ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Dec. 2: Freed hostages speak at Tel Aviv rally as Netanyahu vows to press Gaza ground op

Rockets target Tel Aviv for first time since Nov. 20 * Gallant says Hamas refused to release women, kids, breaking deal * Hamas claims only soldiers, former troops still being held

  • Protesters hold placards with the picture of 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov during a demonstration to ask for the release of hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack, in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
    Protesters hold placards with the picture of 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov during a demonstration to ask for the release of hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack, in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks to the press in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks to the press in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
  • Residents of the Qatari-funded Hamad Town residential complex in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, carry some of their belongings as they flee their homes after an Israeli strike, on December 2, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
    Residents of the Qatari-funded Hamad Town residential complex in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, carry some of their belongings as they flee their homes after an Israeli strike, on December 2, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
  • A woman takes cover as a a rocket warning siren sounds during a rally in front the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit)
    A woman takes cover as a a rocket warning siren sounds during a rally in front the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit)
  • L-R: Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, an unknown officer, and the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, hold a meeting, December 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    L-R: Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, an unknown officer, and the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, hold a meeting, December 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 2, 2023, shows smoke billowing over the Palestinian territory during Israeli air strike  (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 2, 2023, shows smoke billowing over the Palestinian territory during Israeli air strike (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • This handout picture released by the Israeli army shows troops on the ground in the northern Gaza Strip on December 2, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
    This handout picture released by the Israeli army shows troops on the ground in the northern Gaza Strip on December 2, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, December 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
    Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, December 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
  • A picture taken in the outskirts of the town of Tair Harfa in southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike on December 2, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
    A picture taken in the outskirts of the town of Tair Harfa in southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike on December 2, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
  • Dafna Novik addresses a rally on behalf of hostages held in Gaza in Jerusalem on December 2, 2023. (Jessica Steinberg/ Times of Israel)
    Dafna Novik addresses a rally on behalf of hostages held in Gaza in Jerusalem on December 2, 2023. (Jessica Steinberg/ Times of Israel)
  • Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist group call for their release, in Hostages Square at the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit))
    Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist group call for their release, in Hostages Square at the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit))
  • Protesters attend a demonstration for the release of hostages held by terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 attack, in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
    Protesters attend a demonstration for the release of hostages held by terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 attack, in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
  • This handout picture released by the Israeli army shows troops on the ground in the northern Gaza Strip on December 2, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
    This handout picture released by the Israeli army shows troops on the ground in the northern Gaza Strip on December 2, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt on December 2, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
    Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt on December 2, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s events as they unfolded.

Macron calls deadly Paris stabbing a terror attack, sends condolences to family of victim

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron says he’s sending his condolences to the family of a German killed in what he calls a terror attack in Paris.

The suspected attacker was “quickly” arrested and justice should now be done “in the name of the French people”, he writes on X, formerly Twitter.

French interior minister says Paris assailant convicted in 2016 of planning another attack

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Paris on November 28, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Paris on November 28, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)

PARIS — The perpetrator of a knife attack that left one person dead and two injured in Paris on Saturday evening had already been sentenced in 2016 to “four years in prison” for planning another attack, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says.

At the time, he had been arrested by the French national security agency before carrying out the act, the minister adds.

French police source: Suspect in deadly stabbing attack follows radical Islam, is mentally ill

PARIS — The person suspected of stabbing to death a man and wounding two others in Paris on Saturday is known to follow radical Islam and has mental illness, a French police source tells AFP.

The Paris prosecutor’s office says the attacker is French and was born in 1997, and has been arrested in an investigation into murder and attempted murder.

One killed in Paris stabbing attack

An assailant stabbed one person to death and injured another in Paris while reportedly yelling “allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is greatest.”

One person was arrested following the attack on passersby in Paris’s 15th arrondissement, French interior minister Gerald Darmanin says on X.

A police source tells AFP that the suspect is French and was born in France.

IDF probing possible interceptor missile misfire

The Israel Defense Forces says it is investigating after footage shows an Iron Dome interceptor missile failing and crashing in central Israel.

“The possibility that an interceptor [missile] fell in the country due to a technical malfunction is being examined,” the IDF says in response to a query on the matter.

“The incident is being investigated,” it adds.

There are no reports of injuries as a result of the incident.

The Tamir missile was fired as Iron Dome batteries responded to a rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip on Tel Aviv and surrounding areas at around 10 p.m.

Tamir missiles fail occasionally, though in most cases have not caused any significant damage.

New footage shows seaborne Hamas attack on October 7

New surveillance camera footage leaked online shows the moment Hamas terrorists managed to infiltrate into Israel via the sea on October 7.

The short clip shows six members of Hamas’s naval forces landing at the shore of Zikim Beach on a rubber dinghy, running onto a beach and opening fire.

The Israeli Navy had managed to thwart most of the Hamas vessels and divers trying to infiltrate from the sea that morning, though some terrorists made it ashore, killing at least 17 civilians and around two dozen soldiers on the beach and nearby army base.

US defense chief says Israeli Gaza offensive doomed unless civilians protected

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says Israel cannot win in Gaza unless it protects civilians in tough urban environments, drawing on lessons from the US fight against Islamic State in Iraq.

“Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas. And the international coalition against ISIS worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even during tough battles,” Austin tells lawmakers, corporate and defense leaders and government officials attending a security conference in Washington.

“So the lesson is not that you can win in urban warfare by protecting civilians. The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians,” he adds. “If you drive [Gaza’s civilians] into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

Defending US support to Israel and Ukraine, Austin says “the world will only become more dangerous if tyrants and terrorists believe that they can get away with wholesale aggression and mass slaughter.”

“You’ll hear some people try to brand an American retreat from responsibility as bold new leadership,” Austin said. “Make no mistake: It is not bold. It is not new. And it is not leadership,” he says, in a jibe at former president Donald Trump’s isolationist policies.

Austin asks the lawmakers in the crowd to pass both the military’s budget and the supplemental funding for the wars.

“Our competitors don’t have to operate under continuing resolutions,” he says. “And doing so erodes both our security and our ability to compete.”

— with AP

US carrier group in Mideast intercepts Iranian drone

The US military says it intercepted an Iranian drone “operating in an unsafe and unprofessional manner” in the Persian Gulf.

In a tweet, the US Central Command says planes from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Air Wing, which was dispatched to the region to deter Israel’s adversaries, intercepted the drone during carrier flight operations.

“The U.S. Navy will continue to fly and sail where international law allows,” it says.

Netanyahu: PA and Hamas both reject Israel’s existence; I won’t let PA govern Gaza

Answering a few final questions at his press conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu unleashes a devastating critique of the Palestinian Authority and the process that led to its establishment.

He is asked about the PA’s potential role in a post-war Gaza, as sought by the US and opposed by him.

The Palestinian Authority “pays murderers…. They educate their children to hate Israel and, to my sorrow, to murder Jews, and ultimately for the disappearance of the State of Israel,” he says.

He says PA President Mahmoud “Abbas still hasn’t apologized” for the October 7 onslaught. (He apparently meant to say that Abbas hasn’t condemned the assault.) And he says that senior PA official Jibril Rajoub has said “the same should be done in Judea and Samaria from Judea and Samaria.”

“I’m not prepared to delude myself and say that this defective thing, established under the Oslo Accords in a terrible mistake,” should be allowed to govern Gaza. “It was a terrible mistake to return the most hostile thing in the Arab world and the Palestinian world into the center of the Land of Israel, the heart of the land,” he says.

Apparently referring to Fatah and Hamas, he says it then “split into two, but the ideology, to my sorrow, that rejects the existence of Israel is common to both those factions. So I won’t repeat the mistake and put that entity into Gaza, because we’ll get the same thing.”

He adds: “We would be putting the same element — utterly unreformed, utterly unchanged — into Gaza, and that’s what even the best of our friends suggest. I think differently. I oppose it. I think we need to build something else. Of course, [there must be] Israeli security control in the whole area… to ensure no rise of a terror entity for years to come. And the internal governance must undergo a totally different process.

