ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

search
Live updates (closed)

Nov. 20: Biden says hostage deal nearing; 2 projectiles from Gaza trigger Tel Aviv sirens

Otzma Yehudit MKs spar with hostages’ families over death penalty for terrorists bill * IDF Gaza op toll reaches 66 * Some 40 kids, babies held in Strip on World Children’s Day

US President Joe Biden pardons the national Thanksgiving turkeys, Liberty and Bell, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, November 20, 2023. (AP/ Andrew Harnik)
US President Joe Biden pardons the national Thanksgiving turkeys, Liberty and Bell, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, November 20, 2023. (AP/ Andrew Harnik)

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

Jeff Merkley becomes first US senator to make unconditional call for ceasefire

US Sen. Jeff Merkley, (right), from Oregon, speaks to the media along with US Sen. Chris Van Hollen, center, D-Md., US Rep. David Cicilline, D-RI, and US Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., in front of the US Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector's Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP/ File)
US Sen. Jeff Merkley, (right), from Oregon, speaks to the media along with US Sen. Chris Van Hollen, center, D-Md., US Rep. David Cicilline, D-RI, and US Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., in front of the US Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector's Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP/ File)

Democrat Jeff Merkley from Oregon becomes the first US senator to make an unqualified call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“I am calling for a ceasefire — a cessation of hostilities by both sides. To endure, the ceasefire and the following negotiations must accomplish other essential objectives, including the release of all hostages and a massive influx of humanitarian aid,” Merkley tweets.

Illinois’s Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin also called for a ceasefire earlier this month, but conditioned it on Hamas releasing all hostages, which even Israel says it would agree to.

Roughly 40 far-left members of the US House have also called for a ceasefire in recent weeks.

Top intel official twice warned Netanyahu that judicial overhaul was emboldening Hamas to strike — report

Anti-overhaul activists protest against the government's judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, on September 23, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
Anti-overhaul activists protest against the government's judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, on September 23, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly received two stark warnings from the head of research at the Military Intelligence Directorate in the months leading up to the October 7 onslaught that the societal divisions sparked by his government’s effort to radically overhaul the judiciary were emboldening Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran to take actions against the Jewish state.

“We are seeing a debate [among Israel’s enemies] over whether to sit on the fence and let Israel continue to weaken itself internally or to take initiatives and further exacerbate the situation,” Amir Sa’ar wrote in April and July letters sent directly to Netanyahu, Haaretz reports.

Each of the letters included intelligence that pointed to imminent danger of a military escalation by Israel’s adversaries, which Netanyahu appeared to have dismissed, as he continued to advance the highly controversial judicial overhaul, that sparked months of unprecedented protests across the country.

ICRC director meets with Hamas leader in Qatar, calls for release of hostages

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger delivers remarks during a press briefing in Avully near Geneva, on June 7, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger delivers remarks during a press briefing in Avully near Geneva, on June 7, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

International Committee of the Red Cross president Mirjana Spoljaric met earlier today with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar, her office says in a statement.

“The ICRC has persistently called for the immediate release of hostages. The ICRC is insisting that our teams be allowed to visit the hostages to check on their welfare and deliver medications, and for the hostages to be able to communicate with their families. Agreements must be reached that allow the ICRC to safely carry out this work. The ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location,” the statement says.

“The ICRC does not take part in negotiations leading to the release of hostages. As a neutral humanitarian intermediary, we remain ready to facilitate any future release that the parties to the conflict agree to, as ICRC staff have already done on two occasions,” it adds.

US opposes PM plan to maintain control over Gaza, but accepts need for transition period

IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterates the Biden administration’s objection to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that the IDF will maintain security responsibility over the Gaza Strip after the war.

However, he appears to reiterate Washington’s acquiescence to there being some IDF presence in Gaza for a brief period after the war.

“We understand that the Israeli military is not going to… just disappear the next day [after the war]. There is going to have to be some sort of transition period, so there isn’t a vacuum of security in Gaza. We will work with partners in the region to figure out what that transition period [will look like],” Miller says during a briefing.

The US has been working to rally international agencies and Arab allies to help manage Gaza’s security during a transitional period before a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority can return to ruling the Strip, but has faced pushback from regional governments thus far.

Israel will need to explain how it plans to protect Gazans who fled south before expanding ground op there — US

Smoke rises above an underground complex as the IDF blows up a tunnel network in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in footage released on November 19, 2023. (Kan TV Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Smoke rises above an underground complex as the IDF blows up a tunnel network in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in footage released on November 19, 2023. (Kan TV Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller is asked for Washington’s position regarding the potential for the IDF expanding its ground incursion into southern Gaza.

Miller says that before doing so, Israel will have to answer questions regarding how it will protect the civilians it told to flee south from northern Gaza.

“We do have concerns that concentrating all civilians in one area does leave them vulnerable to harm, and we are trying to work through [this] with the government of Israel,” Miller says.

US: If Israel starts holding violent settlers accountable, we’ll take into account as we contemplate further actions

An Israeli settler attacks and shoots an unarmed Palestinian man at point blank range during an incident in the Palestinian village of A-Tuwani village in the South Hebron Hills, October 13, 2023. (Screenshot courtesy of B'tselem, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
An Israeli settler attacks and shoots an unarmed Palestinian man at point blank range during an incident in the Palestinian village of A-Tuwani village in the South Hebron Hills, October 13, 2023. (Screenshot courtesy of B'tselem, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller is asked about President Joe Biden’s recent threat to revoke the visas of violent settlers in the West Bank.

Miller says the Biden administration is considering additional steps to address the ongoing phenomenon, which has seen a major increase since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.

Miller says during a press briefing that if the Israeli government starts taking steps to hold violent settlers who have been targeting Palestinians accountable, “that’s certainly something we would welcome… and taking into account [as we consider] what kind of [further] actions we might take.”

Several IDF deaths in Gaza were the result of friendly fire

IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 18, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a handout photo distributed on November 18, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces has seen a number of incidents of so-called “friendly fire” during fighting in the Gaza Strip, some of them with deadly results, The Times of Israel has learned.

There are currently thousands of infantry forces, tanks, and other troops in Gaza during Israel’s ground offensive, operating in Gaza City’s dense neighborhoods.

The military has said it is constantly assessing the ongoing fighting, including the cases of friendly fire, and quickly implementing lessons learned.

Sixty-six soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the ground incursion on October 27.

Rights group urges IDF to end curfew in Hebron, as it applies only to Palestinians

Border Police chief Amir Cohen (center) visiting the West Bank city of Hebron, March 31, 2023. (Border Police)
Border Police chief Amir Cohen (center) visiting the West Bank city of Hebron, March 31, 2023. (Border Police)

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has sent a legal correspondence to the IDF’s Central Command urging the army to remove the curfew it has imposed exclusively on Palestinians — and not on settlers — in the West Bank city of Hebron since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.

Palestinian residents in the H2 area of Hebron, encompassing hundreds of families, are only allowed to leave their homes on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, for a total of six hours per week.

“Individuals from the Jewish settlements [in H2] take advantage of the forced absence of Palestinians from public spaces to seize control, damage property, break into and harm homes and shops,” ACRI says in a statement.

“Palestinian activities in the city are completely suspended. There is no trade or education, residents cannot go to work, receive medical treatment or visit family members. Even obtaining food, medicine, or water has become an almost impossible task,” the statement adds.

US envoy in Tel Aviv to brief Israeli officials on his talks in Lebanon aimed at preventing 2nd front

Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden, speaks to journalists at Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport after his meeting with Lebanese officials, in Beirut, Lebanon, August 31, 2023. (AP/Bilal Hussein)
Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden, speaks to journalists at Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport after his meeting with Lebanese officials, in Beirut, Lebanon, August 31, 2023. (AP/Bilal Hussein)

US energy envoy Amos Hochstein is in Tel Aviv to brief Israeli officials about his talks in Lebanon over the weekend, which were aimed at preventing the opening of second front in the Israel-Hamas war, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says.

Hochstein has been working to pressure the Lebanese government to rein in Hezbollah as much as possible, so that the terror group ceases its attacks on Israel, which, in contrast, escalated further today.

“We don’t want to see this war escalate. We don’t want to see it widen. We certainly don’t believe it’s in anybody’s interest,” Kirby says.

