The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.
In a call earlier today with Minister Benny Gantz, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the need for Israel to take “affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, including by confronting rising levels of settler extremist violence,” the US State Department says.
The decision by Blinken to call Gantz appears noteworthy, given his Israeli counterpart is Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and that the US generally maintains decorum with regard to officials engaging with their counterparts abroad.
But Gantz sits on the more senior war cabinet and is seen as a more moderate force in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government, with whom the Biden administration is likely to have an easier time working.
Gantz met with Blinken during the secretary’s visit to Israel earlier this month.
Cohen has not met or spoken with Blinken since Gantz agreed to join Netanyahu’s government on October 12. The foreign minister is also slated to be replaced as Israel’s top diplomat by Energy Minister Israel Katz of Likud at the end of the year.
During their call today, which focused largely on the Israel-Hamas war, Gantz and Blinken “discussed efforts to augment and accelerate the transit of critical humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” the US readout says.
The two also discussed efforts to secure the release of the hostages, according to the State Department.
Israeli forces clash with Palestinian gunmen in Jenin while carrying out a counterterror operation in the northern West Bank city.
The Palestinian Authority’s Wafa news agency says two Palestinians were seriously hurt in the fighting. It also says the Israeli troops were accompanied by military bulldozers.
There is no immediate statement from the Israel Defense Forces.
In a CBS interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel had “strong indications” that at least some of the hostages were held in Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital, “which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital.”
However, he goes on, “If they were, they were taken out.”
He says that Israel has “intelligence about the hostages.” But, he notes, “the less I say about it the better.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on the phone Thursday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the State Department says, as the Biden administration continues its efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and increase humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Both of those objectives require close cooperation with Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza and remains in contact with Hamas. While the main channel of the hostage talks appears to go through Qatar, Egypt has sought to play a role as well.
On the call, Blinken “thanked Egypt for its leadership in facilitating the safe exit of US and other foreign nationals from Gaza via Egypt to their final destinations, and advancing efforts to free hostages,” the US readout says.
Blinken “reaffirmed the importance of concrete steps to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians in all of Gaza and the United States’ rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians.”
The secretary of state also “underscored the United States’ commitment to work in concert with Egypt and other regional partners towards the formation of a viable, prosperous Palestinian state,” the US readout says.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that deliveries of key artillery shells to his country have dropped off after the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
“Our deliveries have decreased,” Zelensky tells reporters, referring specifically to 155-millimeter shells that are widely used on the eastern and southern frontlines in Ukraine, saying “they really slowed down.”
“It’s not like the US said: We don’t give Ukraine any. No! It’s just that everyone is fighting for [stockpiles] themselves,” he says. “This is life. I’m not saying that this is positive, but this is life, and we have to defend what’s ours.”
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich tweets that it is clear Israel is not heading “in the right direction” in the current war against Hamas.
The far-right lawmaker writes on X that “the fact that after 41 days, [Hamas chief Yahya] Sinwar is still able to conduct negotiations to set the conditions of the release for the hostages says that we are not in the right direction.”
While the war cabinet is meeting in Tel Aviv, Smotrich says that “the time has come for the war cabinet to start showing strength, cut off contact and make clear in actions to this Nazi and his Qatari patron that from now on we set the conditions.”
The minister adds that for some time now “we should have been the one refusing to conduct negotiations and speaking only in fire and brimstone… that’s the only way to bring all the hostages back and restore security for the State of Israel.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently holding a meeting of the war cabinet at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The meeting is attended by IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, National Security Council chief Tzahi Hanegbi and other ministers and observers in the war cabinet.
Iran will not allow Israel to defeat Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the head of Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force writes in a message to the commander of the Hamas military wing.
However, Gen. Esmail Ghaani stops short of saying Tehran will join the battle in order to rescue Hamas.
Ghaani’s letter was addressed to Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of the Hamas military wing in Gaza, and was published by Iran’s state news agency IRNA.
Ghaani says Iran, the main Hamas sponsor, and its allies “will carry out all our duties in this historic battle” and will not allow Israel to “reach its dirty goals” of defeating Hamas.
He praises Hamas’s October 7 brutal assault, saying it showed Israel was “weaker than a spider’s web.” He adds that Israel retaliated with “unprecedented brutal war crimes” against civilians.
A former top Lebanese security official who has served as a conduit between the United States and Hezbollah says that, at this stage, the Lebanese terror group is not interested in widening its limited cross-border conflict with Israel.
Abbas Ibrahim, a former head of Lebanon’s General Security, says that as long as Hamas is able to confront the IDF in the Gaza Strip, “the situation will remain at the current level of tension” on the Lebanese front.
However, the situation could escalate inadvertently, he says: “If we continue with this degree of tension it will certainly lead to bad calculations and a war will happen.”
So far, six Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed by cross-border strikes in the north, while the terror group says that 60 of its fighters have been killed, and AFP says that 13 other terror operatives have been killed and 10 civilians.
Ibrahim says US officials had passed messages through him to Hezbollah urging it “not to drag Lebanon into this war,” including during a visit to Beirut last week by Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden.
Hezbollah has not sent messages of its own to the US in response, Ibrahim says.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari dodges a reporter’s question on claims that the IDF took bodies from Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital during operations today.
Earlier today, Shifa’s director, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, and Hamas health authorities in Gaza claimed in an interview with Al Jazeera that the IDF removed many bodies from the hospital morgue.
Meanwhile, the IDF said it had recovered the body of hostage Yehudit Weiss from a building near Shifa today.
In response to the question, Hagari says: “We are working in Shifa Hospital for 48 hours. It’s a complex operation. It’s a large complex.”
“It’s a focused, accurate operation… in the operation, we found underground [infrastructure], weapons, and we found information relating to the hostages, and next to the hospital we found Yehudit Weiss,” he says.
“We will continue to update when we have confirmed information on all the additional achievements of the operation, and we hope for additional achievements,” Hagari says. “Until then, we must wait and be patient.”
The family of Yehudit Weiss, the hostage whose body was recovered in Gaza, begs officials to bring home the rest of the captives being held by terror groups in the Strip.
“It’s important for us to say that we fought, we battled in every possible way to bring mom, grandma Yehudit home,” says her daughter-in-law Zemer. “For us, it is too late, but it is important for us to support all the families of the hostages, and to tell the world, bring them home now, so that for them it is not too late, like it was for us.”
Her son Omer says they had “hope, a lot of hope, that she would come home. We wished, we hoped, and sadly for us, it is too late.”
Her children say they only just completed the 30-day mourning period for their father, Shmulik, who was murdered on October 7 by Hamas, when they got the news about their mother.
The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets struck several more Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, in response to attacks on the northern border today.
The IDF says anti-tank guided missiles were fired at a number of army posts on the border, near the Biranit base and the northern community of Rosh Hanikra.
No injuries were caused in the attacks.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announces that Jordan will back out of the United Arab Emirates-brokered deal intended to have Jordan supply solar energy to Israel, in return for Israel giving it desalinated water.
A preliminary deal was signed in November 2021 and was widely seen as a fruit of the Abraham Accords normalization agreement Israel signed with the UAE in 2020 under the auspices of the Trump administration.
Safadi tells the Qatari news organization Al Jazeera that “Israel is pushing the whole region toward hell [and] will have to bear the consequences.”
He adds: “We are doing whatever we believe will help to support the Palestinian people.”
Jordan, whose population is believed to be at least 50 percent Palestinian, has repeatedly condemned Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.
Upon recalling Amman’s ambassador to Israel on November 1, Safadi said the step was “an expression of Jordan’s position of rejection and condemnation of the raging Israeli war on Gaza, which is killing innocent people and causing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.”
