Hundreds of people were killed in an Israeli air strike on a Gaza hospital, according to local officials. The US put more troops on alert for potential deployment in the Middle East, as President Joe Biden prepares to depart for Israel later Tuesday.
(Bloomberg) — Hundreds of people were killed in an Israeli air strike on a Gaza hospital, according to local officials. The US put more troops on alert for potential deployment in the Middle East, as President Joe Biden prepares to depart for Israel later Tuesday.
Iran-backed Hezbollah said five of its fighters were killed after the group launched attacks against several Israeli targets near the border with Lebanon. The Israeli military said it shelled Hezbollah positions and reported gunfire at army posts.
Authorities are working to allow civilians to exit Gaza through a crossing with Egypt. Israel’s military struck the southern part of the territory after ordering people to seek refuge there, as it readies a potential ground invasion in response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.
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Gaza Officials Say Hundreds Killed in Hospital Strike (8:15pm)
Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit a Gaza City hospital, according to officials in the territory, in what would make it the deadliest bombing since Oct. 7. Israeli officials said they could not immediately confirm that the hospital was hit by an air strike.
Officials at the Gaza Health Ministry said at least 200 people were killed, and a spokesman for the ministry told Al Jazeera the casualty toll may be 500.
The Anglican-run Al-Ahli Arab Hospital was housing thousands of displaced Palestinians who fled the Israeli bombing in east Gaza City. Hamas said it fired a long-range rocket toward Israel’s north in response to the bombing at Al-Ahli hospital.
UN Chief Guterres Heads to Egypt for Aid Talks (7:30 p.m.)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Egypt to meet senior leaders as the world body looks to get vital supplies into the Gaza Strip. “In order to move humanitarian aid through Gaza, we need safe passage,” his spokesman said. “That will be part of the secretary-general’s discussions.”
The UN Security Council late Monday rejected a draft resolution led by Russia, which would have called for a cease-fire and the release of hostages, but was criticized for failing to clearly condemn Hamas. Five of 15 council members voted for the proposal.
Israel May Get Debt Rating Cut By Fitch on Conflict (7:15 p.m.)
Israel’s issuer rating for long-term debt was placed on Rating Watch Negative by Fitch, signaling a possible cut in the nation’s A+ credit grade.
Fitch said it’s unlikely that “a relatively short conflict largely confined to Gaza” will affect Israel’s rating, but it cited heightened risks of a wider or more prolonged war that could result in “significant additional military spending” as well as damage to infrastructure, putting pressure on credit metrics.
US Puts 2,000 Troops on Alert, Extends Carrier Deployment (6:50 p.m.)
The US put 2,000 troops on heightened alert and extended the deployment of an aircraft carrier in the Middle East, the Pentagon said, as it builds forces in the region in what officials say is a bid to deter other countries from widening the war.
The US also is sending an amphibious task force of more than 4,000 sailors and Marines toward Israel, where they’ll be positioned aboard warships in case the conflict with Hamas expands, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The growing US presence in the eastern Mediterranean will include two aircraft carriers and their escort ships.
Scholz Pledges ‘Unwavering Support’ During Tel Aviv Visit (6:30 p.m.)
Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated Germany’s unwavering support for Israel at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following talks in Tel Aviv.
Scholz said the two leaders had discussed “improved humanitarian access” to Gaza and pledged that his government would work “to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population.” The German leader will travel on to Egypt for a meeting with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday.
Israel in Talks With Musk’s Starlink (4:37 p.m.)
Israel said on Tuesday it’s in talks with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to set up a Starlink satellite network to bolster wartime communications ahead of an expected ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.
The Communications Ministry said the network would allow Israeli towns near the frontlines to have continuous internet service. Israel is also weighing a possible cut-off of all internet and phone services in Gaza, the spokesman said.
Oil Steadies, Shekel Extends Slump (4:04 p.m.)
Oil steadied as the US intensified diplomatic efforts to contain the crisis in Gaza. The dollar strengthened, while Israel’s shekel remained under pressure as investors weighed the latest efforts to contain the war.
Some of the region’s other asset classes are drawing back investors.
Biden to Attend Jordan Summit (2:20 p.m.)
Jordan’s King Abdullah will host a four-way summit in Amman on Wednesday with Biden, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the developments in Gaza, Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
King Abdullah warned German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday that thousands of innocent Palestinians are at risk if the war doesn’t end.
Israel Says Working to Allow Civilian Exit Through Rafah (11:28 a.m.)
Mark Regev, an adviser to Netanyahu, said Israel is working with international stakeholders to allow civilians to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing that connects the territory with Egypt. He didn’t elaborate on whether all civilians would be allows out or only foreign nationals.
The opening of Rafah “was supposed to happen yesterday. We worked with relevant parties to make that happen yesterday. But unfortunately, Hamas prevented that from happening and they closed their side of the closing,” Regev told Bloomberg Radio.
Aid Trucks Held Up Near Egypt-Gaza Crossing (10:19 a.m.)
A convoy of humanitarian aid is still unable to enter Gaza, Khaled Zayed, chairman of the Red Crescent in Egypt’s North Sinai, told Al-Arabiya. The TV channel aired footage of dozens of trucks backed up near the Rafah border.
Mark Regev earlier told Times Radio in the UK that the crossing will open to allow foreign nationals to leave, with Israel seeking guarantees incoming aid won’t be commandeered to support Hamas.
Israel Strikes in South Gaza, AP Says (8:50 a.m.)
Palestinians said there’d been heavy Israeli bombing in southern Gaza, the part of the besieged territory where Israel had told civilians to seek refuge, the Associated Press reported.
Israeli bombs struck sites west and southeast of Khan Younis and west of Rafah, the crossing to Egypt where thousands of people have massed to try and get out of Gaza, the agency said, citing local reports.
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