‘Genocide’ accusations by anti-Israel activists ‘pretty inappropriate’ — White House

A protestor holds a sign reading 'Genocide in progress in Gaza, and the French government is banning demonstrations in support to Palestinian people. We won't forget' in Paris, on November 4, 2023. (Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)
A protestor holds a sign reading 'Genocide in progress in Gaza, and the French government is banning demonstrations in support to Palestinian people. We won't forget' in Paris, on November 4, 2023. (Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby tears into anti-Israel activists who have been accusing the Jewish state of carrying out a genocide in Gaza.

He clarifies that the demonstrators have a first amendment right to free speech, “but this word ‘genocide’ getting thrown around in a pretty inappropriate way by lots of different folks.”

“Israel is not trying to wipe the Palestinian people off the map. Israel is not trying to wipe Gaza off the map. Israel is trying to defend itself against a genocidal terrorist threat. So if we’re going to start using that word, Fine. Let’s use it appropriately,” Kirby says.

“Yes, there are too many civilian casualties in Gaza. Yes, we continue to urge the Israelis to be as careful and cautious as possible,” he adds.

White House: We’re closer now to hostage deal than we’ve been before

Protesters hold photos of people held hostage by Palestinian terror group Hamas in Gaza, during a demonstration outside Downing Street on November 19, 2023. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Protesters hold photos of people held hostage by Palestinian terror group Hamas in Gaza, during a demonstration outside Downing Street on November 19, 2023. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says, “We’re closer now than we’ve been before,” to a deal securing the release of hostages in Gaza.

Kirby declines to elaborate any further regarding the details.

US President Joe Biden affirmed earlier today that he believes a deal is closer than had been possible previously as well.

‘Revitalized’ PA in Gaza should be one that ‘has support of all Palestinians’ — White House

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Amman, Jordan, October 17, 2023. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Amman, Jordan, October 17, 2023. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby is asked during a press briefing to explain what US President Joe Biden meant when he said Washington supports a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority returning to govern Gaza.

“What it looks like is going to depend on the Palestinian people. but what he’s referring to there is a Palestinian Authority that has the credibility, has the legitimacy, has the authority, has the support of all Palestinians, so that they can effectively help with post conflict governance particularly in Gaza,” Kirby responds.

IDF says it found Hamas rocket-making lab, weapons and tunnel entrance inside Gaza City mosque

Weapons found inside a mosque in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood by IDF troops, in a handout image published November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Weapons found inside a mosque in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood by IDF troops, in a handout image published November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF troops of the 188th Armored Brigade located a Hamas rocket-making lab, weapons, and a tunnel entrance inside a mosque in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood, the military says.

“I want you to understand: A mosque, in the Zeitoun area, was being used as a lab for making weapons,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says in an evening press conference.

“Troops enter the mosque, carry out scans, and make sure there are no traps. They head inside this mosque and find a tunnel shaft… and a staircase,” he says.

In the basement, Hagari says the troops found “a workshop for making rockets.”

A tunnel shaft inside a mosque in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood, located by IDF troops, in a handout image published November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

“Terrorists manufacturing rockets in a mosque. Using Islam and the symbols of Islam to create terror,” he charges.

Zeitoun is a Hamas stronghold in the south of Gaza City.

Parts of munitions found inside a mosque in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood by IDF troops, in a handout image published November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Hagari says the IDF will continue to expose Hamas’s use of civilian sites for terror.

Netanyahu’s office helped coordinate Knesset panel discussion that infuriated hostages’ families — report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on November 11, 2023. (Marc Israel Sellem/ Pool/ Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on November 11, 2023. (Marc Israel Sellem/ Pool/ Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office helped coordinate today’s Knesset panel discussion, led by the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, to discuss dead-on-arrival legislation to impose the death penalty on terrorists, Channel 12 reports.

The families of hostages in Gaza had reached out to government ministers begging them not to go forward with the legislation, arguing that it puts the lives of their loved ones at risk.

But Otzma Yehudit went ahead with today’s hearing, regardless, sparring aggressively with the hostages’ families during the session.

Knesset Ethics Committee sanctions far-right Likud MK for claiming Arab lawmakers backed Hamas

File: Likud MK Nissim Vaturi, May 2, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
File: Likud MK Nissim Vaturi, May 2, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Knesset’s Ethics Committee has announced sanctions against far-right Likud MK Nissim Vaturi, who falsely accused Arab Israeli MKs Aida Touma-Sliman and Iman Khatib-Yasin of supporting Hamas.

Vaturi will be banned from speaking in the next 10 Knesset sessions.

Also last week, Vaturi was temporarily banned from Facebook for calling for Gaza to be burned down.

Israel reportedly understands that ‘window of opportunity has reopened’ for hostage deal

Family and supporters of the estimated 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza complete the final leg of a five-day solidarity rally calling for their return, from Tel Aviv to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 18, 2023. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)
Family and supporters of the estimated 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza complete the final leg of a five-day solidarity rally calling for their return, from Tel Aviv to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 18, 2023. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

After President Biden said “yes” earlier today, when asked whether a hostage deal is close, Channel 12 reports that Israel “understands that the window of opportunity has reopened and these are critical days ahead.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has repeatedly cautioned Israelis against believing various media reports regarding the hostage negotiations, adding that it would formally notify the public in the event that a deal is actually reached.

But the Channel 12 report says Israel wants to progress in principle, on a deal for the release of 50-plus children and women.

It quotes a senior Israeli diplomatic source saying: “There will be difficult days ahead. Hamas will do everything to harm the Israeli public. The deal is not something that can be finalized from today to tomorrow; freeing the hostages will take several days.”

It notes that Hamas is demanding the release of 100 male and female prisoners; a five-day pause in the fighting; and that Israel not use its observation drones during those five days to keep tabs on what Hamas is up to.

Hostages’ families fume, as not all of them allowed into meeting with Netanyahu

A relative of a Gaza hostage speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)
A relative of a Gaza hostage speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)

The families of the hostages in Gaza are fuming after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office is refusing to allow all of them to attend a meeting with the premier and the war cabinet at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The families provided a list of 107 representatives to the premier’s office ahead of time, but upon their arrival at the Kirya, many were told that there is not enough space in the auditorium that was reserved for the meeting for all of them to attend.

IDF details heavy battles between its 36th Division and Hamas, in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood

Troops of the 36th Division operate in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood, in a handout image released on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of the 36th Division operate in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood, in a handout image released on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces details the operations of the 36th Division in the Gaza Strip over the past few days, during which troops battled hundreds of Hamas operatives, and located weapons and terror infrastructure in civilian sites.

According to the IDF, the infantry forces, tanks, and combat engineers of the 36th Division are working to defeat Hamas’s Zeitoun battalion, operating in the neighborhood of the same name in Gaza City.

The operations in Zeitoun come after the 36th Division completed the capture of Gaza City’s Shati camp and Sabra neighborhood.

The military believes troops have killed hundreds of terror operatives in Zeitoun so far. There is heavy fighting, as Hamas is operating in cells of between five and 10 gunmen in the area, according to military assessments.

The IDF believes the fighting in Zeitoun will last at least another 72 hours, and when it ends, the IDF will continue to work to demolish all of the terror group’s infrastructure in the neighborhood.

In a statement, the IDF says the troops, led by the Golani Infantry Brigade, have engaged in several gun battles with Hamas in Zeitoun, including operatives holed up in residential homes, hospitals, schools, and other civilian sites.

The commander of the 36th Division, Brig. Gen. Dado Bar Kalifa says his troops “constantly encountered the enemy hiding behind children and women, and behind sensitive civilian infrastructure.”

“The troops have encountered many dozens of terrorists since the beginning of the fighting in the neighborhood, conducting close-quarters fighting with them, and have so far eliminated many of them,” the IDF says.

It says troops of the 188th Armored Brigade captured a number of Hamas sites in Zeitoun, including the offices of the head of Hamas’s Gaza City brigade.

“The forces searched the area, located many weapons, and at the end of the searches, they destroyed the office of the brigade commander,” the IDF says.

Forces of the Bislamach Brigade (the IDF’s School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders) located and destroyed an Islamic Jihad compound in Zeitoun, where a number of heavy and long-range rockets were found.

The 36th Division troops also directed several airstrikes in Zeitoun against Hamas operatives, as well as located a rocket-making lab, weapons, explosive devices, a drone, and a tunnel inside a mosque in the neighborhood.

