ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Nov. 13: Biden urges ‘less intrusive action’ at Gaza hospital, calls on Hamas to free hostages

As Israeli forces take over Strip’s parliament building, army reveals terror group’s use of Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital * Rockets target central Israel * IDF ground op toll at 44

  • A tunnel shaft found by IDF forces leading to underneath Gaza City's Rantisi Hospital, in a photo released by the military on November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    A tunnel shaft found by IDF forces leading to underneath Gaza City's Rantisi Hospital, in a photo released by the military on November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Troops from the IDF's Golani Brigade pose for a photo inside Gaza's parliament building in Gaza City, after capturing the site, on November 13, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    Troops from the IDF's Golani Brigade pose for a photo inside Gaza's parliament building in Gaza City, after capturing the site, on November 13, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • Weapons found by IDF forces in a Hamas command center underneath Gaza City's Rantisi Hospital, in a photo released by the military on November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    Weapons found by IDF forces in a Hamas command center underneath Gaza City's Rantisi Hospital, in a photo released by the military on November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Smoke rises during Israeli airstrikes, in the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, on November 13, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Smoke rises during Israeli airstrikes, in the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, on November 13, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
    This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A Palestinian boy rides a bicycle amidst debris in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 13, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    A Palestinian boy rides a bicycle amidst debris in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 13, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
    This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A blindfolded large teddy bear with fake blood on it, along with a photograph of an Israeli child held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 massacre, as part of an exhibit in Tel Aviv, November 13, 2023. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
    A blindfolded large teddy bear with fake blood on it, along with a photograph of an Israeli child held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza since the October 7 massacre, as part of an exhibit in Tel Aviv, November 13, 2023. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
  • This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
    This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • This picture taken from a position near Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, early on November 13, 2023, shows flares dropped by Israeli forces above the coastal enclave amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Fadel SennaAFP)
    This picture taken from a position near Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, early on November 13, 2023, shows flares dropped by Israeli forces above the coastal enclave amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Fadel SennaAFP)

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

‘Psychological terror’: IDF notifies family of hostage Noa Marciano that Hamas aired clip of her

Noa Marciano. (Courtesy)
Noa Marciano. (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces says it sent representatives to the family of Noa Marciano, who is being held by Hamas the Gaza Strip, after the terror group published a video of her earlier this evening.

“Our hearts go out to the Marciano family, whose daughter, Noa, was brutally kidnapped by the Hamas terror organization,” the IDF says in a statement.

The military vows to continue to accompany the Marciano family, as well as the families of the other hostages.

“We are working with all means, intelligence and operational, in order to return the hostages home,” the IDF says.

It says an IDF representative went to Noa Marciano’s home to inform them of the Hamas video.

“Hamas continues to use psychological terror and behaves inhumanely, through videos and photos of hostages, as it has done in the past,” the IDF adds.

Hundreds rally for hostages’ release near UN’s Jerusalem offices; official comes out to speak

Hundreds of demonstrators hold a rally near the main UN offices in Jerusalem, demanding more be done to release the hostages held by terrorists in Gaza, November 13, 2023. (Courtesy, Charlie Kalech)
Hundreds of demonstrators hold a rally near the main UN offices in Jerusalem, demanding more be done to release the hostages held by terrorists in Gaza, November 13, 2023. (Courtesy, Charlie Kalech)

Several hundred demonstrators hold a rally for the release of those held captive in Gaza near the main UN offices in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem.

During the protest, Pascal Soto, the top official of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, comes outside to speak to the crowd.

“I’m touched to be the one receiving you,” says Soto. “I’ve been in Israel for a long time now. I cannot imagine the fear and pain of the hostages and the relatives, your pain and your fear.”

A representative from the group hands over a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Soto says the UN secretary-general has, since October 7, consistently called for the unconditional release of the roughly 240 hostages in captivity in Gaza.

“He’s met with families and pledged to do his utmost to bring about their release,” says Soto.

Soto adds that Guterres has been in touch with Qatar to broker negotiations to bring about the release of the captives.

“I don’t know if I can really be more specific,” says Soto. “That’s all I can say at this stage.”

One of the parents of the captives, Yoav Engel — father of Ofir Engel, 18, from the nearby Kibbutz Ramat Rachel — says he “just came to ask for the UN to help us. My kid has been there for 38 days along with 238 more people, babies, kids, teenagers, adults, sick men. And no one know what’s going on with them.”

Israel offers conditional backing for inclusion of Gaza aid in US security package for Israel

US President Joe Biden speaks from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 19, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/ Pool via AP)
US President Joe Biden speaks from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 19, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/ Pool via AP)

Israel supports US President Joe Biden’s inclusion of humanitarian aid for Gaza in the $106 billion national security package that he presented to Congress last month to fund Washington’s security support for Israel and Ukraine, a senior Israeli official tells The Times of Israel.

However, the official clarifies that this support from Jerusalem is conditioned on the aid meeting specific criteria, which Israel is raising with US lawmakers who are currently working to advance the aid package.

These include differentiating between short-term, emergency assistance, which must be fully coordinated with Israel, and funding for rehabilitating Gaza after the war. Israel is also asking for post-war funding to include aid that will help bolster Egypt’s border with Gaza to ensure that the enclave is not re-militarized in a “post-Hamas Gaza,” according to the senior Israeli official.

The senior official’s comments are the first time that Israel has publicly weighed in on the aid package that Biden presented to Congress last month.

House Republicans rejected the proposal and advanced an alternative package that included the same $14 billion in security assistance for Israel but left out the $61 million for Ukraine, as well as the $9 billion in humanitarian aid. The Senate’s Democratic majority along with the White House have vowed not to pass the GOP version, which included massive cuts to the IRS, leading to an ongoing deadlock.

The senior Israeli official is careful not to weigh in on the debate between Democrats and Republicans but says Jerusalem is not opposed to US security aid for Israel being tied to aid for Ukraine.

Woman abducted to Gaza on Oct. 7 has likely given birth in captivity — officials

Israeli officials clear for publication that one of the hostages kidnapped during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught has likely given birth in captivity.

The woman, who had been in her ninth month of pregnancy, is presumed to have given birth based on the time that has passed since, and not based on concrete information, the officials stress.

FM Cohen to travel to Geneva tomorrow, will meet heads of Red Cross, WHO

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will travel to Switzerland tomorrow along with several relatives of captives held in Gaza, for a whirlwind diplomatic visit.

Cohen’s office says he will meet in Geneva with Red Cross President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, as well as with World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

He will also brief foreign ambassadors on the international effort to release the roughly 240 hostages held by terrorists in Gaza.

Israel-Russian academic appears on video for first time since being abducted in Iraq

Elizabeth Tsurkov, an Israeli-Russian academic who was kidnapped in Iraq earlier this year, speaks in a clip aired November 13, 2023, by Iraq's Al Rabiaa satellite TV network. (Screenshot: X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Elizabeth Tsurkov, an Israeli-Russian academic who was kidnapped in Iraq earlier this year, speaks in a clip aired November 13, 2023, by Iraq's Al Rabiaa satellite TV network. (Screenshot: X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An Israeli-Russian academic who was kidnapped in Iraq earlier this year has appeared on a video for the first time, asking in Hebrew for increased pressure for her release.

In the statement, seemingly given under duress, Elizabeth Tsurkov criticizes Israel’s Gaza offensive and “admits” to having been in Iraq as a Western spy and agitator when she was taken hostage, apparently by the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah terror group.

The Princeton University-based Tsurkov disappeared in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, in March while doing research.

The video, apparently the first showing Tsurkov since her disappearance, has been aired by Iraq’s Al Rabiaa satellite TV network.

