1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Israel-Hamas war: UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by escalation

Published October 31, 2023last updated November 1, 2023

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was "dismayed" by reports that two-thirds of people killed in Gaza were women and children. Meanwhile, Yemen's Houthi rebels have pledged to continue attacking Israel. DW has the latest.

A man wields a firehose while standing on the rubble of a residential building in the Gaza Strip
Israel has attacked targets in Gaza for almost a monthImage: Ahmed Zakot/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • International humanitarian law is not an "a la carte menu," says UN Secretary General Guterres
  • Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says 50 killed in Israeli strike on a refugee camp
  • Houthi rebels pledge to continue attacks against Israel until the war stops
  • Protesters disrupt US Congress hearing on aid to Israel
Skip next section Egypt could open Rafah crossing to treat wounded Palestinians: reports
November 1, 2023

Egypt could open Rafah crossing to treat wounded Palestinians: reports

This live updates article has been closed. For the latest developments concerning the Israel-Hamas war, please click here.


Egyptian authorities are preparing to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, the only crossing in the besieged strip that Israel does not control, for injured Palestinians, sources told news agencies AFP and dpa.

The crossing could be opened for the travel of injured Palestinians as of Wednesday, medical and security sources told the French AFP news agency.

The secretary general of the Egyptian Red Crescent in North Sinai, Raed Abdel Nasser, told the German dpa news agency that employees had been informed to be ready for Wednesday.

AFP also cited the border authority in the Gaza Strip as saying Egypt had agreed to allow in 81 of those most badly wounded on Wednesday.

Since the start of the Israeli operations in Gaza in response to the bloody October 7 attacks, the Rafah border crossing has only been used to allow a limited number of aid trucks into the strip.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has repeatedly warned against any attempts to evacuate Gaza's some 2.3 million citizens into Egypt's eastern Sinai Peninsula, which borders the strip.

Skip next section Blinken to visit Israel on Friday
November 1, 2023

Blinken to visit Israel on Friday

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the government, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

"Secretary Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, and then will make other stops in the region," Miller said.

Earlier this month, Blinken visited Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Situation in Gaza's hospitals more dire by the hour: CARE

Skip next section Bolivia severs diplomatic ties with Israel over 'disproportionate' Gaza offensive
October 31, 2023

Bolivia severs diplomatic ties with Israel over 'disproportionate' Gaza offensive

Bolivia announced on Tuesday it was severing its diplomatic ties with Israel, as an act of "repudiation and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive being carried out in the Gaza Strip," Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani said.

Minister in the Presidency Maria Nela Prada also said the country was sending humanitarian aid to Gaza.

She called for an end to the attacks on the Gaza Strip "which have so far caused thousands of civilian deaths and the forced displacement of Palestinians."

The decision by the government of leftist President Luis Arce comes amid an Israeli offensive following the Hamas October 7 terror attacks, which Israel says resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 people.

Bolivia had severed ties with Israel back in 2009, also in protest against its actions in Gaza. Ties were restored in 2020.

Skip next section US appoints Jacob Lew as new Israel ambassador
October 31, 2023

US appoints Jacob Lew as new Israel ambassador

The US Senate confirmed on Tuesday the appointment of former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew as ambassador to Israel.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced the appointment on social media.

"He has a distinguished record of public service and as a strong ally of Israel, and his confirmation will help send a powerful message of support to Israel," Schumer said.

Lew has promised to stand by Israel's leaders as they respond to the October 7 attacks by the militant group Hamas. 

Addressing senators in his confirmation hearing in mid-October, he said that "at this moment, there is no greater mission than to be asked to strengthen the ties between the United States and the state of Israel."

Lew was nominated by President Joe Biden last month.

Apart from serving as treasury secretary under Barack Obama, Lew also was the former president's chief of staff, and before that he was White House budget director under both Obama and President Bill Clinton.

Some Republicans had criticized Lew's role under the Obama administration, which coincided with negotiating a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran which later fell apart during former President Donald Trump's tenure.

"This is the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong place," said Idaho Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just before the vote on Lew's appointment. "The last thing we need is somebody who is very contrary to our view about how Iran should be handled."

Iran is seen as a chief supporter of Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist group by the US, the EU and Germany.

Skip next section EU's Borrell says 'urgent' need to relaunch peace process
October 31, 2023

EU's Borrell says 'urgent' need to relaunch peace process

The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed "great concern over attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians" in the occupied West Bank, his office said.

Borrell held talks with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt as well as the chief of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, his office said.

