ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 150

search
Live updates (closed)

Dec. 4: Amid ‘fierce battles’ in Gaza, IDF chief of staff holds assessment inside Strip

‘Humiliated’ hostage families demand to meet cabinet, free captives at ‘any price’ * Hamas fires rockets at Tel Aviv, Beersheba * 3 IDF soldiers killed, bringing ground op toll to 75

  • Defense Minister Yoav Gallant observes the northern Gaza Strip from the border, December 4, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant observes the northern Gaza Strip from the border, December 4, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
  • Yael Adar, whose son Tamir Adar is held hostage in Gaza, speaks at a press conference on December 4, 2023 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
    Yael Adar, whose son Tamir Adar is held hostage in Gaza, speaks at a press conference on December 4, 2023 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
  • Demonstrators gather during a '#metoo unless you are a Jew' protest outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City on December 4, 2023. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
    Demonstrators gather during a '#metoo unless you are a Jew' protest outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City on December 4, 2023. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
  • Israel Defense Forces troops operating in the Gaza Strip in a photo released for publication on December 4, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
    Israel Defense Forces troops operating in the Gaza Strip in a photo released for publication on December 4, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
    Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
  • From left: Sgt. First Class (res.) Ben Zussman, 22, Sgt. Maj. (res.) Neriya Shaer, 36, and Sgt. Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, 19, who were killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    From left: Sgt. First Class (res.) Ben Zussman, 22, Sgt. Maj. (res.) Neriya Shaer, 36, and Sgt. Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, 19, who were killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Palestinians check the damage next to a crater following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    Palestinians check the damage next to a crater following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they happened.

US says Iran is responsible for Houthi attacks on ships in Red Sea

A picture taken during an organized tour by Yemen's Houthi rebels on November 22, 2023 shows the Galaxy Leader cargo ship, seized two days earlier, docked in a port on the Red Sea. (AFP)
A picture taken during an organized tour by Yemen's Houthi rebels on November 22, 2023 shows the Galaxy Leader cargo ship, seized two days earlier, docked in a port on the Red Sea. (AFP)

The US says it holds Iran responsible for attacks on civilian and military vessels by Yemen’s Houthis, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan saying the US is discussing establishing military escorts for ships in the Red Sea.

The Iranian-backed Houthis claimed attacks on commercial ships and a US warship on yesterday.

Speaking at the White House, Sullivan said the ultimate blame lies with Tehran.

“The weapons here are being supplied by Iran,” Sullivan says. “Iran, we believe, is the ultimate party responsible for this.”

Sullivan says the US does not believe all three ships struck by the Houthis had ties to Israel.

IDF officials: 15,000 likely killed in Gaza since start of war, 5,000 of them are Hamas

Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Reports citing anonymous Israeli officials in both AP and AFP say that the IDF believes the overall Gaza death toll claimed by Hamas is fairly accurate, and that more civilians have been killed than Hamas operatives. The comments appeared to emerge from an off-record briefing for foreign journalists conducted by military officials.

An unnamed IDF official cited by AP says that at least 15,000 Palestinians in Gaza have died since the outbreak of the war on October 7. The army says it estimates more than 5,000 of the Gaza deaths to be Hamas terrorists.

AFP quotes an unnamed Israeli official: “I’m not saying it’s not bad that we have a ratio of two to one,” noting that the use of human shields was part of Hamas’s “core strategy.”

“Hopefully, [the ratio] will be much lower” in the coming phase of the war, the official adds, noting that “in the south, because we have basically doubled the population, operations are much more precise.”

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said earlier today that around 15,900 people have been killed so far in the Strip.

As IDF troops head to south Gaza, displaced Palestinians wonder where to flee next

Displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Younis, sit outside makeshift shelters in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS / AFP)
Displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Younis, sit outside makeshift shelters in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS / AFP)

As tanks, armored personnel carriers, and bulldozers are spotted near the southern Gazan city of Khan Yunis, Palestinians, many of whom fled the north when fighting began, say they don’t know where to go next.

Walaa Abu Libda found shelter at Deir al-Balah’s Al-Aqsa hospital, but says her 4-year-old daughter remains trapped under rubble.

“I don’t know if she is dead or alive,” says Libda, one of an estimated 1.8 million people displaced in Gaza — roughly three-quarters of the population.

In the southern Gazan city of Rafah, resident Abu Jahar al-Hajj says a purported Israeli air strike near his home felt “like an earthquake.”

“Pieces of concrete started falling on us,” he says.

The IDF has said it is working to provide safe havens in areas of the south as fighting intensifies.

“We have asked civilians to evacuate the battlefield and we have provided a designated humanitarian zone inside the Gaza Strip,” military spokesman Jonathan Conricus says, referring to a small coastal area of the territory named Al-Mawasi.

Delayed municipal elections to be held January 30 – except in evacuated towns

A man and his son vote during elections in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 1, 2022. (AP/ Oded Balilty/ File)
A man and his son vote during elections in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 1, 2022. (AP/ Oded Balilty/ File)

Municipal elections that were slated for the end of October will be held on January 30, says Interior Minister Moshe Arbel.

Arbel says that in 100 communities and towns evacuated following the outbreak of the war — which are part of 14 cities or regional councils — elections cannot be held on January 30, including in the cities of Sderot near Gaza and Kiryat Shmona near Lebanon.

There, elections will be held no earlier than 150 days after residents are able to return home, Arbel says.

Ofir Libstein, the head of the Shaar Hanegev regional council, who was running for reelection, was murdered by Hamas on October 7.

Telecom firm says communication networks down across Gaza

Palestinians check the damage next to a crater following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Palestinians check the damage next to a crater following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The main telecom company in the Gaza Strip says that mobile telephone services and internet connections have been cut across the Palestinian territory.

“We regret to announce that all telecom services in Gaza Strip have been lost due to the cut off of main fiber routes from the Israeli side,” PalTel claims in a message on social media. “Gaza is… blacked out again.”

Sinwar last year publicly hailed TV dramatization of attack on Israel as ‘what we are preparing’

Hamas's Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar speaks at what Israel's Channel 12  says was a 2022 ceremony awarding prizes to a Hamas TV drama on a Hamas invasion of Israel. (Channel 12 screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Hamas's Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar speaks at what Israel's Channel 12 says was a 2022 ceremony awarding prizes to a Hamas TV drama on a Hamas invasion of Israel. (Channel 12 screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

A TV drama series broadcast last year on Hamas TV that featured terrorists infiltrating Israel, was publicly hailed by Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar as “an inseparable part of what we are preparing,” Channel 12 news shows.

Hamas TV broadcast the series during Ramadan in late spring 2022, the Israeli TV report says. It dramatized an attack on Israel featuring the use of white pickup trucks, the disabling of Israeli communications, and targets including kibbutzim and IDF bases — including the Re’im base where the IDF Gaza Division is located. It also showed soldiers being kidnapped, and the raising of a Palestinian base at an IDF base.

Along with footage from the show, Channel 12 shows a clip from a televised award ceremony held in Gaza later in 2022, at which Sinwar handed out prizes to the show’s producers.

“This series is an inseparable part of what we are preparing — the great preparations we are making with our brothers in Izz-e-din Al-Qassam,” he is shown saying. Sinwar cites “the weaponry that they are producing” and their “intelligence gathering.”

Hamas’s military wing, he says, “is absolutely planning for the liberation and return.”

French delegation heading to Israel in attempt to calm tensions along Lebanon border

Israeli soldiers near the scene where a missile launched from Lebanon hit a group of Israeli soldier and civilians in Moshav Beit Hillel, near the Israeli border with Lebanon, December 3, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers near the scene where a missile launched from Lebanon hit a group of Israeli soldier and civilians in Moshav Beit Hillel, near the Israeli border with Lebanon, December 3, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

A French diplomatic delegation will arrive in Israel in the coming days to engage with Israeli and Lebanese officials to try and work on a solution to the ongoing cross-border fire as well as the wider Israel-Hamas war.

The delegation includes Alice Rufo, the defense policy director at the French Defense Ministry, and Frederic Mondoloni, the political director of the French Foreign Ministry. They are expected to discuss Gaza with Israeli officials, but will not enter the Strip. It is unclear whether they will continue from Israel to Beirut.

The French administration has vast leverage on Lebanese internal politics and may use its influence to work on tamping down the attacks on Israel from the northern border.

Israel’s agenda in the north up until now was to deter and contain the attacks, while planning on full implementation of the 2006 UNSC resolution 1701, which provides for the removal of Hezbollah forces between 5-16 km away.

Netanyahu convenes meeting of war cabinet in Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) convenes a meeting of the war cabinet in Tel Aviv, December 4, 2023. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) convenes a meeting of the war cabinet in Tel Aviv, December 4, 2023. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes a meeting of the war cabinet at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, his office says.

