ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

search
Live updates (closed)

Jan. 24: Minister fires back at Qatar: ‘Terror-backing state’ won’t be involved in Gaza post-war

Smotrich reacts to Doha’s assertion Netanyahu impeding hostage deal talks for political gain * Interim ICJ ‘genocide’ ruling set for Friday

  • Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich holds a press conference in Jerusalem, December 26, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/FLASH90)
    Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich holds a press conference in Jerusalem, December 26, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/FLASH90)
  • People ferry water at a makeshift tent camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah near the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, on January 24, 2024  (AFP)
    People ferry water at a makeshift tent camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah near the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, on January 24, 2024 (AFP)
  • Protesters block the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv during a protest march calling for an immediate deal to free the hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Tel Aviv, January 24, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
    Protesters block the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv during a protest march calling for an immediate deal to free the hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Tel Aviv, January 24, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
  • Protesters march to call for an immediate to to free the hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Tel Aviv, January 24, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
    Protesters march to call for an immediate to to free the hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Tel Aviv, January 24, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
  • Israeli reserve soldiers take part in a military drill in the Golan Heights, January 24, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
    Israeli reserve soldiers take part in a military drill in the Golan Heights, January 24, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
  • IDF soldiers at the entrance to a Hamas tunnel found in the central Gaza Strip and located just one and a half kilometers from the Israeli border, January 24, 2024. (Screenshot/Israel Defense Forces)
    IDF soldiers at the entrance to a Hamas tunnel found in the central Gaza Strip and located just one and a half kilometers from the Israeli border, January 24, 2024. (Screenshot/Israel Defense Forces)

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

Nearly all US Senate Democrats back two-state solution for Israel and Palestinians

An overwhelming majority of US President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats in the Senate back a statement reiterating US support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Forty-nine of the 51 members of the Senate Democratic caucus back an amendment supporting a negotiated solution to the conflict that results in Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side, ensuring Israel’s survival as a secure, democratic, Jewish state and fulfilling the Palestinians’ “legitimate aspirations” for a state of their own.

Senator Brian Schatz introduced the measure as an amendment to an upcoming bill that would provide national security aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

“What will determine the future of Israel and Palestine is whether or not there’s hope. And the two-state solution has to be that hope,” Schatz told a news conference.

The only two Democratic senators who did not sign onto the amendment were John Fetterman and Joe Manchin.

Fetterman has long supported a two-state solution, but he believed the measure should include language stipulating the destruction of Hamas as a precondition to peace, an aide says. Manchin’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Italy to treat 100 wounded Palestinian children

One hundred Palestinian children wounded in war-torn Gaza are to receive medical treatment in Italian hospitals, the defense ministry in Rome says.

The ministry announces “the start of the operation for the transport of 100 Palestinian children and their families from the Gaza Strip to Italian hospital facilities.”

The first 30 children are set to be transferred in the next few days “with an air force airlift between Italy and Egypt,” the ministry says in a communique. Another 30 children will arrive at the end of the month on board an Italian military ship, the “Nave Vulcano,” which will soon leave Egypt’s port of El Arish, it adds.

The children will be hospitalized in several Italian cities, including Rome, Bologna, Florence and Genoa.

Separately, the ministry says it is in talks with countries in the region to set up an army field hospital.

Smotrich fires back at Qatar: ‘Terror-backing state’ that won’t be involved in Gaza post-war

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks at a conference in Jerusalem, January 11, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks at a conference in Jerusalem, January 11, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

In what appears to be an escalating feud between Israel and Qatar following Doha’s sharp criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calls the Gulf state “a terror-supporting and terror-funding state.”

Retweeting the earlier post blasting Netanyahu by Majed Al Ansari, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman, Smotrich says Doha is “Hamas’s patron and is largely responsible for the massacre of Israeli citizens Hamas committed [on October 7].

“The West’s treatment of it is hypocritical and based on improper financial interests,” Smotrich continues. “The West can and should employ far stronger leverage and bring about the release of the hostages immediately.

“One thing is certain: Qatar won’t be involved in any way in managing Gaza in the day after the war.”

Yemen’s Houthis say they targeted US vessels with ballistic missiles

Yemen’s Houthis say they targeted several US warships with ballistic missiles today in the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait while they were protecting two US commercial vessels.

The “clash” led to a US warship being directly hit and forced the two commercial vessels “to withdraw and return,” the Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree says in a statement.

IDF probing strike on UN shelter in Gaza, says it may have been caused by Hamas

Palestinians try to extinguish a fire at a building of an UNRWA vocational training center in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, which displaced people were using as a shelter, after it was hit on January 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramez Habboub)
Palestinians try to extinguish a fire at a building of an UNRWA vocational training center in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, which displaced people were using as a shelter, after it was hit on January 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramez Habboub)

The IDF says it is investigating a strike today on a United Nations shelter in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, which reportedly killed nine people and wounded others, but adds that it suspects it may have been caused by Hamas rocket fire.

Earlier today, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants claimed Israeli tanks struck the shelter.

“Two tank rounds hit building that shelters 800 people – reports now 9 dead and 75 injured,” said Thomas White, UNRWA’s Gaza director.

The IDF says that “after an inspection of the operational systems, the IDF has now ruled out the possibility that the incident was caused by an airstrike or artillery fire by IDF forces.”

It says that “at the same time, the IDF is conducting an in-depth examination of the ground forces’ activity in the area of ​​the facility.”

“The IDF is investigating the possibility that the strike was caused by Hamas fire,” the military adds.

Israeli soldiers have come under rocket and mortar fire in Gaza amid their operations.

Hamas gets $8-12 million per month from charities posing as raising funds for Gaza — report

Israel and the US believe organizations ostensibly raising funds for Gazan civilians are actually funneling millions of dollars to Palestinian terror group Hamas, Bloomberg reports, citing several unnamed officials at Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing, as well as an unnamed senior US official.

The officials estimate Hamas is getting $8-12 million per month, primarily through such aid groups, enabling it to evade international sanctions, something it has years of experience at.

Washington is determined to put an end to the phenomenon, the US news site cites the American official as saying.

Italy’s leader says she supports two-state solution for Israel, Palestinians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Tel Aviv on October 21, 2023. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Tel Aviv on October 21, 2023. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Italy’s far-right leader, Premier Giorgia Meloni, tells lawmakers that she disagrees with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position opposing a two-state solution.

“Italy has always reiterated that the Palestinian people have the right to have a state, an independent, secure state,” Meloni says during a debate on various issues in Italy’s lower Chamber of Deputies.

“It is a just and necessary solution, both in the interests of the Palestinians but also in those of Israel. For this [reason], I don’t share the position expressed by the Israeli prime minister,” she says.

She adds: “However, recognition can’t be requested unilaterally. The precondition is the recognition of the right of existence of the Jewish state and of the right of its citizens to live in peace and security.”

Netanyahu’s rejection of a Palestinian state after the war has opened a wide rift with the United States, which says the war must lead to negotiations for a two-state solution where Israel and the Palestinians can live side-by-side in peace. That goal is supported by countries around the world.

Netanyahu, while upping his rhetoric against the two-state solution, has carefully avoided explicitly ruling out a demilitarized Palestinian state, however.

Qatar ‘appalled’ by Netanyahu’s criticism, calls it ‘destructive’ to hostage deal efforts

Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari gives details of a planned hostage release, at a press conference in Doha, November 23, 2023 (CNN screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari gives details of a planned hostage release, at a press conference in Doha, November 23, 2023 (CNN screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Qatar’s foreign ministry chastises Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a report yesterday that said the premier had told families of hostages that Doha acting as the mediator between Israel and the Hamas terror group was “problematic.”

“Qatar, from my point of view, is no different in essence than the United Nations… and the Red Cross, [Qatar] is even more problematic,” Channel 12 aired a recording of the premier saying, appearing to express disappointment with Washington for not applying more pressure on the Gulf state, which hosts Hamas leaders.

“I have no illusions about them. They have leverage [over Hamas]… Because [Qatar] funds them.”

Netanyahu says he got “very angry recently with the Americans” for renewing a deal to extend US military presence at a base in Qatar for another 10 years.

