Israel-Hamas war: Deaths pass 1,400 as EU reverses decision on Palestinian aid suspension

UN secretary general ‘deeply distressed’ by Israel’s complete siege of Gaza, where a ‘small number’ of Irish citizens are located

Israel gif

  • Monday is day three of this escalation of violence in the Middle East conflict, and we will be providing live coverage of the latest developments
  • The overall death toll since Hamas’s unprecedented surprise attack on towns and kibbutzim in southern Israel on Saturday has reached at least 1,400
  • The Israeli death toll has risen to at least 900, including 73 soldiers, with more than 2,000 wounded
  • Some 687 people have been killed in bombing reprisals in Gaza, with 3,726 wounded, of which 140 are children and 105 are women
  • Israel said its troops had killed armed infiltrators entering the country from Lebanon, raising fears war could spread to a second front as it calls up an unprecedented military 300,000 reservists
  • The EU late on Monday reversed an earlier announcement by an EU commissioner that the bloc was “immediately” suspending aid for Palestinian authorities
  • Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza and said authorities will cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel to 2.3 million people
  • The United Nations said more than 123,000 people have fled their homes in Gaza
  • Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel was now engaged in a “long and difficult war” and vowed to destroy “the military and governing capabilities” of Hamas
  • Some 260 of the dead in Israel are from among mostly young attendees at an outdoor music festival that came under Hamas attack on Saturday
  • More than 100 people, civilians and soldiers were seized by militants and taken to Gaza, including young children and elderly civilians, Israeli government officials said
  • Kim Damti (22), who holds joint Irish and Israeli citizenship, is one of the many people unaccounted for, having attended the all-night outdoor rave with hundreds of others close to the Gaza border
  • Analysis: Sheer magnitude of Hamas attack is difficult for Israelis to grasp
  • Opinion: Palestinian hopelessness drove the Hamas attack on Israel writes Vincent Durac


EU reverses announcement on suspension of Palestinian aid

The European Union late on Monday reversed an earlier announcement by an EU commissioner that the bloc was “immediately” suspending aid for Palestinian authorities.

Instead it said it would urgently review such assistance in the wake of the attacks on Israel by Hamas.

“There will be no suspension of payments” at the moment, a European Commission statement said late on Monday, five hours after EU commissioner Oliver Varhelyi had said that all payments from the development programme for Palestinians would be “immediately suspended. All projects put under review. All new budget proposals ... postponed until further notice”.

No immediate explanation for the reversal was given.

A full European Commission statement always trumps a statement from an EU commissioner, but the reversal on a €691 million programme came at a time of extreme geopolitical sensitivities.

Since Saturday, support of the 27-nation bloc for Israel had been steadfast, including that the country had now every right within international law to defend itself in the war with Hamas.

The surprise announcement by Mr Varhelyi on development aid came just hours after EU officials stressed that no EU money whatsoever was going to Hamas in the first place and that contacts had been frozen for 16 years. The EU considers Hamas a terror group.

After hours of uncertainty over how deep the measures would reach and whether they would possibly also affect aid to those in immediate need, the European Commission said there was no suspension for now, but said it started “an urgent review of the EU’s assistance for Palestine”.

“The objective of this review is to ensure that no EU funding indirectly enables any terrorist organisation to carry out attacks against Israel,” the statement said.

The EU says it already has very strict rules in place to screen and vet beneficiaries and to make sure no such funds are made available to terrorists.

The statement said that the European Commission would “equally review if, in light of the changed circumstances on the ground, its support (programmes) to the Palestinian population and to the Palestinian Authority need to be adjusted.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell criticised Mr Varhelyi, insisting that “the suspension of the payments – punishing all the Palestinian people – would have damaged the EU interests in the region and would have only further emboldened terrorists”.

The EU says it is the biggest donor to the Palestinian people and has been advocating for years for the two-state approach that has guided international diplomacy since the 1993 Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Some of its programmes though have been dogged by allegations that funds could be siphoned off for unintended use.

EU foreign ministers are set to meet in Muscat, Oman, and by videoconference on Tuesday to discuss the situation and determine what actions should be taken.

“The foundations for peace, tolerance and coexistence must now be addressed. Incitement to hatred, violence and glorification of terror have poisoned the minds of too many,” Mr Varhelyi wrote.

During an earlier briefing Monday, the European Commission sought to draw a clear line between Hamas and the Palestinian people, who are in need of humanitarian aid. The commission said that humanitarian aid would not be affected by the review.

According to the bloc, it has provided humanitarian aid to help meet Palestinians’ basic needs since 2000 through the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Since 2000, ECHO has provided €700 million of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. – AP


U2 pay tribute to music festival attack victims

U2 have performed a special version of their song Pride in tribute to the 260 people killed by Hamas at an Israeli music festival.

The Irish band played the song, with updated lyrics referencing the date and location of the attack, during a set as part of their ongoing residency at The Sphere venue in Las Vegas.