He is joined by the IDF chief of staff, the National Security Council chief, the head of the Mossad, and the Shin Bet chief, as well as cabinet members Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz.

TV report finds more pre-Oct 7 info on Hamas plans, IDF chiefs’ consults hours before assault

A diagram shown on Channel 12 on December 4, 2023, from an IDF report in July 2022, on potential Hamas invasion plans. (Channel 12 screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
A diagram shown on Channel 12 on December 4, 2023, from an IDF report in July 2022, on potential Hamas invasion plans. (Channel 12 screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

In the latest report on information and assessments that should have enabled the Israeli military leadership to prevent the October 7 Hamas-led onslaught, Channel 12 says that the intelligence officer of the IDF Gaza Division in July 2022 prepared a presentation setting out “The Mass Invasion Plan of Hamas.”

One diagram from the presentation shows some 20 Nukba Hamas terror squads invading southern Israel from Gaza. The presentation said the terror squads would be accompanied by engineering teams to breach the border fence and defenses in multiple places. The document reportedly included the sentence: “This invasion constitutes the gravest threat that IDF forces are facing in the defense [of Israel].”

Channel 12 further reports that IDF Military Intelligence held a discussion three months before October 7, at which an officer identified as Brig-Gen. Peh. concluded: “We have tried, but have not succeeded. We cannot say how [Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya] Sinwar will act, and therefore commanders in the field should take the necessary precautions.”

On October 1, the commander of the Gaza Division ordered a situational assessment, which found a “sharp increase in drills by Nukba forces.” Six Hamas battalions were drilling once or twice a week, the report on that assessment said. It specified which battalions were drilling, including several in northern Gaza and one in Khan Younis.

Nonetheless, according to Channel 12, the intelligence officer of the division summed up: “In the tension between the economic benefits for Hamas and the continued disturbances [that were taking place at the Gaza border], it seems that, at the moment, things are heading toward an arrangement and a calming of the disturbances.”

On the night of October 6-7, Channel 12 further reports, email was sent from an IDF base on the Gaza border about an imminent attack, describing “certain signs coming from Gaza.” At the same time, the Shin Bet also saw signs that something was up.

At around 3.30 a.m. on October 7, Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi was awakened by his officer manager and updated on the various signs. He convened a situational assessment with the head of IDF Operations and the Southern Command chief some 90 minutes later.

After discussing the signs of a possible imminent attack. Halevi asked for more information and ordered that the Israel Air Force be updated. He also ordered that the intelligence information be checked — and checked from a perspective skeptical to the prevailing assumption that Hamas was not interested in war.

This, says Channel 12, may have marked the first crack in that conception of Hamas being deterred, but it was not sufficient for Halevi to have ordered preparations for a major incident.

Israel had multiple sources of information on Hamas’s drills and other preparations for an assault in the weeks ahead of October 7, reportedly including a 2022 Hamas attack plan.

Footage shows now-freed hostage fighting against Hamas kidnappers on October 7

Amit Soussana seen fighting against Hamas kidnappers dragging her into Gaza on October 7, 2023. (Screenshot used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Amit Soussana seen fighting against Hamas kidnappers dragging her into Gaza on October 7, 2023. (Screenshot used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

Newly released footage shows former Hamas hostage Amit Soussana, 40, fighting against seven Hamas kidnappers on October 7 as they dragged her to Gaza.

Soussana agreed to have the footage publicized following her release, and it was first aired on Channel 12 news.

Soussana, who was hiding in the closet in her home when she was taken captive, was released on November 30, in the last group of hostages freed as part of the weeklong truce deal.

Grandfather of 3-year-old freed hostage: She only spoke in a whisper for a week

A government handout photo of Yahel Shoham, 3, upon her return to Israel after 50 days in Hamas captivity in Gaza, where she was held with her brother Naveh, their mother, Adi, and grandmother, Shoshan Haran, on November 25, 2023. (Courtesy)
A government handout photo of Yahel Shoham, 3, upon her return to Israel after 50 days in Hamas captivity in Gaza, where she was held with her brother Naveh, their mother, Adi, and grandmother, Shoshan Haran, on November 25, 2023. (Courtesy)

The grandfather of Yahel Shoham, 3, who was freed from Hamas captivity on November 25, says she only spoke in a whisper for a week after being released.

Shoham, whose father, Tal, is still held hostage, was freed along with her mother Adi and 8-year-old brother Naveh, as well as her grandmother, Shoshan. Her maternal grandfather was murdered on October 7.

“Until two days ago, she only whispered. She wouldn’t talk, not out loud,” Gilad Korngold tells Channel 12 news.

He says that Naveh does not really discuss what he went through. He “doesn’t ask about Dad, doesn’t ask about Grandpa.”

Gilad says the children were held together with their female relatives, but not with their father, who remains captive.

IDF spokesman says military will investigate troops being moved from Gaza border to West Bank before Oct 7

Israeli soldiers seen near an IDF tank stationed near the Gaza border on April 7, 2023. (Flash90/File)
Israeli soldiers seen near an IDF tank stationed near the Gaza border on April 7, 2023. (Flash90/File)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says there was no change in the number of troops carrying out routine security on the Gaza border ahead of Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, following reports that two Commando Brigade companies were diverted to the West Bank two days before the attacks.

“The deployment of the forces that carry out regular operational activities [on the border of] the Gaza Strip did not change before October 7,” Hagari says in response to a question at a press conference.

“We will investigate in depth the decision on the reserve forces, which is a General Staff decision that is made regularly according to a situational assessment,” he says.

The term, “reserve forces,” in this case does not mean members of the reserve army, but rather troops that bolster various regions, based on assessments carried out by the IDF General Staff. The two Commando Brigade companies were part of the reserve forces, rather than those carrying out routine security.

“Every weekend, we position the reserve forces [in different areas], depending on the threats,” Hagari says. “We will investigate this when we have the operational possibility.”

US official: Hamas not freeing women hostages so they won’t tell ‘what happened to them’

Children stand alongside Hamas terrorists in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 29, 2023. (AFP)
Children stand alongside Hamas terrorists in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 29, 2023. (AFP)

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller suggests that Hamas is holding onto a number of female Israeli hostages because it does not want them to testify about what they experienced in captivity.

“The fact that they continue to hold women hostages, the fact that they continue to hold children hostages, just the fact that it seems one of the reasons they don’t want to turn women over they’ve been holding hostage, and the reason this pause fell apart, is they don’t want those women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody,” says Miller, in response to a question from a reporter about growing evidence of Hamas rape and sexual abuse on October 7.

“There is very little that I would put beyond Hamas when it comes to its treatment of civilians, and particularly its treatment of women,” he adds.

A young Israeli woman seen on October 7 in Gaza being taken captive while the seat of her sweatpants was covered in blood remains a hostage in Gaza.

NYTimes report: Oct 7 rocket from Gaza hit IAF base said to house nuclear-capable missiles

Rockets are launched by Palestinian terror groups from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, October 7, 2023. (AP/ Hatem Moussa)
Rockets are launched by Palestinian terror groups from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, October 7, 2023. (AP/ Hatem Moussa)

A rocket launched by the Hamas terror group from the Gaza Strip on October 7 hit a sensitive Israeli Air Force base in central Israel, where many of Israel’s nuclear-capable missiles are allegedly based, according to a report by The New York Times.

Citing satellite imagery, the report says one rocket hit the Sdot Micha airbase, near Beit Shemesh, on the morning of October 7, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel during its onslaught on the south.

The report says the rocket sparked a fire that approached what it says are Jericho missile storage sites and other sensitive weaponry.

According to foreign reports, Israel has a stockpile of nuclear weapons. The Jericho missiles are designed to be equipped with nuclear warheads, according to the reports.

US asking Israel to allow more fuel to enter Gaza Strip

A convoy of trucks carrying fuel and aid drive in Gaza City's Zeitoun district on November 25, 2023, on the second day of a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)
A convoy of trucks carrying fuel and aid drive in Gaza City's Zeitoun district on November 25, 2023, on the second day of a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)

The United States says it is asking Israel to let more fuel into the battered Gaza Strip, following the end of a temporary truce.

“We’ve made clear we want to see it back up not just to the level of fuel that went in during the pause, but actually higher,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller tells reporters.

For weeks, Israel refused to allow any fuel to enter the Strip after the outbreak of the war, before then relenting. As part of the week-long truce deal, regular fuel shipments were allowed in, which aid agencies said was not nearly enough.

US says it is seeing ‘improvement’ in Israel narrowing calls for south Gaza evacuations

Displaced Palestinians who fled from Khan Younis, sit outside makeshift shelters at a camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Displaced Palestinians who fled from Khan Younis, sit outside makeshift shelters at a camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

The United States says it has seen some improvement by Israel in narrowing targets as it expands its offensive into southern Gaza.