Majed Al Ansari, the spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, tweets that Doha is “appalled” by the reported remarks, adding that if confirmed, they “are irresponsible and destructive to the efforts to save innocent lives, but are not surprising.”

“If the reported remarks are found to be true, the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process, for reasons that appear to serve his political career instead of prioritizing saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages,” he writes.

“Instead of concerning himself with Qatar’s strategic relations with the United States, we hope Netanyahu decides to operate in good faith and concentrate on the release of the hostages.”

Keeping ministers in the dark, Netanyahu said to okay 6-month’s worth of flour to Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a cabinet meeting at Chorazim in the north, January 23, 2024. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a cabinet meeting at Chorazim in the north, January 23, 2024. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concealed his decision to let tens of thousands of tons of flour enter the Gaza Strip even from his ministers and members of the narrow war cabinet, as well as from the public, Channel 12 news reports.

The report also says the approval is for an amount of flour that will be enough for the Strip’s needs for half a year, and that the decision has started to be implemented.

The report does not cite sources.

Netanyahu has previously denied okaying the entry of 150 trucks of flour, a decision announced by the United States last week.

Israel initially restricted aid into Gaza in the wake of the October 7 massacre.

On Friday, the US welcomed an Israeli decision to permit the entry of large shipments of flour via Ashdod, located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Gaza border.

Jerusalem has refrained from announcing the decision, ostensibly due to its unpopularity among large swaths of the public while 132 hostages remain in Gaza; however, an Israeli official confirmed to The New York Times on Sunday that the security cabinet approved the plan on Friday.

A US official quoted by the Times said that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had pressed the issue when he was in Israel earlier this month.

US ‘deplores’ alleged Israeli shelling that hit UN training center in Gaza

The United States is concerned by an alleged Israeli attack that hit a UN training center sheltering displaced people in Gaza’s Khan Younis, Deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel says, repeating Washington’s calls for the protection of civilians, humanitarian workers and aid facilities.

“We deplore today’s attack on the UN’s Khan Younis training center,” Patel tells a news briefing, calling it “incredibly concerning.”

The director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza has claimed that nine Palestinians were killed and 75 were injured when two tank rounds hit the building that was sheltering around 800 people in the southern Gaza Strip.

“Civilians must be protected, and the protected nature of UN facilities must be respected, and humanitarian workers must be protected so that they can continue providing civilians with the life-saving humanitarian assistance that they need,” Patel says.

Shin Bet chief slams Likud MK Gotliv for ‘intentionally’ harming national security

Likud MK Tally Gotliv attends a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on September 26, 2023. (Chaim Goldbergl/Flash90)
Likud MK Tally Gotliv attends a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on September 26, 2023. (Chaim Goldbergl/Flash90)

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar issues a strongly worded letter blasting Likud MK Tally Gotliv, who has repeatedly pushed a conspiracy theory about a meeting between the Mossad and Shikma Bressler, a leader of the protest movement against the government’s contentious judicial overhaul, on October 3, days before Hamas’s October 7 onslaught.

In the highly unusual letter, Bar accuses Gotliv of publishing the personal details of two employees of security services, endangering their and their families’ lives.

“National security cannot be used as a tool in a foolish attempt to get public attention,” Bar writes, saying Gotliv broke both criminal and civil law with her posts on X.

He also says the lawmaker “knowingly and intentionally” harmed national security.

Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway reopens to traffic after protesters blocked it

The Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv has been reopened to traffic after it was blocked by thousands of protesters who held an unauthorized demonstration on the thoroughfare to demand an immediate deal to return the hostages being held in Gaza.

However, the nearby Hashalom Interchange is still blocked.

Sissi said to rebuff Israeli request for phone call with Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (right) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2018. (Avi Ohayon / PMO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (right) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2018. (Avi Ohayon / PMO)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s office has refused a request for the leader to speak on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, multiple Hebrew media outlets report.

Netanyahu’s office, via the National Security Council, tried to coordinate the conversation in recent days but were rebuffed, the reports say, adding that lower-level contacts are being held and that Israeli delegations have visited Cairo in recent weeks.

Channel 13 news says the issue is related to tensions over the question of who will control the Egypt-Gaza border after the ongoing war is over, with Israel reportedly seeking to control the key border.

Thousands of protesters block main Tel Aviv highway, calling for immediate hostage deal

Masses of protesters demanding an immediate deal to free the Gaza hostages block Tel Aviv’s main Ayalon Highway, in scenes not seen since the bitter nationwide fight over the government’s judicial overhaul last year.

After a day of women-led protests that blocked many roads in coordination with police, the Ynet news site estimates that some 5,000 demonstrators are blocking the key artery at Hashalom Interchange, demanding an immediate deal to return all the hostages and chanting “Stop the world, our brothers are there.”

Protesters clash with police forces and initially prevent them from clearing the road.

Protesters prevent 51 aid trucks from entering Gaza, saying it’s ‘insane to aid the enemy’

Israelis demonstrate at a protest action at Kerem Shalom border crossing on January 24, 2024. (Courtesy Reut Ben Haim)
Israelis demonstrate at a protest action at Kerem Shalom border crossing on January 24, 2024. (Courtesy Reut Ben Haim)

Protesters at the border crossing with the Gaza Strip today prevented the entry of most of the dozens of trucks that arrived at the terminal carrying humanitarian aid from Egypt, slamming the entry of aid as long as Hamas terrorists continue to hold Israeli and foreign hostages, Hebrew media reports.

Only nine out of the 60 trucks that arrived today at the Kerem Shalom border crossing made it through, according to Ynet. The remaining 51 returned to Egypt after a six-hour wait at the crossing because hundreds of protesters from the Tsav 9 and Combatants’ Mothers groups, among others, physically blocked the trucks in an unauthorized protest action.

Another 106 trucks carrying aid crossed into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, but only after they had been screened by Israel at the Nitzana Crossing, according to the report.

“It’s always insane to aid the enemy, but it’s especially zany to do it today, one day after they killed 24 of our soldiers and as they’re preparing to continue firing into our cities — even as they’re holding more than 130 of our hostages,” one protester, Reut Ben Haim, a mother of eight from Netivot, tells The Times of Israel.

The United States is pressing Israel to let in more aid to Gaza, according to a New York Times report Monday. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled their homes during the war are living in tent cities in the southern Gaza Strip in conditions that the Red Cross said amount to a “desperate humanitarian crisis.”

Allowing aid into Gaza “is vital for ensuring international support,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said during a meeting with relatives of hostages who challenged him on this point.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi accused Israel today of holding up aid to pressure Hamas into releasing its hostages at the expense of the civilian population.

“This is a form of pressure on the Gaza Strip and its people over the conflict and the release of hostages. They are using this as a pressure tool on the people of the Strip,” Sissi told a gathering of military officers and state officials in Cairo.

Hamas said to reject Israel’s latest hostage deal offer, as it toughens its stance

Qatar told Israel this morning that the Hamas terror group has rejected Israel’s latest offer for a hostage deal that would see the release of Palestinian security prisoners and a significant pause in fighting, the Kan public broadcaster reports, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter.

All three main television news channels cite officials saying Hamas has toughened its stance in the negotiations.

Kan cites unnamed Israeli officials as saying chances for a deal are not at zero and that other proposals are being worked on.

Meanwhile, Channel 12 news reports that Hamas has proposed a hostage deal that would end the war and include a ceasefire for 10-15 years. Notably, the terror group violated a similar previous agreement when it launched its October 7 onslaught.

US says envoy McGurk now in Qatar to continue talks on Israel-Hamas hostage deal

WASHINGTON — White House Middle East czar Brett McGurk is currently in Doha for meetings with Qatari leaders about another potential hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says.

McGurk was in Cairo earlier this week for talks with Egyptian counterparts aimed at the same goal.

Kirby stresses that the discussions have been “serious and sober,” using a characterization that US officials have employed for weeks as a breakthrough has remained elusive.

White House says lower-intensity fighting in Gaza doesn’t mean no civilian casualties

WASHINGTON — The White House stresses that Israel’s shift to low-intensity fighting in large parts of Gaza does not mean that there will not be further civilian casualties.

Asked to respond to reports of a mass-casualty incident at a shelter in Gaza, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says he doesn’t have enough information to do so but uses the opportunity to make a broader point.

