ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Nov. 1: Biden thanks Israel, Qatar, Egypt for facilitating exit of Gazans, as 61 aid trucks enter

IDF death toll since start of ground invasion hits 16 * Yemen claims to launch drone strike at Israel * Herzog praises national resilience * IDF strikes Hezbollah posts in Lebanon

  • Family and friends of Israeli soldier Lavi Lipshitz at his funeral at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, November 1, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
    Family and friends of Israeli soldier Lavi Lipshitz at his funeral at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, November 1, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
  • IDF troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo, October 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
    IDF troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo, October 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A salvo of rockets is fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on November 1, 2023 (Bashar TALEB / AFP)
    A salvo of rockets is fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on November 1, 2023 (Bashar TALEB / AFP)
  • Palestinians check the destruction in the aftermath of an apparent Israeli strike in Jabaliya on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)
    Palestinians check the destruction in the aftermath of an apparent Israeli strike in Jabaliya on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)
  • People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
    People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
  • This picture taken on November 1, 2023 from a position along the border shows smoke plumes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    This picture taken on November 1, 2023 from a position along the border shows smoke plumes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Israeli army artillery howitzers are stationed in southern Israel on November 1, 2023 (Jack Guez / AFP)
    Israeli army artillery howitzers are stationed in southern Israel on November 1, 2023 (Jack Guez / AFP)
  • An Israeli Navy missile boat is seen off the coast of Eilat, October 31, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    An Israeli Navy missile boat is seen off the coast of Eilat, October 31, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • IDF tanks near the Gaza border, in southern Israel, November 1, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
    IDF tanks near the Gaza border, in southern Israel, November 1, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
  • Israeli troops operate inside the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (IDF)
    Israeli troops operate inside the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (IDF)
  • An Israeli army battle tank moves at a position in the Upper Galilee near the border with Lebanon on November 1, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
    An Israeli army battle tank moves at a position in the Upper Galilee near the border with Lebanon on November 1, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

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

Israeli officials: Oxygen concentrators for Gaza tunnels found hidden in aid shipment

A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023. (Eyad BABA / AFP)
A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023. (Eyad BABA / AFP)

Israeli inspectors earlier this week uncovered several oxygen concentrators meant to aerate the tunnels operated by terror groups in Gaza, two senior Israeli officials tell The Times of Israel.

“These weren’t for use in the hospitals, but below them. That’s why they were smuggled among boxes of cookies,” one of the senior Israeli officials says, adding that the entire truck in which the oxygen concentrators were found was barred from entering Gaza.

Neither official provided a photo of the oxygen concentrators in question and they did not disclose which organization was responsible for sending the truck.

Since Egypt opened its Rafah crossing into Gaza 11 days ago, several hundred trucks filled with humanitarian aid have been able to enter Gaza following inspections by both Egyptian and Israeli authorities.

The trucks first enter Egypt where they undergo an initial round of inspections. They then are driven into Israel through the Nitzana crossing where they are inspected by Israel’s COGAT military liaison before being sent back to Egypt and driven into Gaza through the Rafah crossing, a second Israeli official tells The Times of Israel, saying the format was agreed upon after extensive talks between Israel, Egypt and the United States.

Israel has thus far rejected growing calls to allow in fuel, expressing concerns that Hamas will divert it to power its tunnels. IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said Thursday that Israel would allow fuel to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing should it determine that hospitals have run out of fuel.

Shortly after Halevi’s comments, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a terse statement noting only that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has not approved the entry of fuel into Gaza.”

MK claims libel over report he said settlers’ blood worth more than that of Oct 7 dead

MK Simcha Rothman arrives at a hearing on petitions against the government's 'reasonableness law,' at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
MK Simcha Rothman arrives at a hearing on petitions against the government's 'reasonableness law,' at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Controversial right-wing MK Simcha Rothman has threatened to sue Channel 12 news for defamation, after it reported that he had indicated during a recent Knesset hearing that he believed the lives of settlers killed in a terror attack earlier this year were worth more than those of Israelis killed in Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern communities.

The network had reported that at a meeting earlier this week of the Knesset panel he chairs, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Rothman said: “The blood of the brothers Hallel and Yagel, may their memory be a blessing, who were murdered in Huwara, is redder than the blood of those murdered on October 7.”

Rothman angrily denied the Channel 12 report, calling it “false, inflammatory libel.”

Channel 12 did not provide context for Rothman’s alleged quote, while saying his comment “shocked” those present, with some demanding he retract his words, which he then did.

In his denial of the report, Rothman said: “To remove any doubt, I did not say or hint that one person’s blood is redder than another’s, in any way or form, not in closed discussions or open discussions. It is a total lie.”

Congress rejects effort to censure Rashida Tlaib over rhetoric about Israel

Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan speaks during a US House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan speaks during a US House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Congress rejects an effort to censure Democrat Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, scrapping a Republican attempt to condemn the Palestinian-American over her recent rhetoric around the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

A measure to move forward with a censure resolution of Tlaib, a punishment one step below expulsion from the House, was dismissed with broad bipartisan support as both parties raised concerns about violating First Amendment rights.

A Democratic effort to in turn censure Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had sponsored the Tlaib resolution, was called off in response.

The scheduled votes were among the House’s first acts of business after a nearly monthlong gridlock caused by the removal of Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker.

Greene introduced a censure resolution last week against Tlaib, one of two Muslims in Congress. The resolution accuses Tlaib of “antisemitic activity” after she voiced concern over America’s continued role in supplying arms to Israel as it engages in a bloody battle with Hamas following Hamas’s deadly Oct. 7 surprise attack that killed some 1,400 people.

Biden promises to combat Islamophobia as Israel-Hamas war rages

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (AP/Susan Walsh)
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (AP/Susan Walsh)

The administration of US President Joe Biden says it will develop a strategy to combat Islamophobia — an announcement that comes as tensions simmer nationwide over the war between Israel and Hamas.

“President Biden ran for office to restore the soul of our nation. He is unequivocal: there is no place for hate in America against anyone. Period,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre says in a statement.

“For too long, Muslims in America, and those perceived to be Muslim, such as Arabs and Sikhs, have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks and other discriminatory incidents.”

The strategy will be developed in concert with the communities concerned, the White House says.

Jean-Pierre singles out what she calls the recent “barbaric” killing of a six-year-old Palestinian American boy outside Chicago, which police have linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The US government has already launched a plan to counter antisemitism across the country.

White House says prospects of Netanyahu remaining in office not under discussion

The White House denies a Politico report according to which US President Joe Biden and his aides believe Benjamin Netanyahu’s days as Israel’s prime minister are numbered — and the American leader has told him as much.

“This description is false. This topic has not been discussed by the president and is not being discussed. Our focus is on the immediate crisis,” National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson says.

France ‘deeply concerned’ about toll of Israeli strikes in northern Gaza

France says it is “deeply concerned” about Israeli strikes in the northern Gaza Strip, calling for a humanitarian pause to allow aid through.

Israeli strikes have targeted Jabalia twice in two days, killing and wounding dozens, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

Israel says it is striking key Hamas positions, and said Tuesday’s raid was a successful hit on top Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari. It has been urging civilians to leave the area for several weeks.

“France is deeply concerned about the very heavy toll on the Palestinian civilian population from the Israeli strikes against the Jabalia camp, and expresses its compassion for the victims,” the government says in a press release.

Paris reiterates a call for “an immediate humanitarian truce so that aid can reach those who need it in a sustainable, safe and adequate way.”

White House calls comments by Hamas official about annihilating Israel ‘chilling’

The remains of Kibbutz Be'eri, destroyed by Hamas attack on October 7, photographed on October 20, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/The Times of Israel)
The remains of Kibbutz Be'eri, destroyed by Hamas attack on October 7, photographed on October 20, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/The Times of Israel)

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby condemns the “chilling comments” made by senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad, who hailed the October 7 massacre and declared that, if given the chance, his terror group would carry out similar assaults in the future until Israel is annihilated.

“That’s what Israel faces,” Kirby tells reporters after Air Force One landed in Minneapolis.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim to launch major drone attack on Israel

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claim to have launched a drone attack towards Israel, the latest in a spate of such attempts since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

“The Yemeni armed forces launched a large batch of drones during the past hours at several targets… in occupied Palestine, and they reached their goals,” says a Houthi military statement. “The Yemeni armed forces will continue to carry out their military operations in support” of the Palestinian people, the statement adds.

Hezam al-Asad, a member of the group’s political bureau, writes on X in Hebrew and Arabic: “Beyond Eilat.”

The IDF did not immediately respond or confirm any such launch. There were no air raid sirens in Eilat today.

Yesterday, the Houthis claimed an attack with drones and ballistic missiles on Israel. The IDF said then that a “hostile aircraft intrusion” had set off warning sirens in Eilat. It later said it had intercepted a surface-to-surface missile fired toward Israeli territory.

Israel also blamed the Houthis for another drone attack on Friday.

COGAT says 61 trucks of humanitarian aid cross into Gaza today

A truck of humanitarian aid enters Gaza from Egypt on October 30, 2023. (COGAT/X)
A truck of humanitarian aid enters Gaza from Egypt on October 30, 2023. (COGAT/X)

The Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, a Defense Ministry body, says that 61 trucks of humanitarian aid crossed into Gaza today via the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

COGAT says that the trucks “contained food, water and medical supplies.”

The US has said it is hoping to increase the daily number of trucks crossing to 100.

For the first time since the start of the war, Egypt today allowed today Gazans — wounded and those with foreign passports — to cross into its territory.

Biden thanks Israel, Egypt, Qatar for facilitating exit of foreigners from Gaza

US President Joe Biden speaks at Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minnesota, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
US President Joe Biden speaks at Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minnesota, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

US President Joe Biden cheers regional partners for their help paving the way for some wounded Palestinians and foreign nationals, including some US citizens, to escape Gaza.

“I personally spent a lot of time speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and President Sissi of Egypt and others, to make sure that we could open this access for people to get out,” Biden says during a visit to Northfield, Minnesota. “I want to thank our partners, in particular Qatar, who worked so closely with us to support negotiations to facilitate the departure of these citizens.”