“We’ve seen a much more targeted request for evacuations” than in the earlier campaign in the north, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller tells reporters. “So that is an improvement on what’s happened before.”

As a result of Israeli actions, “the numbers of displaced persons will hopefully be lower in southern Gaza than it was in the north,” he adds. “But when it comes to results, we are going to monitor it very closely.”

IDF troops engaging in ‘fierce battles’ inside Gaza Strip, says military

Palestinians at the site of an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 4, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)
Palestinians at the site of an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 4, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)

The IDF says “fierce battles” are taking place between troops and Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip in the last few hours.

It also publishes footage of troops of the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion battling Hamas operatives who opened fire at them from a building yesterday.

During the battle, two soldiers, Sgt. First Class (res.) Ben Zussman and Sgt. Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, were killed, and two other soldiers were wounded.

The IDF says the troops killed the Hamas gunmen in the incident.

As fighting heats up, IDF chief holds assessment inside Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi holds a meeting in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi holds a meeting in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi held an assessment in the Gaza Strip today, the military announces.

The IDF says the visit and meeting with the commanders of the 162nd Divison comes “with the continuation of the fighting and the ground maneuver.”

WATCH: UN session discusses allegations of Hamas rape of Israeli women

Demonstrators gather during a '#MeToo unless you are a Jew' protest outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City, on December 4, 2023. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
Demonstrators gather during a '#MeToo unless you are a Jew' protest outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City, on December 4, 2023. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

A UN session is underway now at the United Nations headquarters in New York on the sexual violence committed against Israelis by Hamas terrorists.

The session is led by Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN, and will include testimony from women’s rights experts as well as first responders who were at the scene of the Hamas atrocities on October 7.

Former Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg also addresses the session, saying silence on the issue is “dangerous. It threatens to undo decades of progress, to undo an entire movement. The world has to decide who to believe, do we believe the Hamas spokesperson… or do we believe the women?”

Full-page ad in NYTimes calls on world not to ignore Hamas sex crimes on Oct 7

A full-page ad in the New York Times sponsored by 'Women Building an Alternative' on December 4, 2023. (Courtesy)
A full-page ad in the New York Times sponsored by 'Women Building an Alternative' on December 4, 2023. (Courtesy)

An Israeli activist group publishes a full-age ad in the New York Times calling on the UN and the world to recognize the sexual abuse of Israeli women by Hamas on October 7.

Women Building an Alternative sponsors the full page ad which reads: “An open letter to all women,” citing the UN Security Council resolution which condemns gender-based violence, adding, “Nowhere does it state… except when Hamas rapes Israeli women.”

“No woman should close her eyes, in fact no one should close their eyes to the barbarity of rape. So why are some looking away? Speak now. Silence is consent.”

Moran Zer Katzenstein, founder of the organization, says, “For two months since that Saturday, the evidence of the crimes which were carried out against women is growing and building and the scale of the horror is becoming clearer.”

Zer Katzenstein will be among those presenting evidence at the special UN session on sexual violence on October 7 led by the Israeli Mission to the UN today.

IDF ground forces continue fierce battles in Gaza as Air Force strikes Hamas targets

Illustrative: IDF soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip in this handout photo published by the military on December 4, 2023. (IDF)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip in this handout photo published by the military on December 4, 2023. (IDF)

The IDF says that over the last few hours, ground forces have battled Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip, as the Air Force has been striking rocket launchers, weapons depots and other sites belonging to the terror group.

It says that troops of the 7th Armored Brigade spotted three Hamas operatives during a battle and directed a drone strike at them.

Other forces spotted Hamas operatives firing an RPG at them, and responded with gunfire, killing two Hamas members, according to the IDF.

The IDF says that in another incident, two Hamas gunmen opened fire at troops from the entrance to a tunnel. The soldiers in response demolished the tunnel, killing the pair, it says.

Troops also directed a drone strike at three Hamas operatives near them, according to the IDF.

The IDF does not provide the locations of the incidents in Gaza.

Argentine president-elect taps ex-Nazi youth as attorney general of treasury

Presidential candidate of the Liberty Advances coalition Javier Milei arrives to vote in the presidential runoff election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Presidential candidate of the Liberty Advances coalition Javier Milei arrives to vote in the presidential runoff election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Argentina’s libertarian president-elect Javier Milei causes a stir days before his inauguration, filling a top legal post with a former justice minister forced to resign in the 1990s over allegations of antisemitism.

Rodolfo Barra, 75, was named Friday as the attorney general of the treasury, responsible for counseling and representing the state in legal matters.

Barra was a judge of the Supreme Court and held several government posts in the 1990s, including that of justice minister from 1994 to 1996 under leftist president Carlos Menem. He was forced to resign from that post over the public outcry that ensued after a photo of him as a teenager, with his arm outstretched in a Nazi-style salute, was splashed across newspapers nationwide.

Several civic groups and opposition politicians are protesting against Barra’s appointment and urging Milei to reconsider.

“If as a youth I was a Nazi, I am sorry,” Barra said in 1996. On Saturday, he told LN+ TV: “I was a teenager, a teenager lacking maturity, knowledge. Many at this teenage age do crazy things, and I did this madness.”

Milei spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier today, who thanked him for supporting the State of Israel and invited him to visit.

Knesset advances bill to fully fund scholarships for combat soldiers

Ben Gurion University of the Negev students work at a logistic center set up on campus, in an undated photo during the 2023 Israel-Hamas war. (Courtesy)
Ben Gurion University of the Negev students work at a logistic center set up on campus, in an undated photo during the 2023 Israel-Hamas war. (Courtesy)

The Knesset advances in its first reading a bill to fully fund scholarships for combat and underprivileged soldiers, as part of the broadly popular “MeMadim LeLimudim,” or “From Uniforms to Studies,” tuition scholarship program.

The program is currently a 75% tuition scholarship, increased from 66% in 2022 as part of a political compromise.

The program was originally funded by private donors and intentionally left a self-funded portion in order to encourage commitment among scholarship recipients.

Funding shifted to the Defense Ministry in 2022, and the program briefly became a political football, as various political factions pressed for their own interests alongside a debate on how to fund the program.

Ahead of special session, protesters gather outside UN demanding it condemn Hamas rapes

Demonstrators gather during a '#metoo unless you are a Jew' protest outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City on December 4, 2023. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
Demonstrators gather during a '#metoo unless you are a Jew' protest outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City on December 4, 2023. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

Ahead of a special UN session led by the Israeli mission on the allegations of sexual violence committed against Israelis by Hamas terrorists, dozens of pro-Israel protesters march outside the United Nations headquarters.

Chanting “Shame on UN,” demonstrators hold banners reading “Rape is rape,” while speakers attack the UN for inaction over the mistreatment of Israeli women.

A line of 20 women smeared with synthetic blood, some wearing just their underwear, form a line at the front of the demonstration to draw attention to violence against women by Hamas.

“I call it the ‘United Nothing’… why do we have to be here to tell the UN to protect people?” says demonstrator Hillary Larson, 64, a pediatric nurse from New York. “First they should condemn [Hamas] 100%… then demand that Hamas release hostages, innocent people taken from their homes.”

“We’re here supporting Israeli women who were brutally raped. They deserve the support of other women. Any other attack on women would be treated as a crime,” former lawmaker Carolyn Maloney, who spoke at today’s march, tells AFP.

White House: Pro-Palestinian protest outside Philly kosher restaurant is antisemitic

Pro-Palestinian protesters rally outside Goldie's restaurant in Philadelphia on December 4, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Pro-Palestinian protesters rally outside Goldie's restaurant in Philadelphia on December 4, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The White House blasts as “antisemitic” a pro-Palestinian rally held over the weekend outside a kosher restaurant in Philadelphia.

“Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” the crowd of dozens was filmed chanting yesteday outside the Rittenhouse Square branch of Goldie, which was founded by Israeli-American celebrity chef Michael Solomonov.

“It is antisemitic and completely unjustifiable to target restaurants that serve Israeli food over disagreements with Israeli policy, as Governor Shapiro has underlined,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates says in a statement, referring to a similar condemnation from Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.

“This behavior reveals the kind of cruel and senseless double standard that is a calling card of antisemitism,” Bates says.

Shapiro, who is Jewish, called the crowd’s chant “a blatant act of antisemitism — not a peaceful protest.”

“A restaurant was targeted and mobbed because its owner is Jewish and Israeli,” Shapiro tweets. “This hate and bigotry is reminiscent of a dark time in history.”

Gallant: Fate of Hamas gunmen in south Gaza will be ‘same and worse’ as in north

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant observes the northern Gaza Strip from the border, December 4, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant observes the northern Gaza Strip from the border, December 4, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Observing the northern Gaza Strip’s city of Jabaliya and Shejaiya neighborhood from the Israeli border, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says IDF troops will remain there until Hamas’s infrastructure is completely destroyed, and threatens the terror group in southern Gaza.

