Israel-Hamas war: 5 key developments about Gaza conflict on Tuesday 31 October

Dozens feared dead in airstrike in refugee camp; Starmer mobbed after Gaza speech and more

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, October 31, 2023. REUTERS/Anas al-Shareef
Palestinians search for casualties following an airstrike at Jabalia refugee camp (Reuters) (Stringer . / reuters)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer laid out his position on the Israel-Hamas conflict on Tuesday, saying that a ceasefire would embolden Hamas and insisting the party was not divided on the issue.

In Gaza, Palestinian health officials said at least 50 people were killed when Israeli air strikes hit a densely populated refugee camp in north Gaza.

Here are the main stories from Tuesday:

1. 'More than 50 killed' in air strike on Gaza refugee camp

  • The director of a hospital in Gaza has claimed more than 50 Palestinians have been killed by an Israeli air strike that hit a refugee camp. Images from the Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza, show people searching for survivors among the wreckage after a huge explosion.

  • Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry denounced the attack as a "horrific massacre" and said 150 had been wounded in addition to the 50 killed. Israeli army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht confirmed the attack and told CNN: "There was a very senior Hamas commander in that area. We're looking into it and we'll be coming out with more data as we learn what happened there."

Read more: At least 50 people killed after explosion at refugee camp in Gaza (The National)

Palestinians evacuate a casualty at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, October 31, 2023. REUTERS/Anas al-Shareef
Palestinians evacuate a casualty at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia. (Reuters) (Stringer . / reuters)

2. Starmer mobbed after Gaza speech

  • Party leader Starmer battled to present Labour as a unified party on the Israel-Hamas conflict during a keynote speech at Chatham House in London. It saw him call for a humanitarian pause rather than a ceasefire – which he said would embolden Hamas – and insist that the Labour party was unified despite an MP recently having his whip suspended over comments on Gaza.

  • However, following his speech, Starmer then had to be ushered into the back of a waiting car as protesters shouted at him and demanded an immediate ceasefire. Police officers pushed them aside, but the protesters ran at the car carrying the Labour leader and drummed on the window.

Read more: Starmer battles to maintain Labour discipline over Israel-Hamas war (PA)

London, UK. 29th October, 2023. Several hundred British-Israelis and supporters held 'kidnapped' posters outside the Qatari embassy, in a plea for the country's government to help secure the safe release of the confirmed 203 hostages. The Qatari government has played a key role in in hostage negotiations since Israeli, dual nationality and foreign nationals were taken into Gaza, by Hamas militants and other groups, after the October 7th attacks. Credit: Eleventh Hour Photography/Alamy Live News
These 'kidnapped' posters have been put up on walls in major UK cities (Alamy) (Eleventh Hour Photography)

3. Officers remove hostage posters

  • An investigation has been launched after police officers from a second force were spotted removing posters showing people who'd been captured by Hamas. In a widely circulated video on social media, officers from Greater Manchester Police can be seen removing the posters from a wall in north Manchester, an area with a large Jewish population.

  • The force's Assistant Chief Constable Wasim Chaudhry confirmed an investigation was under way, adding that the actions taken by officers, in response to complaints, is contrary to existing guidance on flyposting. London's Metropolitan Police received similar criticism on Monday after its officers were spotted removing posters in Edgware Road in what it called a bid to ease "community tension".

Read more: Manchester police officer filmed 'pulling down posters of Hamas hostages' (Yahoo News)

4. Backlash over Braverman comments

  • Home secretary Suella Braverman has been accused of adding "more poison to an already toxic situation" after she described pro-Palestinian protests in London as "hate marches". Labour's Sir Chris Bryant told ITV: "I think her words were deliberately ill chosen and they made it far more difficult for the police to do their jobs properly."

  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told Sky News that protests have "by and large" been peaceful and lawful, accusing Braverman of "seeking to divide people by posturing".

Read more: Sadiq Khan accuses Suella Braverman of 'posturing' over pro-Palestinian protests (Sky News)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a time for war as he ruled out a ceasefire. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

5. Netanyahu says it's 'time for war'

  • Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out a ceasefire in Gaza, commenting: "That will not happen. The Bible says that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war."

  • His comments came as Israel continued its ground operation in the enclave. “This creates pressure," Netanyahu said of the offensive. "We’re committed to getting all the hostages back home. We think that this method stands a chance."

Read more: Netanyahu declares it is ‘time for war’ as he rules out ceasefire (The Independent)

Where is Gaza?

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)

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.

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