“The PA has failed in this — it doesn’t fight terror, it finances terror; it doesn’t educate for peace, it educates for the disappearance of the State of Israel. That is not the group that should enter now,” he says.

Asked how he will keep Palestinian civilians safe in the now hugely crowded south of the Gaza Strip, he says Israel is coordinating with the US and that Israel “wants to avoid harm to the civilian populace.”

When it is put to him that some critics say he strengthened Hamas over the years, he responds: “It’s a lie.” Under his leadership, he says, Hamas was hit in four rounds of conflict. “We killed thousands of terrorists.”

At the same time, his and other governments rightly sought to prevent a humanitarian collapse in Gaza. That’s why money was allowed to flow into Gaza.

“We have to finish the job” against Hamas, he says.

Previously, “we didn’t have either the internal national consensus or the international consensus” to destroy Hamas. Now, the internal support is very strong, he says, and he is working to preserve international support. “Now, we will finish the job.”

Holon man lightly hurt by rocket barrage shrapnel

A young man in Holon was lightly hurt as a result of falling shrapnel following a rocket barrage on central Israel, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says the 22-year-old sustained a head injury.

Surveillance camera footage from the southern community Netiv Ha’asara shows at least 10 rockets being fired from Gaza during the attack.

The Hamas terror group claims responsibility for the rocket barrage.

US Muslim leaders pull backing for Biden over Gaza stance

Muslim community leaders from several swing states have pledged to withdraw support for US President Joe Biden at a conference in suburban Detroit, citing his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.

Leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania gather behind a lectern that reads “Abandon Biden, ceasefire now” in Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States.

Biden’s unwillingness to call for a ceasefire has damaged his relationship with the American Muslim community beyond repair, according to Minneapolis-based Jaylani Hussein, who helped organize the conference.

“Families and children are being wiped out with our tax dollars,” Hussein says. “What we are witnessing today is the tragedy upon tragedy.”

Hussein, who is Muslim, tells The Associated Press: “The anger in our community is beyond belief. One of the things that made us even more angry is the fact that most of us actually voted for President Biden.”

Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were critical components of the “blue wall” of states that Biden returned to the Democratic column, helping him win the White House in 2020. About 3.45 million Americans identify as Muslim, or 1.1% of the country’s population, and the demographic tends to lean Democratic, according to the Pew Research Center.

Netanyahu says Hamas refusing to let Red Cross visit hostages

Still taking questions at his press conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu is asked about displaced Israelis returning to their homes. “People will go back [to their homes] when they have a sense of security. And they’ll have that sense when there is security… It’ll take some time.”

Netanyahu is asked about what a reporter says is a widely held “conspiracy theory,” believed by many in Likud, that lots of people in the security services were aware in advance of the planned October 7 Hamas onslaught and some were even complicit.

He replies: “There was no conspiracy. There are questions that will have to answered — what happened, how did it happen — and that will be discussed at the end of the war. Not now. There was certainly no conspiracy.”

In response to a further question, he says the truce deal provided for the Red Cross to visit all the hostages, but Hamas is refusing to allow this.

Asked about the absence of women from the war cabinet, he says key decisions are approved by the full cabinet, which has many women ministers.

Asked about the killing by an IDF soldier of a civilian who thwarted Friday’s deadly terror attack in Israel, he acknowledges that more guns in the hands of the public can produce more such tragic incidents. But more civilians with guns can save the day in times like this, he says, defending his government’s policy on encouraging more eligible Israelis to carry weapons. “We may pay a price, but such is life,” he says.

He says he will “certainly” meet later this week with the families of hostages who have been returned.

Videos appear to show rockets being intercepted

Several rockets fired toward central Israel appear to have been shot down, according to unverified videos shared online.

The rocket fire on Tel Aviv appears to be the first attack on the city since November 20.

Footage shows attendees at a rally for hostages held in Gaza having to lie on the ground or scramble for cover as sirens sound.

Netanyahu: I suggested to Gallant that we hold a joint press conference; he decided not to

Having completed his opening statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu takes numerous questions.

Asked how he will respond if Hamas can again be brought to a truce, he stresses: “Hamas breached the agreement. I said we’d resume the war if they did, and that’s what happened.”

“There is international pressure,” he acknowledges, but says he has created space for Israel to continue with its war goals.

“Ultimately, we make the decisions — and our definitive decision is to destroy Hamas, to return our hostages, and ensure no new terror control of Gaza,” he says.

Asked why he and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held separate press conferences, minutes apart, Netanyahu says: “I suggested to the defense minister tonight to hold a joint press conference. He decided what he decided. But it’s important that the public hear us,” he says, and adds that the two and the rest of the Israeli leadership “are working together” to achieve the war’s goals.

A reporter suggests Netanyahu has passed up opportunities in recent years to eliminate the Hamas leadership in a surprise attack.

He responds: “I won’t act irresponsibly and reveal the full picture that was presented to me and the range of recommendations that I received from the security establishments. When it was possible, we eliminated many leaders of Hamas and other terror groups, and we will complete that mission now,” he says.

Next, he is asked if he will quit after the war, given his unpopularity in recent surveys.

Answers Netanyahu: “I don’t deal with surveys. I received a mandate from the citizens of Israel to lead the State of Israel… If we worked on the basis of daily surveys, I wouldn’t be here for a day, it seems to me.”

He hails the teams around him as he oversees the war in both the diplomatic and military fields.

He welcomes US backing and says the US supports some of the war goals, “two of them for sure” — an apparent reference to public differences with the administration regarding post-war Gaza, where the US wants to see a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority in charge.

“There are differences of opinion on how to achieve all these goals,” he acknowledges, but says the two allies have broadly managed to get over them. He also acknowledges some disagreement “on the humanitarian issues.”

“Ultimately this is our war. Ultimately we have to make the decisions. Ultimately, we do make the decisions. We try and often succeed in convincing our American friends. I hope and believe that will be the case in the future.”

IDF: Strike kills Gazan terrorist responsible for attack that killed Oron Shaul in 2014

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military killed Wissam Farhat, the commander of Hamas’s Shejaiya battalion, in an airstrike in the Gaza Strip today.

“IDF troops are currently striking in the Gaza Strip, and are progressing with the stages of the fighting,” he says in an evening press conference.

Hagari says Farhat was responsible for an attack on Golani troops in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya during the 2014 war. Seven soldiers were killed in the incident, known as the APC disaster, including Oron Shaul, whose remains have been held by Hamas since.

“Farhat planned and sent the terrorists on October 7, at Kibbutz Nahal Oz and army post, in the cruel massacre that was carried out,” Hagari says.

He says the ground offensive created pressure on Hamas to agree to release some of the hostages.

“We are determined to continue to fight, to dismantle Hamas, and to return all the hostages home,” Hagari adds.

Rocket sirens sound across Tel Aviv, central Israel

Rocket sirens are sounding across a wide swath of central Israel, including parts of Tel Aviv and east of the city, including Lod.

Top Hamas official says hostage talks off until war ends

Ismail Haniyeh, right, the head of the Hamas political bureau, shakes hands with his deputy Saleh al-Arouri, upon his arrival in Gaza from Cairo, Egypt, in Gaza City, August 2, 2018. (Mohammad Austaz/Hamas Media Office via AP)
Ismail Haniyeh, right, the head of the Hamas political bureau, shakes hands with his deputy Saleh al-Arouri, upon his arrival in Gaza from Cairo, Egypt, in Gaza City, August 2, 2018. (Mohammad Austaz/Hamas Media Office via AP)

Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ politburo, says in an interview with Al Jazeera that negotiations for further release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners have halted, and that there will be no further exchanges until the war ends.

Al-Arouri claims that Hamas has released all the women and children kidnapped on October 7 as well as all the foreign prisoners, and that the remaining hostages in its hands are all soldiers or former soldiers.

Israel says Hamas continues to hold 15 women and two small children who were to be released under a truce deal, which ended Friday.