“Golani troops have returned to Shejaiya to ‘close a circle.’ This time they will not leave it until all the terror infrastructure located there is eliminated,” Gallant says, referring to a difficult battle led by the brigade in the Gaza City neighborhood in 2014.

“The army is working at its best, the chief of staff is managing things fearlessly and with great success. This action that is happening now, in the north of the Gaza Strip, will soon lead to shattering [Hamas in] the entire area of ​​Gaza City and the north of the Gaza Strip,” he says.

“At the same time, the IDF has begun to work in the south of the Gaza Strip. The fate of the terrorists in the Hamas battalions there will be the same as those in the north and worse,” Gallant warns. “We will continue until victory and until all goals are achieved: the elimination of Hamas and the return of the hostages to Israel.”

IDF strikes Hebzollah weapons depot in Lebanon after mortar fire against Israel

This picture taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike between the villages of Qaouzah and Ramia near the border with Israel on December 4, 2023. (AFP)
This picture taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike between the villages of Qaouzah and Ramia near the border with Israel on December 4, 2023. (AFP)

The IDF says it struck a Hezbollah weapons depot in southern Lebanon, in response to mortar fire on army posts along the border earlier.

Additionally, several rockets were fired at Kiryat Shmona and an army post near Shtula, the IDF says.

The IDF says it responded with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire.

Berlin police investigate suspected arson attempt at Iran opposition group’s office

Demonstrators take part in a protest called by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) against the Iranian regime, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, July 10, 2021. (Paul Zinken/AFP)
FILE: Demonstrators take part in a protest called by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) against the Iranian regime, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, July 10, 2021. (Paul Zinken/AFP)

Police in Berlin are investigating a suspected arson attempt early this morning at the office of an Iranian opposition group.

Members of the group noticed flames at a window of the building in Berlin’s Schmargendorf district at about 2:15 a.m. and were able to extinguish them before they spread inside, police say in a statement.

No one was hurt, and a police investigation is underway. The statement doesn’t give further details or say who might have been responsible.

The group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, claims that assailants affiliated with the Iranian government “initiated the attack by throwing incendiary materials towards the building.”

The NCRI is the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which is considered a terror organization by Iran and was once designated as such by the United States until it was delisted in 2012. The EU removed the group from its terrorism list in 2009.

Government announces new Israel Prize categories in light of Israel-Hamas war

Two new categories influenced by the ongoing war will be included in the next Israel Prize awards, the government announces.

The new categories are: “Societal Responsibility,” for civil efforts and volunteering, and “Rescuing and Citizen Heroism,” for civilian acts of bravery in helping others during the crisis.

The Israel Prize is considered the country’s highest honor and is awarded in diverse categories of achievement in science, academia, the arts and more. The prize are awarded on Independence Day, the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, which in 2024 falls on the evening of Sunday, May 13.

Nominees for the Israel Prize are publicly submitted. Submissions for the new categories will be accepted online until December 13 at this link (Hebrew).

Rocket sirens sound across southern Israel, including Beersheba

For the first time since November 11, incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Beersheba and nearby communities.

Several blasts are heard due to Iron Dome interceptions or rocket impacts.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Herzog pays condolence call to family of Yuval Castleman: ‘I’m here to ask forgiveness’

President Isaac Herzog pays a condolence call to the relatives of Yuval Castleman, December 4, 2023. (Courtesy)
President Isaac Herzog pays a condolence call to the relatives of Yuval Castleman, December 4, 2023. (Courtesy)

President Isaac Herzog pays a condolence call to the family of Yuval Castleman, who fired at assailants at the scene of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem and then was shot dead by a reservist soldier.

The reservist has since been arrested and his weapon taken away, after he shot and killed Castleman while he had his hands raised in the air and his weapon on the ground.

“First of all I am here to console. I cannot change reality, I am here to express my condolences on behalf of an entire nation,” Herzog tells Castleman’s relatives, including his father, Moshe.

“I am here not just as an individual but as the president of the State of Israel, to ask forgiveness and to express enormous appreciation to an Israeli hero who did a huge and brave thing.”

“He got out of his car because that is how he was raised, because he always did so, in order to save brothers and sisters he didn’t know, and paid with his life in a horrible and disgraceful way, in my eyes,” Herzog adds.

Herzog says the incident must be fully investigated, and the entire approach to weapons and open-fire regulations should be discussed: “We must not be afraid to talk about it, to put it on the table.”

Netanyahu speaks to Argentina’s president-elect, invites him to visit Israel

Presidential candidate of the Liberty Advances coalition Javier Milei votes during the presidential runoff election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Presidential candidate of the Liberty Advances coalition Javier Milei votes during the presidential runoff election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Javier Milei, the newly elected president of Argentina, in a “friendly conversation,” his office says.

Netanyahu congratulated Milei on his win, and thanked him for supporting Israel in its war against Hamas, the PMO says.

Netanyahu’s office says he thanked Milei for his promise to move Argentina’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and invites him to visit Israel.

Ben Gvir: More than 260,000 people have applied for a gun license since October 7

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, in the Knesset, Jerusalem on September 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, in the Knesset, Jerusalem on September 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says more than 260,000 new requests for a firearm have been submitted to his ministry since the October 7 outbreak of Israel’s war with Hamas.

The requests are in line with Ben Gvir’s successful push to ease eligibility requirements for applying for a firearm license, which his ministry says has increased the potential permitted pool by “tens of thousands.”

“When the war started, we knew that we were right when we said that every place that has a weapon can save a life,” Ben Gvir says at the outset of his Otzma Yehudit faction meeting in the Knesset.

“My policy within the office was to permit as many people as possible to get a weapon,” Ben Gvir continues, saying that “in a short period of time, we were giving up to 3,000 approvals a day,” up from about a hundred a day, pre-war.

In order to do this, Ben Gvir enabled National Service volunteers to process firearms licenses, despite their not being qualified to do so. The minister defended this move against attacks from the State Control Committee, which last week demanded that he stop the practice.

“I will add more volunteers, more people in National Service, because a weapon saves lives,” Ben Gvir says. He told the State Control Committee to “be embarrassed” about its objections and accused them of “harming women,” who form the National Service volunteer base.

Earlier today, the head of the ministry’s Firearms Licensing Division resigned.

Ben Gvir claims that Yisrael Avisar had previously told him that he had “received many threats” from “leftists,” and complained to Ben Gvir that “it’s hard” for him with “all of these attacks from the left.”

Ben Gvir also waves away any connection between his push to loosen open-fire rules and the tragic killing of Yuval Castleman, who was shot by an off-duty soldier shortly after stopping last Thursday’s Jerusalem terror attack.

“There is no connection. I think we need to eliminate terrorists, and on the other hand we’re talking about a tragic occurrence,” Ben Gvir answers reporter questions about the event. He adds that “it’s just the opposite,” in that Castleman saved lives with a gun permitted by the National Security Ministry, and that “the desire to kill terrorists in the field is all of our goal.”

IDF’s Kfir Infantry Brigade operating in Gaza Strip for first time since 2005

Illustrative: IDF soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip in this handout photo published by the military on December 4, 2023. (IDF)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip in this handout photo published by the military on December 4, 2023. (IDF)

For the first time since 2005, the IDF’s Kfir Infantry Brigade is operating in the Gaza Strip, during its first-ever ground maneuver.

In a statement, the IDF says during the brigade’s operations, it discovered some 30 Hamas tunnel shafts and directed around 100 artillery strikes against the terror group’s sites.

The brigade’s combat team in Gaza consists of its Haruv reconnaissance unit and 94th Duchifat Battalion, alongside reservist tank forces from the Kiryati Brigade, combat engineers, and artillery forces.

“The Kfir Brigade trained a lot for this moment. I am proud to lead the brigade in its first maneuver in history,” says the brigade commander, Col. Yaniv Barot.

Medical students overseas called up to IDF to have eased admission to Israeli schools

Students from Ben Gurion University of the Negev's Medical School for International Health (MSIH) Class of 2019 at Soroka Medical Center. (Courtesy)
Students from Ben Gurion University of the Negev's Medical School for International Health (MSIH) Class of 2019 at Soroka Medical Center. (Courtesy)

Israeli medical students who were studying overseas but returned for reserve IDF duty due to the Israel-Hamas war will have eased admissions and financial assistance if they wish to continue their studies in Israeli institutions.

The plan, announced today by the Forum of Deans of Medical Faculties in Israel, is intended to “alleviate the impact on students conscripted to reserve duty, acknowledging their vital contribution to the nation’s defense.” The forum says it worked to “craft a comprehensive plan and establish transparent criteria for the admission of these students into Israeli medical faculties for the upcoming academic year, 2023–2024,” according to a press release.

