ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Dec. 9: IDF chief says Hamas gunmen increasingly surrendering, group’s hold on Gaza failing

Hamas leader Sinwar fled northern Gaza in humanitarian convoy, report says * UPenn president quits * Rally held for hostages, as those freed speak of hell, reminiscent of Holocaust

  • An apparent Hamas member with his hands up hands over an assault rifle after surrendering to troops in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, on December 9, 2023. (Social media: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    An apparent Hamas member with his hands up hands over an assault rifle after surrendering to troops in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, on December 9, 2023. (Social media: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • The Israeli flag flies in Gaza City's Palestine Square, in footage broadcast by Channel 12 on December 9, 2023 (Screenshot used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    The Israeli flag flies in Gaza City's Palestine Square, in footage broadcast by Channel 12 on December 9, 2023 (Screenshot used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • A photo released by activists shows a rally for the return of all hostages from Gaza at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, December 9, 2023. The banner reads: 'No victory until the last hostage [is returned].' (Aviv Atlas)
    A photo released by activists shows a rally for the return of all hostages from Gaza at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, December 9, 2023. The banner reads: 'No victory until the last hostage [is returned].' (Aviv Atlas)
  • Released hostage Yocheved Lifshitz (right) attends a rally for the return of all hostages from Gaza, at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, December 9, 2023. One of the signs reads: "Each passing day is killing the hostages." (Lior Segev)
    Released hostage Yocheved Lifshitz (right) attends a rally for the return of all hostages from Gaza, at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, December 9, 2023. One of the signs reads: "Each passing day is killing the hostages." (Lior Segev)
  • Troops of the Nahal Infantry Brigade's 931st Battalion battle Hamas operatives in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, in a handout image published December 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    Troops of the Nahal Infantry Brigade's 931st Battalion battle Hamas operatives in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, in a handout image published December 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Palestinians at the site of an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 9, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
    Palestinians at the site of an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 9, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
  • Palestinians crowd a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 9, 2023 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
    Palestinians crowd a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 9, 2023 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
  • A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 9, 2023, shows smoke rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Gaza (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 9, 2023, shows smoke rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Gaza (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists march in central London on December 9, 2023. (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)
    Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists march in central London on December 9, 2023. (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

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

Penn university head Liz Magill quits, days after dithering on calls for Jewish genocide

University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill reads her opening statement during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Dec. 5, 2023 in Washington. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)
University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill reads her opening statement during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Dec. 5, 2023 in Washington. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)

University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill resigns, days after drawing outrage by insisting that calls for genocide of Jews don’t necessarily go against the US university’s code of conduct, and after her subsequent clarification was widely panned as insufficient.

The chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees says, in a letter that has quickly circulated online, that Magill has “voluntarily tendered her resignation” but will remain a tenured faculty member at the law school.

‘We will dance again’: Freed hostage Mia Schem gets new ink commemorating day of rave massacre

Mia Schem, who was kidnapped from the Supernova rave during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught and was later released as part of a temporary truce deal, unveils her new tattoo, commemorating the ordeal.

Schem shares photos of the tattoo on Instagram. It includes the words “We will dance again,” alongside October 7, the date in which she and scores of others were abducted from the festival, and over 360 others were massacred there.

“I will never forget October 7, 2023,” she writes in the Instagram post. “The pain and the fear, the difficult sights, the friends who won’t come back and those we must bring back. But we will win, we will dance!”

2 brothers from Jaljulia killed in suspected underworld hit

Two brothers from the town of Jaljulia in central Israel are killed in a suspected underworld hit in Haifa, according to police

Samir and Sameh Saeed, both in their 30s, were found in critical condition at a parking lot, with their deaths confirmed at the scene a short while later.

Police say an investigation has been opened, with Hebrew media reporting that information points to the incident being part of a feud between mob families from central Israel.

Violent crime has skyrocketed this year in the Arab community, with the homicide rate — now at 228 — more than twice that of this time last year, which was 106, according to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit.

UK police said searching for demonstrator who carried ‘final solution’ placard

Britain’s Metropolitan Police is reportedly searching for a demonstrator in today’s anti-Israel rally in London who carried a placard appearing to call for “The final solution” against the Jewish state — the term used by Nazi Germany as code for their plan to exterminate all Jews during the Holocaust.

While the police have said they made 13 arrests today of people who carried posters deemed offensive, a spokesperson for the Met has been quoted by the Daily Mail as saying the force is “not aware of any arrests in relation to this specific placard.”

However, the spokesperson adds, “officers are aware of the image and are actively investigating.”

Netanyahu speaks to Germany’s Scholz, who stresses plight of Gaza’s civilians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the ground offensive in southern Gaza with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call today, Scholz’s office says.

The two leaders “spoke about the necessary efforts for the greatest possible protection of civilians and a substantial improvement of the humanitarian situation of people in the Gaza Strip,” according to a statement.

It adds that Scholz “stressed that more humanitarian aid must reach people in the Gaza Strip and this must happen on a reliable basis,” and that the leaders discussed the situation in the West Bank and “acts of violence by settlers.”

The statement doesn’t specify who initiated the call.

There is no immediate readout by Israel.

US approves emergency tank ammunition sale to Israel

US President Joe Biden’s administration has approved the emergency sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than $106 million as Israel intensifies its military operations in the southern Gaza Strip, the State Department says.

The department says it notified Congress of the sale late Friday after Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined that “an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale” of the munitions in the US national security interest.

The emergency determination means that the purchase will bypass the congressional review requirement for foreign military sales. Such determinations are rare, but not unprecedented, when administrations see an urgent need for weapons to be delivered without waiting for congressional approval.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the department says in a statement. “Israel will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.”

The sale is worth $106.5 million and includes 13,981 120 mm High Explosive Anti-Tank Multi-Purpose with Tracer tank cartridges as well as US support, engineering and logistics.