“The Israelis have taken steps to transition their operations. They have removed a division [from Gaza] — that’s thousands of troops. They are pursuing on the ground more targeted operations against the military leadership. They are relying less on airstrikes,” Kirby notes.

“[However], ‘low-intensity operations’ doesn’t mean ‘no-intensity operations.’ Even in a low-intensity environment… you’re still going to be in combat… and there are still going to be casualties. As we think about this moving forward, we should not expect that there’s going to be some violence,” he adds.

Kirby says the food situation in Gaza is “dire” and that the US is working to get more aid into the Strip.

Houthis fired 3 missiles toward US-flagged container in Gulf of Aden, US military says

Yemen’s Houthi forces earlier today fired three anti-ship ballistic missiles toward the US-flagged and owned container ship M/V Maersk Detroit as it was transiting the Gulf of Aden, the US Central Command said on X.

There have been no reports of injuries or damage to the ship, it adds in a statement.

Hague-based ICJ says it will deliver interim ruling in Israel genocide case on Friday

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on 11 and 12 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. (Courtesy International Court of Justice)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on 11 and 12 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. (Courtesy International Court of Justice)

Judges at The Hague-based International Court of Justice will rule on Friday whether or not they will grant emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that the Israeli military operation in Gaza is a state-led “genocide.”

The United Nations’ top court issues a statement saying the 17-judge panel will hand down its ruling in court on January 26 at 1200 GMT, or 2 p.m. Israel time.

While the court is expected to rule on possible emergency measures, it will not rule at the same time on the genocide allegations — those proceedings could take years.

Israel has rejected the accusations of genocide as baseless and said South Africa was acting as an emissary of the Hamas terror group, which seeks to eliminate the Jewish state. It says the Israel Defense Forces is targeting Hamas terrorists, not Palestinian civilians, but that civilian casualties in the fighting are unavoidable as terrorists operate from within the population.

IDF chief tells comptroller his planned Oct. 7 probe will divert army’s attention from war

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, undated. (State Comptroller's Office)
State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, undated. (State Comptroller's Office)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi writes a letter to the state comptroller asking him to delay a planned investigation into the multiple failures that occurred before, during and after the Hamas terror group’s October 7 massacre.

“The IDF is in the midst of an unprecedented war. The audit will divert the attention of the commanders from the fighting, will damage the operational investigation ability, and will not allow drawing necessary lessons to achieve the goals of the war,” says Halevi to Matanyahu Englman.

“There is no precedent for holding such a review during the war,” the IDF chief adds.

In December, Englman said his office would “leave no stone unturned” in its investigation.

Among the issues to be reviewed by the comptroller’s office are the conduct of the government’s security cabinet; the conduct of policymakers and the military on October 7 itself; intelligence preparedness before October 7; the defense posture on the Gaza border before the Hamas invasion; the preparedness of the civilian security squads in the Gaza border region before the war; the funding of Hamas; and the lack of equipment for IDF soldiers, he said at the time.

IDF carries out wave of strikes on Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon

The IDF says it has carried out a wave of strikes on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

The sites hit by fighter jets and artillery shelling in Yaroun include military buildings and other infrastructure used by the terror group, according to the IDF.

The IDF says it also hit areas in southern Lebanon to “remove threats.”

ADL launches ‘Not On My Campus’ campaign, urging US universities to combat antisemitism

The Anti-Defamation League says it is launching a new campus campaign urging US academic institutions to combat surging antisemitic incidents, which have proliferated since Hamas’s October 7 onslaught and the ensuing war.

“Existing campus systems have failed to protect Jewish students facing discrimination and harassment on their campuses,” the ADL says in a statement. “The Not On My Campus campaign offers a clear call to action for university and college leaders to commit to No Tolerance for antisemitism on their campuses and meet their moral and legal obligations to provide safe, inclusive and equitable learning environments for all students.”

The group’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says: “It is unacceptable that Jewish students find themselves in a position where they are being made to feel increasingly unsafe and unwelcome on their own college campuses. As an urgent priority, colleges and universities must rigorously enforce their codes of conduct to protect against antisemitism, just as they do for other forms of identity-based harassment and discrimination.”

IDF slams UK network after claim unarmed Gazan was shot dead shortly after interview

The IDF slams a British broadcaster over a report claiming an unarmed Palestinian raising his hands in the air along with several others, including one waving a white flag, was shot dead by IDF troops in Khan Younis,

The military says the footage was edited and blasts ITV News for serving as an arm of Hamas’s propaganda effort.

The footage shows 51-year-old Ramzi Abu Sahloul being interviewed, explaining that he and the four men with him were ordered by the IDF to evacuate a building that was to be targeted by the army. Abu Sahloul says that they were trying to return to the area in order to reach his mother and brother who hadn’t managed to evacuate in time.

The cameraman then turns away upon completing the interview. In then cuts to what the reporter says is a short while later, with gunshots heard and the group of men with the white flag beginning to run in the other direction. But one of them — reportedly Abu Sahloul — falls to the ground after being shot in the chest.

The footage doesn’t show who carried out the gunfire.

Amid screams, the young men lift him to safety before his wife arrives and cries out in distress.

Responding to the footage, the IDF tells ITV: “It is imperative to emphasize that the alarming, libelous and a gross mischaracterization of the war with these despicable accusations can only be deemed as an extension of Hamas’s propaganda effort to defame the IDF and undermine our objective to dismantle Hamas and ensure the terrorist entity never again holds the power to build a terrorist army, invade Israel, murder, burn, rape and abduct Israelis.”

US Navy intercepts missiles in Red Sea while escorting Maersk ships, firm says

Shipping company Maersk says two US-flagged vessels transiting the Bab el-Mandeb strait northbound accompanied by the US Navy turned around today after seeing explosions nearby.

“While en route, both ships reported seeing explosions close by and the US Navy accompaniment also intercepted multiple projectiles,” Maersk says in a statement.

The vessels and crew are unharmed and are being escorted back to the Gulf of Aden by the US Navy, Maersk says.

Both vessels are operated by Maersk’s US subsidiary that carries cargo for the Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID and other US government agencies.

They are both enrolled in the Maritime Security Program and Voluntary Intermodal Sealift with the US government, which is why it was escorted through the strait by US Navy vessels, Maersk says.

IDF finds, destroys Hamas tunnel in central Gaza located 1.5 km from Israel border

IDF soldiers at the entrance to a Hamas tunnel found in the central Gaza Strip and located just one and a half kilometers from the Israeli border, January 24, 2024. (Screenshot/Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers at the entrance to a Hamas tunnel found in the central Gaza Strip and located just one and a half kilometers from the Israeli border, January 24, 2024. (Screenshot/Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF says it has demolished a Hamas tunnel in the central Gaza Strip that was located just one and a half kilometers from the Israeli border.

The tunnel, found by reservists of the 646th Brigade and combat engineers of the elite Yahalom unit, connects north and southern Gaza, according to the IDF.

The IDF says the tunnel is one kilometer long, 20 meters deep, and was built around 1.5 kilometers from the border.

It was later destroyed by combat engineers.

During the operation, the 646th Brigade also located rockets, anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment used by Hamas.

Rocket sirens blare in northern towns, in first alerts nationwide in more than a day

The first rocket alerts nationwide in over 27 hours sound in the northern towns of Yir’on, Dovev and Baram in the Upper Galilee.

There are no immediate reports or injuries or damage.

The sirens come amid repeated Hezbollah attacks on northern Israel, although no alerts have been activated since yesterday afternoon.

UNRWA claims 9 dead in tank shelling at UN shelter in southern Gaza

Tank shelling on a UN shelter has allegedly killed at least nine people in Gaza’s main southern city of Khan Younis, says the Gaza head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

“Two tank rounds hit building that shelters 800 people – reports now 9 dead and 75 injured,” Thomas White, UNRWA’s Gaza director, says on X.

Report: IDF mulling request to hand anti-tank missiles to settlement security teams

The Israel Defense Forces is reportedly weighing handing anti-tank missiles to local civilian security teams in West Bank settlements that are isolated or close to Palestinian towns.