Biden said more work needs to be done to “significantly step up the flow of critical humanitarian assistance into Gaza.” He reiterates that he backs Israel’s right to defend itself “in a manner that is consistent with international humanitarian law.”

But he also acknowledges the suffering endured by Palestinians during the Israeli operations: “We’ve all seen the devastating images from Gaza,” Biden noted. “Palestinian children crying out for lost parents… writing on their hands and legs to be identified if the worst happens.”

Report: Biden indicated to Netanyahu he believes his days in office are numbered

US President Joe Biden (left) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Haim Zach / GPO)
US President Joe Biden (left) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Haim Zach / GPO)

US President Joe Biden and his aides reportedly believe that Benjamin Netanyahu’s days as Israel’s prime minister are numbered in the fallout of the war in Gaza.

Biden has even conveyed this sentiment to the prime minister, suggesting to Netanyahu during the president’s wartime visit to Israel last month that the premier think about lessons he’d want to relay to his successor, Politico reports, citing two senior administration officials.

A third US official says that the expectation within the administration is that Netanyahu would only be able to remain in power for a few more months or until the early phase of Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza ends. However, all officials acknowledged the volatility of Israeli politics, which serves as a caveat to their speculations.

As the US begins to think about a post-Netanyahu scenario, its officials have held talks with National Unity chair Benny Gantz, who joined the government after the war’s outbreak; as well as Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and former prime minister Naftali Bennett, a former US official tells Politico.

The two senior Biden officials say the administration fears Netanyahu may be linking his own political future to the war and might move to escalate the conflict at some point.

Israel says it ‘regrets’ Jordan withdrawing ambassador, stops short of further criticism

Jordanian security forces fire tear gas against demonstrators attempting to storm the Israeli embassy in the capital Amman, on October 17, 2023, after a blast near a Gaza hospital. (Mussa HATTAR / AFP)
Jordanian security forces fire tear gas against demonstrators attempting to storm the Israeli embassy in the capital Amman, on October 17, 2023, after a blast near a Gaza hospital. (Mussa HATTAR / AFP)

Israel responds carefully to Jordan recalling its ambassador, saying only that it “regrets” the decision in a tweet from Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat.

He stresses that Israel is targeting Hamas fighters and infrastructure after the terror group killed 1,400 and kidnapped 240 more, and that Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Earlier today, Israel had biting words for Chile and Colombia for carrying out similar moves.

US State Department hosts meeting of Holocaust envoys to discuss restitution efforts

WASHINGTON — The US State Department and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) hosted a meeting earlier today of Holocaust envoys from around the globe to advance restitution and compensation for property looted during the Holocaust.

The US was represented at the meeting by special envoy for Holocaust issues Ellen Germain and special advisor on Holocaust issues Stuart Eizenstat.

“As this year is the 25th anniversary of the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, governments and experts discussed means of reinforcing the principles and underscoring the urgency of resolving remaining property claims, whether held in public or private collections,” the State Department says in its readout.

Participants heard from Luxembourg about the implementation of its 2021 agreement on outstanding Holocaust-era property restitution issues, which the State Department says can serve as a model for other governments.

Doug Emhoff meets with UK Jewish communities during trip to London

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) welcomes US Vice President Kamala Harris (C) and her husband Douglas Emhoff (R) upon their arrival at 10 Downing Street, ahead of a meeting, in London, November 1, 2023. (Daniel LEAL / AFP)
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) welcomes US Vice President Kamala Harris (C) and her husband Douglas Emhoff (R) upon their arrival at 10 Downing Street, ahead of a meeting, in London, November 1, 2023. (Daniel LEAL / AFP)

US Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff meets with British Jewish communities in London to discuss the uptick in antisemitic attacks since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, the White House says.

Emhoff hears from the members about what they’ve been enduring and updates them on the steps that the Biden administration has taken to address the phenomenon in the US and around the world.

The Jewish second gentleman “stressed the importance of building coalitions around the world, teaching Jewish history and culture, and improving safety and security for Jewish communities,” the White House says.

While in London with his wife, Vice President Kamala Harris, Emhoff will have additional meetings, including with the Chelsea Football Club Foundation, to promote its Say No to Hate campaign, which aims to fight racism, antisemitism and all forms of discrimination.

IDF says it struck two Hezbollah terror cells in southern Lebanon

Israeli soldiers patrol near the Israeli border with Lebanon, November 1, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers patrol near the Israeli border with Lebanon, November 1, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says it struck two terror cells in southern Lebanon, near the village of Meiss al-Jabal, close to the border.

The IDF says one Hezbollah squad was preparing an anti-tank guided missile attack, while the other was a group of gunmen.

The IDF says it also struck rocket launchers used in an attack on the Yiftah area earlier today, and a military aircraft hit a Hezbollah site and an anti-tank guided missile launch position.

The military publishes a video showing strikes on Hezbollah “military infrastructure.”

Israeli universities call for ‘sea change’ in academia abroad in regard to Israel-Hamas war

Demonstrators gather with signs near the Butler Library on the Columbia University campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City on October 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Demonstrators gather with signs near the Butler Library on the Columbia University campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City on October 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

Hamas “shares no values with any Western academic institution” and the terror group shouldn’t be a “cause célèbre” for college students while “Israel is demonized,” the Association of University Heads in Israel says in a strongly worded letter addressed to universities in the USA and Europe.

“We, the leaders of Israeli universities and research institutions, write to express deep concern over the discourse emanating from academia following the devastating Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and the inadequate response, in many cases, by academic leadership,” the letter begins.

“It’s unsettling to note that many college campuses have become breeding grounds for anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiments, largely fueled by a naïve and biased understanding of the conflict. It is ironic that the very halls of enlightenment in America and Europe, ostensibly the bastions of intellectual and progressive thought that are your campuses, have adopted Hamas as the cause célèbre while Israel is demonized. Universities, as hubs of enlightenment and rational discourse, must take responsibility for the views they perpetuate,” the letter reads.

“As leaders of Israeli universities, we have been heartened by clear statements of solidarity and support for Israel, which are, at their heart, statements in solidarity with humanity, enlightenment, and progress. At the same time, we are calling for a sea change in clarity and truth in academia on the matter of Israel’s war against Hamas, so that light will triumph over dark, now and always,” the missive concludes.

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, college campuses, especially in the US, have seen a surge of antisemitic and anti-Israel activity.

MK with history of illegal far-right activity tapped to head Knesset defense subcommittee

Religious Zionist MK Zvi Succot attends a party meeting at the Knesset, January 23, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Religious Zionist MK Zvi Succot attends a party meeting at the Knesset, January 23, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ultra-nationalist MK and radical settlements activist Tzvi Succot is appointed to serve as the chairman of the Knesset subcommittee on Judea and Samaria — aka West Bank — affairs, under the permanent Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Succot was involved in radical activity in the West Bank before becoming a member of Knesset, and was arrested at least three times for his actions during demonstrations outside the home of the head of IDF’s Central Command. He was not drafted into the IDF due to his history of far-right violent behavior.

Succot, who is an MK for the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist party, was also arrested in 2010 by the police due to Shin Bet suspicions he was involved in the arson of a mosque in the northern West Bank close to the Yitzhar settlement, where he lived, although he was never charged over the incident.

The MK says that as chair of the subcommittee he will work toward “ensuring the personal safety of the residents of Judea and Samaria, and to develop the settlements as much as possible.”

Left-wing MKs condemn Succot’s appointment, with Labor leader MK Merav Michaeli calling him “one of the most dangerous people in Israel, a racist, pyromaniac, terror supporter, Shin Bet target.”

The Peace Now organization, which opposes Israeli rule in the West Bank, says Succot was “a dangerous hilltop youth who avoided military service,” and said he “represents those who left security on the Gaza border abandoned in favor of the illegal West Bank outposts.”

Herzog praises Israeli ‘resilience, spirit and soul’ in address to nation, warns against racism

President Isaac Herzog speaks to the nation, October 8, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog speaks to the nation, October 8, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog gives an address to the nation about “resilience, spirit and soul,” praising the “Israeli mosaic” he has met as he visits the wounded, families of hostages, and displaced communities.

“I say to you what I told the families, unequivocally, the hostages are in our thoughts, and their return is an integral part of the success of this campaign – of course – alongside victory in this decisive war against the enemy and restoring security to all Israeli citizens,” he says.

Herzog pledges that “the best minds — thousands of Israelis, from the country’s leadership to every level of the security services –- will work with professionalism and dedication, every minute of the day, to fulfil our moral duty as a country – to bring them back home.”

He accuses Hamas of conducting a “psychological campaign” against Israel, and asks Israelis not to fall into their trap and spread unfounded rumors. Herzog also places a focus on the importance of unity between Jewish and Arab citizens.

“We must eradicate any incarnation of enmity, racism and violence towards different groups within us,” says Herzog, turning to Jewish viewers. “Remember that there are dozens of Arab citizens here who paid with their lives in the terrible massacre, and as part of the security forces and the IDF. Remember the mutual responsibility as displayed by the overwhelming majority of the Arab society in Israel.”

He concludes by praising Israel’s “unbreakable spirit,” calling it “the spirit of a storm which rose from ashes and destruction and is already blowing with all its might.”

“This spirit has revealed itself mightily, in thousands of heroic stories from the frontline and the home front,” says Herzog. “It blows through each outreached hand, in the exemplary Israeli volunteerism and mutual responsibility, seeking to strengthen, to embrace, to support. It blows in every corner of our remarkable country – every corner. It is an eternal spirit, passed on to us from the generations before us, a spirit which will continue to guide us from generation to generation.”

“This spirit is you, my sisters and brothers, the people of Israel. Israeli society is our true secret weapon.”

US, UK, French nationals among those allowed to leave Gaza today

Travelers wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
Travelers wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

Citizens from the US, UK and France are among those who have left Gaza to Egypt via the Rafah crossing today, officials from each country confirm.