Remaining hostages include soldiers as well as older men, some of whom still serve in the IDF reserves, Al-Arouri claims.

He says that the terror group has set different terms for their release, and claims that Israel has rejected them.

The Mossad spy agency said earlier that a negotiating team that had been in Qatar has been ordered home with talks on extending a truce reaching a “dead end.”

However, Egyptian officials told the Wall Street Journal that Qatari negotiators were still in Israel and Egyptians in Gaza, denying talks had collapsed.

Al-Arouri insists that the only way for Israel to free its hostages is by releasing all Palestinian prisoners, reiterating a demand the terror group has been making since the start of the war.

“[Israel] breaking the resistance in Gaza and controlling the Gaza Strip are just illusions,” al-Arouri says, noting that Israel has not managed to gain control over Gaza City or other parts in the north of the coastal enclave.

The terror chief says Hamas is ready to exchange bodies of Israeli hostages for bodies of Hamas terrorists held by Israel, but that it needs time to exhume the dead Israelis – who it claims were all killed in IDF bombardments.

Following Thursday’s shooting attack by two Hamas members at a bus stop at the entrance to Jerusalem in which four Israelis were killed, al-Arouri says that Hamas is confident that after Jerusalem, the West Bank will soon join the battle.

Freed hostages bring rare tinge of joy to Tel Aviv rally

Protesters attend a demonstration for the release of hostages held by terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 attack, in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Protesters attend a demonstration for the release of hostages held by terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 attack, in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

At a rally in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square, thousands hold up their cellphones and other lights as they sing Hatikvah, the national anthem, at a rally for the hostages.

The rally features what are probably the first expressions of joy since rallies began being held here for hostages taken to Gaza on October 7. This is because on stage on Saturday are freed hostages or relatives of those released during the weeklong truce between Hamas and Israel that ended Friday.

“When I’m done speaking to you now, I will be able to kiss and hug Erez and Sahar,” Hadas Calderon tells the thousands of people gathered. But she also recalls the uncertainty and terror of being held hostage, as related to her by her children. Her husband, Ofer, is still in Gaza and experiencing this terror, she tells the crowd.

Raz Ben-Ami, who was abducted from Be’eri on October 7, thanks the audience in a filmed message, telling them: “Thank you for giving me life.”

Netanyahu: Lebanon will be destroyed if Hezbollah launches war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterates numerous warnings he made against Hezbollah before the recent ceasefire with Hamas, telling the Lebanese terror militia that Lebanon will be destroyed if it opens up a major war against Israel.

“We are acting in the north all the time against all efforts by Hezbollah to operate against us. We are eliminating terror cells, pushing them away from the border, destroying munitions. We will continue with strong deterrence in the north, and total victory in the south,” says Netanyahu.

“We will restore security to the north and the south. If Hezbollah makes a mistake and enters into a broad war it will have destroyed Lebanon with its own hands,” he warns.

Freed hostages tell rally it was ‘hell,’ a ‘horror movie’ in Hamas captivity

Freed hostage Yaffa Adar, 85, pleads for the release of remaining hostages in a clip released December 2, 2023 (video screenshot)
Freed hostage Yaffa Adar, 85, pleads for the release of remaining hostages in a clip released December 2, 2023 (video screenshot)

A clip aired at the Tel Aviv rally for the hostages in Gaza features several women released from Hamas captivity in recent days.

Yaffa Adar, 85, says the hostages suffered “hell” in captivity.

“I beg the decision-makers, get the children and everyone out… I am a voice for many mothers and grandmothers asking ‘release the children now.’ I want to see them now. Not when I’m in a coffin.”

Adar’s grandson Tamir Adar remains held in Gaza.

Danielle Aloni, 44, who was freed with her 5-year-old daughter, says: “We were kidnapped brutally from our home. Our daughters saw things they should not have seen. I am shaking as I speak. It was a horror movie. There was no schedule. You sleep, you weep. Every day was an eternity.”

Noting she has several relatives still in Gaza, she says, “People could die simply because they’ll decide to murder them.”

Protesters hold placards with the picture of 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov during a demonstration to ask for the release of hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack, in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Ditza Heiman, 84, says in days before her release “there was less and less food. It was near-starvation conditions. It’s mortal… and mental danger. They must be brought out immediately.”

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, who was freed by Hamas in October prior to the deal, says “there is fear that they will take revenge on our captives” amid the war.

“I’m afraid the older people and the young will not stand the pressure. It is the government’s moral obligation to bring them home,” she says.

Her husband, Oded Lifshitz, 83, is still held hostage in Gaza.

Netanyahu: Israel will not halt Gaza war until all goals achieved

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference on December 2, 2023 (GPO Screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference on December 2, 2023 (GPO Screenshot)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the only way to achieve Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas is through the continuation of the IDF’s ground invasion of Gaza

Netanyahu, speaking at a press conference, says the war will continue until this goal is achieved, adding that he will also continue to work toward freeing the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza

“We will do everything to bring them home, to complete that mission but also to destroy Hamas, and to ensure that Hamas will never be a threat to us anymore and that there will be no group threatening Israel from Gaza,” says the prime minister during a press conference.

“I am saying clearly and plainly: We will continue with war until we achieve all our goals… There is no way to achieve these goals apart from winning, and no way to win apart from through the ground invasion.”

US officials have reportedly warned Netanyahu that Israel will not necessarily have maneuverability and support should the fighting continue for months.

He hails the deal that enabled the return of over 100 hostages in the past week — “we brought them from darkness into light,” he says. And he laments those killed and those who have not yet been brought home.

The deal was negotiated with “the devil,” he says of Hamas, and it secured the freedom of double the number of hostages than initially proposed. “But the mission is not over… I promise we will do everything to get everybody back.”

He reiterates his three declared goals for the war — returning the hostages, defeating Hamas, and ensuring that Gaza cannot constitute a threat to Israel in the future.

He says the IDF used the days of the truce to prepare better for “total victory” against Hamas. After Hamas breached the truce, he says he ordered the IDF to “resume the fighting with growing force,” while continuing to act within international law.

War on Hamas will be lost unless hostages freed, says ex-general who saved son

Israel’s war on Hamas will be considered a failed effort unless all remaining hostages are freed, says Noam Tibon, a major general in the reserves who rescued his son and his family from terrorists in Nahal Oz.

“All other objectives come second,” Tibon tells thousands attending a rally Saturday night at Tel Aviv’s so-called Hostages Square. “Unless we bring back all the hostages, we will not win the war on Hamas. And we want to win the war on Hamas. That’s why we must do everting possible to bring them back. This is human life. You can’t put a price on that,” says Tibon, who on October 7 broke into besieged Nahal Oz with several comrades, extracted his son Amir and his family from their homes and helped rescue several other people while exchanging fire with terrorists.

The weeklong lull, followed by the resumption of fighting on Friday, proves “that the Israel Defense Forces can stop fighting and resume it, in the interest of retrieving our hostages,” says Tibon.

Teacher recalls ‘naturally happy’ student, now hostage, at Jerusalem rally

Dafna Novik addresses a rally on behalf of hostages held in Gaza in Jerusalem on December 2, 2023. (Jessica Steinberg/ Times of Israel)
Dafna Novik addresses a rally on behalf of hostages held in Gaza in Jerusalem on December 2, 2023. (Jessica Steinberg/ Times of Israel)

Hundreds are gathering in Jerusalem for a weekly vigil for hostages organized by Shomrim al HaBayit (Safeguarding our Home), at Paris Square near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence.

Dafna Novik, former director for the Lachish mechina program attended by Hersh Goldberg-Polin, speaks about her former student, who has been a hostage in Gaza for the last eight weeks.

She recalls a “naturally happy” student who wasn’t afraid to raise his hand, to meet others, or to express his natural curiosity.

Toward the end of the year, he asked for permission to attend a rally for Iyad Halak, an autistic Palestinian man killed by Israeli police in 2020.

She gave Goldberg-Polin permission to go, and when he returned, he spoke to the rest of the mechina, telling them that “the mourning is great and intense.”

