'Far too many Palestinians have been killed,' Blinken says; Gaza health ministry says hospitals hit in strikes

Ruxandra Iordache
Katrina Bishop

This is CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the Israel-Hamas war. Follow the latest updates here.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that more progress is necessary in preventing the deaths of Palestinian civilians and supplying humanitarian assistance.

Speaking at a press briefing in New Delhi, where he traveled for broader diplomatic talks, he said: "This is a process, and it's not always flipping a light switch. But we have seen progress, we just need to see more of it, and we need to maximize every effort to prevent Palestinian deaths and to advance the humanitarian assistance that's getting to them."

An aerial view shows the compound of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 7, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP) (Photo by BASHAR TALEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, a number of Gaza City hospitals were targeted in early strikes by Israeli forces Friday, according to Palestinian health officials.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas-led Gaza Ministry of Health, said " simultaneous raids" were launched on medical facilities, including Al-Shifa, the city's largest hospital. CNBC was unable to verify the reports.

More CNBC coverage of the Israel-Hamas war

Fri, Nov 10 2023 8:30 PM EST

Al Shifa hospital director: 'Israel is now launching a war on Gaza City hospitals'

Patients and internally displaced people are pictured at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 10, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. Heavy fighting was raging near Al-Shifa hospital, with Israel saying it had killed dozens of militants and destroyed tunnels that are key to Hamas's capacity to fight. Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas fighters poured across the heavily militarised border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages. (Photo by Khader Al Zanoun / AFP) (Photo by KHADER AL ZANOUN/AFP via Getty Images)

"Israel is now launching a war on Gaza City hospitals," said Mohammad Abu Selmeyah, director of Al Shifa hospital.

He said later that at least 25 people were killed in Israeli strikes on Al-Buraq school in Gaza City, where people whose homes had been destroyed were sheltering.

Gaza officials said missiles landed in the courtyard of Al Shifa, the enclave's biggest hospital, in the early hours, damaged the Indonesian Hospital and reportedly set fire to the Nasser Rantissi pediatrics cancer hospital.

Israel's military said later that a misfired projectile launched by Palestinian militants in Gaza had hit Shifa.

The hospitals are in northern Gaza, where Israel says the Hamas militants who attacked it last month are concentrated, and are full of displaced people as well as patients and doctors.

Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said the Hamas headquarters was in Shifa hospital's basement, which meant the hospital could lose its protected status and become a legitimate target.

Israel says Hamas hides weapons in tunnels under hospitals, charges Hamas denies.

Israeli tanks, which have been advancing through northern Gaza for almost two weeks, have taken up positions around the Nasser Rantissi hospital as well as the Al-Quds hospital, medical staff said earlier, raising the alarm.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said Israel had bombed Shifa hospital buildings five times.

"One Palestinian was killed and several were wounded in the early morning attack," he said by phone. Videos verified by Reuters showed scenes of panic and people covered in blood.

Reuters

Fri, Nov 10 2023 7:48 PM EST

Israel lowers Oct. 7 death toll to 1,200 people, ministry says

A woman looks at newly dug graves for the victims of the October 7th attack during the funeral of Albert Miles, 80, who was killed in his home in Kibbutz Beeri in the deadly infiltration of Israel by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, at the cemetery in Kibbutz Revivim, in southern Israel, October 30, 2023. 

Israel's Foreign Ministry says the official death toll in Hamas' bloody Oct. 7 cross-border attack into Israel has been lowered to 1,200 people.

Israeli officials have previously estimated the death toll at 1,400.

The ministry gave no reason for the revision. But an Israeli official said the number had been changed after a painstaking weekslong process to identify bodies, many of which were mutilated or burned.

The official said the final death toll could still change. He said a number of bodies have not been identified and it is unclear whether all of the nearly 240 hostages believed to be held by Hamas are still alive.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity pending an official government announcement.

Associated Press

Fri, Nov 10 2023 7:01 PM EST

UN: 'Half of Gaza's 36 hospitals' are not functioning at all

Palestinians injured as a result of the attacks of the Israeli army are being taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, in Gaza City, Gaza on November 10, 2023. Israeli attacks continue on the 35th day in Gaza.

The World Health Organization says 20 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are no longer functioning, including a pediatric hospital that has stopped operations after a reported Israeli strike in the area.

WHO spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris said Friday that Rantisi Children's hospital in the north of the enclave was no longer operating, and it was not immediately clear what has happened to the patients inside.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said earlier that Israeli forces had struck overnight the area around Shifa Medical Complex, the largest hospital in Gaza, killing six Palestinians, and bombed areas near several other hospitals including the Rantisi hospital.