Most of these students left their studies after their semesters abroad had already begun, and given the open-ended nature of the reserve call-up, their current IDF service therefore puts their academic careers in jeopardy. Israeli medical students who had been accepted to a school abroad, but did not begin their studies due to the war, will also be included in the initiative.

Prospective students in the program will be required to go through a formal application and acceptance process, the forum said. Universities are set to begin the academic year on December 24, delayed from mid-October, contingent on a release of enough reservists.

About 30% of all Israeli university students are currently in reserve duty, along with thousands of teachers and staff.

In Gaza, Red Cross chief says suffering ‘intolerable,’ ICRC must be allowed to see hostages

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger delivers remarks during a press briefing in Avully near Geneva, on June 7, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger delivers remarks during a press briefing in Avully near Geneva, on June 7, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

The Red Cross president arrives in war-torn Gaza, calling for the protection of civilians in the Palestinian territory, where she warns that human suffering is “intolerable.”

“I have arrived in Gaza, where people’s suffering is intolerable,” Spoljaric writes on X. “It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible.”

Spoljaric, whose organization has faced criticism from both sides in the conflict for not providing adequate help to Israeli hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, insists that “all those deprived of liberty must be treated humanely.”

“The hostages must be released, and the ICRC must be allowed to safely visit them,” she says. “As a neutral actor, the ICRC stands ready to support further humanitarian agreements that reduce suffering and heartbreak.”

Michaeli says government diverting billions needed for war effort to political goals

Labor party leader MK Merav Michaeli leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, on July 17, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Labor party leader MK Merav Michaeli leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, on July 17, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Labor party head Merav Michaeli says that the government’s war budget update muddles politics with emergency needs.

The NIS 30 billion redistribution will funnel money toward the war effort, but also release about a billion shekels in frozen funds earmarked for political promises.

The updated budget only redistributes remaining funds for 2023 and does not touch the 2024 budget, including billions in budgeted coalition funds.

Speaking at a party faction meeting at the Knesset, Michaeli says that instead of redistributing the political funds for the benefit of soldiers and internally displaced persons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “transfers money to sectoral interests” of the ultra-Orthodox and the religious far-right.

“With our money, Netanyahu is buying votes,” she continues, adding that ultimately the bill for spending will fall back on the public.

“To whoever this is not yet clear: in order to carry this [financial burden], Israel will have to raise taxes,” which she says will further hurt disadvantaged populations.

Report: 2 commando companies diverted to West Bank from Gaza border days before Oct. 7

Illustrative: Soldiers from the IDF Commando Brigade take part in a large-scale training exercise in November 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: Soldiers from the IDF Commando Brigade take part in a large-scale training exercise in November 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Two companies of troops from the IDF’s Commando Brigade, which were deployed to the Gaza border during the Jewish holiday season in September and October, were sent to the West Bank just two days before Hamas’s October 7 massacre, according to a report.

The 100 or so soldiers were deployed to the West Bank’s Huwara, the Kan public broadcaster reported, following a shooting attack there against an Israeli family.

The commando soldiers had been deployed to the Gaza border by the orders of the Operations Directorate, and they were not part of the regular forces securing the border, according to Kan.

The IDF has previously said forces were not diverted away from the Gaza border to the West Bank ahead of the October 7 onslaught.

A large number of troops had already been operating in the West Bank amid a rise in terror over the past two years.

The IDF says it will investigate the circumstances that led to Hamas’s attack on October 7 after the war.

Lapid says PA should be part of post-war Gaza rule, but must be de-radicalized first

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 26, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 26, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid clarifies that he believes the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority should be part of Gaza’s post-war management, but that it first needs to be de-radicalized.

“I said that the Palestinian Authority needs to be part of the civilian management of Gaza,” says Lapid, but that it first “needs to go through a de-radicalization process.”

Turning to the government’s wartime budget update, which is making its way through the Knesset this week, Lapid attacks the plan to redistribute NIS 30 billion for wartime needs because it permits non-wartime political priorities to continue to be funded.

“The [coalition] funds are a national disgrace,” Lapid says.

Lapid accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of hypocrisy, saying that if their political roles were reversed, that Netanyahu would have asked for Lapid’s “head on a platter.”

“He who has failed in this way can’t continue,” Lapid says, adding that the current government, under whose watch Hamas killed over 1,200 people in Israel on October 7 and triggered the current war, “should go.”

IDF says main north-south Gaza road a ‘battle zone,’ designates new humanitarian corridor

The Israel Defense Forces announces a new humanitarian corridor in the southern Gaza Strip, as it advances on Khan Younis.

The IDF’s Arabic-language Spokesman, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, says on X that Gaza’s main north-south highway, Salah ad-Din, in the areas northeast of Khan Younis is a “battle zone.”

“The fighting and military advance of the IDF in the Khan Younis area does not allow the movement of civilians through the Salah ad-Din axis in the areas north and east of the city,” he says.

He says the IDF will facilitate the movement of civilians via a bypass route to the west of Khan Younis.

“Passage from the Rafah and Khan Younis areas toward Deir al-Balah and the camps of central Gaza will be available through the following routes: al-Rashid coastal road and al-Shuhada Street in Deir al-Balah,” he says.

Doctor: Returned child hostages suffered malnutrition, terrible hygiene, untreated wounds

Emily Hand (right) reunites with her father, Tom Hand, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Emily Hand (right) reunites with her father, Tom Hand, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Dr. Yael Mozer-Glassberg, one of the pediatricians caring for the freed hostages at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, says that reports that they returned to Israel in decent medical condition are not true.

Mozer-Glassberg confirms that the 26 former hostages her hospital received — 19 of them children — had lost 10-15 percent of their body weight. As a result of the severely limited amount of food the hostages were given in Gaza, some have exhibited odd eating habits when reintroduced to proper nutrition.

While maintaining personal medical privacy and not going into excessive detail, she shares that in general the hostages returned with skin rashes and lice bites on their bodies.

“They returned with extremely low hygiene. I have never seen hygiene this bad,” Mozer-Glassberg says. “Their headlice was the worst I have ever seen. Even with five or six treatments, the lice were not gone.”

In addition, the hostages came home with infected wounds that had not been properly cared for while in captivity.

Erdogan calls for Netanyahu to be tried for war crimes ‘like Milosevic’

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives an opening speech during the 39th session of the Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC), in Istanbul, Turkey, December 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives an opening speech during the 39th session of the Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC), in Istanbul, Turkey, December 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be put on trial for alleged war crimes just like former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

A vocal critic of Israel’s actions in Gaza, Erdogan once again refers to Netanyahu as the “butcher of Gaza.”

“Netanyahu, the butcher of Gaza, is not only a war criminal but he will definitely be tried as the butcher of Gaza, just like Milosevic was tried,” Erdogan says in a speech at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul.

Netanyahu would need to be indicted by an international tribunal in order to stand trial for alleged war crimes. Milosevic was put on trial by a UN tribunal in The Hague on charges of fomenting bloody conflicts as Yugoslavia crumbled in the early 1990s. He died in his cell before the court could reach a verdict.

Erdogan also renews his criticism of the United Nations system, accusing the five permanent members of the UN Security Council of blocking efforts to end the violence.

“On the one side, there are 121 countries that say ‘stop the war’ and ‘no more bloodshed,’ and on the other side, there are three or five countries that give carte blanche to Israel’s attacks,” Erdogan says.

IDF says jets hit Hezbollah command center after rocket attacks

The IDF says fighter jets and drones carried out strikes against a Hezbollah command center and other sites belonging to the terror group in response to attacks on northern Israel today.

A short while ago, rockets were also fired at the northern community of Mattat, landing in open areas.

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

Witnesses say dozens of IDF tanks moving in southern Gaza

Dozens of Israeli tanks entered the southern part of the Gaza Strip near Khan Younis today, witnesses say, as the Israeli military conducts a ground offensive in the area.

Armored personnel carriers and bulldozers were also seen as Israel expands its operations against Hamas.

Amin Abu Hawli, 59, says the Israeli vehicles were “two kilometers (1.2 miles) inside” Gaza in the village of Al-Qarara near Khan Yunis.

Moaz Mohammed, 34, says Israeli tanks were on the southern part of Salah al-Din road which runs from the north to the south of the Strip.

“They are holding Salah al-Din road on both sides and are now cutting it between Deir al-Balah (in central Gaza) and Khan Younis, firing bullets and tank shells at cars and people trying to move through the area,” he says.

The IDF does not comment on specific troop movements but confirmed yesterday that it had expanded its ground offensive into southern Gaza.

Rocket barrage fired at central Israel, Gaza border communities

A rocket barrage is fired at central Israel and Gaza border communities.