Handling of conflict on X under scrutiny after ‘deluge’ of fake posts and Musk recommendations

X’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict has come under scrutiny after a “deluge” of fake posts and Elon Musk’s recommendation of war coverage from accounts that have made false claims or anti-Semitic comments.

The billionaire owner of X, formerly Twitter, recommended two accounts on Sunday. He wrote: “For following the war in real-time, @WarMonitors and @sentdefender are good. It is also worth following direct sources on the ground. Please add interesting options in the replies below.”

The @WarMonitors account told a user in June “go worship a jew lil bro” while both accounts helped to spread a false claim in May that an explosion had occurred at the Pentagon. Emerson T Brooking, a researcher at the Atlantic Council’s digital forensic research lab, said the @sentdefender account regularly posted “wrong and unverifiable things”.

Mr Musk has since deleted his post and disputed a War Monitor post describing Gaza fighters as “martyrs”. He wrote: “While reporting both sides is fair, please use maximally accurate words or I must withdraw my recommendation to follow your account.”

Fake social media accounts are spreading false information about the Israel-Hamas conflict, with X and TikTok among the affected platforms, according to disinformation specialists.

One in five social media accounts participating in online conversations about the Hamas attacks and their aftermath are fake, according to Cyabra, an Israeli analysis firm.

Cyabra, which has monitored US election disinformation and tracked bot accounts on Twitter historically, found that approximately 30,000 fake accounts have been spreading pro-Hamas disinformation or gathering sensitive details about their targets.

The company said the fake accounts – many of them automated bot accounts not operated by human hand – were particularly active on X and TikTok but were also appearing on other platforms. – Guardian


Guterres: ‘Time to end the vicious circle of bloodshed’

Following on his earlier words, UN secretary general António Guterres has said it is “time to end the vicious circle of bloodshed hatred & polarisation in the Middle East”.


Speaking to council heads from communities close to the Gaza border, Israel’s Netanyahu vowed that Israel woulddefeat Hamas forcefully. “What Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible: we are already in the campaign and we are just getting started,” he said.

Defence minister Yoav Gallant ordered a total siege on the Gaza Strip. “There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel, it’s all closed. We are fighting barbaric terrorists and we will fight accordingly.”

More than 500 people have been killed and at least 2,500 injured in Gaza since Israel began striking the coastal enclave in retaliation for the attack by Hamas in Israel that began at the weekend and has killed at least 900 people. Israel claims that “hundreds” of militants have been killed in the Israeli strikes and that Hamas is not releasing details in order to keep moral high. – Mark Weiss in Jerusalem

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Government to challenge European Commission on Palestinian aid

The Irish Government is to challenge a surprise announcement by Hungary’s European Commissioner that all payments of aid to the Palestinian territories would be “immediately suspended” as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israel.

Diplomats were blindsided by declaration by the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi, which was published on social media site X without an official statement from the European Commission’s central communication services.

The announcement came a day before Tánaiste Micheál Martin was to join other EU foreign affairs ministers to discuss the issue at an emergency meeting in response to the conflict, and sent ambassadors scrambling to establish whether Mr Varhelyi had the legal power to unilaterally cut off the Palestinians’ single biggest source of aid before their decision was made. – Naomi O’Leary/Harry McGee

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Palestinian death toll rises to 687

Palestinian death toll from Israeli attacks on Gaza rose to 687, a spokesman for the health ministry said on Monday.

The spokesman also said in a statement that 3,726 were wounded. The deaths included 140 children and 105 women, he added. – Reuters


Gallant comments on Gaza a ‘call to commit a war crime’, says NGO

Human Rights Watch, an international NGO that focuses on human rights, has condemned the earlier words by Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant, where he said his country was fighting “human animals”, as “abhorrent” and a “call to commit a war crime”.


It is in Russia’s interests to stoke war in Middle East, says Zelenskiy

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that it was in Russia’s interests to stoke war in the Middle East to weaken global unity.

“Based on available information – very clear information – it is in Russia’s interests to inflame war in the Middle East to create a new source of pain and suffering that would weaken global unity, create divisions and help Russia in undermining freedom in Europe,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

Mr Zelenskiy said Russians propagandists were “gloating” at developments and that Iran, which he described as Moscow’s ally, was openly supporting those attacking Israel.

“All of this poses a much greater threat than the world currently perceives,” Mr Zelenskiy said.

“And we know how to counter this threat. We are preparing the necessary measures. Most importantly, we are advocating for the necessity of maximum global unity.”

Mr Zelenskiy, in a call on Sunday with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, said Ukraine was in “solidarity with Israel, which is enduring a brazen, large-scale attack”. – Reuters


Hamas military wing threatens to kill Israeli captive when Gaza civilians hit ‘without prior warning’

The military wing of the militant Hamas group says it will kill one Israeli civilian captive any time Israel targets civilians in their homes in Gaza “without prior warning”.

Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the Qassam Brigades, said in an audio released on Monday night that the past hours have witnessed intense strikes by Israel on civilian areas in which homes were destroyed over people’s heads.

“We have decided to put an end to this and as of now and we declare that any targeting of our people in their homes without prior warning will be regrettably faced with the execution of one the hostages of civilians we are holding,” he said.

In a video statement on Monday, Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen warned Hamas against harming any of the hostages who were taken from Israel and being held in Gaza.

Mr Cohen said Israel was committed to bringing the hostages home “in the spirit of mutual responsibility”.

“We demand Hamas not to harm any of the hostages,” Mr Cohen said.

“This war crime will not be forgiven,” he added. – AP


UN secretary general ‘deeply distressed by Israel’s complete siege of Gaza

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said he is “deeply distressed” by Israel’s announcement of a complete siege on the Gaza Strip.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities. Now, it will only deteriorate exponentially,” Mr Guterres said at a news conference on Monday.

He spoke after the Israeli defence minister said he had ordered a cut-off of electricity and deliveries of food, fuel and other supplies to the territory.

Mr Guterres called for UN access to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. He pressed the international community to provide immediate support for the humanitarian effort.

His comments came as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan held back-to-back telephone calls with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli president Yitzhak Herzog, according to Mr Erdogan’s press office.

Mr Erdogan and Mr Abbas discussed the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

“President Erdogan stated that Turkey is making every effort to end the conflicts in the region and ensure calm as soon as possible” a statement from his press office said.

In his call with Mr Herzog “president Erdogan emphasised that any step that could harm the people of Gaza collectively and indiscriminately will further increase the suffering and spiral of violence in the region”, the presidential office statement said.

Mr Erdogan also told his Israeli counterpart that its “necessary to act with common sense and that establishing tranquillity in the region as soon as possible is of great importance for the wellbeing of the entire region”.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz says he and French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the situation in Israel with US president Joe Biden and prime minister Rishi Sunak later on Monday.

Mr Scholz, who was hosting Mr Macron at a joint German-French Cabinet retreat in Hamburg, called Hamas’ attack on Israel “barbaric”.

But he added that Germany, France, the US and the UK agree that there must not be a “conflagration” in the region, and “no one should further fuel terror in this situation”.

Mr Macron pledged his “full support and solidarity for Israel”.

He spoke to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the second time in three days and spoke over the weekend to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. – AP


Irish troops in Lebanon forced to take cover due to Israel-Hamas conflict

Irish troops stationed in Lebanon have been forced to take cover as Israel and Hizbullah trade rocket and artillery fire across the border.

There are growing concerns the conflict between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel, which entered its third day today, will prompt Hizbullah to open a second front from southern Lebanon.

The Defence Forces’ 122nd Infantry Battalion is stationed along the Blue Line in south Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil). There have been several reports of rockets being fired near the Irish area of operations in the last two days.

On Monday evening the Defence Forces said the 342 Irish troops entered “groundhog” positions, the term used for taking shelter in existing fortified structures, at lunchtime due to “exchanges of fire across the Blue Line.”

Irish troops continue to monitor the situation from their shelters, a spokesman said.

All Irish soldiers, as well as a small number of Maltese peacekeepers stationed with them, are accounted for and safe.

The rate of fire is dissipating, the Defence Forces said but troops remain in shelter for now.

“Once safe to do so they will continue to conduct planned framework operations.”

Other Irish deployments in the region are also safe. Twelve troops serving as Observers with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in Israel, Lebanon and Syria are “maintaining a high level of vigilance and continue to monitor the situation.” They are avoiding unnecessary travel.

Irish troops serving with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in Syria on the border with Israel are also safe. The 116 soldiers have suspended non-essential activities but are continuing with patrols and observation. – Conor Gallagher


Deliberate targeting of civilians ‘can never be justified’, says Tánaiste

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said he was “horrified” by scenes of the war between Israel and Hamas, adding “the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians can never be justified”.

In a statement Mr Martin said: “I again unreservedly condemn the attack by Hamas on Israel ... The taking of hostages, including young children and the elderly is unconscionable. They must be released immediately.

Mr Martin also said he has written to Israel’s foreign minister on Sunday and spoken with the Palestinian foreign minister and deputy prime minister on Monday.

“Yesterday, I wrote to Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen to express our deep condolences. I visited Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory and Jordan just one month ago. It is scarcely imaginable how the lives of so many people that I met during that visit will be irrevocably scarred by this violence. I am working closely with EU and international partners to contribute to addressing this crisis, including by speaking today with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki and with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Jordan, Ayman Safadi.

“I will discuss the situation with my EU counterparts in an emergency meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers tomorrow. These inhumane and senseless attacks have unleashed new horror upon innocent people in Israel and Gaza. Nothing could alleviate the heartbreak and outrage of those who have been affected by these events. We now have a moral and political obligation to chart a way towards a future in which these events cannot be repeated. This requires us to put protection of civilians at the heart of our objectives and to strive towards an international effort that can deliver a just and sustainable peace.”


