Advertisement

Main road in Gaza a 'battlefield'

Gaza’s main road is a “battlefield,” the Israel Defense Forces has said, as it claimed it was opening a new humanitarian corridor for civilians to evacuate.

The advance of Israeli forces in the north and east of Khan Younis means civilians can no longer travel along the Salah al-Din road that runs through the Palestinian territory, it said.

The road “constitutes a battlefield, so it is extremely dangerous to go there”, it said.

The IDF said it had opened a new bypass route for civilians to the west of Khan Younis.

It comes as Israeli tanks pushed further south into the Gaza Strip.


04:52 PM GMT

Today's blog is now closed

Thank you for reading Monday’s live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war.

Today’s top developments:

  • Israeli tanks pushed south into the Gaza Strip as the IDF begins a new phase of the war. Israel said the IDF is coming “face-to-face with terrorists and killing them.”

  • Israel ordered residents of Khan Younis - the main city - to evacuate ahead of intense bombardment

  • Israel claims it carried out 200 overnight strikes across Gaza, including striking a “terror structure” at a school

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Argentine President-elect Javier Milei and thanked him for his intention to move Argentina’s embassy to Jerusalem

  • A US warship came under attack in the Red Sea in an escalation of a series of maritime attacked linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

  • Israel accused Iran and proxies such as Yemen’s Houthi Rebels of “directly jeopardising global commerce and maritime security” by targeting commercial ships in key trade routes

  • The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip on Monday said 15,899 people had died in the Palestinian territory since the start of the war with Israel, with 42,000 wounded.

  • An unconfirmed report by a Palestinian news agency claimed 50 people were killed by an Israeli strike on two schools where displaced people were sheltering

Please join us again tomorrow for the latest updates on the Israel-Hamas war. 


04:35 PM GMT

Palestinian Christian spreads Christmas cheer

Issa Kassissieh, the only accredited Santa Claus in Israel, visited Jerusalem on Monday in his festive attire.

Mr Kassissieh hopes his presence will bring joy to children amid the ongoing war.

Palestinian Christian Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, rides a camel on the Mt. of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem
Palestinian Christian Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, rides a camel on the Mt. of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem

04:25 PM GMT

Pictures from the conflict

A convoy of Israeli tanks maneuvers near Israel's border with Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas,
A convoy of Israeli tanks maneuvers near Israel's border with Gaza
An Israeli soldier gestures towards a tank crew member as it crosses a road, as part of the convoy, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, near Israel's border with southern Gaza
Israeli soldier gestures towards a tank crew member as it crosses a road near the country's border with Gaza

04:21 PM GMT

50 killed in Israeli strike on two schools, Palestinian news agency claims

A strike reportedly hit two schools sheltering displaced people in the Daraj neighbourhood in the north of Gaza City, the WAFA agency said.

The reports have not yet been verified. A spokesperson for the Israeli army said it was looking into the claims.

Earlier on Monday, Israel ordered Palestinians to leave parts of Gaza’s main southern city, Khan Younis.


03:47 PM GMT

Israel accuses Iran of threatening international trade


03:41 PM GMT

Turkey warns Israel: don’t target Hamas on our soil

Turkey has warned Israel of “serious consequences” if it tries to target Hamas members living outside Palestinian territories, including in Turkey, a Turkish intelligence official said on Monday.

”Necessary warnings were made to the interlocutors based on the news of Israeli officials’ statements, and it was expressed to Israel that (such an act) would have serious consequences,” the official said.

Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reported on Sunday that the head of Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet said the country would hunt down Hamas in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar, even if it takes years.

It was unclear when Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar made the remarks or to whom. 


03:30 PM GMT

Israel and Palestine accuse each other of “genocide” at UN

Both sides made the claims at a UN Human Rights Council event in Geneva ahead of the 75th anniversary of the convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“The attacks by Hamas on October 7 were motivated by a genocidal ideology,” Yeela Cytrin, a legal advisor at the Israeli mission in Geneva, told the diplomats.

Meanwhile, Palestinian representative Dima Asfour insisted the “man-made catastrophe” resulting from Israel’s massive bombing campaign and ground offensive was “a textbook case of genocide”.