Freed Gaza hostage: Situation in captivity ‘reminded me of the Holocaust’

Ofelia Roitman, 77, was taken captive from her Kibbutz Nir Oz home on October 7, 2023, after Hamas terrorists attacked the community. She was freed on November 28, 2023. (Courtesy)
Ofelia Roitman, 77, was taken captive from her Kibbutz Nir Oz home on October 7, 2023, after Hamas terrorists attacked the community. She was freed on November 28, 2023. (Courtesy)

In the final video from freed hostages screened at tonight’s Tel Aviv rally for release of the rest of the abductees, Ofelia Roitman, 77, says her situation in captivity reminded her of stories about the concentration camps during the Holocaust.

“I was very afraid,” she says in the video released by the Bring Them Home Now organization. “In the first few weeks I thought I had gone crazy, because I was alone, I was almost without light, I was almost without food.

“It reminded me of the subject of the Holocaust — I was [collecting] pieces of pita bread so that tomorrow I would have food,” she says, calling on the government to take action to free the rest of the hostages.

IDF says it struck several Hezbollah targets in response to cross-border attacks

The IDF says its fighter jets struck a number of sites belonging to the Hezbollah terror group in southern Lebanon, in response to attacks on the border today.

It says the targets include rocket launch sites used by Hezbollah to fire projectiles at northern Israel earlier, as well as manned military compounds and other infrastructure belonging to the terror group.

Freed hostages: Every day there ‘like hell,’ elderly abductees still in Gaza without meds

A photo released by activists shows a rally for the return of all hostages from Gaza at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, December 9, 2023. The banner reads: 'No victory until the last hostage [is returned].' (Aviv Atlas)
A photo released by activists shows a rally for the return of all hostages from Gaza at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, December 9, 2023. The banner reads: 'No victory until the last hostage [is returned].' (Aviv Atlas)

Freed hostage Adina Moshe, 72, says in a video produced by the Bring Them Home Now organization that she left her good friends from Kibbutz Nir Oz in Gaza, all elderly and sick and without adequate medications.

“When I was there, the food situation there deteriorated. We eventually reached the point of only eating rice,” she says, pleading for Israel to do everything to secure the remaining hostages’ release. Until that happens, she says, “I won’t be able to recover.”

A separate video from siblings Maya (21) and Itay (18) Regev shows them saying that every day in captivity “is like hell — intense fear, zero sleep, the lack of knowledge is simply scary.”

They say each day there is “like eternity” and that they missed their family, were hungry, and suffered difficult conditions.

WATCH: Freed hostage says Hamas took her oxygen machine, she ‘didn’t sleep for 49 days’

At a rally in Tel Aviv’s “Hostages Square,” harrowing clips are shown with released hostages revealing horrific details from their time in Gaza after being kidnapped by Hamas.

Margalit Mozes, 77, says the terrorists took her oxygen concentrator machine, which she needs to be able to sleep normally, despite her explaining in Arabic that “this is my oxygen.”

“He understood the meaning of this, but he didn’t care,” she says, in a video released by an organization of families of hostages called Bring Them Home Now.

“I didn’t sleep for 49 days. It was very tough,” she says.

Hamas leader Sinwar said to have fled north Gaza by hiding in humanitarian convoy

Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar speaks during a meeting in Gaza City, on April 30, 2022. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar speaks during a meeting in Gaza City, on April 30, 2022. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar fled northern Gaza at the beginning of the fighting by hiding in a humanitarian convoy heading southward, the Kan public broadcaster says citing an Israeli official familiar with the details.

Sinwar escaped Gaza City and headed toward south Gaza’s Khan Younis in a vehicle that provided “humanitarian cover,” the report says, adding that more precise details of the vehicle are barred from publication at this point.

The report adds that Israel’s assessment is that Sinwar is still in Khan Younis, or rather in one of the tunnels that run underneath it.

IDF says Hamas murdered civilian hostage Sahar Baruch in captivity

Sahar Baruch was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Be'eri. (Courtesy)
Sahar Baruch was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Be'eri. (Courtesy)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says civilian hostage Sahar Baruch, 25, who was confirmed dead over the weekend, was murdered by Hamas in captivity in the Gaza Strip.

“IDF representatives updated the family of the murdered civilian, the late Sahar Baruch, who was abducted on October 7. Sahar was murdered by the Hamas terror group. We are still verifying and investigating the details of where he was murdered,” Hagari says.

Hamas had published a video showing Baruch’s body, while making unverified claims as to the cause of his death.

IDF confirms surrender of many Hamas members, who say their leadership is ‘out of touch’

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari confirms many Hamas members have surrendered to troops in the Gaza Strip today, saying they have revealed intelligence information on the terror group’s functioning amid the ground offensive.

“In Shejaiya and Jabaliya, terrorists who surrendered handed over weapons and equipment,” he says, confirming footage that leaked today.

“From the interrogations of the terrorists who surrendered, the following intelligence has emerged: The situation of the operatives on the ground is difficult, and the Hamas leadership, led by [Yahya] Sinwar, denies the reality even though it is updated on the details,” Hagari says.

“The operatives complain that the Hamas leadership is out of touch with the tough situation they are in on the ground,” says.

Hagari says there is a “widespread feeling that the Hamas leadership underground does not care about the public in Gaza who are above ground,” adding that this also worries the Hamas operatives.

“The intelligence that emerges from the interrogations creates more targets and aids us in the operational activity,” Hagari adds.

Hanegbi indicates war against Hezbollah likely after defeat of Hamas

Smoke rises in southern Lebanon after IDF strikes targets in the country following Hezbollah attacks on Israel, November 23, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Smoke rises in southern Lebanon after IDF strikes targets in the country following Hezbollah attacks on Israel, November 23, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi indicates that intensified IDF action on the northern border is likely, though preferably not in parallel with the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“Residents will not return [to the north] if we don’t do the same thing” in the north against Hezbollah, as we are doing in the south against Hamas, he tells Channel 12 news.

“We can no longer accept [Hezbollah’s elite] Radwan force sitting on the border. We can no longer accept Resolution 1701 not being implemented,” he adds, referring to a UN Security Council resolution from 2006 that barred any Hezbollah presence within almost 30 kilometers of the border with Israel.

Asked directly if there will be a war in the north, he says: “The situation in the north must be changed. And it will change. If Hezbollah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don’t believe it will.”

And therefore, he says, “when the day comes,” Israel will have to act to ensure that residents of the north are no longer “displaced in their land, and to guarantee for them that the situation in the north has changed.”

