Israel bombs hundreds more Gaza sites as hospitals run out of supplies

ITV News Correspondent John Ray reports on the latest developments as the fighting continues into a 13th day

  • Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel on Thursday for talks with Benjamin Netanyahu to show solidarity with Israel and prevent escalation of the fighting. He then flew to Saudi Arabia to speak with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

  • The prime minister's spokesperson said nine British nationals are now known to have been killed, while a further seven are missing, after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel nearly two weeks ago.

  • Vital supplies are running short in Gaza as 20 aid trucks are expected to enter from Egypt on Friday.

  • Israeli forces are continuing to bomb hundreds of sites in Gaza, claiming to have hit key Hamas infrastructure and killing a militant leader - but civilian casualties also continue to rise.

  • Questions remain over the bombing of Gaza's al-Ahli hospital, with Hamas blaming the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and Israel blaming a rocket misfired by proscribed terror group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israel is continuing its bombing of Gaza - reportedly in southern areas which were declared safe zones - as it seeks to destroy Hamas, in what the Israeli prime minister expects to be a "long war".

On Thursday, the IDF said it had targeted "Hamas terror structures", including command centres and tunnel shafts used by the group.

However, civilian casualties continue to mount, with the United Nations (UN) saying a quarter of Gazan homes have either been damaged or completely destroyed.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel today to show his support for the country, and also to stress the need to limit civilian casualties. He then flew to Saudi Arabia where he spoke with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

A spokesperson for the prime minister has confirmed that nine British nationals are now known to have been killed, while a further seven are missing, after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack in southern Israel nearly two weeks ago.

During a meeting with Mr Sunak, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "This is our darkest hour. That means that this is a long war, and we'll need your continuous support."

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports from the West Bank, where tensions are continuing to worsen

Doctors 'relying on their last reserve of supplies'

On Thursday, doctors at Nasser Hospital, in the southern city of Khan Younis, said at least 12 people were killed and 40 others wounded after a residential building was hit.

The latest round of bombings has included targets in parts of the south, where Palestinian civilians were told by the Israeli military to take shelter, according to the Associated Press.

Fears that nowhere is safe for more than two million people trapped inside the besieged territory have been heightened by the attacks.

With people inside the Gaza Strip facing a humanitarian crisis due to a sustained blockade, Israel agreed on Wednesday to allow Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the area.

Many Gazans have cut down to one meal a day and have been left to drink dirty water, after supplies of fuel, water, food and medicine were cut off by Israel.

An agreement was reached between Egypt, Israel and the US on Wednesday to send 20 trucks of aid on Friday, as medical supplies in the Gaza Strip reach breaking point.

The charity Doctors Without Borders has said hospitals are running out of electricity needed to run essential machinery, as well as medicine.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation's (WHO) team in Gaza said four out of 35 hospitals were not functioning "due to severe damage or targeting", with doctors "relying on their last reserve of supplies".

The IDF shared aerial footage of buildings being razed to the ground as the Israeli military said it hit hundreds of Hamas infrastructure sites

Israel defence minister tells soldiers to 'be ready'

Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas following the group's surprise attack on October 7 - sparking one of the region's bloodiest conflicts since the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

The country's defence minister, Yoav Gallant, met with Israeli soldiers on Thursday, where he pressed the need to "get organized, be ready" for a ground invasion of Gaza.

"Whoever sees Gaza from afar now, will see it from the inside," he said

The IDF shared aerial footage of buildings being razed to the ground in the latest round of strikes by fighter jets, claiming to have killed a militant leader.

It said it had hit "anti-tank missile launching posts, terror tunnel shafts, intelligence infrastructure, and additional command centres".

"During the fighting, numerous Hamas terror operatives belonging to the 'Nukbha' forces, who led the barbaric invasion of the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, were targeted. More than ten terrorists were targeted in a precision aerial strike," the IDF added.

Gaza hospital explosion fallout continues

Anger is continuing to mount over Tuesday evening's deadly explosion at Gaza's al-Ahli hospital, with Hamas blaming IDF airstrikes.

Israel has denied it was involved and released a flurry of video, audio and other information that it said showed the blast was instead due to a rocket misfire by Palestinian Islamic Jihad - a proscribed terror group operating in Gaza, who have dismissed the Israeli claim.

With no sign of the conflict coming to a resolution, the death tolls continue to rise, with the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry saying that 3,785 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,000 injured.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, and at least 203 others - including children - were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

Sunak conducts Middle East trip

Mr Sunak arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday before holding talks with Mr Netanyahu in Jerusalem in a bid to minimise civilian casualties, as the IDF continues to bomb Gaza - one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

The British PM said he supported Israel's "right to self-defence in line with international law", adding: "We want you to win."

He added: "Now, I know that you are taking every precaution to avoid harming civilians - in direct contrast to the terrorists of Hamas, which seek to put civilians in harm's way.

"But I also want to thank you for the support that your government has given to the families of British nationals caught up in this horror, including your efforts to release the hostages, to secure their release.

"And I know that we will continue to co-operate, particularly with regard to British nationals that are involved."

After meeting Mr Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Mr Sunak travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as he sought to avoid the conflict over-spilling into other parts of the region.

Lebanese army soldiers scuffle with protesters near the US embassy in Beirut. Credit: AP

In a statement following the meeting with the crown prince, No 10 said the pair agreed that the "loss of innocent lives in Israel and Gaza over the last two weeks has been horrific" and "underscored the need to avoid any further escalation in the region".

Mr Sunak "encouraged the crown prince to use Saudi's leadership in the region to support stability, both now and in the long-term", No 10 said.

While there are still unanswered questions over the al-Ahli hospital explosion, anger erupted elsewhere in the Middle East.

There were heated protests in Jordan, and in the Lebanese capital Beirut, where hundreds of demonstrators clashed with security forces near the US embassy on Wednesday.

The Foreign Office has since updated its travel guidance to Lebanon, which shares a border with Israel, advising against all travel to the country and encouraging British nationals currently there to "leave now while commercial options remain available".

Since the latest conflict there has been sporadic fire from across the Lebanese border, with Israel striking targets in return.

On Monday, Hezbollah - which is backed by Iran - shared a video of its snipers destroying surveillance cameras at several Israeli army posts, in an apparent attempt to conceal their movements along the border.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...