File: Relatives of US citizens missing since October 7 surprise attack by Hamas terrorists near the Gaza border, attend a news conference on Oct. 10, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. At the far right, Rachel Goldberg, mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, and Jonathan Polin, Hersh’s father. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Novik calls Goldberg-Polin’s parents “fighters for justice,” as they wage a global campaign to raise awareness and push to bring their son home.

She quotes Zionist leader A.D. Gordon: “We must enhance the light, not fight the darkness,” adds that the light has gone out in many homes in Israel and the government has to help bring that light back.

Egypt tells WSJ: Truce talks ongoing, Qataris still in Israel

Egyptian officials tells the Wall Street Journal that truce talks are ongoing despite the departure of Israeli negotiators from Qatar.

According to unnamed officials quoted by the paper, Qatari officials remain in Israel and Egyptians are in Gaza to keep lines of communication open.

“We are still talking and sharing updates every hour. Negotiations only collapse when parties stop talking. This is not happening here,” a senior Egyptian official is quoted saying.

The paper reports that the Israeli team members told the other mediators in Doha on Friday night that they would leave the next day.

Israel says Hamas refused to release 17 women and children, breaching the terms of the truce.

Hamas deputy head Saleh Arouri tells broadcaster Al-Jazeera that any remaining hostages are men, “all of whom served in the (Israeli) army.”

Freed hostage tells Tel Aviv rally: I wouldn’t be here without you

Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist group call for their release, in Hostages Square at the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit))
Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist group call for their release, in Hostages Square at the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit))

Yelena Trufanova, who was released from Hamas captivity last week, tells a rally at Tel Aviv’s so-called Hostages Square that “if not for all of you, I would not be here.”

Speaking in Hebrew and Russian, she calls for the release of her son Alexander Trufanov and the rest of the hostages.

She leads the rally of some 10,000 in chants of “now, now, now.”

Also at the rally, Hadas Calderon shares the joy of reunification with her two children and the painful absence of their father, Ofer, who is still presumed to be held hostage in Gaza.

“Whem Sahar and Erez saw me, they told me: ‘Mom, you’re alive.’ Because such is the uncertainty of the people held hostage,” says Calderon, whose daughter Sahar, 16, and son Erez, 12, were released on November 28.

But their father, Ofer, “is still experiencing this darkness. A wonderful man of the great outdoors. He must be free now, all of our hostages must be released. There is no price for their freedom,” says Calderon, prompting the crowd to chant “all of them right now.”

Large crowds gather in Tel Aviv for rally to be addressed by several freed hostages

Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist group call for their release, in Hostages Square at the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit))
Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist group call for their release, in Hostages Square at the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Saturday Dec. 2, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit))

Large crowds of people are gathering in Hostages Square in Tel Aviv for a rally calling for the release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Several of the hostages freed during the week-long truce that collapsed on Friday are set to speak in person, and others are to address the crowd via video.

Relatives of some of those still being held in Gaza are also to speak.

Channel 12 estimates that tens of thousands of people are present.

Representatives of the families have been pleading with decision-makers to do everything they can to facilitate the release of the rest of the hostages.

In the wake of the collapse of the truce, which Hamas breached by refusing to free remaining women and children, the families have sought to meet tonight with members of the war cabinet.

Channel 12 reports that Minister Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot — a member and an observer in the war cabinet, respectively — have agreed to meet them, but that there’s been no response yet from Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant.

Two arrested at pro-Palestinian ‘day of action’ in London

Police in London say they arrested two people Saturday during pro-Palestinian events, part of a “day of action” organized by campaigners around Britain.

In the south London neighborhood of Brixton, a man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offense for holding a placard, the Metropolitan Police say.

Officers who made the arrest were then surrounded by other protesters and initially blocked from driving away, police say. A teenage boy was arrested for damaging a police vehicle.

In contrast to demonstrations on previous weekends since the Israel-Hamas war began, with marches by tens of thousands of protesters in central London, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called for a “day of action” with events held across the UK.

Events include ceasefire rallies and vigils in places such as London, Hull in the north of England, Coventry in the center and the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

Earlier, London police said 436 arrests had been made since October 7 in connection with the Israel-Hamas war, including 134 held for suspected hate crimes.

Gallant: We have picked up fighting where we left off in Gaza

Yoav Gallant in a statement to the press in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (screen capture: Channel 12; used in accordance with Cause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Yoav Gallant in a statement to the press in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023. (screen capture: Channel 12; used in accordance with Cause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says the military has “returned to fighting in full force,” after Hamas violated a ceasefire agreement with Israel.

He says he ordered that fire be resumed Friday morning after Hamas refused to release 15 women and two children as part of a truce deal.

“We are continuing exactly where we left off,” he says in a press conference.

He says he toured Gaza from the air and the border area from the ground over the last two days, calling the results of the IDF’s restarting offensive “very impressive.”

“Thousands of terrorists have been eliminated, dozens of headquarters [have been struck], hundreds of terabytes of information are in our hands, hundreds of terrorists have been captured and are being interrogated in Israel,” he says.

“An achievement of 110 hostages returning alive, no army in the world has achieved this against a terror organization. We achieved it because of the strength of the IDF,” Gallant says.

IDF says Hamas tunnel shaft found in Gaza schoolyard during truce

The IDF says that before the temporary ceasefire, troops of its 551st Reserve Brigade found and destroyed a Hamas tunnel shaft in the yard of a school in the Beit Lahiya area in the northern Gaza Strip.

It says that the 551st Brigade has now completed operations in the area surrounding Jabaliya.

During the operations, the brigade killed several Hamas operatives and seized weapons, the IDF says.

Relatives of still-captive Bibas family say they ‘won’t be broken’

Yifat Zailer, cousin of Shiri Bibas, speaks to reporters on December 2, 2023 (Channel 12 screenshot; used in accordance with Cause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Yifat Zailer, cousin of Shiri Bibas, speaks to reporters on December 2, 2023 (Channel 12 screenshot; used in accordance with Cause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Relatives of the Bibas family refuse to be “broken” by a Hamas claim that hostage mother Shiri Bibas and her young children Ariel Bibas, 4, and Kfir Bibas, 10 months old were killed in an Israeli bombing in Gaza, a cousin says.

The three, abducted to Gaza on October 7 from Kibbutz Nir Oz, were supposed to be released last week, according to the IDF. Shiri is among the few mothers still being held in Gaza; Ariel and Kfir are the only young children still held hostage.

Father Yarden was also seized, but taken separately to Gaza.

“We won’t let them break us. We’re continuing to fight for their release and to bring them home,” Yifat Zeilar, a cousin of Shiri Bibas, says in a statement to the press on behalf of the family, speaking on the sidelines of a rally for the hostages in Tel Aviv.

“We should also get to embrace them, and it will happen,” she adds. “Don’t forget us, don’t forget them.”

Holding Guy, her baby son, Zeiler notes that he turned nine months old today. “He was born two months after Kfir. He’s the age Kfir was when he was abducted. They have the right to grow up together.”

Shiri Bibas and her sons Ariel, 4, and baby Kfir, are abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Screenshot)

Zeiler tells Channel 12 news that the family went through “10 disturbing days,” since a truce began on November 24 that was supposed to see the mom and kids freed.

IDF, Shin Bet heads green light fresh battle plans for Gaza ground push

L-R: Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, an unknown officer, and the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, hold a meeting, December 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
L-R: Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, an unknown officer, and the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, hold a meeting, December 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF says Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and the head of the Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, held an assessment today at the Southern Command in Beersheba, and approved battle plans for Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza.

“We are focused on continuing dismantling Hamas, and on creating conditions for the return of additional hostages,” Halevi says in remarks provided by the IDF.

Harris thanks Qatar, calls to ‘accelerate’ efforts for peace

As Israel brings its hostage negotiators home from Qatar with talk on a Gaza truce hitting a dead end, US Vice President Kamala Harris calls Doha’s ruling emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani to thank him for his efforts in securing the week-long pause, which allowed over 100 hostages to be released.