03:16 PM GMT

Palestinians flee from Khan Yunis after Israel tells civilians to evacuate

Palestinian flee from Khan Yunis to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023, after the Israeli army called on people to leave certain areas in the city, as battles between Israel and Hamas militants continue
Palestinian flee from Khan Yunis to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023, after the Israeli army called on people to leave certain areas in the city, as battles between Israel and Hamas militants continue

02:54 PM GMT

Netanyahu thanks Milei for his support of Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Argentine President-elect Javier Milei and thanked him for his intention to move Argentina’s embassy to Jerusalem, Mr Netanyahu’s office said.

Mr Netanyahu congratulated Mr Milei on his election win and thanked him for his support of Israel during the war with Hamas.

“The prime minister thanked the president-elect for his intention to move the Argentina embassy to Jerusalem, and invited him to visit in Israel,” it said.


02:50 PM GMT

Gaza map


02:36 PM GMT

15,899 people killed in Gaza, claims Hamas-run health ministry

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip on Monday said 15,899 people had died in the Palestinian territory since the start of the war with Israel, with 42,000 wounded.

Among the victims, 70 per cent were women and children, it added.

The latest figures come as the Red Cross president called for the protection of civilians in Gaza, warning that the human suffering there was “intolerable”.


02:16 PM GMT

Israeli tanks push south in new phase of war

Israeli tanks have pushed south into the Gaza Strip as the IDF begins a new phase in the war.

The press towards the main city of Khan Younis came after Israel ordered many of its residents to evacuate, telling people to head further south amid intense aerial bombardment.

Israeli forces largely captured the northern half of Gaza in November, and since a week-long truce collapsed on Friday they have swiftly pushed deep into the southern half.

Witnesses told the AFP news agency that dozens of Israeli tanks had entered the enclave near Khan Younis on Monday.

The road that divides the city from Deir al-Balah further north has reportedly been cut off.

Many of those who have taken shelter in Khan Younis were displaced from other areas in the central and northern Gaza Strip during the first phase of Israel’s ground offensive.


02:03 PM GMT

Pictured: Relatives of the victims of the Israeli attacks on Nuseirat refugee camp

Relatives of the victims of the Israeli attacks on Nuseirat refugee camp
Relatives of the victims of the Israeli attacks on Nuseirat refugee camp - Anadolu/Anadolu

01:46 PM GMT

Main Gaza road is 'battlefield,' says IDF

Gaza’s main road is a “battlefield,” the Israel Defense Forces has said, as it warned it was taking “aggresive” action against Hamas in Khan Yunis.

The advance of Israeli forces meant that in the north and east of the city, civilians could no longer travel along the Salah al-Din road that runs through the Palestinian territory, it said.

The road “constitutes a battlefield, so it is extremely dangerous to go there”, it warned.

The IDF said it had opened a new humanitarian corridor to the west of Khan Yunis.


01:29 PM GMT

IDF blow up Gaza's main courthouse

Israel has blown up Hamas’s main courthouse in Gaza, footage appears to show, as its forces pushed south in a new phase of their offensive.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) demolished the building in the central Gaza Strip, known as the Justice Palace, in a “controlled blast”, The Times of Israel reported.

It comes nearly two weeks after the Israeli army’s Nahal Brigade captured the site.

The Telegraph has not been able to independently verify the footage.


01:20 PM GMT

Israeli goals in northern Gaza 'almost met,' says commander

The commander of Israel’s armoured corps said that his and other ground forces were close to achieving their war mission in the northern Gaza Strip and were operating elsewhere in the Palestinian enclave against Hamas.

“The goals in the northern section have almost been met,” Brigadier-General Hisham Ibrahim told Israel’s Army Radio.

“We are beginning to expand the ground maneouvre to other parts of the Strip, with one goal: to topple the Hamas terrorist group.”

The military released footage of troops patrolling in tanks and on foot, in fields and in badly damaged urban areas, and firing from weapons, without specifying the location in Gaza.


12:45 PM GMT

Suffering in Gaza 'intolerable,' says Red Cross chief

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said that she had arrived in war-torn Gaza, warning that the suffering in the Palestinian territory was “intolerable”.

“I repeat our urgent call for civilians to be protected in line with the laws of war and for aid to enter unimpeded,” Mirjana Spoljaric said on X, formerly Twitter, adding that “the hostages must be released and ICRC allowed to safely visit them”.

“It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible,” she added in an ICRC statement.