"If there is a hell on earth today, its name is northern Gaza."

— Jens Laerke, U.N. humanitarian agency spokesperson

Harris said WHO does not try to assign responsibility for strikes.

Harris said some children had been receiving care such as dialysis and life support which doesn't allow for their safe evacuation.

She added that "hospitals never should be a target."

"If there is a hell on earth today, its name is northern Gaza," the U.N. humanitarian agency spokesperson, Jens Laerke, told reporters in Geneva.

Associated Press

Fri, Nov 10 2023 5:35 PM EST

Columbia University suspends Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace chapters

Columbia University has suspended their student chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) through the end of the fall term, according to a statement.

"This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated University policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation," said Gerald Rosberg, Columbia's senior executive vice president and chair of the Special Committee on Campus Safety.

This means that both groups will not be allowed to hold events on campus or receive university funding, according to Rosberg.

"Lifting the suspension will be contingent on the two groups demonstrating a commitment to compliance with University policies and engaging in consultations at a group leadership level with University officials," Rosberg said.

Associated Press

Fri, Nov 10 2023 11:26 AM EST

Photos show Palestinians fleeing south from Gaza City as Israeli troops enter city

Palestinian families flee Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza toward the southern areas amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.

Thousands of Palestinians have been fleeing heavy combat between Hamas militants and the Israeli military in Gaza City a month after Hamas, based in the Gaza Strip, entered southern Israel on October 7, in an unprecedented attack triggering a war declared by Israel on Hamas with retaliatory bombings on Gaza.

Palestinian families fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas, walk along a road on November 10, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. 
Palestinian families fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas, walk along a road on November 10, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
Palestinian families fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas, walk along a road on November 10, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
Kids ride in the back of the truck as Palestinians leave from the northern part of the Gaza to flee the central and southern parts of the Gaza Strip on November 10, 2023.
Palestinians families flee Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas Group. 
A woman, holding her cats, walks as Palestinians leave from the northern part of the Gaza to flee the central and southern parts of the Gaza Strip on November 10, 2023.
Palestinians families flee Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas Group. 
Palestinian families fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas, walk along a road on November 10, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
Palestinians fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas walk along a highway on November 9, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. 
Palestinian families fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas, walk along a road on November 10, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
Palestinians families fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas, walk along a road on November 10, 2023 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
Palestinians in Gaza, who are exposed to intense Israeli bombardment, migrate to the southern and central parts of the Gaza Strip as the Israeli attacks continue on its 34th day in Gaza City, Gaza on November 09, 2023.
Palestinians leave from the northern part of the Gaza to flee the central and southern parts of the Gaza Strip on November 10, 2023. 
Palestinians leave from the northern part of the Gaza Strip to flee the central and southern parts of the Gaza Strip on Nov. 10, 2023.

-Getty Images

Fri, Nov 10 2023 10:29 AM EST

Saudi crown prince calls for end of war in Gaza

Saudi Arabia's crown prince called on Friday for an end to the war in Gaza.

"We condemn what the Gaza Strip is facing from military assault, targeting of civilians, the violations of international law by the Israeli occupation authorities," Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said during an African-Saudi summit held in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh.

"We stress on the need to stop this war and the forced displacement of Palestinians."

-Reuters

Fri, Nov 10 2023 10:03 AM EST

Lord Ricketts: Russia condemnation and support for Israel difficult to square

Peter Ricketts, former national security advisor for the U.K., discusses the prospect of an Israel-Hamas cease-fire, and how the conflict is impacting western intervention in the Ukraine war.

Fri, Nov 10 2023 9:17 AM EST

Secretary Blinken says 'no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza' is a 'basic principle'

Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his administration's opposition to any forced displacement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, as Israel's bombardment of the enclave in its declared war against Hamas continues.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on, as he begins to board his plane to travel home to Washington from Palam Air Base in New Delhi, India, November 10, 2023. 

"In terms of the longer-term conditions that we need to see, to try to get a real foundation for lasting peace, and lasting security, because that's the objective for Palestinians and Israelis alike — I think there too we made some progress," Blinken told press at a briefing during a visit to New Delhi.

"First in trying to establish some basic principles that can guide us in the effort; including among them, no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no use of Gaza as a platform for launching terrorism or other attacks against Israel, no diminution in the territory of Gaza, and a commitment to Palestinian-led governance for Gaza and for the West Bank, and in a unified way," the secretary said.

