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Day 19 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Wednesday, Oct. 25

Jordan's Queen Rania and Spain's Queen Letizia (R) arrive for an official luncheon at the Royal Palace in Madrid, on June 19, 2023. (Photo by Paul White / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAUL WHITE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Day 19 of the Israel-Hamas war saw Queen Rania of Jordan speak against the “glaring double standard” by Western leaders for not condemning Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians in Israel's bombardment of Gaza. The Israeli premier announced that his war cabinet has decided on its timing, and an already volatile region will now brace for Israel’s long-expected ground operation into the Gaza Strip.

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):

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023

7:45 pm: Americans trapped in Gaza wait for US help

While humanitarian aid is trickling into Gaza, Americans stranded in the besieged territory can’t get out. “My family is waiting for our destiny, and it might easily come before evacuation,” Said Shaath, a US citizen who escaped Gaza City with his family and is now sheltering in a friend’s home near the Gaza-Egypt border, told Al-Monitor. Read Elizabeth Hagedorn’s report.

4:25 pm: At least 24 journalists, mostly Palestinians, dead in Israel-Hamas war

At least 24 journalists, 20 of them Palestinians, have been killed in the Hamas-Israel war. The number exceeds that of all the journalists killed in 19 months in the war in Ukraine. Read more.

3:20 pm: Turkey’s Erdogan hails Hamas as liberators

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday ditched any semblance of neutrality in the Gaza conflict, saying that the Palestinian militant group Hamas was not a terrorist organization but “a patriotic liberation movement fighting to protect Palestinian lands and people.” 

The Turkish president’s speech to lawmakers from his party aligned him more firmly with the Sunni Muslim world, pushing aside the benefits of closer ties with Israel and other regional economies, Amberin Zaman reports.

2:40 pm: S&P downgrades Israel to 'negative'

S&P Global Ratings, a major credit rating agency, downgraded Israel’s outlook on Wednesday from “stable” to “negative” as Israel’s war in Gaza continues to affect the country's economic situation. Still, the agency affirmed Israel’s AA- rating for foreign and local currency. Adam Lucente reports.

1:50 pm: Netanyahu says timing of Gaza invasion set

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address to the Israeli public on Wednesday evening that the timing for a ground invasion of Gaza has been determined by Israel’s war cabinet, but did not provide details. Meanwhile, Israel’s security cabinet is currently convening in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu said, “Everyone will have to answer [for the Hamas attack], including me,” but added that that would only happen after the war concludes.

1:41 pm: Senior State official travels to Middle East

The State Department has dispatched its top official for the Middle East, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, to the region. Leaf, who arrived Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates, will also travel to Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

In her meetings with regional partners, Leaf “will discuss humanitarian solutions to protect civilians while reiterating US support for a region that advances the aspirations of all its people,” the department said.

1:27 pm: Lebanon’s volatility rises as Hezbollah leader meets Palestinian factions

Sporadic clashes between the Hezbollah movement and Israel continue, increasing fears that the Hamas-Gaza war could spill over to the rest of the Middle East, including south Lebanon. As Palestinian armed factions held a three-way meeting with Hezbollah’s leader, travel alerts poured in. Beatrice Farhat reports from Beirut.

1:05 pm: Iranian-backed groups in Iraq split on entering Gaza war

Iranian-backed Iraqi armed factions are unlikely to participate directly in the Israel-Hamas war as long as it is solely led by the Palestinian militant group, amid a split over the decision to target US military bases in Iraq and Syria, commanders of Iranian-backed armed groups told Al-Monitor. Suadad al-Salhy reports from Baghdad.

1:00 pm: Qatar ‘hopeful’ about hostage negotiations

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said negotiations with Hamas over the Israeli hostages are ongoing, adding that his country is hopeful for more releases. His remarks came after Israel publicly acknowledged the Gulf country’s role in the process, describing it as “essential.” Speaking at a joint press conference with the Qatari premier, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan warned Israel of the potential regional ramifications of a ground operation into the Gaza Strip. Ezgi Akin reports.

11:04 am: Queen Rania rues West’s ‘double standard’ on Gaza

Jordan’s Queen Rania accused Western leaders of a “glaring double standard” for not condemning Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians in its bombardment of Gaza in an interview aired Wednesday.

The royal, born to Palestinian parents in Kuwait, blasted Western nations for opposing a blanket cease-fire and said their silence gave the impression they were “complicit” in Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip. Read more.

Jordan's king and queen

Jordan's King Abdullah II (R), Queen Rania, Crown Prince Hussein (3-R) and Princess Muna (2-L) attend an event at the Raghdan Royal Palace in Amman, on May 25, 2023. (KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images)

10:30 am: Al-Monitor poll shows Americans wary of US intervention in war

A new Al-Monitor/Premise poll has found that a majority of Americans are wary of Washington being dragged into a military intervention amid the Hamas-Israel war. While the majority of respondents said that their support for Israel has remained unchanged or increased following the escalation, the poll also showed that most respondents are either unsure of or reject US intervention in the current conflict. Read our full report here.

8:10 am: Turkey's Erdogan says canceling plans to visit Israel

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he was canceling plans to visit Israel because of its "inhumane" war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

"We had a project to go to Israel, but it was canceled. We will not go," Erdogan told ruling party lawmakers in parliament, adding that he viewed Hamas as "liberators" fighting for their own land.

7:10 am: Gaza death toll surpasses 6,500

The Hamas-run Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said at least 6,546 Palestinians, including 2,704 children, have been killed since Israel launched its air campaign against the enclave in response to the militant group's attack on southern Israel Oct. 7. More than 17,439 others have been injured.

The ministry had warned earlier of the collapse of Gaza’s health sector, calling for urgent action to allow the entry of medical aid and fuel required to operate hospitals. The official death toll in Israel stands at 1,400. 

2:49 am: Hezbollah chief meets with Hamas, Islamic Jihad leaders

The head of Lebanon's paramilitary Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, met with Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri and Islamic Jihad head Ziad al-Nakhala, the Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar channel reported. The three leaders discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the fire exchanges on the southern Lebanese border with Israel.

"The meeting assessed the positions taken internationally and what the axis of resistance must do," Al-Manar said, in reference to the alliance between Iran and its proxy groups in the region.

1:20 am: After feeling south, some Gazans return despite bombardment 

Muhammad Hussam is among the hundreds of thousands of Gaza City residents who evacuated to the south with his family on Oct. 13 following an Israeli army directive to head south for their safety.

However, after one week, ongoing Israeli airstrikes in the south and the lack of basic facilities led Hussam and many others to return home to the north. Read more.

Click here for our most recent updates.

For our previous live coverage, see:

Day 18 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Tuesday, Oct. 24

Day 17 of Hamas-Israel war blog: Monday, Oct. 23

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

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