Destroyed buildings stand in the Gaza Strip, as seen from...

Destroyed buildings stand in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. Credit: AP/Leo Correa

A dire lack of fuel in the Gaza Strip shut down all internet and phone networks Thursday, the main Palestinian telecom provider said, effectively cutting off the besieged territory from the outside world.

In a signal that Israel’s ground invasion could soon expand to the south, Palestinians in parts of southern Gaza said they received evacuation notices Thursday. Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are crowded into the south, including hundreds of thousands who heeded Israel’s calls to evacuate the north to get out of the way of its offensive.

Nearly every single person in the Gaza Strip doesn’t have enough food, and more than two out of every three people don’t have clean drinking water, the United Nations said Thursday. Residents say bread is scarce and supermarket shelves are bare. Central electricity and running water have been out for weeks.

At least 11,470 Palestinians — two-thirds of them women and minors — have been killed since the war began, according to Palestinian health authorities, which do not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths. About 2,700 people are reported missing.

Israel vowed to wipe out Hamas after the militant group launched its Oct. 7 incursion. Some 1,200 people have died in Israel, mostly during the initial attack, and around 240 were taken captive by militants.

Currently:

— The Israeli military has set its sights on southern Gaza in a campaign to stamp out Hamas.

In this image taken from a video released by the...

In this image taken from a video released by the Israeli Defense Forces on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2023, Israeli soldiers walk in the area of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. The Israeli military released footage on Tuesday that it said shows joint operational activity of two army brigades in its advancement on the ground in Gaza Strip. Credit: AP/Israel Defense Forces

— Their families were wiped out. Grieving Palestinians in Gaza ask why.

— A California college professor is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a Jewish demonstrator.

— Cease-fire protests shut down bridges in Boston and San Francisco.

— Longtime opponents of Israeli policy are leading U.S. protests. Who are they?

In this image taken from a video released by the...

In this image taken from a video released by the Israeli Defense Forces on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, Israeli soldiers walk in the area of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. The Israeli military released footage on Tuesday that it said shows joint operational activity of two army brigades in its advancement on the ground in Gaza Strip. Credit: AP/Israel Defense Forces

— 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:

DISEASE WILL START SPREADING IN GAZA IF ISRAEL KEEPS WATER CUT OFF, RIGHTS GROUP WARNS

NEW YORK — Waterborne infectious diseases like cholera and typhoid will soon start spreading though Gaza because people don’t have access to clean water, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Israel imposed a siege on Gaza after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, severing the crowded strip’s access to water, power and fuel. A limited amount of water now comes in through Israel and Egypt but most people must drink from the local water supply — 96% of which is “unfit for human consumption,” according to the U.N.

“The lack of clean water is resulting in ‘grave concerns’ by public health experts of an imminent infectious disease outbreak in Gaza,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement. The New York-based group called on Israel to immediately end its blockade of Gaza.

JOURNALISM WATCHDOG IS ‘DEEPLY CONCERNED’ ABOUT GAZA COMMUNICATIONS BLACKOUT

NEW YORK — The Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed “grave concern” over the collapse of internet and phone networks in Gaza and called on Egypt and Israel to allow fuel to enter the besieged territory.

The New York-based media freedom organization said in a statement that the communications blackout caused by the lack of fuel in Gaza poses “an extreme risk to the lives of journalists reporting in Gaza and their coverage.”

“By withholding fuel from Gaza, the Israeli government is preventing journalists in Gaza from providing the world with updates on the war, leaving the international community vulnerable to deadly propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

UNITED NATIONS SAYS HUMANTARIAN CRISIS DEEPENS AS FOOD, WATER AND FUEL ARE ALL RUNNING OUT

UNITED NATIONS – Nearly every single person in the Gaza Strip doesn’t have enough food, and more than two out of every three people don’t have clean drinking water, the United Nations said Thursday.

Humanitarian aid deliveries to the besieged territory through the Rafah border crossing will not take place on Friday because internet and telephone services have collapsed across Gaza for lack of fuel, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said.

“We have seen fuel and food and water and humanitarian assistance being used as a weapon of war,” Juliette Touma, UNRWA communications director, told reporters in Amman, Jordan. “Children are pleading for a sip of water and a piece of bread” at the 153 UNRWA facilities now jammed with 800,000 displaced Palestinians, she said.