The French Foreign Ministry says five French citizens were among dozens of dual passport holders and seriously injured people who were able to leave the Gaza Strip. A team from the French Embassy in Egypt awaited for the group and France thanked Egyptian authorities for facilitating the exit.

The UK government says the first group of UK nationals allowed to leave Gaza have crossed into Egypt through the Rafah crossing, without disclosing numbers or identities. It says more British citizens would be able to leave Gaza when the crossing reopens for “controlled and time-limited periods” in the coming days.

The US State Department says that “an initial group of foreign nationals, including US citizens, departed Gaza through Rafah today.” Spokesman Matthew Miller declines to say how many Americans had made it to Egypt today, but says there were consular officials on hand to assist them.

Netanyahu tells Thai PM: Israel working to bring home Thai hostages from Gaza

An injured Thai worker, front center, who was evacuated from Israel, arrives at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakarn Province, Thailand, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
An injured Thai worker, front center, who was evacuated from Israel, arrives at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakarn Province, Thailand, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with his Thai counterpart, Srettha Thavisin, and expresses his condolences on the murder and kidnapping of many Thai citizens in Hamas’s October 7 assault on southern Israel.

The most updated count from the government says that at least 24 Thai nationals are believed to be held captive in Gaza, and 32 killed in Hamas’s onslaught.

Netanyahu tells Thavisin that Israel will work as hard as possible to release all of the hostages including the Thai nationals, and says that all those wounded are receiving excellent medical treatment, according to Netanyahu’s office.

The Israeli premier also expressed his appreciation for the work of Thai laborers in Israel, and said he hopes those who left with the outbreak of the war will one day return.

IDF chief: ‘Painful price’ paid by troops is ‘necessary’ to win this ‘long war’

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to troops on the Gaza border, October 29, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to troops on the Gaza border, October 29, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says in a missive to troops that the “heavy and painful price” being paid during the war against Hamas is “necessary,” after 16 soldiers were killed in the past day.

“We are in the midst of a war. It will be a long war and we will fight it until the end. We are being proactive and fighting the enemy in their territory, striking them in the very places where they worked on their plans and in the very areas the evil terrorists came from,” Halevi writes.

“We are advancing in the stages of the war, and operating on the ground inside the enemy’s territory, supported by precise and heavy fire. The activity will continue and intensify according to the stages of the war and its objectives, as defined by the Israeli government,” he says.

“So far we have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy and damaged terrorist infrastructure. We search for, find and kill those who participated in the murderous massacre against us and those who sent them,” the missive continues.

“We will continue to push tirelessly and take advantage of every opportunity to bring the hostages home, through both risky overt and covert efforts, as we have already done,” he says.

Halevi says “war has a heavy and painful price, but it is necessary.”

“We are fighting for our right and the right of future generations to live in safety and prosperity in our homeland,” he adds.

IDF spokesman says ground troops have ‘broken through’ Hamas’s front lines of defense

Israeli troops operate inside the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (IDF)
Israeli troops operate inside the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (IDF)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says ground forces have broken through Hamas’s front lines of defense in the northern Gaza Strip.

“The ground operation is progressing as planned,” he says.

“With advance planning, precise intelligence, and joint attacks [from the land, air, and sea], our forces broke through Hamas’s front lines of defense in the north of the Gaza Strip,” Hagari says.

Scholz tells Netanyahu that Israel must protect civilians in Gaza

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, Pool)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, Pool)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a telephone call Wednesday that protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip and ensuring humanitarian aid were crucial, Berlin said.

Scholz “renewed Germany’s unwavering solidarity with Israel,” his office said in a statement after the call. “He underlined the importance of protecting civilians and humanitarian supplies for the people of the Gaza Strip.”

According to an Israeli readout of the call, Netanyahu gave Scholz an assessment of the state of the war, and thanked him for his support of Israel.

Scholz paid a solidarity visit to Israel in the early days of the war and has vowed to stand by the Jewish state.

New US ambassador to take up his post in Israel this weekend

Jack Lew, US President Joe Biden's nominee to be the US ambassador to Israel, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)
Jack Lew, US President Joe Biden's nominee to be the US ambassador to Israel, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

WASHINGTON — Jack Lew, who was confirmed yesterday by the Senate as the new US ambassador to Israel, is expected to join US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his trip to Israel on Friday, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says.

Miller indicates that Lew — whose appointment was fast-tracked after the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war — will remain on the ground to begin his tenure immediately.

Knesset advances amendment to recognize same-sex partners of fallen soldiers

Lawmakers attend a plenum session in the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 16, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Lawmakers attend a plenum session in the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 16, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Knesset plenum gives initial approval to an amendment enabling same-sex couples to be formally recognized by the Defense Ministry under the laws pertaining to families of fallen IDF soldiers.

The first reading of the law sees 17 MKs vote in favor and none against. Once it passes two more readings, it will change the definition of “family member” eligible to get benefits to the spouse of a fallen or abducted soldier. The previous definition only included female partners of male soldiers and vice versa, while the new definition includes same-sex partners.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant confirmed last week that the change would be made, following a request by Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana.

US cautions Israel against cutting Gaza internet, says Blinken to visit Israel, Jordan

This picture taken on November 1, 2023 from a position along the border shows smoke plumes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
This picture taken on November 1, 2023 from a position along the border shows smoke plumes in the Gaza Strip. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller cautions Israel against again cutting internet access for Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel cut communications into the Strip on Friday as it launched the first stage of its ground incursion, switching it back on the next day following pressure from Washington. Then this morning, phone and internet went down again for several hours.

Miller notes that the US government has been contacting its citizens via email about securing their exit from Gaza, so it expects that internet access remain available.

The State Department spokesperson says he recognizes Israel has to make certain operational decisions as it advances its military campaign. “But as a general principle, internet access needs to remain viable for people of Gaza.”

Miller also confirms that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Israel as well as Jordan this weekend.

At the top of Blinken’s agenda will be receiving an update on Israel’s military objectives in Gaza and how it plans to meet them, Miller says.

He will also speak with Israeli leaders about increasing the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, ensuring that there is a sustained continuous flow of aid each day, preventing the conflict from spreading and securing the release of the hostages back.

“Our expectation is that in conducting this military campaign that they do so in full compliance with international law,” Miller says.

Smotrich says Israel’s economy can withstand war

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at a press conference at the Finance Ministry, in Jerusalem on October 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at a press conference at the Finance Ministry, in Jerusalem on October 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says that Israel has a good and functioning government and an economy that will be able to support the war effort in a generous but responsible manner.

“The Israeli economy entered this war in a relatively strong position and we will maintain a reasonable deficit even during the war,” Smotrich says at press conference. “We estimate that we will end 2023 with a one-time war deficit of no more than 3.5% to 4% of GDP.”

“We are working on building a new budget for 2024 and we will introduce a series of structural reforms that support growth,” he says.

For 2024, Smotrich says he is committed to not break through a 5% deficit ceiling.

Meanwhile, Yogev Gradus, director general of Finance Ministry’s budget department, warns that the economic repercussions of the war are “dramatic.”

Gradus says that the costs of the war so far for the defense system are estimated at more than NIS 20 billion. The estimated monthly damage to GDP is equivalent to more than 0.5% of the economy’s annual GDP.

US says around 400 American citizens have expressed interest in leaving Gaza

Palestinians wait at the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, in Rafah, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Palestinians wait at the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, in Rafah, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

WASHINGTON — Some 400 US citizens in Gaza have reached out to American authorities since the outbreak of the war, expressing interest in leaving the Strip, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says.

The US is working to get those 400 citizens out of Gaza along with 600 of their family members, Miller says.

“An initial group of foreign nationals, including US citizens, departed Gaza through Rafah today,” he adds.

US President Joe Biden said earlier that more Americans would leave in the coming hours and days.

Miller says 59 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing yesterday and the US aims for that number to increase each day, setting a goal of at least 100 trucks per day, as recommended by the UN.

The US has not provided any concessions to Hamas in exchange for the safe passage of aid and US citizens, nor is it in a position to do so, Miller say.

IDF says it killed commander of Hamas’s anti-tank missile units in airstrike

A salvo of rockets fired from inside the Gaza Strip towards Israel on October 31, 2023. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
A salvo of rockets fired from inside the Gaza Strip towards Israel on October 31, 2023. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed the commander of Hamas’s anti-tank guided missile array, Muhammad A’sar, in an airstrike in the Gaza Strip today.

According to the IDF, A’sar was “responsible for all of Hamas’s anti-tank missile units throughout the Gaza Strip, commanded the units in routine times and assisted their activity in emergencies.”

The IDF says that under his command, “numerous” missile attacks were carried out against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.

The military publishes a video showing the airstrike.

Contradicting Smotrich, Gallant says Israel should transfer frozen funds to PA

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant addresses the Israeli press from Tel Aviv's IDF headquarters, October 26, 2023. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant addresses the Israeli press from Tel Aviv's IDF headquarters, October 26, 2023. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says that Israel should transfer frozen funds to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, indirectly criticizing the decision earlier this week of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

“It is appropriate to transfer, and transfer immediately, the funds to the Palestinian Authority so that they will be used by its forces that help prevent terrorism,” he says at a press conference.

On Sunday, Smotrich announced a halt in the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues to the PA, claiming that Ramallah supported the October 7 massacre.

Due to the PA’s lack of statehood status, Israel is responsible for collecting customs duties and other tax revenues on its behalf. It transfers them to Ramallah on a monthly basis, providing funds that amount to nearly 65 percent of the Palestinian annual budget, which is roughly NIS 18 billion ($5.27 billion).

Washington pushed back heavily against Smotrich’s announcement.

Cyprus to send ships loaded with humanitarian aid to Gaza, it says

Cyprus’s government spokesman says a Cypriot initiative for the continuous flow of humanitarian assistance from Cyprus to Gaza will see ships sailing directly to the enclave where United Nations personnel will receive it for distribution.

Spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “saw the initiative in a positive light” during a long telephone call with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides last night.

Cyprus is working with other European Union member states and Arab countries to work out the logistics of delivering aid to Gaza as soon as conditions on the ground permit it.

