ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Feb. 10: UNRWA head pleads ignorance after Hamas data center found under agency’s HQ

Katz calls for UNRWA head’s resignation as army casts doubt on claim UN didn’t know * Soldiers deliver oxygen tanks, medical supplies to Khan Younis hospital

  • An electrical room serving an underground Hamas data center, beneath the UNRWA headquarters, uncovered by the IDF in Gaza City, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
    An electrical room serving an underground Hamas data center, beneath the UNRWA headquarters, uncovered by the IDF in Gaza City, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
  • This picture taken from the vicinity of Marjayoun in southern Lebanon on February 8, 2024, shows a rocket fired from above nearby Kafarshouba being intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome. (Rabih Daher/AFP)
    This picture taken from the vicinity of Marjayoun in southern Lebanon on February 8, 2024, shows a rocket fired from above nearby Kafarshouba being intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome. (Rabih Daher/AFP)
  • UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza City, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
    UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza City, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
  • Relatives of hostages and supporters block part of the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024, to demand the release of their loves ones, held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7, 2023. (Zipi Menashe / Pro-Democracy Protest Movement)
    Relatives of hostages and supporters block part of the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024, to demand the release of their loves ones, held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7, 2023. (Zipi Menashe / Pro-Democracy Protest Movement)
  • Relatives of hostages and supporters attend a rally calling for the release of the abductees held by Hamas in Gaza, at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, February 10, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
    Relatives of hostages and supporters attend a rally calling for the release of the abductees held by Hamas in Gaza, at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, February 10, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
  • A building in Kiryat Shmona suffered a direct hit by a missile fired from Lebanon, February 10, 2024. The building sustained damage. No injuries were reported. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    A building in Kiryat Shmona suffered a direct hit by a missile fired from Lebanon, February 10, 2024. The building sustained damage. No injuries were reported. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • Lebanese army soldiers secure the area around a car wrecked in a reported Israeli drone strike in the village of Jadra between Beirut and the southern city of Sidon, on February 10, 2024. (AFP)
    Lebanese army soldiers secure the area around a car wrecked in a reported Israeli drone strike in the village of Jadra between Beirut and the southern city of Sidon, on February 10, 2024. (AFP)

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

FM Katz calls for UNRWA head’s ‘prompt resignation’ after Hamas tunnel, date center found under Gaza HQ

Israel Katz arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on December 10, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel Katz arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on December 10, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Foreign Minister Israel Katz calls for the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) to quit, following Israel’s discovery of a Hamas tunnel and a top secret data center right under the agency’s evacuated Gaza City headquarters.

Israel Katz dismisses UNRWA commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini’s claim that he was unaware of its presence as “not only absurd but also an affront to common sense.”

“His prompt resignation is imperative,” he writes on X, formerly Twitter.

“The exposure of UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters’ deep involvement with Hamas, including its use for terror activities and as an access point to terror tunnels, requires immediate action,” says Katz.

The IDF and the Shin Bet security agency said operations in Gaza City in recent weeks had led to the discovery of a “tunnel shaft” near a school run by the humanitarian agency.

“The shaft led to an underground terror tunnel that served as a significant asset of Hamas’s military intelligence and passed under the building that serves as UNRWA’s main headquarters in the Gaza Strip,” they added in a statement.

IDF soldiers inside what the army said was a Hamas data center in a tunnel under a compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) in Gaza City, February 8, 2024 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

“Electrical infrastructure” in the tunnel — 700 meters (765 yards) long and 18 meters underground — “connected” to the agency’s HQ, “indicating that UNRWA’s facilities supplied the tunnel with electricity,” they said.

Documents and a stash of weapons in the UN compound itself “confirmed that the offices had in fact also been used by Hamas terrorists,” the joint statement said.

‘Oh, you knew’: Israel says UNRWA ‘chose to ignore facts’ after Hamas top secret center found under Gaza HQ

Israeli soldiers take position as they enter UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City where the military discovered tunnels and a secret data center underneath the UN agency, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (AP/Ariel Schalit)
Israeli soldiers take position as they enter UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City where the military discovered tunnels and a secret data center underneath the UN agency, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, known by its acronym COGAT, hits back at UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini after he claimed the agency “did not know” of a Hamas top secret data center discovered under the Gaza headquarters of the UN body.

“Oh, you knew,” tweets COGAT, in response to Lazzarini’s long post denying any knowledge of the tunnel or the subterranean data center. The UNRWA head claimed that Israel has “not informed UNRWA officially” about the discoveries, and said UN staff left the Gaza headquarters four months ago as Israel launched its military campaign in Gaza, triggered by the October 7 Hamas killing spree.

“Digging a tunnel takes longer than 4 months. We invited senior UN officials to see, and during past meetings with you and other UN officials, we stated Hamas’s use of UNRWA’s headquarters,” COGAT writes.

“You chose to ignore the facts so you can later try and deny them,” it says to Lazzarini.

Israel’s English-language government spokesman Eylon Levy tweets: “They knew, and they didn’t find out from the media. Israeli authorities invited @unrwa leadership to tour the Hamas Server Farm under UNRWA HQ in Gaza City. Lazzarini ignored the invitation.”

The subterranean data center, seen by The Times of Israel’s military correspondent on Thursday, included an electricity room, industrial battery power banks, and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers.

The IDF said electrical cables led directly from the UN building to the tunnel and were providing power to the Hamas infrastructure belowground.

