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Day 16 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Sunday, Oct. 22

Palestinian emergency services and local citizens search for victims in buildings destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on October 22, 2023 in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Gazans are evacuating to the south as advised by the Israeli government, ahead of an expected Israeli ground offensive. Israel has sealed off Gaza, leaving the entire population without fuel, water or aid, and launched sustained retaliatory air strikes, which have killed more than 2,000 people and some 400,000 displaced, afte

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon is sending a THAAD battery and additional Patriot battalions to the Middle East as Israel's war with Hamas enters its third week.

Rina Bassist, Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, Elizabeth Hagedorn, Adam Lucente, Jack Dutton, Jared Szuba and Al-Monitor’s contributors on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel contributed to this blog.

Click here for our most recent updates.

Live updates (all times EDT):

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023

8:22 pm: Israel strikes Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon

The Israeli military struck two cells of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in southern Lebanon. The airstrikes hit a cell in the southern Lebanese village of Aitaroun and another in the disputed Shebaa Farms area. The IDF reported that they were planning to launch rocket attacks toward Israel.

Earlier, the Israeli army said a military compound and an observation post of Iran-backed Hezbollah near the border area were also targeted.

Hezbollah said overnight that one of its fighters was killed without giving details.

8:00 pm: US reportedly asks Israel to delay ground invasion of Gaza 

The US government urged Israel on Sunday to delay its Gaza ground invasion to allow time for negotiations to free Hamas-held hostages. 

CNN, The New York Times and Bloomberg reported the news on Sunday. US defense chief Lloyd Austin reportedly made the request to his counterpart Yoav Gallant.

“American officials also want more time to prepare for attacks on US interests in the region from Iran-backed groups, which officials said are likely to intensify once Israel moves its forces fully into Gaza,” The New York Times reported.

2:00 pm: Israel says Gaza war may take 'months'

Israel’s defense chief Yoav Gallant said the looming ground offensive in the Gaza Strip could take months to eliminate Hamas.

“This needs to be the last [ground campaign] maneuver in Gaza, for the simple reason that after it there will be no Hamas. It will take a month, two months, three, but in the end, there will be no Hamas,” Gallant said on Sunday.

“Before the enemy meets the armored and infantry forces, it will meet the bombs of the air force,” he added. Israel has carried out three incursions into Gaza since Hamas took over in 2007.

12:20 pm: UNRWA running out of fuel, 29 staffers killed

The UN refugee agency in Gaza said on Sunday that 13 more staff members have been killed since the conflict began, bringing the total to 29, while a further 17 have been injured. Agency head Philippe Lazzarani warned on Sunday that UNRWA’s fuel supply will run out in three days, putting the humanitarian response in Gaza at risk.

12:10 pm: US advises citizens against travel to Iraq

The US State Department updated its travel advisory on Sunday, urging citizens to avoid travel to Iraq. The warning follows the ordered departure of eligible family members and non-emergency personnel from the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil.

12:05 pm: Israel fires on Egyptian post by mistake

The Israeli army said one of its tanks accidentally fired and hit an Egyptian position near the border crossing in the Kerem Shalom area on Sunday. The incident is being investigated and Israel “regrets” it, the statement read. 

11:50 am: Hamas confirms senior commander killed

Hamas-affiliated news agency Safa confirmed on Sunday that Talal al-Hindi, a field commander in the group’s military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was killed with his wife and members of his family in an Israeli airstrike on their house overnight. The Israeli army first announced the news on Sunday morning as the death toll in Gaza now exceeds 4,400. 

9:30 am: Germany's Scholz vows support for Jews at synagogue opening

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to stamp out antisemitism at the opening of a new synagogue on Sunday amid a spike in anti-Jewish incidents in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

"There must be zero tolerance for antisemitism in Germany," Scholz said at the synagogue in the eastern city of Dessau.

8:00 am: Second convoy of 17 trucks enters Gaza

Egyptian news outlets reported a new convoy of 17 trucks with aid for the Palestinians crossed into Gaza. On Saturday, 20 trucks were allowed in but humanitarian organizations called it a drop in the bucket, given the extent of the crisis in Gaza.

6:00 am: IDF-Hezbollah clashes spike

Israel struck more targets inside south Lebanon as the Hezbollah militant group continued to fire artillery and rockets in the direction of Israel. The IDF struck a cell within Lebanese territory that was preparing to launch anti-tank missiles toward the Avivim area near the border, said spokesperson Daniel Hagarith.

The renewed fighting has eroded the deterrence formula established in 2006 between Hezbollah and Israel.

1:00 am: Additional 14 communities in northern Israel to be evacuated 

After evacuating most of the residents of 28 towns and villages close to the border with Lebanon, Israel is evacuating 14 more communities, said the Defense Ministry. 

Click here for our most recent updates.

For our previous live coverage, see:

Day 15 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Saturday, Oct. 21

Day 14 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Friday, Oct. 20

Day 13 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Thursday, Oct. 19

Day 12 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Wednesday, Oct. 18

Day 11 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Tuesday, Oct. 17

Day 10 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Monday, Oct. 16

Day 9 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Sunday, Oct. 15

Day 8 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Saturday, Oct. 14

Day 7 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Friday, Oct. 13

Day 6 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Thursday, Oct. 12

Day 5 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Wednesday, Oct. 11

Day 4 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Tuesday, Oct. 10

Day 3 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Monday, Oct. 9

Day 2 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Sunday, Oct. 8

Day 1 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Saturday, Oct. 7