One month of Israel-Gaza war: A timeline of key events

Since the October 7 attack by Hamas that left at least 1,400 dead, Israel has relentlessly hammered targets in Gaza leaving over 10,000 dead

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Published: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 8:19 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Nov 2023, 8:48 AM

One month into the war between Israel and Hamas militants, there's no end in sight to the crisis. Thousands of lives have been lost, families broken, and homes destroyed.

The full-scale war between Israel and Hamas has now claimed over 10,000 lives, with the majority being Palestinian civilians. Here's a look at the key events that unfolded since the crisis began.

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October 7: Surprise attack

On Oct 7, Hamas gunmen launched a surprise attack on Israel, rampaging through towns, killing 1,400 people, mainly civilians. The group fired thousands of rockets at Israel and sent dozens of fighters across the country's heavily fortified border, a massive show of force that caught Israel off-guard on a major holiday. At least 240 Israelis and foreigners were seized by Hamas gunmen and taken captive in the attack.

The open-air Tribe of Nova music festival will go down in Israeli history as the country's worst civilian massacre. Hamas militants, who had blown through Israel’s heavily fortified separation fence and crossed into the country from Gaza, opened fire on young Israelis who had come together for the music festival.

The Israeli military put the country on war alert and began striking targets in Gaza in response.

October 8: War declared

One day after the fatal attack, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally declared war. He ordered a call-up of 300,000 reservists and promised that Hamas would “pay a price that it hasn't known until now.”

“We are at war,” Netanyahu said, ordering the military to clear the infiltrated towns and evacuate residents in Israel living near the Gaza Strip. “Not an ‘operation,’ not a ‘round,’ but at war.”

Soon after, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a 'complete siege' on Gaza Strip with no access to electricity, food or fuel. The country's Energy Minister later confirmed there would be no humanitarian break to its siege of the Gaza Strip until all its hostages were freed, after the Red Cross pleaded for fuel to be allowed in to prevent overwhelmed hospitals from "turning into morgues".

October 9: Airlines suspend flights

Major airlines, including some UAE carriers, have suspended flights in and out of Israel after the nation declared war. Scores of arriving and departing flights at Ben Gurion were cancelled or delayed. Airlines in Europe and Asia also put flights on hold amid the hostilities, offering refunds and waiving rebooking fees for passengers. American airlines also suspended services as the US State Department issued travel advisories.

Dubai-based Emirates airline has extended the suspension of all its flights to and from Israel until November 30.

October 12: Blinken tours Middle East

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced he would visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Qatar and Jordan on a tour to put pressure on Hamas after a massive attack on Israel.

The top diplomat met UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed on October 14, during which they discussed the utmost priority of ensuring complete protection for civilian lives. They also emphasised the urgent need to open humanitarian corridors to facilitate the delivery of medical and relief aid to the Gaza Strip, in addition to an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Since the outbreak of the war, Blinken has made three trips to Israel and also visited numerous other Arab nations. He also made a high-security surprise visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank this month, meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

October 17: Al-Ahli Arab hospital struck

A blast ripped through a Gaza hospital killing hundreds of people late Tuesday, sparking global condemnation and violent protests in several nations. Israel and Palestinians traded blame for the incident, as protests erupted worldwide.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which runs the territory, accused Israel of being behind the strike. The Israeli army blamed it on a misfired rocket attack by Hamas' ally, the Islamic Jihad group, which has described the accusations as "lies".

US President Joe Biden on Oct 18 said that the explosion at the hospital appears to not have been caused by Israel. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting. But Biden said there were “a lot of people out there” who weren't sure what caused the blast.

October 20: Hostages released

Hamas released two American hostages from around 200 captives abducted in the October 7 attack, Israel and the group said. Hamas also released videos of captured individuals, including children.

Two more hostages — elderly Israeli women — were released a few days later. At a press conference, one of the released Hamas hostages, 85-year old Yocheved Lifshitz, said that she "went through hell", but that she was treated well in captivity.

October 21: Rafah border opened

The first aid trucks arrived in war-torn Gaza from Egypt on Oct 21, bringing urgent humanitarian relief to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave. But a Hamas spokesman said "even dozens" of such convoys could not meet Gaza's needs, especially as no fuel was being allowed in to help distribute the supplies to those in need.

October 26: Ground invasion

Israel began an invasion of the Gaza Strip, launching a large-scale ground assault.

The Israel Defense Forces described the operation as a "targeted raid" that hit "numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts".

October 29: Aid centres looted

The United Nations warned that "civil order" was starting to collapse in Gaza after thousands of people ransacked its food warehouses in the war-torn Palestinian territory.

The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said wheat, flour and other supplies had been pillaged at several warehouses. "This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege," said UNRWA's Gaza chief Thomas White.

October 31: Gaza's largest refugee camp hit

Israeli airstrikes hit a densely populated refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 190 Palestinians and a Hamas commander, and medics struggled to treat the casualties, even setting up operating rooms in hospital corridors. An Israel Defense Forces statement said the strike by fighter jets on Jabalia, Gaza's largest refugee camp, had killed Ibrahim Biari.

Days later, at least 45 people were reported killed in an Israeli strikes on Al Maghazi refugee camp. Hamas said in a statement posted on Telegram that Israel had "directly" bombed citizens' homes, adding that most of the dead were women and children.

November 1: Countries recall envoys

Bolivia became the first country to break diplomatic ties with Israel because of its attacks on the Gaza Strip, while Colombia, Chile and Jordan recalled their ambassadors to the Middle Eastern country.

Turkey and South Africa have also since recalled their diplomats in the wake of the crisis.

November 3: Hezbollah leader airs first speech

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his powerful militia is already engaged in unprecedented cross-border fighting with Israel along the Lebanon-Israel border and threatened a further escalation as the Israel-Hamas war neared the one-month mark.

In the televised remarks — Nasrallah's first since the beginning of the war sparked by the Palestinian militants’ deadly October 7 incursion into southern Israel — he stopped short of announcing that his Lebanese militia would fully enter the war, a move that would have devastating consequences for both Lebanon and Israel.

The United States called on Friday for Hezbollah not to "take advantage" of the Israel-Hamas war after the Lebanese militants' leader said "all options" were open.

November 6: Death toll in Gaza crosses 10,000

One month after the start of the war, the death toll from Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian territory had surpassed 10,000. The toll of 10,022 deaths was announced in a press conference in Gaza by health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidreh.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the bombarded Gaza Strip was becoming a "graveyard for children," as he urged an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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