Israeli soldiers stand at the entrance of a tunnel outside the compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) in Gaza City, February 8, 2024 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

UNRWA and its activities have come under increased scrutiny after Israel released findings that at least 12 of its staff took part in the October 7 attack, and that hundreds of members have ties to Hamas.

The agency has faced a funding freeze by major government donors and calls to disband.

IDF delivers oxygen tanks, medical equipment to Khan Younis hospital used as Hamas ‘operational hideout’

Oxygen tanks delivered by the IDF to Al-Amal Hospital in southern Gaza's Khan Younis, February 10, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Oxygen tanks delivered by the IDF to Al-Amal Hospital in southern Gaza's Khan Younis, February 10, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF says it recently facilitated the delivery of more than 20 oxygen tanks and other medical equipment to Al-Amal Hospital in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis.

According to the IDF, the hospital has been used by Hamas operatives as an “operational hideout.”

It says that due to Hamas’s use of the hospital, and intense fighting in the area, troops carried out the delivery in coordination with an unnamed international aid organization and local officials.

Labor MKs met with cheers at Tel Aviv anti-government protest

Labor MK Gilad Kariv makes an appearance at the anti-government protest in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)
Labor MK Gilad Kariv makes an appearance at the anti-government protest in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)

Labor Knesset members Gilad Kariv and Naama Lazimi show up to an anti-government protest on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv tonight.

Though the demonstration is now winding down, police horses and barricades are still confining the remaining protesters to the sidewalks.

Kariv and Lazimi, who have immunity from arrest by virtue of their parliamentary position, were with met cheers from demonstrators as they walked down Kaplan Street.

Protesters earlier blocked some of Kaplan Street but were cleared by police.

Police arrest 7 protesters for blocking Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, lighting bonfire

Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Hamas block a road during a rally calling for their release in Tel Aviv on February 8, 2024. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Hamas block a road during a rally calling for their release in Tel Aviv on February 8, 2024. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

At least seven protesters were arrested tonight in Tel Aviv during a protest calling for the release of the hostages and new elections.

Some protesters blocked part of the Ayalon Highway heading south and were detained, police say.

The protesters set bonfires ablaze and blocked the highway’s southern lane for some time.

Relatives of hostages and supporters block part of the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024, to demand the release of their loves ones, held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7, 2023. (Zipi Menashe / Pro-Democracy Protest Movement)

The road has since been cleared and reopened for traffic, police say.

At least five other protesters received fines for “obstructing traffic,” according to the police.

‘A fight for us all’: Relatives of hostages gather at Jerusalem’s Paris Square for protest

A large crowd gathers at Jerusalem’s Paris Square to rally for the hostages as Elad Or, brother of hostage Dror Or taken from Kibbutz Re’im on October 7 , says he and his father represent the families of hostages, “a terrible title that describes what it’s like to grow up in Kibbutz Re’im and Kibbutz Be’eri,” two of the over 20 communities attacked by Hamas on October 7.

Dror Or’s wife was killed in the attack and his two children, 17-year-old Noam and 13-year-old Alma Or, were taken hostage and later released in the truce agreement in late November. Nephew Liam Or, 18, was also taken hostage on October 7 and later released.

“People say we only care about our own people,” says Or, “but the people here are the answer to that description. You’re the answer to solidarity and unity. You understand that it’s a fight for us all.”

Or said it was necessary to speak up now in support of a possible deal on the table that could save lives.

“We don’t have the privilege of giving up,” says Or. “The price of the hostages is the highest price we are paying. Show the government of Israel that it can do this. Be our hope.”

Grandkids of elderly hostage call on PM to bring back abductees ‘now’

Hili Cooper (with microphone) and Or Nohomovitch (right), tell protesters how they miss their grandfather, Amiram Cooper, held hostage in Gaza, at a rally for the release of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas terrorists, at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, February 10, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
Hili Cooper (with microphone) and Or Nohomovitch (right), tell protesters how they miss their grandfather, Amiram Cooper, held hostage in Gaza, at a rally for the release of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas terrorists, at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, February 10, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)

Two 10-year-old children, Hili Cooper and Or Nohomovitch, tell thousands of people in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square how they miss their grandfather, Amiram Cooper.

“I miss the rides in your mobility scooter, and your greeting cards and going to the pool with pretzels [and] apples and I miss grandma’s strawberry cake, which she doesn’t make because she’s sad,” says Or, addressing his grandfather, abducted by terrorists from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7.

Hili Cooper says she missed her grandfather on Family Day last week.

Amiram Cooper was taken captive by Hamas terrorists to Gaza from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

“Netanyahu, I’m addressing you because you are the prime minister: Bring back my grandfather now, he doesn’t have much time!” says Or Nohomovitch.

Eyal Ben-Reuven, a retired major general in the Israel Defense Forces, follows the children, saying: “I trained thousands of soldiers to leave no man behind, ever. This is our moral imperative.”

The price, he adds in reference to retrieving the hostages, “will be unbearable, and we will stand behind you,” he tells Netanyahu and the war cabinet.

Mother of hostage calls to PM: ‘I voted for you at the ballot box. When will you vote for me?’

Matan Zangauker was taken captive by Hamas terrorists to Gaza on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)
Matan Zangauker was taken captive by Hamas terrorists to Gaza on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

Einav Zangauker, whose son Matan is being held hostage in Gaza, calls for an end to the fighting in Gaza to retrieve the hostages.