He notes that lots of countries have missiles pointed at Israel, including Iran, Syria and Iraq, “and Israel doesn’t invade them.” The fear regarding Hezbollah’s Radwan force is that “within minutes” it could cross the border and begin a murderous rampage in northern communities, like Hamas did in the south on October 7. Israel cannot tolerate this threat any longer, he says.

He says Israel does not want to fight simultaneously on two fronts. “We are making clear to the Americans that we are not interested in war [in the north], but that we will have no alternative but to impose a new reality in the north” if Hezbollah remains a dangerous threat on the other side of the border.

If the international community does not deal with the threat posed by the Houthis in Yemen, he also says, without elaboration, “Israel will act.”

Israel has killed over 7,000 terrorists, no deadline for Gaza war — national security adviser

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks during a statement to the media at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv on October 31, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks during a statement to the media at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv on October 31, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi says in a lengthy television interview that it is impossible to say how much longer the ongoing war against the Hamas terror group in Gaza will last, and that it may not even be possible to measure it “in months.”

“The Americans have not set any deadline” for the end of the operation in Gaza, Hanegbi tells Channel 12 news. “Yesterday they denied setting a deadline. They understand that they can’t tell the IDF how long it needs to achieve the goals… They share the goals of returning the hostages, which is a campaign that a date cannot be set for, and of destroying Hamas. Therefore, the assessment [that achieving the goals of the war in Gaza] cannot be measured in weeks is correct, and I’m not sure it can be measured in months.”

Hanegbi says that he believes Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar will want Hamas to fight to the end, “but if we kill him, and that’s the plan, it is possible that the leadership that succeeds him may understand that to avoid his fate, it will need to leave Gaza, defeated.” He indicates that killing Sinwar, therefore, may be a key step toward both war aims — destroying Hamas in Gaza and returning the hostages.

“I don’t think [Sinwar] has internalized that the IDF will get to everywhere it wants in Gaza,” he warns.

He says that at least 7,000 terrorists have been killed during the war so far. It isn’t clear if this figure includes the at least 1,000 killed inside Israel in the immediate aftermath of the mass invasion and onslaught of October 7.

Hanegbi says the IDF is now very near to the Hamas centers of command in Jabaliya and Shejaiya, two key Hamas centers in northern Gaza.

He says IDF efforts to rescue hostages are incredibly high risk “because their captors are waiting with their fingers on the trigger” for fear of such rescue efforts. That’s how two IDF commandos were injured yesterday in an operation, he says; two terrorists were eliminated and it turned out there were no hostages there.

“Military pressure could produce another halt in the fighting” and the release of further hostages, he says.

“We came to this operation [to eliminate Hamas] 17 years too late,” he says. Today, Israel realizes that it has to be done, even at a heavy price, because the alternative will be far more costly, Hanegbi says.

IDF releases footage showing troops battling Hamas gunmen, killing 2 of them

Footage released by the IDF shows troops of the Combat Engineering Corps’ elite Yahalom unit battling Hamas operatives at a home in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya.

The IDF says Yahalom forces received intelligence of Hamas operatives in the area who were planning to attack the troops. It says the forces set out to attack the Hamas sites, and identified suspicious movement in one of the buildings.

The video shows the troops opening fire and hurling grenades into the building. The forces then entered the home and killed two Hamas gunmen.

Netanyahu lauds US veto of Security Council ceasefire call, urges others to back Israel’s war on Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu releases a statement expressing appreciation for the veto the United States cast yesterday against a proposed UN Security Council resolution urging a ceasefire in Gaza.

Hailing the US position as “correct,” Netanyahu says “other countries too need to understand that it is impossible to support the elimination of Hamas on one hand, and on the other hand call for the halting of the war, which would prevent the elimination of Hamas.”

Therefore, the premier says, “Israel will continue our justified war aimed at eliminating Hamas and at achieving the rest of the war goals that we have set.”

Leaked footage apparently shows Hamas gunmen surrendering to IDF in northern Gaza

An apparent Hamas member with his hands up hands over an assault rifle after surrendering to troops in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, on December 9, 2023. (Social media: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
An apparent Hamas member with his hands up hands over an assault rifle after surrendering to troops in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, on December 9, 2023. (Social media: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Leaked footage from the northern Gaza Strip earlier today shows an apparent Hamas operative slowly placing an assault rifle on the ground, as dozens of Palestinian men surrendered to IDF troops.

Images had circulated on social media earlier this week showing dozens of men being detained by the IDF. The army’s spokesman later said it was interrogating everyone in the area who had surrendered after the fighting.

Hamas operatives have increasingly been surrendering to the IDF in other areas of Gaza amid the fighting, according to military officials.

IDF chief: Hamas’s hold on Gaza starting to disintegrate, terrorists are surrendering

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (right) attends a Hanukkah candle lighting in southern Israel, December 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (right) attends a Hanukkah candle lighting in southern Israel, December 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Speaking at a Hanukkah candle lighting in the south with Nahal Brigade troops, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says the military is beginning to see the collapse of Hamas’s governing system in the Gaza Strip.

“I see the achievements every day. We are seeing every day more and more terror operatives killed, more and more terror operatives wounded, and in recent days we’re seeing terrorists surrendering —  a sign of the disintegration of the system, a sign that we need to push harder,” he tells the soldiers.

IDF captures Gaza square where Hamas paraded some hostages during their release

The Israeli flag flies in Gaza City's Palestine Square, in footage broadcast by Channel 12 on December 9, 2023 (Screenshot used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
The Israeli flag flies in Gaza City's Palestine Square, in footage broadcast by Channel 12 on December 9, 2023 (Screenshot used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Israeli troops captured the Gaza Strip’s “Palestine Square” earlier this week, where Hamas had paraded some Israeli hostages during their release amid a ceasefire.

The IDF has taken several media outlets to the area in recent days, with new footage coming out this evening showing an Israeli flag waving at the center of the square.

Another clip published online yesterday shows troops lighting Hanukkah candles at the square with a giant menorah.