Drone infiltration alerts sound in northern towns; IDF confirms false alarm

Suspected drone infiltration alarms sound in the northern communities of Yir’on, Avivim, Dovev, Sassa, Baram and Matat, close to the Lebanon border.

The IDF quickly confirms the incident to be a false alarm.

The alerts come amid repeated attacks by the Hezbollah terror group and allied Palestinian factions.

Top Biden aide: US working ‘around the clock’ to release hostages held in Gaza

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says the Biden administration is working “around the clock” to secure the release of the roughly 240 hostages being held by terrorists in Gaza and that he will be meeting again with representatives of the captives’ families later today.

As the White House highlighted in its readout from US President Joe Biden’s call yesterday with the Qatari emir, the hostages include 3-year-old toddler Abigail Edan, who is an American citizen and whose parents were killed during the October 7 Hamas terror onslaught, Sullivan says during a White House briefing.

Sullivan adds that nine Americans are currently unaccounted for, along with one US Green Card holder. He declines to give much info regarding the status of the hostages, but says the US “do[es] have information… about some of the hostages.”

“There are a substantial number of hostages who are not just alive but who could potentially be part of a hostage release,” Sullivan continues. “But I couldn’t give you a number of exactly how many Americans would be included in that. That’s something that we will have to work through as we continue these negotiations… We won’t know for certain until we actually get the release of those hostages.”

Sullivan reiterates that the US is also leading efforts to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. “While we’ve made some progress, much more is urgently needed to alleviate suffering among the civilian population in Gaza,” he says.

The top Biden aide notes Israel’s agreement last week to implement localized humanitarian pauses in the IDF’s fighting in northern Gaza and says the US will continue discussing the implementation of additional such pauses, which will allow for additional aid to flow in, the safe passage of Palestinian civilians and assist in the release of the hostages.

“We believe pauses should not be dictated by a strict timetable,” Sullivan says. He notes that the humanitarian pauses Israel agreed to may need to extend longer than four hours and adds that the IDF too has recognized this, recently extending one of the pauses to seven hours to ensure the safe passage of civilians.

Ultimately, we’d like to see considerably longer pauses [for] days, not hours, in the context of a hostage release,” Sullivan adds.

Sullivan laments the loss of civilians in the conflict, but stresses that Israel is fighting against a terror group whose leaders have pledged to carry out additional massacres like that of October 7 and to remain in a permanent state of war with Israel until the Jewish state is eradicated.

IDF: Hamas command center found under Gaza children’s hospital; hostages were likely held there

IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari with weapons found by IDF forces in a Hamas command center underneath Gaza City's Rantisi Hospital, in a photo released by the military on November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari with weapons found by IDF forces in a Hamas command center underneath Gaza City's Rantisi Hospital, in a photo released by the military on November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit and the 401st Armored Brigade have raided Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital, which treats children, and that Hamas operatives were holed up there. He says he has just returned from the hospital, having filmed there, and that the IDF has evidence indicating that hostages were held there.

“Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control center, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons, computers, money, etc,” Hagari says, in an English-language press conference.

“We also found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages here,” he says, adding that “this is currently under our investigation,” but that the IDF has intelligence to verify it.

“Additionally, we found evidence that Hamas terrorists came back from the massacre [in southern Israel] on October 7 to this hospital, among others, after butchering Israelis in their homes,” he says.

“Hamas hides in hospitals. Today, we will expose this to the world,” he says.

Hagari says the IDF has been working to enable the safe evacuation of patients from Rantisi over the last week, as well as from other hospitals in northern Gaza.

“Israel helped the hospital managers evacuate the Gaza patients to a safer hospital,” he says, adding that the IDF has been informed that “the last 18 patients in the Rantisi Hospital had safely evacuated to a safer hospital.

“This is because our war is against Hamas, not against the people in Gaza. Especially not the sick, the women, or the children,” he says.

“Our war is against Hamas who uses them as human shields,” Hagari adds.

A tunnel shaft found by IDF forces underneath Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital, in a photo released by the military on November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

He shares the raw footage [in the tweet above] filmed a few hours earlier “proving that Hamas systematically runs its terror machine under hospitals in Gaza.”

In the basement of Rantisi, Hagari shows a Hamas armory with grenades, bombs and RPGs. He highlights the dangers to patients of explosives under hospitals.

He shows a motorcycle in the basement that he believes was driven here by October 7 terrorists, presumably with a hostage.

Nearby, he shows what he says are multiple indications that hostages were held here, including an improvised toilet and other infrastructure to hold hostages.

Israeli forensic teams are on their way to the hospital to investigate the evidence, he says.

An infographic released by the IDF on November 13, 2023, showing Hamas infrastructure embedded within Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital. (Israel Defense Forces)

He says the terrorists may have evacuated the hospital with the patients.

He says other Gaza hospitals are also used by Hamas and other terrorists. “The world should know that,” he says. It’s a war crime, a crime against humanity and a crime against international law, Hagari says.

“We are trying to shift the Gazans to a safe area in the south and reveal those hospitals as terror machines,” he says. “The world should know it. And the world should not forget those crimes against humanity done to Israel.

“We will free our hostages from Gaza, and free Gaza from Hamas — for the sake of the people of Israel, for the people of Gaza as well, and the world.”

He says he took some foreign correspondents with him today, and that they came under fire as they were leaving.

Biden urges ‘less intrusive action’ at Gaza hospital

Asked whether he has raised his concerns with Israel regarding the IDF’s operations around Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, US President Joe Biden says: “I have not been reluctant expressing my concerns with what’s going on.”

“My hope and expectation is that there will be less intrusive action, and we remain in contact with the Israelis,” Biden tells reporters.

The US president adds that there is also a deal being negotiated with Qatar to have a humanitarian pause in Gaza, which will allow for the release of hostages.

“The hostages must be released,” Biden says.

WATCH: IDF spokesperson reveals Hamas use of Gaza hospital

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari is holding an English-language press conference about an incident in which weapons were found at Rantisi hospital in Gaza.

He shows footage from the hospital basement and says Israel has evidence that indicates hostages were held there.

IDF troops take over Gaza’s parliament building, film themselves with Israeli flags

Troops from the IDF's Golani Brigade pose for a photo inside Gaza's parliament building in Gaza City, after capturing the site, on November 13, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Troops from the IDF's Golani Brigade pose for a photo inside Gaza's parliament building in Gaza City, after capturing the site, on November 13, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An image circulating on social media shows troops of the IDF’s Golani Brigade inside Gaza’s parliament building in Gaza City, after capturing the site.

The Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza has only served Hamas’s lawmakers since the terror group’s takeover of the Strip in 2007.

Burial of Oct. 7 victim in non-Jewish section draws anger; rabbinate defends move

Alina Plahti (Courtesy)
Alina Plahti (Courtesy)

The rabbi of the city of Beit She’an defends a decision to have a victim of Hamas’s October 7 onslaught buried separately from the graves of Jews at a municipal cemetery.

Alina Plahti, 23, was not Jewish according to Orthodox Jewish law, and dropped out of a program she had attended for converting to Judaism, and therefore could not have been buried with Jews at the cemetery, Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Lasri tells The Times of Israel on Monday.

Lasri’s reaction follows a debate at the Knesset’s Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, where several lawmakers lambasted the decision to separately bury Plahti, who is one of about 1,200 people whom Hamas terrorists murdered in Israel on October 7.

The Jewish burial society of Beit She’an, which operates under the local office of the Chief Rabbinate, buried Plahti on October 30, outside of the perimeter where Jews are buried.