These terms, she says before thousands of people in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square, “are part of a framework for a deal that could bring the hostages tomorrow morning, but you are hiding the terms from us and preventing the deal,” Zangauker adds, addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

She accuses him for “not protecting” her because on February 6, a passerby shoved her while she was protesting in front of the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv. The protester told her that she was hampering Israel’s war effort by protesting.

Zangauker, who said she had voted for Netanyahu and his Likud party, urges him “not to get squeezed by [Itamar] Ben Gvir and [Bezalel] Smotrich,” Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition partners, who have threatened to topple his government if he pursues what they termed a “reckless deal.”

She adds: ‘I voted for you at the ballot box. When will you vote for me?”

Brother of hostage slams Netanyahu’s ‘scare campaign’ against new release deal at Tel Aviv rally

Thousands cry out “shame” on Hostages Square in support of the speaker after the brother of a hostage lambasts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what he terms a “scare campaign” against retrieving the hostages.

“Netanyahu has started his scare campaign – we know them from the past: ‘Peres will divide Jerusalem’; ‘the Arabs are arriving in droves to vote’; ‘the Iranian nuclear project’ – and now he scares us that there will be a massacre if we accept the terms of the deal [with Hamas for a prisoner swap],” says Danny Elgarat, whose brother Itzik Elgarat was abducted on October 7 from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

The organizers of the rally do not intervene as the crowd continues to chant for about a minute, though in previous rallies they have. The chant “shame” was a staple of anti-government protests throughout 2023.

Elgarat says that “Israel is not a sovereign nation, it just does whatever the United States tells it. Only stopping the war and retrieving the hostages will restore faith in Israel’s sovereignty.”

Amir Tibon, a survivor of the attack on Nahal Oz, follows Elgarat and argues for a second deal with Hamas to retrieve the remaining hostages in Gaza.

“Before the first round, too, we were warned that this would stop the war, but the war continues and Hamas has had a major military defeat,” he says, referencing the weeklong truce in late November that facilitated the release of 105 hostages in exchange for some 240 Palestinian prisoners.

Hostages Square rally organizer decries growing partisanship surrounding cause

Speaking before several thousand people in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square, an organizer of the weekly rally there decries what she describes as growing partisanship surrounding the event.

“Several weeks ago we couldn’t have even imagined that hostages would become [seen as] left-wing and soldiers would become [seen as] right-wing,” says Sivan Cohen Sabag, a co-founder of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, tonight.

“We could never have imagined that a family of hostages would be assaulted here,” she says.

Sabag is referencing an altercation last week between Einav Zangauker, mother of Matan Zangauker, who was taken hostage by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, and a passerby who was filmed shoving her and telling her that by demonstrating in front of the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv she was “preventing the prime minister from fighting the war.”

Such incidents “do not represent our country, it is not our country, it is not our way,” says Cohen Sabag, who goes on to express thanks to Israeli troops fighting in Gaza, where Hamas is believed to still be holding over 100 hostages out of the 253 taken from Israel on October 7.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum is calling on the government to “pay any price” to “bring them all back now.”

Speakers at the weekly rallies have called for accepting Hamas’s demand for a ceasefire in order to facilitate a prisoner swap. Last week, the rally took a partisan turn as speakers accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of preventing a deal to avoid elections.

The rally, which organizers have said is nonpartisan, takes place amid multiple partisan political rallies calling for Netanyahu’s resignation or ouster.

A number of families of hostages, some of them members of the conservative Tikvah forum, oppose making far-reaching concessions to Hamas and say that Israelis urging the government to make such concessions harms the chances of retrieving the remaining hostages.

US-led coalition blocks drone attacks on oil field in Syria

Air defense systems operated by US-led coalition troops based in eastern Syria halted six drone attacks targeting their base at the Conoco oil field on Saturday, a security source says

The source did not tell Reuters if there were casualties.

Coalition troops and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who together fight remnants of the Islamic State group, have faced increased attacks by Iran-backed groups in Syria and Iraq since Hamas’s attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

The head of the SDF, General Mazloum Abdi, told Reuters last week that the US should send additional air defense systems to Syria to protect their bases, after six SDF fighters were killed in one of the drone attacks.

Another drone attack blamed on Iran-backed groups on a border outpost in Jordan killed three US soldiers.

Protesters in Tel Aviv block Kaplan Street as they call for new elections, release of hostages; Ayalon Highway blocked

A mounted policeman attempts to clear protesters from the street at anti-government protest in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)
A mounted policeman attempts to clear protesters from the street at anti-government protest in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)

Protesters are marching down Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv and blocking the street as they call for new elections and the release of hostages in Hamas captivity.

Police on horses are attempting to clear the street and are pushing demonstrators toward the sides, amid cries of “Shame” coming from the crowd.

A protester equipped with a megaphone reads off names of the hostages who remain in Hamas captivity.

Law enforcement are detaining protesters who attempt to return to block the street.

Relatives of hostages and supporters block part of the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on February 10, 2024, to demand the release of their loves ones, held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7, 2023. (Zipi Menashe / Pro-Democracy Protest Movement)

Nearby, on the Ayalon Highway, relatives of hostages and other protesters are also blocking part of the road.

The protesters set bonfires ablaze and block the highway’s southern lanes.