Ships loaded with medical supplies, food and clothing will depart from Cyprus’s main port of Limassol after being vetted to ensure that none of the cargo can be weaponized against Israel.

Biden says US citizens will be able to exit Gaza later today

US President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, October 25, 2023. (AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta)
US President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, October 25, 2023. (AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden announces that American citizens looking to leave Gaza will be able to do so later today.

Hundreds of citizens from other counties have already started leaving through Egypt’s Rafah crossing along with dozens of seriously injured Palestinians who will be treated outside of the Strip.

Roughly 700 Americans are believed to reside in Gaza.

Biden tweets that some will be able to leave today while others will be able to leave in the coming days.

“Today, thanks to American leadership, we secured safe passage for wounded Palestinians and for foreign nationals to exit Gaza,” Biden tweets. “We won’t let up working to get Americans out of Gaza,” he adds.

Gallant says IDF ‘advancing’ toward defeating Hamas; ‘thousands of terrorists eliminated’

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to elite Air Force soldiers at the Palmachim airbase, October 31, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to elite Air Force soldiers at the Palmachim airbase, October 31, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in a press conference says the military is progressing toward the goal of eliminating the Hamas terror group.

He says the war is exacting “a heavy price” and refers to the soldiers who have fallen as “all of our children.”

Israel “must hit the enemy for the sake of those who have fallen, for the sake of the living, for the people of Israel and for the State of Israel,” he says.

“Fierce battles are taking place in Gaza. The IDF is advancing on the road to defeating Hamas,” Gallant says. “The war is progressing according to the objectives.”

“Hamas is suffering severe blows,” he says.

“More than 10,000 munitions were dropped on Gaza City, thousands of targets were hit, thousands of sites were destroyed, thousands of terrorists were eliminated,” Gallant adds.

He says IDF soldiers are encountering Hamas gunmen emerging from tunnels, hospitals and schools.

He vows that Israel “won’t stop until we get to all the terrorists, of all ranks.”

“The enemy has only two choices — to die or surrender unconditionally,” he says.

He repeats that Israel is “not interested” in a wider war, but is ready on every front, with the Air Force “ready for any mission.”

He says he has absolute confidence in IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

He says the defense ministers overseas with whom he is in contact recognize that Israel is fighting on the front line of the free world against the axis of evil.

He empathizes with the families of the thousands of soldiers in Gaza, saying, “I know how you are feeling,” and promises the families of the hostages, “We have not forgotten; we are determined to bring them home.”

Taking questions, he is asked whether Hamas leaders and gunmen might be trying to leave Gaza in the ambulances evacuating the wounded, and says he is confident in the Egyptian checking procedure at the Strip’s southern border.

Asked about the delayed start of the ground offensive, a possible time limit for the war, and the pressures of global opinion, Gallant replies: “The ground offensive began when the time was ripe… This is a war of no choice. We must win the war, whatever the price, however long it takes. Even if this does not find favor with some other countries, we will continue until we defeat Hamas.”

Israeli FM demands Red Cross visit hostages in Gaza, says it has ‘no right to exist’ otherwise

Relatives of Israelis missing or held hostages by Hamas pose after a meeting at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in Geneva on October 20, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Relatives of Israelis missing or held hostages by Hamas pose after a meeting at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in Geneva on October 20, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen speaks with the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mirjana Spoljaric, and demands that the group visit the 240 hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza, harshly criticizing the organization’s conduct so far.

Cohen’s office says the foreign minister told Spoljaric that ICRC must demand to meet and provide medical assistance to all hostages.

“The Red Cross has no right to exist if it does not succeed in visiting the hostages being held captive by the Hamas terror group,” Cohen tells Spoljaric, noting that “children, women and Holocaust survivors” are being held captive.

“The Red Cross must act decisively and with a clear voice and utilize all leverage it has to push for a visit to the hostages as soon as possible,” Cohen adds.

The foreign minister criticizes the ICRC for focusing on Israel, “which is bound by international law and acts in accordance with it,” instead of the enormous humanitarian crisis created by Hamas.

Israel slams Colombia, Chile for recalling ambassadors, not condemning Hamas

Israel’s Foreign Ministry slams Colombia and Chile for recalling their ambassadors in protest of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza even as their citizens were murdered in the October 7 terror attack.

“Citizens of Colombia, Chile and other Latin American countries are also among the victims of the heinous attack,” says Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat. “The State of Israel is fighting a war that was imposed on it; a war against a terrorist organization that uses the citizens of the Gaza Strip as human shields.”

Haiat says that Israel “calls on Colombia and Chile to explicitly condemn the Hamas terrorist organization, which slaughtered and abducted babies, children, women and the elderly. Israel expects Colombia and Chile to support the right of a democratic country to protect its citizens, and to call for the immediate release of all the abductees.”

Overnight both Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors to the Jewish state, accusing it of “massacres” and violating human rights.

Hamas official says group will repeat Oct. 7 attack ‘twice and three times’ to destroy Israel

Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas's political bureau, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, October 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas's political bureau, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, October 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, says in an interview with a Lebanese TV channel that the terror group will repeat the October 7 attack time and again until Israel is annihilated.

“Israel is a country that has no place on our land,” Hamad says in an interview with TV network LBC on October 24, which was published today by MEMRI. “We must remove it because it constitutes a security, military and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation. We are not ashamed to say this.”

A clip of the interview is shared today on X by UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

In the interview, Hamad says that Israel must be wiped off all “Palestinian lands,” i.e., must be completely annihilated, claiming that its existence is “illogical.”

“We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do it twice and three times. The al-Aqsa Deluge [the name Hamas gave its October 7 onslaught] is just the first time,” Hamad continues. “Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.”

The Hamas official also repeats the false mantra that Hamas did not intend to harm civilians, but there were “complications” on the ground. Overwhelming evidence has emerged over the past three weeks of deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians, as part of the instructions given by Hamas commanders.

“We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October one-millionth, everything we do is justified,” Hamad says.

IDF confirms Sgt. First Class Shalev Sharabi killed by mortar fire near Gaza

Sgt. First Class (res.) Shalev Zion Sharabi, who was killed by motar fire on the Israel-Gaza border on November 1, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Sgt. First Class (res.) Shalev Zion Sharabi, who was killed by motar fire on the Israel-Gaza border on November 1, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says a soldier was killed near the border with the Gaza Strip today.

He is named as Sgt. First Class (res.) Shalev Zion Sharabi, 22, a combat medic in the 749th Battalion of the Bislamach Brigade, from Teneh Omarim.

Sharabi was killed by mortar fire near the southern community of Be’eri.

Additionally, a soldier from the 184th Battalion of the 14th Armored Brigade was seriously wounded during clashes with Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip today.

The death toll of IDF soldiers since the start of its ground operation has reached 16.

Egypt official says 76 wounded Gazans, 335 foreign passport holders exit Strip

Vehicles wait outside the gate of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
Vehicles wait outside the gate of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

Seventy-six wounded Palestinians and 335 foreigners or dual-nationals have left the war-torn Gaza Strip for Egypt so far today, an Egyptian official at the Rafah crossing says.

By 4:30 pm local time (1430 GMT), ambulances had transported 76 wounded Palestinians into Egypt and six buses took 335 foreign passport holders, the official tells AFP.

The Egyptian authorities had said they would allow 90 wounded Palestinians and around 545 foreigners and dual nationals to cross today.

In interrogation, Hamas terrorist confesses to gunning down Israeli children

Screen capture from video released October 28, 2023, showing a captured Hamas terrorist explaining how the Shifa hospital in Gaza City is used by Hamas as a military site. (Screenshot IDF)
Screen capture from video released October 28, 2023, showing a captured Hamas terrorist explaining how the Shifa hospital in Gaza City is used by Hamas as a military site. (Screenshot IDF)

The IDF shares a video of the interrogation of a Hamas terrorist who took part in the October 7 assault, who describes killing Israeli children in Kfar Aza.

The man, named Amer Abu Ghosha, is a member of the Nukhba, the commando unit of Hamas.

“Our only mission was to kill,” the man tells the interrogator, “not to kidnap. Kill every person we see and return to Gaza.”

The man proceeds to illustrate the day of the onslaught. He says his group of terrorists headed for Kfar Aza inside a jeep, and entered the community after one of them blew up the gate with an explosive device. Once inside the town, the group of terrorists went house by house, setting them on fire and gunning down whomever they came across with their Kalashnikovs, or launching grenades at them.

At one point, Abu Ghosha describes entering a house and hearing the voices of crying young children inside the safe room, and shooting at the room’s door. The man recalls the voices eventually stopped, and inferred the children had died.

Abu Ghosha and some of the other terrorists later engaged in an armed confrontation with IDF soldiers who entered the house through the windows, and were forced to turn themselves in.

Asked why they killed women and children, Abu Ghosha responds: “They told us all the settlers were soldiers.”

When asked what the difference is between Hamas and ISIS, the man says he was shown videos by the interrogators of some of the horrors perpetrated by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians, and commented, “There is no difference. I saw videos that are worse than ISIS.”

UNRWA chief crosses into Gaza via Egypt

Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, crosses into Gaza, where he meets with Palestinian civilians and other UNRWA colleagues working in the territory.

Lazzarini says he was shocked by the scale of humanitarian needs in Gaza and calls for scaling up assistance delivered to the Strip’s 2.3 million population.

“I was shocked by the fact that everyone there was asking for food, was asking for water… I never, ever have seen something similar in Gaza,” he says in comments to journalists.

Lazzarini is the most senior UN official to enter the Strip since the conflict erupted on Oct. 7.

IDF believes 3,000 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel in initial Oct. 7 assault

Gazans celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the broken Israel-Gaza border fence, east of Khan Younis, October 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)
Gazans celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the broken Israel-Gaza border fence, east of Khan Younis, October 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

A new IDF assessment of Hamas’s October 7 massacre suggests that around 3,000 terrorists invaded southern Israel to carry out a murderous rampage through Gaza border towns, The Times of Israel has learned.

Previously, the military had estimated that some 2,500 terrorist operatives took part.