“The Vice President emphasized that the United States would remain committed to relentlessly pursuing the release of all the hostages in close cooperation with Qatar and other regional partners,” a White House readout says, noting that she blamed Hamas for breaching the pause in hostilities.

The two also “discussed the importance of planning for the day after the fighting ends in Gaza.”

Delivering an address on the Israel-Hamas war from the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai, Harris says she and US President Joe Biden began discussions with national security teams about post-conflict Gaza soon after October 7, calling for regional buy-in and Palestinian support.

“We must accelerate efforts to build an enduring peace,” she says. “Palestinian voices and aspirations must be at the center of this work.”

Harris says she spoke to Arab leaders in Dubai about rehabilitating Gaza, and implementing arrangements to bolster the Palestinian Authority, including strengthening the PA’s security forces, saying that until then “there must be security arrangements that are acceptable to Israel, the people of Gaza, the Palestinian Authority and the international partners.”

She also reiterates US criticism of the civilian toll of Israel’s military campaign saying “too many innocent Palestinians have been killed.”

Harris says she spoke to Palestinian, Muslim and Arab leaders in the US and Americans who left Gaza or have relatives there. “It is truly heartbreaking,” she says.

“As Israel pursues its military objectives in Gaza, we believe Israel must do more to protect innocent civilians,” she says.

Israeli jets hit Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon again — IDF

The IDF says fighter jets struck several more Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to repeated rocket attacks on northern Israel today.

Over the last hour, several rockets were fired from Lebanon at the border area, the IDF says, adding that it is responding with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire.

The army earlier said it had shelled and carried out airstrikes against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon.

IDF reveals a Gaza brigade chief was killed Oct 7, body held by Hamas

Col. Asaf Hamami, the commander of the Gaza Division's southern brigade who was killed on October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Col. Asaf Hamami, the commander of the Gaza Division's southern brigade who was killed on October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says a senior officer missing since October 7 was killed that day and his remains are being held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Col. Asaf Hamami, 41, the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, is recognized as a “fallen soldier held by a terror group,” the IDF announces. Hamami was from Kiryat Ono.

In recent days, the IDF has been confirming the deaths of several hostages held by Hamas, due to new intelligence and findings obtained by troops.

Hamami is the most senior officer to have been taken hostage by Hamas.

Netanyahu to hold press conference, take questions tonight

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold a televised press conference at 8:15 p.m. tonight, his office announces.

During the conference, the premier will take questions from the Israeli press, a relative rarity.

He will reportedly appear alone, without Defense Minister Yoav Galant or war cabinet minister Benny Gantz.

FM Cohen calls on UN Women chief to quit after taking 57 days to condemn Hamas assault

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen speaks during a press conference at the European Office of the United Nations, Palais des Nation, in Geneva on November 14, 2023. (Photo by PIERRE ALBOUY / AFP)
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen speaks during a press conference at the European Office of the United Nations, Palais des Nation, in Geneva on November 14, 2023. (Photo by PIERRE ALBOUY / AFP)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen slams the women’s rights group UN Women after it took 57 days to condemn the Hamas onslaught against Israel and the sexual violence during the attack. He also calls on its executive director Sima Bahous, a Jordanian national, to quit.

“The behavior of UN Women since the massacre on October 7 has been shameful,” Cohen writes.

“Their statement is tepid and late, coming after nearly two months of silence and turning a blind eye to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and sexual crimes committed by the Hamas terror group,” he says.

UN Women issued a statement earlier condemning the Hamas terror group, 57 days after some 1,200 were killed — mostly civilians — and over 240 kidnapped in the brutal Hamas-led October 7 massacres in southern Israel, and amid weeks of criticism over its silence about evidence of sexual violence during the attack.

The UN Women statement led with “regret” that fighting had resumed between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, after a seven-day truce which saw 105 civilian hostages released from Gaza in exchange for 210 Palestinian prisoners.

“We unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on Israel on 7 October. We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks,” the statement continued.

It then went on to laud the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, for “opening its call for submissions on gender-based crimes since October 7.”

Cohen slammed this decision too, saying that an investigation into the crimes should be carried out by a neutral body, not “Israel-haters and antisemites.”

IDF says sirens in north caused by helicopter shooting down malfunctioning drone

The IDF says the sirens that sounded in the Galilee a short while ago were activated due to a combat helicopter downing a military drone that was identified as having a technical malfunction.

According to the IDF, the “interception was carried out in a controlled manner and there is no fear of a security incident.”

“The rocket and missile warning was activated due to the interception” amid fears of falling shrapnel, the IDF says.

Last month a similar incident occurred over the Galilee, with the IDF shooting down one of its own UAVs that had a technical issue.

Warning sirens sound across the Galilee

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the Galilee in northern Israel.

The alerts are activated in the cities of Afula, Nof HaGalil, Migdal HaEmek, Nazareth and other nearby towns.

It is not immediately clear what set off the alarms.

There have been numerous attacks by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian terror groups from Lebanon in recent weeks, but Hamas in Gaza has also fired long-range rockets at northern Israel.

Returned captives, hostage families demand meeting with Netanyahu as truce ends

Relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 massacre hold a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 29, 2023.  (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 massacre hold a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 29, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Families of the hostages held in Gaza, including several of those freed in recent days, are demanding to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A statement from the forum for the families says they want the meeting “tonight” after a week-long truce aimed at getting hostages back ended due to Hamas violations and Israel announced it was pulling out of talks.

“The end of the ceasefire and the return to fighting obliges an immediate update be given to the families of the hostages,” the forum says. “The hostages that returned demand to meet this evening with the prime minister and members of the war cabinet, together with all the families of those who remain hostage.”

Every days could be the last day, we cannot leave them there,” the statement says.

Over the week-long truce, 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity in Gaza: 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and one Filipino.

Several of those freed have husbands and fathers still held in Gaza.

Still held hostage by Gaza terror groups when the truce collapsed were 136 people — 114 men, 20 women and two children. Ten of the hostages are 75 and older. The vast majority of the hostages, 125, are Israeli. Eleven are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand.

Gallant says IDF hitting new areas in Gaza, issues warning to Hamas leaders

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets reservists near the Gaza border, December 2, 2023. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets reservists near the Gaza border, December 2, 2023. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says the military is striking in areas of Gaza that it had not yet hit since the beginning of the war, and warns senior Hamas commanders in the southern part of the Strip.

“In the last two days, we are also operating in areas where we did not operate in the last month and this will increase. This action will reach every area that needs to be reached. We are going for the complete elimination of the Hamas organization,” Gallant says to reservists near the Gaza border.

“We have had very good achievements in the first month,” he says.

Gallant says the commanders of Hamas’s battalions in northern Gaza “already know very well what the IDF can do.”

“But the Hamas battalion commanders in Khan Younis and Rafah also understand very well what happened to the others,” he warns, as the IDF is expected to expand ground operations in southern Gaza.

Olmert: World will soon halt the war if gov’t doesn’t say what it intends for post-Hamas Gaza

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert in a Keshet TV interview broadcast on March 17, 2018 (Keshet screenshot)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert in a Keshet TV interview broadcast on March 17, 2018 (Keshet screenshot)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert warns that if the Israeli government continues to refuse to tell the world what it envisages for Gaza in “the next stage,” after Hamas, it won’t be given time by the US and the international community to complete “this stage,” destroying Hamas.

The bluster and boasting of the current political leadership, “claiming that we have as much time as we need — months, till March, next year — is unfounded,” Olmert tells Channel 12. “We have very limited time.”

What could give Israel “some time and patience from the international community are, first, to make clear that “at end of the military operation, when Hamas is defeated,” Israel will withdraw from Gaza: “We have no option to stay and no interest in doing so.” And second, to present Israel’s “picture” of Gaza post-war, as the US and international community have been repeatedly pressing Israel to do.