A Channel 12 survey finds that the Benjamin Netanyahu-led coalition that won 64 seats in last November’s elections would crash to just 45 seats in the 120-strong Knesset were elections held today. The anti-Netanyahu, so-called “change” parties would soar to 70 seats, with the Hadash-Taal alliance winning the other five.
Benny Gantz’s National Unity party would win 36 seats, the survey found, more than double the 17 for Netanyahu’s Likud.
The channel acknowledged that it was unusual to take an election survey during a war. At the same time, it noted that usually in wars, prime ministers got a popularity boost, while this survey showed the opposite.
The survey gives the parties’ seats as follows (current seats in parentheses): Gantz’s National Unity Party 36 seats (12); Netanyahu’s Likud 17 (32); Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid 15 (24); Shas 10 (11); Yisrael Beytenu 9 (6); United Torah Judaism 7 (7); Otzmah Yehudit 7 (14 as part of an alliance with Religious Zionism); Hadash-Taal 5 (5); Meretz 5 (0); Ra’am 5 (5); and Religious Zionism 4. (Labor, which won 4 seats last November, was predicted to win no seats.)
The survey was conducted yesterday among 502 respondents by pollster Mano Geva and Midgam, and had a 4.4% margin of error.
Were former prime minister Naftali Bennett to return to politics as the head of a party, National Unity would win 25 seats; Likud 17; Bennett 17 and Yesh Atid 14, the survey found.
Asked who is their favored prime minister, respondents preferred Gantz to Netanyahu by 41-25%. Asked to choose between Netanyahu and Lapid, respondents were split, with each receiving 29%.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military carried out two major airstrikes on Hamas underground infrastructure in the Gaza Strip in recent days.
In one of them, a number of senior Hamas commanders were hiding, including Ahmed Ghandour, the commander of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade, and Ayman Siam, the head of Hamas’s rocket firing array, Hagari says.
In another underground site, Hagari says senior members of Hamas’s politburo were hiding, including Rawhi Mushtaha, Essam al-Dalis and Sameh al-Siraj.
“Hamas is trying to hide the results of the strike,” he says.
Hagari says he cannot elaborate further on the strike, but that “it can be said with certainty that the underground where they were was very heavily damaged.”
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says Yehudit Weiss, whose body was recovered by IDF troops, was killed by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
“We didn’t make it to her in time,” says Hagari in his live evening address.
The Israel Defense Forces says it has uncovered the entrance to a Hamas tunnel in the Shifa Hospital complex.
The IDF says it has uncovered a Hamas tunnel in the Shifa Hospital complex. It publishes a video showing the entrance. pic.twitter.com/sxPeIxFrwe
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 16, 2023
Footage released by the IDF shows the tunnel in between buildings in the hospital grounds.
It says that nearby, troops also located a Hamas pickup truck with weapons in it, similar to those used by the terror group in the October 7 attacks.
The military also releases an image showing weapons discovered by troops inside Gaza City’s Al-Quds Hospital.
Another set of images published by the IDF shows the inside of a Hamas tunnel inside Rantisi Hospital.
The number of progressive Democrats in the US House of Representatives calling for a ceasefire has nearly doubled over the past month.
Twenty-four lawmakers signed on to a statement yesterday organized by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Betty McCollum and Mark Pocan, which calls for a ceasefire, expresses alarm over “grave violations against children” in Gaza and warns that the Israel-Hamas war risks “dragging the US into dangerous and unwise conflict with armed groups across the region.”
Thousands of Palestinian children have been killed in Gaza.
As the Israeli govt continues to attack schools & hospitals, thousands more are at risk.
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) November 15, 2023
The letter expresses the lawmakers’ unequivocal condemnation of the October 7 massacre perpetrated by Hamas but does not mention the terror group’s continued use of human shields and firing of rockets at Israel. It condemns the hostage taking on October 7 but does not expressly call for the release of the roughly 240 people held captive in Gaza.
On October 16, the number of House progressives who signed on to a resolution calling for a ceasefire was just 13.
The list of Democrats signing on to such statements remains confined to the far-left flank of the party, which has long been critical of Israel’s policies against the Palestinians.
United States Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield is pressed to explain why the US allowed a Security Council resolution that called for humanitarian pauses in Gaza and a release of all hostages to pass yesterday after vetoing a resolution a month ago that made those same two demands.
“Over 7,000 Palestinians have died since Brazil put forward its resolution last month, does the United States regret not having abstained earlier?” Thomas-Greenfield is asked during a press stakeout at the UN.
“We made a decision on that resolution because that resolution did not provide for Israel’s rights of self-defense,” Thomas-Greenfield responds.
A reporter pushes back, noting that the latest resolution makes no mention of Israel’s right to self-defense either, yet the US still abstained and allowed it to pass yesterday.
“This was a resolution that specifically addressed the humanitarian needs. The other resolutions did not,” Thomas-Greenfield retorts.
Both yesterday’s and last month’s resolutions detailed the humanitarian needs in Gaza.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi during a visit to the Gaza Strip today says the military is “close” to eliminating Hamas’s “military system” in the northern part of the territory.
“We are quite close to destroying the [Hamas] military system that existed in the northern Gaza Strip,” says Halevi to commanders in a video published by the IDF.
“We will complete it, we have some finishing to do, but we are getting close to it nicely,” he adds.
He adds that the IDF is going to continue its activity in the Gaza Strip, as long as it is given leave to keep going, “in more and more areas, and going to kill [Hamas] commanders and operatives and destroy the infrastructure.”
The Israel Defense Forces says it has recovered the body of Yehudit Weiss, 65, who was abducted by Hamas on October 7, from a building near Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip.
Troops of the 7th Armored Brigade’s 603rd Battalion found the body, along with Hamas military equipment, including assault rifles and RPGs.
The body was brought into Israel for identification, following which the military and police notified Weiss’s family of her death.
The IDF does not provide further details on Weiss’s cause of death, or when she was killed.
Weiss, a mother of five, was abducted from Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7. Her husband, Shmulik Weiss, was found murdered in the safe room of their home.
Yehudit, a pensioner who worked with kindergarten kids and in the kibbutz dining room, was being treated with radiation for breast cancer when she was kidnapped.
“The IDF sends its heartfelt condolences to the family,” it says in a statement. “The national mission… is to locate the missing and return the hostages home.”
“The IDF is operating alongside and in full coordination with the relevant national and security institutions in order to pursue these tasks. We will not cease from the mission until it will be completed,” the IDF adds.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says he expects that some residents of the Gaza border communities devastated in Hamas’s October 7 attack will be able to move home early next year.
In a statement from his office, Gallant says a meeting was held with senior Defense Ministry officials on how to allow those living 4-7 kilometers away from the Gaza border to return home in early 2024 “following the rehabilitation of the towns and creation of the required security conditions.”
“Everyone who cannot return to his home will continue to receive full backing and support from the government,” Gallant says, stressing that this applies equally to those in the south and those along the northern border.
“We are working now to reach a situation in which some of the towns can return starting January 1, those at a distance of 4 to 7 kilometers” from Gaza, Gallant adds, saying that all security data is pointing at such a possibility.
Norway’s parliament adopts a resolution calling on the government to be ready to recognize an “independent” Palestinian state.
The proposition was made by Norway’s ruling coalition to counter a resolution by smaller parties calling for an immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.
Passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament, it said the assembly “asks the government to be ready to recognize Palestine as an independent state when recognition could have a positive impact on the peace process, without making a final peace accord a condition.”
The wording means that no recognition is likely in the immediate future, but is a sign of the concern over the Israel-Hamas war in national assemblies across Europe.