According to the latest assessment, the figure only includes armed terror operatives and not the waves of Gazan citizens who took advantage of the enormous gaps in the fence to also make their way inside later in the day.

The IDF has said that during the first two days of fighting its forces killed around 1,000 terrorists and captured 200, and that there are many bodies of terrorists still scattered around the border area, and it intends to collect them when possible without endangering soldiers’ lives.

Italy says at least 4 of its citizens have left Gaza via Rafah crossing

Palestinians wait at the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, in Rafah, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Palestinians wait at the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, in Rafah, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani says a handful of Italian citizens have crossed out of the Gaza Strip.

“I just spoke with the first four Italians who departed from the Gaza Strip,” Tajani writes on X. “They are tired but in good condition, assisted by the Italian consul in Cairo. We will continue to work so all the others can get out.”

Tajani last week said there were 14 Italians in the Gaza Strip — seven with Italian citizenship and seven with dual Italian-Palestinian citizenship.

Chicago hotel backs out of hosting annual Palestinian convention due to ‘increased risk’

Palestinian Americans at the American Muslims for Palestine convention in Chicago in 2022. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Palestinian Americans at the American Muslims for Palestine convention in Chicago in 2022. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Hyatt Regency O’Hare Chicago hotel announces that it will no longer host an annual convention for Palestinian Americans after receiving a series of threats.

The American Muslims for Palestine convention was slated to take place next month.

“Given the heightened level of threats and violent acts around the world, we determined there currently is an increased risk to the safety and security of hotel guests, colleagues and the community with this event. After careful consideration of these issues, we have made the decision not to host this event at our hotel this year,” a spokesperson for the hotel says.

Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities have faced an uptick in threats against them since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. The Biden administration says it is employing additional federal resources in order to keep communities safe.

IDF confirms mortar fire from Lebanon, strikes terror cell in response

An Israeli army battle tank moves at a position in the Upper Galilee near the border with Lebanon on November 1, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
An Israeli army battle tank moves at a position in the Upper Galilee near the border with Lebanon on November 1, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says that several mortars were fired recently at Israel from Lebanon, setting off air raid sirens in the border town of Shtula.

The mortars fell in open areas and no injuries were reported, the IDF says.

The military responds by shelling the terror cell that carried out the launch, it adds.

The IDF says that separately a tank struck a terror cell in south Lebanon which was attempting to fire anti-tank missiles into Israel near Shtula.

In addition, a number of mortars were fired toward Shumra in the Western Galilee, and the IDF fired back at the source, it says.

Commander of IDF’s 162 Divison says its soldiers are ‘at the gates of Gaza City’

Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen, the commander of the IDF's 162nd Division, speaks to reporters near Gaza on November 1, 2023. (Screenshot)
Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen, the commander of the IDF's 162nd Division, speaks to reporters near Gaza on November 1, 2023. (Screenshot)

Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen, the commander of the IDF’s 162nd Division, says IDF forces are currently located deep in Gaza, “at the gates of Gaza City.”

Cohen, speaking to reporters near the Strip, says that “Hamas chose this war, we did not choose this war.”

He says that five days ago, his division “received an important task, to go and decisively finish Hamas.”

Cohen says that over the past five days, “we have destroyed much of Hamas’s abilities, attacked its strategic facilities, all of its array of explosives, its underground tunnels and other facilities we completely destroyed.”

He says that this is a “long task,” and that this is “a war for the existence of the State of Israel — and we will win.”

Hamas claims dozens killed, wounded in fresh strike on Jabaliya in Gaza

Palestinians check the destruction in the aftermath of an apparent Israeli strike in Jabaliya on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)
Palestinians check the destruction in the aftermath of an apparent Israeli strike in Jabaliya on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that “dozens” have been killed and wounded in a second day of Israeli airstrikes at Jabaliya.

The group, whose claims cannot be independently verified, says that there are “dozens of martyrs and injured in a bombing” by Israel.

Images obtained by AFP show major damage and rescuers claim “whole families” have been killed today, but casualty details could not be immediately confirmed.

The IDF said that yesterday’s bombing targeted tunnels underneath the buildings, which resulted in the collapse of the buildings on top.

Gallant says IDF is making ‘important achievements’ in Gaza ground operation

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tours near the Gaza border on November 1, 2023. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tours near the Gaza border on November 1, 2023. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says that the IDF is making immense achievements in its ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

“I am impressed by the activities of our forces,” he says in comments during an assessment held near the Gaza border. “This is a determined, decisive action. There is strong cooperation between ground and air forces.”

Gallant says, “There are very important achievements being made in the field — hitting terrorists of all levels, from fighters in the field to high-ranked ones.” The defense minister says IDF activity is exposing underground tunnels and forcing the terrorists out.

He adds that there are, of course, “prices paid on our side, as happens in any battle,” a reference to the 15 IDF soldiers killed so far in the ground operation.

Jordan recalls its ambassador to Israel in protest of war in Gaza

Demonstrators chant slogans near the Israeli Embassy in Amman on October 20, 2023. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)
Demonstrators chant slogans near the Israeli Embassy in Amman on October 20, 2023. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest of Jerusalem’s conduct in the war against Hamas, the foreign ministry in Amman announces.

Jordan Foreign Minister Arman Safadi also notifies the Israeli Foreign Ministry that it should not send back the Israeli ambassador to Amman, who left due to security precautions at the beginning of the war.

Safadi says this is to remain in effect until the war and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza ends.

IDF names 2 additional soldiers killed in Gaza: Staff Sgt. Itay Yehuda, Staff Sgt. Shay Arvas

Staff Sgt. Itay Yehuda (left) and Staff Sgt. Shay Arvas (IDF)
Staff Sgt. Itay Yehuda (left) and Staff Sgt. Shay Arvas (IDF)

The IDF confirms the death in battle of two additional fallen soldiers: Staff Sgt. Itay Yehuda, 20, and Staff Sgt. Shay Arvas, 20, bringing the death toll of soldiers killed in the Gaza ground operation so far to 15.

Yehuda, the son of Ofer and Rinat from Rishon Lezion, was a member of the Givati Brigade and was killed yesterday in fighting, the military says. He will be buried this evening in Holon.

Arvas, a combat medic with the Givati Brigade’s Tzabar unit from Holon, was also killed yesterday, the military says.

The four soldiers — including two announced earlier today — were killed in the anti-tank guided missile attack yesterday that left seven other members of the Givati Brigade’s Tzabar unit dead.

Another two soldiers of the Paratrooper’s 101st Battalion were also seriously wounded during battles with Hamas in Gaza today.

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel, including Tel Aviv

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel, including Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Holon, Rishon Lezion and other areas, following a barrage of rockets from Gaza.

Air raid sirens sound in Upper Galilee

Air raid sirens sound in Shtula, a moshav near the border with Lebanon in the Upper Galilee. It was not immediately clear what set off the sirens.

Bill that criminalizes watching terror group’s videos is made less sweeping

Draft legislation in the Knesset that would ban watching or consuming media published or disseminated by terrorist organizations that calls for terror attacks or praises and encourages terrorist acts is moderated in committee, following concerns expressed by the attorney general’s office.

The legislation is amended in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and the ban now will now apply only in circumstances where the consumption of the terrorist content indicates that the individual identifies with a proscribed terrorist organization.

The legislation also stipulates that the terrorist content must be consumed in an “ongoing, systematic manner” in order for an individual to fall foul of the proposed law, which stipulates a one-year prison sentence for anyone violating it.

The law will not be applicable to someone watching such content randomly or by accident, or for “a legitimate reason” such as providing information to the public, research, or preventing terror attacks.

The legislation is being advanced as a temporary law that will be valid for two years and then renewable.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel strongly criticized the previous version of the legislation as “anti-democratic,” and said it would create a “thought police” that would punish people “not based on their actions but rather on what is going on inside someone’s head.”

Lebanon PM: Time is of essence to stop Hamas-Israel war ‘going out of control’ and spreading

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, speaks at the government palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, March 27, 2023.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, speaks at the government palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, March 27, 2023.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister says time is of the essence in stopping the Hamas-Israel war from “going out of control” and affecting Lebanon and the wider region.

Najib Mikati has apparently been scrambling with international governments to keep Lebanon away from the war, as terrorists from the Hezbollah group have been firing rockets and missiles toward Israel since the onset of the war on Oct. 7.

The clashes so far have mostly been limited to areas along the border.

His comments come days before Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to give his first speech since the start of the war.

Lebanon is experiencing political paralysis and economic turmoil, leaving many worried over the consequences of a fully fledged war in the crisis-hit country.

Mikati, who is backed by Hezbollah, condemns both Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon and attacks in the Gaza Strip.

“A humanitarian cease-fire for five days is necessary, where there can be active international talks to secure prisoner swaps and reach a permanent truce in order to reach an agreement on the conditions for regional peace,” Mikati says before a government meeting.

“Enough war in Lebanon, for we are with the choice of peace,” Mikati says.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war in 2006, which saw thousands of Hezbollah rockets pummel northern towns and claimed the lives of 165 Israelis, including 44 civilians. Over 1,100 Lebanese, both Hezbollah fighters and civilians, were killed.

Israel estimates that Iran-backed Hezbollah has some 150,000 missiles pointed at it.

Health Ministry opens helpline for medical needs of those evacuated, displaced

The Health Ministry opens a helpline dedicated to assisting those who have been displaced or evacuated from their homes during the war.

It is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 Israelis from the north and south of the country are staying in hotels, hostels, kibbutz guest houses and even tent cities.

The help center aims to ensure that every displaced person has their medical needs attended to while they are away from their home community.

The help center will provide information on how and where to obtain various health care services, based on the person’s location. If a person’s specific needs cannot be met by the available services, a special Health Ministry command center dealing with the needs of the displaced will come up with the appropriate solutions.

The helpline operates in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian and can be reached at 5400* ext.4, Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Friday and the eve of holidays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Brother of E. Jerusalem man killed in Hamas onslaught says police mocked him when he reported him missing

The brother of a 22-year-old Palestinian man from East Jerusalem who was killed during the Hamas onslaught tells the Kan public broadcaster that Israel Police mocked and dismissed him when he tried to report his brother missing.