The Israeli flag flies in Gaza City’s Palestine Square, in footage broadcast by Channel 12 on December 9, 2023 (Screenshot used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Conditions of 2 IDF soldiers seriously hurt in Gaza improve

Soroka Hospital in Beersheba says the conditions of two soldiers who were seriously wounded in the attempt to rescue hostages from the Gaza Strip on Thursday night have improved, and are now listed in moderate-to-serious condition.

The IDF had said the operation was unsuccessful, as no hostages were rescued, but that the troops managed to kill several Hamas operatives.

IDF says woman injured in suspected traffic accident was soldier guarding Tzrifin base

The IDF announces that a young woman who was seriously hurt after being hit by a car in central Israel earlier today was a soldier guarding the Tzrifin base.

The soldier in her 20s was taken to a nearby hospital. Police arrested two suspects at the scene, and said the incident is being investigated as a “traffic accident” rather than an intentional attack.

IDF declares deaths of 5 more troops, including nephew of ex-IDF chief Eisenkot who also lost son

(L-R) Omri Ben Shachar, Liav Atiya and Maor Cohen Eisenkot, whom the Israel Defense Forces announced on December 9, 2023, were killed as part of the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
(L-R) Omri Ben Shachar, Liav Atiya and Maor Cohen Eisenkot, whom the Israel Defense Forces announced on December 9, 2023, were killed as part of the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF announces the deaths of five soldiers, one of whom succumbed to wounds suffered on October 7 and four of whom were killed during fighting in the southern Gaza Strip over the weekend.

The toll of slain soldiers during the ground offensive against Hamas has increased to 97. The new deaths include the nephew of former IDF chief of staff and current war cabinet observer minister Gadi Eisenkot, who also lost his son several days ago.

They are:

Master Sgt. (res.) Liav Atiya, 25, of the 55th Brigade’s 6623rd Battalion, from Beersheba.

Master Sgt. (res.) Omri Ben Shachar, 25, of the 55th Brigade’s 6623rd Battalion, from Givatayim.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Dean Jr Haim, 25, of the Combat Engineering Corps’ 603rd Battalion, from Ramat Gan.

Sgt. Maor Cohen Eisenkot, 19, of the Golani Brigade’s 12th Battalion, from Eilat.

Staff Sgt. Haim Meir Edan, 20, of the Golani Brigade’s 12th Battalion, from Rehovot. Edan was wounded on October 7 and succumbed to his wound today.

The IDF says another 12 soldiers from several units were seriously wounded during fighting in Gaza on Friday and Saturday.

Houthi official: We’ll now target any Israel-bound ship of any ownership

An official for Yemen’s Houthi rebels announces that it will from now on start targeting any ship passing through the Red Sea on its way to Israel, regardless of whether the ship’s ownership is linked to the Jewish state.

Thus far, the Houthis have only been targeting vessels allegedly owned by Israeli firms or businessmen or linked to them.

In a tweet, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi says that his forces will “prevent the passage of ships heading to the Zionist entity of any nationality, if they do not enter the Gaza Strip where they need food and medicine, and they will become a legitimate target for our armed forces.”

“Out of concern for the safety of maritime navigation, we warn all ships and companies against dealing with Israeli ports,” he warns, adding that this is “as a result of the Zionist enemy’s continued carrying out of horrific massacres, genocidal war and siege against our brothers in Gaza.”

He adds that “no American or other” military forces have the “right” to accompany Israeli ships or ships heading to Israel.

Soccer referee in Israel’s top league seriously injured during IDF reserve duty in north

A soccer referee in Israel’s top league was seriously injured last night in the north during his IDF reserve duty as part of skirmishes with the Hezbollah terror group accompanying the ongoing war in Gaza.

The Israel Football Association’s Referee Association says in a statement that Premier League referee Niv Steif, who serves in the IDF Armored Corps, suffered serious injuries from an anti-tank missile.

Steif was taken by helicopter to Haifa’s Rambam hospital, underwent multiple complex and long operations, and is now in stable condition, the statement says.

The Referee Association says its representatives have visited Steif in hospital and adds that it will support him and his family until his recovery.

“Niv is a young and promising referee and a tough and strong guy, and we are confident and praying that he will manage to overcome the injury and continue as planned in his personal and professional life,” the statement says.

3 soldiers wounded Friday in Hezbollah attacks on northern border

Three IDF soldiers were wounded in Hezbollah attacks on the northern border yesterday.

Rambam Hospital in Haifa says one soldier was brought to the medical center on Friday morning in light condition, after being wounded by shrapnel.

Later in the day two soldiers arrived at the hospital after being wounded in a separate attack. One was initially listed in serious condition, and was later upgraded to moderate. The second soldier is listed in light-to-moderate condition.

The hospital says the soldiers’ families are aware of their injury.

Army says troops raided Khan Younis mosque used as Hamas base, carried out strikes on tunnels

A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing above buildings during Israeli strikes on Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on December 9, 2023 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing above buildings during Israeli strikes on Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on December 9, 2023 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

The IDF says its 98th Division continues to battle Hamas in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, with the Air Force carrying out strikes on the terror group’s sites.

According to the IDF, troops of the Golani Infantry Brigade’s 12th Battalion raided a mosque in the Khan Younis area where Hamas operatives were.

The IDF says an explosive device was detonated near the forces, and the troops directed an attack helicopter to strike Hamas operatives on the roof of the mosque, a number of others who came out of a tunnel, and more gunmen identified in the area.

Later, an IAF fighter jet destroyed the mosque along with the tunnel infrastructure under it, the IDF says.

Meanwhile, the elite Maglan unit identified three Hamas operatives coming out of a tunnel shaft in central Khan Younis and firing RPGs at the troops, the IDF says. It adds that the troops returned fire, killing the gunmen.

The Maglan troops also directed drone strikes on additional Hamas operatives and tunnel shafts in the area, according to the IDF.

The IDF says the elite Duvdevan unit located a Hamas command room, which was being used by operatives to ambush the troops. The Duvdevan soldiers carried out an assault on the building, along with an IAF fighter jet carrying out strikes on another Hamas cell in the area.

The IDF also says troops of the Givati Infantry Brigade killed a number of Hamas operatives and located numerous tunnel shafts in southern Gaza. It says that the forces destroyed Hamas infrastructure and directed airstrikes on hideouts used by operatives.