Ryan condemns Hamas attack but does not back flying of Israeli flag on government buildings

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has condemned the attack by Hamas on Israel over the weekend unreservedly, but did not agree the colours of Israel or its flag should be carried on government or public buildings.

Speaking in Dublin on Monday, Mr Ryan said: “We unreservedly condemn what’s happened in Israel in recent days. It’s horrific to see the mass killing of civilians; the capture and abduction of women [and] children, nothing to do with the conflict.”

“If anything a lot of the people who were there would be very supportive of the Palestinian cause, as we are. [It] has been deeply harmed and damaged by the actions of Hamas. That has to be condemned,” he added.

The Irish Government have been very strong in also calling out the lack of action from the Israeli government to address the rights and the right cause of the Palestinian people, he said.

“But that can’t be a reason to be unequivocal in terms of what is an absolute and utter tragedy – and a crime; the killing of those people.”

On carrying the colours of the Israel or the Israeli flag on buildings, he said it was a moment for calm heads “and starting to try to dial down a lot of the tensions” including those associated with flags.

He did not believe Ireland should change its stance in recognising Palestinian statehood as a consequence of what had happened.

The Irish political system had consistently indicated support for the Palestinian people, condemning the occupation and the injustice that they have suffered under, he noted.

“That cannot be an excuse for the terrorism that we saw this weekend at a scale that no one has seen before. So to condemn one does not undermine the case for the other.” – Kevin O’Sullivan


More than 100 people taken captive by Hamas, says Israeli minister

Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen said on Monday that more than 100 people have been taken captive by Hamas during a deadly cross-border incursion over the weekend.

“Right now, there is more than 700 people that [were] murdered, that [were] slaughtered. More than 100 people that [were] taken captive,” Mr Cohen said, speaking in English to foreign journalists. – Reuters


Statement from President Michael D Higgins on the violence in Gaza and Israel

President Michael D Higgins has called on for an immediate end to the killing in Israel and Gaza.

In a statement on Monday evening, Mr Higgins said: “May I, as President of Ireland, lend my voice to those internationally that have called for an immediate end to the killing which has, since Saturday following Hamas’ attack on Israel and the response to it, included so many civilians, young people and children, as well as older members of families.

“Any attacks on innocent civilians, such as those horrific scenes witnessed at the Supernova music festival and elsewhere, are deeply reprehensible. Further attacks, and reprisals of the same degree, will lead to further loss of innocent life. Such actions will not lead to such a constructive approach as might achieve the necessary conditions for the coexistence of all in conditions of peace, for which we must all aspire.

“Diplomatic failure to meaningfully address a conflict, one that has been raised every year at the United Nations, is bearing a terrible fruit for all those involved,” he added.

“The absence of positive engagement has made a stone of the heart of so many. It should remind us that it is the responsibility of all of us to return and to engage with all of the sources of conflict, accepting the right of Israel to defend itself, and of Palestinian people to enjoy the rights to which they are entitled.

“Those international voices who have called for an end to the further loss of civilian life, for restraint, realise how difficult this is to achieve. Yet, if out of the worst of circumstances something is to be achieved, it requires an immediate urgent engagement by neighbours and the international bodies so as to achieve the ceasing of attacks on communities and their civilian infrastructure.

“Any response, and indeed the resolution to what is an ongoing conflict, one that has been neglected and is now manifesting itself with new horrific consequences, must be in accordance with international law, humanitarian needs and respect for the decisions of the United Nations, whom I would call upon to act with urgency.

“What the families of the civilians entrapped in these circumstances are going through must be of concern to us all. I join with the Irish Government in their concern for all of the civilians at risk in Israel and in Gaza and join in their call for a ceasing of the violence and the protection of the lives of innocent civilians.

“I send my deepest condolences to all of the families of the victims, and our thoughts at this time are, in particular, with the family of Kim Damti our fellow citizen.”



What we know so far today

– The overall death toll for the conflict has passed 1,400 since Saturday – at least 900 in Israel with 2,616 injured and some 687 in Gaza with 3,726 injured

– Israel has cut off supplies of food, electricity and fuel to Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants as part of its ‘complete siege’ of the area

– A ‘small number’ of Irish citizens are currently in Gaza and receiving support from the Department of Foreign Affairs

– The European Commission has withdrawn development aid to Palestine worth almost €700 million following the attack by Hamas

– More than 123,000 people have fled their homes in Gaza, according to the UN

– Israel said its troops killed armed infiltrators entering the country from Lebanon, raising fears war could spread to a second front

– Isolated clashes between Hamas and Israeli forces continued on Monday

– Gaza fired rockets toward southern and central Israel causing further casualties, including four on the outskirts of Jerusalem


Hamas fires rockets towards Jerusalem, injuring four

Hamas’ armed wing said it fired rockets towards Jerusalem in response to Israel’s bombing of civilian homes in Gaza. Four people in an area on the outskirts of the city were wounded, the ambulance service said.