“We share in the family’s pain, but there are clear procedures in place: non-Jews are not buried with Jews, as per the decision of the Chief Rabbinate,” Lasri says.

Olga Plahti, Alina’s 49-year-old mother, told the committee earlier: “Alina died because the terrorist looked for Jews to kill. They didn’t look to see who’s Christian.”

Her daughter should have been buried as a Jew “because she had decided to be Jewish,” Olga Plahti tells The Times of Israel. She believes her daughter was studying for a conversion when she died, Olga says. She does not know under which framework the studies took place, she says. “It hurts and it deeply disappoints us that she wasn’t buried in accordance to who she was,” Olga adds.

At the Knesset meeting, Oded Forer, the committee’s chair and a lawmaker for the Yisrael Beytenu opposition party, said: “I am ashamed for the State of Israel and apologize for her being treated this way.”

“I apologize in the name of Judaism, which is not represented by what happened here,” said Elazar Stern, another opposition lawmaker from the Yesh Atid party.

Different interpretations exist for what Orthodox Jewish law says about burying non-Jews with Jews. Whereas the Rabbinate follows a policy of separation, some interpretations permit mixed burial, especially for those who died fighting with those considered Jews according to Jewish law.

IDF chief says plans being prepped to restore security to north

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (right) walks with Northern Command chief Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, at the Northern Command in Safed, November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (right) walks with Northern Command chief Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, at the Northern Command in Safed, November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi holds an assessment at the Northern Command in Safed, vowing to restore security to residents of northern Israel, given repeated rocket and missile attacks by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions.

“We are preparing strongly with action plans for the north. Our mission is to bring security. The security situation will not remain such that the residents of the north do not feel safe to return to their homes,” Halevi says.

The IDF says Halevi approved plans of action and instructed the Northern Command to maintain a high level of readiness.

Rockets from Gaza target central Israel for first time since Friday

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in central Israel, including Tel Aviv.

It marks the first long-range rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip since Friday.

Sirens also sound in Ashkelon and other areas of southern Israel.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Hamas has ‘lost control of Gaza,’ says Israeli defense minister

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits the 91st Division's base in northern Israel, November 11, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/ Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits the 91st Division's base in northern Israel, November 11, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/ Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says Hamas has lost control of the Gaza Strip, as the IDF moves to fully capture Gaza City.

“There is no force of Hamas capable of stopping the IDF. The IDF is advancing to every point. The Hamas organization has lost control of Gaza. Terrorists are fleeing south. Civilians are looting Hamas bases. They have no confidence in the government,” says Gallant, after an assessment of the fighting.

He says Israeli forces are advancing “according to plans and carry out the tasks accurately, lethally.”

According to Gallant, the IDF has “intensified” activity against Hamas tunnels in recent days.

“We work according to tasks. We don’t have a stopwatch. We have goals. We will achieve our goals,” Gallant says, in reference to Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s indication earlier that international pressure may force Israel to alter its actions in Gaza.

Reporters allegedly targeted in Israeli strikes in south Lebanon; Al Jazeera cameraman hurt

Journalists in southern Lebanon claim they have been targeted in Israeli strikes, which Qatar’s Al Jazeera network says lightly wounded its photographer. A local mayor and Lebanese state media corroborate the journalists’ account of the cross-border incident.

Contacted by AFP, the Israeli army does not immediately comment on the latest strikes. The Israel Defense Forces has said it responded with artillery shelling toward the sources of missile and rocket attacks on northern Israel.

Around a dozen journalists from several media outlets say they were on a tour to inspect damage from Israeli bombardments and were providing coverage from the border town of Yarun when the strikes hit.

Al Jazeera says its photographer Issam Mawasi was “lightly wounded as a result of Israeli bombing.”

“Al Jazeera’s broadcast vehicle was also damaged during the attack. The strike occurred as a group of journalists toured the area,” a report on the staunchly anti-Israel broadcaster’s website says.

Al Jazeera’s Lebanon bureau chief Mazen Ibrahim accuses Israel of “directly targeting” the group, adding that the journalists were in an open area.

“Israeli occupation forces don’t hesitate to directly target journalists,” he charges.

IDF: Search and rescue Unit 669 has carried out over 60 medevacs, 200 more ops during war

Unit 669 carries out a medical evacuation from the Gaza Strip during Israel's ground offensive, in an image published November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Unit 669 carries out a medical evacuation from the Gaza Strip during Israel's ground offensive, in an image published November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Air Force’s elite helicopter-borne search and rescue Unit 669 has carried out more than 60 medical evacuations from inside the Gaza Strip, during the military’s ground offensive, taking wounded soldiers to hospitals in Israel.

Unit 669 is made up of rescue specialists, combat medics and doctors, and helicopter pilots.

Apart from the medical evacuations, the unit has carried out 200 other operations since October 7, during the fighting in southern Israel in the first weeks of the war.

The Israel Defense Forces publishes new footage showing a Unit 669 helicopter flying into the Gaza Strip via the sea, arriving at an area off the coast and picking up two wounded soldiers who were hurt while battling Hamas.

“From the beginning of the ground operation, the rescue helicopter squadron has evacuated dozens of wounded in complex terrain conditions, under fire, and in extreme situations,” says the commander of the 123rd Squadron, which operates Black Hawk choppers for Unit 669, Lt. Col. “Ayin” — who can only be identified by his rank and first initial in Hebrew.

“The rescue helicopter array works in close cooperation with Unit 669 and ground forces, which results in life-saving rescues,” he says. “The goal is safe and quick rescues, as well as arriving at a medical center as quickly as possible.”

Knesset passes law letting Israel declare foreign nationals as terror operatives

The Knesset passes a law to enable the defense minister to declare non-Israeli individuals as terrorist operatives, as part of its wartime push.

The new law, which has passed the final vote with the support of 17 MKs and over the opposition of one lawmaker, amends Israel’s existing Counterterrorism Law.

Previously, non-Israeli individuals could only be deemed terrorists if a qualified international entity first made the designation.

The law also expands the definition of “terror operative” to include financiers who are not formal members of a terror organization.

Explanatory notes accompanying the law on its final votes state that the previous requirement to rely upon qualified foreign designations posed “a real limitation in dealing with the fight against terrorism in general and with the financing of terrorism in particular.”

In addition to that law, the Knesset also advances a measure to grant honorary citizenship to foreigners who died while fighting with Israel’s security services.

An immediate family member may petition the Interior Ministry to cancel the citizenship if they so wish, and it will be nullified “as if it had not been granted at all,” according to a readout from the Knesset spokesperson.

This honorary citizenship would not grant rights to the victim’s family members.

After earlier remark, FM Cohen says Israel ‘won’t stop fighting’ until Gaza goals achieved

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen appears to downplay his remark from earlier that Israel only has two or three weeks before international pressure over the war against Hamas becomes significant.

Cohen tweets that “as far as we’re concerned, there is no [diplomatic] countdown — we won’t stop fighting until we eliminate Hamas and return all of the hostages.”

AG demands classified docs sent to Netanyahu’s office in violation of protocol be seized

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara writes to National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi to demand the immediate confiscation of classified documents sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, after the ongoing war began, in violation of protocol.

The urgent demand comes after the Haaretz daily reported that Netanyahu’s chief of staff Tzachi Braverman has in recent weeks asked officials for classified protocols of security cabinet meetings held by the current and previous governments — likely to serve as the basis for Netanyahu’s post-war battle over public opinion.

IDF hits Hezbollah targets responsible for cross-border attacks

The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck a Hezbollah launch site in southern Lebanon, as well as an operative who fired projectiles at Israel earlier.