IDF says it hit Hezbollah command center in south Lebanon after rocket fire

The IDF says it struck a Hezbollah command center in southern Lebanon in response to rocket fire on northern Israel today.

A short while ago more rockets were fired from Lebanon at the north.

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

Tel Aviv hostage rally to focus on abuse suffered by those held in Gaza

Israelis put up posters of hostage held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv. December 6, 2023. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Israelis put up posters of hostage held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv. December 6, 2023. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum says tonight’s rally in Tel Aviv will highlight the abuse suffered by those held in the Gaza Strip.

Organizers say that speakers will include those released from Gaza “in light of horrific testimonies detailing the sexual and physical abuse endured by hostages.”

Speakers are set to include recently-released hostages who will speak publicly for the first time.

The rally is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Hostages Square.

Blinken emphasizes to Red Cross chief that access must be granted to Gaza hostages

Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip call for their release during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in the Hostages Square at the Museum of Art, in Tel Aviv, December 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip call for their release during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in the Hostages Square at the Museum of Art, in Tel Aviv, December 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that the humanitarian organization must be allowed to visit the hostages in Gaza, the US State Department says.

According to the statement, Blinken “emphasized the importance of ICRC’s humanitarian response to the conflict in Gaza” in a conversation yesterday with ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger.

Blinken reiterated the call for the immediate release of all hostages and highlighted the need for the ICRC to be granted access to the remaining hostages, the US State Department says.

The ICRC has faced intense criticism in Israel and abroad for not doing more to push for access to the hostages held by terrorists in Gaza to ensure their well-being, deliver medications and facilitate communication with families, per its mandate.

IDF releases footage of troops battling Hamas in north Gaza’s Jabaliya

Troops of Nahal Infantry Brigade's 931st Battalion battle Hamas operatives in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, in a handout image published December 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of Nahal Infantry Brigade's 931st Battalion battle Hamas operatives in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, in a handout image published December 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Footage released by the IDF shows troops of Nahal Infantry Brigade’s 931st Battalion battling Hamas operatives in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya.

The IDF says the forces received intelligence of Hamas members and weaponry in nearby buildings and led an assault on them.

“The terrorists prepared an ambush in the area and were prepared to attack our forces when they would have moved through the main road. The forces arrived through one of the alleys, behind the enemy, surprised them and fired at the terrorists,” the IDF says.

The IDF says the Hamas gunmen opened fire at the troops and hurled grenades. The operatives were killed in the battle.

The 931st Battalion encountered and killed other Hamas operatives during battles in Jabaliya over the past day, the IDF says. Several more gunmen were killed in airstrikes and tank shelling.

Woman seriously wounded in ‘traffic accident’ outside central Israel army base

A young woman is seriously wounded after being hit by a car near the Tsrifin Junction in central Israel, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it is taking the woman in her 20s to the adjacent Asaf Harofeh Hospital.

An image purportedly from the scene shows a car crashed into a guard booth at the entrance to an army base in the area.

Police say officers have arrested two men, residents of Rahat and Qalqilya, who are suspected of being involved in the incident.

Police say it is being investigated as a “traffic accident,” not a terror attack.

It says the car refused to stop to calls of traffic cops, and then ran over a pedestrian.

Thousands march in London pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel rally

Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists march in central London on December 9, 2023 (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)
Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists march in central London on December 9, 2023 (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Officials say some 15,000-20,000 people are in attendance at the weekly pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel rally in London.

Police say a man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offense for a placard comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

Images and videos posted to social media appear to show other anti-Israel placards as well as chants.

The activists say they are marching for a full ceasefire in the war between Israel and the Hamas terror group — a temporary truce ended last week after it was violated by Hamas.

The march comes a day after the United States vetoed a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution which failed to condemn Hamas’s October 7 massacres in Israel — in which thousands of terrorists killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages — or to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself.

IDF releases video it says shows Hamas looting supplies from Gazan civilians

The Israel Defense Forces publishes video of what it says shows Hamas terrorists apparently taking supplies from Gazan civilians.

The IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson says the Hamas operatives take the supplies and load them onto their vehicle, beat the civilians, and then drive to a location known to be linked to the terror group.

The military says the images were filmed in Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood. It does not say when the incident occurred.

“The Hamas terrorist organization deprives the residents of Gaza of food and equipment and delivers them to its members and terrorist needs,” the IDF says. “Hamas leaders do not care about the people of Gaza and their suffering. Hamas is the enemy of the people in Gaza.”

Israel has long maintained that Hamas is keeping supplies from an increasingly desperate civilian population amid a growing humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

Rocket sirens in Nirim and Ein HaShlosha, near Gaza border

Sirens are sounding in the Gaza border towns of Nirim and Ein HaShlosha.

There has been rocket fire toward the communities in the south throughout the day.

Turkey’s Erdogan denounces UN Security Council as ‘Israel protection council’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a joint press conference with Turkmenistan's president, after their meeting at the presidential complex in Ankara on October 26, 2023. (Adem Altan/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a joint press conference with Turkmenistan's president, after their meeting at the presidential complex in Ankara on October 26, 2023. (Adem Altan/AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounces the UN Security Council after the United States vetoed a ceasefire resolution for Gaza, describing the international body as the “Israel protection council.”

“Since October 7, the security council has become an Israel protection and defense council,” Erdogan says.

The United States on Friday vetoed the ceasefire resolution which failed to condemn Hamas’s October 7 massacres in Israel — in which thousands of terrorists killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages — or to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself.

“Is this justice?” asks Erdogan, adding that “the world is bigger than five,” a reference to the five veto-wielding nations in the UN Security Council.

“Another world is possible, but without America,” the Turkish leader says.

“The United States stands by Israel with its money and military equipment. Hey, America! How much are you going to pay for that?” he adds.

Rocket sirens sound in Elkosh, close to Lebanon border

Rocket sirens are sounding in Elkosh, close to the northern border with Lebanon.

The alerts come shortly after the Israel Defense Forces announced several rockets were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel a short while ago, causing no injuries.

It said troops responded with artillery shelling toward the sources of the fire.

IDF says terrorists fired rockets from Lebanon; no injuries

The IDF says several rockets were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel a short while ago, causing no injuries.