The Israel Defense Forces releases footage of its Commando Brigade fighting in the Gaza Strip.
It says the commando troops raided Gaza City’s al-Shati camp, along with tanks, combat engineers and air support.
IDF releases footage of its Commando Brigade fighting in the Gaza Strip.
It says the commando troops raided Gaza City’s al-Shati camp, along with tanks, combat engineers, and air support.
Commando Brigade forces directed 54 airstrikes, navy strikes, and artillery shelling, the… pic.twitter.com/OwbZQZfvYd
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 16, 2023
Commando Brigade forces directed 54 airstrikes, navy strikes and artillery shelling, the IDF says, in which Hamas operatives were killed and infrastructure belonging to the terror group was destroyed.
The IDF says the commando forces also raided a booby-trapped hotel in northern Gaza, finding a weapons depot, which was later destroyed.
Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba — the south’s only Level 1 trauma center — shares that many of the hundreds of injured brought there following the horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7 came without identification.
Thanks to a combination of internet sleuthing and artificial intelligence, dozens of these people were quickly identified.
As soon as the injured began streaming in, a team of social workers, medical students and hospital photographers immediately swung into action. As in all mass casualty events, the photographers took pictures of the unidentified. Concurrently, the team scoured all social media platforms to gather hundreds of images of people missing after the attacks.
The hospital also announced and circulated an email address to which family members could submit photos and identifying details of their loved ones.
While the team worked with the hospital’s computing and data systems department to match photos, Israeli company Corsight AI, which specializes in facial recognition, volunteered to help and speed up the process.
“The heartbreaking sight of dozens and sometimes hundreds of family members who arrived searching for their loved ones left no doubt that we had to act in any way possible so that no one would remain unidentified, and so we could update the families — for good or bad — as soon as possible whether we had information on their relatives,” says Soroka deputy director Dr. Dror Dolfin.
The White House says it believes Israel can dramatically reduce the threat from Hamas, but that eliminating the group and its ideology is likely impossible.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby points to the US efforts to disrupt al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, a day after Biden said Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza would only end once the militant group was no longer a threat.
“What we have learned through our own experiences, that that military and other means you can absolutely have a significant impact on terrorist groups ability to resource itself, to train fighters, to recruit fighters, to plan to execute attacks,” Kirby tells reporters. “And look at the shadow of itself that ISIS is right now, look at the shadow of itself al-Qaeda is right now.”
“It doesn’t mean that the ideology withers away and die,” Kirby adds.
The IDF raided dozens of homes in the Palestinian village of Al-Mughayyir in the central West Bank last night, leaving many of them completely ransacked and seemingly placing a sticker that reads “I stand with Israel” on at least one of them, the Yesh Din rights group says.
The IDF says its raids are for counter-terror purposes but has not immediately responded to a query regarding the conduct of troops on this particular operation.
“Words cannot describe the humiliation and frustration of these men, women and children whose homes were targeted,” Yesh Din says.
The Judicial Selection Committee convenes for the first time since April 2022 and sets out a timetable for future hearings to fill dozens of open positions on courts around the country, including the Supreme Court.
The committee establishes subcommittees that will review candidates for the dozens of empty seats on the courts that need to be filled, and agrees to reconvene on February 20, February 25 and April 17 to advance the selection process and potentially make appointments.
A preliminary meeting of the committee will be held within three weeks to deliberate on the possibility of filling the empty seat on the Supreme Court, and appointing a Supreme Court president.
Former Supreme Court justice Esther Hayut retired on October 16, but Levin has been reluctant to schedule a vote for a successor since the coalition has only three guaranteed votes on the nine-member committee.
Levin has refused to convene the Judicial Selection Committee since he took office due to his desire to change its composition in order to give the government control over appointments. In the wake of the war triggered by Hamas’s October 7 massacre, Levin appeared to finally relent and agreed to move forward.
California authorities say they have arrested a man in connection with the death of a Jewish protester during demonstrations over the Israel-Hamas war.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office says the 50-year-old suspect was arrested today and will be booked into jail in the investigation of involuntary manslaughter — the unintentional killing of another person. The district attorney will decide whether there is enough evidence to bring a formal charge.
Paul Kessler, 69, died early November 6 at a hospital following a November 5 confrontation with a pro-Palestinian demonstrator in Thousand Oaks, a suburb northwest of Los Angeles.
Sheriff Jim Fryhoff said subsequently that deputies determined Kessler had fallen backward and struck his head on the ground. The pro-Palestinian demonstrator stayed at the scene and told deputies he had called 911, Fryhoff said.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan says he will hold a screening of the grisly footage gathered on October 7 for UN envoys at the United Nations in New York next week.
The event is slated to take place on Monday, November 20 and Erdan says he has invited envoys from around the world as well as UN officials to attend the screening.
“The time has come for the distorted UN, which makes immoral equivalencies between Israel and Hamas, to see with its own eyes what kind of barbaric murders it is worried about and maybe understand how much it has betrayed its original mission,” says Erdan in a statement.
In keeping with regulations for other such screenings of the footage, attendees will not be allowed to bring in any phones or recording devices in order to respect the families of the victims.
The Israel Defense Forces says a soldier was killed in a shooting attack at the West Bank’s “tunnel road” checkpoint near Jerusalem earlier today.
He is named as Cpl. Avraham Fetena, 20, a Military Police soldier, from Haifa.
Five others were hurt in the attack. Three Palestinian gunmen who attacked the checkpoint were killed.
Demonstrators calling for a ceasefire in Gaza block traffic on the Boston University bridge during rush hour this morning, slowing traffic to a trickle.
The group chants “Ceasefire now!” during the protest, and also hold signs that say, “Let Gaza Live.” The bridge connects Boston and Cambridge.
ALERT: The Boston University Bridge at Commonwealth Avenue is shut down until further notice due to protestors, diverting all traffic, including ambulances, away from the area. pic.twitter.com/Kbvx81xxkl
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) November 16, 2023
Activists were demanding that Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts support an immediate ceasefire and use her influence to stop the IDF military campaign.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says the US is “still convinced of the soundness of [its] intelligence” that found that Shifa hospital has been used by Hamas and other terror groups as a command and control center.
All communications services are down across the Gaza Strip due to lack of fuel, Palestinian telecom provider Paltel says.
Paltel says the landline connection, mobile network and internet connection in Gaza have all dropped.
The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees says a fuel shortage is to blame for the blackout.
“Gaza is again in a total communication blackout, and… it is because there is no fuel,” UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini tells a press conference in Geneva.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says the Israel Defense Forces has located “significant findings” in Shifa Hospital, as it moves to the “next phase” of the ground operation.
He did not elaborate on the findings inside the hospital.
“The operation continues and it is carried out in a precise, selective, but very, very determined manner,” he says during a visit to the 36th Division’s command center.
He says the IDF has completed the capture of the western part of Gaza City, and cleared the area of any Hamas operatives and assets.
“The next phase has begun,” Gallant adds.
Three East Jerusalem residents are arrested on suspicion of having joined ISIS.
In a joint statement, the police and the Shin Bet report that the three men, all in their twenties, are residents of the Umm Tuba neighborhood in southeast Jerusalem.
Pro-ISIS materials and a large amount of cash were found during a police search of the homes of the three, who reportedly made contact with ISIS members abroad on social networks, pledged allegiance to the terror group, and were about to leave the country to join its ranks abroad.
The suspects have been in detention pending completion of the investigation, and the prosecutor’s office is expected to file charges against them in the coming days.
The chief of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, vows that Israel will get to every Hamas terrorist.