Israel recalls South Africa envoy for consultations after ‘genocide’ charge from Johannesburg

Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Eli Belotserkovsky on October 7, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Eli Belotserkovsky on October 7, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Israel recalls Ambassador to South Africa Eli Belotserkovsky for consultations, due to “recent comments” from South Africa, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs says.

Earlier this month, South Africa recalled its ambassador and diplomatic mission to Israel, and described the war against Hamas in Gaza as “genocide.”

Last week, a spokesperson for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said the party “cannot sit back and watch the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime,” while President Cyril Ramaphosa said his country had filed a referral against Israel to the International Criminal Court, over its military campaign in Gaza.

Police arrest 14-year-old Taibe boy for allegedly sharing photo inciting terror

Illustrative: Firemen and police officers at the scene where a car exploded in Rishon Lezion on July 3, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Illustrative: Firemen and police officers at the scene where a car exploded in Rishon Lezion on July 3, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Police arrested a 14-year-old boy from Taibe yesterday, on charges of inciting and supporting terrorism over a post he allegedly made on Facebook, the Haaretz daily reports.

The boy was released today, on the condition that he not use social media for one month, Haaretz says.

The post shared featured Hamas terrorists in handcuffs in the upper half and IDF soldiers in captivity in the Gaza Strip in the lower half, with the caption “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, what comes next will be more difficult and cruel.”

Police claim that the suspect was the one who added the caption while the boy’s attorney denies this and insists that his client merely shared an existing photo.

The lawyer adds that his client learns at a school for children with special needs and does not read well, Haaretz reports.

IDF: Mass central Israel sirens were due to just 2 projectiles fired from Gaza

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in central Israel, October 28, 2023. (AP Photo/ Oded Balilty)
Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in central Israel, October 28, 2023. (AP Photo/ Oded Balilty)

The Israel Defense Forces says rocket sirens that sounded across central Israel earlier were due to just two projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip.

Both rockets fired by Hamas were intercepted, one by the short-range Iron Dome air defense system, and the second by the medium-range David’s Sling, the IDF says.

The IDF says the widespread alerts across central Israel were due to fears of shrapnel falling, contrary to the belief that a large barrage was fired from Gaza.

IDF says it struck Hezbollah command center in response to missile fire at Israel

IDF footage of its forces striking Hezbollah command center on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
IDF footage of its forces striking Hezbollah command center on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The Israel Defense Forces says it struck a Hezbollah command center and other sites belonging to the terror group in southern Lebanon, in response to rocket and missile fire on northern Israel today.

It adds that forces also struck a cell preparing to carry out an attack near Metula.

Sirens sounded in northern Israel earlier, after a rocket fired from Lebanon landed in an open area near Misgav Am, and an interceptor missile was fired at a suspicious target, the IDF says.

There was no drone infiltration into Israeli airspace, it adds.

Shrapnel from Gaza rocket barrage falls in Holon; no injuries

Illustrative: Scene of a rocket impact in Tel Aviv on November 14, 2023. (Courtesy)
Illustrative: Scene of a rocket impact in Tel Aviv on November 14, 2023. (Courtesy)

Shrapnel from the rocket barrage, which triggered sirens across central Israel, has landed in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon, authorities say, adding that there are no reports of anyone injured.

Hamas-run health ministry says war death toll hit 13,300

This picture taken from southern Israel shows smoke rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip on November 19, 2023. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)
This picture taken from southern Israel shows smoke rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip on November 19, 2023. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says the death toll in the enclave from the Israel-Hamas war has reached 13,300.

That figure cannot be independently verified and is believed to include both Palestinian terrorists and civilians, as well as those Palestinian civilians killed by Palestinian rockets and terrorists.

Asked during Thanksgiving turkey pardoning if hostage deal close, Biden says, ‘Yes’

US President Joe Biden pardons the national Thanksgiving turkeys, Liberty and Bell, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, November 20, 2023. (AP/ Andrew Harnik)
US President Joe Biden pardons the national Thanksgiving turkeys, Liberty and Bell, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, November 20, 2023. (AP/ Andrew Harnik)

US President Joe Biden is asked during the annual turkey pardoning ceremony on the White House lawn, in the run up to Thursday’s US Thanksgiving holiday, whether a hostage deal is close to being reached.

“I believe so…yes,” he responds, adding that he does not want to speak publicly about it any further.

Biden then raises his hand up to show that his fingers are crossed in hope that a deal will take place soon.

Houthis release video showing their Sunday hijacking of Israeli-linked shipping vessel in Red Sea

Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen publish a video showing how the group hijacked an Israeli-linked shipping vessel in the Red Sea on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen publish a video showing how the group hijacked an Israeli-linked shipping vessel in the Red Sea on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen release a video showing how the group hijacked an Israeli-linked shipping vessel in the Red Sea yesterday.

The footage shows a helicopter landing on the vehicle carrier named the Galaxy Leader, with several gunmen getting off and taking control of the ship.

Houthi gunmen can be seen holding the international crew at gunpoint in the video.

One of the Houthi operatives is also seen shouting the group’s slogan while walking through the ship: “God is the Greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel, Cursed be the Jews, Victory to Islam.”

The Bahaman-flagged vessel is registered under a British company, which is partially owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar, who goes by Rami. The vessel was leased out to a Japanese company at the time of the hijacking.

The ship had been sailing from Turkey to India with an international civilian crew, without any Israelis aboard.

State prosecutor lashes police over arrests of those protesting gov’t, calling for ceasefire

State Prosecutor Amit Aisman at the Israel Bar Association's annual conference in Tel Aviv, September 4, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
State Prosecutor Amit Aisman at the Israel Bar Association's annual conference in Tel Aviv, September 4, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

State Prosecutor Amit Aisman lashes police over a recent spate of arrests of anti-government protesters and protesters calling for a ceasefire, in a letter obtained by the Haaretz daily.

Aisman highlights the arrest of a woman who spray-painted “1,400” near the house of a Likud MK, asserting that there was no justification for the arrest.

The top state attorney also criticizes the arrests of Arab Israeli community leaders who were planning to demonstrate in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza.

Aisman says these arrests were not justified either and that charging him with intent to commit treason had been way out of line.

Police nabbed 2 Hamas Oct. 7 terrorists hiding in Rahat two weeks ago — report

A Palestinian stands on a burning tank in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip after some 3,000 Hamas terrorists destroyed the border fence and entered Israel. October 7, 2023. (Yousef Mohammed/Flash90)
A Palestinian stands on a burning tank in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip after some 3,000 Hamas terrorists destroyed the border fence and entered Israel. October 7, 2023. (Yousef Mohammed/Flash90)

Hebrew media reports that police two weeks ago arrested a pair of Hamas terrorists who had been hiding in the southern Bedouin town of Rahat after infiltrating into Israel during the October 7 onslaught.

The pair were transferred to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.

Knesset advances bill allowing IDF, Shin Bet to access civilian security cameras

An illustrative photo of a security camera. (Image by Oliver Peters from Pixabay)
An illustrative photo of a security camera. (Image by Oliver Peters from Pixabay)

The Knesset advances a bill to permit the IDF and the Shin Bet to covertly break into security camera back-end technology in order to prevent or thwart access by nefarious actors.

Cleared through its first reading, the temporary emergency measure permits the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet to access the cameras only if the visual material endangers national security or IDF operations connected to the ongoing war.

The bill would be in force for a six-month initial period with an option to extend.

Hamas claims responsibility for first barrage of rockets fired at Tel Aviv since Friday

People leave their vehicles to take cover during a Palestinian rocket attack from the Gaza Strip along a main road in Tel Aviv on October 24, 2023. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)
People leave their vehicles to take cover during a Palestinian rocket attack from the Gaza Strip along a main road in Tel Aviv on October 24, 2023. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding across central Israel, including Tel Aviv, following a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.

Hamas claims responsibility for the fire.

It marks the first rocket attack on central Israel since Friday.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Schools in Tel Aviv to fully reopen tomorrow

View of an empty classroom at a school in Tel Aviv, during a general strike of some municipalities and local authorities, on May 15, 2023. (Flash90)
View of an empty classroom at a school in Tel Aviv, during a general strike of some municipalities and local authorities, on May 15, 2023. (Flash90)

K-12 schools in Tel Aviv are set to return to full functionality tomorrow, the municipality says.

The decision comes after the city and the broader Dan central region were reclassified Sunday as “green” areas by Home Front Command.

