijji Tower, another journalist at the hospital confirmed later Tuesday.
Three Palestinian journalists reportedly were shot and killed while reporting in Gaza on Saturday. The Committee to Protect Journalists, citing Palestinian press freedom groups, identified two of them as photographer Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi and reporter Mohammad Jarghoun. CPJ said it confirmed that freelance reporter Mohammad El-Salhi also was killed.
Lafi worked for Ain Media, and Jarghoun reported for Smart Media, CPJ said.
Israel’s Military said early Tuesday that a deputy Israeli commander was killed in clashes on the northern border with Lebanon.
The military identified the deputy commander as Alim Abdallah, but did not specify the exact circumstances of his death.
Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad group slipped from Lebanon into Israel, prompting Israeli shelling into southern Lebanon. Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group said five of its members were killed, and it retaliated with a volley of rockets and mortars at two Israeli army bases across the border.
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