‘We did not know’: UNRWA head says agency knew nothing about Hamas data center directly under its Gaza City HQ

The commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the UNRWA headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, December 6, 2023. (AP/Bilal Hussein)
The commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the UNRWA headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, December 6, 2023. (AP/Bilal Hussein)

UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini denies any knowledge of the Hamas data center found by Israeli troops underneath the agency’s headquarters in Gaza.

In a tweet shortly after tonight’s publication of the findings, Lazzarini says UNRWA “did not know what is under its headquarters in Gaza” and that the reports “merit an independent inquiry that is currently not possible to undertake given Gaza is an active war zone.”

He says Israel has “not informed UNRWA officially about the alleged tunnel.”

The subterranean data center, seen by The Times of Israel’s military correspondent on Thursday, included an electricity room, industrial battery power banks, and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers.

Lazzarini says UN staff left the Gaza headquarters on October 12, five days after Hamas launched its October 7 killing spree across southern Israel, as the Israeli military campaign in Gaza began ramping up.

“We have not used that compound since we left it nor are we aware of any activity that may have taken place there,” he claims.

UNRWA, he says, “is a human development and humanitarian organization that does not have the military and security expertise nor the capacity to undertake military inspections of what is or might be under its premises.”

He says any previous “suspicious” activity was promptly dealt with and “consistently reported in annual reports presented to the General Assembly and made public.”

UNWRA has come under increased scrutiny and calls for its disbanding have grown following findings by Israel last month that accused 12 staff members of taking part in the October 7 massacre by Hamas-led terrorists, who killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages.

Since the allegations became public, UNRWA has seen many of its top donor countries announce funding freezes, leading to concerns that the agency could stop operating in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East within weeks.

IDF chief, Shin Bet director visit troops in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (right) and Shin Bet director Ronen Bar (center) visit southern Gaza's Khan Younis, February 10, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (right) and Shin Bet director Ronen Bar (center) visit southern Gaza's Khan Younis, February 10, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet director Ronen Bar visited southern Gaza’s Khan Younis earlier today, with the former saying the fighting against Hamas in the area is far from over.

“The fighting in Khan Younis — we have not yet finished it, we are far from finishing it, we are summing it up so far as a great success,” Halevi says to troops.

Bar says that the IDF’s actions to dismantle Hamas’s intelligence and communications capabilities are “impossible for [Hamas] to recover from.”

UAE, Jordan join Egypt, Saudi Arabia in warning Israel against Rafah offensive

The United Arab Emirates and Jordan join the countries sounding the alarm over Israel’s planned military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where over one million Palestinians are sheltering amid the ongoing military campaign that has been progressing in the direction of the Egypt border.

The UAE “has expressed deep concern” regarding the operation “and the serious humanitarian repercussions that may result,” says a statement from Abu Dhabi’s foreign ministry, adding that it risks the lives of more innocent civilians while exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

The statement goes on to reiterate the UAE’s opposition to the forced displaced of Palestinians, and urges a ceasefire and the renewal of efforts toward a two-state solution, without making mention of the remaining 136 hostages being held by terror groups in Gaza.

Jordan issues a largely identical statement. Similar calls have been heard from Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The US earlier this week said Israel has not conducted the planning necessary to ensure that civilians won’t be harmed in Rafah, leading Netanyahu to announce Friday that Israel would allow Palestinians to evacuate before the IDF begins the operation.

‘Zero empathy, zero responsibility’: Ex-head of IDF military intel slams PM at Jerusalem rally

Major general (res.) Amos Malka,  a former head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate, calls for new elections at a rally in Jerusalem, the February 10, 2024 (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)
Major general (res.) Amos Malka, a former head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate, calls for new elections at a rally in Jerusalem, the February 10, 2024 (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Major general (res.) Amos Malka, a former head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate, speaks at the Jerusalem rally, drawing a link between the coalition that came into power in December 2022 and  the events of October 7.

“What’s with this crazy government? This untethered prime minister?” asks Malka.

Malka says Netanyahu brought Israel into his own war for survival and calls him a leader with “zero empathy and zero responsibility.”

He accuses Netanyahu of helping to cultivate Hamas, as the crowd yells in approval.

“2024 is the year when the fate of the country will be determined,” says Malka, referring to the multiple war fronts, the hostages, Israel’s relationship with the US, its relations with Egypt, Jordan and the signatories to the Abraham Accords.

“These kinds of challenges can only be met by a government that has the trust of the country,” says Malka. “And this government does not have the trust of the public.”

Malka concludes by calling for new elections this summer.

Thousands gather in Tel Aviv for protest calling for immediate hostage deal, new elections

Silent demonstrators stand at Habima Square in Tel Aviv during an anti-government protest on February 10, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)
Silent demonstrators stand at Habima Square in Tel Aviv during an anti-government protest on February 10, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)

Thousands are gathering at Tel Aviv’s Habima Square to protest against the current government this evening, calling for the release of all hostages and immediate elections.

The demonstration is taking place amidst other rallies nationwide criticizing the government for its handling of the war and its immediate response to the October 7 attacks.

Following the speeches at Habima, a large section of demonstrators plan to march to Hostages Square to join the weekly rally of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.

On the edges of the protest, a group of silent demonstrators holds large signs that read: “The time is killing them,” referring to the 132 hostages taken on October 7 and still in Hamas captivity.

