Israeli forces conducted another ground raid in Gaza in advance of an expected invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory. U.S. warplanes, meanwhile, struck targets in eastern Syria after attacks on U.S. forces by Iran-backed fighters, adding to regional tensions fueled by the 3-week-old Gaza war.
The Palestinian death toll passed 7,000 as Israel launched waves of airstrikes in response to the bloody Hamas rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7. The Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which tracks the toll, released a detailed list including names and ID numbers Thursday. In the occupied West Bank, more than 110 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids since Oct. 7.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians slain during the initial Hamas attack. In addition, 224 people including foreigners, children and older adults were believed taken by Hamas during the incursion and remain in captivity in Gaza. Four hostages were released earlier.
1. U.S. strikes Iran-linked sites in Syria in retaliation for attacks on U.S. troops
2. Data from the Gaza Health Ministry, questioned after the hospital explosion, has withstood past scrutiny
3. Parts of Gaza look like a wasteland from space. Look for the misshapen buildings and swaths of gray
4. Palestinians plead “stop the bombs” at U.N. meeting, but Israel insists Hamas must be “obliterated.”
5. Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
US TARGETED 2 LOCATIONS TIED TO IRAN-BACKED FIGHTERS, ACTIVISTS SAY
BEIRUT — The U.S. airstrikes on Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour targeted two locations where Iran-backed fighters are based, according to Syrian opposition activists.
Omar Abu Layla, a Europe-based activist who heads the Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet, said the main target was an area known as the farms just outside the town of Mayadeen. The site had been evacuated and no one was hurt, he said.
The second strike early Friday hit an area known as the “green belt” in the Boukamal area that borders Iraq, he said.
“These strikes were expected because of the repeated provocative acts,” said Abu Layla referring to attacks that targeted U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria.
Abu Layal said the farms area is an important point where weapons brought from Iran are stored and then shipped to other areas in Lebanon.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, also reported strikes on the farms area near Mayadeen and Ashara near the border with Iraq. The Observatory said ambulances were seen rushing to the area, but it was not clear if there were casualties.
The Pentagon said the airstrikes targeted two locations linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps in retaliation for drone and missile attacks against U.S. bases and personnel in the region.
UNGA SESSION ON THE WAR RESUMES FRIDAY MORNING
UNITED NATIONS — “Stop the bombs and save lives!” the Palestinian ambassador pleaded at an emotional U.N. meeting Thursday on the war in Gaza. But Israel’s envoy was adamant, declaring again, “We will not rest until Hamas is obliterated.”
The war sparked by Gaza’s Hamas rulers’ surprise attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 played out in the vast hall of the 193-nation General Assembly, where Arab nations expected to adopt a resolution Friday calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza after the Security Council’s four failed attempts to agree on any action.
At the assembly’s resumed emergency special session, speaker after speaker backed the Arab resolution’s cease-fire call — except for Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan, who told the 193-member world body, “A cease-fire means giving Hamas time to rearm itself, so they can massacre us again.”
The emergency General Assembly meeting resumes Friday morning, with about 100 speakers remaining.
The resolution being putting to a vote in the afternoon calls for an immediate cease-fire and demands that all parties respect international law and protect civilians. General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding. But they do reflect world opinion and the size of the vote in favor will be closely watched.
EGYPTIAN STATE MEDIA SAYS 5 HURT IN EXPLOSION AT RESORT TOWN ON BORDER WITH ISRAEL
An explosion hit the Egyptian resort town of Taba on the border with Israel, wounding five people, Egyptian state-run media outlet Al Qahera News reported early Friday.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, and The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the details.