The humanitarian crisis deepened in the blockaded Gaza territory on Thursday, with a United Nations official warning of “disaster” as hospitals ran short on fuel for generators and corridors were crammed with wounded bodies. Fearful residents flooded U.N.-run schools seeking shelter from explosions as Israeli troops moved toward the border for a possible ground invasion to dismantle Hamas.

Six days of Israeli bombardment, following brutal surprise attacks by Hamas that killed more than 1,200 people in Israel, have forced more than 300,000 Palestinians from their homes, with no immediate sign that emergency relief would be allowed in. Satellite imagery of residential areas shows dozens of flattened buildings, and video has shown the devastation wrought by an airstrike on a refugee camp.

Officials in Israel, the United States and other nations continued to seek ways to free about 150 hostages believed to have been taken by Hamas, while the White House announced that charter flights would be sent to evacuate Americans trying to escape the conflict. Several European airlines and governments have also organized evacuation flights, and Britain said it would send a Royal Navy task group to help with humanitarian relief efforts — as well as surveillance aircraft to track security threats to Israel.

Israel continued to pummel the 140-square-mile Gaza Strip on Thursday with airstrikes of a magnitude and intensity not seen in its past assaults. The Gazan Health Ministry said that 1,537 Palestinians had been killed and 6,612 others injured since Saturday.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken condemned Hamas’s “reign of terror” as he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv to show U.S. support after the attacks by Hamas in southern Israel left more than 1,200 people dead, the deadliest assault on the country in more than half a century.

At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Mr. Blinken said he had met with family members of Americans and those taken the hostage, and invoked the horrors of the Holocaust as he addressed the attacks. But he also suggested the need for restraint in strikes on Gaza, calling for “every possible precaution to prevent harming civilians.”

In Washington, a Treasury Department official told Democrats in Congress that Iran would be blocked from accessing $6 billion that the Biden administration, as part of a deal that freed five Americans last month who had been imprisoned in Tehran, had sent to Qatar to be released to Iran for humanitarian purposes. Iran has publicly endorsed the Hamas attacks but denied involvement, and U.S. officials have said there was reason to doubt Iran was directly involved.

Here is the latest:

  • The brutality of the Hamas attack was coming into clearer view in the dozens of towns and a military base targeted: civilians, including children, shot dead in homes, in cars, on streets and in hiding places. Mr. Blinken said Israeli officials had shared with him photographs and videos of people killed by Hamas. “It’s hard to find the right words. It’s beyond what anyone would ever want to imagine,” he said.

  • Israel’s military said on Thursday that its troops were preparing “for the next stage of the war,” signaling that a ground invasion of Gaza could be coming.

  • Israel has cut off water and electricity supplies to Gaza, where the health system “has begun to collapse,” the health ministry there said. Staff members at one hospital are scrambling to treat the wounded, who are crammed into corridors that are also filled with people who fled their homes amid Israeli airstrikes. Nearly 340,000 people in Gaza have been displaced by the conflict, according to the United Nations.

  • The number of Americans confirmed to have died in the Hamas attacks rose to 27, according to the White House. Mr. Blinken was scheduled to travel on to Jordan and then to Qatar, where the government has close ties to Hamas and often acts as an intermediary in hostage situations.

  • While Israelis have largely shown solidarity since the Hamas massacre, Mr. Netanyahu’s government has begun to face a backlash in some quarters from people angered by the security failure. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli military chief of staff, acknowledged that the army had not fulfilled its responsibilities and said, “We will learn, we will investigate, but now is the time for war.”



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