Speaker at Jerusalem protest calls on leaders to do ‘what is good for the country’

Hadas Rubin speaks outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on February 10, 2024. (Jessica Steinberg/The Times of Israel)
Hadas Rubin speaks outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on February 10, 2024. (Jessica Steinberg/The Times of Israel)

Michal Hadas Rubin from the Awakened Mothers group speaks at the protest outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, which is attended by hundreds of people.

She calls on the government to act with responsibility toward “our children who are serving,” including Rubin’s, whose son is a reservist and an enlisted daughter.

“They [the government] are making decisions for the survival of the coalition. There are more injured soldiers, soldiers who have been killed but hey, the coalition is surviving. The leadership should only act and do what is good for the country.”

As the crowd calls for elections, Rubin says, “Let’s choose to act before it’s too late.”

Protests are scheduled Saturday evening throughout the country to call for an immediate deal to release hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and new national elections.

Finance Minister Smotrich says Moody’s downgrade of Israel’s rating unreasonable, politicized

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaking at the Israel Defense and Security Forum in Ashkelon on January 25, 2024. (Daniel Starbo/ Courtesy)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaking at the Israel Defense and Security Forum in Ashkelon on January 25, 2024. (Daniel Starbo/ Courtesy)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich brushes off Moody’s downgrading of Israel’s credit rating, saying the decision linked to the Gaza war was not based on sound economic reasoning and claiming that the agency’s report is a pessimistic “political manifesto.”

Speaking to Channel 12, he says “the Israeli economy is strong by all measures.”

“It is capable of sustaining all war efforts, on the frontline and home front, until, with God’s help, victory is achieved,” he says in a response to the decision published on Friday.

He urges Israelis to read the report and says Moody’s actually “praised the Israeli economy” and the recent economic steps it has taken on the budget.

He claims the “75-76 economists in New York are handing downgrades on whether we agree to a ceasefire or not, [and whether] we are willing to set up a Palestinian state or not, and decided to downgrade our rating because we have, so far, not done so.”

“Absolutely unreasonable,” he says.

“They downgraded [our rating] because they don’t believe in Israel’s direction in the war. They won’t even describe Hamas as a terror organization,” he says, adding that Moody’s refused Israel’s request to do so.

The downgrade, he charges, is “political, geopolitical.”

The Israeli economy is responding “outstandingly,” he says. The Finance Ministry has been “pleasantly surprised by the economic activity, the market… growth is rebounding.”

In a separate written statement, he called Moody’s decision a “political manifesto that is based on a geopolitical, pessimistic, and unreasonable worldview.”

He again charged that Moody’s refused to label Hamas and Iranian proxy Hezbollah as terror organizations and claimed that the agency “hinted that it would have avoided the downgrade if only Israel would accept the suicidal outline [for a ceasefire] offered by the international community.”

He said Israel does not draw its strength by how “how it is judged in the world, but through a deep belief in the righteousness of its path.”

IDF uncovers top secret Hamas data center right under UNRWA’s Gaza Strip HQ

A subterranean Hamas data center underneath UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza City, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
A subterranean Hamas data center underneath UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza City, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

Beneath UNRWA’s Gaza Strip headquarters, the IDF has uncovered one of Hamas’s most significant and top secret assets: a subterranean data center used by the terror group for intelligence and communications.

The terror group built the server farm, complete with an electrical room and living quarters for the Hamas IT staff, directly below the UN agency’s complex and a nearby UNRWA school in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood, to ensure Israel would never strike it.

On Thursday, reporters, including The Times of Israel, were given a tour of the underground passages and data center, as well as the UNRWA headquarters above.

Stay tuned for the full story at 8 p.m.

IDF, Shin Bet say earlier strike in Rafah killed senior Hamas official, two operatives

The IDF and Shin Bet say an airstrike was carried out earlier today in southern Gaza’s Rafah, killing a senior Hamas police official, along with two other operatives.

The main target of the strike was Ahmed Al-Yaaqoubi, who the IDF and Shin Bet say was responsible for the security arrangements of senior Hamas officials and served as a senior officer in the Rafah district’s secret police department.

Iman Rantisi, a Hamas military operative and senior official in the terror group’s general security investigations department, and another officer in the Rafah district’s secret police department, were also killed in the strike, the IDF says.

Footage released by the IDF shows the airstrike on the car in Rafah the trio were in.

Missile fired from Lebanon hits building in Kiryat Shmona, causing damage but no injuries

A missile fired from Lebanon struck a building in Kiryat Shmona, causing damage.

Local authorities say there are no reports of injuries.

The apparent anti-tank guided missile did not set off alarms in the city.

Israeli jets target Hezbollah sites in south Lebanon; 3 projectiles land in open areas in north

The IDF says fighter jets carried out further airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon earlier today.

Among the targets were three command centers in Naqoura and Ayta ash-Shab, where members of the terror group were gathered, and two other sites in Khiam and Marwahin, according to the IDF.

The IDF also says three projectiles were fired from Lebanon toward the northern community of Shlomi, landing in open areas.

It adds that troops are shelling the launch sites.

Yemen’s Houthis hold funerals for 17 members killed during US-UK airstrikes

Mourners carry the coffins of Houthi rebels who were killed in recent US-led strikes, ahead of a funeral ceremony in Sanaa's Al-Saleh mosque, on February 10, 2024. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)
Mourners carry the coffins of Houthi rebels who were killed in recent US-led strikes, ahead of a funeral ceremony in Sanaa's Al-Saleh mosque, on February 10, 2024. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia holds funerals for at least 17 members killed during joint US-British airstrikes, the Houthi-run Saba news agency says.