Warning sirens sound in Ramat Gan in the Tel Aviv area and at Kiryat Ono, Yehud-Monosson, Savyon and Or Yehuda, which are near Ben Gurion International Airport.

Sirens also sound in Pri Gan, Nir Itzhak and Sufa on the Gaza border.

Residents report hearing explosions, most likely from Iron Dome interceptors, but there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Berlin urges Israel to guarantee ‘realistic’ protection to Gaza civilians

Palestinians check the damage next to a crater following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Palestinians check the damage next to a crater following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Germany urges Israel to guarantee “realistic” protection to civilians in the Gaza Strip, as Israel moved ground forces into the south of the territory in its war on Hamas.

“Something we expect from Israel is that they not only urge civilians to leave the danger zone, but that they are in a realistic position to find safe shelter elsewhere,” foreign ministry spokesman Sebastian Fischer tells a regular press briefing.

“Too many civilians have already been killed in this war,” he says.

Study finds Hamas may have profited from Oct. 7 assault with advance stock market trades

Illustrative: View of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, November 29, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Illustrative: View of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, November 29, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A recent study finds that the Hamas terror group may have tried to profit off its October 7 assault on Israel, using advance knowledge of the attack to short sell Israeli companies in the days leading up to the massacre.

The study published in the SSRN journal by Robert J. Jackson, Jr. from the New York University School of Law and Joshua Mitts of Columbia Law School finds that traders who apparently had advance knowledge made billions of dollars.

“We document a significant spike in short selling in the principal Israeli-company ETF days before the October 7 Hamas attack,” the paper says.

“The short selling that day far exceeded the short selling that occurred during numerous other periods of crisis, including the recession following the financial crisis, the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, we identify increases in short selling before the attack in dozens of Israeli companies traded in Tel Aviv,” it notes.

Short selling is when a trader borrows shares in a specific company and then sells them, hoping the price will fall after so they can buy them back for a lower price.

“For one Israeli company alone, 4.43 million new shares sold short over the September 14 to October 5 period yielded profits (or avoided losses) of 3.2 billion NIS ($740 million) on that additional short selling,” the paper says.

“Although we see no aggregate increase in shorting of Israeli companies on US exchanges, we do identify a sharp and unusual increase, just before the attacks, in trading in risky short-dated options on these companies expiring just after the attacks,” it added.

Thousands at funeral for senior IDF officer killed in Oct. 7 assault

Family and friends of Col. Asaf Hamami mourn during his funeral in Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv, December 4, 2023, (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Family and friends of Col. Asaf Hamami mourn during his funeral in Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv, December 4, 2023, (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Thousands of people including senior military officers and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant attend the funeral for Col. Asaf Hamami, 41, the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, who was killed in the fighting during the October 7 Hamas assault.

Gallant eulogized Hamami, one of the most senior officers to fall in the war, saying that he had led his troops valiantly on the day of the terrorist massacre.

“Assaf did not hesitate, he was there ready to charge the enemy,” Gallant says. “His voice declaring war over the radio reverberated throughout the field.”

Gallant called him “an exemplary family man, a respected commander, and one of the best that have emerged in the IDF in recent years.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant eulogizes Col. Asaf Hamami who was killed in the October 7 assault on Israel at his funeral in Tel Aviv on December 4, 2023 (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

The IDF  announced Saturday that Hamami, who had been missing since October 7, was killed on that day and his remains are being held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Hamami, 41, was recognized as a “fallen soldier held by a terror group,” the IDF said.

However, his death was only recently declared by the chief rabbi, based on findings obtained by the military in the Gaza Strip.

The findings allow for a funeral for Hamami according to halacha, or Jewish law, but his body remains in Gaza.

Lawyers try stop export of F-35 parts from Netherlands to Israel

An IAF F-35i fighter jet is seen during a major military drill dubbed 'Firm Hand,' in a handout image published by the IDF on June 8, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
An IAF F-35i fighter jet is seen during a major military drill dubbed 'Firm Hand,' in a handout image published by the IDF on June 8, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Human rights lawyers go to court in the Netherlands today to call for a halt to the export of fighter jet parts to Israel that could be used in strikes on Gaza.

The organizations allege that delivery of parts for F-35 jets makes the Netherlands complicit in what it calls possible war crimes being committed by Israel in its war with Hamas.

The rights lawyers want The Hague District Court to issue an injunction banning the export of F-35 parts that are stored in a warehouse in the town of Woensdrecht.

“The state must immediately stop the delivery of F-35 parts to Israel,” lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld tells the court.

Citing government documents, Zegveld says that Dutch customs asked the government if it wanted to continue exports after the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas that triggered the Israel-Hamas war.

“The warning that the fighter jets can contribute to serious breaches of the laws of war does not, for the (Dutch) state, outweigh its economic interests and diplomatic reputation.”

Government lawyer Reimer Veldhuis urges the court’s single judge to reject the injunction, saying that even if it were to uphold the rights lawyers’ legal arguments and ban exports, “the United States would deliver these parts to Israel from another place.”

He adds that Israel has the right to self-defense.

“Israel must be able to respond to threats from the region. That must, of course, happen within the framework of international law,” Veldhuis says.

Father says family members being kept together while hostage was key to survival

Sharon Avigdori and her daughter Noam are reunited with husband and father Hen Avigdori and their son Omer Avigdori after Sharon and Noam were released by Hamas from captivity in Gaza on Saturday, November 25, 2023. (Courtesy Avigdori family)
Sharon Avigdori and her daughter Noam are reunited with husband and father Hen Avigdori and their son Omer Avigdori after Sharon and Noam were released by Hamas from captivity in Gaza on Saturday, November 25, 2023. (Courtesy Avigdori family)

Hen Avigdori, husband of Sharon and father of Noam, 12, speaks about his wife and daughter who were abducted with Sharon’s extended family, including two other female relatives and two children, ages 8 and 3, from their Kibbutz Be’eri safe room.

All six captives were kept in the same room in Gaza, and the “fact that they were all together was significant for them and their survival,” says Avigdori.

His daughter Noam is like a surrogate older sister to her young cousins.

“That’s what she did for all those days in captivity,” says Avigdori.

For the first two weeks of his wife and daughter’s captivity, Avigdori and his 16-year-old son didn’t know if they were dead or kidnapped.

“The gap between what you know and the reality is enormous and it’s a gaping pain,” he said.

When he finally received word weeks later that they would be released, their release was delayed for hours by Hamas, says Avigdori.

“I thought, what would happen if they make a U-turn. I only prayed that no one took them back to the same room,” says Avigdori.

The moment when he reunited with his wife and daughter was “the happiest moment of my life,” he said. “It was the rebirth of your family, the emotion was overwhelming.”

Footage shows IDF demolishing main Hamas courthouse in Gaza

Footage leaked online shows the Israel Defense Forces demolishing Hamas’s main courthouse in the Gaza Strip.

The lavish building in the central Gaza Strip, known as the Justice Palace, was captured by troops last month.

New footage shows the site being destroyed in a controlled blast.

Israel has vowed to topple Hamas after the October 7 massacres.

IDF says rockets fired from Lebanon; jet shot down drone heading for Israel

Smoke rises during an exchange of fire between the IDF and Hezbollah on the border between Israel and Lebanon, December 3, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Smoke rises during an exchange of fire between the IDF and Hezbollah on the border between Israel and Lebanon, December 3, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

The IDF says several rockets were fired from Lebanon at the Mount Dov area on the border, which all landed in open areas, and another projectile was fired at the Misgav Am area.

There are no immediate reports of injuries in the attacks.

Troops are responding with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire, the IDF adds.

The IDF also announces that fighter jets shot down a drone that was heading into Israeli airspace from Lebanon yesterday.

Netanyahu denies ignoring hostage families, says meeting already scheduled

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)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies accusations from the families of hostages that the cabinet is ignoring them and says a meeting with them had already been set for Wednesday.

“A meeting between the war cabinet and the families of the hostages was already set yesterday for Wednesday,” his office says in a statement. “Due to the request from the families, the possibility of bringing it forward is being examined.”

‘Humiliated’ hostage families say cabinet refusing to meet them; warn of increased protests

Yael Adar, whose son Tamir Adar is held hostage in Gaza, speaks at a press conference on December 4, 2023 (Screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Yael Adar, whose son Tamir Adar is held hostage in Gaza, speaks at a press conference on December 4, 2023 (Screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

Families of the hostages who remain in Gaza are demanding to meet with all the members of the war cabinet, warning they will step up protests against the government if they refuse. They note that they asked for a meeting two days ago, after the truce broke down and hostage releases halted, and say it is outrageous that they are being ignored.

“All we ask is that the cabinet meet with us today, we deserve it, this ignoring us is humiliating,”  Yael Adar, mother of hostage Tamir Adar, tells a press conference.