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

Separately, the IDF says tanks shelled an area near the northern town of Metula “to remove a threat.”

Mother of Naama Levy, 19, from infamous Gaza video: ‘Each minute is an eternity in hell’

Naama Levy, seen in a video shortly after she was taken hostage to Gaza on October 7, 2023. (Screen grab/X)
Naama Levy, seen in a video shortly after she was taken hostage to Gaza on October 7, 2023. (Screen grab/X)

The mother of 19-year-old Naama Levy, seen in a video from Gaza on October 7 with her hands tied and bloodied sweatpants, publishes a heartfelt plea for her daughter’s release, and says that time is running out.

Ayelet Levy Shachar writes on the Free Press website:

“You have seen the video of my daughter Naama Levy. Everyone has. You have seen her dragged by her long brown hair from the back of a Jeep at gunpoint, somewhere in Gaza, her gray sweatpants covered in blood. You may have perhaps noticed that her ankles are cut, that she’s barefoot and limping. She is seriously injured. She is frightened. And I, her mother, am helpless in these moments of horror.”

Levy Shahar says that the Hamas terrorists, who raped and sexually assaulted multiple women and children, are holding her daughter hostage.

“There are seventeen young women still in captivity. They range in age from 18 to 26. I think of what they, and my Naama, could be subjected to at every moment of the day. Each minute is an eternity in hell,” she writes.

“On Monday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that one of the reasons Hamas doesn’t want to release the young female hostages is they don’t want these women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody. Everyone knows exactly what he means,” Levy Shahar writes.

“What would you do if your daughter were being held hostage by violent rapists and murderers for two months? Perhaps the better question is: What wouldn’t you do?” she writes.

Levy was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7 from the Nahal Oz army base.

She had just finished her course the previous Wednesday to become an observation soldier at Nahal Oz. She arrived at the army base the next day and was taken hostage on Saturday morning.

Naama Levy was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from the Nahal Oz army base (Courtesy)

IDF: Hamas continuing to fire rockets at Israel from south Gaza ‘humanitarian zone’

Israelis campaigning for the release of the hostages held in Gaza rush to a shelter as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Dec. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Israelis campaigning for the release of the hostages held in Gaza rush to a shelter as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Dec. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

The IDF says Hamas has continued to fire rockets from a “humanitarian zone” established in southern Gaza’s al-Mawasi area.

It says that yesterday at 6 p.m., “Hamas terrorists launched numerous rockets into Israel from the designated humanitarian zone.”

Another four rockets were fired from the al-Mawasi area at 1:56 p.m. and 2:16 p.m., but “landed in the Gaza Strip and endangered many citizens in Gaza,” it says.

“This is further proof that Hamas exploits the IDF’s humanitarian zone for terrorist activity,” the IDF says.

The IDF publishes an illustrative graphic showing the locations of the rocket launches from al-Mawasi, as well as an image showing a rocket launcher.

The humanitarian zone in al-Mawasi is an area designated by the IDF as safe for civilians within the Gaza Strip.

Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip at Israel has continued from other locations of southern and central Gaza in recent days, in areas where the IDF is not operating on the ground.

An image distributed by the IDF explaining Hamas rocket launches from humanitarian zones in south Gaza, released December 9, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
An image distributed by the IDF explaining Hamas rocket launches from humanitarian zones in south Gaza, released December 9, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)

Rocket sirens in Gaza border communities Nir Oz, Magen

Sirens are sounding in the Gaza border towns of Magen and Nir Oz, signaling incoming rocket fire.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF says troops found sniper rifle hidden inside large teddy bear at Gaza school

A sniper rifle and ammunition hidden inside a large teddy bear were found by troops of the 551st Reserve Paratroopers Brigade while searching a school in the Gaza Strip yesterday, footage released by the IDF shows.

In another nearby school, the IDF says the troops found weapons hidden inside bags bearing the UNRWA logo.

PA’s Abbas: US ‘responsible for the bloodshed’ of Gaza children after ceasefire vote veto

PA President Mahmoud Abbas holds a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on July 25, 2023. (Adem Altan/AFP)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas holds a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on July 25, 2023. (Adem Altan/AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says the United States is “responsible for the bloodshed” of children in the Gaza Strip after it vetoed a resolution yesterday calling for an immediate ceasefire at a special meeting of the UN Security Council.

“The president has described the American position as aggressive and immoral, a flagrant violation of all humanitarian principles and values, and holds the United States responsible for the bloodshed of Palestinian children, women and elderly people in the Gaza Strip,” says a statement from Abbas’s office.

US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood criticized the council after the vote for its failure to condemn Hamas’s October 7 massacres in Israel — in which thousands of terrorists killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages — or to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself.

Kibbutz Be’eri announces death of 25-year-old Sahar Baruch, held hostage in Gaza

Sahar Baruch was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Be'eri. (Courtesy)
Sahar Baruch was taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Be'eri. (Courtesy)

Kibbutz Be’eri announces that its resident Sahar Baruch, who was kidnapped and taken hostage in Gaza on October 7, has died while in captivity.

The statement does not detail how and when the 25-year-old died, but says he was murdered in the Strip.

Yesterday, Hamas released a propaganda video that they said showed Baruch dead.

“We demand the return of his body as part of any hostage deal. We won’t stop until everyone is home,” the kibbutz says.

Baruch’s 20-year-old brother, Idan, was killed by terrorists on October 7.

Gaza terrorists are believed to hold the bodies of at least 18 murdered hostages.

London police say investigating if brutal beating of Jewish woman is hate crime

London police say they are investigating whether a brutal attack on a Jewish woman was a hate crime.

The woman was violently assaulted and robbed in Haringey on Thursday.

“This was a shocking incident and we are supporting the victim who is understandably distressed,” the Metropolitan Police say. “Officers take any suggestion of hate crime incredibly seriously and our investigation will include a thorough assessment of the motive for the attack.”

Video of the attack was widely circulated on social media.

The Shomrim security organization said that the two attackers kicked the unconscious victim in the head, and laughed that she was “dead.”

IDF says several rockets fired at Israel from Lebanon earlier, troops shelling launch site

The IDF says several rockets were fired from Lebanon at the northern community of Misgav Am earlier.