He says in a statement to the media that since October 7, when “we did not fulfill our duties,” the IAF has been working “nonstop.”
“We are hitting Hamas on the ground and below the ground, we have hit thousands of terrorists, and we will reach all of them,” Bar says.
“The Air Force as the strategic arm of the State of Israel is prepared and operates all over the Middle East, in every required arena, anywhere,” he adds.
IDF says it has ‘clear info’ linking Shifa to Hamas-held hostages, but images of captive on laptop are from pre-Oct. 7
The IDF says it has “clear information” indicating a connection between Hamas activity in Shifa Hospital and the hostages, as well as “new findings” indicating a Hamas tunnel network under the complex.
It says it is investigating laptops and other technological devices that were found in the medical center.
Contrary to earlier information an IDF spokesman told the BBC, claiming that a laptop contained photos and videos of hostages taken after their abduction to Gaza, the IDF clarifies that the photos are not in fact from after their abduction.
The IDF says that on one of the laptops, a background showed a publicly available image of Pvt. Ori Megidish before she was captured.
The IDF says that during scans today “new findings were found indicating significant underground infrastructure in the hospitals, and our forces are working to uncover them.”
Hamas has been accused by Israel of maintaining its main command center under Shifa Hospital.
The police agree to allow a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to take place in Tel Aviv this Saturday night, after the Association for Civil Rights (ACRI) in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding it order the police to issue a permit for the rally.
The Tel Aviv Police Department initially refused to authorize the event, organized by the predominantly Arab Hadash party, on the grounds it could lead to civil disturbances, may harm the feelings of evacuees from southern Israel currently residing in Tel Aviv, and that the police lacked the manpower to secure the rally.
ACRI argued in its petition that the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of protest must be upheld even in a time of emergency and war, and that concerns about disturbances to public order and causing offense cannot be a reason to stymie freedom of protest.
The organization also argued that the refusal to grant a license for the protest was part of a “systematic and consistent” pattern of behavior by the police during the current war not to permit demonstrations that deviate from the broad consensus of public opinion.
During the court hearing today, the police agree to allow the demonstration to go ahead, but at a different location than originally planned and with a limit on the number of participants.
The protest will take place in Charles Clore Park with a limit of 700 protesters calling for a ceasefire and a “hostage exchange” agreement.
The Hamas-run health ministry claims that an Israeli raid inside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City “destroyed” a medical department and damaged two others inside Gaza’s largest hospital, where hundreds of patients, staff and displaced Palestinians were sheltering.
Israeli forces who went into Shifa Hospital yesterday “destroyed the radiology service, and bombed the burns and dialysis departments,” the Hamas-run health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra claims to AFP.
Last night the IDF revealed weapons found in the MRI unit of the hospital, providing video footage of the discoveries. It ws not clear if that was the radiology department Al-Qudra was referring to.
The IDF said this morning that its troops are still carrying out “focused” searches of the hospital, and that no soldiers or hospital staff have been hurt so far.
Family and friends of those held captive and missing in Gaza march into Modiin to meet with the parents of IDF soldier Noa Marciano who was killed in captivity.
Adi and Avi Marciano, Noa’s parents, come out to a park across from their home to greet and hug the other families.
“Thank you to my new family from the forum of those missing and taken captive,” says Adi Marciano. “I was supposed to be part of the march, you saved me a few kilometers and came to our city of Modiin.”
Adi describes Noa as a wonderful daughter, a person of music and books, with a big heart, and a beloved big sister to her three younger siblings. She and her younger sister, Yuval, were like twins with only a year and seven months between them, says Adi Marciano.
She was a quiet leader who influenced those around her, says Adi Marciano, on the brink of tears.
“It’s important for me to tell everyone that the struggle for Noa and her return home isn’t over,” says Marciano. “I do not have a grave for Noa, there was no funeral.” Noa’s body is still in Gaza.
“I’m here to say we’re here with you for the struggle of our lives,” she says. “When I finish the shiva, I’ll return to Tel Aviv to be with you.”
Avi Marciano, Adi’s husband and Noa’s father, refers to rumors of an imminent hostage deal. “We are demanding from Bibi [Netanyahu], [Benny] Gantz, [Yoav] Gallant and the rest of the war cabinet, first come talk to us,” he says. “We’re not just any people; our kids are there. You’re making a deal? Come tell us.”
“All the niceties are gone, the gloves are off, you should be embarrassed,” he adds.
The IDF says that a number of missiles were fired from Lebanon toward northern communities in Israel recently, setting off air raid sirens.
The military says they likely fell in an open area, and the IDF is shelling the source of fire in response.
It also says that terrorists in Lebanon fired an anti-tank guided missile toward an IDF post in Dovev, and there were no injuries reported.
The IDF announces that troops from its 551st Reserve Brigade discovered Hamas rockets stored inside the bed of young girl in a home in the Beit Hanoun city in northern Gaza.
In video footage, the Israeli military shows rockets kept in a storage unit underneath the bed in a bedroom with a “baby girl” sign on the wall.
במהלך פשיטה שביצעו לוחמים מצוות הקרב של חטיבת המילואים 551, בעקבות מידע מודיעיני, בביתו של מחבל חמאס שהיה חלק מחולייה של ארגון הטרור במרחב בית חאנון, אותרו מספר רקטות בתוך מיטה בחדר ילדים >> pic.twitter.com/ug4FEDeiPK
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 16, 2023
Nearby the IDF shows a number of weapons it said it uncovered in the home, including missiles, explosive devices and explosive materials. The IDF said it destroyed the weaponry.
The military also publishes audio of what it says is an intercepted phone call between Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists about how they were transporting weaponry inside a stroller.
The Judicial Selection Committee is convening for the first time since April 2022 after its chair, Justice Minister Yariv Levin refused to bring the panel together since he took office.
Levin’s refusal was part of the government’s judicial overhaul, which roiled the country, with opponents accusing the government of undermining the judiciary and Israel’s system of checks and balances.
The committee is dealing only with procedural matters, however, and will not be able to make appointments since the panel can only deliberate on candidates for judgeships if their candidacy was published in the official state gazette 45 days ahead of the committee hearing, which did not happen.
There are currently dozens of empty positions on courts around the country — the Israel Courts Administration says there will be 53 empty judgeships by the end of the year — which increased the pressure on Levin to convene the committee.
“Israeli judges are collapsing under the case burden, and this is increasing the time it takes to conduct court hearings,” says committee member MK Karin Elharar of Yesh Atid, representing the opposition on the panel.
“After a delay of 10 months, we cannot wait any longer, the dozens of empty positions on the court benches must be filled… I am hopeful that the justice minister will rise to the urgency of the hour and act in cooperation with all the committee members in order to appoint professional and independent judges for all of Israel’s citizens,” adds Elharar.
The committee comprises nine members: Levin; Minister of Settlements and National Missions Orit Strock; MK Yitzhak Kroizer; Elharar; Acting Supreme Court President Uzi Vogelman; Supreme Court justices Isaac Amit and Daphne Barak-Erez; and Israel Bar Association representatives Muhamad Naamneh and Ilana Saker.
Israeli soccer teams Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv are going to Serbia to play their remaining “home” games in the group stage of European competitions, UEFA said Thursday.
UEFA has ruled that Israel cannot host games in international competitions “due to the current security situation,” during the ongoing conflict with Hamas.
The Israel men’s and women’s national teams have chosen to play home games in Felcsút, Hungary — at a stadium closely tied to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán — and Maccabi Haifa played a Europa League game last week in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Maccabi Haifa will next go to Red Star Belgrade’s home stadium to host Rennes on Nov. 30.