“If they don’t meet with us by eight tonight we will need to ask what look into what to do to step up our protests,” she says, adding that the families will gather at the entrance to Tel Aviv’s Kirya IDF-Defense Ministry complex and stay there.

She says the families want to be reassured that freeing the hostages remains the government’s priority after Israel recalled its negotiators from talks and resumed its Gaza ground offensive.

She notes the testimonies of released hostages about the abuse they suffered in Hamas captivity.

Daniel Lifshitz, whose grandparents Yocheved and Oded Lifshitz were taken hostage, calls on the government to free the hostages “at any price.”

Yocheved was released but Oded, 83, remains a hostage.

“Return to the negotiating table immediately and reach an agreement at any price. That is what you promised us,” he says.

Security forces evacuating illegal West Bank outpost ahead of demolition

Screenshot of video footage posted by settler activists of one of the residents of the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Kedem in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank being evacuated by police ahead of the demolition of the outpost on December 4, 2023 (Screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screenshot of video footage posted by settler activists of one of the residents of the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Kedem in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank being evacuated by police ahead of the demolition of the outpost on December 4, 2023 (Screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Police and Civil Administration personnel are in the process of evacuating and demolishing an illegal outpost in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank, established in recent weeks by radical settler activists.

The outpost, called Mitzpe Kedem, consists of two rudimentary homes and was set up adjacent to the Asael settlement following the October 7 atrocities.

Two families living at the outpost along with a group of youths are being evacuated by police forces and their belongings removed from the homes before demolition.

In video footage of the settlers being evacuated, one of the residents can be heard verbally abusing one of the Civil Administration personnel, who she claims is “an Arab,” saying “Enjoy, enjoy, Arabs destroying the Jews’ homes, when will you murder us as well? May your names be wiped out, look how much he is enjoying himself.”

Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich, head of the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism party, wrote to Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit of the Defense Ministry, this morning demanding the demolition be halted until he can discuss it with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, in accordance with coalition agreements.

It appears, however, that Alian and head of IDF Central Command Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox did not heed Smotrich’s demand since security forces are currently demolishing the outpost.

IDF says two wanted Palestinian gunmen killed in West Bank raid

Weapons seized from Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya, December 4, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Weapons seized from Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya, December 4, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF says troops, police officers of the Gideonim unit, and Border Police officers killed two Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya this morning.

According to a statement, the pair were responsible for several shooting attacks against troops in the area.

It says forces chased after the wanted men, during which clashes erupted and the gunmen were killed.

An assault rifle and pistol were seized, the IDF says.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry says it was notified of the men’s deaths, indicating their bodies were being held by Israeli authorities.

Military Police arrest reservist who shot civilian dead at terror attack scene

Yuval Castleman (courtesy)
Yuval Castleman (courtesy)

A reservist soldier suspected of killing a man mistaken for a terrorist during a shooting attack in Jerusalem last week has been arrested by the Military Police, the Israel Defense Forces says.

The soldier was one of two off-duty troops who responded to a terror attack at a Jerusalem bus stop on Thursday, killing the two assailants but also shooting Yuval Castleman, an armed civilian who had also opened fire at the terrorists.

The soldier, who opened fire at Castleman after he had put his gun down and was holding his hands in the air, was questioned under caution yesterday, and had his weapon taken away.

The IDF says his detention is a “preliminary arrest” and he will continue to be interrogated today.

FM Cohen meets OECD chief, says Israel’s economy is strong

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (R) meets OECD chief Mathias Cormann in Jerusalem on December 4, 2023 (Foreign Ministry)
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (R) meets OECD chief Mathias Cormann in Jerusalem on December 4, 2023 (Foreign Ministry)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen meets with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) chief Mathias Cormann, telling him that Israel’s economy is strong and can meet the demands of the ongoing war with Hamas.

“Israel entered the war in Gaza in a strong economic situation and with the ability to provide the best response to the needs of the economy,” Cohen says. He predicts that the war will not have a major impact on the economy and that Israel will see a period of growth after the war.

A Foreign Ministry statement quotes Cormann as predicting that the Israeli economy will grow by 4.5% in 2025.

Last week the OECD lowered the GDP forecast for Israel to 2.3 percent in 2023 from 2.9% projected  in June, and to 1.5% in 2024 versus 3.3% previously, saying that the war was having a “significant impact” on Israel’s economy.

Mortars fired into Israel from Lebanon, lightly wounding 3 soldiers

The IDF says that overnight, several mortars were fired from Lebanon at an army post near Shtula, lightly wounding three soldiers.

Mortars were also fired this morning at an army post in the Yiftah area, the IDF says.

It adds that troops are responding with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire.

Netanyahu corruption trial resumes

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen at the Jerusalem District Court for the testimony in his corruption trial of businessman Arnon Milchan's, July 6, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen at the Jerusalem District Court for the testimony in his corruption trial of businessman Arnon Milchan's, July 6, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial on corruption charges, which was suspended along with all other non-urgent cases after October 7, resumes today in the Jerusalem District Court.

An emergency order that Justice Minister Yariv Levin put in place for the courts when the war with Hamas began expired last week, and most courts have been ordered to resume normal operations.

Netanyahu is currently exempted from attending the hearings but may be called to testify in a few months.

Netanyahu faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in one case, and charges of fraud and breach of trust in two other cases. He denies wrongdoing.

IDF hits 200 Hamas targets overnight, finds weapons, tunnels in a school

Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, early on December 4, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out strikes against some 200 Hamas targets in Gaza overnight, as ground forces continue to operate in the Strip.

In a statement, the IDF says its Negev Brigade destroyed Hamas “infrastructure” inside a school in northern Gaza’s Beit Hanoun, which was used by operatives to attack troops.

Inside the school complex, troops found two tunnel entrances, including one that was booby-trapped, and other weapons.

Ground forces also directed airstrikes overnight, including against cars ferrying missiles and mortars for Hamas operatives, an anti-tank missile launch position, and a group of Hamas operatives and a nearby weapons depot.

The Israeli Navy also carried out strikes overnight, targeting Hamas observation posts and other infrastructure along Gaza’s coast, according to the military.

Gal Gadot slams international silence over fate of women victims on Oct. 7

Gal Gadot arrives at the 27th annual ELLE Women in Hollywood celebration on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Gal Gadot arrives at the 27th annual ELLE Women in Hollywood celebration on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Israeli actress Gal Gadot slams the international community for their silence over the widespread sexual assault of October 7 victims and the continued holding of women hostages by the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

“The world has failed the women of October 7th. We claim we stand against rape, violence against women. We will not let women be victimized and then silenced. We say we believe women, stand with women, speak out for women,” Gadot says in an Instagram post.

“On October 7th, the world witnessed Hamas carrying out its violent plans in real-time. Within hours of the October 7th attack, the first blood-chilling video emerged of Shani Louk being paraded naked and defiled by her proud assailants. Yet two months later women are still hostage to these rapists and the world has failed to call this situation what it is: an urgent emergency that demands a decisive response,” she says.

“This is our moment as women and allies of women to act,” asking international groups, including the United Nations to “demand that Hamas release every single woman hostage immediately.”

“These women cannot survive another moment of this horror,” she says.

Family of Yonatan Samarno, believed hostage in Gaza, informed that he was killed

Yonatan Samarno (Courtesy)
Yonatan Samarno (Courtesy)

The family of Yonatan Samarno, 21, who was believed held hostage in Gaza, have been informed that he was killed. His body is still being held by Hamas.

In a mourning notice, the family say they will hold a ceremony for him later in the day and begin sitting shiva, the weeklong mourning period.

Samarno, 21, from Tel Aviv, was at the Nova music festival with three friends when the October 7 Hamas assault started.

He informed his mother that they were heading home, but then contact with him was lost.

While the bodies of his friends were later found, there was no trace of Samarno. His relatives said that they had received information he had been shot, but his condition was not clear.

The family was later informed that he was most likely among those being held in Gaza.

In recent days the families of several people thought to be hostage in Gaza have been informed that their loved ones were dead.

US delegation expected in Israel for talks on post-war Gaza

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)

A senior delegation of Biden administration officials will arrive in Israel later today for meetings with Israeli counterparts to discuss planning for post-war Gaza, the White House says.

The delegation will be led by US Vice Presiden Kamala Harris’s national security adviser Phil Gordon, who was with her for meetings with Arab leaders on the subject in Dubai over the weekend. He will be joined by Ilan Goldenberg, Harris’s Mideast adviser along with several others.

The US delegation will meet with National Security Council chair Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer along with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in West Bank, according to the Walla news site.

