Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza on Thursday for a "raid" ahead of an anticipated ground offensive in the embattled enclave.
However, it was warned against a "massive" ground invasion by Emmanuel Macron, who said such a move would be a "mistake". The UK also confirmed support is in place in Egypt to help Britons seeking to flee the enclave.
Here are the main stories from today:
1. UK Border Force in Egypt
UK Border Force teams are set up in Egypt to “quickly” assist British nationals to escape from Gaza when a crossing is opened, the prime minister has revealed.
Rishi Sunak said he is pushing for a pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas to allow aid to reach Palestinians and also create a “safer environment” for UK citizens to leave the bombarded 25-mile strip. Less than five Britons are believed to be hostages, though others are feared to have been killed already. There are many more Britons in the Gaza enclave itself.
Read more: UK Border Force in Egypt to help trapped British nationals escape Gaza (Independent)
2. Israeli tanks enter Gaza
Israeli tanks launch a raid inside Gaza overnight in the biggest ground incursion into the enclave in the current conflict ahead of an anticipated large-scale ground offensive.
Troops returned to Israel following the "raid", which the Israel Defense Forces said was "preparation for the next stages" of combat. "IDF tanks & infantry struck numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts," the IDF added.
French president Emmanuel Macron said that while France supports Israel's right to defend itself, a ground invasion that risks civilian lives would be wrong. "If it is a massive ground invasion which puts civilian lives at risk, then I think it is a mistake, and it is a mistake for Israel as well," he siad.
3. Erdogan hits out at EU
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit out at the EU over its failure to back a ceasefire to allow aid into Gaza. “How many more children must die before the EU Commission calls for a ceasefire?” he said. “How many more tons of bombs must fall on Gaza before the United Nations Security Council can take action?”
Erdogan also suggested that Western countries were not adhering to international law in Gaza because the "because the blood being shed is Muslim blood".
Read more: Turkey urges WHO to do more for Gazans hit by war (Reuters)
4. 50 hostages killed - Hamas
The estimated number of Hamas-held captives killed in Gaza due to Israeli strikes is around 50, a spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, has said.
Israel says it has identified 224 hostages who were taken following the Hamas incursion on 7 October. . US president Joe Biden is leading talks with the Israelis to work out ways to secure their release.
Read more: More than half of Hamas' hostages have foreign nationality (Reuters)
5. Pro-Palestine march in London
Pro-Palestine demonstrators will take to the streets in London once again on Saturday, after about 100,000 people attended a similar protest last weekend.
The organisers of the march, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said there had been attempts to "demonise" those attending the demo, after police looked into several instances on last weekend's march – including someone arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.
Read more: Pro-Palestinian march organiser claims demonstrators ‘being demonised’ ahead of London protest (Yahoo News)
Where is Gaza?
Gaza, also known as the Gaza Strip, is a densely-populated Palestinian enclave on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, north-east of the Sinai Peninsula.
Bound by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Israel to the north and east and Egypt to the south, it is just 25 miles long and six miles wide.
Gaza is one of two Palestinian territories. The other is the Israeli-occupied West Bank.