Haaretz reports that the potential move has been suggested by right-wing lawmakers as a precaution against the scenario of a mass terrorist infiltration by vehicles, similar to what happened in the south on October 7 when thousands of Hamas gunmen invaded from Gaza and massacred hundreds of civilians.

The report says IDF officers have discussed the step and not voiced objection, and that it is now being considered by top security officials.

Known anti-overhaul activist remanded for allegedly assaulting minister Silman

A woman has been remanded in custody for allegedly assaulting Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman earlier today at a shopping center in the central city of Rehovot.

Yarden Mann, a known activist in the anti-judicial overhaul protest movement, is suspected of threatening the Likud party minister and slapping her in the face, according to police.

The Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court has extended Mann’s remand for five days.

Police tell the court that Mann began to film the minister, teasing her and threatening to hurt her, citing footage and eyewitness testimony as evidence.

“The minister asked why she was speaking to her that way, and then [Mann] allegedly attacked her by knocking her cellphone out of her hand with which she was taking pictures of the suspect, and then slapped her in the face,” police say.

Mann denies she attacked Silman, with her lawyer presenting CCTV footage showing them filming each other with no attack seen.

UNRWA official reports ‘mass casualties’ as fire breaks out in displaced persons shelter in Gaza

A UN training center sheltering tens of thousands of displaced people in Gaza has been hit, causing “mass casualties” as buildings blaze, claims a senior official in UNRWA, the UN organization for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

“Fighting is escalating in Khan Younis… the @UNRWA Training Centre sheltering 10Ks of displaced people has just been hit – buildings ablaze and mass casualties – safe access to/from the centre has been denied for 2 days – people are trapped,” Thomas White, the director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza, says on X.

Details of the cause of the incident is not immediately clear.

Israeli forces have been advancing through Khan Younis, southern Gaza’s main city, where the Hamas terror group’s leaders are believed to be hiding underground along with most of the remaining hostages.

In response to questions about the fire at the center, run by UNRWA, the IDF says the wider area is a significant base for Hamas terrorists.

“Dismantling Hamas’s military framework in western Khan Younis is the heart of the logic behind the operation,” it says.

Netanyahu meets UK top diplomat Cameron in Jerusalem amid talk of hostage deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with British Foreign Minister David Cameron in Jerusalem, January 24, 2024. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with British Foreign Minister David Cameron in Jerusalem, January 24, 2024. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Jerusalem.

Cameron said earlier in the day that he would work to push for a permanent ceasefire that would include the freeing of all hostages and the end of Hamas’s rule of Gaza.

IDF shares clip allegedly showing Gazans urging Hamas to end war, hand over hostages

The Israel Defense Forces’ Arabic-language spokesperson posts footage he says shows Gazans urging the Hamas terror group to end the war and release the hostages it abducted from Israel.

The clip shows women and children — allegedly at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah — chanting in favor of ending the war and urging Hamas to allow them to return to their homes in other parts of Gaza, with one banner reading “Yes, hand the prisoners over” — an apparent reference to the hostages.

Details are not immediately clear or verified.

Physicians group urges leaders to press Qatar, Egypt for proof medicines reached hostages in Gaza

The Organization of State-Employed Physicians in Israel sends a letter to the prime minister and war cabinet calling on them to press Qatar and Egypt for proof that the medications for the Israeli hostages that reportedly entered Gaza have indeed reached them.

The letter demands that the war cabinet “act with determination and immediately in dealing with the Egyptian and Qatari intermediaries… to ascertain that each hostage gets the medications and medical treatment that they need.”

Doha announced on January 16 that the delivery of the medications for the hostages would begin on January 17 in return for the concurrent transfer of large amounts of medical and humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. A day later, it was reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross would not be involved in the deal and that Qatar would guarantee the delivery of medications.

Since then, there has been no public confirmation that the medicines reached the hostages. Inquiries by The Times of Israel with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, the IDF, COGAT and the medical and resilience team of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum have yielded either no information or no comment.

The letter, signed by Organization of State-Employed Physicians chair Dr. Zeev Feldman, lists the chronic and life-threatening illnesses that many of the remaining hostages suffer from and emphasizes how critical it is for them to receive their medicines. Feldman also mentions that some released hostages have suffered complications like strokes and heart problems due to the horrific conditions in which they were held.

“As doctors, we know and worry that if the medications are not delivered, very soon there will not be anyone left to save. Medications and critical care are not a matter of quality of life. They are an absolute requirement to preserve and save the life of many of the hostages,” Feldman writes.

Explosion strikes near ship off Yemen coast; no damage reported

An explosion recently struck near a ship traveling through a crucial strait near Yemen, though no damage or injuries have been reported, the British military says.

No group immediately claims responsibility for the attack, but suspicion immediately falls on Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, an organization monitoring Mideast waterways overseen by the British military, reports the blast happened near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen.

The explosion happened some 100 meters (325 feet) from the vessel, but caused no damage and its crew is safe, it says.

The Houthis, who have been launching attacks on ships since November over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, does not immediately acknowledge the incident.

The US and the UK have launched rounds of airstrikes targeting suspected missile storage and launch sites used by the Houthis over the attacks.

Armed drone targets base housing US forces near Iraq’s Erbil airport

An armed drone has targeted a base housing US forces near northern Iraq’s Erbil airport, two sources tell Reuters.

Iran-backed Houthis order US, British aid workers to leave Yemen after strikes

Women and children stand behind a giant Palestinian flag during a protest in front of the United Nations office in Sanaa on December 10, 2023 (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)
Women and children stand behind a giant Palestinian flag during a protest in front of the United Nations office in Sanaa on December 10, 2023 (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)

Yemen’s Houthi authorities have ordered US and British staff of the United Nations and Sanaa-based humanitarian organizations to leave the country within a month, a document and a Houthi official say.

The decision follows the United States and Britain, with support from other nations, striking military targets of the Iran-aligned group which has been launching attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea that is says are linked to Israel.

The US government last week also returned the group to a list of terrorist groups as Washington tries to stem attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea. The Houthis have said their attacks are in solidarity with the Palestinians as Israel strikes Gaza.

“The ministry… would like to stress that you must inform officials and workers with US and British citizenships to prepare to leave the country within 30 days,” says a letter sent by the Houthi foreign ministry to the UN’s acting humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Peter Hawkins.

The letter also ordered foreign organizations to not hire American and British citizens for Yemen’s operations.

Houthi top negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam confirms the letter’s authenticity to Reuters.

The office of Hawkins, who is himself a British national, did not respond to a request for comment. The US and British embassies in Yemen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yemen is in a deep humanitarian crisis, labeled among the worst in the world by the UN.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Knesset passes preliminary reading of bill to allow soldiers to vote in Israeli elections from Gaza

Israeli troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo released by the military on January 24, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo released by the military on January 24, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)

A bill allowing Israel Defense Forces soldiers to vote in municipal elections from the field, including areas outside of the territory of the State of Israel such as the Gaza Strip, passes its first of three readings in the Knesset.

The legislation, proposed by National Unity MKs Michael Biton and Ze’ev Elkin, would also allow soldiers to cast their ballots in special polling places a week ahead of the election in order to “ensure that every soldier, in regular service or in active reserve service, will be able to vote.”

Late last month, the cabinet voted unanimously to postpone nationwide municipal elections until February 27, 2024, as the ongoing Israel-Hamas war continues to present challenges in holding the ballot.

At the time, the IDF informed the government that 688 reservists standing as candidates would “most likely” not be able to be released from duty to conduct their campaigns should the vote be held in January, following an earlier postponement of the October elections in the wake of Hamas’ onslaught.

The inability of Israel’s soldiers to vote while in Gaza was brought up by the opposition Yisrael Beytenu party’s leader Avigdor Liberman earlier this week as one of the reasons not to hold a general election despite his opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.

“Do we set up a ballot box in Khan Younis?” he asked.

Egypt’s Sissi: Israel delaying Gaza aid to increase hostage deal pressure; Israel: No limits, but it must be checked

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi  in Cairo, on January 11, 2024 (EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, on January 11, 2024 (EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP)

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is open 24/7 but the procedures by Israel to allow the entry of aid are obstructing the process, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says.

“This is part of how they exert pressure on the issue of releasing the hostages,” he adds.

