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5th Canadian confirmed dead in Hamas-Israel conflict, Global Affairs Canada says

Gaza's 2.3 million civilians faced a continuing struggle for food, water and safety Sunday and braced for a looming invasion, eight days after Hamas militants launched a deadly assault on Israel.

Military spokesperson says Israel will attack Gaza City 'very broadly soon'

The latest:

  • Israel drops leaflets over Gaza City, orders more than one million Palestinians to move south.
  • Global Affairs Canada confirms the death of a fifth Canadian.
  • UN says rapid evacuation will cause untold human suffering.
  • Israelis turn on the water in southern Gaza, says White House national security adviser.
  • Israel must be prepared for Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon, adviser to Israeli PM says.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says an Egyptian-controlled border crossing into Gaza is expected to reopen to allow humanitarian aid in.

Gaza's 2.3 million civilians faced a continuing struggle for food, water and safety on Sunday and braced for a looming Israeli invasion, eight days after Hamas militants launched a deadly assault on Israel. While hundreds of thousands sought to heed Israel's order to evacuate the north, others huddled at hospitals there.

Israeli forces, supported by a growing deployment of U.S. warships in the region, positioned themselves along Gaza's border and drilled for what Israel said would be a broad campaign to dismantle the militant group. A week of blistering airstrikes have demolished entire neighbourhoods but failed to stem militant rocket fire into Israel.

The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,670 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting erupted, more than in the 2014 Gaza war, which lasted over six weeks. That makes this the deadliest of the five Gaza wars for both sides.

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, the vast majority of them civilians killed in Hamas's Oct. 7 assault. This is the deadliest war for Israel since the 1973 conflict with Egypt and Syria.

Julie Sunday, the assistant deputy minister for consular, security and emergency management at Global Affairs Canada, confirmed on Sunday that a fifth Canadian is among those killed during the violence and three others remain missing.

"It's an extremely tragic outcome," she told a media briefing in Ottawa, without providing details.

Israel dropped leaflets over Gaza City in the north and renewed warnings on social media, ordering more than one million Palestinians — almost half the territory's population — to move south. The military says it is trying to clear away civilians ahead of a major campaign against Hamas militants in the north, including in what it said were underground hideouts in Gaza City. Hamas urged people to stay in their homes.

Many Gazans have said they don't want to leave their homes, fearing a repeat of the "Nakba" or "catastrophe," when many Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes during the 1948 war that accompanied Israel's creation.

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The military said Sunday that it would refrain from targeting a single route south from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., again urging Palestinians to leave the north en masse. The military offered two corridors and a longer window the day before.

The UN and aid groups say such a rapid exodus, along with Israel's complete siege of the 40-kilometre-long coastal territory would cause untold human suffering.

The World Health Organization said the evacuation "could be tantamount to a death sentence" for the more than 2,000 patients in northern hospitals, including newborns in incubators and people in intensive care. Gaza's hospitals are expected to run out of fuel for emergency generators within two days, according to the UN.

According to a WHO statement on Sunday, four hospitals in northern Gaza are "no longer functioning as a result of damage and targeting," while 21 hospitals have been instructed to evacuate by Israeli forces. Health-care workers in the region have refused to evacuate, citing a need to care for patients, elderly people, and people with disabilities who cannot easily leave.

A young man sits on a stone with his head in his hands amid a pile of rubble.

Gaza was already in a humanitarian crisis due to a growing shortage of water and medical supplies caused by the Israeli siege, which has also forced electrical plants to shut down without fuel. With some bakeries closing, residents complained of being unable to buy bread for their children.

Late on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said an Egyptian-controlled border crossing into Gaza is expected to reopen.

Hundreds of metric tons of aid from several countries have been held up in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula for days pending a deal for its safe delivery to Gaza and the evacuation of some foreign passport holders through the Rafah crossing.

Blinken did not give a specific time for the crossing to reopen. Veteran U.S. diplomat David Satterfield, appointed on Sunday as a special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, will arrive in Egypt on Monday to work out the details, Blinken said.

Meanwhile, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a CNN interview on Sunday that Israeli officials have informed him that water pipes in southern Gaza have been turned back on.

WATCH | Evacuation of north Gaza hospitals 'a violation of international law':

Gaza worst humanitarian catastrophe we've ever dealt with, says Palestine Red Crescent Society chief

13 hours ago

Duration 7:25

Featured VideoPalestine Red Crescent Society director general Marwan Jilani joins Rosemary Barton Live to discuss his organization's efforts in Gaza. He says the destruction in Gaza is on a scale he has never seen before.

'We don't deserve this'

In Gaza City, Haifa Khamis al-Shurafa crowded into a car with six family members, fleeing to the south in the darkness. "We don't deserve this," Shurafa said, before leaving her home city. "We didn't kill anyone."

The Israeli military said "hundreds of thousands" of Palestinians had heeded the warning and headed south. It gave Palestinians a six-hour window that ended Saturday afternoon to travel safely within Gaza along two main routes, but has not set a firm deadline for the evacuation.

Canadian Moe Nasser left the northern Gaza and arrived Saturday in Khan Younis, 15 kilometres from the southern Rafah border crossing with Egypt. At some point during the day, he went to the crossing and was told to head back because it was closed.

'Nowhere to go'

"We're waiting for someone to tell us it's OK to cross. Otherwise, we have nowhere to go, no escape. It's the only exit point," he said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBC's Rosemary Barton Live.