“Go to Hamas and ask them to bring back your brother,” Abed Razem quotes police as having told him.

Police later informed Abed that his brother Sohaib’s body was found along the Gaza border.

Sohaib was a shuttle driver working at the Re’im music festive that was attacked by Hamas terrorists, where they massacred some 260 people.

IDF says anti-tank missile fired toward Israel from south Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces says an anti-tank missile was fired from south Lebanon toward Israel.

There are no immediate reports of Israeli injuries and the military says troops responded with fire toward the source of the attack.

In addition, the military says it struck a terror cell in southern Lebanon attempting to carry out an anti-tank guided missile attack.

Lawmakers watch footage of Oct.7 Hamas atrocities during Knesset screening

Lawmakers are currently watching a compilation of raw footage documenting Hamas’s October 7 rampage throughout southern Israel.

The 43-minute-long video was produced by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office and was previously screened to foreign journalists in Israel.

After a request made by Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana to the military, lawmakers were granted permission to hold a closed-door screening of the footage.

Hamas says Israeli airstrikes hit Jabaliya for second day in a row

Palestinians check the destruction in the aftermath of an apparent Israeli strike in Jabaliya on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)
Palestinians check the destruction in the aftermath of an apparent Israeli strike in Jabaliya on November 1, 2023. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)

The Hamas-run government in Gaza says Israeli airstrikes have hit apartment buildings in Jabaliya, a stronghold of the terror group on the outskirts of Gaza City, for a second day in a row, causing many deaths and injuries.

The toll from the apparent strikes was not immediately known and figures released by the terror group cannot be independently verified.

Israeli forces have continued to attack terror targets in the Strip from the ground and air, killing dozens of members of the terror group, the Israel Defense Forces said earlier today.

Activity appeared to be focused in Jabaliya.

On Tuesday, several buildings in the neighborhood collapsed; the IDF said they were brought down when Hamas terror tunnels beneath them collapsed following airstrikes targeting the head of the battalion and terror infrastructure.

Rocket sirens in Gaza border towns

Rocket alert sirens sound in the Gaza border towns Nirim and Ein Ha’Shlosha.

The communities have been largely evacuated.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Knesset advances bill to give financial aid to families of hostages, those missing since Oct. 7

A man walks past posters of Israelis held hostage in Gaza during a protest in solidarity with the hostages' families, in Rehovot, October 29, 2023. (Meir Conforti / Protest Organizers)
A man walks past posters of Israelis held hostage in Gaza during a protest in solidarity with the hostages' families, in Rehovot, October 29, 2023. (Meir Conforti / Protest Organizers)

The Knesset advances an emergency bill to extend rights traditionally given to the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty and to the families of terror victims to the families of hostages and the missing from October 7.

Families of hostages and missing persons would receive two months of extendable assistance, in addition to a quarterly financial grant, according to the proposal that cleared its first reading on Wednesday.

The bill applies to the families of all persons kidnapped or missing from October 7, including non-Israeli citizens who entered the country legally. Families of non-Israelis who entered Israel illegally can submit a request for assistance.

Smotrich rejects calls from US to release Palestinian Authority tax revenues

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at a press conference at the Finance Ministry, in Jerusalem on October 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at a press conference at the Finance Ministry, in Jerusalem on October 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich rejects calls from the Biden administration to release tax revenues that belong to the Palestinian Authority.

“I hear that there are those who think that while our heroic soldiers and commanders are sacrificing their lives for the defense of the homeland, we should transfer money to this despicable enemy in Judea and Samaria,” Smotrich tweets, attaching an article that quotes PA President Mahmoud Abbas saying that the “Palestinian people will not wave a white flag.”

“We will not repeat mistakes and assumptions that we paid dearly for,” Smotrich adds.

The finance minister has in the past called for the PA to be dissolved. In years past, he described Hamas as an asset, compared to the PA, which he preferred weak in order to limit pressure on Israel to engage in diplomatic talks.

Smotrich said Monday he had instructed the ministry to halt the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority and is urging the cabinet to reevaluate its policy on such funds, in light of what Smotrich characterizes as PA “support” for Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught.

The funds are part of customs duties Israel collects on behalf of the PA. Israel has made such deductions in the past, following 2018 legislation that cites the PA’s payment of stipends to terrorists and their families. But it only partially upholds the policy, as officials are keenly aware that the PA is dangerously close to financial collapse.

New footage shows moment rocket slammed into highway near Ashdod

Dashcam footage shows the moment a rocket directly hit the Route 4 highway near Ashdod, October 31, 2023 (Screen grab used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Dashcam footage shows the moment a rocket directly hit the Route 4 highway near Ashdod, October 31, 2023 (Screen grab used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Newly released dashcam footage shows the moment a rocket directly hit the busy Route 4 highway near the coastal city of Ashdod yesterday.

It is unclear if rocket alert sirens were sounding at the time, as they tend to only be activated when a projectile is heading for a populated area.

Paramedics said three people were lightly wounded by shards of glass in the incident.

Authorities announce death of Roi Sargosti, 13th soldier killed in IDF’s Gaza ground op

Roi Sargosti (Courtesy)
Roi Sargosti (Courtesy)

Another Givati soldier was killed in the Gaza Strip yesterday, authorities say.

The Ramat Hanegev Regional Council in a statement says Staff Sgt. Roi Sargosti, from the Ha’Roa Farm was killed battling Hamas terrorists.

The Israel Defense Forces has not yet cleared his name for publication, as it generally waits for all family members to be notified.

Sargosti is the 13th soldier to have been killed in the IDF’s ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

Magen David Adom says over 600 liters of breastmilk provided since start of war

An undated photo of bottled breastmilk. (Magen David Adom)
An undated photo of bottled breastmilk. (Magen David Adom)

Magen David Adom National Human Milk Bank announces that since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, it has provided over 600 liters of breast milk to premature babies and babies whose mothers have been killed, abducted, or injured, or who have been called up to military duty.

Some 900 women who had not previously donated to the bank signed up to do so. Around 200 of them have already donated, and the rest are in various stages of application and will begin donating soon.

According to the milk bank’s director Dr. Sharron Bransburg-Zabary, 1,000 more liters of mother’s milk will need to be gathered and properly processed to meet the expected needs of the upcoming few weeks.

“We are working around the clock to continue providing the infants and premature babies the safest milk that stands up to the highest supervision levels and passes all the tests and procedures needed for their health,” she says.

MDA is taking breast milk donations only from Israel. It warns people against feeding babies breast milk arriving from abroad or from any source in Israel other than the MDA Human Milk Bank.

More information on the Human Milk Bank can be found on the website: https://www.mdais.org/blood-donation/breast-milk-bank

Nursing women interested in donating milk (in Israel):
email: milkbank@mda.org.il
WhatsApp: 052-6344101

Arson attack on Jewish cemetery in Vienna; swastikas sprayed on external wall

Austria’s main Jewish leader says that a fire was set during the night in the Jewish section of Vienna’s central cemetery and swastikas were sprayed on external walls.

Jewish Community of Vienna President Oskar Deutsch writes on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the fire burned the entrance lobby to a ceremonial hall but did not cause any injuries. The fire service and police were investigating, he says.

Fire service spokesperson Gerald Schimpf tells the Austria Press Agency that the fire was during the night and had largely extinguished itself by the time firefighters were alerted shortly after 8 a.m.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer says he condemns “the attack on the Jewish cemetery in the strongest terms.” He writes on X that “ antisemitism has no place in our society” and adds that he hopes the perpetrators will be found quickly.

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly donates mobile intensive care units to Magen David Adom

The multinational pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has donated to Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue and emergency medical service three intensive care mobile units and two advanced monitoring systems. The donation is valued at half a million dollars.

These ICU mobile units and advanced monitors will boost MDA’s ability to save lives as its employees and volunteers work around the clock during the war.

“In a time of crisis, Eli Lilly stands firmly with the communities it serves. This donation expresses our goal to improve life by helping those who put themselves on the frontlines every day to save lives,” said Roberta Marinelli, director-general of Eli Lilly in Israel.

MDA leaders thanked Eli Lilly for stepping up with such generous support so quickly and said it would surely boost the morale of the MDA teams in the field.

Police remove hateful graffiti in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood

Graffiti in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood reads '1400 Zionist terrorists neutralized,' a reference to the death toll in the devastating attacks in southern Israel, November 1, 2023 (Israel Police)
Graffiti in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood reads '1400 Zionist terrorists neutralized,' a reference to the death toll in the devastating attacks in southern Israel, November 1, 2023 (Israel Police)

Police say they removed graffiti in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood which expressed support for Hamas’s murderous attacks on October 7.

In addition to Palestinian flags, graffiti included the slogan “1400 Zionist terrorists neutralized,” a reference to the death toll in the devastating attacks in southern Israel, and “Zionists = Nazis.”

As police carried out their activities, rioters threw eggs, water, bottles and rocks at officers, and chanted insults including “Nazi terrorists.”

Mea Shearim is a bastion of hard line ultra-Orthodox sects.

A number of groups with a presence in the neighborhood, such as Neuterai Karta, are strongly opposed to Israel’s existence and reject cooperating with the state.

In recent years, soldiers have been attacked in the neighborhood, and their have been incidents involving the burning of Israeli flags and effigies of IDF soldiers.

IDF says 46 wanted Palestinians detained in overnight West Bank raids

The Israel Defense Forces says troops detained 46 wanted Palestinians, including 30 affiliated with the Hamas terror group, in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank.

The IDF says that since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, troops have arrested more than 1,180 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, including some 740 affiliated with Hamas.

There have been numerous clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians in the West Bank in the past two weeks, and several attempted terror attacks, according to the army.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, 122 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, and in some cases settlers, since October 7.

Karhi: Decision to shut down Al Jazeera in Israel awaits defense minister’s approval; Gallant: No objections

Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/Kamran Jebreili, File)
Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/Kamran Jebreili, File)

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi says that a decision to shut down the Al Jazeera channel in Israel and seize its equipment is awaiting approval from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant following legal and security assessments by the government of the step.