Under the color-coded system in place since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, “green” areas are allowed to have in-person educational activities without restrictions.

Previously, the city was classified as “yellow,” meaning that in-person learning could occur only within certain security parameters, including a bomb shelter big enough to hold the students and staff present in school.

In practice, this meant that many schools in the city have been operating on a staggered system with students able to attend school only two or three times a week.

In repeat of Mavi Marmara protest, 1,000 boats are reportedly set to leave Turkey for Gaza, Ashdod on Thursday

Illustrative: The 'Freedom,' a boat headed to the Gaza Strip in a flotilla defying Israel's blockade, July 2018 (screen capture: Press TV/Twitter)
Illustrative: The 'Freedom,' a boat headed to the Gaza Strip in a flotilla defying Israel's blockade, July 2018 (screen capture: Press TV/Twitter)

One thousand boats will reportedly gather in Turkey on Wednesday and head toward Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade and disrupt maritime trade coming into Israel.

According to the Turkish news website Haber7, the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 countries, “including anti-Zionist Jews.” Three hundred and thirteen of the boats will be filled with Russian activists, and 104 will be filled with Spanish activists. Only 12 Turkish vessels will join the flotilla.

Volkan Okçu, one of the organizers of the protest, says that the flotilla is scheduled to leave Turkish coasts on Thursday and vowed it will “strictly follow international rules” and will not carry any weapons, so as not to give Israel any “excuse” to intervene. It is set to make a first stop in Cyprus before continuing toward the Israeli port of Ashdod. Some participants in the flotilla will also reportedly take their spouses and children with them.

The protest action is reminiscent of the one attempted by the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” in May 2010, which tried to breach the maritime blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip but was intercepted by the Israeli Navy.

After the convoy refused Israeli Navy orders to reroute to Ashdod, Israeli commandos boarded one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, which was carrying over 600 passengers. After being met with violent resistance the commandos opened fire, killing ten Turkish activists. Ten Israeli soldiers were also wounded during the attack.

Ultra-Orthodox extremists filmed harassing IDF reservist in Bnei Brak

Ultra-Orthodox residents of Bnei Brak harass an IDF reserve soldier from the town on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Ultra-Orthodox residents of Bnei Brak harass an IDF reserve soldier from the town on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

An ultra-Orthodox reservist soldier is mobbed and receives hateful chants by a group of Haredi extremists in the central city of Bnei Brak.

The group of youths surround the reservist’s car and tip over trash bins to block it, while yelling at him and at locals who come to defend the soldier, footage of the incident shows.

The Israel Hayom daily reports that the soldier is a resident of Netanya who serves as a medic identifying the bodies of those fallen in battle.

The Bnei Brak municipality condemns the incident, adding that police arrived on the scene and arrested those suspected of involvement, who were not apparently residents of the city.

“Bnei Brak cherishes and strengthens the soldiers who give their lives for the nation. This inappropriate behavior does not and will not have a foothold in our city!”

Watch: Soldier seriously wounded in Gaza plays Umm Kulthum song with Arab doctor who treated him

Mordechay Shenvald plays violin at the Barzilai Medical Center on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Mordechay Shenvald plays violin at the Barzilai Medical Center on November 20, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

An IDF soldier who was seriously wounded while fighting in Gaza is filmed playing a rendition of Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum’s Inta Omri with the Arab doctor at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center who has been treating him for the past week.

Smotrich calls for allowing opponents of ‘appeasing’ Hamas, PA to sit on war cabinet

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich attends the funeral of an Israeli reserve soldier killed in northern Israel at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, November 6, 2023. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich attends the funeral of an Israeli reserve soldier killed in northern Israel at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, November 6, 2023. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich reiterates his call to expand the narrow war cabinet to include representatives from each coalition party, saying that politicians who rallied against appeasing Hamas and the Palestinian Authority should be part of the wartime decision-making process.

Smotrich accuses the current three-member war cabinet, featuring centrist and right-wing politicians, of holding onto an appeasement-focused security conception “that, to a large extent, brought us to the situation we find ourselves in today,” in remarks at the outset of his Religious Zionism faction’s Knesset meeting.

The far-right party head argues that the war cabinet must hear “opinions that up to this point have not been heard,” including those of politicians “who have cried out for years against this conception, who demanded the elimination of Hamas, including the conquering of the Gaza Strip, in order to remove its threat to the State of Israel.”

Before joining politics, Smotrich was arrested for violent activism against the government’s 2005 unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, which including uprooting all Jewish settlement in the enclave.

When asked by reporters if he would support renewed Jewish settlement in Gaza, Smotrich says that “it’s not the time to deal with this,” and that “we’ll argue about it [later].”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and emergency government party Minister Benny Gantz have been silent on Smotrich’s request, but if the far-right minister were to be added to the top-level cabinet, Smotrich says his party opposes fuel transfers into Gaza.

“The decision to let fuel flow into the Gaza Strip is a big mistake,” he says.

In Smotrich’s view, squeezing Gaza’s state and civilian infrastructure will lead to a speedier resolution of the war.

“I think that the way to win the war is to subdue the Hamas state in Gaza, and in order to do that we have to collapse the state system in Gaza, and not allow anything that can help Hamas continue to fight and harm our soldiers and civilians,” Smotrich says

New footage shows Hamas terrorists gunning down Israelis trying to flee Re’im rave on Oct. 7

A Hamas terrorist chases after Israelis outside of Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy of South First Responders)
A Hamas terrorist chases after Israelis outside of Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy of South First Responders)

New footage from October 7 shows Hamas terrorists executing two Israeli women near Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel.

Partygoers from a rave being held near Re’im, several kilometers away, had arrived in the area of Alumim after fleeing Hamas’s attack.

The clip, published by the South First Responders group on Telegram, shows the terrorists surprising the Israelis by arriving from within Alumim.

The partygoers try to flee, but the terrorists catch up to some of them.

One woman is seen executed by a Hamas terrorist, while a second woman crouches on the ground in fear. The terrorist shoots over the woman at other people fleeing, before executing her as well.

Warning: Shocking content.

African Union chief says Israeli response to Hamas massacre ‘inexcusable,’ will fuel extremism

The President of the Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union Azali Assoumani speaks during a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on November 20, 2023, during the G20 Compact with Africa conference. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)
The President of the Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union Azali Assoumani speaks during a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on November 20, 2023, during the G20 Compact with Africa conference. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

The African Union says Israel’s response to Hamas’s massacre last month was “inexcusable,” warning that civilian casualties would fuel further “extremism.”

“The acts (of Hamas) are reprehensible… but the response is inexcusable,” AU chairman Azali Assoumani tells a press conference in Berlin.

“Imagine a child who has seen his mother, who has seen his father killed… it creates extremism,” he says.

Medical supplies for Jordan’s second field hospital in Gaza enter the Strip

An aid convoy transporting a Jordanian field hospital enters the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, on November 20, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
An aid convoy transporting a Jordanian field hospital enters the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, on November 20, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

A field hospital accompanied by 170 personnel sent by Jordan has entered the Gaza Strip, the second one since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.

Mohammed Zaqout, director-general of Gaza hospitals, says the new field hospital will be established in Khan Younis, in the south, “to receive the wounded and the sick.”

The field hospital has a 41-bed capacity, the Jordanian royal palace says, and Aed Yaghi, head of medical aid in Gaza, says it was accompanied by 170 personnel and 40 trucks of medical aid.

It will help ease the pressure on existing health services, he tells AFP, adding: “The number of medical personnel is limited and there aren’t (enough) ambulances.”

Palestinian medics hope field hospitals sent by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will soon follow.

An Israeli official told The Times of Israel last week that Turkey is also in talks to establish a field hospital.

The official added that Israel is pushing for the establishment of alternative hospitals to existing ones in Gaza, which Hamas has been using for terror operations.

Hospitals in the area were experiencing “catastrophic” conditions, Zaqout says, “with the influx of hundreds of wounded each day.”

They could no longer accept sick patients or women who needed to give birth by Caesarean section, he adds.

There are around 30,000 wounded people across Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

IDF: We questioned 300 terror operatives; others from Gaza willingly providing intel on Hamas

Footage released by the IDF on November 20, 2023, of an interrogation of a Gazan terror suspect by the Shin Bet security service. (Screen capture/IDF)
Footage released by the IDF on November 20, 2023, of an interrogation of a Gazan terror suspect by the Shin Bet security service. (Screen capture/IDF)

The IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 504 — which specializes in HUMINT (human intelligence) — has questioned a total of some 500 Palestinians and has made millions of calls to civilians to evacuate northern Gaza since the beginning of the fighting in the Strip.