“The bodies of a number of martyrs of the nation and the armed and security forces who were martyred as a result of the bombing of the American-British aggression were carried through Sanaa today in a solemn funeral procession,” Houthi official media says, listing their names.

Overnight on Friday-Saturday, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said forces conducted “self-defense strikes against two mobile unmanned surface vessels (USV), four mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, and one mobile land attack cruise missile (LACM) that were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea.”

CENTCOM said it “determined they presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region” and launched strikes in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

“These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for US Navy and merchant vessels,” CENTCOM said.

In Beirut, Iranian FM claims Tehran has ‘never sought’ to expand war

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says neither Iran nor Lebanon had sought to expand hostilities in the region, four months after Hamas’s October 7 shock attack on Israel set off flare-ups across the Middle East.

“Iran and Lebanon confirm that war is not the solution, and that we absolutely never sought to expand it,” Amir-Abdollahian says in a press conference alongside his Lebanese counterpart in Beirut.

In addition to Hamas, Iran backs Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen, terror groups that have continued to attack Israel as it wages a war against Hamas. Iran also backs armed Shia groups in Iraq that have attacked US forces in the region.

Egypt warns ties with Israel at risk as IDF prepares for Rafah offensive — report

Egypt has again warned Israel that any mass displacement of Palestinians into its territory would put the countries’ decades-long peace agreement and close security ties at risk.

Israel has been preparing for a massive push into Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in the Strip, where more than a million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that when Israel informed Egypt of its expansion of the ground operation into Rafah, Egyptian officials again warned them that if any Gazans were pushed into the Sinai Peninsula, “a decades-long peace treaty between the two countries would be suspended,” according to the report.

“There is limited space and great risk in putting Rafah under further military escalation due to the growing number of Palestinians there,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday during a press briefing, warning that an escalation would have “dire consequences.”

Egypt has repeatedly said it will not allow an influx of Palestinians into its territory, previously warning such a scenario would “rupture” Israeli-Egyptian ties.

Protester held for reading names of hostages outside Netanyahu residence in Caesarea

A protester was held by police this afternoon after reading the names of hostages in Gaza into a megaphone outside the private residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the coastal city of Caesarea, Walla reports.

Protesters have been gathering outside the home calling for an urgent deal that would free the remaining hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 massacre.

The protester, identified by Walla as Dr. Yolanda Yavor, a resident of Or Akiva, was taken to the Hadera police station where a handful of other protesters gathered calling for her release.

Bodies of Gazan girl, 6, ambulance team trapped under Israeli fire, found after 12 days

This undated handout photograph obtained courtesy of the family shows six-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab posing for a picture. The child went missing after the family's car came under fire in Gaza, and was found dead on February 10, 2024, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry and her relatives said. (Family handout via AFP)
This undated handout photograph obtained courtesy of the family shows six-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab posing for a picture. The child went missing after the family's car came under fire in Gaza, and was found dead on February 10, 2024, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry and her relatives said. (Family handout via AFP)

Relatives found the body today of a six-year-old Palestinian girl who had begged paramedics to save her after being trapped by Israeli military fire almost two weeks ago, along with the bodies of five of her family members and two ambulance workers who had been dispatched to her location.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) accused Israel of deliberately targeting the ambulance sent to rescue Hind Rajab, after she had spent hours on the phone to dispatchers pleading for help with the sound of shooting echoing around.

“Hind and everyone else in the car is martyred [killed],” the girl’s grandfather, Baha Hamada, tells AFP.

A number of family members made the grim discovery when they went to Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa area looking for the car near a gas station where it had last been spotted, he says. They found Hind’s body along with those of her uncle and aunt and their three children still in the car, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported

“They were able to reach the area because Israeli forces withdrew early at dawn today,” Hamada added.

Earlier this week, family members had said the group found their way in the path of Israeli tanks and were fired on as they tried to flee.

The PCRS released a photo of the ambulance, seen almost completely burned out. Al Jazeera footage of the scene appeared to show the ambulance only steps away from the car they said the family was in, a damaged black Kia Picanto riddled with bullet holes.

The plight of Hind, revealed in harrowing audio clips of her terrified conversation with rescue workers 12 days ago, underlined the impossible conditions for civilians in the four-month war, triggered by Hamas’s shock October 7 onslaught when terrorists killed 1,200 and took 253 hostages.

The PCRS said that after coordinating with the Israeli military through mediators and receiving a green light, it determined it was safe enough to send an ambulance with two crew, Youssef Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoon, to Hind’s location.

The PCRS says that in their last communication with the crew, they heard gunshots and an explosion before contact was lost.

There was no immediate comment from the IDF on the incident.

Hezbollah says it ‘took control’ of Israeli Skylark drone ‘in good condition’

This undated handout photo published by Elbit Systems on September 12, 2023, shows the new Skylark 1 eVTOL drone. (Elbit Systems)
This undated handout photo published by Elbit Systems on September 12, 2023, shows the new Skylark 1 eVTOL drone. (Elbit Systems)

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah says it seized an Israeli Skylark drone over Lebanese air space “in good condition.”

The Skylark is a small, unmanned aerial vehicle typically used for surveillance and produced by Israel-based weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems.