An IDF tank meanwhile also shelled an anti-tank missile cell near Shtula, the military says.

Throughout the day, Hezbollah operatives have launched missiles and mortars at northern Israel, mostly targeting army bases adjacent to the border.

The IDF says it responded with artillery shelling toward the sources of the fire in each incident.

IDF says it has killed Hamas brigade’s anti-tank commander, other senior terrorists

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed a number of Hamas commanders in airstrikes in the Gaza Strip over the past day.

Among the senior officers is Yakub Ashur, the commander of Hamas’s anti-tank guided missile array in the terror group’s Khan Younis Brigade, the IDF says.

The IDF says Ashur, “as part of his role, took part in leading and directing offenses against IDF forces.”

Separate strikes also killed Hamis Dababash, a veteran member of the terror group and the former head of Hamas’s intelligence division; Tahsin Maslam, the head of the combat support company for Hamas’s special operations in Beit Lahia; Jihad Azam, a Hamas intelligence officer in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City; and Munir Harb, head of information in the Rafah Brigade.

The IDF says Dababash most recently served as the secretary to the head of national relations in Hamas’s political bureau, and was a Hamas representative at the gathering of national and Islamic factions in the Gaza Strip.

It adds that Dababash was also involved in a deadly terror attack against the Gaza Strip settlement of Atzmona in 2002, in which five Israelis were killed.

IDF details ‘significant blows’ it’s dealt to Hamas’s northern Gaza forces, commanders

The Israel Defense Forces details its efforts to eliminate Hamas’s field commanders and disrupt the terror group’s operations against Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.

According to the IDF, before October 7, Hamas had some 30,000 fighters in the Gaza Strip, split into five regional brigades, 24 battalions and some 140 companies.

Each Hamas brigade has an anti-tank missile array, sniper and engineering teams, air defenses, and a rocket firing array, the IDF says. Each brigade also has a number of outposts and strongholds in their respective regions.

The IDF says it has focused on killing the commanders of the brigades and battalions, especially those in northern Gaza where the military is carrying out its ground offensive.

According to the IDF, the Hamas battalions in northern Gaza have suffered “significant blows” and many are struggling to carry out large-scale organized attacks, due to their commanders being killed in Israeli operations.

The IDF says Hamas’s Shati Camp and Daraj-Tuffah battalions have been hit the hardest.

The Shati Camp Battalion’s deputy commander, several company commanders and 200 more operatives have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and ground operations. Some of the battalion’s main strongholds have been captured by the IDF, but it is also tasked with the terror group’s main command center under Shifa Hospital, according to the military.

Meanwhile, the Daraj-Tuffah Battalion has also suffered heavy losses in IDF operations. The military says it has killed its entire senior command, including the battalion commander, his deputy and several company commanders, along with 260 operatives.

FM Cohen: Israel has 2-3 weeks before international pressure over Gaza becomes significant

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen seen during an interview at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/ Flash90)
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen seen during an interview at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/ Flash90)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen says that diplomatic pressure on Israel has begun to increase, and that although it’s not particularly high at present, it is on the rise.

Speaking during a briefing to reporters, Cohen says that his diplomatic counterparts have emphasized humanitarian issues during the conversations he has held with them and some have requested that Israel seek a ceasefire, although they have not done so publicly.

The foreign minister estimates that the “diplomatic window” is some two or three weeks until international pressure seriously begins to increase, although he does not say what he expects that pressure will entail.

Cohen says that the issue of the some 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza is a “central tool” giving Israel legitimacy to continue fighting, and that “the world accepts that Israel will not stop until the captives are freed.”

Jordan says dozens of its nationals are leaving Gaza through Rafah crossing

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry says an evacuation is underway for 69 Jordanian citizens residing in Gaza who have been allowed to leave through the Rafah crossing.

It says in a statement that a team from the Jordanian Embassy in Egypt is at the crossing and is receiving the citizens, providing medical assistance and securing their return to Jordan as quickly as possible.

It says 640 Jordanians residing in Gaza are currently registered with the ministry.

Netanyahu: Hezbollah ‘playing with fire,’ attacks ‘will be met with much stronger fire’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, visits the IDF's Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, also known as Unit 585 or the Bedouin Battalion, on November 13, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, visits the IDF's Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, also known as Unit 585 or the Bedouin Battalion, on November 13, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a warning to Hezbollah amid escalating tensions in the north, saying the Lebanese terror group is “playing with fire.”

“There are those who think they can expand their attacks against our troops and against civilians. This is playing with fire,” Netanyahu says, without explicitly mentioning Hezbollah. “Fire will be met with much stronger fire. They must not try us, because we have displayed only a little part of our power. We will harm those who harm us.”

The premier makes the remark during a visit to the IDF’s Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, also known as Unit 585 or the Bedouin Battalion, hailing the unit’s actions on and since Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, which also targeted members of the Bedouin community.

“I salute you. Our partnership is the future for all of us against those savages,” he tells the soldiers. “We are going to win. There are no pauses. This isn’t an operation, this isn’t another round of fighting. We are going here for total victory.

“We will restore security in the north and in the south… Hamas will be eliminated.”

UNRWA claims fuel shortage will halt its Gaza aid work in ’48 hours’

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants claims its operations in war-torn Gaza will shut down within two days due to fuel shortages, as fighting rages between Israel and Hamas.

“The humanitarian operation in Gaza will grind to a halt in the next 48 hours as no fuel is allowed to enter Gaza,” UNRWA’s Gaza chief Thomas White writes on X, formerly Twitter.

Police say cops foiled Tel Aviv stabbing attack on Nov. 2, arrested 2 Palestinians

The Israel Police says that a stabbing terror attack in Tel Aviv was thwarted on November 2, with officers arresting two teenage Palestinians who were found to be carrying knives.

Police say the two 14-year-old boys are school students from Umm al-Fahm who took a bus to Tel Aviv and planned to carry out the attack against IDF soldiers near the city’s main Savidor train station.

Cops deemed their behavior suspicious and approached them, searching their belongings and finding the knives.

The suspects were then taken for questioning, in collaboration with the Shin Bet security agency, and the case was under a gag order until today, when the pair — still under remand — were arraigned in court on suspicion of attempted murder of a terrorist nature.

Labor party chief accuses coalition of advancing judicial overhaul under cover of war

Labor party head Merav Michaeli visits the families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, during a protest outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 14, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)
Labor party head Merav Michaeli visits the families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, during a protest outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 14, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

Labor party leader Merav Michaeli claims the coalition is continuing to advance its controversial judicial overhaul agenda under the cover of wartime.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, according to a report yesterday, tried to promote two architects of his judicial overhaul as judges, in exchange for accepting the Supreme Court’s candidate for the court’s next president.

Michaeli calls on Minister Benny Gantz, whose centrist party has joined forces with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form an emergency government, to “stand by their original agreement and deal only with Israel’s security.”

Michaeli also criticizes Netanyahu for his deflection yesterday of a question about taking responsibility for the failures that enabled the October 7 massacres, when the premier argued that then-US president Franklin Roosevelt was not asked the same question in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

“There’s no evidence that Roosevelt brought suitcases of cash to Yamamoto and the Nazis before the war,” she says, referring to successive Netanyahu governments’ policy of allowing cash into the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, in hopes of holding Hamas in check through economic stability. Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid made the same point, using the same words, in his faction meeting.

IDF scuba forces find, destroy weapons left on seabed by Hamas divers trying to infiltrate

The Israel Defense Forces releases footage of the Navy’s underwater missions unit — known by its Hebrew acronym YALTAM — recovering weapons left behind by Hamas terrorists in the sea from the October 7 onslaught and other attacks since.