Dozens of Arabic-speaking Unit 504 soldiers are on the ground in the Gaza Strip, alongside the combat units, carrying out field interrogations and providing intelligence to forces. Unit 504 has doubled its personnel amid the fighting, and established a new sub-unit specifically for southern Israel.

The IDF in a statement says it has established a detention facility in southern Israel to bring detainees from the Gaza Strip for questioning.

So far, some 300 terror operatives — from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other groups — and suspects have been brought to the facility for interrogation, the IDF says.

It says that the terror operatives and suspects provided the interrogators with the locations of Hamas tunnel networks and weapons depots, as well as detailing the terror group’s methods of operation, including their use of human shields.

“Each and every investigation leads to the incrimination of new sites, and the human intelligence that emerges… is an inseparable layer of the complete intelligence picture,” says a senior Unit 504 officer.

The IDF publishes three videos showing detainees detailing to Unit 504 interrogators Hamas’s use of hospitals for terror purposes. The men describe how they hid at Shifa and Rantisi hospitals, the Red Crescent building, and other medical centers, while Hamas used the sites to fight against the IDF.

Unit 504 also has sources in the Gaza Strip that have been providing information that is translated into intelligence for the ground forces.

“We received thousands of phone calls from [Palestinians willing to provide information] at a magnitude never before seen in the unit. It is evident that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not satisfied with the barbaric behavior of Hamas, the ordinary citizen understands that Hamas is bringing a disaster on the residents of Gaza that will be difficult for them to recover from,” the senior officer adds.

As part of the IDF’s efforts to evacuate Palestinians from northern Gaza amid the ground offensive, Unit 504 has made more than 30,000 calls, sent more than 10 million text messages, and more than nine million recorded messages to Gazan civilians. The IDF has also dropped some four million leaflets warning Palestinians of the dangers of staying in northern Gaza.

The IDF says the evacuation from northern Gaza allows it to carry out heavier strikes and operate more widely in the area against Hamas infrastructure. Airstrikes still continue in southern Gaza at the same time, with only the small al-Mawasi area along the coast declared by the IDF as a “safe zone.”

Shas head pans Lapid call to replace Netanyahu, urges him to join gov’t

Shas leader Aryeh Deri, in an interview with the Haredi news site Kikar Hashabbat, September 13, 2023 (Screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Shas leader Aryeh Deri, in an interview with the Haredi news site Kikar Hashabbat, September 13, 2023 (Screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Shas party leader Aryeh Deri pans Opposition Leader Yair Lapid who called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be replaced by a different Likud lawmaker so that a broader unity government could be formed in order to guide the country through the war.

“Anyone who engages in politics or makes political considerations causes a great injustice to the people of Israel and harms our soldiers,” Deri says in remarks to the press before a faction meeting.

“Enough, leave politics to the side. We are not changing prime ministers. I call on Lapid and [Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor] Liberman to enter the government,” he adds.

Knesset panel approves funds for rebuilding Gaza border towns, shelters for Bedouin towns

Illustrative: Scenes of houses destroyed when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Kibbutz Be'eri, and 30 other nearby communities in Southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people, seen on October 25, 2023. (Edi Israel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Scenes of houses destroyed when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Kibbutz Be'eri, and 30 other nearby communities in Southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people, seen on October 25, 2023. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

The Knesset’s Finance Committee approves NIS 1.15 billion ($308 million) to create the recently announced Tekuma Authority, tasked with rebuilding Gaza border communities devastated by Hamas’s October 7 terror attack.

The funds are redirected from the 2023 budget, although their sources were not immediately disclosed, and will go toward “emergency assistance to communities near the Gaza Strip, assistance to the cities of Ofakim and Ashkelon, and authorities absorbing evacuated populations,” according to a readout from the Finance Committee.

In addition, the Finance Committee approves NIS 50 million for creating shelters in Bedouin towns in the southern Negev region and for placing 250 satellite internet portals to enable remote learning and connectivity in shelters, among other emergency expenses.

Lapid: Coalition extremists’ behavior is ‘terrible insult’ to families of hostages, entire State of Israel

Opposition Leader and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition Leader and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid says that coalition extremists created a “shameful” dynamic in today’s Knesset discussion over legislating a death penalty for terrorism, where lawmakers engaged in a screaming match with hostages’ families.

Lapid says that the argument was “shameful, a disgrace, and a terrible insult not only to the families of hostages but also to the entire State of Israel.”

He adds: “This is what happens when you take the craziest and most extreme people in the country and let them be in power.”

“When will you understand that a disaster occurred here” on October 7, “and it’s impossible to continue like this,” Lapid says, addressing the cabinet’s nearly 40 ministers, marrying his criticism to a broader set of domestic concerns over the need to funnel resources to the war effort.

Lapid says the economy, education, and basic needs for the more than 100,000 Israelis evacuated from their homes near the Gaza or Lebanese borders are not being adequately addressed, more than six weeks after Hamas’s shock attack and the ongoing war it triggered.

“It’s a government that’s not functioning and a prime minister that isn’t functioning, after he lost public trust,” Lapid says, adding that “we need a functioning prime minister during wartime.”

He says that “if the considerations were not political, we would have [new 2024] budget, we would have a much smaller and more efficient government, we would have functioning ministers in functioning ministries.”

Lapid delivers his remarks from his Yesh Atid party’s Knesset conference room, which last week the party covered with posters of the nearly 240 hostages confirmed to be in Gaza.

“The State of Israel is above all obligated to return the hostages,” he says, saying as part of that, the Hamas terror group will be toppled.

Communal dining hall at Kibbutz Be’eri opens for 1st time since Oct. 7 massacre

The communal dining hall at Kibbutz Be'eri opens for the first time since the October 7 massacre, November 20, 2023 (Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
The communal dining hall at Kibbutz Be'eri opens for the first time since the October 7 massacre, November 20, 2023 (Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

Forty-five days after the October 7 massacre, the communal dining hall at Kibbutz Be’eri reopens for the first time.

Kibbutz Be’eri was one of the hardest-hit communities when some 3,000 terrorists breached the Gaza border and rampaged through communities, massacring some 1,200 people and kidnapping around 240, while committing unimaginable acts of brutality and cruelty.

Over one hundred people were slaughtered at the kibbutz, with dozens more kidnapped and taken to Gaza as hostages.

Kibbutz member Miri tells the Kan public broadcaster that it was very special to see the images of the dining room being used again at Be’eri.

“It’s very moving to see these images. The dining room is colorful and shiny, full of people, and the neon lights are on,” she says.

While the community was largely evacuated after the assault, a number of people remain there for basic agricultural needs, as well as a civil defense unit.

Spanish politician who defended October 7 massacre tapped to become youth minister

Sira Rego addresses the European Parliament during a plenary session to elect its new president in Strasbourg on January 18, 2022. (PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)
Sira Rego addresses the European Parliament during a plenary session to elect its new president in Strasbourg on January 18, 2022. (PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez appoints to the position of a cabinet minister a far-left lawmaker who on October 7 justified Hamas’s murder of some 1,200 Israelis and called Israel’s attack on Hamas a “genocide.”

Fighting Online Antisemitism, a nonprofit based in Israel, calls on Sánchez to drop Sira Rego as minister of children and youth “due to her support for terrorism.”

Rego publishes dozens of posts every day on X, where she condemns Israel’s actions and highlights Palestinian suffering.

On October 7, she posted: “#Palestine has the right to resist after decades of occupation, apartheid and exile. Faced with those who today defend returning to collective punishment by bombing the Gaza Strip, it is urgent to defend international law. The only solution is the end of the occupation.”

The post is timestamped 2:23 p.m. CET, when detailed accounts had already emerged from the wholesale slaughter and torture that Hamas terrorists had begun perpetrating about eight hours earlier in Israeli towns and villages close to Gaza. It predates any major retaliatory action by Israel against Hamas.

Later statements by Rego describe Israel’s attacks on Hamas, whose regime in Gaza Israel has vowed to topple, as a “genocide.” Hamas-controlled authorities, whose statistics on Palestinian casualties do not distinguish between civilians and terrorists and cannot be independently verified, say some 13,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip.

