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Israel-Hamas war: Fears of ‘unimaginable’ humanitarian crisis in Gaza grow further

As Israel sends tanks across the border into the Gaza Strip, fears that it will tip over the brink into a hellish new crisis are growing fast.

Welcome back to our live coverage of the war between Israel and Hamas.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) carried out a “targeted raid” in Gaza overnight, with tanks rolling into the Strip. It said the raid was carried out as “preparation for the next stage of combat”.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said a date has been set for a ground incursion into Gaza – but has refused to reveal how many troops will enter the area or when it will begin.

In a televised address, the Israeli Prime Minister described the war against the Palestinian terror group as a battle of “light” versus “darkness” and said Israel would “realise the prophecy of Isaiah”.

It comes as human rights organisations warn not enough aid is making it into Gaza, with the WHO saying an “unimaginable catastrophe” is looming.

‘There’ll be an explosion’: ‘Unimaginable’ disaster looms

Israel has been accused of “politicising” the humanitarian aid it’s allowing into Gaza, and limiting it to such an extent that an “explosion” of refugees is becoming inevitable.

Several dozen trucks carrying aid have been allowed into the Gaza Strip via its border with Egypt in recent days. Human rights advocates claim it’s nowhere near enough.

“They are politicising the aid. They have put conditions on the type of aid that is allowed into Gaza. They are asking Palestinians to choose between water or food,” Tamer Qamout, a professor of public policy at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, told Al-Jazeera.

“All these items are crucial. It is a crime, by all means.

“They are also keeping the scale very low. They are building the momentum for a huge crisis. There will be an explosion. There will be hundreds of thousands of people, at some point, marching to Egypt if aid is not scaled up.

“We are heading into a disaster.”

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation has renewed its calls for “immediate and uninterrupted access into and across Gaza”, saying its “ailing health system” needs to be revived urgently.

“Without fuel, medicines and health supplies, Gaza’s hospitals are on the precipice of an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe,” it said.

Israel’s plans will ‘take years’

Benny Gantz, a former Israeli general who joined the country’s war cabinet in the wake of Hamas’s attacks on October 7, has issued yet another blunt warning to foreign groups that might consider interfering in the conflict.

“The danger of destruction will not be our destiny, but rather the fate of those who would do evil to us,” he said.

The message was presumably aimed mostly at Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon, which has been trading sporadic fire with Israeli positions across the border for weeks. Israel does not want a second front to open on its northern border while it is busy fighting Hamas down in the south.

Gantz said the anticipated ground invasion of Gaza would be merely one step in a years-long process to secure southern Israel.

“The battle against Gazan terror will continue within the Strip’s territory, going deep, anywhere and at any time required to ensure security for the communities that will be restored and rebuilt in the region,” he said.

“The manoeuvre will be but one stage of a long process that will include defensive, diplomatic and social aspects, (and) that will take years.”

‘Excruciating decision’ must be made

The United Nations agency helping displaced Palestinians in the Gaza Strip says its supply of fuel, which it has been sharing, will run out today unless it makes an “excruciating” choice.

The fuel has been used to help hospitals keep vital equipment, like life support machines and incubators, working. It’s also been used to power bakeries, ensuring people in shelters can be fed. But there isn’t enough fuel left to continue doing all of those things at once.

“Do we give (it to) the incubators or the bakeries? It is an excruciating decision,” a spokeswoman, Tamara Alrifai, told The Associated Press.

The World Health Organisation says a third of Gaza’s hospitals have already stopped running.

Israel conducts overnight ‘targeted raid’ in Gaza
The Israel Defence Force have conducted a “targeted” night raid in northern Gaza, with tanks seen rolling into the area ahead of the “next stages” of conflict.

“Overnight, the IDF conducted a targeted raid using tanks in the northern Gaza Strip, as part of preparations for the next stages of combat,” the army said in a statement on X.

During the raid, the military said tanks and infantry struck a number of terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts.

Accompanying footage shows bulldozers and tanks driving into northern Gaza, before armoured vehicles fire at a number of targets.

“The soldiers exited the area at the end of the activity,” the IDF said.

The IDF said the raid was part of “preparations for the next stages of combat”. Picture: IDF/X

The IDF said the raid was part of “preparations for the next stages of combat”

The IDF said they struck a number of terrorist cells, infrastructure. Picture: IDF/X
The IDF said they struck a number of terrorist cells, infrastructure.

‘Complicity in genocide’: Law firm threatens legal action against PM
The Prime Minister and federal government have been threatened with legal action by a Sydney-based law firm acting on behalf of Palestinian Australians.

Birchgrove Legal has sent a letter of demand to Anthony Albanese saying the government “appears to have contravened domestic and international law” over its stance on Israel and warned it was considering whether comments made by senior ministers amounted to “complicity in genocide and other crimes”.

The 32-page letter, included public statements made by the prime minister, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Defence Minister Richard Marles, and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, including Mr Albanese’s October 10 statement that, “we will stand with Israel, we always will”.

The letter issues a series of demands to avoid legal action being taken, stating: “Immediate action must be taken to ensure that Australian government policy towards the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza complies with international law and places the core humanitarian principles of proportionality, distinction, precaution and humanity at its heart.”

Birchgrove Legal solicitor Rita Jabri Markwell told radio station 3AW while it’s “within the right of Australian government ministers to stand with an ally” the line is crossed when the government is “standing with an ally that is acting outside the bonds of the rules of law”.

“Under international criminal law if you know that another country is committing a crime, and you don’t say anything or you say just encouraging things and give moral support, that can have an encouraging effect on the person. And if they’re aware of your support, that brings you into the bounds of being complicit,” she said.

“We’ve called for Albanese to issue a statement which acknowledges the breaches by Israel of international law, and… to take all means available to the Australian government to protect civilians in Gaza.”

The letter threatened egal action against Anthony Albanese and the federal government. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman

The letter threatened egal action against Anthony Albanese and the federal government.

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