There are no injuries in the attack.

The IDF says troops are shelling the source of the fire with artillery.

Over 70 US lawmakers demand ousting of UPenn, Harvard and MIT presidents for not condemning Jewish genocide calls

Harvard President Claudine Gay, left, speaks as University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill listens during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 in Washington. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)
Harvard President Claudine Gay, left, speaks as University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill listens during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 in Washington. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)

Over 70 US lawmakers demand the governing bodies of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology oust their presidents over comments they made during a congressional hearing about antisemitism on US campuses amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, Reuters reports.

Republican Representative Elise Stefanik and Democratic Representative Jared Moskowitz are the main signatories on a letter demanding the university chiefs be removed to prevent “an act of complicity in their antisemitic posture.”

“Testimony provided by presidents of your institutions showed a complete absence of moral clarity and illuminated the problematic double standards and dehumanization of the Jewish communities that your university presidents enabled,” the letter charges.

“There is no context in which calls for the genocide of Jews are acceptable rhetoric. Their failure to unequivocally condemn calls for the systematic murder of Jews is deeply alarming,” the letter reads.

“It stands in stark contrast to the principles we expect leaders of top academic institutions to uphold. It is hard to imagine any Jewish or Israeli student, faculty, or staff feeling safe when presidents of your member institutions could not say that calls for the genocide of Jews would have clear consequences on your campus,” the lawmakers say.

The lawmakers also say the boards must work to ensure the safety of Jewish and Israeli students.

Rocket sirens sound in Misgav Am on Lebanon border

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the northern kibbutz of Misgav Am on the Lebanon border.

The sirens come after a lull of some 10 hours on the northern border.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Rocket fire continues toward Gaza border towns

Sirens sound in the Gaza border town Kfar Aza, warning of incoming rocket fire.

In the past hour, sirens have also blared in Magen and Nir Yitzhak.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Towns close to the border with the Strip have been largely evacuated of civilians since the Hamas onslaught on October 7.

US on report it gave war deadline: ‘These are Israeli military operations, Israelis will decide their course’

This handout photo from the Israel Defense Forces on December 9, 2023, shows Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)
This handout photo from the Israel Defense Forces on December 9, 2023, shows Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)

A spokesperson for the United States National Security Council responds to a report US officials told Israel it has until the end of 2023 to conclude the war in Gaza against Hamas.

“These are Israeli military operations, and the Israelis will decide their course. We will continue to support Israel’s efforts to defend itself from Hamas terrorists,” the spokesperson says.

According to a report Friday, in Politico, which cited three anonymous Israeli officials, Biden administration officials have told Israel it has until the end of the month to wrap up the war against the terror group.

The news outlet noted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s reported warning last week that Israel likely has “weeks,” not months, to wrap up the fighting.

Son of senior Hezbollah leader said among those killed in alleged Israeli Syria drone strike

Vehicle struck in alleged Israeli airstrike on Syrian side of border with Israel on December 8, 2023. (Courtesy)
Vehicle struck in alleged Israeli airstrike on Syrian side of border with Israel on December 8, 2023. (Courtesy)

Hezbollah said that one of its three members killed yesterday in an alleged Israeli drone strike in Syria was Hassan Ali Dakdouk — the son of Ali Mussa Dakdouk, who is reportedly in charge of the terror group’s operations in southern Syria, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

According to the outlet, Ali Mussa Dakdouk was responsible for training pro-Iranian militias in Iraq with the aim of attacking American forces.

He was detained by US forces in Iraq in 2007, but was later released.

Four people were killed — said to be three Hezbollah terrorists and one Syrian — in the alleged Israeli drone strike against a vehicle near the Syrian border in the Golan Heights, as Israel and Hezbollah traded fire across the Lebanese frontier, with several Israelis reported injured.

While Israel’s military does not, as a rule, comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed terror groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country over the last decade.

Iran warns UN of ‘uncontrollable explosion’ in Mideast after US veto of ceasefire resolution

File: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaks during an emergency meeting on the Israel-Hamas war at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, October 26, 2023. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)
File: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaks during an emergency meeting on the Israel-Hamas war at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, October 26, 2023. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

Iran warns of the threat of an “uncontrollable explosion” of the situation in the Middle East, after the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and the Hamas terror group.

“As long as America supports the crimes of the Zionist regime [Israel] and the continuation of the war… there is a possibility of an uncontrollable explosion in the situation of the region,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the top diplomat of the Islamic Republic, told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a phone call, according to an Iranian foreign ministry statement.

The Iranian foreign minister praised the UN chief’s decision to use Article 99 of the UN Charter — a move decried by Israel — as “brave action to maintain international peace and security.”

Fighting resumed between Israel and Hamas on December 1 following a one-week temporary truce that was violated by the terror group.

On Friday, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, saying the resolution “would leave Hamas in place able to repeat what it did on October 7.”

IDF reports heavy fighting overnight in northern Gaza, airstrikes across the Strip

This handout photo from the Israel Defense Forces on December 9, 2023, shows Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)
This handout photo from the Israel Defense Forces on December 9, 2023, shows Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces)

Fighting between the IDF and Hamas operatives continued in the northern Gaza Strip overnight, alongside airstrikes.

The IDF says troops of the Kfir Infantry Brigade encountered a Hamas cell in a school in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood. The troops killed the gunmen and later found inside the classrooms weapons and military equipment.

Troops of the Armored Corps operating with the Paratroopers Brigade found and destroyed a tunnel shaft in Shejaiya, which the IDF says was part of a “wide” tunnel network. Another tunnel shaft in the area had an elevator, according to the IDF.

The IDF says troops of the Golani Brigade identified a number of Hamas operatives with anti-tank missiles approaching them in Shejaiya. The soldiers called in an airstrike, and a combat helicopter killed the operatives, the IDF says.

In Beit Hanoun, the IDF says the 5th Reserve Infantry Brigade came under fire by Hamas operatives shooting from a mosque and a UNRWA school.

The Navy also carried out strikes in the Strip overnight, including a building with Hamas operatives in it, identified by ground forces. The Navy also hit other sites and vessels belonging to Hamas, the IDF says.