COGAT, the Defense Ministry’s liaison office with the Palestinians, says there is no limit to the amount of aid that can enter the Strip, but it must be checked for security reasons.

“Israel’s role in the humanitarian aid operation for Gaza is one: Inspecting the aid for security reasons. Our inspection process is efficient, with us scaling up our capacities to maximize inspection capabilities,” COGAT says.

“There is no limit to the amount of aid that can enter Gaza,” COGAT says.

IDF releases footage of Khan Younis operations, says gunmen killed and weapons seized

Troops of the Givati Brigade operate in southern Gaza's Khan Younis, in a handout image published January 24, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of the Givati Brigade operate in southern Gaza's Khan Younis, in a handout image published January 24, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF releases footage of the Givati Brigade’s operations in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis over the past day, during which it says troops killed numerous Hamas operatives and raided the terror group’s sites.

The Givati Brigade in recent days had carried out an offensive with other units of the 98th Division in southern Gaza, encircling Khan Younis.

The IDF says Givati soldiers killed several Hamas gunmen during clashes in the area, as well as with tank shelling and airstrikes.

Givati troops also raided several Hamas outposts in the Khan Younis area, locating caches of weapons used by the terror group’s operatives, the IDF says.

The Air Force carried out a wide wave of airstrikes on Hamas targets in the area, before the Givati soldiers moved in. “The precise strikes prepare the conditions in the field for the ground forces,” the IDF says.

Amid the operation, the IDF says three Hamas gunmen were spotted coming out of a building and moving toward the soldiers. The brigade directed an airstrike, killing the trio.

UK maritime agency says received report of incident south of Yemen

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) says it has received a report of an incident 45 nautical miles south of Yemen’s Aden.

UKMTO adds that the authorities are investigating the incident and no further details were given.

Mossad again denies Likud MK’s claim that spy chief met with anti-overhaul protest leader

MK Tally Gotliv attends a court hearing on petitions against a government law at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 28, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
MK Tally Gotliv attends a court hearing on petitions against a government law at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 28, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The Mossad issues a statement strongly denying a conspiracy theory promoted by Likud lawmaker Tally Gotliv.

“The head of the Mossad never met, talked to or summoned Shikma Bressler to a meeting,” the spy agency says in a statement via the Prime Minister’s Office.

“This is the second time that Knesset member Gotliv is spreading baseless lies,” the statement reads.

Gotliv repeats the claim, minutes after the Mossad denial.

Gotliv first boosted the conspiracy theory about the meeting between the Mossad and Bressler, a leader of the protest movement against the government’s contentious judicial overhaul, on October 3. Then too it was denied by the Mossad.

Since entering the Knesset, Gotliv has established a reputation for making incendiary claims, such as accusing the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet of “working for terrorists.”

Provisional ICJ ruling on South Africa’s genocide charges against Israel expected Friday — report

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on 11 and 12 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. (Courtesy International Court of Justice)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on 11 and 12 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. (Courtesy International Court of Justice)

South Africa expects the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule this Friday on whether it will grant emergency measures to stop the war against Hamas sparked by the October 7 onslaught, South African News24 website reports, citing two sources close to the matter.

In response to the news report, South Africa’s justice ministry spokesperson Chrispin Phiri posts on X: “We do not have an official communication from the court as to when the judgment will be delivered.”

A spokesperson for Israel’s Foreign Ministry says he was not aware and was looking into it.

News24 said a South African government delegation had touched down in The Hague in anticipation of the judgment.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the arrival.

While the court is expected to rule on possible emergency measures, it will not rule at the same time on the genocide allegations — those proceedings could take years.

Israel has rejected the accusations of genocide as baseless and said South Africa was acting as an emissary of the Hamas terror group, which seeks to eliminate the Jewish state. It says the Israel Defense Forces is targeting Hamas terrorists, not Palestinian civilians, but that civilian casualties in the fighting are unavoidable as terrorists operate from within the population.

Women’s groups block streets and junctions, calling for immediate hostage deal

Woman call for an immediate deal to secure the release of the hostages held in Gaza, in Ra'anana on January 24, 2023 (Danor Aharon via the protest movement)
Woman call for an immediate deal to secure the release of the hostages held in Gaza, in Ra'anana on January 24, 2023 (Danor Aharon via the protest movement)

Protesters from women’s groups calling for an immediate deal to secure the release of hostages held in Gaza block a number of junctions and streets across the country as part of a day of action.

Other activists try to prevent humanitarian aid from being transported into Gaza, saying that Israel should not facilitate its entry until the hostages are freed.

The central protest by women’s groups will be held in Tel Aviv this evening.

Lapid: Israel’s political system is broken, it is the problem and not the solution

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid at a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid at a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

Israel’s political system is broken, Opposition leader Yair Lapid declares, calling on lawmakers to ask how such a powerful country could find itself invaded by a terrorist mob that was allowed to rampage through the south for hours on October 7.

“We gathered here today to celebrate the Knesset’s birthday. I want to ask the Knesset: What is there to celebrate?” Lapid asks lawmakers at a special parliamentary session marking the Knesset’s 75th anniversary. “Do you see anyone else celebrating in the country?”

Israel has “never been sadder,” he says. “People walk around heartbroken. My heart breaks every day. Broken for the kidnapped, broken for the fighters who are killed, broken for the families.”

“The political system today is not the solution, it is the problem. The Knesset and the government are not the solution, they are the problem,” Lapid continues.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been forced out of their homes by the fighting and “no one has an answer to the question of when they will be able to return” while 136 Israeli are still being held captive in Gaza and “no one knows when they will return to their homes,” he says, arguing that Israel needs to “have not only a tactic, but also a strategy.”

“Every day more soldiers and more soldiers are killed, no one knows when it will end, what is the plan?” he asks.

While Israel will win the war, victory is about more than killing Hamas’s leaders, it is about “us being better,” he declares. “For the sake of life and for those who are being buried right now, we must make a change.”

Netanyahu: We’ll fight Hamas until ‘complete and absolute victory,’ as was the will of Israel’s fallen soldiers

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

Israel must continue fighting until it achieves a “complete and absolute” victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares, asserting that this is the will of Israel’s war dead.

Appearing to address concerns regarding Israel’s war plans, Netanyahu tells legislators during a special Knesset session marking the 75th anniversary of the Israeli parliament that “we have defined the goals of the war and they exist and are tangible — to bring down the rule of Hamas and bring all our hostages home.”

“Today the best of our sons are buried in the soil of Israel,” he says, adding that “we will continue to strive with determination to defeat the cruel enemy and continue the national renaissance, thus fulfilling the wishes of our mighty sons, mighty in spirit and action. Their will could not be clearer.”

“Two months ago our commanders and soldiers took over the Hamas parliament in Gaza. A fictitious parliament. There are no free and democratic elections there,” Netanyahu continues.

“Even on this sad day, in our real parliament in Jerusalem we see a picture of victory. The founding day of the Knesset expresses the victory of our people, freedom, democracy and political sovereignty.

“There is and will never be any compromise on matters that concern guaranteeing our existence and our future for generations,” he continues, claiming that Hamas “deluded themselves” that Israel is weak and would break under attack.

“This is a war for our home. It must end with the eradication of the aggression and evil of the new Nazis. The one who attacked with rape and murder brought upon themselves unprecedented destruction with their own hands,” he says.

Russia says plane carrying 65 Ukrainian POWs crashed in border region

Russia says an IL-76 military transport plane carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war crashed in the western Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine.

Unverified videos on social media show a large plane, purportedly in the Belgorod region, falling from the sky on its side before crashing in a fireball.

“At around 11 am Moscow time (0800 GMT), an IL-76 aircraft crashed in the Belgorod region during a routine flight,” Moscow’s defense ministry is quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.

“On board were 65 captured Ukrainian army servicemen being transported to the Belgorod region for exchange, six crew members and three escorts,” it says.

The claim could not be immediately verified, and the fate of the passengers was not immediately clear.

Herzog: Stormy times are ahead, but we must not return to the discourse of October 6

President Isaac Herzog at a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Screen grab used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
President Isaac Herzog at a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Screen grab used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

It is imperative not to return to the fractious political discourse prior to October 7, President President Isaac Herzog tells lawmakers during a special Knesset session marking seventy five years since the establishment of the parliament.