Says Olmert, “There is no chance that any Arab soldier or Palestinian will enter Gaza at Israel’s direction. There is no avoiding the entry of foreign forces — from Europe, from NATO countries, although not a NATO force,” he says.

“Do we want to negotiate with the Palestinians or not?” asks Olmert, who was prime minister from 2006 to 2009 and later went to jail for accepting bribes and obstruction of justice. “If we don’t say we are ready to negotiate,” and that means on a two-state solution, Israel will lose the patience and support of the international community, he warns.

But the government of Benjamin Netanyahu “doesn’t want to do this, because it is not prepared to move in that direction.”

“The Palestinian Authority is not a Zionist group; they are not our friends; they are on the other side,” Olmert says. “But Mahmoud Abbass’s [PA] security forces today work with our security forces to try to prevent terrorism in Judea and Samara at a time when we are fighting in Gaza… We have no other partner.”

Says Olmert: “Ruling out the idea of negotiations [with the PA] is telling the international community that we have no interest in a future political solution.

“We deluded ourselves that the Palestinian problem did not exist until it blew up in our faces on October 7 in an intolerable way,” he says.

“We have to make peace with our enemies,” says Olmert. “It’s either the PA or Hamas… For this government, the PA was a ‘burden’, as [far-right finance minister] Smotrich says, and Hamas was an ‘asset’,” says Olmert, referencing a 2015 interview by Smotrich. “I think Hamas is an enemy. I think the PA is not an asset, but it is the group we have to speak to,” within a framework including the international community and relevant Arab states, he says.

“If we don’t set out the picture for the next stage we will not be given the time to complete the military operation to break the military power of Hamas,” he says. “We are much closer to the end of the military operation than the bragging political leadership [claims].”

Olmert also calls for Netanyahu to quit, saying that “every minute that Netanyahu stays is damage to Israel.” He says he is not calling for a whole new government, but that Israel right now needs “a leadership with courage, integrity [and a sense of] moral obligation.”

Olmert concludes the interview by saying that one of the General Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal) commandos who saved then Sgt. Netanyahu from drowning [in the Suez Canal] in 1969, Eitan Ziv, was murdered by Hamas terrorists [Hebrew link] along with his wife on October 7 [at Kibbutz Kfar Aza]. He claims Netanyahu has not even called the family to express condolences.

Ra’am: Call for Palestinian groups to disarm — after establishment of Palestinian state

The Ra’am party issues a clarification after party leader MK Mansour Abbas became the first Arab leader in Israel’s history to publicly call on armed Palestinian factions to demilitarize and work with the Palestinian Authority in order to establish a Palestinian state through non-violent means.

“In order to move forward, the Palestinian militant groups need to throw down their arms. They need to work hand in hand with the Palestinian Authority in order to realize a national movement that will aspire for a state of Palestine in a peaceful solution alongside the state of Israel,” Abbas told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in a rare interview with international media released Thursday.

Abbas, whose Islamist Ra’am party was the first independent Arab-majority faction to join an Israeli coalition — the 2021-2022 Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government — began the interview by reiterating his condemnation of the October 7 massacres.

However, on Saturday, the party clarifies that “the intention of MK Mansour Abbas in his CNN interview was that the Palestinian state that will be established will be the body to disarm the factions as part of its establishing its rule.”

Israel’s Channel 12 says the statement comes after his remarks sparked widespread anger in Palestinian and Arab circles.

Kamala Harris tells Egypt’s Sissi that US won’t allow forced relocations of Palestinians

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the UN climate summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the UN climate summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is in Dubai for the COP28 climate conference, meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi.

Her office says Harris reiterated that the United States will not permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, an ongoing siege of the territory, or the redrawing of its borders.

“The Vice President discussed US ideas for post-conflict planning in Gaza including efforts on reconstruction, security and governance. She emphasized that these efforts can only succeed if they are pursued in the context of a clear political horizon for the Palestinian people towards a state of their own led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority and have significant support from the international community and the countries of the region,” the White House says.

Harris is expected to outline proposals with regional leaders to “put Palestinian voices at the center” of planning the next steps for the Gaza Strip after the conflict, the White House said earlier.

President Joe Biden’s administration has been emphasizing the need for efforts toward a two-state solution to continue pushing ahead even as fighting rages.

Harris also thanks Sissi for Egypt’s role in brokering hostage releases and allowing Americans trapped in Gaza to leave via the Rafah Crossing.

“She emphasized that the United States would remain committed to relentlessly pursuing the release of all the hostages in close cooperation with regional partners and expressed continued support for extended pauses in the fighting to get hostages out and aid in,” a White House readout says.

Heavy rocket barrage fired at southern, central Israel

A heavy rocket barrage is fired at southern and central Israel.

Warning sirens sound in Ashdod and surrounding communities. Sirens also wail in Rehovot, Gan Shlomo and Kfar Bilu.

Reports of explosions are heard.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Hamas: At least 200 killed in Gaza since resumption of fighting; number not verified

Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip, in the hospital in Khan Younis, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip, in the hospital in Khan Younis, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says at least 200 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting resumed yesterday morning.

The figures cannot be independently verified and Hamas does not differentiate between civilians and terrorists killed.

Macron says ‘total destruction of Hamas’ would take 10 years of war

France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron warns that Israel’s aim of eliminating the Palestinian terror group Hamas risked unleashing a decade of war.

Achieving the “total destruction of Hamas” would mean “the war will last 10 years,” Macron said at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

“So this objective must be clarified,” he adds

IDF attacking Hezbollah positions after rocket fire on northern Israel

The IDF says it is carrying airstrikes and artillery shelling against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to attacks on northern Israel today.

A short while ago, several rockets were also fired at army posts along the border, the IDF says.

There were no warning sirens sounded.

It says troops are responding with shelling against the sources of the fire.

The Hezbollah terror group has claimed responsibility for several attacks on northern Israel today.

Macron calls for greater efforts to free hostages, reach ‘a lasting ceasefire’ in Gaza

French President Emmanuel Macron attends an event at the COP28 climate summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
French President Emmanuel Macron attends an event at the COP28 climate summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

French President Emmanuel Macron appeals for intensified efforts to reach a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, a day after deadly fighting resumed between Israel and Hamas after a truce expired.

“This situation requires stepped-up efforts to reach a lasting ceasefire,” to free all hostages held by Hamas, allow more urgently needed aid into Gaza, and to assure Israel of its security, he tells a news conference on the sidelines of the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

Rocket warning sirens in Ashkelon, Gaza border communities

Rocket warning sirens sound in the city of Ashkelon and in communities near the Gaza border.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Iraq warns US against ‘attacks’ after strikes against Iran-backed groups

Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of Fadel al-Maksusi, a Kataeb Hezbollah terrorist who was also part of the Islamic resistance in Iraq, the group that has claimed all recent attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria, during a funeral in Baghdad on November 21, 2023. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)
Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of Fadel al-Maksusi, a Kataeb Hezbollah terrorist who was also part of the Islamic resistance in Iraq, the group that has claimed all recent attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria, during a funeral in Baghdad on November 21, 2023. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Iraq’s prime minister warns Washington against any “attack” on Iraqi territory after a resumption of fighting in the Israel-Hamas war renewed concerns of a wider conflict.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani makes the comment during a phone call made to him by United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Sudani’s office says.

On November 22, US fighter jets struck two targets in Iraq, killing nine pro-Iran fighters in retaliation for repeated attacks on American troops, US and Iraqi sources said.

Hours earlier, a warplane struck the vehicle of Iran-backed fighters after they had fired a short-range ballistic missile at US and allied personnel, according to the Pentagon.

The strikes came after US forces deployed in Iraq and Syria were attacked at least 74 times, according to Pentagon officials, a surge linked to the war between Israel and Hamas.

During his call with Blinken, Sudani rejected “any attack on Iraqi territory,” the statement from his office says.

Sudani also said the Iraqi government is committed “to ensuring the safety of the international coalition advisers present in Iraq.”

The US strikes targeted positions of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization), a coalition of former paramilitary forces integrated into the Iraqi regular military.