Palestinian fighters were still holed up in several locations inside Israel two days after they killed hundreds of Israelis and seized dozens of hostages in a raid that shattered Israel’s reputation of invincibility.

Netanyahu told mayors of southern towns hit by Saturday’s surprise assault that Israel’s response would “change the Middle East”.

In Hamas-controlled Gaza, Israel pressed on with its most intensive retaliatory strikes ever. – Reuters


Video from Reuters shows the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza.


Family members of Scottish first minister ‘trapped’ in Gaza

Scotland’s first minister has said his parents in-law are “trapped” in Gaza after visiting family, leaving him worried if they will “make it through the night”.

The parents of Humza Yousaf’s wife, Nadia El-Nakla, were in Gaza visiting family when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel this weekend, killing hundreds, according to reports.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, a visibly emotional Mr Yousaf said: “As many will know, my wife is Palestinian, her mum and dad, my in-laws, who live in Dundee, live in Scotland, they’ve been in Gaza and are currently trapped in Gaza, I’m afraid.”

The couple went to visit the 93-year-old mother of Mr Yousaf’s father-in-law when the Hamas attack took place.

They have been told by Israeli authorities to leave because “Gaza will effectively be obliterated”, the first minister said.

“Despite the best efforts of the British foreign office, nobody, nobody can guarantee them safe passage anywhere,” Mr Yousaf said.

“So I’m in a situation where, frankly, night by night, day by day, we don’t know whether or not my mother-in-law and father-in-law – who have nothing to do, as most Gazans don’t, with Hamas or with any terror attack – whether they will make it through the night or not.”

Mr Yousaf also issued an “unequivocal condemnation” of the Hamas attack.

He said: “We cannot sleep – we are constantly watching our phones. When our messages do get through, we’re waiting for a reply.” – PA


‘Small number’ of Irish citizens currently in Gaza

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs has said there are a “small number” of Irish citizens currently in Gaza, who officials were providing support to.

The Irish embassy in Tel Aviv and its office in Ramallah were in “ongoing contact” with Irish citizens in Israel and Palestine, he said. – Jack Power


‘We’re all just numbed by the pictures of the barbarity’

Maurice Cohen, the chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, said the community was shocked by the actions of Hamas.

“The community, a mix of Irish Jewish people and Israelis, some who have come here to work, we’re all just numbed by the pictures of the barbarity we’ve seen on our screens,” he said.

“I know people that have friends or relatives who had been in the area, who had been injured or are missing,” he said.

The “dreadful” leadership of Hamas had, in its attack on Israel, failed to protect the citizens of Gaza, who would be injured or killed in the military response by Israel, he said.

Mr Cohen said in his view some Irish politicians were “on the wrong side” of the conflict, and had been “muted” in their response to the actions of Hamas. – Jack Power


Troops kill infiltrators entering from Lebanon, Israel says, raising fears war could spread

Israel said on Monday its troops backed by helicopters had killed armed infiltrators entering the country from Lebanon, raising fears war could spread to a second front two days after Hamas gunmen burst in from Gaza on a deadly rampage.

The Israeli military said it had called up an unprecedented 300,000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, signs it could be planning a ground assault there to defeat Hamas.

In a further sign of Israel’s rapid shift on to a war footing, a cabinet member from Netanyahu’s Likud Party said it could set up a national unity government joined by opposition leaders within hours.

Hamas fighters were still holed up in several locations inside Israel two days after they killed hundreds of Israelis and seized dozens of hostages in a raid that shattered Israel’s reputation of invincibility.

Israel’s Kan TV said the death toll from the Hamas attack had climbed to 800.

Netanyahu told mayors of southern towns hit by the surprise assault that Israel’s response would “change the Middle East”.

In Hamas-controlled Gaza, Israel pressed on with its most intensive retaliatory strikes ever, which have killed more than 500 people since Saturday.

The prospect that fighting could spread to other areas has alarmed the region. Israeli troops “killed a number of armed suspects that infiltrated into Israeli territory from Lebanese territory,” the military said, adding helicopters “are currently striking in the area”.

An official with Hizbullah denied that the group had mounted any operation into Israel. Hizbullah, a Shia militant group powerful in southern Lebanon, is backed by Iran like Hamas.

The announcement that 300,000 reservists had already been activated in just two days added to speculation that Israel could be contemplating a ground assault of Gaza, a territory it abandoned nearly two decades ago.

“We have never drafted so many reservists on such a scale,” chief military spokesperson rear adm Daniel Hagari said. “We are going on the offensive.” – Reuters


Irish MEP calls for ‘lasting two-state solution’ to conflict

Green Party MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan, a member of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine, has call on European leaders to focus their efforts on ending “hostilities immediately, providing humanitarian assistance to victims and brokering a lasting two-state solution for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples without delay”.