While Israel has remained largely mum on its day-after planning beyond Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu all but rejected the PA returning to govern Gaza.
For its part, the US is pushing for an international force to help temporarily manage Gaza after the war, paving the way for a “revitalized” PA to return to governing the Strip

IDF announces deaths of 3 more soldiers killed fighting Hamas in Gaza

From left: Sgt. First Class (res.) Ben Zussman, 22, Sgt. Maj. (res.) Neriya Shaer, 36, and Sgt. Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, 19, who were killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
From left: Sgt. First Class (res.) Ben Zussman, 22, Sgt. Maj. (res.) Neriya Shaer, 36, and Sgt. Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, 19, who were killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces announces the deaths of another three troops killed fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip yesterday, bringing the military death toll since Israel’s ground offensive in late October to 75.

The troops who were killed on Sunday are:

Sgt. Maj. (res.) Neriya Shaer, 36, of the 55th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade’s 6655th Battalion, from Yavne.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Ben Zussman, 22, of the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion, from Jerusalem.

Sgt. Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, 19, of the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion, from Zichron Yaakov.

In addition, the IDF says a soldier of the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion was seriously wounded in battles in northern Gaza yesterday

Since the start of the war on October 7, the IDF announced the deaths of 401 soldiers including today’s notices. Of those, 75 died during the ground offensive inside the Gaza Strip. The vast majority of the others were killed in fighting with Hamas terrorists in southern Israel, almost all of them on the day of Hamas’s initial devastating onslaught on October 7.

Red Cross chief to visit Egypt, Gaza for talks on access to hostages held by Hamas — report

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, is expected to arrive in Egypt and the Gaza Strip today for discussions on allowing Red Cross representatives to access the hostages taken from Israel on October 7 and held by Hamas, according to Hebrew-language media.

The organization has come under fierce criticism in Israel and abroad for not doing more to push for access to the hostages to check on their wellbeing, deliver medications, and facilitate communication with families, per its mandate

Israel has said that Red Cross visits to the remaining hostages were a stipulation of the truce between Israel and Hamas last week, which lasted seven days and saw the release of over 100 hostages, mostly Israeli women and children.

Two weeks ago, Spoljaric met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar for discussions. Her office later said that the “ICRC has persistently called for the immediate release of hostages.

“The ICRC is insisting that our teams be allowed to visit the hostages to check on their welfare and deliver medications, and for the hostages to be able to communicate with their families. Agreements must be reached that allow the ICRC to safely carry out this work. The ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location,” her office said.

In Mid-November, she met with family members of hostages and with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Health Minister Uriel Menachem Buso in Geneva.

“Families of hostages are living through an incredibly heart-wrenching time and I want to underscore how hard we are advocating on behalf of their loved ones,” she said. “This is a key priority for me, and I know the enormous pain the families are enduring.”

VP Kamala Harris speaks with President Herzog, PA’s Abbas on flight from Dubai

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, December 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, December 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

US Vice President Kamala Harris spoke separately with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas overnight on her flight back from Dubai to Washington, the White House says.

Harris was in Dubai for an appearance at the UN climate conference, where she also met with several Arab leaders to discuss the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza following the terror group’s October 7 massacres and the abduction of hostages, and the “day after.”

Harris’s National Security Advisor, Dr. Phil Gordon, stayed in Dubai and will be traveling to Israel and the West Bank this week for additional discussions, the White House says.

In her call with Herzog, Harris “reiterated the strong US support for Israel’s right to self-defense” and spoke about US concerns “with steps that could escalate tensions, including extremist settler violence” in the West Bank, according to the readout.

Harris also “reiterated the importance of planning for the day after the fighting ends in Gaza, and she underscored our commitment to a two-state solution.”

On Saturday, Harris was sharply critical of Israel, echoing comments from administration officials who have demanded Israel change the way it is waging the war to better protect civilians in Gaza.

“Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed,” Harris said from the Dubai event. “Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering and the images and videos coming from Gaza are devastating.”

In her call with Abbas tonight, Harris again stated US support for the Palestinian people’s right to security, dignity and self-determination, according to the readout.

She told Abbas the Palestinian people “must have a clear political horizon” and expressed US support “for a unified West Bank and Gaza under a revitalized Palestinian Authority.”

IDF said to be striking targets across Gaza after expanding offensive to ‘all areas’

The IDF is said to be striking targets across the Gaza Strip, including the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City in the north, and Khan Younis in the south, according to reports in the Hebrew-language media.

Israel’s military confirmed earlier that it had expanded its ground offensive into southern Gaza, promising to carry out its campaign with the same intensity as it has used in northern Gaza, where fighting has continued for over eight weeks since October 7. In a press conference this evening, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the military was expanding the ground offensive to “all areas of the Gaza Strip.”

Earlier Sunday, the IDF Arabic-language spokesman, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, threatened Hamas’s Shejaiya battalion in a post on X.

“This is a final notice. You are all targets,” Adraee said, attaching a picture of the commanders of the Shejaiya battalion.

“You have two options: surrender and lay down your weapons, or face a fate similar to that of Wissam Farhat,” Adraee added, referring to the Shejaiya battalion commander, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike Saturday.

Six Thais released by Hamas after weeks as hostages to arrive in Bangkok

Six Thai hostages abducted and held for weeks in the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terror group Hamas will arrive back in the kingdom on Monday, officials say.

At least 32 Thais were abducted by Hamas, with Bangkok’s foreign ministry and Thai Muslim groups working to negotiate their release.

On Monday, at around 2:00 pm (0700 GMT), six are expected to land at the capital’s Suvarnabhumi airport following weeks in captivity.

Since their release, the group have been recuperating in Israel as authorities made preparations to fly them home.

It follows the return of 17 citizens from Thailand at the end of November, during a weeklong temporary truce that saw 105 civilians released from Hamas captivity in Gaza: 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and one Filipino.

Another nine Thais are still among the hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’s October’s October 7 shock assault on Israel, in which 1,200 were killed and 240 hostages were taken.

Thailand had 30,000 citizens in Israel when the raid occurred, the majority of them migrant workers from poorer provinces in the kingdom’s northeast.

Thirty-nine Thais were killed and 19 wounded in the war, with the kingdom evacuating more than 8,500 of its people, according to Thailand’s foreign ministry.

In call with Blinken, Qatari PM says Doha committed to truce efforts in Israel-Hamas war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani today to discuss the war in Gaza against Hamas and continued efforts for a ceasefire and de-escalation, the country’s news agency says.

Al-Thani told Blinken Qatar was committed, alongside its mediation partners, to the ongoing efforts to restore “calm” after more than eight weeks of war following Hamas’s October 7 massacre of some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the abduction of some 240 Israeli and foreign hostages.

In a post on X, Blinken says he spoke with Al-Thani about “ongoing efforts to facilitate the safe return of all hostages and further increase levels of aid to civilians in Gaza.”

Blinken also “reiterated his gratitude for Qatar’s partnership and critical efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and enable the recent humanitarian pause in Gaza,” spokesperson Matthew Miller says in a statement.

Last week, Qatar brokered a temporary truce that lasted seven days, until Friday, and secured the release of over 100 hostages, mostly women and children. The truce broke down late Thursday when Hamas would not produce a list of hostages expected for release the next day, per the provisions of the deal, which also saw the release of three Palestinian prisoners for every hostage, a pause in Gaza fighting, and the delivery of increased aid to the Palestinian enclave.

Israel has claimed Hamas refused to release additional female abductees and two remaining child hostages, as part of the deal, and thus violated the agreement..

On Friday morning, Hamas fired rockets into Israel and Israel resumed its air and land operation in Gaza.

Al-Thani told Blinken the resumption of fighting complicated the efforts to mediate and exacerbated the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The Qatari prime minister conveyed Qatar’s condemnation of the targeting of civilians, especially women and children, and of “collective punishment” under any circumstances, and urged for the opening humanitarian corridors in Gaza to ensure safe passage and aid for civilians.

KKL-JNF pledges $54m to rehabilitate Gaza border communities ravaged in Oct. 7 attack

The Jerusalem-based KKL-JNF Jewish National Fund and the Jewish National Fund-USA announce a joint NIS 200 million ($54 million) fund to rehabilitate the Gaza border area ravaged by Hamas’s shock October 7 attack.

The project, unveiled at the annual JNF-USA conference in Denver, Colorado, appears to signal an end to a 15-year rift between the two organizations.

This saw the JNF-USA effectively split off from its mother organization in Jerusalem, create its own offices in the Israeli capital, and directly support projects run by KKL, as well as by other NGOs.

US destroyer shoots down drones as attacks from Yemen hit Red Sea shipping

An American destroyer shot down multiple drones today while assisting commercial ships in the Red Sea that were targeted by attacks “from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) says.

“Today, there were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea,” CENTCOM says in a statement.

The three vessels “are connected to 14 separate nations.”

“The Arleigh-Burke Class destroyer USS CARNEY responded to the distress calls from the ships and provided assistance,” and shot down three drones that were heading for the warship during the day, the statement says.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.