A young young boy raises a Palestinian flag as he stands with another amid the debris of a house damaged in an Israeli raid followed by clashes with Palestinians, in the occupied West Bank Jenin refugee camp on November 10, 2023.

"These and some other ideas that we put forward and that others share, I think can start to be the basis for what we need to do," he said.

In late October, Israel's Intelligence Ministry drafted a proposal to transfer the Gaza Strip's 2.3 million people to Egypt's Sinai peninsula, inflaming tensions with Palestinians and Cairo. Israel dismissed the plans as a hypothetical "concept paper" after the document was seen by media.

Palestinians, human rights activists and leaders of other Arab states have expressed fears over the idea that Israel could attempt to push some or all of Gaza's Palestinians into another country — most likely neighboring Egypt — and not permit them to return.

Palestinians fleeing Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza towards the southern areas walk along a highway on November 9, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. 

Such an action would echo what Palestinians call the "Nakba," or "Catastrophe," of 1948, when following the creation of the Israeli state, some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their villages and became refugees, denied the right of return. Today, some 70% of Gaza's population are registered as refugees, and descendants of refugees, from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Forced displacement of civilians can be classified as a war crime, according to the United Nations.

— Natasha Turak

Fri, Nov 10 2023 8:15 AM EST

Hezbollah says seven fighters killed

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah said seven of its fighters were killed while trading fire with Israel, according to a Google-translated report from the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar outlet.

A soldier protects his ears as an Israeli artillery unit fires during a military drill in the annexed Golan Heights near the border with Lebanon on November 2, 2023. 

The group did not specify when its operatives died and whether they were killed during the same strike. CNBC could not verify the report.

Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged strikes since the first days of Israel's conflict with Palestinian militant group Hamas. Both it and Hezbollah are supported by Iran.

Hezbollah claims it is acting out of solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people. Increasing hostilities between Israel, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon have mounted concerns that the war currently confined to Israel and Gaza territories could spill into the broader Middle East region.

Ruxandra Iordache

Fri, Nov 10 2023 7:34 AM EST

Blinken says more should be done to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media after participating in the so-called "2+2 Dialogue" in New Delhi, India, November 10, 2023. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said more progress is necessary in preventing the deaths of Palestinian civilians and supplying humanitarian assistance to these people.

"This is a process, and it's not always flipping a light switch. But we have seen progress, we just need to see more of it, and we need to maximize every effort to prevent Palestinian deaths and to advance the humanitarian assistance that's getting to them," he said during a press briefing in New Delhi, where he traveled for broader diplomatic talks. "There is more that can and should be done to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians."

Blinken added: "Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many have suffered these past weeks." He praised the pauses Israel announced yesterday which included three-hour notice in specific areas.

People build a new section in a cemetary to burry members of the Hijazi family in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, killed in an Israeli strike, on November 10, 2023

A close ally of Israel, the U.S. has recently shifted gears and began to tout the possibility of a so-called humanitarian pause in the fighting with Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has claimed thousands of civilian lives as collateral damage, according to Gaza authorities. Israel cites its right to self-defense and says its purpose in the Gaza Strip is to demilitarize Hamas, not target civilians.

The White House is also focusing on increasing humanitarian deliveries to the besieged Gaza enclosure, Blinken said, after human rights groups decried that current flows of assistance represent a "trickle" compared to the U.N.-assessed 500 trucks of supplies that the strip received daily prior to the conflict.

Water trucks distributed at Nasser Hospital entered a day ago through the Rafah land crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on November 4, 2023 in Khan Younis, Gaza. 

"We have a concrete way forward that would allow more trucks to get in on a regular, sustained basis, as well as to make sure there's an adequate supply of fuel, so that, for example, the trucks themselves can be fueled up to distribute the assistance, hospitals have what they need, desalination plants have what they need," Blinken said Friday.

Ruxandra Iordache

Fri, Nov 10 2023 7:01 AM EST

Israeli forces arrest 41 'wanted' Palestinians in the West Bank overnight

Israeli security forces carry out a raid, blowing up two homes said to belong to members of the militant group Hamas who are reportedly believed to be responsible for a shooting attack last August 21, in Israeli occupied West Bank city of Hebron on November 10, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. 

Israeli forces arrested 41 "wanted" Palestinians overnight in the West Bank, saying that 14 of those were Hamas operatives.

The news came in a joint statement from the Israeli Defense Forces, Israel's Border Police, and the Shin Bet security service. It described Israeli forces finding and destroying Hamas equipment and propaganda material in a warehouse on Hebron, and arresting Palestinians in refugee camps.