Those who have fallen in battle in Gaza represent “the best of the best” of Israeli society and reflect a mosaic of people “from all over the country, from every community, a variety of lifestyles, worldviews, beliefs and religions,” he says, quoting the mother of one soldier who declared that “if the heavy price of losing my son was for the unity of the people, I am ready to accept it with submission and love.”

“On this day, the birthday of the Israeli Knesset – the temple of our democracy – it is important for me to emphasize: unity is not uniformity, unity is not silencing, unity is not the cessation of discussion and debate on matters that concern the core of existence of the Israeli state, society and democracy,” Herzog continues.

“No one has a doubt that this house will very soon hold the most important and probably the most stormy debates there are. On war and peace, on the day before and the day after, on security, on economy and society, on political and social policies and processes, on drawing conclusions and learning lessons, and also on our normalization processes in the Middle East— which Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and… Iran are trying to thwart with all their might.

“In these discussions, the coalition has an important place, and there is an equally important place for the opposition. But, when we stand in these historical moments and face challenges that few nations face, I feel obliged to express here the murmurs of the people’s hearts, and to say: there is a way to have a debate,” Herzog declares. “Even when arguing: be worthy! We must not return to the discourse of October 6.”

“It is impossible to talk about mutual respect and unity without the Knesset taking a central part in the change. The demand of the people, of the families, of the spaces… must be reflected here and must become a decree engraved on the walls of this tabernacle. This is our duty toward this nation, toward this generation. Be worthy.”

Dozens protest aid trucks at Gaza border crossing: ‘Feeding the enemy while they torture our starving hostages’

Dozens of Israelis protest authorities’ approval for aid trucks to cross into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

The protesters wave Israeli flags in front of the trucks as they chant slogans against “aiding the enemy.”

“This is insane,” one protester, Reut Ben Haim, a mother of eight from Netivot, tells The Times of Israel. “While the people in Israel await a victory, the government is feeding, clothing and fueling the enemy, even as it tries to kill our troops and civilians with rockets and tortures our starving hostages.”

Israel lets in hundreds of tons of goods defined as humanitarian aid that in recent weeks have been dispatched from Egypt into Gaza through Israel, where the goods are inspected by security forces.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled their homes due to the fighting live in tent cities and elsewhere in the southern Gaza Strip in a growing humanitarian crisis. US officials, as well as officials from the EU and the UK, are pressing Israel to let in more humanitarian aid.

Ohana opens session to mark 75 years of the Knesset with moment’s silence: Today ‘is not a happy birthday’

Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, opening a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)
Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, opening a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament in Jerusalem, January 24, 2023 (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

This year’s anniversary of the founding of the Knesset “is not a happy birthday,” says Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, opening a special session marking 75 years since the establishment of the parliament attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.

“The war exacts a heavy price from us every day, for a 110 days now. Yesterday we woke up to a particularly difficult and painful morning, when we learned that no fewer than 24 of our sons, IDF soldiers, had fallen in the past day. Twenty-four souls, each of which is a whole world,” he says, calling for a moment of silence.

“One hundred and ten days our brothers and sisters, whose beautiful pictures look down on us here from above, have been in the captivity of Hamas. For one hundred and ten days our hearts and thoughts have been with the victims of October 7, from the cities, the moshavim, the kibbutzim, the partygoers, the soldiers of the IDF, the Israel Police and all of the security forces.”

He quotes fallen soldier Elkana Vizel who wrote that “we have so much to be proud of and be happy about, we are a generation of redemption! We are writing the most significant moments in the history of our nation, and of the entire world. So please be optimistic. Keep choosing life all the time. A life of love, hope, purity, and optimism.”

“This house was not always characterized by all of these. May we consider – all of us, together and separately – to agree to the prayer of a fallen soldier, to strengthen each other,” Ohana tells his fellow lawmakers.

The first use of the phrase Am Yisrael Chai — the people of Israel lives — was recorded following the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, he recalls, stating that “the people of Israel are no strangers to riots, persecutions, massacres and the Holocaust. But always, out of the deep pain, out of grief and bereavement, out of the abysmal sorrow and sadness, we knew how to grow, build, learn and teach, blossom and bloom, live, and bring life into the world. It will be the same this time,” he says.

“Elkana was right when he said that we are writing the most significant moments in the history of our nation and commanded us to be happy and united,” he concludes, declaring “Am Yisrael Chai.”

Woman arrested for allegedly attacking Minister Silman

Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman speaks during a debate in the Knesset, August 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman speaks during a debate in the Knesset, August 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A woman has been arrested in Rehovot for allegedly attacking Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman.

Police say in a statement they detained a woman in her 50s at the scene.

Police say they are investigating the motive behind the alleged assault.

In 2021, Silman said she was physically assaulted at a gas station in Modiin.

UK says Cameron’s Mideast visit will seek more aid for Gaza, hostage deal, sustainable ceasefire

Screen capture from video of Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron as he gives evidence to a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, in London on January 9, 2024. (PRU / AFP)
Screen capture from video of Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron as he gives evidence to a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, in London on January 9, 2024. (PRU / AFP)

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron is in the region “to get more aid into Gaza, hostages out and reach a sustainable, permanent ceasefire,” says the Foreign Office.

During his meetings in Israel and Qatar, Cameron will focus on achieving “an urgent humanitarian pause” in Gaza, says his office.

Cameron will also look to help efforts to release hostages, “pushing forward the cases of British and dual nationals through all diplomatic routes.”

The UK underscores that all hostages must be released, Hamas can no longer rule Gaza, and “the threat from their terror and rocket attacks must end.”

It also calls for the Palestinian Authority to return to Gaza and ultimately assume responsibility for security there.

Cameron will ask Israel to let more aid into Gaza, and will raise concerns over civilian casualties there.

“No one wants to see this conflict go on a moment longer than necessary,” says Cameron in a statement. “An immediate pause is now necessary to get aid in and hostages out. The situation is desperate.”

Cameron will discuss the two-state solution with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and will also visit Turkey to discuss regional stability and the war in Ukraine.

Ahead of meeting UK’s Cameron, Katz says he’ll stress Israel fighting war of necessity

Foreign Minister Israel Katz holds up a paper photo of hostages kidnapped during the Oct. 7 Hamas cross-border attack in Israel, as he arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, January 22, 2024.  (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Foreign Minister Israel Katz holds up a paper photo of hostages kidnapped during the Oct. 7 Hamas cross-border attack in Israel, as he arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, January 22, 2024. (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweets ahead of his meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron that he will stress that Israel is fighting a war of necessity against Hamas and the Iranian axis.

“We will not stop until the release of all our hostages and the dismantling of Hamas’s military and civil capabilities – in Gaza and in every place,” he continues.

Cameron will be meeting Katz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, War Cabinet minister Benny Gantz, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

IDF says it demolished home of Hamas terrorist allegedly involved in deadly West Bank attack

IDF troops prepare to demolish the home of a Hamas terrorist in the West Bank village of Urif, early January 24, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops prepare to demolish the home of a Hamas terrorist in the West Bank village of Urif, early January 24, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF says it demolished the home of a Hamas terrorist charged with being involved in a deadly shooting attack in the West Bank last summer.

Bassel Shehadeh, of the village of Urif, was indicted over his involvement in the attack carried out by two other Hamas gunmen near the settlement of Eli in June 2023, killing four Israelis.

Shehadeh’s home in Urif was demolished overnight, the IDF says. The homes of the other two gunmen have already been razed.

The IDF says that in other overnight operations in the West Bank, troops detained seven wanted Palestinians.

Far-right minister Eliyahu: ‘Even in the Hague they know my position’

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu attends the funeral of Israeli soldier Moshe Yedidia Leiter, at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on November 12, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu attends the funeral of Israeli soldier Moshe Yedidia Leiter, at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on November 12, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu tells participants in a tour of the West Bank city of Hebron that they “know my position, even in the Hague they know my position,” apparently referring to his comments that the use of nuclear weapons against Hamas in Gaza would be an option.

Eliyahu is not a member of the war cabinet directing the war against the terror group, nor is he part of the broader security cabinet.

Last November, Eliyahu, a member of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party, was asked by Radio Kol Berama if the use of such weapons was an option in the enclave, and declared that “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.”