Spain’s new cabinet is shaping up to include 22 ministers. It is the result of over four months of coalition negotiations, which resulted in an alliance between Sánchez’s Socialist Party, the Sumar far-left party and two separatist Catalan factions, whose inclusion in the government is causing deep division among Spanish citizens.

IDF says 3 suicide drones, 25 rockets launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon in past hour

The Israel Defense says some 25 rockets and three suicide drones were launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon at multiple locations along the border in the last hour.

Several of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, while others landed in open areas.

The three explosive-laden drones hit an IDF post on the border.

The IDF says there are no injuries in the attacks, and it is responding with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire.

The IDF also says that earlier it struck a Hezbollah cell planning to carry out an anti-tank missile attack from the Lebanese village Marwahin, and fighter jets, combat helicopters, and tanks struck other Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to the repeated attacks on northern Israel.

Drone footage said to show IDF blowing up Hamas tunnel network in northern Gaza

An initial blast as the IDF blows up a tunnel network in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in footage released on November 19, 2023 (Kan TV Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
An initial blast as the IDF blows up a tunnel network in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in footage released on November 19, 2023 (Kan TV Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

A video posted online is said to show the IDF demolishing a Hamas tunnel network in northern Gaza’s Beit Hanoun.

The drone footage, published by the Kan public broadcaster, shows first a single blast before a series of synchronized explosions, apparently at all the tunnel entrances found by the troops.

Explosions spread along the underground complex as the IDF blows up a tunnel network in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in footage released on November 19, 2023. (Kan TV Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

A cloud of dust rises over the area.

Smoke rises above an underground complex as the IDF blows up a tunnel network in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in footage released on November 19, 2023. (Kan TV Screenshot, used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

It is unclear when the video was taken, as it was not issued officially by the IDF.

The IDF has said it has demolished hundreds of tunnel entrances in northern Gaza amid the ground offensive.

Liberman says party backs death penalty for terrorists, but stormy Knesset session ill-timed

Yisrael Beytenu party chairman MK Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on October 9, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
Yisrael Beytenu party chairman MK Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on October 9, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman says his party continues back the death penalty for terrorism, but says today’s contentious Knesset discussion was ill-timed.

“About the timing, it’s clear that today there was no reason for this discussion,” Liberman says, noting that no part of the bill was up for vote.

Several hostages’s family members begged lawmakers to shelve the bill until their loved ones are brought home from Gaza.

Yisrael Beytenu has put forward a version of a terrorist death penalty bill since 2015, he says.

Liberman, a hawk, reaffirms his stance that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is operating under the “wrong conception,” in an “attempt to buy security with quiet, attempt to not set off anyone.”

“The same wrong conception continues to be the controlling conception… in the state and diplomatic corners,” Liberman says, adding that National Unity ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot are “integral parts” of the approach.

“What additional red line needs to be crossed,” he asks, before the government changes its approach to enemies and the ongoing war.

He also says, “The director of Shifa Hospital is not a doctor, he’s Doctor Mengele.”

“There’s no way he didn’t know what happened there,” Liberman continues, saying that the hospital hosted executions, tunnels, and terror infrastructure — accusations also made by the Israel Defense Forces.

Image apparently shows IDF troops after capturing Hamas’s Gaza Strip courthouse

Undated photo apparently shows troops of the IDF's Nahal Brigade outside Hamas's courthouse in Gaza City (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Undated photo apparently shows troops of the IDF's Nahal Brigade outside Hamas's courthouse in Gaza City (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An image circulating on social media shows troops of the IDF’s Nahal Brigade outside Hamas’s courthouse in the Gaza Strip, after capturing the site.

The soldiers are seen holding Israeli flags.

It is unclear when the photo was taken.

Ben Gvir publishes photo embracing Gaza hostage’s relative, who responds: ‘I told you not to hug me’

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir publishes a photo of himself hugging the relative of a hostage held in Gaza during a stormy Knesset session on legislation proposing the death penalty for terrorists.

In a furious altercation, MKs from Otzma Yehudit yelled at family members of hostages after the latter spoke out against the party’s legislation, in fear that such a law could have severe repercussions for their captive relatives.

Shortly afterwards, Ben Gvir publishes the photo of himself hugging Gil Dickmann, reasserting that the party would push through the legislation while supporting the families of the hostages.

Dickmann, a cousin of Carmel Gat who was taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, broke down in tears during the session as he begged Ben Gvir not to advance the death penalty law.

He writes on X that he asked the minister not to hug him:

Take your hands off me

My look here says it all.
I told you:
Don’t hug me
You hugged anyway.
I told you:
Don’t put our loved ones at risk.
Still, you took a risk.
All for the picture.

Itamar Ben Gvir – You have no limits.
Everyone sees that you are making a circus on the blood of our families.
It’s not too late.
Stop.

Rocket sirens in Ashdod, Ashkelon and southern towns

Sirens sound in a number of southern cities and towns, warning of incoming rocket fire.

It is the first time in 24 hours that long-range rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip. That previous barrage also targeted Ashkelon.

Haifa residents told to boil all water for drinking, cooking, food, medication and toothbrushing

The Health Ministry warns residents of Haifa about irregular results of microbial tests of the city’s water supply.

Until further notice, all water for drinking, cooking, food, medication and toothbrushing must be boiled.

There is no need to boil water for showering, bathing, and sanitation.

The local water authority has been instructed to fix the problem and conduct further testing of the water supply.

Rocket sirens in northern town Shlomi

Rocket sirens sound in the northern border town Shlomi.

It comes shortly after a projectile hit the Israel Defense Forces base at Biranit, causing widespread damage but no injuries.

Netanyahu, Smotrich agree to extend tenure of Bank of Israel head Amir Yaron

Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron arrives at a cabinet meeting on the state budget at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, February 23, 2023. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)
Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron arrives at a cabinet meeting on the state budget at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, February 23, 2023. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich agree to extend the tenure of Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron for another five-year term.

The decision will be brought for government approval.

Yaron, who is due to end his term on December 23, was expected to make a decision about whether he will continue with another five-year term after the Jewish High Holidays, which ended the day the war broke out with a shock attack by the Hamas terror group.

29 premature babies evacuated from Shifa Hospital arrive in Egypt, Egyptian media says

A nurse cares for prematurely born Palestinian babies that were brought from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to the hospital in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Nov. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
A nurse cares for prematurely born Palestinian babies that were brought from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to the hospital in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Nov. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Twenty-nine premature babies arrived in Egypt, Egyptian media says, after they were evacuated from Gaza’s largest hospital which has become a focal point of Israel’s war with Hamas.

The infants were evacuated yesterday from the Al-Shifa hospital as Israel works to uncover what it says are Hamas bases in tunnels underneath the facility. The World Health Organization has described the hospital as a “death zone.”

An initial 31 babies were reported evacuated from Al-Shifa to another Gaza clinic and it was not immediately clear why only 29 arrived in Egypt.

Technion says students, faculty experiencing antisemitism, anti-Israel sentiment can join the institute

A campus view of the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, on February 19, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A campus view of the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, on February 19, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

One of Israel’s premier universities, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, issues a general invitation to students, researchers and teachers around the world to continue their work in Israel.

“Following the surge of antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric around the world, the Technion invites undergraduate and graduate students and academic faculty residing abroad to come to our campuses in Haifa to carry out their research, teaching and learning,” the university says in a statement.

The invitation extends to faculty, post-doctorate researchers, and current and potential students of all levels at universities abroad, subject to an application and approval process. Due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the start of the academic year at The Technion, like most of the other research universities in the country, has been pushed back to at least December 24.

Because of the current climate on campuses worldwide, “many Jewish and Israeli students and researchers currently face physical and verbal threats that cause them to think twice about everything they do and prevent them from participating in academic activities in those institutions… we have announced a program for the rapid integration of students and faculty members from around the world looking for an academic refuge during these difficult times,” Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan says.

Rocket sirens in northern towns Kiryat Shmona, Manara and Margaliot

Rocket sirens sound in three communities in northern Israel, warning of incoming rocket fire from Lebanon.

Sirens sound in Kiryat Shmona, Manara and Margaliot.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

There are reports of explosions, apparently from missile defense interceptions.

IDF base damaged by Hezbollah rocket fire from Lebanon

Footage posted to social media shows extensive damage at the IDF’s Biranit base in northern Israel following a Hezbollah rocket attack from Lebanon.

