Israel-Gaza war live: Palestinians flee as Israeli forces launch fresh strikes in northern Gaza

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Polls in Iran opened on Friday for a presidential election after the death of ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash last month.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that about 61 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the polls where reformist Masoud Pezeshkian, 69, hopes for a breakthrough win against a divided conservative camp.

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The Guardian Council, which vets candidates, allowed him to run against a field of conservatives now dominated by parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

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Also left in contention is cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi after two ultraconservatives dropped out – Tehran major Alireza Zakani and Raisi’s former vice-president Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi.

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“We start the elections” for the country’s 14th presidential ballot, interior minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a televised address.

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woman casts her ballot during the Iranian presidential election at a polling station in Tehran, on Friday.","caption":"A woman casts her ballot during the Iranian presidential election at a polling station in Tehran, on Friday.","credit":"Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP"}},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast his ballot shortly after the polls opened and urged Iranians to vote, reports AFP.

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“Election day is a day of joy and happiness for us Iranians,” he said in a televised speech where he also called for a high turnout.

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“We encourage our dear people to take the issue of voting seriously and participate,” he said.

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Polls opened at 8am (04.30 GMT) in 58,640 stations across the country, mostly in schools and mosques.

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AFP reports that early projections of the results are expected by Saturday morning and official results by Sunday.

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It has gone 10am in Gaza and Tel Aviv. This is our latest live blog on the Israel-Gaza war and the wider Middle East crisis.

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Palestinians fled eastern Gaza City under heavy bombardment on Thursday as the Israeli military issued an evacuation order for an area it had previously declared clear of Hamas militants.

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Residents of the Shejaiya neighbourhood said they were surprised by the sounds of tanks approaching and firing in the early afternoon, with drones also attacking after overnight bombing of the city in northern Gaza, which Israel had combed early in the war.

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The Israeli strikes killed at least seven people in Shejaia, the Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said, adding that more casualties were feared to be under rubble.

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The Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, told Shejaiya residents to leave “for your safety” in a message posted on social media.

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walk alongside a car while evacuating with others from the Tuffah neighbourhood in eastern Gaza City on Thursday","caption":"Children walk alongside a car while evacuating with others from the Tuffah neighbourhood in eastern Gaza City on Thursday.","credit":"Photograph: AFP/Getty Images"}},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

The bombardment came as Israel began to deploy extra troops to its northern border amid growing fears of a war between Israel and Hezbollah. The Lebanese militant group said it had fired “dozens” of rockets at a military base in northern Israel on Thursday in retaliation for Israeli strikes on Lebanon which it said killed four of its fighters. Israel said air defences intercepted most of the launches and no injuries were reported.

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In other key developments:

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    \n

  • An Israeli airstrike struck the headquarters of the Palestinian Civil Emergency Service in the al-Nuseirat camp in central Gaza overnight to Friday, killing three members, the rescue service said. In Rafah in the south, medics said four Palestinians were killed by tank shells that landed in the city’s west, where the Israeli army deepened its incursion in recent days. There was no Israeli immediate comment on the two incidents.

  • \n

  • A group of critically ill children have been allowed to leave Gaza in the first such medical evacuation since early May, when Israel seized control of Rafah, the territory’s sole border crossing with the outside world. Nineteen minors, including five who have cancer, were allowed to travel through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel on Thursday accompanied by relatives, and were to travel to Egypt and further abroad for medical treatment.

  • \n

  • Two people were killed in Syria by an Israeli strike, Syria’s national news agency reported.

  • \n

  • Israel’s hard-line finance minister said the government would promote West Bank settlements and punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority in response to Palestinian moves against Israel on the international stage. Bezalel Smotrich, who heads a pro-settler party, said the government supported his proposal. Netanyahu’s office, which usually announces cabinet-level decisions, did not issue any statements and was not reachable for immediate comment, Reuters reported.

  • \n

  • A group of prominent Israelis have added their voices to the growing domestic calls in the US for Congress to withdraw its invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to address it next month, calling the move “a terrible mistake”. The group includes a former prime minister and an ex-head of the Mossad, the foreign intelligence service.

  • \n

  • Anti-government protesters gathered in Jerusalem and converged on Netanyahu’s home on Thursday, lighting a bonfire on the street outside and calling for his resignation. “We’ve been abandoned – Elections now!” read one sign that rose above the crowd in the latest such protest.

  • \n

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outside the Israeli prime minster’s residence in Jerusalem","caption":"Demonstrators outside the Israeli prime minster’s residence in Jerusalem.","credit":"Photograph: Atef Safadi/EPA"}},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

    \n

  • The US is discussing with Israel the release of a shipment of 500-pound (227kg) bombs that was suspended in May over worries about the military operation in Rafah, a US official said. The matter was discussed this week during a visit to Washington by the Israeli defence minister, Yoav Gallant, the official said on Thursday. Axios, citing a US and an Israeli official, reported that the US was preparing to deliver the bombs.