During the October 7 attacks, members of Hamas’s naval forces tried to infiltrate into Israel via the sea. Navy forces managed to kill dozens of them, largely foiling the seaborne attack. There have been other attempts by the terror group to send divers to infiltrate into Israel in recent weeks.

YALTAM scuba forces scanned the seabed in recent days, finding firearms, explosive devices, ammunition and rubber dinghies that were sunk by Navy fire.

The weapons were brought to the coast, where they were destroyed by the Combat Engineering Corps’ elite Yahalom unit, the IDF says.

Lapid tells Netanyahu to ‘focus on the war,’ stop trying to deflect blame

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

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “focus on the war” and the economy, rather than questions of blame for Israel’s failure to prevent the October 7 massacre.

Netanyahu has refused to join a list of senior Israeli officials who have publicly taken responsibility for failures leading up to October 7, and on Sunday reiterated to CNN that such questions should be put off until a post-war inquest.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to stop trying to deflect responsibility from himself. If he wants us to not deal now with the question of who is to blame, let him not sit on CNN and compare himself to [American wartime President Franklin] Roosevelt,” Lapid says.

“Roosevelt did not deliver suitcases of money to [Japanese] General Yamamoto and did not strengthen the Japanese for 13 years through erroneous and failed policies that led to disaster,” Lapid continues, speaking from his party’s Knesset conference room, alongside photos of some of the 239 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

Netanyahu had compared himself to Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor when asked in an interview if he would resign in the wake of the failure to stop the assault.

Referring to his own party members, Lapid says “the people sitting around the table here are doing the government’s job. They went to funerals and to shivas [seven-day mourning periods], and they were with the evacuees and the families of the abductees, and they helped deal with bureaucratic problems and they defended Israel in the international media.”

He accuses the government, in contrast, of not freeing up funds that could be used by the war effort.

Lapid calls out Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, in particular, for advancing “sectoral” interests.

“In the middle of the war, he is transferring hundreds of millions [of shekels] to his voters in Judea and Samaria,” he said, using the Biblical term for the West Bank.

In addition, Lapid says that Smotrich is readying to transfer NIS 1.3 billion to ultra-Orthodox institutions that fail to teach core curriculum studies.

IDF says troops killed 21 terror operatives who opened fire from Gaza City hospital

A screenshot of video released November 13, 2023 by the IDF appearing to show terrorists armed with RPGs in Gaza City's Al-Quds hospital.
A screenshot of video released November 13, 2023 by the IDF appearing to show terrorists armed with RPGs in Gaza City's Al-Quds hospital.

The Israel Defense Forces says troops killed members of a terror cell that opened fire at Israeli forces from Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City.

According to the IDF, the cell had opened fire at troops of the 188th Armored Brigade with light arms and RPGs, while being “embedded within a group of civilians at the entrance of the hospital.”

The IDF says troops, with air support, returned fire at the Hamas operatives, killing 21 of them. No troops were hurt but one tank was damaged by an RPG, the IDF says.

Amid the exchange of fire, the IDF says civilians were seen leaving the hospital, and other operatives came out of adjacent buildings and hid among them to attack the Israeli forces.

After firing RPGs at troops, the IDF says the operatives fled back into the hospital.

“This incident is another example of Hamas’s continued abuse of civilian structures, including hospitals, to carry out attacks,” the IDF adds in a statement.

The military releases footage of the battle that appears to show RPG-wielding terrorists running into the hospital.

IDF says it carried out a series of strikes on Hezbollah after attack on north

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out strikes against a series of Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, in response to rocket, missile and mortar attacks on northern Israel today.

The sites included Hezbollah infrastructure, compounds with weapons depots, and a command center, the IDF says.

Electric company says one of its workers was killed in Hezbollah attack yesterday

Shalom Aboudi who was killed in a Hezbollah missile attack on November 12 (Courtesy)
Shalom Aboudi who was killed in a Hezbollah missile attack on November 12 (Courtesy)

The Israel Electric Corporation says that one of its workers, Shalom Aboudi, 56, was killed during yesterday’s Hezbollah attack on northern Israel.

Military officials and medics had previously said that 14 civilians were wounded, including one critically, in an anti-tank guided missile attack.

The Hezbollah missile struck a number of vehicles near the northern community of Dovev, close to the border. Some of the victims were IEC employees who had arrived to repair power lines damaged by previous fire from Lebanon.

The company said Aboudi was a 34-year veteran worker and was survived by his wife and two children.

PA calls on EU, UN to parachute aid into Gaza

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh calls on the European Union and the United Nations to “parachute aid” into the Gaza Strip, which has been devastated by fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“I call on the United Nations and the European Union to parachute aid into the Gaza Strip, especially the north,” he says, referring to the area where the IDF ground offensive is underway.

Organizations would not be able to do so without prior coordination with Israel. Israel has already allowed Jordan to carry out an airdrop of aid into Gaza.

Most aid is entering Gaza through the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing.

 

IDF says rocket, drone alerts in north were false alarms

Rocket sirens and suspected drone infiltration alerts that sounded in northern Israel a short while ago were all false alarms, the Israel Defense Forces says.

At the same time, projectiles were fired from Lebanon at areas near the northern community of Netu’a and an army post near Shtula, adjacent to the border.

The IDF says it is responding with artillery shelling.

Turkish ship carrying field hospitals docks in Egypt near Gaza

A Turkish vessel carrying materials for field hospitals arrives in Egypt’s port of El Arish near the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, a port official says.

It is the first such aid vessel to arrive in Egypt since war broke out on October 7.

A Turkish health official tells AFP that the vessel was carrying “materials, generators, ambulances to establish eight field hospitals.”

The Turkish official adds that Ankara had requested Cairo’s approval to build the field hospitals in El Arish, which lies about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Rafah border — the only crossing to Gaza not controlled by Israel.

“We received the green light from Egyptian authorities. We will set up these hospitals in the areas shown by the Egyptian authorities,” the official said.

Settler activist appeals his administrative detention

Prominent settler activist Ariel Danino appeals his four-month administrative detention, demanding that the Supreme Court annul the order or grant him conditional release.

Danino was arrested on October 28 in the illegal outpost of Kumi Ori, near the Yitzhar settlement in the northern West Bank, by Border Police forces and Shin Bet agents, reportedly on suspicion of having carried out violent acts, according to the Kan public broadcaster. He is being held under administrative detention, meaning held without charge.

“It would have been appropriate that if the respondents [the defense minister and the Shin Bet internal security service] thought the appellant was acting in a dangerous manner to warn him or limit his movement, before signing this [administrative detention] order,” says a statement put out by the Honenu legal aid group, which provides legal services to right-wing activists and organizations.

Danino’s lawyers claim that he was arrested because of his strident criticism of the state and the security services on websites and online forums, and his frequent presence at anti-government protests.

On October 24, Danino posted on X objecting to what he said were offensive comments made by Palestinians in a Telegram chat group for residents of the Beita Palestinian village in the Northern West Bank, close to his home in Kumi Ori.

“I’m waiting to hear your laughter when we deal with Beita Village, soon!!! They will beg to die, beg. In the end we will kill them. But only at the end,” wrote Danino.

There have been dozens of incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank since the October 7 atrocities perpetrated by Hamas in southern Israel, but no indictments have been filed so far.

Union calls on police to protect journalists reporting in Arabic

Israel’s journalists union calls on the police to protect correspondents reporting from the field in Arabic.

The letter sent to police chief Kobi Shabtai says that there have been several instances of journalists being accosted and even attacked.

“It should not be necessary to note that not every journalist reporting in Arabic is an enemy,” the letter says.