In a statement, Ms O’Sullivan said: “The European Commission’s decision to suspend all aid to Palestinians is a mistake in light of the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza where EU funding supports hospitals, schools and food security programmes.

As a neutral country with a recent history of conflict and reconciliation, Ireland has a particularly important role to play in ending the cycle of terror attacks and the systemic violence of the occupation. Ireland should engage with its international partners to de-escalate the situation and prevent further loss of life.”


European Commission suspends €691m development aid to Palestine following Hamas attack

The European Commission said on Monday afternoon it was putting all its development aid to Palestinians, worth €691 million, under review and immediately suspending all payments following Hamas’ attack on Israel.

“The scale of terror and brutality against Israel and its people is a turning point,” Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, said in a post on social media. “There can be no business as usual.”

Mr Varhelyi said all new budget proposals for Palestinian aid were also postponed until further notice.

“The foundations for peace, tolerance and coexistence must now be addressed,” he said.

“Incitement to hatred, violence and glorification of terror have poisoned the minds of too many,” he added. “We need action and we need it now.”

Earlier on Monday, Austria said it was suspending aid worth tens of millions of euros to Palestinians in response to the attack on Israel to ensure funds were not flowing into the wrong hands, while Germany was reviewing its support. – Reuters


Reaction of Irish Jewish community to attacks by Hamas one of ‘horror’, says Shatter

Alan Shatter, former minister of justice and a member of the Jewish community in Ireland, has said reports of Hamas militants going house to house killing people possibly represented “the worst atrocities on the Jewish people since the Holocaust”.

The reaction of the Jewish community in Ireland to the details of the attacks by Hamas at the weekend was one of “horror”, he said.

“There’s a sense that to an extent, and it has been said, this is Israel’s 9/11,” he told The Irish Times.

Mr Shatter, a former Fine Gael TD, said the attack on the outdoor rave near Gaza had been “barbaric”.

“In the Jewish community in Ireland there are enormous concerns and a great amount of upset at the deaths ... There is a great feeling of concern and uncertainty,” he said.

“Members of the community see this as something being urged on by Iran,” he said.

The response by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza would inevitably now lead to “collateral” damage, such as civilians being killed, he said.

Any long lasting resolution between Israel and Palestine was “years away” and something he said he did not feel he would see in his lifetime, he said. The former minister said he did not believe a peaceful solution was possible while Hamas ruled in Gaza. – Jack Power


Targeting of civilians and taking of hostages must be condemned, says McDonald

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said that the targeting of civilians and the taking of hostages is to be condemned outright.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s News at One, Ms McDonald said that looking at the scenes where young people had been out enjoying themselves and then had met “such a violent and traumatic death was just truly horrific.

“I understand perfectly the sense of trauma that’s been expressed. I have to say the bombardment now of Gaza is equally to be condemned. But my feeling overall in this scenario, is one of alarm because this is now a very, very dangerous situation, but also a feeling of very, very deep frustration ... the truth is that for decades, the Israeli state has breached international law daily with collective punishment, annexation, confiscation of land, imposing an apartheid regime, denying the Palestinian people their absolutely right to self-determination. And there is just such a depressing predictability about this intensification of conflict.” – Vivienne Clarke

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The United Nations said more than 123,000 people have fled their homes in Gaza – many after Israeli warnings of imminent bombardment.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said on Sunday that a school sheltering more than 225 people took a direct hit. It did not say where the fire came from. – AP


Trócaire ‘condemns the killing of innocent civilians’

Trócaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, has said it is “deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza and condemns the killing of innocent civilians”.

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, it called on “all parties involved in the conflict to immediately cease hostilities” and to “ensure civilians are protected”.


Ireland failed to secure EU statement against Israeli escalation after Hamas attack

Ireland was unsuccessful in pushing the European Union to call for an avoidance of an escalation in violence following the surprise Hamas attack on Israel this weekend, writes our Europe correspondent Naomi O’Leary.

According to diplomatic sources, the attempt met strong opposition among other EU countries which felt a clear statement of solidarity with Israel was more important after the Hamas incursions killed more than 800 people, including 260 at a rave party, and captured dozens of hostages.

In negotiations that bounced between capitals on Saturday, Ireland was joined by Denmark and Luxembourg in pushing for a statement to include an appeal to avoid escalation, according to diplomatic sources.

Luxembourg asked for the text to include “a call to avoid escalation”, its foreign ministry said.

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‘Categorically false’: Department shuts down suggestions it rejected Hamas terrorism classification

The Department of Foreign Affairs denied suggestions that Ireland had refused to agree to Hamas being referred to as a terrorist organisation in a recent European Union statement on escalating conflict in the Middle East.

“In response to queries, DFA confirms it is categorically false that Ireland refused to agree a reference to Hamas as a terrorist organisation in the EU statement in response to attacks in Israel. Hamas is listed by the EU as a terrorist organisation, unanimously agreed by all [member states],” a statement, posted on X, read.

Earlier on Monday, Arlene Foster, former leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, suggested the State wouldn’t refer to assaults in the region over the weekend as terrorism.