In the third-tier Europa Conference League, Maccabi Tel Aviv will play two games at Serbian club TSC’s stadium in Backa Topola. UEFA said Maccabi Tel Aviv will play Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine for a rescheduled game on Nov. 25 and Gent of Belgium on Dec. 14.
Israel dismisses a request from the UN rights chief to access the country after he called for an international probe into the Israel-Hamas war and appeared to equate Israeli actions to those of the Hamas terror group.
“Israel is not aware of any added benefit of the high commissioner’s visit at this time,” the country’s mission to the UN in Geneva tells AFP, when asked about Volker Turk’s request to be permitted to visit.
The IDF says the elite Shaldag unit and forces of the 36th Division continue to operate in the Shifa Hospital complex.
It says the operations in the hospital are “focused” with special forces moving from building to building and scanning each floor.
While there are still patients and staff at the hospital, the IDF says it is operating with “discretion, patience and thoroughness.”
No soldiers or hospital staff have been hurt so far, it says.
“We operate with the understanding that there is much more terror infrastructure in the area of the complex, that is well hidden,” the IDF says.
So far, after searching some of the buildings, troops have found weapons and intelligence materials, including information relating to Hamas’s October 7 attacks.
It says that troops found computers that held information and footage relating to the hostages.
The Shin Bet intelligence service identifies the three slain terrorists who attacked a West Bank checkpoint just south of Jerusalem, wounding six people, saying they were Hamas members from Hebron.
Two of the three are identified as Abed el-Khader Kawasme, 26, the son of Abdallah Kawasma the head of Hamas’s military wing in Hebron who was killed in 2003; Hassan Mamoun Qafisha, 28, a member of Hamas, whose uncle was a Hamas member expelled to Turkey in 2011.
The Shin Bet said it had not yet finalized the identification of the third terrorist, but Palestinian media identified him as Nasser Kawasme.
The three heroes that ascended to martyrdom after the heroic Tunnel checkpoint operation are:
The martyr Abdul Qader Al-Qawasmi.
The martyr Hassan Ma’moun Qafisha.
The martyr Nasr Abdelafo Al-Qawasmi.
Glory to the martyrs.. Aamiin
— PalestineBeMind☝????????❤???? (@dwi_PAL1109) November 16, 2023
An Israeli settler, likely from an illegal West Bank outpost, is arrested and put in administrative detention for four months on suspicion of posing a threat to either state security or public security.
The young man, aged 22, is described by the Honenu legal aid organization representing him as “a shepherd from the Binyamin district” in the West Bank, meaning he is likely from what are known as agricultural outposts, illegal dwellings established by Israeli settlers to expand control of territory in Area C of the West Bank.
The detention order is valid until March 14 and was approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant today.
Settler activists have named him as Amitzur Ben Yosef.
עמיצור בן יוסף בן 22.
הפשע: רועה צאן בבנימין ושומר על אדמות הארץ.
קיבל מעצר מנהלי ל5 חודש משר הביטחון הכושל בתולדות ישראל. pic.twitter.com/zwm5vP29VO
— נעמי רחליס (@Kahanatz) November 16, 2023
Administrative detention allows a suspect to be held in detention for renewable periods of up to six months, on the basis of secret evidence made available only to a military judge.
This is the second time a Jewish Israeli has been put into administrative detention since October 7.
Radical settler activist Ariel Danino from the illegal outpost of Kumi Ori was put into administrative detention last month, also on suspicion of posing a threat to state or public security.
An appeal Danino filed to the Supreme Court against his administrative detention was rejected on Tuesday.
Settler violence against Palestinians has spiked dramatically since Hamas’s October 7 atrocities.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there have been 244 incidents of settlers assaulting Palestinians or vandalizing their property since October 7, as of Tuesday.
The Israel Defense Forces say it attacked a terror cell in Lebanon that was launching anti-tank missiles across the border.
The army also confirms that several projectiles were launched at an IDF post in the Misgav Am area on the border.
The army says there are no casualties and IDF artillery is shelling the areas where the fire came from.
The IDF publishes video of its strike on the terror cell.
לפני זמן קצר, כוחות צה"ל תקפו בשטח לבנון חוליית מחבלים שניסתה לשגר טילי נ"ט לעבר שטח ישראל.
כמו כן, מחבלים ביצעו מספר שיגורים לעבר מרחב משגב עם ולעבר מוצבי צה"ל במרחב מטולה ויפתח. אין נפגעים.
כוחות צה"ל תוקפים בירי ארטילרי את מקורות הירי pic.twitter.com/otsiBpP8DK
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 16, 2023
A fence that separates graves at a cemetery in Beit She’an will be lowered and covered with vegetation following an uproar over the separate burial of a Hamas victim whom the Chief Rabbinate does not consider Jewish, the Rabbinate’s municipal representative says.
The announcement by Avi Pahima, the head of the Religious Council of Beit She’an, came after Alina Plahti was buried on October 30 at a separate compound of the city’s New Cemetery.
Plahti, who was 23 when Hamas terrorists murdered her at the Nova music festival near the border with Gaza, is buried in a separate section of the cemetery for people who are not considered Jewish according to the Orthodox interpretation of halachah, Jewish religious law.
Her family expressed the wish that she had been buried in the central section.
“Following the outcry, I thought a humane and fair solution needs to be found, which would not compromise halachah but address the family’s pain,” the Chief Rabbinate’s administrative representative in Beit She’an tells The Times of Israel.
Plahti’s mother, Olga, who on Monday told a Knesset committee about her pain and frustration over the decision to bury her daughter separately, today tells Ynet that the lowering of the fence “is an important step. It will make me feel better to know that Alina is close to everyone else and not separated behind a tall fence.”
At Monday’s meeting by the Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, its chair, lawmaker Oded Forer, was among several lawmakers who apologized for and condemned the way Plahti was buried.
Halachic rulers and interpreters have issued different edicts on the mixed burial of Jews and non-Jews, ranging from a blanket rejection of the prospect to permission to do it if this helps preserve peaceful relations.
IDF tells BBC photos of hostages after capture found on laptop in Shifa hospital, shows guns next to MRI machine
The IDF tells a BBC reporter, one of the two foreign journalists first taken into Shifa hospital in Gaza, overnight Wednesday-Thursday, that among the items discovered by troops was a laptop that contained photos and videos of hostages, taken after their abduction to Gaza.
Reporter Lucy Williamson is also told, but not shown, that the laptop also contains recently released footage, shared by Israeli police, of their interrogations of Hamas terrorists arrested after the October 7 assault.
Entering an MRI room at the hospital, the BBC’s Williamson reports that the IDF says it has recovered “more than a dozen Kalashnikovs, grenades, personal protective equipment, some of it with the Hamas military brigade insignia on it — you can see some of them here, hidden under these bags of medical supplies.”
“We’re also told that there have been laptops found with some information about the hostages — recent files that suggest this may have been a Hamas operating base as recently as a few days ago,” she adds.
This, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus tells the BBC, suggests Hamas was in the hospital “within the last few days.”
“At the end of the day, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “Hamas aren’t here because they saw we were coming. This is probably what they were forced to leave behind. Our assessment is that there’s much more.”
BBC goes inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza with the Israeli army https://t.co/BJIYzgC9cj
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 16, 2023
The IDF also takes a FOX reporter into the same MRI room, and shows Hamas publications, including one on “Military Ordnance.”
The UAE will set up three water desalination plants in the Gaza Strip, the Emirati state-run WAM news agency says.
The plants will be set up in southern Gaza.
“The production capacity of each plant is 200,000 gallons per day with a total of 600,000 gallons, benefiting 300,000 people per day,” WAM says.