Borrell's office said he "discussed the urgent need to restore the political horizon and relaunch the peace process, and to achieve a permanent sustainable settlement to this conflict, based on the two-state solution, in order to prevent such tragedies from recurring again."

Brussels has repeatedly called for the protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip, as well as in Israel, following the Hamas terror attacks on October 7.

Israeli retaliatory air strikes have pounded the Gaza Strip with the aim of rooting out Hamas militants since the attack. Israeli military have also stepped up raids in the occupied West Bank since October 7.

At least 122 Palestinians have died since October 7 as a result of violence by Israeli forces and settlers, according to the Palestinian Authority-controlled Health Ministry in Ramallah.

Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 following the Six-Day War against Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

The Israeli army on Tuesday demolished the West Bank home of senior Hamas leader, Saleh al-Arouri.

Israeli military said its forces entered the village of Arura, near Ramallah, and shot at people "hurling" rocks towards them during the demolition.

Peace also has to be made with the Palestinians: Josep Borrell

Skip next section ​​​​​​​IDF confirms strike on refugee camp, says it was targeting Hamas commander — CNN
October 31, 2023

​​​​​​​IDF confirms strike on refugee camp, says it was targeting Hamas commander — CNN

Hours after the deadly blast in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, the IDF confirmed Israel had conducted an airstrike in the region.

"There was a very senior Hamas commander in that area," Israeli army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht told US broadcaster CNN.

"We're looking into it and we'll be coming out with more data as we learn what happened there."

Previously, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said the strike on the refugee camp killed 50 people and wounded around 150 more.


Skip next section FBI chief warns Israel-Hamas war raising threat levels in the US
October 31, 2023

FBI chief warns Israel-Hamas war raising threat levels in the US

The Hamas attack on Israel could inspire violence in the US, FBI Director Christopher Wray told US lawmakers.

"Our most immediate concern is that violent extremists, individuals or small groups, will draw inspiration from the events of the Middle East and carry out attacks against Americans going about their daily lives," he told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

"That includes not just homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization but also domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish or Muslim communities."

Israel-Hamas war sees US Jewish, Muslim communities on edge

The FBI chief noted reports of the killing of a six-year-old Muslim boy in Illinois, as well the arrest of a man who had allegedly been studying how to build bombs and posted about "killing Jews" online.

He also warned that the US Jewish community was targeted by "pretty much every terrorist organization across the spectrum."

At the same time, Wray noted that the FBI was not "currently tracking an imminent credible threat from a foreign terrorist organization."

Skip next section UN chief Guterres: International law not an 'a la carte menu'
October 31, 2023

UN chief Guterres: International law not an 'a la carte menu'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said protection of civilians was paramount "on both sides" and needed to be respected "at all times."

With Israel continuing its operations against Hamas, Guterres warned that he was "deeply concerned about the risk of a dangerous escalation" beyond Gaza.

"I repeat my utter condemnation of the acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October. There is never any justification for the killing, injuring and abduction of civilians,"  Guterres said in a statement, while also urging the release of civilian hostages held by Hamas.

At the same time, he referenced reports of mounting civilian victims of the Israel's response.

"I condemn the killing of civilians in Gaza and I am dismayed by reports that two-thirds of those who have been killed are women and children," Guterres said.

"International humanitarian law establishes clear rules that cannot be ignored. It is not an a la carte menu and cannot be applied selectively," warned the UN Secretary-General.

Guterres 'shocked by misinterpretations' of his statements

Israel has previously decried Guterres for his comments stating that the Hamas attack on October 7th "did not happen in a vacuum." Israel's UN envoy Gilad Erdan urged the UN chief to resign.

Skip next section Israel says two of its soldiers killed in Gaza
October 31, 2023

Israel says two of its soldiers killed in Gaza

As fighting in Gaza continues, the Israeli military said two of its soldiers were killed on Tuesday.

Both of the soldiers were sergeants in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and both of them were 20 years old, according to the military's website.

The IDF also said two other soldiers were injured.

Israeli troops have been conducting limited ground operations in Gaza in recent days, but the incursions have so far fallen short of a full-scale ground offensive.

Skip next section Protesters disrupt US Congress hearing, yell: 'Cease-fire now!'
October 31, 2023

Protesters disrupt US Congress hearing, yell: 'Cease-fire now!'

A group of protesters repeatedly interrupted a US congressional hearing on sending more aid to Israel.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to approve billions in security funding, including to Israel and Ukraine.