Many Israeli outlets and the state broadcaster have Arabic platforms.

“Every journalist, in every language, is entitled to full protection and the right to carry out their work safely, especially in wartime,” the letter says.

Rocket warning alerts sounding in north

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Safed and nearby towns in the Upper Galilee, as well as in Acre and suburbs in the Western Galilee.

The alerts come amid repeated attacks on northern Israel by the Hezbollah terror group and allied Palestinian factions in southern Lebanon.

Drone infiltration alerts sound in northern Israel

Suspected drone infiltration alarms are sounding in the Upper Galilee.

The alerts are activated in the communities of Yir’on, Jish, Rehaniya, Alma, Avivim, Kerem Ben Zimra, Baram, Dalton, and the Ramat Dalton Industrial Zone.

Ministries agree on immediate NIS 275 million to fortify hospitals

The Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa was prepared for receiving patients following the outbreak of war, October 11, 2023. (Courtesy of Rambam)
The Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa was prepared for receiving patients following the outbreak of war, October 11, 2023. (Courtesy of Rambam)

The Health Ministry announces that it has budgeted an additional NIS 200 million ($51.8 million) for the fortification of hospitals against missile and other attacks. This sum will augment the NIS 75 million ($19.5 million) already transferred for this purpose since the outbreak of the war on October 7.

The announcement of the additional funds comes following an agreement made between Health Minister Uriel Busso and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

It became sharply clear during fighting in the last 38 days against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah along the northern border that not enough of Israel’s health facilities are properly protected.

More than half the operating rooms in Israeli hospitals are not fortified against missile attacks, according to a report by the Kan national broadcaster.

As a result, nearly all medical staff must exit unfortified operating rooms and go to safe areas when rocket sirens sound — except during critical lifesaving surgeries.

In addition, only 30-40 percent of hospital beds in Israel are in protected spaces.

EU condemns Hamas for using ‘hospitals and civilians as human shields’

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rings a bell to signify the start of a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, November 13, 2023.  (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rings a bell to signify the start of a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, November 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

The 27 European Union nations have jointly condemned Hamas for the use of hospitals and civilians as “human shields” in the war against Israel.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell says that at the same time the bloc asked Israel “for maximum restraint and targeting in order to avoid human casualties.”

At a meeting of the bloc’s foreign affairs ministers, Borrell brandishes a statement he issued on behalf of the 27 nations as a show of unity following weeks of often contrasting statements on how the group should address the Israel-Hamas war.

“You know how difficult it has been the last times, after the vote in the United Nations, where countries were voted in different ways, to present a completely united approach,” Borrell says.

Only hours after EU leaders professed unity over the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 28, the member states were totally split in a vote on a General Assembly resolution calling for humanitarian truces in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

Now, though, the EU nations says in a statement they join “calls for immediate pauses in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors, including through increased capacity at border crossings and through a dedicated maritime route, so that humanitarian aid can safely reach the population of Gaza.”

And they reiterate their “call on Hamas for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. It is crucial that the International Committee of the Red Cross is granted access to the hostages.”

It adds that “the EU condemns the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas.”

IDF says it has carried out 4,300 strikes since start of ground offensive

The Israel Defense Forces says that since the beginning of Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip around two weeks ago, some 4,300 strikes have been carried out.

It says hundreds of anti-tank guided missile launch sites and some 300 tunnel shafts have been struck by ground forces and the Air Force.

Another 3,000 sites containing Hamas infrastructure, including more than 100 booby-trapped buildings and hundreds of command centers were hit, the IDF says.

The IDF publishes new footage showing troops operating in Gaza, as well as the recent strikes.

In dramatic return, former UK PM Cameron appointed foreign secretary

Britain's former Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at Westminster Cathedral to attend the funeral of slain member of parliament David Amess, in London, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.  (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)
Britain's former Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at Westminster Cathedral to attend the funeral of slain member of parliament David Amess, in London, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

In a highly unusual move, former UK prime minister David Cameron is named foreign secretary as part of a cabinet shuffle

It’s rare for a former leader, and a non-lawmaker, to take a senior government post. The government said Cameron will be appointed to Parliament’s unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords.

Cameron replaces James Cleverly who is taking up the home secretary post vacated by Suella Braverman, who was fired.

Hamas official appears to rule out partial prisoner exchange

Hamas's chief representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan, left, Hamas Arab relations chief Khalil al-Hayya, center, and secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Talal Naji, arrive for a press conference during a visit to Damascus, October 19, 2022. (Louai Beshara / AFP)
Hamas's chief representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan, left, Hamas Arab relations chief Khalil al-Hayya, center, and secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Talal Naji, arrive for a press conference during a visit to Damascus, October 19, 2022. (Louai Beshara / AFP)

A senior Hamas official appears to rule out the possibility of a partial exchange of hostages, saying that the terror group is demanding a “complete exchange” of Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails.

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official in Lebanon, says in a speech last night night that “our position on the prisoner file has been clear from the start, and it is a complete exchange of prisoners.”

He denies rumors about ongoing talks for a partial release and adds that negotiations for the release of hostages holding foreign passports are proceeding in parallel but are “obstructed” by Israel.

He calls to ensure the free movement of people inside the Gaza Strip who are collecting information about hostages being held in various locations, and demands that any proposal guarantee the safety of the captors.

UNRWA says southern Gaza facility hit by navy strike, no casualties

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini arrives at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023.  (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini arrives at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees says that Israel’s navy struck one of its facilities in southern Gaza, despite sharing coordinates with warring parties.

The agency, known as UNRWA, said Sunday’s strike caused “significant damage” to its guesthouse in Rafah, adding that no casualties were reported since UN staff left the facility 90 minutes before the attack.

They did not say what prompted their staff to leave. Israel has accused Hamas of using UN facilities as a cover for weapons and fighters.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

“This recent attack is yet another indication that nowhere in Gaza is safe. Not the north, not the middle areas and not the south,” says UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.

UNRWA says it has shared the coordinates of the UN international staff guesthouse twice with the warring parties, including on Nov. 10.

Anti-tank missile fires across northern border

An anti-tank guided missile was fired from Lebanon at an area near the northern community of Netu’a, the Israel Defense Forces says.

The IDF does not immediately provide information on potential injuries in the attack.

It says troops are responding with artillery shelling against the source of the missile fire.

Earlier, some 18 mortars were fired from Lebanon, setting off sirens in the northern village of Arab al-Aramshe.

The IDF says all the projectiles landed in open areas, causing no injuries or damage.

PA calls for international rebuke of ‘fascist’ Ben Gvir

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir attends a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir attends a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority demands that the international community condemn Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who reportedly called for treating certain Gazan civilians as combatants yesterday, calling him a “fascist.”

“We demand that all countries condemn the justifications by fascist Ben Gvir and his followers for killing Palestinian civilians,” says a statement issued by the PA Foreign Ministry.

According to Hebrew media reports, Ben Gvir, in a cabinet meeting, demanded that the distinction between combatants and non-combatants not be applied in the case of civilians who joined Hamas terrorists and looted Israeli communities on October 7, as well as Palestinians who handed out sweets to celebrate the murderous assault.

The demand was rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin, according to reports in the Hebrew media.

Ramallah also accuses the Israeli government of carrying out a deception campaign in order to justify its “genocide” in the Gaza Strip and to strengthen its hold on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The statement calls on the international community to protect the “defenseless” Palestinian people, and on the UN Security Council to stop the war in Gaza and the annexation of the West Bank, “in order to preserve what is left of the credibility of its capacity to perform its tasks.”