At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other senior officials were quick to reject Eliyahu’s claim that dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip was a possibility.

“Amichai Eliyahu’s words are detached from reality,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Israel and the IDF are acting in accordance with the highest standards of international law in order to prevent harm to uninvolved people, and we will continue to do that all the way to victory.”

The premier then briefly suspended Eliyahu from attending cabinet meetings.

After Hamas’s October 7 onslaught and Israel’s declaration of war on the terror group, South Africa brought a motion accusing Israel of genocide before the International Court of Justice in the Hague. It cited the statements of several ministers, including Eliyahu.

Israel’s legal team in The Hague attacked the fundamental claims of the “baseless” allegations at the ICJ.

‘No progress’: Israeli official says no breakthrough in talks, Hamas constantly hardening its position

Demonstrators hold up signs during a rally to demand the release of hostages held by the Hamas terror group, near the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on January 22, 2024. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Demonstrators hold up signs during a rally to demand the release of hostages held by the Hamas terror group, near the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on January 22, 2024. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

A senior Israeli official reject reports that there has been a breakthrough in the talks for a deal that would see hostages held by terrorists in Gaza released during a temporary ceasefire.

“The reports of progress in the talks and a breakthrough are incorrect,” an unnamed official tells Hebrew-language media.

“There are very large gaps and no progress in the talks. It is very complicated and there is a constant hardening of positions on the part of Hamas. No one should be fooled – it will take a long time,” the official says.

The comments come after it was reported by Reuters today that Israel and Hamas broadly agree in principle that an exchange of hostages held by the terror group for Palestinian prisoners could take place during a monthlong ceasefire, but the framework plan is being held up by the two sides’ differences over how to bring about a permanent end to the Gaza war.

Intense mediation efforts led by Qatar, Washington and Egypt in recent weeks have focused on a phased approach to release different categories of Israeli hostages — starting with civilians and ending with soldiers — in return for a break in hostilities, the release of Palestinian prisoners and more aid to Gaza.

Israel is also said to have made an offer this week for a two-month ceasefire during which Hamas would release the hostages in exchange for Palestinian security prisoners in stages. Under the proposal, Yahya Sinwar and other top Hamas leaders in Gaza would be allowed to relocate to other countries. Hamas reportedly rejected the idea.

Women’s groups to protest nationwide for return of hostages held in Gaza

Protesters rally outside the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem, calling for the release of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, January 22, 2024 (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Protesters rally outside the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem, calling for the release of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, January 22, 2024 (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Women’s groups are set to hold protests throughout the day calling for a deal to that would see the hostages released from Gaza.

Rallies are set to be held across the country, as well as in New York.

The central rally will be held in Tel Aviv at 7 p.m.

The rallies came a day after freed hostages gave harrowing testimony at the Knesset on the rape and sexual abuse inflicted on hostages held in Gaza.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Israel and Hamas broadly agree in principle that an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners could take place during a monthlong ceasefire, but the framework plan is being held up by the two sides’ differences over how to bring about a permanent end to the Gaza war.

It is believed that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November. Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued by troops. The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and three hostages were mistakenly killed by the military. The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 28 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

IDF says striking terror cells as troops are ‘increasing the pressure’ on Hamas

Israeli troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo released by the military on January 24, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo released by the military on January 24, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF says its 98th Division is continuing a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the area of the Khan Younis camp in southern Gaza.

It says troops are “increasing the pressure” on Hamas, while eliminating “many terror cells” with sniper fire, tank shelling, and airstrikes.

Over the past day, the IDF says troops of the Commando Brigade carried out raids on Hamas sites in the Khan Younis camp, where they encountered many operatives, including squads planning to fire anti-tank missiles.

Also amid the operations in Khan Younis, the IDF says the Givati Brigade directed airstrikes on two cells of Hamas gunmen; the 7th Armored Brigade raided a number of Hamas sites, where troops killed several operatives and seized weapons used by the terror group; and the Paratroopers Brigade killed “a large number of terrorists,” in a series of attacks.

Meanwhile, in central Gaza, the IDF says reservists of the Yiftah Brigade spotted a Hamas gunman observing the troops from a building. The soldiers shelled the building, killing the operative.

In northern Gaza, the IDF says the 215th Artillery Regiment directed several airstrikes, killing “many terrorists.”

IDF said to be shelling targets in south Lebanon

A Lebanese media outlet affiliated with the Hezbollah terror group reports that Israel is striking targets in the south of the country.

A reporter for Al-Manar says Israel is shelling an area south of Naqoura.

There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, using rockets, missiles and drones.

US urges China to help curb Red Sea shipping attacks by Iran-backed Houthis – report

Illustrative: An armed Yemeni supporter of the Houthi movement sits on the back of an armored vehicle during an anti-Israel and anti-US rally in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa on January 22, 2024, (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)
Illustrative: An armed Yemeni supporter of the Houthi movement sits on the back of an armored vehicle during an anti-Israel and anti-US rally in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa on January 22, 2024, (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)

The United States has asked China to urge Tehran to rein in Iran-backed Houthi rebels attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea but has seen little sign of help from Beijing, the Financial Times reports, citing US officials.

The US has repeatedly raised the matter with top Chinese officials in the past three months, the report says.

The Houthis, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, have said their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians as Israel fights a war against Hamas in Gaza. The attacks have disrupted global shipping and deepened concern that fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could destabilize the Middle East.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

210 US lawmakers blast South Africa’s ‘defamatory’ genocide charge against Israel

The South African legal team sits during hearings in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the request for provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on January 11-12, 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. (Courtesy International Court of Justice)
The South African legal team sits during hearings in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the request for provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on January 11-12, 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. (Courtesy International Court of Justice)

WASHINGTON — Two hundred and ten Congress members have signed a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasting South Africa’s case in the International Court of Justice in which it accuses Israel of perpetrating a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

“South Africa makes grossly unfounded and defamatory charges against Israel on the world stage, abusing the judicial process in order to delegitimize the democratic State of Israel,” the lawmakers write in the letter organized by Democratic Representative Kathy Manning and Republican Representative Chris Smith.

“We vigorously denounce South Africa’s deeply hostile stance toward Israel and thoroughly reject its charge of genocide.”

“We urge you to continue to do the same, to offer Israel all appropriate support in opposing the South African application to the ICJ, and to encourage our allies to join us in speaking out against this unfounded attack on Israel, particularly at the United Nations and in other intergovernmental organizations,” the letter adds.

‘The greatest Iron Dome’: Trump vows to build missile defense shield for entire US if re-elected

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, New Hampshire, January 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, New Hampshire, January 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Former US president and current GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump pledges to build an Iron Dome to protect the entire United States if reelected.

“We’ll build an Iron Dome over our country, a state-of-the-art missile defense shield, and it’s all made in the USA,” Trump says at a New Hampshire rally ahead of today’s primary election in which he took first place.

“We do it for other countries. We help other countries, we don’t do it for ourselves,” Trump laments.

The missile defense system was developed in Israel thanks to funding from the United States.

Recalling having seen the system in action, Trump says, “I’ve seen shots that you wouldn’t even believe.”

After a missile launch is detected, the Iron Dome operators “calmly walk through and you see ‘Ding, ding, ding, ding ding, ding.’ They’ve only got 17 seconds to figure this whole thing out. Bomp. Okay, missile launch. Pshew, poom.”

“We’re going to have the greatest Iron Dome. Let’s call it Iron Dome, and it’s going to be manufactured — a lot of it right here in New Hampshire,” Trump says to cheers from supporters.

US military strikes Houthi anti-ship missiles aimed at Red Sea

WASHINGTON — The US military carried out two more strikes in Yemen early on Wednesday, destroying two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed at the Red Sea and were preparing to launch, the US military says in a statement.

The US strikes, which took place at roughly 2:30 a.m. local time, are the latest against the Iran-backed group over its targeting of Red Sea shipping, and follow a larger round of strikes a day earlier.

The Houthis, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, have said their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians as Israel strikes Hamas in Gaza. The attacks have disrupted global shipping and deepened concern that fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could destabilize the Middle East.