Poll finds most Americans view Hamas as responsible for war

Illustrative: A Hamas terrorist stands guard as a Red Cross vehicle transports newly released hostages in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
Illustrative: A Hamas terrorist stands guard as a Red Cross vehicle transports newly released hostages in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 28, 2023. (AFP)

A poll finds that most Americans view Hamas as responsible for the war between Israel and the terror group in Gaza.

The Pew Research Center survey finds that 65 percent of Americans believe Hamas bears a lot of responsibility for the current conflict, while 35% put the blame on the Israeli government.

However, the poll finds that while the majority of both Republican and Democrat supporters held Hamas responsible, Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to lay the blame on Israel.

The survey also finds that younger Americans are less likely to blame Hamas for the war.

Only 46% of adults ages 18 to 29 say Hamas has a lot of responsibility for the war. That compares with majorities of 60% or more among older age groups.

The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 5,203 respondents is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.

The war started after the October 7, Hamas assault on southern Israel in which some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and some 240 taken hostage.

IDF jets hit Hezbollah targets in Lebanon; projectiles fired into Israel

A picture taken from the Israeli side of border with Lebanon shows shells exploding over hills around the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab on December 8, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of border with Lebanon shows shells exploding over hills around the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab on December 8, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

Israeli warplanes hit a number of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon overnight, the Israel Defense Forces says.

Among the targets hit were several operational centers of the Iran-backed terror group, the IDF says.

The military also says that overnight it identified several projectiles fired from Lebanon into Israel and the IDF responded by shelling the source of the fire.

The IDF did not report any casualties.

Islamic State attack kills 7 pro-regime fighters in Syria

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Seven members of pro-regime forces were killed in Syria on Friday in an attack by the Islamic State group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

The attackers were on motorbikes when they opened fire on a military post, “killing at least seven pro-regime fighters”, in the vicinity of Boukamal on the border with Iraq, the NGO’s director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

This year, IS attacks have killed at least 385 members of pro-regime forces and 165 civilians, according to the Observatory, which has a vast network of sources in Syria.

Rahman said those killed on Friday included both Syrians and “foreigners.”

After rising to power in 2014 in parts of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State saw its self-proclaimed “caliphate” waver after successive offensives against it in both countries, which were launched with the support of an international anti-jihadist coalition.

The defeat of IS in Syria was declared in 2019, but the coalition remained in the country to fight against jihadist cells that continue to operate there.

The conflict in Syria, sparked in 2011 by the iron-fisted repression of pro-democracy demonstrations, has left more than half a million dead.

More than twelve years of bloody conflict have divided the country into zones of influence.

President Bashar Assad’s regime has regained control of a large part of the country, with the support of its Russian and Iranian allies.

Mexican immigration officials detain 5 Iranians who were under FBI observation close to US border

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s immigration agency say its agents have detained two Iranians who they say were under observation by the FBI.

The National Immigration Institute did not say what the supposed FBI investigation was about.

The agency said a total of five Iranians were detained along with their Haitian driver, who was apparently acting as their guide on a highway between the Baja California border cities of Tijuana and Tecate on Wednesday.

It said their car was stopped at a toll booth because agents suspected they were going to try to cross into the United States.

The agency said two of the Iranians were “under observation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.”

The FBI did not immediately confirm the information.

UK abstained on UN’s Gaza vote because resolution did not condemn Hamas, says envoy

The UK’s representative to the UN, Barbara Woodward, says Britain abstained tonight on a Security Council vote calling for an immediate ceasefire because the resolution presented to members were did not condemn Palestinian terror group Hamas and its atrocities on October 7 when thousands of terrorists attacked Israel, killed 1,200 people, a majority civilians, and took some 240 hostages.

“Calling for a ceasefire ignores the fact that Hamas has committed acts of terror and is still holding civilians hostage,” she said in remarks cited by Sky news.

“We cannot vote in favor of a resolution which does not condemn the atrocities Hamas committed against innocent Israeli civilians” on October 7, she added.

Woodward said the UK was “gravely concerned” about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and called for “further and longer” humanitarian pauses in the fighting to deliver aid and free more hostages.

Israeli FM accuses UN chief of siding with Hamas in call for Gaza ceasefire

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen posts a scathing rebuke of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, accusing him of standing with Palestinian terror group Hamas in his appeal before the UN Security Council earlier tonight for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Guterres, who for the first time invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter earlier this week, which enables a UN chief to raise threats he sees to international peace and security, warned of an “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and urged the council to demand a humanitarian ceasefire.

A subsequent vote was held to adopt an Arab-backed resolution to call for the ceasefire, and had wide support but was vetoed by the United States.

In his post, Cohen said Guterres’ call “disgraces his position and constitutes a mark of Cain on the UN.”

“The invocation of Article 99, after it was not used for the war in Ukraine or for the civil war in Syria, is another example of Guterres’ biased and one-sided stance,’ Cohen wrote.

Cohen says a “ceasefire at this time would prevent the collapse of the Hamas terrorist organization, which is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and would enable it to continue ruling the Gaza Strip.”

“With gratitude to our ally, the US, for its support to continue the fight to bring the hostages home and to eliminate the Hamas terrorist organization, which will bring a better future to the region,” he went on.

Earlier this week, following Guterres’ invocation of Article 99, Cohen said the UN chief’s tenure was a “danger to world peace.”

Cohen claims that Guterres’s decision “constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organization and an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies and the rape of women.

Hezbollah says three members killed amid reported Israeli drone strike in Syria

Three Hezbollah terrorists and a Syrian were killed on Friday in an alleged Israeli drone strike on their car in the south of Syria, says a UK-based war monitor

“A Syrian and three Lebanese Hezbollah fighters from the surveillance and missile-launching unit were killed in the Israeli drone strike on their rented car” in Madinat al-Baath town in the province of Quneitra, close to the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The organization, run by a single person, has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of false reporting.

Later Friday, Hezbollah said that three of its fighters had been killed, without giving any further details.

IDF hits manned Hezbollah observation post in response to border attacks

The IDF says it struck a manned Hezbollah observation post in southern Lebanon in response to attacks on the border today.

Additionally, the IDF says it identified a group of operatives at an anti-tank missile launch site, from which an attack was carried out earlier.

It says the site and operatives were struck.

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