But a group of around two dozen protesters showed up at the proceedings, chanting slogans and raising hands stained with red paint. They chanted slogans including "Cease-fire now!", "Protect the children of Gaza" and "Stop funding genocide."

Protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza during a US Senate hearing, October 31, 2023
The protesters are angered by US backing of Israeli military actions in GazaImage: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

Capitol police eventually removed the group.

The US is Israel's most important security partner. 

After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a cease-fireyesterday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also said Washington did not believe "that a cease-fire is the right answer right now." Kirby instead urged "pauses" to get aid into Gaza.

Skip next section Hamas-run Health Ministry says 50 killed in Israeli bombing of Jabalia
October 31, 2023

Hamas-run Health Ministry says 50 killed in Israeli bombing of Jabalia

An Israeli airstrike killed 50 people and wounded around 150 at the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, according to a statement from the Gaza Health Ministry cited by the AFP news agency.

The head of Gaza's Indonesian Hospital also told the Al Jazeera broadcaster over 50 Palestinians were killed in the bombing of the densely populated area.

The Health Ministry is run by Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Israel and other governments.

Israeli officials did not immediately comment.

A group of people sorts through the wreckage after the airstrike on Jabalia
The refugee camp was located in a densely populated area of GazaImage: Anas al-Shareef /REUTERS

Earlier on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said over 8,500 people were killed in the Israeli strikes since October 7. Israel has been targeting Gaza in response to the Hamas attack which killed around 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials.

Skip next section War must not escalate into 'major regional conflict,' says NATO chief
October 31, 2023

War must not escalate into 'major regional conflict,' says NATO chief

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has condemned Hamas' attacks on Israel and said the Israeli response must respect international law.

"The suffering we have seen in recent weeks reminds us once again that we must not give up the work for a lasting, peaceful political solution to the conflict," Stoltenberg said in a speech at a meeting of the Nordic Council in Oslo.

"We condemn Hamas' terrorist attacks against Israel," he said. "At the same time it is important that Israel's response takes place within international law, that civilian lives are protected and that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza."

He also said it was important that Iran, Hezbollah and other groups did not abuse the situation and escalate the war "into a major regional conflict."

Skip next section Yemen's Houthi rebels vow to carry out more attacks on Israel
October 31, 2023

Yemen's Houthi rebels vow to carry out more attacks on Israel

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen say they have "launched a large batch of ballistic missiles ... and a large number of armed aircraft" towards Israel.

In a video message released Tuesday, the rebels said they would continue to carry out the attacks as long as the war against Hamas in Gaza continued.

"The Yemeni Armed Forces ... confirm that they will continue to carry out qualitative strikes with missiles and drones until the Israeli aggression stops," the message said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Israeli military said it shot down an approaching "aerial target" near the Red Sea city of Eilat.

Separately, the military said its forces used the 'Arrow' aerial defense system to intercept a surface-to-surface missile fired towards Israeli territory from the area of the Red Sea.

Earlier this month, a US Navy destroyer in the Red Sea intercepted cruise missiles and several drones launched toward Israel by the Houthis.

Skip next section Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says death toll passes 8,500
October 31, 2023

Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says death toll passes 8,500

At least 8,525 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said.

Two-thirds of those killed are women and children, with at least 3,542 children and 2,187 women among the dead. The number could not be independently verified.

Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra said 130 healthcare staff were killed and 15 hospitals are now out of service.

Israel began carrying out airstrikes on Gaza after Hamas militants staged a devastating terror attack on Israeli communities on October 7 that killed more than 1,400 people.  

Skip next section WHO warns of 'imminent public health catastrophe' in Gaza
October 31, 2023

WHO warns of 'imminent public health catastrophe' in Gaza

An official from the World Health Organization has told a press briefing in Geneva that people in Gaza are facing a looming "public health catastrophe."

Israel tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people, following the Hamas terror attacks on October 7.

Although more than 150 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies have been allowed to enter the territory from Egypt over the past few days, aid workers say it's not enough.

Damage to water and sanitation infrastructure, overcrowding and mass displacement are compounding an already dire humanitarian situation in the territory, they say.

The WHO spokesperson said fuel was urgently needed to run generators at clinics, to treat water and for emergency vehicles.

Israel's Netanyahu rejects calls for cease-fire in Gaza

At the same press briefing, a spokesperson from the UN children's agency UNICEF warned there was also the risk of infant deaths due to dehydration.

Just 5% of normal water supplies are currently available in Gaza, the spokesperson said.

Show more posts