It did not say how long it would take for the plants to become operational.
Family members of those missing and held captive in Gaza walk alongside hundreds of Israelis on the third day of their march from Tel Aviv to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, which they plan to reach on Saturday afternoon.
Part of Thursday’s march includes paying a shiva call to the Marciano family in Modi’in, which is mourning the loss of their soldier daughter Noa Marciano, who died in Hamas captivity.
Representatives of the families say they are asking members of the government’s war cabinet to meet them on the road.
“We are walking 37 kilometers and the war cabinet hasn’t even picked up the phone to set a time to meet us,” says Merav Leshem Ronen, mother of Romi Gonen, held captive by Hamas.
”We asked them to meet us,” says Leshem Ronen. “If we can go on foot to them, they can get in cars and come to speak to us. We know they’re busy with the negotiations. Come and talk to us!”
The families will rally at the Latrun memorial site for fallen soldiers at 7 p.m.
Lebanese media report that three anti-tank missiles were fired across the border at the Israeli community of Misgav Am.
There is no immediate comment from the IDF.
The reports come after Israel said warplanes hit a number of Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon earlier in the day.
The war cabinet is slated to meet at 8:30 p.m.
Hebrew media reports say the move comes amid advances in efforts to reach a deal to free hostages held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.
The IDF announces the death of another soldier in Gaza fighting bringing the military death toll in the ground offensive in the Strip to 51.
The military says that Capt. Shlomo Ben Nun, 22 years old, from Modiin, was killed in fighting overnight in northern Gaza.
Ben Nun was a company deputy commander in the 202nd Battalion of the Paratroop Brigade.
In addition, a reservist from the 75th Battalion, 7th Brigade and a reservist from the 9215th Battalion, 205th Brigade were seriously injured in the fighting in the northern Gaza Strip.
The fighters were evacuated to receive medical treatment at a hospital and their families were informed, the army says.
Israeli warplanes hit several Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, the IDF says.
The targets include several posts used by Hezbollah terrorists.
The IDF also says it attacked a Hezbollah operative who was operating along the border across from the Israeli town of Shlomi.
The IDF publishes footage of the strikes.
לפני זמן קצר מטוסי קרב השלימו תקיפת מטרות טרור של ארגון חיזבאללה בשטח לבנון.
בין המטרות שנתקפו, מספר עמדות צבאיות בהם פעלו מחבלי הארגון.
כמו כן, לפני זמן קצר כוחות צה"ל תקפו מחבל שפעל בשטח לבנון, סמוך למרחב שלומי. pic.twitter.com/1PtABt0hHQ
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 16, 2023
Israel harshly criticizes UN attempts to equate its actions in Gaza with those of the Hamas terror group, insisting international law is “not a suicide pact.”
If a state cannot defend itself, “or is criticized for doing so in line with international law, inevitably terrorist organizations will become more and more emboldened to continue to deploy these methods, confident in continued international support,” Israeli ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar says after the UN rights chief briefed member states on the situation.
The IDF says forces from the Shayetet 13 naval commandos backed by tanks and combat engineers have taken control of Gaza’s main docks area from Hamas.
The military says that the forces discovered some 10 tunnel shafts and destroyed them, and took control of four buildings being used by Hamas to house its infrastructure.
“The forces eliminated 10 terrorists and cleared all the buildings in the area of the docks,” the IDF says.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in the West Bank should be given the same treatment as Hamas in Gaza, following this morning’s terror attack at the “tunnels” checkpoint south of Jerusalem.
“We need to deal with Hamas in the West Bank, and the Palestinian Authority which has similar views to Hamas and its heads identified with Hamas’s massacre, exactly like we are dealing with Gaza,” says Ben Gvir, essentially calling for the elimination of the Palestinian Authority.
The UN human rights chief decries serious allegations of violations of international law in the Israel-Hamas war, suggesting an international investigation was needed.
“Extremely serious allegations of multiple and profound breaches of international humanitarian law, whoever commits them, demand rigorous investigation and full accountability,” Volker Turk says in a briefing on the situation to UN member states, adding that an “international investigation is called for.”
Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s raid on Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, calling it a “blatant violation of international law” in a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
It also condemned what it said was shelling near another hospital and called on international bodies to hold Israel accountable.
Israel says its troops are carrying out a targeted operation in Shifa, where it has long accused Hamas of maintaining an underground command center — claims supported by the US. Hamas and hospital staff have denied the allegations.
Israeli forces searching the medical compound since yesterday say they have found guns and other indications that Hamas terrorists were inside, but have not shown any evidence regarding the alleged command center.
Before the war, Saudi Arabia was in talks with the United States over potentially normalizing relations with Israel.
Israeli forces reportedly dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to leave parts of southern Gaza, residents say, signaling a possible expansion of operations.
The leaflets dropped in areas east of the southern town of Khan Younis warned civilians to evacuate the area and saying anyone in the vicinity of terrorists or their positions “is putting his life in danger.” Similar leaflets were dropped over northern Gaza for weeks ahead of the ground invasion.
Two local reporters who live east of Khan Younis confirm seeing the leaflets to the AP. Others shared images of the leaflets on social media.
The military declined to comment.
— ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? (@NoiseAlerts) November 16, 2023
Oded Revivi, head of the Efrat Local Council, says the checkpoint between southern Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank where this morning’s terror attack took place has become “a death trap” due to the traffic bottleneck it causes.
Many of Efrat’s residents commute to Jerusalem via the checkpoint every day for work.
“We are warning that the checkpoint has become a death trap because of the bottleneck it causes which endangers the residents who wait [in line] along the whole length of the road for too long, and the crowding [of vehicles on the road] which doesn’t provide for any solution during a tragic event,” says Revivi following the attack.
“The operational necessity of checks is clear. However, creating such a big traffic jam, which is a result of a lack of guards, a lack of inspection stations, and other issues, endangers lives and creates sitting targets for terrorists.
“It is horrifying to think what would happen if terrorists opened fire on a group of cars in the traffic jam, and the physical inability of emergency service vehicles to reach them. An immediate solution has to be created to save lives.”
Rocket warning sirens sound on the northern border in the community of Shtula.
There is no immediate comment from the IDF.
Germany’s interior minister on Thursday announces raids in seven of the country’s regions on an Islamist association suspected of links to Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah terror group.
“At a time when numerous Jews feel particularly threatened,” Germany will “tolerate neither Islamist propaganda nor antisemitic incitement hostile to Israel,” Nancy Faeser says, adding that the police raids targeted the Hamburg Islamic Center and five affiliated groups.
Police say that the attack on the West Bank checkpoint south of Jerusalem was carried out by a cell of three gunmen who arrived by car and opened fire.
Police say all three were killed by Israeli forces at the scene.
A large force of police, Border Police and IDF troops are carrying out searches in the area, police say, adding that sappers are also operating at the scene.
The road that links Jerusalem with settlements in the southern West Bank is closed.
Magen David Adom reports that four wounded people at the scene are being taken to hospital.
This includes a man in his 20s in critical condition, two people — a young woman in her early 20s and a man aged 32 — in moderate condition, and a young man who was lightly wounded.
All four suffered gunshot wounds.
In addition, three people at the scene were treated for symptoms of traumatic stress, MDA says.
At least four people are wounded in an apparent terror shooting at the West Bank “tunnel road” checkpoint south of Jerusalem, police and medics say.
The Magen David Adom rescue service says medics are treating the wounded, including one in critical condition. The others are described as being conscious.
MDA initially reported 5 wounded, but later said 4 were wounded by gunfire.
Police say the attacker was shot and neutralized.
