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Israel's military calls for more evacuations in southern Gaza as it widens offensive

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Israel's military called for more evacuations in southern Gaza as it widened its offensive aimed at eliminating the territory's Hamas rulers.

The war has already killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza's 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go.The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since Oct. 7 has surpassed 15,500, with more than 41,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70 per cent of the dead were women and children.

Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods. It claims to have killed thousands of militants, without providing evidence. Israel says at least 81 of its soldiers have died.

Hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend. Hamas said talks on releasing more of the scores of hostages seized by Palestinian militants on Oct. 7 must be tied to a permanent cease-fire.

The United States, along with Qatar and Egypt, which mediated the earlier cease-fire, say they are working on a longer truce.

Here's what's happening in the war:

UNITED NATIONS -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and top technology executive Sheryl Sandberg are demanding that women's groups and women everywhere condemn Hamas' acts of sexual violence against Israeli women and girls on Oct. 7.

Israel has said it is investigating several cases of sexual assault and rape from the Hamas attack. Israel hosted a special event at the United Nations on Monday where Clinton, Gillibrand and Sandberg were among those who criticized what they called a global failure to support women who were rapped, sexually assaulted and in some cases killed.

Clinton said in a video message, "It is outrageous that some who claim to stand for justice are closing their eyes and their hearts to the victims of Hamas."

Sandberg, the former second-ranking official at Facebook who stepped down as chief operating officer of its parent Meta Platforms in August 2022, said "the silence on the crimes committed by Hamas is dangerous" because it threatens to undo decades of progress to confront sexual violence against women.

Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said rape has been used as a weapon of war for centuries and more recently in former Yugoslavia, in Iran, and in Ukraine by Russian soldiers. She called on the U.N. to condemn "these evil crimes." She said the international community "must demand accountability for these intolerable crimes."

FAMILIES OF HOSTAGES HELD BY HAMAS WILL MEET WITH NETANYAHU

TEL AVIV, Israel -- The families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza say they are set to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after demanding a sit-down with him.

The families have sought to meet with Netanyahu and his wartime Cabinet since a truce deal between Israel and Hamas that saw the release of 105 hostages expired last week. Since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, many families have complained that they were not adequately kept informed of the efforts to secure their loved ones' release. About 240 people were taken hostage.

The families say Netanyahu and other leaders have for days dodged their requests to meet. The meeting is expected to take place Tuesday.

The families say they want to hear from Netanyahu that he has their relatives' fate in mind as Israel moves ahead in its war against Hamas.

VIDEO APPEARS TO SHOW OCT. 7 KIDNAPPING

TEL AVIV, Israel -- An Israeli TV channel has aired new footage that appears to show an Israeli woman struggling against her seven captors as she was being taken hostage into Gaza on Oct. 7.

The video is said to show Amit Soussana, 40, being dragged on foot into Gaza. She appears to try to slow her captors down by bending over. One captor then throws her body over his back and she is seen kicking her legs, what appears to make him fall to the ground. The captors, one of whom is seen striking her, then drape a sheet over her and drag her into Gaza. One of the captors is seen carrying a rifle.

Soussana was released last week after more than 50 days in captivity as part of a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.

The footage, shot by a security camera, was broadcast Monday on Israeli Channel 12 TV.

US BLAMES IRAN FOR ATTACKS BY YEMEN'S HOUTHIS

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. on Monday said it holds Iran responsible for attacks on civilian and military vessels by Yemen's Houthis, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan saying the U.S. was discussing establishing military escorts for ships in the Red Sea.

"We are in talks with other countries about maritime task force of sorts involving the ships from partner nations alongside the United States in ensuring safe passage," he told reporters.

The Iranian-backed Houthis claimed attacks on commercial ships and a U.S. warship on Sunday.

Speaking at the White House, Sullivan said the ultimate blame lies with Tehran.

"The weapons here are being supplied by Iran," Sullivan said. "Iran, we believe, is the ultimate party responsible for this."

Sullivan said the U.S. does not believe that all three ships struck by the Houthis had ties to Israel.

UN CHIEF RENEWS CALL FOR A CEASEFIRE

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "extremely alarmed" at the resumption of hostilities in Gaza and is reiterating his call for a sustained humanitarian ceasefire and his appeal to Israel to spare civilians from more suffering.

The U.N. chief is also calling on Israel and Hamas to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday. The laws state that civilians must not be targeted deliberately or indiscriminately, and that military operations must be proportionate.

Israel has called for mass evacuations from the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, but the secretary-general says "there is nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on," according to the statement from his spokesman.

Guterres reiterated his call for unimpeded and sustained humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip, Dujarric said.

"The secretary-general also remains gravely concerned about the escalation of violence in the occupied West Bank, including intensified Israeli security operations, high numbers of fatalities and arrests, spiking settler violence and attacks on Israelis by Palestinians," the U.N. spokesman said.

DONATION TO BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY

JERUSALEM -- A Canadian-Israeli philanthropist has donated $100 million to Israel's Ben-Gurion University as part of an effort to help southern Israel recover from the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

Sylvan Adams says "it is crucial that we strengthen Israel's south to ensure that Israelis feel safe and secure to rebuild their lives" in the Negev desert area.

The university said the funds are part of an effort to advance education and campus life.

President Daniel Chamovitz said the gift would help it focus on a number of key areas, including the future of the Negev region, environmental technologies and global health.

The university says that 82 members of its community, including students, staff, faculty and family members, were killed in the Oct. 7 attack.