Washington’s strikes killed nine fighters, according to tolls by the Hezbollah Brigades, an important faction within the Hashed al-Shaabi.

IDF says stabbing attempt foiled in West Bank, suspect killed

A knife allegedly used by a Palestinian man to try and stab soldiers in the northern West Bank on December 2, 2023 (IDF)
A knife allegedly used by a Palestinian man to try and stab soldiers in the northern West Bank on December 2, 2023 (IDF)

The Israel Defense Forces says troops foiled an attempted stabbing attack near Nablus in the northern West Bank, killing the alleged assailant.

According to the IDF, troops of the 7037th Reserve Battalion, operating at a checkpoint near the West Bank city, identified a suspect approaching them.

As the soldiers attempted to question him, the suspect drew a knife and began to approach the troops, the IDF says.

The soldiers in response opened fire, killing the man.

No soldiers are hurt in the incident, the IDF says.

Troops in Gaza find dozens of rockets under UNRWA boxes

Dozens of rockets found by Israeli troops inside a residential home in northern Gaza, December 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Dozens of rockets found by Israeli troops inside a residential home in northern Gaza, December 2, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says troops operating in the northern Gaza Strip have located dozens of rockets hidden under boxes with UNRWA markings in a residential home, and other weaponry belonging to Hamas.

Troops of the 7007th Reserve Battalion were searching a home in a neighborhood when they found a room full of boxes bearing the logo of the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees.

Underneath the boxes, dozens of rockets, mortars and other explosives were found, the IDF says.

Separately, troops of the 414th combat intelligence collection unit operating in a home in northern Gaza found grenades, weapon parts and other military equipment inside a child’s bedroom, the IDF says.

Mossad: Negotiating team in Qatar ordered home as truce talks hit a ‘dead end’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Mossad chief David Barnea at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv on October 15, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Mossad chief David Barnea at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv on October 15, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The Mossad says that a negotiating team that had been in Qatar has been ordered home with talks on extending a truce reaching a “dead end.”

“Due to the dead end in negotiations, and following instructions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad head David Barnea ordered the negotiating team in Doha to return home,” says a rare statement from Netanyahu’s office issued on behalf of the spy agency.

“The Hamas terror group did not fulfill its obligations under the agreement that included releasing all the women and children that were on the list provided to Hamas that had authorized it,” the statement says.

“The head of Mossad thanks the head of the CIA, Egypt’s intelligence minister, the prime minister of Qatar for their partnership and the tremendous mediation efforts that led to the release of 84 women and children from Gaza, in addition to 24 foreign nationals,” it says.

Still held hostage by Gaza terror groups when the truce collapsed were 136 people — 114 men, 20 women and two children. Ten of the hostages are 75 and older. The vast majority of the hostages, 125, are Israeli. Eleven are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say two officers killed in Syria after strike blamed on Israel

Illustrative: This photo taken on September 22, 2018, shows members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) marching during the annual military parade that marks the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran. (Stringer/AFP)
Illustrative: This photo taken on September 22, 2018, shows members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) marching during the annual military parade that marks the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran. (Stringer/AFP)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards announce that two of its officers were killed in Syria.

The announcement comes after an air strike in Syria that was blamed on Israel.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps says Mohammad Ali Atai Shoorcheh and Panah Taghizadeh were “martyred” while on an advisory mission to Syria, blaming the “Zionists” for their death.

Israeli airstrikes hit several points on the outskirts of Damascus overnight, Syrian state media reported, resulting in some damage.

State news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military official, says the strikes came from the direction of the Golan Heights and that Syrian air defenses shot most of the missiles down. The strikes resulted in only “material losses,” the statement says.

There was no comment from Israel.

Israeli delegations said to visit Qatar for further truce talks

An Israeli delegation visited Qatar this morning for talks aimed at a new truce, sources tell the Reuters news agency.

The talks are examining the possibility of Hamas releasing additional hostages, possibly elderly men, in exchange for further security prisoners being released by Israel and a new halt in fighting.

The last week-long truce saw 105 civilians released from Hamas captivity in Gaza: 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and one Filipino.

Still held hostage by Gaza terror groups when the truce collapsed were 136 people — 114 men, 20 women and two children. Ten of the hostages are 75 and older. The vast majority of the hostages, 125, are Israeli. Eleven are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand.

Red Crescent says aid supplies into Gaza have resumed through Rafah crossing

The Palestine Red Crescent Society says that it has “now received aid trucks through the Rafah crossing,” from its Egyptian counterparts.

Aid through the Egyptian border had briefly stopped Friday after Israel and Gaza terror groups resumed combat as Hamas violated the terms of a week-long truce.

 

Erdogan: ‘I cannot accept Hamas is a terror group’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterates his position that Hamas is not a terror group and says they must be involved in any solution for Gaza after the war.

“I stand by my position. No matter what anybody says, I cannot accept Hamas is a terror group,” Erdogan tells reporters on his plane, according to Turkish media.

His comments came in response to a question about possible US sanctions that Turkey could face for supporting and funding Hamas.

The Turkish leader also says that Hamas must be involved in any post-war scenario for Gaza, saying the “exclusion and destruction of Hamas is not an option.”

In addition, Erdogan calls on the ICC to punish Israeli officials, whom he calls “the butchers of Gaza.” He singles out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Turkey maintains deep ties with Hamas. Erdogan has been in close contact with the Hamas leadership since the start of the war, and has allowed the terror group to operate from an office in Istanbul for over a decade, insisting that it only hosts the group’s political wing.

Susan Sarandon sorry for saying US Jews ‘getting taste of what it feels to be Muslim’

Susan Sarandon at the Toronto International Film Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 10, 2018, in Toronto. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Susan Sarandon at the Toronto International Film Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 10, 2018, in Toronto. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Actress Susan Sarandon issues an apology for saying at a recent pro-Palestinian rally that US Jews fearing for their safety amid a spike in antisemitism “are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.”

“This phrasing was a terrible mistake, as it implies that until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution when the opposite is true,” she says in a statement.

“I deeply regret diminishing this reality and hurting people with this comment. It was my intent to show solidarity to the struggle against bigotry of all kinds, and I am sorry I failed to do so,” says Sarandon.

The actress was dropped by Hollywood talent agency UTA after her initial remarks.

Sarandon has been intensely critical of Israel throughout the war, repeatedly posting accusations of genocide, atrocities and war crimes by Israel; sharing misinformation denying elements of Hamas’s massacres in Israeli communities; and characterizing Hamas as a “resistance organization” and not a terror group.

Two mortars fired at Israeli community on northern border; IDF targets source of fire

Two mortars were fired from Lebanon at the northern community of Shomera a short while ago, the military says.

Both projectiles landed in open areas, causing no injuries.

The IDF says it is shelling the source of fire with artillery.

6 people said detained in protest outside Netanyahu’s home

Six people were detained by police while demonstrating outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in the coastal town of Caesarea, protest organizers said.

The protesters are calling on Netanyahu to resign following the failures that led to the October 7 Hamas assault on southern Israel.

Video from the scene showed several demonstrators standing on sand dunes overlooking his home, calling out to him with a megaphone, before being confronted by police. Police tell them they did not have permission to demonstrate at the site.

A much larger protest is planned for Saturday evening in the town.

Family of Ron Binyamin, missing since Oct. 7, informed he is being held hostage in Gaza

Ron Binyamin, who was taken hostage in Gaza on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)
Ron Binyamin, who was taken hostage in Gaza on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)

The family of Ron Binyamin, who has been missing since the October 7 Hamas assault, say they have been officially informed that he was taken hostage in Gaza.

Binyamin, 53, from Rehovot, was on a bicycle ride with friends near Kibbutz Be’eri when the assault started. He tried to return home but lost contact with his family. His car was later found riddled with bullets.

“It’s a good feeling after such a long time in which we did not know what happened to him,” his brother Shuki told Ynet. “It’s funny that I’m happy to hear he is a hostage.”

Shuki said the army had previously told the family to prepare for the possibility that his fate may never be known.