War cabinet minister Benny Gantz told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Hamas continues to use Gazan citizens as human shields in the face of the IDF’s campaign against the terror group, in a conversation the two held last night.
In a phone call to update the Canadian premier on the IDF’s campaign in Gaza, Gantz also insists the war is crucial to guaranteeing Israel’s security.
The conversation comes following harsh criticism by the Canadian leader over Palestinian civilian casualties resulting from the IDF’s operation, with Trudeau on Tuesday urging Israel to stop “this killing of women, of children, of babies” in the Gaza Strip.
According to Gantz’s office, the National Unity party leader emphasizes Hamas’s continued use of Gazan residents as human shields, as well as Israel’s efforts to “change the reality in the region.”
Gantz underlines the importance of the military operation for guaranteeing the security of Israeli civilians and regional stability, “against an enemy that cruelly massacred women, the elderly, and children, and who holds babies hostage while preventing Gazan residents from evacuating to safe areas where humanitarian supplies and medical care is available.”
According to Gantz’s office, Trudeau pointed to his “years of support for Israel and its right to defend itself,” and the need to immediately bring back the hostages.
Trudeau said that the ongoing provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s residents was critical to preserving the possibility of a better future for the entire region.
Gantz and Trudeau also discussed the rise in global antisemitism and their “joint obligation” to combat the phenomenon.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops of the Nahal Brigade’s reconnaissance unit found and destroyed weapons and equipment belonging to Hamas’s naval forces in Gaza City’s al-Shati camp.
The cache of weapons included diving equipment, firearms, and explosive devices.
The IDF says paratroopers also located other weapons and explosives in the northern Gaza Strip overnight, following a gun battle with Hamas operatives.
It says the forces found suicide vests, other explosive devices, RPGs, anti-tank missiles, and intelligence documents.
An Israeli fighter jet struck the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh — who lives in Qatar — in the Gaza Strip overnight.
The Israel Defense Forces says the home was “used as terror infrastructure and, among other things, as a meeting place for the senior officials of the organization.”
The military releases footage showing the airstrike.
Hamas has previously said the IDF hit two homes belonging to Haniyeh and his family, but this is the first strike confirmed by the military.
IDF struck the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh – who lives in Qatar – in the Gaza Strip. It says the home was "used as terror infrastructure and, among other things, as a meeting place for the senior officials of the organization. pic.twitter.com/xDP4y4GHS7
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 16, 2023
At least six police officers are wounded in pro-Palestinian demonstrations outside the national headquarters of the Democratic Party in a melee that forced a lockdown of nearby offices of the US Congress.
The demonstrations are led by the anti-Zionist If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace groups. The protesters are calling for a ceasefire and an end to Israel’s operations on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, launched in the wake of the deadly October 7 assault on southern Israel that killed some 1,200 people, most of them civilians and saw some 240 hostages taken to Gaza.
“Our officers are working to keep back approximately 150 people who are illegally and violently protesting” near the party offices, the US Capitol Police say in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
“Officers are making arrests.”
Police escorted legislators who were at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices at the time out of the building to safety.
Six police officers were treated for injuries “ranging from minor cuts to being pepper sprayed to being punched,” Capitol Police post later in the evening after protesters were cleared out.
“Was just evacuated from the #DNC after pro-terrorist, anti-#Israel protestors grew violent, pepper spraying police officers and attempting to break into the building,” California lawmaker Brad Sherman posts on X.
“Thankful to the police officers who stopped them and for helping me and my colleagues get out safely,” writes Sherman, a Democrat.
Former public diplomacy minister Galit Distel Atbaryan lashes out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying she had a burning anger toward him and that the days of his government’s days were numbered.
Distel Atbaryan made the comments in a private WhatsApp conversation with an anti-government activist that was later published on social media.
“I have a great anger toward Netanyahu, fury that is burning me from inside,” she writes. “The days of this government are numbered, that’s completely clear.”
Distel Atbaryan, a firebrand who was seen as a Netanyahu loyalist, quit her post five days after the start of the war brought on by the deadly Hamas assault on southern Israel that killed some 1,200 Israelis, most of them civilians, and saw some 240 hostage taken to Gaza.
She said then that she resigned because the government was sideling her powers
The Likud politician had faced significant criticism since entering the post, in particular over her use of the office to heavily promote the government’s judicial overhaul as well as her history of incendiary remarks. She was also the subject of sharp censure over her ministry’s seeming lack of activity as Israel faced its worst attack in decades.
However, in her conversation, Distel Atbaryan cast her resignation as a protest over Netanyahu’s security policy that allowed Hamas to flourish, alongside the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.
“You don’t know how [Netanyahu] broke me and I’m keeping my mouth shut. the minute after this war ends I will spill it all, but now it’s time to hold it in,” she writes. I have been holding in my personal fury with Netanyahu for several months. the fury over the monsters that grew under his governments in the south and the north is what broke me and led me to resign.”
“Until that dark Shabbat, I was sure he was Mr. Security. Netanyahu is a large and complex figure, he is not the devil you describe and it turns out he is not the angel I once believed. With all his flaws, he is the only one at the moment who can withstand this crazy pressure without collapsing and he has international abilities that no one else in the political field has and this is critical now,” she says.
A vehicle crashed into a temporary barricade near the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo, and reports say police arrested the driver.
The motive and whether the embassy was targeted is not yet known. Protestors often gather to demonstrate against Israel’swar with Hamas, and the street near the embassy has been barricaded by Japanese police.
Police refused to confirm the media reports.
A man in his 50s believed to be a member of a right-wing group was arrested at the scene on suspicion of obstructing official duties, public broadcaster NHK and other media reports.
An ambulance was dispatched to a nearby location when an emergency call reported one person was injured, the Tokyo Fire Department says. One police officer had a hand injury, the media reports said.
Photographs and video footage showed a black compact vehicle crashed into a guardrail by the sidewalk, with debris scattered on the street. The crash site is near an intersection about 100 meters (yards) from the embassy, NHK said.
In their private session on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden appealed to Xi Xi Jinping to use his influence to try to calm global tensions, particularly to try to pressure Iran not to widen the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terror group Hamas.
A US official said Biden did most of the talking on the matter, and that Xi mostly listened, and that it was too soon to tell what sort of message China was sending to Tehran and how it was being received.
Biden has also pressed Xi to continue to withhold military support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Beijing has long sought to be treated as an equal by Washington, and Biden sought to leverage those ambitions with Xi to address the two devastating wars.
The Israel Defense Forces announces that two soldiers were killed fighting on Wednesday in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll in the ground offensive against Hamas to 50.
Cpt. Asaf Master, 22, from Kibbutz Bahan in central Israel, a platoon commander in the 401st Brigade’s 601 Battalion (part of the Combat Engineering Corps).
Cpt. Kfir Itzhak Franco, 22, from Jerusalem, a platoon commander in the 401st Brigade’s 52nd Battalion.
Additionally, the IDF says a reserves officer with the Negev Brigade was seriously wounded during fighting in Gaza yesterday, and a reserves military member with the Gaza Division was seriously wounded during operational activity in the Gaza border area.
Police in Washington responded to a Wednesday night protest outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, officials say.
US Capitol Police said about 150 people were “illegally and violently protesting” near the DNC headquarters building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington. Members of Congress were evacuated from the building as the protest erupted.
Video posted on social media showed protesters shoving police officers and trying to grab hold of metal barricades as the officers moved in to make arrests. The videos also show officers shoving protesters. Many of the protesters were wearing black shirts that read “Cease Fire Now.”
Protesters included members of If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace, who have organized other demonstrations in Washington.
If Not Now posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “police are being extremely violent.”