ISRAEL ALSO SAYS GAZA DEATH TOLL IS AT LEAST 15,000

BEER SHEVA, Israel -- At least 15,000 Palestinians in Gaza have died during the fighting in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli army official said Monday, offering a figure that is more or less in line with the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry's.

The Israeli army said it considers more than 5,000 of the Gaza deaths to be Hamas militants.

The Gaza Health Ministry said Monday during a news conference in Khan Younis, a city in the southern Gaza Strip, that 15,899 people had been killed in Gaza since the Oct. 7 start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a ministry spokesperson, said women and children account for 70% of the dead. The ministry did not provide precise statistics on the breakdown of the death toll.

RED CROSS CHIEF SAYS CIVILIAN SUFFERING `INTOLERABLE'

GENEVA -- The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross is visiting Gaza in an effort to ease the conflict's "intolerable" toll on civilians, the organization said Monday.

ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric "will call for the protection of civilians in Gaza and respect for the laws of war. She will also reiterate the ICRC's call for the hostages to be immediately released," it said in a statement.

"The level of human suffering is intolerable," Spoljaric said. "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."

The ICRC has been providing supplies to health care facilities and livelihood support for displaced people, the statement said. ICRC medical teams are also helping conduct surgeries at Gaza's European Hospital.

"We have urgently appealed for civilian life to be protected and respected on all sides, in line with international humanitarian law, and I reiterate that appeal today," Spoljaric said.

TURKISH PRESIDENT SAYS NETANYAHU SHOULD BE TRIED FOR ALLEGED WAR CRIMES

ISTANBUL -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be put on trial for alleged war crimes just like former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

A vocal critic of Israel's actions in Gaza, Erdogan once again referred to Netanyahu as the "butcher of Gaza."

"Netanyahu, the butcher of Gaza, is not only a war criminal, but he will definitely be tried as the butcher of Gaza, just like Milosevic was tried," Erdogan said in a speech at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul.

The Israeli prime minister would need to be indicted by an international tribunal in order to stand trial for alleged war crimes. Milosevic was put on trial by a U.N. tribunal in The Hague on charges of fomenting bloody conflicts as Yugoslavia crumbled in the early 1990s. He died in his cell before the court could reach a verdict.

Erdogan also renewed his criticism of the United Nations system, accusing the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council of blocking efforts to end the violence.

"On the one side, there are 121 countries that say `stop the war' and `no more bloodshed,' and on the other side, there are three or five countries that give carte blanche to Israel's attacks," Erdogan said.

RIGHTS GROUPS CALL FOR A HALT IN DUTCH EXPORTS OF FIGHTER JET PARTS TO ISRAEL

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Human rights lawyers went to court in the Netherlands on Monday calling for a halt to the export of fighter jet parts to Israel that could be used in attacks on Gaza.

The rights organizations say that delivery of parts for F-35 jets makes the Netherlands complicit in possible war crimes by Israel in its war with Hamas.

The civil case in The Hague opened as the Israeli military renewed calls for mass evacuations from the southern town of Khan Younis, where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in recent weeks, as it widened its ground offensive and bombarded targets across the Gaza Strip.

The rights lawyers want The Hague District Court to issue an injunction banning exports of F-35 parts that are stored in a warehouse in the town of Woensdrecht.

"The state must immediately stop its delivery of F-35 parts to Israel," lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld told the court.

She said Dutch customs officials asked the government if it wanted to continue exports after the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas that triggered the Israel-Hamas war.

"The warning that the fighter jets can contribute to serious breaches of the laws of war does not, for the (Dutch) state outweigh its economic interests and diplomatic reputation," she said.

Government lawyer Reimer Veldhuis urged the court's single judge to reject the injunction, saying that even if it were to uphold the rights lawyers' legal arguments and ban exports, "the United States would deliver these parts to Israel from another place."

A decision is expected within two weeks. It can be appealed.

NETANYAHU'S CORRUPTION TRIAL RESUMES

TEL AVIV, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial has resumed after a hiatus prompted by the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and the war it set off.

Netanyahu is on trial for alleged fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases involving powerful media moguls and wealthy associates. He denies any wrongdoing.

In Monday's hearing, police investigators will be questioned over allegations that Netanyahu promoted regulatory benefits for a telecom company in exchange for favorable coverage from a news outlet it owned.

Netanyahu's lengthy trial, which began in 2020, was paused after the Hamas attack, when the country's courts were put under emergency status and all but shut down. The last hearing took place at the end of September.

HEAD OF SHIN BET SAYS IT WILL DESTROY HAMAS `IN EVERY PLACE'

TEL AVIV, Israel -- The head of Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet, says his organization is prepared to destroy Hamas "in every place," including in other Middle Eastern countries.

The remarks by Ronen Bar, aired late Sunday by Israel's public broadcaster Kan, echoed similar comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister last month.

"In every place, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar, everywhere," Bar said in an audio recording. "It'll take a few years but we will be there to do it."

Bar compared the mission to Israel's operation to assassinate militants behind the 1972 killings of members of its Olympic team in Munich, Germany.

Kan did not say when Bar made the remarks.

Most of Hamas' top leadership lives in exile, primarily in the Gulf state of Qatar, a key player in bringing about the recently expired truce between Israel and Hamas, and the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Israel' Mossad spy agency has been accused of involvement in a series of assassinations overseas of Palestinian militants and Iranian nuclear scientists over the years.

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