A view of the destruction after Israeli Forces raid to Jenin Refugee Camp in Jenin, West Bank on November 09, 2023. 

The IDF says its troops have arrested 1,540 Palestinians designated as "wanted" across the West Bank since Oct. 7, and says that more than 930 are linked to Hamas. CNBC could not verify the information.

At least 176 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since that date, according to the Palestinian Authority's health ministry.

People carry the flag-draped bodies of men killed during an Israeli raid followed by clashes with Palestinians, in the occupied West Bank Jenin refugee camp, during their funeral on November 10, 2023. 

— Natasha Turak

Fri, Nov 10 2023 6:43 AM EST

Tanks seen near Gaza City's Rantisi childen's hospital

Videos posted to social media, and geolocated by NBC News, show two tanks near the al-Rantisi Hospital for Children in Gaza City.

The tanks, located in alleys in the vicinity of the hospital, suggest that Israeli forces are pushing deeper into the city.

The Hamas-run government media office told NBC News, "The occupation is present in the vicinity of the hospitals square in central Gaza and is demanding its evacuation."

CNBC has approached the IDF for comment.

Katrina Bishop

Fri, Nov 10 2023 6:13 AM EST

Over 100 U.N. relief agency members killed in conflict

More than 100 staff members of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees were killed in one month during the Israel-Hamas conflict, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on social media on Friday.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini visits UNRWA building in Rafah, Gaza, makes statements to the press members on November 01, 2023.

"UNRWA is mourning, Palestinians mourning, Israelis mourning. Ending this tragedy needs #Humanitarianceasefire now," he said.

Active in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA has repeatedly called for safer conditions for local civilians and its shelters, as well as for its personnel to receive and distribute humanitarian aid to Palestinian people.

Ruxandra Iordache

Fri, Nov 10 2023 6:15 AM EST

Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip continue

A picture taken from Sderot, Israel along the border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke rising behind destroyed buildings in the Palestinian enclave during an Israeli strike on Nov. 10, 2023.
Smoke rises from the Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike on Nov. 10, 2023.
Battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement continue on Nov. 10. 

Getty Images

Fri, Nov 10 2023 5:59 AM EST

Gaza official says children's hospital being 'repeatedly targeted' in attacks

Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesperson for the Hamas-affiliated Gaza Ministry of Health, said the Al-Nasr Children's Hospital in Gaza City is being "repeatedly targeted at this time."

"We call on the United Nations and the International Committee to be present in Al-Rantisi and Al-Nasr Children's Hospitals, protect them, and make room for ambulances to evacuate the wounded," he added.

It followed an earlier statement from al-Qudra that a number of hospitals in Gaza City had been targeted in Israeli strikes Friday.

Separately, Dr. Mustafa Al-Kahlot, director of the Al-Rantisi and Al-Nasr Hospital for Children, said Friday that Al-Nasr had been bombed twice.

"There was major damage to the hospital, oxygen was cut off in the intensive care units, and electricity was cut off except for the care department ... If the electricity is cut off in [intensive care], patients will die," he said in a video, translated by NBC News.

"The situation is very bad. We are trapped inside the hospital. Ambulances cannot reach us."

CNBC was unable to verify the situation on the ground. An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said it "did not target civilians and operates in accordance with international law," NBC reported.

Katrina Bishop


Fri, Nov 10 2023 5:07 AM EST

Israeli authorities announce latest humanitarian corridor

Israeli authorities announced a new limited-time humanitarian corridor on Friday for the southward evacuation of civilians out of Gaza City.

Palestinians leave from the northern part of the Gaza to flee the central and southern parts of the Gaza Strip on November 08, 2023. 

In a Google-translated social media post, Avichay Adraee, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson for Arab media, said the free movement of civilians is once again allowed on the main Salah al-Din road from Gaza City between the local hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories — a unit of the Israeli Defense Ministry — said on social media that the evacuation window will span a wider timeframe between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Palestinians leave from the northern part of the Gaza to flee the central and southern parts of the Gaza Strip on November 08, 2023. 

Israel, which has come under immense international pressure to shield civilian lives in the conflict, has been providing humanitarian corridors since the weekend and will continue to do so on a daily basis, according to the U.S.

Ruxandra Iordache

Fri, Nov 10 2023 4:46 AM EST

Netanyahu: We 'don't seek to occupy' Gaza

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Yoav Gallant during a press conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv , Israel , 28 October 2023. 

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against the suggestion that his country could end up occupying the Gaza Strip, following its war campaign in the enclave.