Touma said UNRWA can’t operate because it has no fuel. Israel did provide UNRWA with limited fuel this week but only for the delivery of food, she said.

“We have just witnessed in the past week the largest displacement of Palestinians since 1948,” Touma said.

Abeer Etefa, a Mideast regional spokesperson for the U.N. World Food Program, said dehydration and malnutrition are increasing rapidly with only 10% of needed food supplies entering Gaza, and the “massive food gap” is growing.

IRAN SAYS IT WON’T LET ISRAEL DEFEAT HAMAS, BUT STOPS SHORT OF PROMISING TO ENTER THE CONFLICT

BEIRUT – Iran will not allow Israel to defeat Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the head of Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force wrote in a message to the commander of the Hamas military wing.

However, Gen. Esmail Ghaani stopped short of saying that Tehran will join the battle in order to rescue Hamas.

In six weeks since the war was triggered by Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, Israel has largely taken control of the northern Gaza Strip, seen as the Hamas power base, while pushing most of the civilian population to the southern part. Israel has vowed to keep fighting until Hamas is crushed.

Ghaani’s letter was addressed to Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of the Hamas military wing in Gaza and was published by Iran’s state news agency IRNA. He said Iran, the main Hamas sponsor, and its allies “will carry out all our duties in this historic battle” and will not allow Israel to “reach its dirty goals” of defeating Hamas.

Iran-backed groups in the region, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels, have attacked Israel with drones and missiles in recent weeks. Iraq’s militants have claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.

Ghaani praised the Oct. 7 attack, saying it showed Israel was “weaker than a spider’s web.” He said Israel retaliated with an “unprecedented brutal war crimes” against civilians.

HEZBOLLAH DOES NOT WANT A WIDER WAR WITH ISRAEL, FORMER LEBANESE OFFICIAL SAYS

BEIRUT – A former top Lebanese security official who has served as a conduit between the United States and Hezbollah said Thursday that at this stage the Lebanese militant group is not interested in widening its limited cross-border conflict with Israel.

Abbas Ibrahim, a former head of Lebanon’s General Security, said that as long as Hamas is able to confront the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, “the situation will remain at the current level of tension” on the Lebanese front.

Hezbollah and Israeli forces have regularly exchanged missiles and shelling but have largely avoided killing civilians or taking other actions that would provoke a major response from the other side.

However, the situation could escalate inadvertently, he said. “If we continue with this degree of tension it will certainly lead to bad calculations and a war will happen.”

Ibrahim said that U.S. officials had passed messages through him to Hezbollah urging it “not to drag Lebanon into this war,” including during a visit to Beirut last week by Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden.

Hezbollah has not sent messages of its own to the U.S. in response, Ibrahim said.

Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war six weeks ago, Ibrahim has also been involved in talks on evacuating dual nationals from Gaza and on the issue of emergency humanitarian truces and the exchange of civilian hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

AT LEAST 11,470 PALESTINIANS KILLED IN GAZA, HEALTH MINISTRY SAYS, MOSTLY FROM ISRAELI STRIKES

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian health authorities said Thursday that 11,470 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the Israel-Hamas war broke out six weeks ago.

The vast majority have been killed in Israeli airstrikes. The ministry said 4,707 of the dead were minors and 3,155 were women. The ministry does not differentiate between combatants and civilians.

In recent days, the Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank has started updating the Gaza death toll.

Until last week, the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza was the main official source for the Palestinian death toll. It stopped publishing updates after key ministry officials based in Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital lost electricity and connectivity. Israel troops stormed Shifa on Wednesday and were still searching the large medical complex Thursday.

Hamas runs the Gaza Strip while its political rival, the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, runs parts of the occupied West Bank. But the health and education ministries in the two territories continue to cooperate.

CALIFORNIA PROTESTS DEMAND CEASE-FIRE AND BLOCK TRAFFIC AS BIDEN AND WORLD LEADERS MEET

SAN FRANCISCO — At least 50 protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza were detained and arrested Thursday after shutting down all lanes of a major bridge into San Francisco.

The protest comes as United States President Joe Biden, world leaders and CEOs gathered in the city for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ conference.

At least 15 vehicles were towed after protesters parked on the bridge and threw their keys into the sea shortly before 8 a.m., disrupting the morning commute, said California Highway Patrol Division Chief Ezery Beauchamp at a news conference on Bay Bridge. He said more arrests were expected.