German FM pushes for Gaza humanitarian pauses, rejects calls for ceasefire

German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock attends a meeting with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. (Ammar Awad /Pool Photo via AP)
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock attends a meeting with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. (Ammar Awad /Pool Photo via AP)

Germany’s foreign minister is pushing anew for reliable “humanitarian pauses” in the war between Israel and Hamas, but is rejecting calls for a ceasefire that ends the fighting.

Germany has staunchly backed Israel since Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7 while also pushing for humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza.

Arriving at a meeting with European Union counterparts, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she understands “the impetus for a ceasefire,” but questions how those who seek one can guarantee Israel’s security in “this terrible situation” and wondered about the fate of the people Hamas has taken hostage.

Baerbock defended the less far-reaching approach of humanitarian pauses, saying while it “breaks one’s heart, is from my point of view the only possible policy to really curb this suffering in this situation.”

UK’s Sunak fires minister who accused police of being too lenient with pro-Palestinian protesters

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman attends the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP)
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman attends the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has fired Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who drew anger for accusing police of being too lenient with pro-Palestinian protesters.

The government says Braverman has left her job as part of a Cabinet shuffle on Monday.

Sunak was under growing pressure to fire Braverman, a divisive figure popular with the authoritarian wing of the governing Conservative Party.

In a highly unusual attack on the police last week, Braverman said London’s police force was ignoring lawbreaking by “pro-Palestinian mobs.” She described demonstrators as “hate marchers.”

On Sunday, far-right protesters scuffled with police in London. Critics accused Braverman of helping to inflame tensions.

Iran executes three men over 2019 bombings

Iran hanged three men who were convicted of carrying out bombing attacks in 2019 in the restive southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, the judiciary says.

The three men were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of bombing attacks targeting a police station and a patrol vehicle in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, in 2019.

“The sentences against the perpetrators of bombings in Zahedan were carried out today,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website quotes the province’s chief justice Ali Mostafavinia as saying.

Iran executes more people per year than any other nation except China, according to human rights groups including Amnesty International.

More than 600 people have been executed by Iran so far this year, already the highest figure in eight years, said the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group in a November report.

Hamas, UN say many patients, health workers and displaced have left Shifa hospital

Palestinians at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, November 10, 2023. (Flash90)
Palestinians at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, November 10, 2023. (Flash90)

Many displaced Palestinians, along with some medical patients, have left Gaza’s largest hospital, which is surrounded by Israeli forces, Hamas and UN health officials say.

About 650 patients, 500 healthcare workers and an estimated 2,500 displaced people remain in the sprawling Shifa hospital compound, says Mohammed Zaqout, Hamas’s director of hospitals in Gaza. This would signal a significant departure since the weekend when Gaza health officials had said about 1,500 patients, along with 1,500 medical workers and 15,000 displaced people were at Shifa.

Israeli forces and Hamas gunmen have waged heavy battles outside Shifa, and some hospital officials have said Shifa was under siege, with those inside being pinned down by Israeli fire. Israel has said it had offered safe passage to those wanting to leave.

The situation at Shifa deteriorated over the weekend, with doctors reporting that the last generator had run out of fuel, leading to the deaths of several patients, including premature babies. Israel said Hamas stopped the hospital receiving a delivery for fuel.

The UN official says today that many of the displaced fled the compound and that some families took relatives with moderate injuries with them. He says remaining patients require special procedures for evacuation including equipped ambulances to take them to Egyptian hospitals. The official speaks on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

Israel says Hamas has its command center under the hospital and is using the civilians and patients there as human shields.

Army sees sharp drop in rocket, drone attack warnings since start of war

Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel over destroyed buildings, October 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)
Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel over destroyed buildings, October 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

The number of alerts for rocket and drone attacks — and terrorist infiltrations — has dropped significantly in recent weeks, compared to the barrages launched from the Gaza Strip in the first week of the war.

During the first four hours of Hamas’s onslaught on October 7, more than 3,000 rockets were fired. Since then, another estimated 7,000 rockets have been fired, but at a much slower pace.

According to data from the Home Front Command, 3,523 alerts were activated between October 7 and 14.

The vast majority of the alerts were issued for rocket attacks, though there have been a handful of drone attacks and some suspected infiltration alerts.

In the week of October 15 to 21, the Home Front Command issued 818 alerts; in the week of October 22 to 28, it issued 802 alerts; in the week of October 29 to November 4, it issued 582 alerts.

In the last week, from November 5 to 12, it issued 455 alerts, continuing the downward trend.

The IDF believes Hamas is stockpiling rockets for a long war, but the terror group also has difficulty launching attacks from northern Gaza where the military has gained control of the ground.

Some of the alerts in recent weeks have been activated due to attacks launched from Lebanon, by the Hezbollah terror group and allied Palestinian factions at northern Israel, and missile and drone attacks launched by the Yemen-backed Houthis on Eilat.

United Airlines said planning to restore some flights to Israel

View of a United Airlines flight at Ben Gurion International Airport on August 3, 2013. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
View of a United Airlines flight at Ben Gurion International Airport on August 3, 2013. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

America’s United Airlines is planning to resume flights to Israel next week, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

United was one of several airlines that ended flights to Israel as war broke out after the October 7 Hamas assault.

The report says flights will be reintroduced gradually and the routes and schedules will be announced in the next few days.

Two mortars fired from Lebanon; IDF hits terror cell on border

Two mortars were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel earlier, setting off sirens in Gornot HaGalil, the Israel Defense Forces says.

Both projectiles landed in open areas, causing no damage or injuries.

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

The IDF adds that overnight, it struck a terror cell preparing to carry out an attack near the Biranit army base.

Security cabinet approves barring pro-Hezbollah al Mayadeen satellite news station

A general view of the newsroom of Al-Mayadeen in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, June 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
A general view of the newsroom of Al-Mayadeen in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, June 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The security cabinet approves orders to shut down the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese al Mayadeen satellite news station’s broadcasts and operations in Israel.

The request to shut down the station was made by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, who says Al Mayadeen’s broadcasts “serve the interests of Israel’s enemies” and harm Israel’s national security.

Karhi’s request was approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the security cabinet.

An order to block Al Mayadeen’s online operations in Israel has already been issued, and an order to seize and confiscate its broadcasting equipment will be issued later today.

“Israel is at war. On land, in the air, at sea in cyberspace, in the electromagnetic spectrum and in [the public] consciousness,” says Karhi.

“Broadcasts such as these identify with the enemy, while harming state security and will be blocked. Al Mayadeen’s channel’s broadcasts and reports serve the despicable terrorist organizations, and the time has come for a reckoning with them.

The order to shut down Al Mayadeen is the first such decision to be made in line with a temporary measure approved last month allowing the communications minister to shut down foreign media outlets deemed to be harmful to national security.

Karhi also seeks to shut down the Qatari-based Al Jazeera channel for the same reasons.

At least six pro-Iran fighters said killed in US strikes in Syria

At least six pro-Iran fighters were killed in US strikes on eastern Syria, Fox News reports citing US defense officials, after Washington announced the raids a day earlier in response to attacks on American forces.

Fox says the deaths were all at one of the two sites hit in the strikes.

A war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, put the death toll at eight, including “at least one Syrian and Iraqi national.”

Rocket warning sirens in northern Israel

A rocket warning siren sounds in Gornot HaGalil near the Lebanese border.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or injuries.

Israeli defense stalls empty on opening day of Dubai Air Show

A man walks past the empty stand of Israel Aerospace Industries with an empty Rafael stand seen at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
A man walks past the empty stand of Israel Aerospace Industries with an empty Rafael stand seen at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The biennial Dubai Air Show in the United Arab Emirates opens today under the shadow of Israel’s war with Hamas.