12:23 PM GMT

WHO board to hold emergency session on Gaza health situation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will hold an extraordinary session of its Executive Board on Dec. 10 to discuss health conditions in the Occupied Palestinian territory, a document from the UN global health agency showed on Monday.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had convened the session after receiving a request from 14 members of the WHO’s board, the WHO document said.

A WHO spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


11:48 AM GMT

Guarantee 'realistic' protection to Gaza civilians, Berlin urges Israel

Germany has urged Israel to guarantee “realistic” protection to civilians in the Gaza Strip, as Israel moved ground forces into the south of the territory in its war on Hamas.

Smoke billowing after an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip
Smoke billowing after an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip - JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP

“Something we expect from Israel is that they not only urge civilians to leave the danger zone, but that they are in a realistic position to find safe shelter elsewhere,” foreign ministry spokesman Sebastian Fischer told a regular press briefing.

“Too many civilians have already been killed in this war,” he said.


11:41 AM GMT

IDF fighting Hamas 'across Gaza' after pushing into south

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says it is fighting Hamas across the Gaza Strip after pushing into the enclave’s south.

“The IDF continues to extend its ground operation against Hamas centres in all of the Gaza Strip,” spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv.

“The forces are coming face-to-face with terrorists and killing them.”

Hamas said it had engaged Israeli troops one mile from the southern city of Khan Younis. Residents told Reuters they could hear tank fire.

On Sunday, the IDF ordered civilians to evacuate some areas in and near the city but made no announcement of any new southern ground assault.

It marked the clearest indication yet that Israel has now started its widely expected planned ground offensive in southern Gaza as its renewed offensive enters its fourth day.


11:14 AM GMT

Pictured: Palestinian citizens inspect the destruction caused by air strikes on their homes in Khan Yunis, Gaza

Palestinian citizens inspect the destruction caused by air strikes on their homes in Khan Yunis, Gaza
Palestinian citizens inspect the destruction caused by air strikes on their homes in Khan Yunis, Gaza - Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images Europe

11:00 AM GMT

We are not ignoring hostage families, insists Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu has denied claims that he is ignoring the hostage families [see post at 10:14].

The Israeli Prime Minister said a meeting between the war cabinet and the families of the hostages was already scheduled for Wednesday, a statement from his office said.

“Due to the request from the families, the possibility of bringing it forward is being examined,” the statement said.


10:33 AM GMT

Six Thai hostages back from Gaza

A second group of Thai hostages who were released by Hamas in the Gaza Strip were brought home on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Families of the six Thai farmer workers rushed to hug their loved ones at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

“I’m glad to be back,” said Owat Suriyasri, 40, thanking the governments of Thailand and Israel.

One of the returnees sustained injuries in the abdomen while being held by Hamas, according to Thailand’s Labour Ministry.


10:14 AM GMT

Hostage families demand to meet with Cabinet

Families of hostages who remain in Gaza are demanding to meet with the Israeli cabinet this evening.

Yael Adar, the mother of the hostage Tamir Adar, said the families wanted reassurance that freeing the hostages was the government’s priority,.

“All we ask is that the cabinet meet with us today, we deserve it, this ignoring us is humiliating,” she told a press conference, noting that families would meet at the entrance to the IDF Defence Ministry and stay there.

“If they don’t meet with us by eight tonight we will need to ask what look into what to do to step up our protests,” she added.


09:42 AM GMT

Erdogan says Netanyahu will be tried as war criminal

Benjamin Netanyahu will be tried as a war criminal over Israel’s ongoing offensive in the Gaza Strip, Turkey’s president has said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech that Gaza is Palestinian land and will always belong to the Palestinians.

Mr Erdogan was speaking in Istanbul at a meeting of the standing committee for economic and commercial cooperation, part of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).


09:13 AM GMT

Pictured: Young children injured in Israeli airstrikes arrive at hospital

Young children injured in Israeli airstrikes arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital
Young children injured in Israeli airstrikes arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital - Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images Europe

09:03 AM GMT

75 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza since war began

The Israeli army said three more soldiers had been killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip, raising the number of troop deaths there to 75 since the war began.

All three died in northern Gaza on Sunday, the military said.

The deaths brought the total number of Israeli defence personnel killed since October 7 - among them those who died in the Hamas attacks themselves, and including soldiers, reservists, kibbutz guards and others - to 401.