Nine Americans have been killed in Israel since attacks by Palestinian forces began on Saturday, the US state department has said.

It also said on Monday there were other US citizens unaccounted for.

The state department said the first package of US aid to Israel is on the way to the country. – Martin Wall


Clashes reported at Israel-Lebanon border

Israeli soldiers backed by helicopters killed at least two gunmen who crossed the border from Lebanon on Monday, Israel Defence Forces said, in a sign of a possible new front opening as Israel’s forces battled Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza.

Artillery shelling and gunfire were heard at Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, a correspondent for Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV said in a post on social media.

A Hizbullah official said the group had not mounted any operation into Israel.

In a statement, the Israeli military said its soldiers “killed a number of armed suspects that infiltrated into Israeli territory from Lebanese territory”. It did not elaborate on the number.

Military helicopters “are currently striking in the area,” the statement added. – Reuters


At least 560 Palestinians have been killed and 2,900 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip since Saturday, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.


Peter Power, executive director of Unicef Ireland, who was in Gaza in late August, said the international children’s aid charity was very concerned about the poor state of health facilities and limited access to medicines in the area.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Power said “the situation for ordinary people, women and children, had deteriorated markedly” since he last visited the area in 2016.

During his visit he felt there was a “sense of desperation” among Palestinians living there, he said. “The health facilities I inspected were very rudimentary, with limited access to medicine,” he said. There was also a lack of universal access to clean water, he added.

Aid charities had “real concern” that the war with Israel would now cause conditions to deteriorate further for civilians in Gaza.

It had already been difficult to get essential supplies, such as medicine, into the strip, which would likely now become even harder, he said.

Mr Power said the charity hoped humanitarian access would be allowed into Gaza, to provide medicine and medical supplies, following the outbreak of war. – Jack Power


The editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper has told of the “nerve-racking” experience of a group of Irish pilgrims currently visiting Israel.

Michael Kelly told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland the group had been on the outskirts of Jerusalem when it heard sirens going off, indicating there had been rocket attacks. Pilgrims began to received concerned messages from family members when news of the conflict began to break, he said.

“We moved very, very quickly to try to get everyone back to the hotel and keep everyone calm. And everyone was able to contact loved ones at home. But it was a very grim experience.

“One could feel the tension in the air, one could feel the uncertainty. Local people really were just shaking their heads.”

Everyone he had spoken to was expecting more Israeli casualties. It was also obvious there would be more casualties in Gaza too, Mr Kelly said.

“I would say people are looking at the whole thing with trepidation because the situation is so unprecedented.

“Because of the nature of this, I think no one really knows where this is going to go. And it’s very, very obvious on the highways and the roads, even in the north of Israel, that there’s an enormous troop mobilisation.”

Mr Kelly said his group had been scheduled to return to Ireland on Thursday. “We’re doing our best to try to keep people calm, but obviously we don’t want to exposé people to the risk as well. So there was a fair deal of consensus when we met with the groups last night that people would like to try to get home as soon as possible.” – Vivienne Clarke


Israel will cut off water supply to Gaza, says infrastructure minister

Israel Katz, the Israeli infrastructure minister, said on Monday he had ordered an immediate cut-off of the country’s water supplies to the Gaza Strip.

“What was in the past, will no longer be in the future,” he said in a post on X.

Earlier on Monday, Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, with authorities moving to cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel to the enclave.


European Union foreign ministers will meet in an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Israel and the region, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday.

They will meet to consider the responses and next steps for the EU, including reviewing aspects of development aid. – Reuters


‘Integrated and horrific terror attack’: Israeli embassy condemns Hamas assault

The embassy of Israel in Ireland has urged public figures to “support Israel and its right to self defence” as fighting continues in the Middle East.

In a statement released on Monday morning, the embassy described Hamas-led attacks as “barbaric acts”.

“Since the morning of Saturday, October 6th, Israel has been under an integrated and horrific terror attack launched by Hamas terrorists.

“Israel is thankful for the widespread international support, and the Embassy of Israel in Ireland appreciates all the messages and expressions of support coming from Irish people.”

The embassy conveyed it appreciation of statements released by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin condemning the attacks.

“We urge other public figures to condemn these acts and support Israel and its right to self defence.

“There is no justification for these atrocities and barbaric acts. There should be a united and clear stand against these indiscriminate attacks,” the statement concluded.


Egypt has been in close contact with Israel and Hamas to try to prevent further escalation in fighting between them and to ensure the protection of Israelis taken hostage by Palestinian militants, two Egyptian security sources said on Monday.

Egypt had urged Israel to exercise restraint and Hamas to hold its captives in good condition to keep open the possibility of de-escalation soon, although successive Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip made mediation difficult, said the anonymous sources.

Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesperson has said there is a high risk of third parties becoming involved in the conflict between Israel’s armed forces and Palestinian militants, according to Russian media.