UN mission to assess northern Gaza grounded amid Israeli safety concerns — officials

A man sits on the rubble overlooking the debris of buildings that were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in the Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled, File)
A man sits on the rubble overlooking the debris of buildings that were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in the Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled, File)

WASHINGTON — Two weeks after it was announced by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a United Nations mission tasked with assessing conditions in northern Gaza has yet to embark amid Israeli concerns that the area is not yet safe, two officials familiar with the matter tell The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval of the mission was one of the main deliverables Blinken secured during his trip to Israel on January 9.

The US is looking for Palestinians to be allowed to return to northern Gaza after the IDF ordered its one million residents to evacuate at the beginning of the war.

Israel has rejected the idea over concerns it could allow Hamas to regain a foothold in the area. But Blinken appeared to have secured a compromise in the form of the UN mission, which would evaluate the conditions in northern Gaza and determine the provisions for civilians to be able to return.

While Blinken said he expected the mission to move into northern Gaza immediately, Israeli officials have told their American counterparts in recent days that it is not yet safe enough for UN staffers to enter as Hamas fighters are still operating there, according to an Israeli and a US official.

The US official says that the Biden administration trusts the Israeli assessment but is also cognizant that Jerusalem may try and drag its feet in allowing the UN team to complete its mission.

The US official acknowledges that Israel is in no rush to allow Palestinians to return to northern Gaza, given that it has not yet determined who will be in charge of running civil affairs in that area, where Hamas is said to have largely lost its hold.

The safety concern voiced by Israel also appears to be an implicit acknowledgement by it does not have full control of northern Gaza, even after ending what it called high-intensity fighting in the area earlier this month.

Top PA diplomat: Hamas can be incorporated into PLO if it recognizes Israel, drops military wing

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki gives a press conference in Ramallah in the West Bank on August 3, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki gives a press conference in Ramallah in the West Bank on August 3, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says Hamas can join the Palestine Liberation Organization if it recognizes Israel and drops its military wing.

“If they agree to our conditions that they have to… accept all international resolutions pertaining to Palestine,” Maliki begins saying in an interview with Euronews.

The PA foreign minister is then cut off by the interviewer who asks whether this also means Hamas would have to recognize Israel as the PLO has done.

“Yes, absolutely… We cannot just… ignore Israel’s existence while Israel is there already occupying the whole of Gaza and continuing to occupy… the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” Maliki responds.

“If Hamas comes to agree on all these terms, then we will do our utmost in order to incorporate them and to turn Hamas into a political party without any military wing,” he adds.

While they are both headed by Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO is supposed to be distinct from the PA, with the former serving as the umbrella political body representing Palestinians worldwide and the latter acting as the governing entity in parts of the West Bank.

Nikki Haley says ‘race far from over’ after second place finish in New Hampshire

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks during a primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire, January 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks during a primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire, January 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Nikki Haley has finished second in New Hampshire to Trump, a setback in her effort to reset the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“I want to congratulate Donald Trump,” Haley tells supporters after TV networks quickly projected the result. Haley then vows she will fight on, saying “this race is far from over.”

She also seeks to warn Republican voters away from Trump, saying that nominating the controversial former US president will spell victory for Joe Biden in November.

“The worst kept secret in politics is how badly the Democrats want to run against Donald Trump,” she says. “A Trump nomination is a Biden win,” she adds.

The former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor, who invested significant time and financial resources in the state, ramped up her criticism of Trump after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race and she became the sole GOP alternative to him. But the appeal ultimately failed to resonate with enough voters, and she’s in a weakened position heading into a primary in her home state.

Biden wins New Hampshire’s Democratic race as a write-in candidate

Joe Biden wins New Hampshire’s largely symbolic Democratic primary, prevailing in an unusual write-in effort after he refused to campaign or appear on the ballot in the state.

Biden easily bests two longshot challengers, Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson, who were on the ballot along with a host of little-known names. His victory in a race he was not formally contesting essentially cements Biden’s grasp on the Democratic nomination for a second term.

AP declares Trump as winner of New Hampshire’s GOP presidential primary

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign stop in Londonderry, New Hampshire, January 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign stop in Londonderry, New Hampshire, January 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Donald Trump has won New Hampshire’s GOP primary, delivering a setback to rival Nikki Haley, who is running out of time to establish herself as a viable alternative to him.

It’s his second straight victory in his quest for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He won Iowa’s leadoff caucuses by 30 percentage points.

US President Joe’s Biden allies, meanwhile, are hoping their write-in campaign on the Democratic side is successful. Polls closed statewide at 8 p.m local time.

Ahead of Israel visit, UK’s Cameron calls for ‘immediate pause’ in Gaza fighting

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Tel Aviv on November 23, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Tel Aviv on November 23, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

LONDON — British Foreign Secretary David Cameron will travel to Israel on Wednesday where he is expected to raise concerns over the high number of Palestinians killed and push for a “sustainable” ceasefire in the Gaza war.

Cameron’s trip, which will include visits to the West Bank, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is based, and to Qatar and Turkey, is his third to the Middle East in just over two months.

He will advocate for a pathway out of the war involving the release of all Israeli hostages held by Gaza’s ruling Islamist Hamas terror group, with the Palestinian Authority taking over the running of the enclave, and an end to rocket attacks on Israel.

In Israel, Cameron will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more should be “done, more quickly to significantly increase the flow of life-saving aid into Gaza” and he will raise “concerns over the high number of civilian casualties,” according to a foreign office statement.

“No one wants to see this conflict go on a moment longer than necessary,” Cameron says. “An immediate pause is now necessary to get aid in and hostages out. The situation is desperate.”

Cameron will urge Israel to open more crossing points to allow aid deliveries into Gaza, including the Israeli port at Ashdod and the Kerem Shalom crossing, and that water, fuel and electricity must be restored to the Palestinian enclave.

During a visit to the West Bank, where the PA exercises limited self-rule, Cameron will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and highlight Britain’s long-term support for a peace deal establishing a Palestinian state co-existing alongside Israel.

Cameron will then travel on to Qatar and Turkey later in the week for further diplomatic talks.

UK says 24 nations launched further strikes on Yemen’s Houthis

LONDON — Britain says in a joint statement on Tuesday that 24 countries, including the United States, Germany and Australia, conducted additional strikes on Monday against eight targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

“In response to continued illegal and reckless Houthi attacks against vessels transiting the Red Sea and surrounding waterways, the armed forces of the United States and United Kingdom, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted additional strikes against eight targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen,” a joint statement issued by the British prime minister’s office says.

“These strikes were designed to disrupt and degrade the capability of the Houthis to continue their attacks on global trade and innocent mariners from around the world, while avoiding escalation.”

‘Genocide Joe’: Protesters against Israeli op in Gaza repeatedly interrupt Biden at campaign event

A protester against Israel interrupts US President Joe Biden during an event on the campus of George Mason University in Manassas, Virginia, January 23, 2024, to campaign for abortion rights. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A protester against Israel interrupts US President Joe Biden during an event on the campus of George Mason University in Manassas, Virginia, January 23, 2024, to campaign for abortion rights. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Protesters chanting slogans against Israel’s offensive against the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group repeatedly interrupt US President Joe Biden on Tuesday during an election campaign event to promote abortion rights.

Demonstrators hold up a Palestinian flag and shout numerous times during the speech in Manassas, Virginia, but are drowned out each time by audience members chanting “Four more years” and “Let’s go Joe.”

Video from the event shows security removing the protesters, one of whom calls the US president “genocide Joe” due to his support for Israel.

“This is going to go on for a while; they got this planned,” Biden says as the protestors are escorted out one by one.

Pentagon says US strikes in Iraq hit 3 sites linked to Iran-backed militias

WASHINGTON — The United States has carried out strikes in Iraq against three facilities linked to Iran-backed militia, the Pentagon says, after a weekend attack on an Iraqi air base that wounded US forces.

US troops in Iraq and Syria have been attacked about 150 times by Iran-aligned militants since the Israel-Hamas war started in October.

On Saturday, four US personnel suffered traumatic brain injuries after Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base was hit by multiple ballistic missiles and rockets fired by Iranian-backed militants from inside Iraq.

“US military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says in a statement.

“These precision strikes are in direct response to a series of escalatory attacks against US and Coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias,” Austin adds.

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