09:02 AM GMT

UNICEF: 'A night of utterly relentless bombardment'

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder has posted a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, in Khan Younis.

In a separate video posted yesterday, he said: “I feel like I’m almost failing in my ability to convey the endless killing of children here.”


08:32 AM GMT

Three Israeli soldiers injured in shelling from Lebanon

Three Israeli solders were injured in shelling from Lebanon overnight, the Israel Defense Forces has said.

“Overnight, a number of mortal shell launches from Lebanon toward IDF posts in the area of Shtula were identified.

“As a result, three IDF soldiers were lightly injured and evacuated to receive medical treatment,” it said.

Further shelling from Lebanon was identified this morning, the Israeli army said, adding that in response its troops “struck the sources of the fire.”


08:19 AM GMT

We are not trying to displace anyone, says Israel

Israel said it was not seeking to force Palestinian civilians to permanently leave their homes, even as it acknowledged conditions in the besieged Gaza Strip were “tough”.

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said: “We are not trying to displace anyone, we are not trying to move anybody from anywhere permanently.

“We have asked civilians to evacuate the battlefield and we have provided a designated humanitarian zone inside the Gaza Strip,” he said, referring to a tiny coastal area of the territory named Al-Mawasi, as he acknowledged the situation in Gaza was “tough”.

“We are perfectly aware that there is limited space and limited access and that is why it is so important to have the buy-in and support of international humanitarian organisations to help with the infrastructure in the Al-Mawasi area,” he added.

In its latest estimate, OCHA said around 1.8 million people in Gaza, roughly 75 per cent of the population, had been displaced, many to overcrowded and unsanitary shelters.


08:15 AM GMT

Israel issues new orders to Gazans to evacuate to areas further south

Avichay Adraee, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman for the Arab media, issued a directive for residents of certain blocks to evacuate to shelters.

He attached a map, dividing the Gaza Strip into areas and neighbourhoods.


07:51 AM GMT

Israel claims it carried out 200 overnight strikes across Gaza

Israel claims it carried out 200 strikes overnight across Gaza.

In a statement on Telegram, the Israel Defense Forces claimed troops struck “terror infrastructure” inside a school in Beit Hanoun.

“In addition, an IDF aircraft struck vehicles containing missiles, mortar shells, and weapons, thwarting an imminent attack against IDF soldiers,” it said. “An additional IDF aircraft struck military infrastructure designated for ambushing the troops with anti-tank missiles.”


07:35 AM GMT

Pictured: Aftermath of an Israeli strike in Khan Younis

Palestinians inspect a house destroyed in an Israeli strike in Khan Younis
Palestinians inspect a house destroyed in an Israeli strike in Khan Younis - IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS
Palestinians displaced due to Israeli attacks take refuge in Nasser Hospital as the attacks continue in Khan Yunis, Gaza
Palestinians displaced due to Israeli attacks take refuge in Nasser Hospital as the attacks continue in Khan Yunis, Gaza - Anadolu/Anadolu

07:28 AM GMT

Israeli medical committee declares some Gaza hostages dead in absentia

Israel has been declaring some of the missing as dead in captivity, a measure designed to grant anxious relatives some closure.

A three-person medical committee has been poring over videos from the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas-led Palestinian gunmen in southern Israel for signs of lethal injuries among those abducted, and cross-referencing with the testimony of hostages freed during a week-long Gaza truce that ended on Friday.

That can suffice to determine that a hostage has died, even if no doctor has formally pronounced this over his or her body, said Hagar Mizrahi, a Health Ministry official who heads the panel created in response to a crisis now in its third month.

“Designation of death is never an easy matter, and certainly not in the situation embroiling us,” she told Israel’s Kan radio. Her committee, she said, addresses “the desire of the families of loved ones abducted to Gaza to know as much as possible”.

Of some 240 people kidnapped, 108 were freed by Hamas in return for the release by Israel of scores of Palestinian detainees as well as boosted humanitarian aid shipments to Gaza.


07:26 AM GMT

US warship among vessels attacked in Red Sea

A US warship came under attack in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said on Sunday, in an escalation of a series of maritime attacks linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

Several other commercial vessels came under fire off the coast of Yemen, including a UK-owned ship hit by rocket fire.

A US military statement said guided-missile destroyer USS Carney shot down three drones in the attacks after responding to calls for assistance.

Read more here

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.