Protest organizers say 200 people took part. Photos provided by organizers showed demonstrators on the ground with white sheets over their bodies as part of a “die-in.” Aisha Nizar with the Palestinian Youth Movement said in the statement that Biden was “hosting cocktail parties in San Francisco” while thousands of people were being killed in Gaza.

Beauchamp said the highway patrol supports free speech rights but not a traffic shutdown that could prevent emergency vehicles from crossing the bridge.

“This is the wrong way to do it,” he said. “This is 100% wrong, it’s unacceptable and it’s illegal.”

WORLD MUST CONVINCE ISRAEL TO LET FUEL INTO GAZA, TELECOM CHIEF SAYS

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The general manager of Palestine Telecommunications Company, Paltel, said he has urged international bodies to persuade Israel to allow fuel to enter Gaza in order to restore phone and internet to the besieged enclave.

“We asked all international bodies to intervene with Israel in order to allow the entry of fuel,” Abdulmajeed Melhem told The Associated Press.

Earlier Thursday, Paltel announced that all communication services — landlines, mobile phones and internet connections — were down due to a lack of fuel.

“Since the outbreak of the war, there has been no electricity, therefore we have relied on alternative sources to operate the generators,” Melhem said. “If they (Israel) allow the entry of fuel, this problem will be solved.”

Until this week, Israel had completely prohibited fuel from going in to Gaza, fearing it could be commandeered by Hamas. But on Wednesday the Israeli government allowed the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees to receive 23,000 liters (6,076 gallons) of fuel, but under the restriction that it be used only for vehicles delivering aid.

US SAYS IT'S LIKELY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ISRAEL TO TOTALLY ELIMINATE HAMAS

WASHINGTON — The White House said it believes Israel can dramatically reduce the threat from Hamas, but that eliminating the group and its ideology is likely impossible.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby pointed to the U.S. efforts to disrupt al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, a day after Biden said Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza would only end once the militant group was no longer a threat.

“What we have learned through our own experiences, that that military and other means you can absolutely have a significant impact on terrorist groups ability to resource itself, to train fighters, to recruit fighters, to plan to execute attacks,” Kirby told reporters. “And look at the shadow of itself that ISIS is right now, look at the shadow of itself al-Qaida is right now.”

“It doesn’t mean that the ideology withers away and die,” Kirby added.

ALL GAZA'S COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES ARE DOWN DUE TO LACK OF FUEL, TELECOM SAYS

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — All communications services are down across the Gaza Strip due to lack of fuel, Palestinian telecoms provider Paltel said Thursday, cutting off the besieged territory from the outside world.

Paltel says the landline connection, mobile network and internet connection in Gaza have all dropped.

UN AGENCIES, HUMANITARIAN GROUPS OBJECT TO GAZA SAFE ZONE UNLESS ALL SIDES AGREE

GENEVA — The heads of nearly 20 United Nations agencies and international humanitarian groups are speaking out against the creation of a possible “safe zone” in Gaza unless all sides agree and the right conditions for one are established.

The call comes as the Israeli army has presented an area in southern Gaza called Muwasi, which is only a couple of square kilometers (about 1 square mile) in size, as a safe zone. It would not be targeted by airstrikes and could be a destination for humanitarian aid.

“Under the prevalent conditions, proposals to unilaterally create ‘safe zones’ in Gaza risk creating harm for civilians, including large-scale loss of life, and must be rejected,” said the heads of the U.N. health, migration, refugee, humanitarian aid and children’s agencies, and groups including Mercy Corps, Save the Children and Care International.

The army has not provided details about how some 2 million people in Gaza would fit into such a small area, and agencies have pushed back against the idea. Meanwhile, army leaflets dropped in southern Gaza have urged people to move.

The 18 organizations noted the “mass displacement” already of some 1.6 million people in Gaza.

HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT FIRED ON ISRAEL IN 4 CROSS-BORDER ATTACKS

BEIRUT -- Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group said it fired at Israel in four cross-border attacks Thursday.

Israel said it had identified launches from Lebanon toward two Israeli military posts near Yiftah and Metula. Farming communities in the north were evacuated.

Israel retaliated by heavily shelling Lebanese territory and striking the militant sites where the attacks came from.

