The fifth day of the war between Israel and Hamas saw a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. As airstrikes intensified, the territory's only power plant was shut down, hospitals began reaching full capacity and more than 10% of the population was displaced.
The death toll soared to at least 1,300 Israelis and 1,350 Palestinians, while the Israeli military said it was preparing “for the next stage of the war” with more than 300,000 reservists amassed on Gaza's border.
Regional diplomacy picked up as UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed spoke with US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan. On Wednesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed Gaza in their first-ever phone call, which came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Unity leader Benny Gantz reached a deal on Wednesday to form an emergency government in anticipation of a ground invasion in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket barrages continued on Wednesday. Video footage circulating on social media showed complete neighborhoods flattened in Gaza as the humanitarian crisis worsened under Israel's blockade, with nearly 200,000 Gazans displaced.
New footage of Hamas' attack inside Israel surfaced on Tuesday, showing the public execution of civilians in broad daylight. President Biden called the Hamas attack "sheer evil," while the US government confirmed the deaths of 22 US citizens and that there are Americans among the more than 100 hostages held by Hamas.
With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing “mighty vengeance” against Hamas and Gaza militants, Israel has carried out more than 2,000 airstrikes since Saturday’s attack.
The United States has thrown its support behind the Israeli government, and the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group has arrived in the Mediterranean, including the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy and four guided missile destroyers.
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.
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Live updates (all times EDT):
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023
11:54 pm: Palestinian president to meet with Blinken
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet on Friday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is due to arrive in Israel today, according to a Palestinian official. Abbas will also hold talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday as part of the Palestinian leadership’s efforts to end the war between Israel and Hamas, according to a PLO post on the X platform.
11:48 pm: IDF has notified families of 81 hostages
The Israeli army has so far notified the families of 81 hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip as well as the families of 222 people killed during the Hamas attack. The Ministry of Health said that 443 of those injured are still hospitalized, with 105 of them in serious condition. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on X that another national has been declared dead, bringing the number of Thai casualties in Israel to 21. A first group of 15 Thai workers left Israel Wednesday, said the prime minister.
11:43 pm: IDF detected ‘signs’ on eve of Hamas attack, but no major warning
IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that there were some signs of trouble the night before the attack, but no major intelligence warning. "There was no such warning. The signs that came up hours before could be based on different intelligence signs," said Hagari.
8:56 pm: Biden urges Israel to follow 'rules of war'
President Joe Biden urged Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to follow the rules of war after the Israeli prime minister vowed to destroy Hamas following the Palestinian militants' brutal attack on Saturday. Read more on Biden's address here.
8:50 pm: How complex search for Israel's hostages in Gaza could unfold
Elizabeth Hagedorn takes a deep dive into the options and mechanisms that the United States and Israel could employ to free dozens of hostages in Gaza. Read more here.