Now cops are violently attacking hundreds of people calling for a ceasefire outside of DNC Headquarters, as we chant "Let Gaza Live!"
We want to be crystal clear to the Democratic Party: you cannot continue to ignore those you claim to represent.
The people will not allow it. pic.twitter.com/0mzkHqg77l
— IfNotNow???? (@IfNotNowOrg) November 16, 2023
“We are linking arms, threatening no one, and begging our politicians to support an end to the killing and the suffering in Gaza. Begging, peacefully, for a ceasefire,” the group posted.
Explaining the US decision to abstain in the UN Security Council vote on a resolution calling for humanitarian pauses in Gaza along with the immediate release of the hostages, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield says the Biden administration principally supports what was in the draft but could not actively support it due to what went unmentioned.
“Ultimately, the United States could not vote yes on a text that did not condemn Hamas or reaffirm the right of all Member States to protect their citizens from terrorist attacks,” Thomas-Greenfield says.
The US envoy acknowledges that the resolution on its own won’t make a difference on the ground, which is why the Biden administration is working with international actors to respond to the crisis, secure the release of the hostages, and keep the conflict from spreading.
It also means planning now for what Gaza will look like after the war, Thomas-Greenfield says, reiterating the US call for a unified West Bank and Gaza Strip governed by the Palestinian Authority on a pathway to a two-state solution.
US President Joe Biden says Israel’s operation in Gaza, following the shock October 7 massacre in southern Israeli communities, “will end when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse, and do horrific things to the Israelis.”
Biden says in a televised press conference following his long-anticipated meeting China’s Xi Jinping that Israel’s military has “an obligation to use as much caution as they can in going after their targets. Hamas said they plan to attack Israelis again and this is terrible dilemma.”
The Biden administration has continued to reject calls for a ceasefire, saying that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas after the October 7 massacre, while pushing for more short-term humanitarian pauses and asserting that it expects Israel to abide by the rules of war while fighting in Gaza.
Biden says Israel is taking risks in operating around al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City but “one thing has been established: Hamad does have headquarters, weapons, materiel, below this hospital, and — I suspect — others.”
The president says US officials have held discussions with the Israelis, urging them to be “incredibly careful” in military moves around hospitals in the Palestinian enclave.
Biden adds he is “mildly hopeful” that there would be a deal to free some 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself here because I don’t know what’s happened in the last four hours, but we have gotten great cooperation from the Qataris,” he says when asked about progress on freeing hostages taken on October 7, when Hamas-led terrorists also killed 1,200 people, a majority of them civilians.
Qatar has been leading mediation efforts for the release of the hostages.
FBI director Christopher A. Wray says the agency has opened a number investigations into Palestinian terror group Hamas and persons associated with the organization as worries amount over attacks on US soil.
The FBI, he said during testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security about global threats to the US, “has a large number of tips and leads related specifically to Hamas and radicalization and recruitment. We are urgently running down every tip and lead.”
“We cannot — and do not — discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here, on our own soil,” he said, cited by the New York Times.
Since Hamas’s October 7 shock assault on Israel, Wray said the FBI has seen “a rogue’s gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies,” naming Hezbollah, the Islamic State, and Al Qaeda.
“We’ve kept our sights on Hamas and have multiple investigations into individuals affiliated with that foreign terrorist organization,” he added.
Wray said that of particular concern were “homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization, and domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish Americans or other faith communities, like Muslim Americans.”
The FBI director said the “biggest chunk of the threats that have been reported, by a good margin,” have been to the Jewish community.
Wray pointed to the Hamas threat to urge Congress to re-authorize a spy program security officials say is vital to preventing terrorism, catching spies and disrupting cyberattacks.
The tool, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, will expire at the end of December unless the White House and Congress can cut a deal and resolve an unusually vexing debate that has yielded unlikely alliances at the intersection of privacy and national security.
Without the program, administration officials warn, the government won’t be able to collect crucial intelligence overseas. But civil liberties advocates from across the political spectrum say the law as it stands now infringes on the privacy of ordinary Americans, and insist that changes are needed before the program is reauthorized.
“Just imagine if some foreign terrorist organization overseas shifts its intentions and directs an operative here who’d been contingency planning to carry out an attack in our own backyard — and imagine if we’re not able to disrupt the threat because the FBI’s 702 authorities have been so watered down,” Wray told the committee.
The law, enacted in 2008, permits the US intelligence community to collect without a warrant the communications of foreigners overseas suspected of posing a national security threat. Importantly, the government also captures the communications of American citizens and others in the US when they’re in contact with those targeted foreigners.
The IDF appears to have allowed some foreign media reporters into the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City where Israeli troops were operating following an operation that uncovered military equipment including weapons.
Among the foreign reporters were Trey Yingst of Fox News who posted three clips from al-Shifa including one that shows the hospital’s MRI room, where weapons were discovered.
Inside Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital tonight with the Israeli army. A preview of our story coming up next hour on @SpecialReport. More coverage tomorrow on what the Israelis found. Tune in. pic.twitter.com/YXHvtM3zsn
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) November 15, 2023
Yingst said reporters “were shown weapons in the radiology building” but no tunnels just yet.
PREVIEW: Inside Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital. We were shown weapons in the radiology building. We were not shown any tunnels. The raid is ongoing at this hour. Hundreds of Palestinians are still inside. I questioned the IDF about criticism over the operation. More airs tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/nwcvpHS1tB
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) November 15, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces says it struck a number of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon over the past day.
Among the targets were a weapons depot, observation posts, military infrastructure, and launch positions including one from which a guided anti-tank missile was fired at the area around the northern Israeli tow of Shlomi on Wednesday, the IDF says in a statement.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was escorted to safety as police broke up a pro-Palestinian protest outside a restaurant in Vancouver where he was dining, authorities say.
A crowd of about 250 pro-Palestinian supporters waving flags and chanting for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war surrounded the venue in the city’s Chinatown district on Tuesday evening.
Police say in a statement that 100 officers “assisted in controlling and dispersing the crowd, while the prime minister was escorted out of the restaurant.”
One man was arrested for obstruction while another was held for assaulting an officer who was punched in the face and had her eyes gouged, authorities say.
Vancouver police Sergeant Steve Addison told a news conference that “the actions of the protestors, such as blocking the lane behind the restaurant caused a concern.”
In a video on social media, some protesters are seen inside the restaurant, shouting at Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau chased out of Vancouver restaurant by screaming mob hurling accusations of genocide despite his irrelevance on the world stage and slumping poll numbers at home. pic.twitter.com/k8IIpFeNXs
— Rowan Thee Stallion ???? (@canmericanized) November 15, 2023
Earlier, Trudeau was heckled at another restaurant owned by celebrity chef Vikram Vij in a different part of the Pacific coast city.
Videos shown by local media showed a handful of protestors entering Vij’s restaurant and shouting at the prime minister to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.
Trudeau said at an event earlier Tuesday that the killing “of women, of children, of babies” in the Israel-Hamas war must stop, sparking a strong rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others.
French President Emmanuel Macron says France is making great efforts to help secure the release of the hostages held by terror group Hamas in Gaza, following its shock October 7 raid on southern Israel in which terrorists killed some 1,200 people and took some 240 — of all ages — captive.
In separate tweets in French, English, and Hebrew, Macron says France is “putting all our efforts, all our strength, into freeing the hostages held by Hamas and allowing their families to be reunited with their loved ones.”
In Hebrew, the tweet refers to the hostages as “our hostages.”
Among the 239 hostages held by Hamas and other allied factions, about 100 are dual or foreign nationals. At least seven are believed to have dual French-Israeli nationality.
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