The IDF had confirmed rockets were fired at the base, which sparked a fire.

There were no injuries in the attack.

Lapid: Far-right MK who yelled at Gaza hostages’ relatives ‘should be ashamed of himself’

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid responds to the scenes in the Knesset when members of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party shouted at the relatives of hostages held in Gaza.

The family members at the parliament begged National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir not to advance legislation for the death penalty for terrorists, in fear that such a law could have severe repercussions for their captive relatives.

“The families of the abductees cry out their pain and the pain of an entire country. There is no limit to the shamelessness of the coalition members who preach morality to families,” Lapid writes on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“What Almog Cohen did today will be remembered forever. He should be ashamed of himself,” Lapid writes.

Cohen yelled at the relatives that they have no “mandate” over pain.

After falsely accusing IDF of killing Israeli civilians, PA says ‘priority now is not to engage in spats’

File: Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 5, 2017. (Flash90)
File: Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 5, 2017. (Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority responds to a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night, in which he slammed the PA for falsely accusing Israel of carrying out the October 7 massacre at an outdoor rave party in southern Israel.

In a declaration by PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Ramallah says that “the priority now […] is not to engage in spats and trivial issues that do not deserve a response,” adding that “Netanyahu’s statements since the beginning of the aggression prove that this government seeks to perpetuate its occupation of all the Palestinian territories.”

“President Abbas’s efforts are currently focused on stopping the barbaric Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and their holy places in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem,” Abu Rudeineh adds.

The PA’s Foreign Ministry additionally accuses Israel of fabricating media material to justify its offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Yesterday, the PA Foreign Ministry falsely claimed in a statement that the Israel Defense Forces was responsible for the death of all the partygoers near Kibbutz Re’im during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught. The claim originated in a detail from a Haaretz story published on Saturday that was widely picked up in the Arab press and shared on social media, distorted and taken out of context.

In a video released on Sunday in Hebrew and English, Netanyahu responded harshly to the accusation, calling the statement “utterly preposterous” and a “complete reversal of truth.”

Netanyahu also said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, “who in the past has denied the existence of the Holocaust, today is denying the existence of the Hamas massacre and that’s unacceptable.”

Following the Israeli backlash, the PA Foreign Ministry deleted its statement from its social media accounts on Sunday night, but Hebrew media said it was sent as a document to diplomats and to the United Nations.

The PA foreign minister did not respond to a request for comment.

Chaos in Knesset committee as far-right MKs yell at relatives of Hamas hostages

Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen yells at Israelis whose family members are held hostage in Gaza, at the Knesset on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen yells at Israelis whose family members are held hostage in Gaza, at the Knesset on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a furious altercation, MKs of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party yell at family members of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza after the latter speak out against Otzma Yehudit’s proposed death penalty for terrorists, in fear that such a law could have severe repercussions for their captive relatives.

“Stop talking about killing Arabs and start speaking about saving Jews,” shouts the relative of one of the hostages whose wife and daughter are being held captive, during a hearing of the Knesset National Security Committee, which is preparing the legislation.

“You have no monopoly over pain,” yells back Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen. “We have also buried more than 50 friends.”

“My friend is a hostage in Gaza, and by the way he’s never heard of you. Don’t talk about us wanting to kill Arabs. We didn’t go to kill them on that Shabbat [October 7]; they came to kill us,” he says.

Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har Melech yells at the hostages’ relatives: “You are silencing other families.” The hearing descends into chaos with all sides screaming at each other over the controversial legislation.

Earlier, committee chairman MK Tzvika Fogel of Otzma Yehudit said every Hamas terrorist “is an Eichmann,” in reference to the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann who was convicted in Israel of crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish people, and hanged.

Fogel accuses anyone arguing against the legislation of “representing Hamas more than they represent the State of Israel.”

Asked by a family member of a hostage if he thinks the families are being used, Fogel says “I am hinting that Hamas is trying to exploit you, yes. And I’m not hinting. I’m saying it openly.”

Said Fogel: “We do not need to feed these beasts, we don’t need to continue to raise this monster… This [legislation] does not contradict the goal of bringing back the hostages. And anyone who tries to present it as a contradiction is someone who is trying to represent Hamas more than the State of Israel.”

Rocket sirens in Kissufim near Gaza border

Rocket sirens sound in the Gaza border town of Kissufim.

Terrorists have been firing toward Israeli communities on the southern border throughout the day.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF announces death of Staff Sgt. Eytan Dishon from Jerusalem in Gaza fighting

Staff Sgt. Eytan Dishon (Courtesy)
Staff Sgt. Eytan Dishon (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces announces the death of a soldier killed during fighting in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll in the ground offensive against Hamas to 66.

He is named as Staff Sgt. Eytan Dishon, 21, of the Givati Brigade’s reconnaissance unit, from Jerusalem.

On World Children’s Day, Israel posts images of children and babies held in Gaza: ‘Look at each and every one of their faces’

The children and babies kidnapped on October 7 and held hostage by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. (Israel's official Twitter account)
The children and babies kidnapped on October 7 and held hostage by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. (Israel's official Twitter account)

As the global community marks World Children’s Day, Israel’s official X account posts the images of the babies and children held in Gaza by terrorists.

“Look at each and every one of their faces. These are the babies, toddlers and children being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza,” the statement reads.

“They should be with their families. Not in a dark room somewhere in Gaza. BRING THEM HOME!” the statement reads.

Some 40 children and babies are among the more than 240 hostages taken hostage to Gaza during Hamas’s shock October 7 invasion of southern Israeli communities, when 3,000 terrorists broke through the border and murdered some 1,200 people, a majority of them civilians, amid brutal atrocities.

In response, Israel vowed to eliminate the terror group in a military campaign that the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed 13,000 people in Gaza, including thousands of children. Those figures cannot be independently verified.

In addition to those kidnapped to Gaza, a hostage gave birth to a baby while held in the Strip.

IDF releases footage of strikes on Hamas observation posts

New footage released by the Israel Defense Forces shows strikes being carried out on Hamas observation positions in the Gaza Strip following identifications by the Border Defense Corps’s 414th unit.

The video also shows the unit spotting a Hamas tunnel.

A number of the unit’s female surveillance soldiers, referred to in Hebrew as tatzpitaniyot, were killed and taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7 onslaught on southern Israel.

Combat soldiers of the unit — both male and female troops — have also been operating on the ground in Gaza, helping identify Hamas positions, rocket and missile launch sites, and directing aircraft to strike.

Senior commanders refused to heed the warnings of the young female surveillance soldiers tasked with watching the Gaza border in the weeks before the Hamas massacre on October 7, and the soldiers believe sexism was a factor in their being ignored, according to a Friday report by Haaretz.

Knesset panel discusses change to regulations to allow expansion of Druze town Daliat el-Carmel

In a nod to answering Druze community frustrations about state constraints on building that hinder the community’s ability to grow, the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environmental Committee is discussing a change to national park regulation that will enable residential expansion in the Druze town of Daliat el-Carmel.

The matter has been held up for six years, Army Radio reports.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior coalition figures promised to change policies in order to answer longstanding Druze community demands, including a pledge to enshrine the community’s “important status” in law, but stopped short of saying they would amend or repeal 2018’s controversial Basic Law: Nation-State of the Jewish People.

The Druze have long said their communities are unable to grow, faced with tight building permit policies and government fast-tracked demolition procedures.

“We’re happy that specifically in these days,” referring to Israel’s ongoing war, in which the six Druze soldiers have fallen, “we can do this,” says Internal Affairs Committee chair MK Yaakov Asher.

“Places to live are basic things for people,” Asher adds, saying that the move will increase “quality of life.”

Ra’am lawmaker Waleed Alhwashla also implored the committee to loosen building restrictions on Bedouin communities in the south, many of which have formed unrecognized villages not formally hooked up to state services.

“I think we need to change our attitude toward Bedouin communities in the Negev,” Alhwashla tells the committee.

Relatives of Gaza hostages beg Ben Gvir not to advance death penalty law for terrorists

Gil Dikman (R) at a National Security committee meeting in the Knesset on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Gil Dikman (R) at a National Security committee meeting in the Knesset on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Breaking down in tears, Gil Dickmann, a cousin of Carmel Gat who was taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, begs National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir not to advance legislation that would allow for the death penalty for terrorists.