That conflict, as well as Russia’s war on Ukraine, likely will influence the five-day show at Al Maktoum Airport at Dubai World Central.

While commercial aviation takes much of the attention, arms manufacturers also have exhibitions at the show. Two major Israeli firms — Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Israel Aerospace Industries — had been slated to participate.

But the IAI stand, bearing the slogan “Where Courage Meets Technology,” is roped off and empty this morning as people poured into the show. A stand for Rafael handed out coffee, though there were no salespeople there. A request for comment left with an attendant there was not immediately returned.

Rafael also sponsored a meeting of air force commanders Sunday at a luxury Dubai hotel, highlighting the balancing act being struck by the UAE amid anger in the Arab world over the Israel-Hamas war.

The UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020.

IDF: Troops in Gaza finding caches of Hamas weapons in schools, mosques and homes

This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says ground troops continue to find Hamas weaponry and infrastructure during raids in the Gaza Strip, including inside schools, mosques, and the homes of terror operatives.

Troops of the 401st Brigade operating on the outskirts of the al-Shati camp located Hamas infrastructure in Al-Quds University, and a cache of explosives inside the Abu Bakr mosque, the IDF says.

It says that troops seized dozens of weapons, military equipment, and Hamas battle plans.

Troops of the 551st Reserve Brigade meanwhile raided the home of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in the Beit Hanoun area, and found a weapons cache, including some in a child’s bedroom.

In another raid in Beit Hanoun, troops found a tunnel shaft, intelligence materials, and weapons, the IDF adds.

Gantz said to oppose calls to replace Netanyahu during war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Galant, and Minister Benny Gantz hold a joint press conference at the Ministry of Defense, in Tel Aviv on November 11, 2023.(Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Galant, and Minister Benny Gantz hold a joint press conference at the Ministry of Defense, in Tel Aviv on November 11, 2023.(Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz is opposed to public calls for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be replaced now, the Kan public broadcaster reports, citing sources close to Gantz.

The sources say that he views calls to oust Netanyahu in the middle of the war as “nothing less than crazy.”

However, they add that Gantz firmly believes that the time will come to fully examine who’s responsible for the failures that led to the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel.

Nikki Haley launching $10m ad campaign to try to overtake Ron DeSantis in the GOP primary

US Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley waves after addresseing the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Annual Leadership Summmit on October 28, 2023 at the Venetian Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)
US Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley waves after addresseing the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Annual Leadership Summmit on October 28, 2023 at the Venetian Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign will reserve $10 million in television, radio and digital advertising across Iowa and New Hampshire beginning in the first week of December, a massive investment designed to give the former United Nations ambassador an advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a critical moment in the GOP nomination fight.

Details of the advertising plans, which represent the Haley campaign’s first official advertising reservation, are obtained by The Associated Press ahead of a public announcement expected later today. Haley’s planned investment, as of now, is more than five times larger than DeSantis’s current advertising reserves for the same time period, according to the media tracking firm AdImpact.

Haley’s move comes as she fights to emerge as the clear alternative to former president Donald Trump to represent the GOP against US President Joe Biden next fall. DeSantis stands as Haley’s strongest competition for her party’s second-place slot, although the Florida governor’s campaign has shown signs of financial strain following a tumultuous summer.

IDF says 2 Commando Brigade troops killed fighting in Gaza, bringing ground op toll to 44

This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)
This handout photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023, shows Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip amid the war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says two more soldiers have been killed fighting in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll in the ground operation against Hamas to 44.

The military names the slain troops as Maj. Isachar Natan, 28, from Kiryat Malachi, and Staff Sgt. Itay Shoham, 21, from Rosh Ha’ayin. Both were members of the Commando Brigade.

Meanwhile, a soldier of the Oketz canine unit was seriously wounded during fighting in Gaza yesterday, the IDF adds.

Jewish cemetery in Cleveland vandalized with swastika graffiti

Graves at a Jewish cemetery in Cleveland were vandalized with swastika graffiti, according to the local Jewish federation.

On its Facebook page, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland says some 20 people cleaned up the graffiti at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, which it hails as “further proof of the strength of our community and the unwavering commitment to one another that connects us.”

GOP presidential candidate Tim Scott drops out of 2024 race

Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News, November 8, 2023, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News, November 8, 2023, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott announces that he’s dropping out of the 2024 race, about two months before the start of voting in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.

The South Carolina senator makes the surprise announcement on “Sunday Night in America” with Trey Gowdy.

His campaign spokesperson Nathan Brand confirms the news to The Associated Press.

Over 800 foreign nationals said to leave Gaza on Sunday

Passengers fleeing from the Gaza Strip arrive in the Egyptian part of the Rafah border crossing with the coastal enclave on November 12, 2023, amid the ongoing war between Israel and the terror group Hamas. (AFP)
Passengers fleeing from the Gaza Strip arrive in the Egyptian part of the Rafah border crossing with the coastal enclave on November 12, 2023, amid the ongoing war between Israel and the terror group Hamas. (AFP)

An Egyptian border official tells CNN that at least 826 foreign nationals left the Gaza Strip on Sunday through the Rafah crossing, the most to leave the enclave in a single day amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The American cable news network also quotes an Egyptian government official saying that nine wounded Palestinians crossed through Rafah.

Calls to end US military aid to Israel at protest against global trade summit in San Francisco

Demonstrators hold signs, including against US military aid to Israel, as they march in opposition to the APEC Summit, November 12, 2023, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/ Noah Berger)
Demonstrators hold signs, including against US military aid to Israel, as they march in opposition to the APEC Summit, November 12, 2023, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/ Noah Berger)

SAN FRANCISCO — Activists protesting corporate profits, environmental abuses, poor working conditions and the Israel-Hamas war march in downtown San Francisco, united in their opposition to a global trade summit that will draw US President Joe Biden and leaders from nearly two dozen countries.

Protests are expected throughout this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ conference, which could draw more than 20,000 attendees, including hundreds of international journalists. The No to APEC coalition, made up of more than 100 grassroots groups, says trade deals struck at summits such as APEC exploit workers and their families.

It’s unlikely world leaders will even glimpse the protests given the strict security zones accessible only to attendees at the Moscone Center conference hall and other summit sites. But Suzanne Ali, an organizer for the Palestinian Youth Movement, says the US government needs to be held to account for supplying weapons to Israel in its war against Hamas.

“Even if they cannot see us, as we’re mobilizing and marching together, they will know that we’re out there,” she says.

Top Biden aide says US concerned about civilian casualties in fight for Shifa hospital

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks at the White House in Washington, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks at the White House in Washington, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says the Biden administration has shared concerns with Israel about potential civilian casualties in a military operation to take Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, where Hamas allegedly has a key command center.

“The United States does not want to see firefights in hospitals where innocent people, patients receiving medical care, are caught in the crossfire. And we’ve had active consultations with the Israel Defense Forces on this,” Sullivan tells the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”

Sullivan notes the IDF has said it’s working to ensure the safety of patients “while they also try to figure out a way to try to deal with the fact that Hamas is operating in a way that is outside the bounds of any civilized concept of how you would think about using a hospital, using human shields.”

“It’s an active conversation, but the bottom line is that we do not want to see firefights in hospitals,” he adds.

Sullivan also appears to back Israeli allegations about Hamas’s use of Al-Shifa.

“Without getting into intelligence information, we can just look at the open source reporting that Hamas is using hospitals as it uses many facilities for command-and-control, for weapons storage, to house its fighters, and this is a violation of the laws of war,” he says.

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