Dmitry Peskov was responding to news that US defence secretary Lloyd Austin had ordered the USS Gerald R Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean as a show of support to Israel. – Reuters


Israeli defence minister orders ‘complete siege’ of Gaza

Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, has ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, saying authorities will cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel in an escalation of measures against the Hamas-controlled enclave.

“I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel, everything is closed,” he said. “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.”

Israel and Egypt have imposed various levels of blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. – Reuters


People Before Profit, the Irish Anti-war Movement and several student unions will lead a rally in solidarity with Palestine outside Dáil Éireann this evening.


Financial assistance to Palestinian Authority should cease, says TD

Independent TD and former Army Ranger Cathal Berry has called for financial aid to the Palestinian Authority to cease but for humanitarian aid to continue.

Dr Berry told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland that taking hostages was unacceptable and Ireland had to be “very, very vocal” in condemning both Israeli and Hamas aggression. Hostage taking was a very sensitive issue as a number of Irish troops had been taken hostage and executed by both sides in the past, he said.

“So it’s a red line issue for Ireland, and we should be very, very forthright and make that very, very clear.

“We have to get our point across that what happened over the weekend was completely unacceptable.”

Financial aid to the Palestinian Authority for administration and governance should be stopped but not funds for schools and hospitals, he said – in fact, it should even be increased.

Dr Berry said he – and, he believes, most Irish people – supports the Palestinian right to resist the occupation of their land. However, there was a requirement not to “stray beyond the norms of a conflict, and that’s what happened over the weekend”.

“What happened is completely unacceptable. And we can’t be seen to not condemn any kind of bloodletting. And I am concerned about some reports on social media in Ireland over the weekend almost cheerleading what happened as though we should be supporting it. There’s a big difference between supporting the Palestinian people and supporting the actions of Hamas over what happened.” – Vivienne Clarke


‘We have the right to self-determination’: Ambassador responds to escalations in conflict

Palestinians “have the right to defend” themselves, Palestinian ambassador to Ireland Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid has said, responding to escalations in conflict in the Middle East over the weekend.

“Nobody wanted to see this violence,” she told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland.

When asked her opinion on the Hamas-led attacks on Saturday, she said she was shocked by the way the story was being reported. “You ignore two million Palestinian people who really endured the occupation, oppression, humiliation and violation of international law under the Israeli occupation for more than four decades.

“Today, we are talking about an all-out war that has been declared by the Israelis against the Palestinian people. You ignored those people.”

The continued violation by Israel of international law could not continue, she said. “There will be consequences.”

Palestine had wanted the international community to assist in finding a just solution, but the Palestinians had been left without hope, she added.

“What do you expect from a people that really endured this oppression for decades to do? I mean, there is no protection. When you talk about the suffering of the Palestinian people, that they don’t see any hope for the young generations, that they didn’t see any change for decades. What do you expect those people to think about it?”

“We have a just cause, we have the right to defend ourselves. We have the right to self-determination. We are human beings. We’re not less human beings than any other humans.” – Vivienne Clarke


Writing in The Irish Times this morning, Dr Vincent Durac, a lecturer in Middle East politics at University College Dublin, says although the Hamas-led assault on Saturday took many by surprise, “the fact of its happening is less so, in the context of the social and economic crises that characterise the Occupied Palestinian Territories in general, and Gaza in particular”.


Isolated clashes continue near Gaza as Israel moves to recapture territory

Israeli forces have re-established control of communities near the Gaza Strip that had been overrun in a Hamas mass-infiltration, but isolated clashes continue as some Palestinian gunmen remain active, a military spokesperson said on Monday.

Since Saturday’s surprise assault, Israeli aircraft have been pounding Gaza targets while its ground forces have battled to retake control of border villages and towns overrun by Palestinian gunmen.

Rear-Admiral Daniel Hagari, chief military spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces, said 300,000 reservists have been called up by the military since Saturday, a number suggesting preparations for a possible invasion.

“We have never drafted so many reservists on such a scale,” he said. “We are going on the offensive.”

Elsewhere, sirens sounded on Monday in the Tel Aviv area and Jerusalem, and witnesses in the latter city heard explosions that may have been from rocket impacts or mid-air interceptions. – Reuters


Good morning. War between Hamas and Israel is entering its third day, after militants launched surprise attacks in southern Israel on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know on Monday morning.

The overall death toll since Hamas’s unprecedented surprise attack on towns and kibbutzim in southern Israel on Saturday has surpassed 1,100. Israel has replied with bombing attacks on Gaza, killing hundreds.

The Israeli death toll has risen to at least 700, including 44 soldiers, with more than 2,000 wounded.

On Monday, Gaza’s health ministry said that at least 493 Palestinians have been killed and 2,751 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave since Saturday.

Reporting from Jerusalem, Mark Weiss writes that the sheer scale of damage caused by Hamas in its assaults on Saturday is a “stinging humiliation” for Israel, a regional superpower used to war and terror attacks.