The military said no one was injured on the Israeli side. Lebanese casualties were unclear.

FRIENDS, FAMILY OF HAMAS HOSTAGES MARCH TOWARD JERUSALEM

GEZER, Israel — Hundreds of Israelis, including friends and family members of some 240 people held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip marched toward Jerusalem on Thursday. The walk aims to pressure the authorities to secure the release of the hostages.

The marchers camped out in Gezer national park, halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before continuing with their walk. Many hoisted Israeli flags and carried posters with the images of the hostages.

“The first must, in this war, is to bring them home,” said march participant Nilli Getter.

The protest march began Nov. 14 with relatives gathering in Tel Aviv to start their journey, which is due to finish in Jerusalem.

UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF SHARES ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR CONCERNS WITH DIPLOMATS

GENEVA — The United Nations human rights chief says “the Israeli occupation must end” in Palestinian areas, and that countries and peoples must recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Volker Türk spoke to diplomats in Geneva and heard their views in the wake of his trip to the Middle East the week prior. Aside from addressing Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and reiterating his concern about the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, the rights chief also expressed his concern about rising tensions in the West Bank.

“I am ringing the loudest possible alarm bell about the occupied West Bank,” he said, expressing concern about attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers, and the use of force there by Israeli security forces.

Overall, he said, “It is clear that the Israeli occupation must end. It is essential to ensure the rights of Palestinians to self-determination and to their own State. And it is essential to acknowledge that Israel has a right to exist.”

AN OUTDOOR FUNERAL SERVICE IS HELD FOR 28 PALESTINIANS KILLED IN OVERNIGHT BOMBING

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — In the central Gaza city of Deir al-Balah, an outdoor funeral service was held for 28 Palestinians killed in overnight bombing, their bodies pulled from the rubble of destroyed buildings. Some of the mourners crouched over bodies wrapped in sheets of white plastic.

POLICE SAY SHOOTERS OPEN FIRE AT A CHECKPOINT IN ISRAEL, WOUNDING 4

JERUSALEM — Shooters opened fire Thursday at a checkpoint south of Jerusalem, wounding at least four people, one critically, Israeli police said.

The attackers arrived by car at the checkpoint on the main road connecting Jewish settlements in the West Bank and southern Jerusalem and opened fire at Israelis, police said, and at least three shooters were killed by security guards at the crossing. Police and bomb disposal units finished their search of the area around noon, having found no more shooters nor bombs.

Tensions have been rising as a result of the war in the Gaza Strip and deadly Israeli military raids in the West Bank. Violence has soared in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since the start of the war, with nearly 200 Palestinians killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Most were killed during gunbattles triggered by Israeli arrest raids or in violent demonstrations. Israel says it has arrested hundreds of people, mostly suspected Hamas members.

SAUDI ARABIA CONDEMNS ISRAEL'S RAID ON SHIFA HOSPITAL

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia condemned Israel’s raid on Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, calling it a “blatant violation of international law” in a statement Thursday from the Foreign Ministry. It also condemned what it said was shelling near another hospital and called on international bodies to hold Israel accountable.

Israel says its troops are carrying out a targeted operation in Shifa, where it has long accused Hamas of maintaining an underground command center. Hamas and hospital staff have denied the allegations. Israeli forces searching the medical compound since early Wednesday say they have found guns and other indications that Hamas militants were inside, but have not shown any evidence regarding the alleged command center.

Hospitals can lose their protections under international law if combatants use them for military purposes. Even then, civilians must be given ample time and opportunity to flee and any action must be proportional to the military objective.

Before the war, Saudi Arabia was in talks with the United States over potentially normalizing relations with Israel.

60 MORE NORWEGIANS WILL BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE GAZA

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Another 60 Norwegian citizens will be able to leave Gaza on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry in Norway said, with Scandinavian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre saying that they have received information from relatives that a citizen from the Nordic country was killed in Gaza.

Gahr Støre said that “many countries have several of their citizens in Gaza,” and it's estimated that of the approximately 250 people with ties to Norway in Gaza, more than half of them are children.

Those able to leave Gaza will be able to enter into Egypt via the border crossing at Rafah. On Wednesday, Norway said it had been informed that 51 Norwegians could leave Gaza through Rafah.

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