Top Hamas official in Lebanon survives alleged Israeli strike, says Palestinian security source

A Palestinian security official tells AFP that a senior Hamas member allegedly targeted in an alleged Israeli airstrike earlier today in Lebanon survived the attack.

The strike on a vehicle in the village of Jadra, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border, allegedly targeted Basel Salah, a Hamas operative charged with recruiting and managing members of the terror group, including in the West Bank, The Times of Israel reported earlier.

Salah is believed to have been wounded in the strike.

The Hamas unit Salah was a member of was headed by Azzam Al-Aqraa, who was killed in the alleged Israeli strike on Beirut last month, also killing the terror group’s deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri.

Salah allegedly was involved in recruiting Hamas members for years, even amid the war in Gaza.

Top Hamas operative believed targeted in Lebanon strike

The target of the alleged Israeli airstrike in Lebanon is Basel Salah, a Hamas operative charged with recruiting and managing members of the terror group, including in the West Bank, The Times of Israel has learned.

The Hamas unit Salah was a member of was headed by Azzam Al-Aqraa, who was killed in the alleged Israeli strike on Beirut last month, also killing the terror group’s deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri.

Salah allegedly was involved in recruiting Hamas members for years, even amid the war in Gaza.

Salah is believed to have been wounded in the strike earlier today in the village of Jadra, some 60 kilometers from the Israeli border, although his exact condition is not immediately clear.

Hamas says Gaza death toll at 28,064

Palestinians mourn after identifying the bodies of relatives killed in overnight Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza Strip, at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, on February 10, 2024. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Palestinians mourn after identifying the bodies of relatives killed in overnight Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza Strip, at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, on February 10, 2024. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says the Palestinian death toll in the Strip since the start of the war has reached 28,064.

These figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 10,000 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Alleged Israel strike hits vehicle deep inside Lebanon, killing three

Lebanese media outlets report an alleged Israeli airstrike on a vehicle in the village of Jadra, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border.

Al-Jazeera, citing a Lebanese security source, says three people are killed in the strike

It would potentially mark the deepest Israeli strike in Lebanon since hostilities ramped up after Hamas’s October 7 onslaught.

 

 

Saudis warn Israel against military operation in Rafah

Saudi Arabia warns Israel against launching a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in the Strip, where more than a million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

A statement from its foreign ministry says “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia warns of the extremely dangerous repercussions of storming and targeting the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.”

It says the city is “the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of people,” and renews a call for a ceasefire.

IDF says jets hit Hezbollah observation post; warning sirens in north were false alarm

The IDF says fighter jets carried out strikes a short while ago against a building used by Hezbollah in south Lebanon’s Bint Jbeil and an observation post in Markaba.

Last night, the IDF says it also struck a Hezbollah command center and another site used by the terror group’s air defense unit.

Meanwhile, the IDF says that suspected drone infiltration alarms that sounded in northern Israel earlier are confirmed to be a false alarm.

Hamas warns Israeli offensive into Rafah will cause ‘tens of thousands’ of casualties; AP says 31 killed there early Sat.

Palestinians check debris of a building in the aftermath of Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 10, 2024. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Palestinians check debris of a building in the aftermath of Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 10, 2024. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Hamas warns that there could be “tens of thousands” of dead and injured if the Israeli military attacks Rafah, in the far south of the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week said he had ordered troops to prepare to go into the city, crowded with displaced Palestinians, as it hunts down those responsible for the deadly October 7 attacks on southern Israel.

Hamas says in a statement that any military action would have catastrophic repercussions that “may lead to tens of thousands of martyrs and injured if Rafah… is invaded.”

The terror group says it would hold “the American administration, international community and the Israeli occupation” responsible if that happened.

The Associated Press said Israeli airstrikes killed at least 31 Palestinians in Rafah early Saturday, quoting Hamas health officials and its own reporting.

Rocket, drone warning sirens sound in the Galilee

Warning sirens sound in the Galilee along the Lebanese border.

A rocket warning siren sounds in the community of Avivim, while a drone infiltration alert sounds in Iftach, the Mevuot Hermon Regional Council, Ramot Naftali, Malkia, Dishon, Lehavot HaBashan, Kfar Blum, Shamir, Kfar Szold, Amir, Neot Mordechai, Sdeh Nechemia and Gonen.

The sirens come a day after the Hezbollah terror group fired a barrage of over 30 rockets at northern Israel.

Iran asks FIFA to ban Israel from international soccer over Gaza war

Israel soccer fans cheer for their team before the start of the Argentina 2023 U-20 World Cup semifinal match against Uruguay at the Estadio Unico Diego Armando Maradona stadium in La Plata, Argentina, June 8, 2023. (Luis Robayo/AFP)
Israel soccer fans cheer for their team before the start of the Argentina 2023 U-20 World Cup semifinal match against Uruguay at the Estadio Unico Diego Armando Maradona stadium in La Plata, Argentina, June 8, 2023. (Luis Robayo/AFP)

Iran’s football federation says it has asked world soccer’s governing body FIFA to suspend Israel’s soccer federation over the country’s war in Gaza.

In an announcement posted on the Iranian soccer federation’s website, Iran asked FIFA to “completely suspend” the Israeli federation “from all activities related to football.”

The request also asks for “immediate and serious measures” by FIFA and its member associations “to prevent the continuation” of the Israeli “crimes and provide food, drinking water, medicinal and medical supplies to innocent people and civilians.”

