Israel-Hamas war: 5 key developments on Sunday

Israeli troops prepare weapons and armed vehicles near the southern city of Ashkelon on October 15, 2023. More than one million people have been displaced in the Gaza Strip in the last week, the UN said on October 15, after sustained Israeli bombardment and warnings about a ground attack against Hamas commanders. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli troops are preparing for a ground assault. (Getty) (GIL COHEN-MAGEN via Getty Images)

Israel continued to prepare for a ground assault on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip a week after an attack by Hamas militants.

The UN, aid emergencies and human rights organisations have urged world leaders to intervene as Palestinians struggle to flee ahead of an attack that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said would "demolish Hamas".

It comes after Hamas fighters killed 1,300 men, women and children and seized hostages in Israeli towns in the worst attack on civilians in the country's history.

Israel has said more than 1,300 of its citizens have been killed since Saturday 7 October, including children, with more than 3,400 wounded, while National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi said around 150 to 200 hostages are being held in Gaza after being kidnapped.

As of Sunday morning, 2,329 Palestinians have been killed according to the Palestinian health ministry, including children, with 9,042 wounded, in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave since 7 October.

More than one million people have been displaced in the Gaza Strip in the last week, the UN said.

Here are the main stories from today:

1. Israel 'restores water supply' in southern Gaza

  • On Sunday it was reported that Israel had restored the supply of water to southern Gaza. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN that his Israeli counterparts had informed him of the decision, and Israel’s energy minister Israel Katz said the move was agreed between prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US president Joe Biden.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened Israel's expanded emergency cabinet for the first time on Sunday, saying the national unity on display sent a message at home and abroad as the country geared up to "demolish Hamas" in Gaza.

Read more: Lack of water worsens misery in besieged Gaza as Israeli air strikes continue (National World)

2. Up to 10 British nationals feared to be among Hamas hostages

  • The Israeli Defence Forces confirmed that 126 people were taken hostage when Hamas militants crossed the border last weekend.

  • Reports have suggested that up to 10 British nationals are among the hostages, but on Sunday Foreign Secretary James Cleverly declined to give an exact number and said the situation remained uncertain, telling Sky News: "That is not an unreasonable estimate of the kind of number of people that we’re talking about."

Read more: Foreign Secretary refuses to specify if ‘up to 10 UK hostages may have been taken by Hamas’ (Evening Standard)

Children injured in an Israeli strike are rushed to the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on October 15, 2023. Israel embarked on a withering air campaign against Hamas militants in Gaza after they carried out a brutal attack on Israel on October 7 that left more than 1,400 people killed in Israel. (Photo by Dawood NEMER / AFP) (Photo by DAWOOD NEMER/AFP via Getty Images)
Children injured in an Israeli strike are rushed to the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. (Getty) (DAWOOD NEMER via Getty Images)

3. Hamas accused of halting evacuees

  • The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) shared a recording of a Gaza resident claiming Hamas fighters were stopping people from leaving the northern part of the territory. In the recording, the man can be heard telling an IDF officer that militants were taking people's ID cards and car keys away after holding them up.

  • Similar claims of Hamas preventing evacuations were also made by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan in an interview with CNN.

Read more: 'I want her back now': Families of hostages held by Hamas call for their immediate release (euronews)

4. Foreign secretary warns against glorifying terrorism

  • The Foreign Secretary repeated warnings against glorifying terrorism. James Cleverly told Sky News' Trevor Phillips On Sunday Morning programme that he and the government shared a passion 'about a better life for the Palestinian people', but added: "However, glorifying murder and terrorism is no benefit to the Palestinian people, just as Hamas are no friend to the Palestinian people."

  • His warning comes after Home Secretary Suella Braverman told police chiefs that waving a Palestinian flag on the street in the UK "may not be legitimate" if it is deemed to be in support of Hamas or acts of terrorism.

Read more: Those seeking to 'glorify' Hamas terrorism risk prosecution in the UK, minister warns (Belfast Newsletter)

5. Hundreds gather in Parliament Square in support of kidnapped hostages

Read more: Israel-Hamas war: Labour warns MPs against attending protests and gives warning on party flags (Sky News)

Where is Gaza?

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)

Gaza, also known as the Gaza Strip, is a densely-populated Palestinian enclave on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, north-east of the Sinai Peninsula.

Bound by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Israel to the north and east and Egypt to the south, it is just 25 miles long and six miles wide.

Gaza is one of two Palestinian territories. The other is the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

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