Several people remain unaccounted for after the Hamas assault, with no evidence of them being taken hostage and no remains found. Some bodies from the massacre have been almost impossible to identify due to the damage suffered.

Using new evacuation map, IDF tells Palestinians to leave several north Gaza zones

The Israeli military is beginning to use an evacuation map for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, for them to avoid active combat zones.

The IDF’s Arabic-language Spokesman, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, says on X that Palestinians in a number of zones in northern Gaza’s Jalabiya, Shejaiya and Zeitoun, should evacuate to “known shelters” shelters in the Daraj and Tuffah areas of Gaza City.

He also calls on Palestinians in several zones in southern Gaza’s Khirbat Ikhza’a, Abasan, Bani Suheila and Ma’an to head for shelters in Rafah.

The map splits the Gaza Strip into hundreds of small zones, and the military has called on Palestinians to pay attention to their area’s number, and follow the IDF’s future updates.

Two Hezbollah-linked fighters said killed in Syria strikes blamed on Israel

A war monitor claims that airstrikes attributed to Israel in Syria overnight killed two fighters affiliated with Hezbollah and wounded seven others.

“Two Syrian fighters working for Hezbollah were killed and seven other fighters working for the group were wounded in Israeli air strikes on Hezbollah sites near Sayyida Zeinab,” says Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

There was no independent confirmation.

SOHR, run by a single person, has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of false reporting and inflating casualty numbers.

After 8 weeks, UN Women condemns Hamas for Oct. 7 onslaught, expresses alarm over accounts of sexual assault

Women protest outside the UN Headquarters in Jerusalem over its failure to condemn Hamas violence against women during its October 7 onslaught, November 27, 2023. (Flash90)
Women protest outside the UN Headquarters in Jerusalem over its failure to condemn Hamas violence against women during its October 7 onslaught, November 27, 2023. (Flash90)

After eight weeks, UN Women breaks its silence on allegations of sex crimes carried out by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

“We reiterate that all women, Israeli women, Palestinian women, as all others, are entitled to a life lived in safety and free from violence,” the organization says.

“We unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on Israel on 7 October,” the organization says. “We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks.”

“For the sake of everyone in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, and especially women and children, we call for a return to a path of peace, a respect for international humanitarian and international human rights law,” UN women says.

Israeli officials have been furious at global human rights groups and women’s activist groups who have consistently dismissed evidence and testimony over sex abuse crimes carried out during the Hamas onslaught against southern Israel last month. Israeli women’s rights groups have slammed their international counterparts for ignoring the mounting evidence of such allegations.

Earlier this week, Sarah Hendriks, deputy director at UN Women, was pressed in a CNN interview about the group’s silence on the issue.

Hendriks said that the agency is “deeply alarmed at the disturbing reports of gender-based and sexual violence on October 7,” adding that “we absolutely unequivocally condemn all forms of violence against women and girls.”

CNN anchor Bianna Golodryga asked Hendriks why the group has failed to “specifically call out Hamas” in the wake of “mounting evidence now over seven weeks” from Israeli investigators about such crimes on October 7. In her response, Hendriks again failed to name Hamas and said the agency always supports an “impartial, independent investigation.”

Last week, the UN office for women’s issues was slammed for posting and then deleting a condemnation of “the brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7.”

IDF says it hit over 400 targets in Gaza over past day, including more than 50 in Khan Younis area

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out airstrikes against over 400 targets across the Gaza Strip in the past day since Hamas violated the truce and fighting resumed.

The military says fighter jets attacked over 50 targets in the Khan Younis area in “extensive” strikes in the southern part of the enclave.

Troops on the ground in northern Gaza directed airstrikes on a number of targets, including on a mosque that was used by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group as an operational headquarters.

Naval forces also carried out strikes on Hamas infrastructure in the south, including on maritime equipment used by Hamas.

The military also said that a number of terror cells were eliminated, and that targets hit included an ammunition depot.

Rocket sirens in Holit, Sufa near Gaza border

After a lull of some eight hours, sirens sound in the Gaza border communities Holit and Sufa, warning of incoming rocket fire.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Yesterday, the truce between Israel and Hamas, which brought the first pause in almost eight weeks of war sparked by the shock October 7 assault, broke down after Hamas fired rockets toward Israel and did not deliver on additional hostage releases.

Heavy fighting reported in southern Gaza overnight after truce breakdown

Israel’s military was carrying out extensive operations against Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza overnight, and heavy fighting is reported in the southern part of the Palestinian enclave, according to Hebrew-language media.

Extensive ground battles are reported in the Khan Younis area, according to Channel 12, amid intelligence that some of Hamas’s leadership is present in the city.

Army Radio says military forces are also operating in Gaza City and Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza.

Earlier, Israel carried out strikes in Khan Younis and Rafah, also in southern Gaza.

Gazans reported the IDF had dropped flyers in Khan Younis calling on residents to move south to Rafah, warning the area is dangerous.

The IDF earlier published a map splitting the Gaza Strip into hundreds of small zones, which it will use to notify Palestinian civilians of active combat zones.

It asked Palestinians to pay attention to their area’s number, and follow the IDF’s future updates.

The military may use this map to call on Palestinians from specific areas to evacuate when the IDF’s ground offensive expands to the Strip’s south, instead of demanding mass evacuations as it did in the northern part of Gaza.

“The IDF is operating strongly against terror organizations, while making great efforts to differentiate between civilians and terrorists,” the military said in a message to Gazans.

“The people of Gaza are not our enemies. For this reason, as of this morning the IDF is leading controlled and specific evacuations of Gaza residents in order to remove them as much as possible from areas of combat.”

Syrian military official: Israeli strikes near Damascus overnight result in ‘material losses’

DAMASCUS — Israeli airstrikes hit several points on the outskirts of Damascus overnight, Syrian state media reported, resulting in some damage.

State news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military official, says the strikes came from the direction of the Golan Heights and that Syrian air defenses shot most of the missiles down. The strikes resulted in only “material losses,” the statement says.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based opposition war monitor, says the strikes hit in the area of the south Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab, where it said that “there are military forces working with the Lebanese Hezbollah,” the terror group backed by Iran.

It said ambulances rushed to the scene.

Israel has struck targets in Syria several times since the onset of the Hamas-Israel war on October 7, when terrorists killed 1,200 people in Israel and took some 240 hostages.

On Sunday, a reported Israeli airstrike hit the international airport in Damascus and put it out of commission, just hours after the airport resumed flights following a monthlong hiatus after a previous Israeli strike.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes inside government-controlled parts of war-torn Syria in recent years, often targeting Hezbollah and other terror groups backed by Iran, but it rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations.

Israeli jets strike targets in Damascus area, Syrian state media reports

A Syrian military source is cited by state media as saying that Israel carried out airstrikes on targets near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The source tells the SANA official news agency that at “around 1:35 a.m. today, the Israeli enemy carried out an air attack” from the direction of the Golan Heights, “targeting some sites in the vicinity of the city of Damascus.”

Hezbollah claims responsibility for rocket fired at northern Israeli community; no injuries reported

Lebanese terror group Hezbollah claims responsibility for firing a Katyusha rocket from southern Lebanon at the northern Israeli community of Dishon tonight, Ynet reports.

There are no reports of injuries or damage. Sirens sounded in Dishon, close to the Lebanon border, earlier.

Channel 12 reports that several impact sites were observed in unpopulated areas.

Protester with Palestinian flag self-immolates outside Israeli consulate in Atlanta

A protester with a Palestinian flag set herself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, local police say.

The protester is in critical condition after a security guard at the scene intervened. The guard was also burned in the process, and his condition is not immediately known, police say.

“We believe that was an act of extreme political protest,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum says during a press conference.

The protester arrived at the building that houses the Israeli consulate and several other businesses and used gasoline to self-immolate, Schierbaum says.

“We believe this building remains safe, and we do not see any threat here,” he adds.

The FBI’s Atlanta office says it was coordinating with local law enforcement on the matter.

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