  • \n

  • Israel’s military said one soldier was killed and 16 injured in the occupied West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp by an explosive device buried under a road which targeted their vehicles. Israeli forces detained 28 Palestinians in the West Bank in the past 24 hours Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Thursday.

  • \n

  • A ship heading to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, reported being struck in the Red Sea, where Yemen’s Houthis have been attacking ships they claim are linked to Israel.
    With agencies

  • \n

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Key events

Polls open in Iran for presidential election

Polls in Iran opened on Friday for a presidential election after the death of ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash last month.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that about 61 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the polls where reformist Masoud Pezeshkian, 69, hopes for a breakthrough win against a divided conservative camp.

The Guardian Council, which vets candidates, allowed him to run against a field of conservatives now dominated by parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

Also left in contention is cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi after two ultraconservatives dropped out – Tehran major Alireza Zakani and Raisi’s former vice-president Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi.

“We start the elections” for the country’s 14th presidential ballot, interior minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a televised address.

A woman casts her ballot during the Iranian presidential election at a polling station in Tehran, on Friday. Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast his ballot shortly after the polls opened and urged Iranians to vote, reports AFP.

“Election day is a day of joy and happiness for us Iranians,” he said in a televised speech where he also called for a high turnout.

“We encourage our dear people to take the issue of voting seriously and participate,” he said.

Polls opened at 8am (04.30 GMT) in 58,640 stations across the country, mostly in schools and mosques.

AFP reports that early projections of the results are expected by Saturday morning and official results by Sunday.

Opening summary

It has gone 10am in Gaza and Tel Aviv. This is our latest live blog on the Israel-Gaza war and the wider Middle East crisis.

Palestinians fled eastern Gaza City under heavy bombardment on Thursday as the Israeli military issued an evacuation order for an area it had previously declared clear of Hamas militants.

Residents of the Shejaiya neighbourhood said they were surprised by the sounds of tanks approaching and firing in the early afternoon, with drones also attacking after overnight bombing of the city in northern Gaza, which Israel had combed early in the war.

The Israeli strikes killed at least seven people in Shejaia, the Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said, adding that more casualties were feared to be under rubble.

The Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, told Shejaiya residents to leave “for your safety” in a message posted on social media.

Children walk alongside a car while evacuating with others from the Tuffah neighbourhood in eastern Gaza City on Thursday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The bombardment came as Israel began to deploy extra troops to its northern border amid growing fears of a war between Israel and Hezbollah. The Lebanese militant group said it had fired “dozens” of rockets at a military base in northern Israel on Thursday in retaliation for Israeli strikes on Lebanon which it said killed four of its fighters. Israel said air defences intercepted most of the launches and no injuries were reported.

In other key developments:

  • An Israeli airstrike struck the headquarters of the Palestinian Civil Emergency Service in the al-Nuseirat camp in central Gaza overnight to Friday, killing three members, the rescue service said. In Rafah in the south, medics said four Palestinians were killed by tank shells that landed in the city’s west, where the Israeli army deepened its incursion in recent days. There was no Israeli immediate comment on the two incidents.

  • A group of critically ill children have been allowed to leave Gaza in the first such medical evacuation since early May, when Israel seized control of Rafah, the territory’s sole border crossing with the outside world. Nineteen minors, including five who have cancer, were allowed to travel through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel on Thursday accompanied by relatives, and were to travel to Egypt and further abroad for medical treatment.

  • Two people were killed in Syria by an Israeli strike, Syria’s national news agency reported.

  • Israel’s hard-line finance minister said the government would promote West Bank settlements and punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority in response to Palestinian moves against Israel on the international stage. Bezalel Smotrich, who heads a pro-settler party, said the government supported his proposal. Netanyahu’s office, which usually announces cabinet-level decisions, did not issue any statements and was not reachable for immediate comment, Reuters reported.

  • A group of prominent Israelis have added their voices to the growing domestic calls in the US for Congress to withdraw its invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to address it next month, calling the move “a terrible mistake”. The group includes a former prime minister and an ex-head of the Mossad, the foreign intelligence service.

  • Anti-government protesters gathered in Jerusalem and converged on Netanyahu’s home on Thursday, lighting a bonfire on the street outside and calling for his resignation. “We’ve been abandoned – Elections now!” read one sign that rose above the crowd in the latest such protest.

Demonstrators outside the Israeli prime minster’s residence in Jerusalem. Photograph: Atef Safadi/EPA
  • The US is discussing with Israel the release of a shipment of 500-pound (227kg) bombs that was suspended in May over worries about the military operation in Rafah, a US official said. The matter was discussed this week during a visit to Washington by the Israeli defence minister, Yoav Gallant, the official said on Thursday. Axios, citing a US and an Israeli official, reported that the US was preparing to deliver the bombs.

  • Israel’s military said one soldier was killed and 16 injured in the occupied West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp by an explosive device buried under a road which targeted their vehicles. Israeli forces detained 28 Palestinians in the West Bank in the past 24 hours Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Thursday.

  • A ship heading to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, reported being struck in the Red Sea, where Yemen’s Houthis have been attacking ships they claim are linked to Israel.
    With agencies

The Guardian