Israel-Hamas war: 5 key developments on Friday 27 October

World has reached 'perilous moment'; pressure piles on Starmer; Hamas 'hiding tunnels under hospital'; and more

A police officer maneuvers a police patrol boat by a power plant near Israel's maritime border with Gaza in southern Israel October 27, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
A police officer maneuvers a police patrol boat by a power plant near Israel's maritime border with Gaza. (Reuters)

Senior Labour figures including Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham have put their weight behind calls for a Gaza ceasefire today, demanding stronger words from the government while also putting pressure on Labour leader Keir Starmer to support the position taken by the UN.

The UK government insists such a move would “only benefit Hamas” as it - and Starmer - continues to stand by its policy of calling for a humanitarian pause in the Middle East conflict in order to get much-needed aid into the besieged enclave.

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to the UN said the world had reached a perilous moment in the conflict.

Here are the main stories from today:

1. World has reached 'perilous moment'

  • The US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said the world has reached a "perilous moment" in the conflict. Linda Thomas-Greenfield also said: "The United States has made clear, in both public and private conversations, that as Israel exercises its right ... to defend its people against a terrorist group, it must do so in line with the rules of war."

  • The comments come after US air strikes in Syria overnight hit a weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage facility used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Cops and militia it backs, senior US officials said.

Read more: US fighter jets strike Iran-linked sites in Syria in retaliation for attacks on US troops (AP)

2. Pressure piles on Starmer

  • The UK Government is continuing to resist calls for a ceasefire as it admitted it was “reliant on” a humanitarian pause in the Middle East conflict to get support into Gaza.

  • Asked why ministers would not call for a cessation of violence, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the Government did not want to “cross that line of telling Israel it has anything but the right to defend itself”.

  • Senior Labour figures including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham all backed calls for a ceasefire on Friday, in turn putting more pressure on Keir Starmer to change the party's official position.

Read more: Burnham and Khan add to pressure on Starmer over ceasefire (The Guardian)

People are assisted at Shifa Hospital after hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast at Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza that Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed on each other in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, October 17, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Al-Masri REFILE - CORRECTING ATTRIBUTION OF CAUSE OF BLAST FROM
Israel says Hamas is using the Shifa Hospital to hide tunnels. (Reuters)

3. Hamas 'hiding tunnels under hospital'

  • The Israeli military has accused Hamas of using the main hospital in Gaza as a shield for its tunnels and operational centres.

  • Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel's chief military spokesman, showed photographs, diagrams and audio recordings he said showed how Hamas was using the hospital system to hide a variety of command posts and entry points into the extensive tunnel network under Gaza. Hamas accused Israel of spreading lies as "a prelude to committing a new massacre against our people."

Read more: Israeli military says Hamas hiding tunnels in Gaza hospital (Reuters)

4. Hamas official quits BBC interview

  • A Hamas official has abruptly ended an interview with the BBC after being asked our the proscribed terrorist group can justify the killing of Israeli families. Ghazi Hamad, Hamas's deputy foreign minister, insisted to the BBC's Middle East correspondent Hugo Bachega that the group's leadership had given “no command to kill any civilians”.

  • However, Bachega continued to press why Hamas militants had entered homes, asking: “How do you justify killing people as they sleep?" At this point Hamad takes off his microphone, saying: “I want to stop this interview."

Read more: Hamas spokesman storms out of BBC interview (Evening Standard)

New before and after pictures from Gaza reveal the scale of destruction. (Reuters)
New before and after pictures from Gaza reveal the scale of destruction. (Reuters)

5. Shocking before and after images

  • Gaza has now faced nearly three weeks of unrelenting air strikes from Israel. The bombardment began after more than 1,400 people in southern Israel were killed by gunmen from Hamas - the UK-proscribed terrorist organisation which runs Gaza - during its assault on 7 October.

  • Before and after satellite pictures, newly released by Maxar Technologies, have revealed the scale of the damage caused to areas in the north of Gaza.

Read more: Startling before and after pictures show scale of Gaza destruction (Yahoo News)

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.