Update(1318ET): The Israeli death toll is rising, and Hamas has claimed to have ambushed and destroyed several tanks as they plunge deeper into Gaza City, also amid building to building searches for the hostages.
15 Israeli soldiers have now been killed in the Gaza operation, the IDF has announced Wednesday, which in total marks 320 total troops killed since the Oct. 7th massacre (and with over 1,100 more Israeli and foreign civilians).
Hamas military wing publish scenes showing its members blowing up several Israeli tanks and vehicles south Zaitoun Neighborhood, Gaza city. pic.twitter.com/j2kslyqSv1— Younis Tirawi | يونس (@ytirawi) November 1, 2023
Widely circulating footage shows Knesset members crying after a closed-door session (below), leading to speculation that Israeli troops could be sustaining higher than known casualty rates.
But the emotional scene is reportedly due to a special viewing in parliament of newly compiled footage of the Oct.7 terror attacks, as The Times of Israel details:
A compilation of raw footage documenting Hamas’s grisly October 7 rampage through the western Negev was screened Wednesday for Knesset members. The 43-minute-long video was produced by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office and shows uncensored, difficult-to-watch videos, many taken from terrorists’ bodycams.
After a request from Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana to the military, lawmakers were granted permission to hold a closed-door screening of the footage where recording and cellphones were not allowed.
Ohana, speaking before the screening, said that he had arranged the event so that Israeli lawmakers would “know who and what we are facing,” and so that “we will all know how much our path in this war against this evil is justified,” according to sources familiar with the event.
...More than 50 MKs were in attendance, and some broke down in tears, including Ra’am head Mansour Abbas, the Maariv news outlet reported.
Knesset members were spotted crying after their session. IDF casualties mounting? pic.twitter.com/c7Uq4Q2Ys7— Mats Nilsson (@mazzenilsson) November 1, 2023
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The Israel Defense Forces has said it is in close quarters combat with Hamas as troops push further into Gaza, resulting in an announced Tuesday death toll of eleven. By early Wednesday that figure rose to 13 Israeli soldiers killed, after Israel's defense minister warned of the "heavy toll" which would be paid by troops in the operation to eradicate Hamas.
As the death toll among Gazans approaches 9,000, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has lashed out at Israel's airstrikes and massive civilian casualties. Borrel says he is "appalled by the high number of casualties following the bombing by Israel of the Jabalia refugee camp." Jabalia camp has reportedly been struck again, a day after the initial massive attack which had killed at least 52 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
But Israel's military said that its Jabalia strike had taken out a top Hamas commander and other Hamas officers, and said Israeli decision-makers took into account the harm to civilians in the densely populated urban area.
On Wednesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed condolences for the IDF's fallen soldiers along side other leaders. He said "We are in a tough war. This will be a long war. We have important achievements, but also painful losses."
According to more from his message: "We know that every one of our soldiers is an entire world. All of Israel embraces you, the families, from the bottom of our hearts. All of us are with you during this time of mourning. Our soldiers fell in a war where there was no justice, a war for our home," he said. "I promise you, the citizens of Israel: we will complete the task - we will continue until victory."
IDF troops have begun the slow process of going door to door as they search for the missing Israeli and foreign hostages, which is up to 240, according to new military statements. Hamas has issued new statements claiming Israeli airstrikes killed a group of hostages. "Seven detainees were killed in the Jabalia massacre yesterday, including three holders of foreign passports," said a Hamas statement issued from its military wing.
IDF releases new footage of ground forces operating in the Gaza Strip. pic.twitter.com/mXQrHNaQXL— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 1, 2023
But the "painful losses" are mounting in much greater numbers for the Palestinian side, and civilians are bearing the brunt of suffering. International outrage and pressure has mounted on Tel Aviv, which has voiced that has warned Gaza civilians they must move to the southern half of the Strip if they want to escape the bombs. According to a fresh Gaza health ministry update as republished in Al Jazeera:
- The number of people killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza has gone up to 8,796, including 3,648 children and 2,290 women.
- At least 22,219 people have been wounded.
- There are 2,030 reports of people missing including 1,020 children buried under the rubble.
- 130 paramedics and medical crew have been killed, 28 ambulances have been destroyed, and there have been more than 270 attacks on the healthcare system in Gaza.
- 16 hospitals out of 35 are out of operation, and 51 out of 72 primary healthcare clinics have shut down.
- In the occupied West Bank, 128 Palestinians have been killed and at least 1,980 have been wounded.
There has meanwhile been a rare positive development on the humanitarian front. For the first time since the start of the war, foreigners and wounded Palestinians have been allowed to exit Gaza through the Rafah crossing into Egypt.
Some 500 foreign passport holders had reportedly been stuck at Rafah crossing for weeks since the start of the conflict after Oct.7. The area near the crossing had also been bombed by Israeli jets on several occasions. Ambulances have been observed Wednesday ferrying the wounded into Egypt.
Hundreds are foreign passport holders are also belatedly being let through, among them Americans. "At least five NGO workers who have been confirmed as Americans are listed as approved to cross on Wednesday but it remains to be seen how many of at least 400 American citizens the U.S. State Department says are stuck in Gaza will be able to cross in coming days," CBS News reports. Some have lashed out at Washington over the lack of serious evacuation efforts in place for those dual nationals stuck in Gaza:
"They started letting foreigners out today but it's not Americans because I guess we're not as important as we thought," Utah resident Susan Beseiso told CBS News on Wednesday.
"The American Embassy and the State Department haven't called us since the last time we went to the border and got bombed four times. They haven't been communicating with us or doing anything to get us out," Beseiso said.
"It's like they're holding us hostages — not Hamas holding us hostages — it's the IDF soldiers, Egypt and America. They're using us as a human shield in a way."
Finally, people are starting to exit the Gaza Strip into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after delays upon delays pic.twitter.com/ufiSQN1ehc— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) November 1, 2023
The fresh evacuees are undergoing security checks on the Egyptian side. Among those exiting include Palestinians holding Austrian, Bulgarian, Indonesian, Japanese Jordanian, Italian, Greek, Australian and Czech citizenships, and many others. Various nationals working for several NGOs are also on the departure list.
According to The Times of Israel, "A source briefed on the development told Reuters that the evacuations were agreed on in a deal mediated by Qatar between Egypt, Israel and Hamas in coordination with the US."