“From our point of view the orders are ready to remove [Al Jazeera] from [cable TV providers] Hot and Yes, to close [Al Jazeera’s] offices, to seize broadcast equipment from journalists, to revoke the government press passes, to withhold communications and internet services by Israeli companies [to Al Jazeera], everything is ready,” says Karhi during a debate in the Knesset plenum on the issue.

He noted that the decision to close down the Qatari news channel, which Karhi accuses of harming Israeli national security and inciting terrorism, requires the defense minister’s approval before it can be brought to a vote in the security cabinet.

“This issue is at the door of the defense minister, after his approval, which we are yet to receive, the request will be brought to the security cabinet for approval,” the hardline communications minister says.

Karhi alleges during his comments in the Knesset that Al Jazeera has “photographed and published” the positioning of IDF forces, “broadcast military announcements by Hamas,” and “distorted facts in a way which incited masses of people to riot.”

A statement put out by Gallant’s office immediately following the debate in Knesset, says that “despite what has been claimed, the defense minister supports restricting the broadcasts and activities of the Al Jazeera station immediately.”

Media watchdog says 34 journalists killed in Israel-Hamas war, accuses both sides of possible war crimes

The group Reporters Without Borders says 34 journalists have been killed in the war between Israel and Hamas terrorists, accusing both sides of committing possible war crimes.

The media watchdog calls on the International Criminal Court to investigate the killings.

“The scale, seriousness and recurring nature of international crimes targeting journalists, particularly in Gaza, calls for a priority investigation by the ICC prosecutor,” says Christophe Deloire, head of the group.

It says it filed a complaint with the ICC’s prosecutor regarding eight Palestinian journalists it said were killed in Israel’s bombardment of civilian areas in Gaza, and an Israeli journalist killed during Hamas’s bloody October 7 attack in southern Israel, which ignited the war. At least four Israeli journalists were murdered during the onslaught.

It says the complaint cited “the deliberate, total or partial, destruction of the premises of more than 50 media outlets in Gaza” since the war began.

Israel says it makes every effort to avoid killing civilians and accuses Hamas of putting them at risk by operating in residential areas.

First ambulances carrying Gaza wounded arrive in Egypt, official says

Palestinian health ministry ambulances cross the gate to enter the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
Palestinian health ministry ambulances cross the gate to enter the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

The first ambulances carrying wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip entered Egypt via the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, an Egyptian official says, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Live footage shown on television stations close to Egyptian intelligence had shown the ambulances entering the Egyptian side of the Rafah terminal to bring back what officials said would be around 90 of the most seriously sick and wounded Palestinians for treatment in Egyptian hospitals.

Iran-backed Houthis publish 1st video of missile, drone attack on Israel

A trail of smoke, apparently from an Israeli air defense missile, is seen over the Eilat area in southern Israel, October 31, 2023. (Courtesy)
A trail of smoke, apparently from an Israeli air defense missile, is seen over the Eilat area in southern Israel, October 31, 2023. (Courtesy)

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels publish a first video claiming to show missile and drone launches from Yemen at Israel yesterday.

Some of the projectiles were intercepted by Israeli air defense systems and fighter jets, while at least one was reported to have landed in the Jordanian desert.

The IDF said there was no risk to Israeli civilians amid the attacks, as the missiles and drones were intercepted over the Red Sea.

Ben Gurion, Bar Ilan universities announce emergency grants for reservists

Students walk around the campus at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, on May 8, 2013. (Dudu Greenspan/ Flash90)
Students walk around the campus at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, on May 8, 2013. (Dudu Greenspan/ Flash90)

Enrolled students called up for reserve duty will receive a NIS 1,200 ($300) grant and a delay in paying rental fees if they were living in university dormitories, Ben Gurion University of the Negev announces.

The university also said it would provide assistance for students, faculty and staff who have been evacuated from their homes as a result of the Israel-Hamas war.

Yesterday, Bar-Ilan University announced grants of 1,000-5,000 NIS ($250-$1,250) for the more than 6,000 registered students who are now serving on the front lines. The grant is to be “applied towards housing and tuition, emotional support, and additional study hours during the academic year,” the university said in a statement.

The announcements come on the heels of a similar program initiated by Tel Aviv University a few days ago. Other major universities in Israel are expected to follow suit. Due to the massive call-up of IDF reserves, an estimated 30% of all university students, as well as many faculty and staff, are now doing IDF reserve duty in various capacities.

The start of the academic year for most institutes of higher education has been delayed to at least December 3, 2023.

Rocket sirens in Ashdod, Ashkelon and surrounding towns

After a lull of some eleven hours, sirens sound as a barrage of rockets is fired from Gaza toward southern Israel.

Alerts are heard in multiple locations, including the coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, and a number of the surrounding towns and communities.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Netanyahu promises victory for Israel despite ‘painful losses’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

With officials announcing that 12 soldiers have been killed in Gaza fighting since the start of the war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a statement of condolence.

“We are in a difficult war. It will be a long war. We have important achievements in it, but also painful losses,” the premier says in a statement.

“We know that each of our soldiers is a whole world. The entire nation of Israel embraces you, the families, from the bottom of our hearts. We are all with you in your time of great sorrow,” Netanyahu says.

“Our soldiers fell in an unjust war, the war for our home,” Netanyahu says. “I promise you citizens of Israel: we will complete the job. We will continue until victory.”

12th soldier killed in Gaza fighting: Pedayah Mark, who was wounded in 2016 terror attack that killed his father

Another Givati soldier was killed in the Gaza Strip yesterday, authorities say.

The Otniel settlement and Har Hevron Regional Council in statements say that 2nd Lt. Pedayah Mark was killed battling Hamas terrorists.

The Israel Defense Forces has not yet cleared his name for publication, as it generally waits for all family members to be notified.

Pedayah is the son of Rabbi Miki Mark, who was killed in a 2016 West Bank shooting attack. Pedayah was moderately hurt in that attack.

Foreign passport holders start to leave Gaza through Rafah crossing for 1st time since start of war

People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

Dozens of foreign passport holders trapped in Gaza are leaving the Strip as the Rafah crossing to Egypt opens for the first time since the devastating Hamas attack on October 7.

While convoys of desperately needed aid have passed between Egypt and Gaza, people have not been allowed to cross until now.

Some 400 foreigners and dual nationals are expected to leave Gaza today.

Ambulances wait on the Egyptian side of the border to transport the some 90 sick and wounded who are also being allowed to leave.

Several outlets have reported Egypt is building a field hospital along the border.

The agreement to open the crossing was mediated by Qatar between Egypt, Israel and the Hamas terror group, which controls Gaza, in coordination with the United States.

War erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 2,500 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,400 people and seizing 200-250 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.

Israel says its Gaza offensive is aimed at destroying Hamas’s infrastructure, and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates, while seeking to minimize civilian casualties

Palestinian Authority calls for general strike across West Bank, East Jerusalem

A general strike is declared across the West Bank and East Jerusalem today to denounce the Israeli “aggression” in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The strike, called for by the Fatah party, which controls the Palestinian Authority, affects businesses, banks and universities, and is accompanied by calls to “escalate the confrontation with the occupation.”

Amid the ongoing offensive in the Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reports that so far at least 8,610 have been killed, and over 23,000 injured since the start of the war.

However, the figures issued by the terror group cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas terrorists killed in Gaza and Israel, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.

An additional 122 Palestinians have reportedly been killed in the West Bank since Hamas’s deadly assault on southern Israel on October 7, at the hands of the IDF or in some cases by settlers.

Israeli forces have also detained more than 1,000 Palestinians, some 700 of whom are affiliated with the Hamas terror group, in raids across the West Bank.

UK says Rafah border crossing ‘likely to open’ for foreign nationals to leave Gaza

Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in central London on July 4, 2023. (Justin Tallis/AFP)
Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in central London on July 4, 2023. (Justin Tallis/AFP)

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly says the Rafah border crossing is “likely to open today” and allow a group of foreign nationals to leave the Gaza Strip for Egypt.

“UK teams are ready to assist British nationals as soon as they are able to leave,” Cleverly writes on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.

“It’s vital that lifesaving humanitarian aid can enter Gaza as quickly as possible,” Cleverly says.

According to the Reuters news agency, Qatar has negotiated an agreement between Israel, Egypt and the Hamas terror group for the crossing to open, although it is unclear how long for.

Rafah border crossing to open and allow foreign nationals, some wounded to leave Gaza – report

Travelers wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
Travelers wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

Qatar has reportedly brokered an agreement that would see the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt to open today and allow foreigners and dual nationals to leave the Strip.

According to the Reuters news agency, there is no agreement on how long the crossing will remain open.

The outlet says Qatar mediated the agreement between Egypt, Israel and the Hamas terror group, which controls Gaza, in coordination with the United States.

An unknown number of critically wounded Gazans are also expected to be transported through Rafah to receive medical treatment in Egypt.

Images from the area appear to show foreign nationals waiting near the border.

There is no formal announcement on the matter.

IDF sends missile boats to Red Sea area after attacks by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen

An Israeli Navy missile boat is seen off the coast of Eilat, October 31, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
An Israeli Navy missile boat is seen off the coast of Eilat, October 31, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has bolstered the Red Sea area with Navy missile boats, following several missile and drone attacks by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.

The IDF says the vessels were deployed yesterday “in accordance with the assessment of the situation, and as part of the increased defense efforts in the area.”

Yesterday the military intercepted a missile and two drones launched from Yemen at Israel. Another target was intercepted early this morning near the southernmost city of Eilat.

The military says it has several layers of air defenses in the area to protect against Houthi attacks. The US military is also deployed in the Red Sea region, and intercepted a number of Houthi missiles and drones heading for Israel two weeks ago.