The border crossing, controlled by Egypt, was shuttered early Tuesday after Israeli airstrikes hit close to Gaza's side of it.

Egypt has yet to reach an agreement with Israel and Hamas to reopen the crossing to deliver medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to the territory.

Firefighters look through the burned-out rubble of a house destroyed by rocket fire.

Global Affairs Canada's Julie Sunday told reporters there is "strong support" from Egypt for allowing Canadians to exit from Rafah. She expects any reopening for civilians will be a "short window," so those wishing to leave may want to move "close" to the border, if it's safe.

"Approximately 300 Canadians, permanent residents and their families have reached out to us for assistance and for support to exit Gaza," she said.

WATCH | UN warns evacuation risks 'humanitarian consequences':

'It's impossible': A million people have 24 hours to flee northern Gaza | About That

3 days ago

Duration 4:09

Featured VideoIsrael told 1.1 million Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours, ahead of a seemingly imminent ground invasion. The United Nations says the massive evacuation will be 'impossible' without 'devastating humanitarian consequences.' Andrew Chang examines the difficulty of the undertaking.

Hundreds of relatives of the estimated 150 people captured by Hamas in Israel and taken to Gaza meanwhile gathered outside the Israeli Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv, demanding their release.

"This is my cry out to the world: Please help bring my family, my wife and three kids," said Avihai Brodtz of Kfar Azza. Many expressed anger toward the government, saying they still have no information about their loved ones.

In a televised address Saturday night, Israel's chief military spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, accused Hamas of trying to use civilians as human shields.

Two soldiers stand on a tank positioned overlooking a valley.

"We are going to attack Gaza City very broadly soon," he said, without giving a timetable for the attack.

In a statement issued Saturday, the Israeli military said the invasion will be by land, air and sea.

"Our soldiers are going to risk their lives in very difficult house-to-house combat," where Hamas has "intertwined itself" in civilian neighbourhoods, Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CBC News.

Both Regev and Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the international spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces, have accused Hamas of hindering the movement of civilians in Gaza.

"We want Gazan civilians out of the combat zone. Hamas, however, has put up roadblocks and is preventing people from leaving, and has called on people to stay and become martyrs for their theology," Regev said.

The Israeli military said Sunday an airstrike in southern Gaza had killed a Hamas commander blamed for the killings at Nirim, one of several communities Hamas had attacked in southern Israel. Israel said it struck over 100 military targets overnight, including command centres and rocket launchers.

WATCH | 'They want us all to leave this place so it's taken over,' says Canadian trapped in Gaza:

'We are just waiting for a glimpse of hope,' says Canadian trapped in Gaza

13 hours ago

Duration 6:01

Featured VideoMoe Nasser is a Canadian stuck in Gaza. He joined Rosemary Barton to discuss conditions on the ground in the city and his attempts to leave.

Israel threatens to close Al Jazeera bureau

On Sunday, Israel's communications minister said he was seeking a possible closure of Al Jazeera's local bureau, and accused the Qatari news station of pro-Hamas incitement and of exposing Israeli soldiers to potential attack from Gaza.

The proposal to shut down Al Jazeera had been vetted by Israeli security officials and was being vetted by legal experts, Shloma Karhi said, adding that he would bring it to the cabinet later in the day.

Journalists in the region are navigating a volatile and dangerous situation, after Israeli shelling killed a Reuters videographer and injured six others including Al Jazeera reporters on the border in south Lebanon on Friday.

Israel has called up some 360,000 military reserves and massed troops and tanks along the border with Gaza. Israelis living near the Gaza border, including residents of the town of Sderot, continued to be evacuated. Militants in Gaza have fired over 5,500 rockets since the hostilities erupted, many reaching deep into Israel, as Israeli warplanes pound Gaza.

Fears of broader conflict

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said late Saturday that the U.S. was moving a second carrier strike group, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, to the eastern Mediterranean, in a show of force meant to deter any allies of Hamas, such as Iran or Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, from seeking to widen the war.

"We don't want an escalation. We don't want to see this war spread to a two-front war, but we have to be prepared for it," said Mark Negev, adviser to the Israeli prime minister.

"I can tell you if we're attacked from Lebanon, if there is an escalation [and] war is declared, we will fight and we will win in the northern front as well."

Trucks line up

Hamas remained defiant. In a televised speech Saturday, Ismail Haniyeh, a top official, said that "all the massacres" will not break the Palestinian people.

An Israeli airstrike near the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza killed at least 27 people and wounded another 80, Gaza health authorities said.

Most of the victims were women and children, the authorities said. Doctors from Kamal Edwan Hospital shared footage of charred and disfigured bodies.

It was not clear how many Palestinians remained in northern Gaza by Saturday afternoon, said Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. An estimated one million people have been displaced in Gaza in one week, she said.

At Gaza City's main hospital, al-Shifa, a crowd of men, women and children that medical officials estimated at 35,000 crammed into the hospital's lobby and bloodied hallways and under the trees on the hospital grounds, hoping the facility would be spared in the coming attack.

"People think this is the only safe space after their homes were destroyed and they were forced to flee," said Dr. Medhat Abbas, a Health Ministry official.

WATCH | Trapped in Gaza and bracing for an Israeli invasion:

Trapped in Gaza and bracing for an Israeli invasion

2 days ago

Duration 9:21

Featured VideoFrom dark apartments and makeshift shelters, Gaza residents tell CBC News they’re bracing for the worst as Israel warns to evacuate south before an expected ground offensive.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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