Latest flashpoints: Five Palestinians killed in West Bank
Israel’s offensive against Gaza entered its 18th day on Friday, and here are all the latest updates on what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank as well as developments in international efforts to find a ceasefire agreement.
Gaza & the West Bank
- The death toll currently stands at 837 and is continuously on the rise, while at least 5,400 people have been injured. The UN says there are 170,000 displaced Palestinians, who have fled their homes.
- Five Palestinians in the West Bank have been shot dead in two separate incidents involving both Israeli troops and Israeli settlers. Three protesters were killed near Hebron and the Qalandia checkpoint during a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza, while two others were killed when a group of settlers opened fire on protesters near Nablus.
- The military wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, has said on Friday that it is continuing to target Ashkelon and Ben Gurion Airport with missiles. The death toll in Israel has now reached 36, as an Israeli soldier named Yair Ashenazi was reported killed in clashes in Gaza, the Israeli army confirmed.
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has said that there are currently more than 150,000 civilians seeking refuge at 84 UN-run schools in Gaza.
- The Gaza Ministry of Health has confirmed the killing of paramedic Hamed Alboraie and the injury of two other paramedics after Israeli air strikes targeted his ambulance near Beit Hanoun Hospital.
- Israel’s cabinet has met to discuss a proposal by US Secretary of State John Kerry to secure a temporary ceasefire in Gaza. The meeting deliberations have not been revealed yet, however a senior Israeli official said that if Hamas rejects the American initiative, the cabinet could decide to significantly expand the Israeli operation in Gaza.
- Hamas has not yet commented on the truce initiative which proposes a week-long truce, starting Sunday, during which time Israel’s forces will not leave the Gaza Strip and will continue in their goal of finding and destroying Hamas tunnels.
- The United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate “humanitarian pause” in the fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian factions to last throughout the Muslim Eid holiday.
- Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu has left for Qatar to hold talks with US, French and Qatari counterparts in an effort to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Gaza.
- The Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has made a rare public appearance on Friday to express solidarity with Gaza on the annual Iran-led Jerusalem Day commemoration, known as "Al-Quds day".
- The European Union has called for an “immediate” investigation into the death of 15 Palestinians caused by an Israeli shell hitting an UN-run shelter in Gaza.
- French police have banned a protest against Israel's Gaza offensive that was due to take place in Paris on Saturday, following several similar rallies that turned violent.