Asked in an interview with Fox News how long the war might last and whether it would become an Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu replied, "Well first of all we don't seek to govern, we don't seek to occupy it, but we seek to give it and us a better future and the entire Middle East. And that requires defeating Hamas."

"I've set goals, I didn't set a timetable, because you know it can take more time," the prime minister added. "I wish it'll take little time, but we're proceeding step by step."

Israel occupied the Gaza Strip from 1967 to 2005, and later imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the tiny coastal enclave when Palestinian militant organization Hamas took control of its government in 2007.

A major question mark over Israel's war against Hamas is what will happen to the Gaza Strip and its 2.3 million residents after — or if — Hamas is defeated. Netanyahu said earlier this week that Israel plans to take "overall security responsibility" of Gaza indefinitely after the war, but has ruled out re-occupation.

It remains unclear what "overall security responsibility" would look like.

— Natasha Turak

Fri, Nov 10 2023 4:32 AM EST

Israeli military says it has killed several senior Hamas commanders

The Israel Defense Forces said it has killed several senior Hamas commanders in the past several days, including agents involved in the terror attacks of Oct. 7.

In a Telegram update, the Israeli military said among those killed were Hamas company commander Ahmed Musa and platoon commander Omar Al-Hindi, both located in western Jabalia.

The Israeli forces also said the head of the sniper array of Hamas' northern brigade, Mohammed Kahlout, was killed.

CNBC could not verify the information.

The IDF has reported killing multiple senior Hamas commanders since the start of the conflict, and names this, along with the release of hostages and the complete demilitarization of the Palestinian militant group, as the objectives of its war campaign in the Gaza Strip.

Ruxandra Iordache

Fri, Nov 10 2023 4:29 AM EST

UN human rights official calls for cease-fire, protection of civilians

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk again called for a cease-fire in the Israeli-Hamas war and for the release of hostages held by the Palestinian militant group, while urging Israel to protect civilians in the West Bank.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk speaks during a press conference in Cairo on November 8, 2023, following a visit to Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

"What is needed, urgently ... is for the parties to agree to a ceasefire on the basis of critical human rights imperatives – to deliver food, water and other essential goods to people who desperately need them and where they need them, throughout Gaza; for all hostages to be released; and to open a path to a sustainable way out of this nightmarish situation in Gaza," he said, in a speech delivered in Jordan.

"I also appeal, as a matter of urgency, for Israeli authorities to take immediate measures to take steps to ensure protection of Palestinians in the West Bank – who are being on a daily basis subjected to violence from Israeli forces and settlers, ill treatment, arrests, evictions, intimidation and humiliation."

Türk condemned the "atrocious attacks" of Hamas on Oct. 7, which should "outrage each and every one of us," as well as the "indiscriminate effects" of Israeli attacks in densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip.

He said the U.N. human rights agency continues to monitor strikes against hospitals in the Gaza enclave, adding, "Considering the predictable high level of civilian casualty and the wide scale of destruction of civilian objects we have very serious concerns that these amount to disproportionate attacks in breach of international humanitarian law."

Israel has repeatedly said it does not target civilians and sets out to demilitarize Hamas positions.

Ruxandra Iordache

Fri, Nov 10 2023 3:33 AM EST

Erdogan says Turkey discussed increasing aid to the Gaza Strip with the U.S.

Turkey has broached the possibility of increasing humanitarian aid flows to the Gaza Strip with the United States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Turkey has broached the possibility of increasing humanitarian aid flows to the Gaza Strip with the United States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to Google-translated comments reported by state-run news agency Anadolu.

During U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's meeting in Turkey with his counterpart Hakan Fidan earlier this week, Ankara proposed increasing the number of trucks bearing humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip to at least 500 per day — close to the number of truck deliveries that the U.N. assesses took place before the conflict.

"In addition to all these, the ambulance shortage must also be eliminated," Erdogan said. "We will also take steps by cooperating with some countries on medicine, food, etc."

Ankara has been critical of Israel's retaliatory campaign in the Gaza Strip, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's administration of a disproportionate response to the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7.

Erdogan stressed that Turkey's primary goal in the conflict remains a cease-fire. Referring to Western countries, he added, "We need concrete steps, not heroic rhetoric and empty humanitarian shows. They say, 'We are striving for a better road map.'"

He went on, "If you are sincere about the ceasefire, put pressure on Israel to implement the U.N. resolutions. Because people are dying, mothers are losing their babies, children are losing their parents. We are trying to do something to stop this bleeding wound."

Ruxandra Iordache

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