Israel says Bolivia decision to cut ties ‘a surrender to terrorism, the Ayatollah’s regime in Iran’

Bolivian President Luis Arce speaks during a town hall meeting called by pro-government Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) militants in El Alto, Bolivia, on October 17, 2023. (Aizar Raldes/AFP)
Bolivian President Luis Arce speaks during a town hall meeting called by pro-government Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) militants in El Alto, Bolivia, on October 17, 2023. (Aizar Raldes/AFP)

Israel calls Bolivia’s decision to cut ties “a surrender to terrorism and to the Ayatollah’s regime in Iran.”

“By taking this step,” tweets ministry spokesman Lior Haiat, “the Bolivian government is aligning itself with the Hamas terrorist organization, which slaughtered over 1,400 Israelis and abducted 240 people, including children, women, babies and the elderly.”

Israel condemns Bolivia’s “support of terrorism,” Haiat continues, saying it attests “to the values the government of Bolivia represents.”

He adds that bilateral relations have been “devoid of content” anyway since the current government came into power.

4 Palestinians killed in overnight West Bank clashes with Israeli troops, PA says

Four Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank overnight, Palestinian health officials say.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry says three were killed in Jenin, while another was killed in Tulkarem.

Undercover police forces first entered Jenin last night to arrest Atta Abu Rumaila, 63, the secretary-general of Fatah in the northern West Bank city.

Military sources say there was no resistance during Abu Rumaila’s arrest, who was detained along with his son.

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security agency said that in recent months, Abu Rumaila had “advanced terror activity with funding of tens of thousands of shekels, and helped wanted persons and terrorist operatives.”

The joint statement said that Abu Rumaila “took a significant part in escalating the security situation in the region,” and that his son was a local terror operative.

Later, Israeli troops entered Jenin again to “foil terror infrastructure,” the IDF said.

The troops found and destroyed explosive devices planted in the roads and an underground tunnel used by gunmen. A car with ammunition and military equipment was also confiscated.

Amid the operation, troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen. The IDF carried out a drone strike against a number of gunmen amid the gun battle.

There is no immediate word from the IDF on what occurred in Tulkarem.

There have been frequent clashes in the West Bank since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, with troops arresting more than 1,000 Palestinians, some 700 of whom are affiliated with the Hamas terror group.

Gallant on deaths of soldiers: Hard and painful blow, but we are ready for a long campaign

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to elite Air Force soldiers at the Palmachim airbase, October 31, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to elite Air Force soldiers at the Palmachim airbase, October 31, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant issues a statement on the deaths of nine soldiers killed in fighting in northern Gaza.

“The fall of IDF fighters in the battles against Hamas terrorists in Gaza is a hard and painful blow. Our hearts and thoughts are with their dear families,” Gallant says.

“The significant achievements of the heavy fighting in the depths of the Gaza Strip unfortunately exact a heavy price,” the defense minister says.

“We are prepared and ready for a long and complex campaign that requires courage, determination and perseverance — we will win,” he says.

The deaths take the number of troops killed in fighting in the enclave to 11 since the start of the war.

IDF says 11,000 terror targets hit in Gaza since start of war

IDF troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo, October 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo, October 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says ground operations in the Gaza Strip continued overnight, with forces striking dozens of Hamas targets.

The IDF says that since the beginning of the war, some 11,000 sites belonging to Hamas and other terror groups have been hit.

Overnight, ground forces directed the Air Force to strike a building in Jabaliya where a number of Hamas operatives were gathered, the IDF says.

The IDF says the multi-story building was “located near a school, medical center and government offices.”

The Air Force also carried out strikes against Hamas command centers and other terror cells, it says.

The IDF says ground forces also spotted a car with an anti-tank guided missile driving toward them in northern Gaza, and directed an aircraft to strike it.

US commandos in Israel to help with locating hostages held in Gaza

People hold a poster bearing a photo of Israeli hostage Yoni Asher during a rally in support of Israel outside the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver, Colorado, on October 15, 2023. (Jason Connolly / AFP)
People hold a poster bearing a photo of Israeli hostage Yoni Asher during a rally in support of Israel outside the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver, Colorado, on October 15, 2023. (Jason Connolly / AFP)

US commandos are in Israel to help with efforts to locate hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas onslaught, The New York Times reports.

The report quotes Christopher P. Maier, an assistant secretary of defense, telling a Washington conference: “We’re actively helping the Israelis to do a number of things.”

He says the main task is to assist in the work to “identify hostages, including American hostages. It’s really our responsibility to do so.”

Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity tell the newspaper that several dozen US Special Operations forces have been sent, in addition to a team that was already in Israel for training.

As well as helping locate hostages, the US troops will also be used for evacuations and to secure embassies in the region if necessary.

The report says several Western countries have secretly moved special forces closer to Israel to help with the potential rescue of hostages, or for large-scale evacuations from Israel or Lebanon if the fighting widens.

IDF announces another 9 soldiers killed fighting in northern Gaza

In this handout photo released on November 1, 2023, Israeli forces are seen in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
In this handout photo released on November 1, 2023, Israeli forces are seen in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces announces the deaths of another nine soldiers killed fighting Hamas terrorists in the northern part of the Gaza Strip yesterday.

The soldiers are named as Lt. Ariel Reich, 24, from Jerusalem; Cpl. Asif Luger, 21, from Yagur; Sgt. Adi Danan, 20, from Yavne; Staff Sgt. Halel Solomon, 20, from Dimona; Staff Sgt. Erez Mishlovsky, 20, from Oranit; Staff Sgt. Adi Leon, 20, from Nili; Cpl. Ido Ovadia, 19, from Tel Aviv; Cpl. Lior Siminovich, 19, from Herzliya; and Staff Sgt. Roei Dawi, 20, from Jerusalem.

Reich and Luger served in the 77th Battalion of the 7th Armored Brigade, while the rest of the soldiers were part of the Givati Infantry Brigade’s Tzabar Battalion

The Givati soldiers were killed after an armored vehicle they were in was hit by an anti-tank guided missile fired by Hamas. Another four soldiers were wounded in the same incident, including one seriously.

The 77th Battalion soldiers were killed after their tank drove over an explosive device. Another two soldiers were seriously hurt in the same incident.

Yesterday, the IDF announced that two Givati soldiers were killed during separate clashes in the Gaza Strip.

Also in the past day, another soldier from Givati’s Rotem Battalion was seriously wounded in separate clashes with terrorists in the Gaza Strip, the IDF says.

Biden to Jordan king: ‘Critical to ensure Palestinians aren’t forcibly displaced outside Gaza’

In this July 19, 2021 file photo, US President Joe Biden, right, meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
In this July 19, 2021 file photo, US President Joe Biden, right, meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The White House says that US President Joe Biden spoke Tuesday with the leader of key US partner Jordan, where US Secretary of State Blinken has visited multiple times since Hamas launched its October 7 attack on Israel.

Biden and King Abdullah II “discussed urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric, and reduce regional tensions,” a White House statement says.

It adds that the two leaders “agreed that it is critical to ensure that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced outside of Gaza” and that Biden had “confirmed unwavering US support for Jordan and His Majesty’s leadership.”

Palestinians report ‘complete interruption’ of phone and internet services in Gaza

This picture taken near Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on October 31, 2023, shows smoke plumes billowing following Israeli strikes amid the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Yuri Cortez/AFP)
This picture taken near Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on October 31, 2023, shows smoke plumes billowing following Israeli strikes amid the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Yuri Cortez/AFP)

The Palestine Telecommunications Company, Paltel, says that there has again been “a complete interruption of all communications and internet services” in the Gaza Strip, as Israel moves forward with its offensive in the enclave against Hamas terrorists.

In a statement on the social media platform X, Paltel says that international access has been severed.

Cornell student to face federal charges for threats against Jewish students

A New York State Police Department cruiser is parked in front of Cornell University's Center for Jewish Living, in Ithaca, New York, October 30, 2023. (AP Photo/David Bauder)
A New York State Police Department cruiser is parked in front of Cornell University's Center for Jewish Living, in Ithaca, New York, October 30, 2023. (AP Photo/David Bauder)

ITHACA, New York — A Cornell University student has been arrested and accused of posting threatening statements online about Jewish students at the school, law enforcement officials say.

Patrick Dai, 21, a junior from Pittsford, New York, is charged in a federal criminal complaint with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications, according to a joint announcement from the US Attorney’s office, FBI, New York State police and Cornell University Police.

It’s not immediately clear if Dai has hired an attorney. The federal courts website has not yet been updated with the case. Dai did not respond to a Facebook message and his Cornell email address cannot be immediately accessed.

The charge carries a possible five-year prison sentence, officials say.

The menacing messages, posted over the weekend on a forum about fraternities and sororities, alarmed students at the Ivy League school in upstate New York. The anonymous threats came amid a spike of antisemitic and anti-Muslim rhetoric appearing on social media during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Dai is scheduled to appear Wednesday in federal court in Syracuse, New York, before a United States Magistrate Judge.

Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations at Cornell University, says the school was grateful for the quick work of the FBI.

“We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Malina says in a statement. “We know that our campus community will continue to support one another in the days ahead.”

Iran warns proxy groups like the Houthis could expand operations against Israel

Armed Yemeni supporters of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels brandish their weapons at a rally in the capital Sanaa, January 27, 2022. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)
Armed Yemeni supporters of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels brandish their weapons at a rally in the capital Sanaa, January 27, 2022. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

Iran’s mission to the UN warns that allied militias like the Houthi rebels in Yemen could expand their operations against Israel.

“The warnings from Iran regarding the initial days of the Gaza civilian casualties highlighted a concern: if these atrocities were not halted, they could incite public outrage and exhaust the patience of the resistance movements,” the Iranian mission says in a statement to the Associated Press. “These concerns can be averted and the responsibility lies squarely in the hands of the American administration to halt the transgressions perpetuated by the Israeli regime.”

The statement comes after the Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile fired at Eilat on Tuesday that was shot down by the Israeli military. Hours later, the Israel Defense Forces announced that it again intercepted an “aerial threat” near Eilat.

Israel has also been hitting targets in Lebanon in response to attacks by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group and allied Palestinian factions, with the military saying that it carried out strikes overnight after a surface-to-air missile was fired at an Israeli drone.

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