Lapid: Moody’s downgrade shows government not functioning

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 5, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 5, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

Opposition leader Yair Lapid says the decision by US ratings agency Moody’s to downgrade Israel’s credit rating shows the government does not function.

“The lowering of Israel’s credit rating is further proof that this government is not functioning and harming the public,” Lapid writes on X.

“For over a year now, this government has abandoned growth in the economy, bringing in a wasteful and irresponsible budget, and even during a war, there is no one among the 38 ministers who work for the Israeli economy,” Lapid says.

“The ‘with God’s help’ and ‘there is money for everything’ economy has failed,” he says. “Israel needs a new government that functions.”

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah meets Iranian foreign minister in Lebanon

This handout picture provided by Hezbollah's media office on February 10, 2024 shows Lebanese Shiite terror group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at an undisclosed location in Lebanon. (Photo by Hezbollah's Media Office / AFP)
This handout picture provided by Hezbollah's media office on February 10, 2024 shows Lebanese Shiite terror group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at an undisclosed location in Lebanon. (Photo by Hezbollah's Media Office / AFP)

The Hezbollah terror group announces that its leader Hassan Nasrallah has met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Hezbollah published pictures from the meeting that took place in an undisclosed location.

The terror group says the two discussed developments in Gaza, the situation in southern Lebanon — where Hezbollah trades fire on a daily basis with Israel across the border — and other fronts on the “axis of resistance.”

Iran is the main backer of Hezbollah and several other terror groups in the region, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the Houthis in Yemen.

Amir-Abdollahian also met with Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut.

Hamas says 110 people killed in overnight airstrikes in Gaza

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says that at least 110 people were killed in overnight strikes, including 25 in Rafah.

The IDF said airstrikes, largely directed by ground forces, targeted terror infrastructure.

The Hamas numbers can not be verified and do not differentiate between civilians and terror operatives.

IDF pushes ahead with Khan Younis offensive, airstrikes across Gaza

IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a photo released by the IDF on Feb. 10, 2024. (IDF Spokesperson)
IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a photo released by the IDF on Feb. 10, 2024. (IDF Spokesperson)

The IDF says intensive fighting between troops and Hamas operatives continues in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, as well as in the Strip’s center and north.

Simultaneously, the IDF says the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on various Hamas targets across the Strip.

In central Gaza, the IDF says the Nahal Brigade killed several Hamas operatives and captured others over the past day.

In western Khan Younis, the Commando Brigade raided several Hamas sites, capturing weapons and military equipment, the IDF says.

Also in western Khan Younis, the IDF says the Paratroopers Brigade and 646th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade killed several Hamas gunmen and seized weapons.

 

Bill to provide military aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan inches forward in US Senate

WASHINGTON — The US Senate edges closer to passing a bill that includes $95.34 billion in aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but faces an uncertain path to becoming law due to Republican opposition in both chambers of Congress.

The Senate votes 64-19 to advance the legislation one step along a chain of preliminary votes that could stretch into next week, unless party leaders can reach agreement with rank-and-file lawmakers to fast-track the bill. Lawmakers expect to take the next procedural step in a rare Sunday session.

In Friday’s vote, the bill clears a simple majority threshold with 14 Republicans supporting the measure.

Many Republicans want to make a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, to allow amendments to the legislation in exchange for quicker action.

But other Republicans, who reject the bill’s $61 billion in Ukraine aid, have vowed to delay consideration for as long as possible by forcing the Senate to comply with a labyrinth of time-consuming parliamentary rules.

Republicans had insisted that Ukraine aid be accompanied by provisions to secure the US-Mexico border, only to reject a bipartisan border agreement once former president Donald Trump, the party’s presidential frontrunner, came out against the deal.

Some of those same lawmakers now hope to offer their own amendments to stem the flow of migrants into the United States, while others want to forgo humanitarian assistance provisions and restrict foreign aid to weapons and materiel.

If the legislation ultimately passes the Senate, it will face an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where Speaker Mike Johnson has indicated he could split the aid into separate bills.

“We’ll see what the Senate does,” Johnson told reporters this week. “I’ve made very clear that you have to address these issues on their own merits.”

Johnson spoke a day after the House rejected a stand-alone aid bill for Israel.

Liberman slams government over Moody’s downgrade: ‘Result of populist and insufferable steps’

Opposition Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman slams the government over Moody’s decision to downgrade Israel’s credit rating and lower its future outlook.

Liberman, who served as finance minister before the current coalition was sworn in late 2022, says the Moody’s decision is no surprise, asserting it’s “the result of populist and insufferable steps the government has advanced since its establishment.”

“The government of destruction is continuing to bring us to an economic disaster, exactly as it brought us a security disaster on October 7,” he charges.

The Yisrael Beytenu chief also hits out at the amended wartime budget being advanced through the Knesset, arguing it “harms growth.”

Syrian state media reports ‘some material losses’ from Israeli strikes in Damascus area

A screenshot from a video showing damage caused by an alleged Israeli airstrike in the countryside of Damascus, Syria, on early February 10, 2024. (Screenshot from X used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A screenshot from a video showing damage caused by an alleged Israeli airstrike in the countryside of Damascus, Syria, on early February 10, 2024. (Screenshot from X used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Syrian air defenses shot down some Israeli missiles launched at the Damascus countryside in the early hours of Saturday, Syrian state media says.

Citing a military source, Syria’s official news agency, SANA, says the airstrikes were launched from the Golan Heights and caused “some material losses.”

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