Speaking in the Knesset National Security Committee which is preparing the legislation advanced by Ben Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party, Dickmann says the life of Gat and the hostages “is in the balance” with “a sword at their necks,” and pleads with Ben Gvir and committee chairman MK Tzvika Fogel not to advance the sensitive legislation at this time.

“I asked you, minister, already last week and I begged you to stop. I begged you not to make any capital of any kind out of us or our suffering,” says Dickmann in tears.

“If you see us, please remove this from the agenda; if you have a heart, please do not say we are representing the people who murdered our loved ones,” he says.

Earlier, asked by a family member of a hostage if he thought the families were being used as a tool, Fogel had said, “I am hinting that Hamas is trying to exploit you, yes. And I’m not hinting it, I’m saying it openly.”

“I am here in the name of Carmel… Please, choose life and ensure they come home alive and whole,” Dickmann says.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum issues a statement in a similar vein: “The discussion at this time endangers the lives of our loved ones, without promoting any public purpose.”

Iran rejects ‘invalid’ Israeli claim ship seized by Houthis with Tehran’s guidance

The Bahaman-flagged 'Galaxy Leader' ship purportedly hijacked by the Yemen-based Houthis on November 19, 2023. (William J Leach Jr/VesselFinder used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
The Bahaman-flagged 'Galaxy Leader' ship purportedly hijacked by the Yemen-based Houthis on November 19, 2023. (William J Leach Jr/VesselFinder used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

Iran dismisses as “invalid” Israel’s accusations that Yemen’s Houthi rebels were acting on Tehran’s “guidance” when they seized a Red Sea ship owned by an Israeli businessman.

The Iran-backed rebels in Yemen seized the Galaxy Leader yesterday, days after they threatened to target Israeli vessels in the waterway over Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Maritime security company Ambrey said the vessel’s “group owner is listed as Ray Car Carriers,” whose parent company belongs to Abraham “Rami” Ungar, an Israeli businessman.

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the ship “was hijacked with Iran guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia.”

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani says the Israeli accusations were “invalid” and “projection meant to escape from the situation they are facing.”

“We have repeatedly announced that the resistance groups in the region represent their countries and make decisions and act based on the interests of their countries,” he says.

“The Zionist regime (Israel) cannot accept that it suffered a major defeat in Palestine and wants to find a justification for the defeat it suffered by accusing the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Kanani adds.

IDF says it’s carrying out preemptive artillery shelling in south Lebanon amid repeated Hezbollah attacks

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out preemptive artillery shelling in southern Lebanon this morning, amid repeated attacks by the Hezbollah terror group.

A short while later, a number of rockets and mortars were fired from Lebanon at the northern communities of Arab al-Aramshe and Bar’am, as well as the Biranit base.

No injuries are caused in the attacks, but a fire was sparked near the army base, the IDF says.

The IDF says it is striking the sources of the rocket fire.

Microsoft hires former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

Founder and CEO of US artificial intelligence company OpenAI Sam Altman speaks at the Tel Aviv University in the eponymous Israeli city, on June 5, 2023. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Founder and CEO of US artificial intelligence company OpenAI Sam Altman speaks at the Tel Aviv University in the eponymous Israeli city, on June 5, 2023. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announces the hiring of OpenAI’s Sam Altman and other members of his team, days after the co-founder of the venture behind ChatGPT was fired.

“The mission continues,” Altman, who rose to fame with the launch of the artificial intelligence chatbot last year, posts on X, formerly Twitter.

Nadella writes on X that Altman “will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” along with OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman and their colleagues.

OpenAI’s board sacked Altman on Friday, prompting other high-profile departures from the company as well as a reported push by major investors to bring him back.

Rocket sirens in communities close to northern, southern borders

Rocket sirens sound near-simultaneously in towns close to the borders with Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

An alert is heard in Kissufim in the south, and Baram in the north.

It is the first time today that sirens have sounded in the north.

Hamas health ministry says 12 killed in hit on Gaza hospital; footage shows IDF troops in firefight

This handout satellite picture released by Maxar Technologies on November 12, 2023, shows the damage around the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies / AFP)
This handout satellite picture released by Maxar Technologies on November 12, 2023, shows the damage around the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies / AFP)

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says 12 people were killed in an Israeli strike on a hospital in northern Gaza.

Twelve people, included wounded patients and their companions, “were killed and dozens wounded as a result of the Israeli occupation targeting the Indonesian Hospital,” says health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

There was no immediate comment from the IDF, but footage broadcast on Al Jazeera showed Israeli tanks outside the hospital, apparently engaged in a firefight with Hamas operatives in the area.

Earlier this month, Israel said the IDF has intelligence of a tunnel network under the Indonesian Hospital, as well as aerial imagery showing rocket launchers a few dozen meters from the complex.

Israel has repeatedly said that Hamas uses hospitals in the Gaza Strip as bases for its terror activities, charges backed by the United States.

Global community marks World Children’s Day as some 40 children, babies held hostage in Gaza

Today is World Children’s Day.

Some 40 children and babies are among the more than 240 hostages taken hostage to Gaza during Hamas’s shock October 7 invasion of southern Israeli communities, when 3,000 terrorists broke through the border and murdered some 1,200 people, a majority of them civilians, amid brutal atrocities.

In response, Israel vowed to eliminate the terror group in a military campaign that the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed 13,000 people in Gaza, including thousands of children. Those figures cannot be independently verified.

Minister Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet and the leader of the National Unity party, posts a collage of the faces of the children and babies kidnapped from Israel and held in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to those kidnapped, a hostage gave birth to a baby while in Gaza.

Sirens sound in Erez, Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara near Gaza border

Sirens sound in Erez, Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara near the border with the Gaza Strip, signaling incoming fire.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF: 3 Hamas company commanders killed in overnight strikes

In overnight airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, fighter jets struck and killed three Hamas company commanders, the Israel Defense Forces says.

The IDF says the strikes were carried out following intelligence information on their whereabouts provided by the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence Directorate.

Separately, the IDF says troops of the Nahal Brigade identified a group of Hamas operatives heading into a building near them in the Gaza Strip, and called in an airstrike.

The building was also being used as a weapons depot, and was destroyed in the strike, the IDF says.

Sirens sound in Gaza border communities

Rocket sirens sound in the Gaza border towns of Sderot, Ibim and Nir Am.

The communities were largely evacuated of civilians in the days after the massacres of October 7.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Japan ‘directly approaching’ Yemen’s Houthis and in contact with Israel over seized ship

The Bahaman-flagged 'Galaxy Leader' ship purportedly hijacked by the Yemen-based Houthis on November 19, 2023. (William J Leach Jr/VesselFinder used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
The Bahaman-flagged 'Galaxy Leader' ship purportedly hijacked by the Yemen-based Houthis on November 19, 2023. (William J Leach Jr/VesselFinder used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

Japan says it is “directly approaching” Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels after they seized a ship partially owned by an Israeli businessman and operated by a Japanese firm with around 25 crew on board.

Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa says Tokyo is “communicating with Israel, and in addition to directly approaching the Houthis, we are also urging Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and other countries concerned to strongly urge the Houthis for the early release of the vessel and crew members.”

“Our government will continue to take necessary measures in cooperation with the countries concerned, while taking into account the situation,” she adds.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree had said that the rebels had seized “an Israeli ship” on Sunday.

The Bahaman-flagged vessel is registered under a British company, which is partially owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar, who goes by Rami. The vessel was leased out to a Japanese company at the time of the hijacking.

Toddler found alone on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street

A child aged around two and a half was found alone on a Tel Aviv street, Hebrew-language media reports.

The child was found on the central Dizengoff Street at around 6 a.m.

The toddler was checked by medics amid fears he could be suffering frostbite or hypothermia amid the heavy rains.

The child is verbal and showed interest in the ambulance, but was unable to tell officials where he lives. He is in good condition.

China foreign minister: World must take action on Gaza ‘humanitarian disaster’

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the EU-China High-Level Strategic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on October 13, 2023. (Pedro PARDO / AFP)
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the EU-China High-Level Strategic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on October 13, 2023. (Pedro PARDO / AFP)

The international community must take urgent action to stop the “humanitarian disaster” unfolding in Gaza, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi tells visiting diplomats from Arab and Muslim-majority nations.

A delegation of foreign ministers of the Palestinian Authority, Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are in Beijing this week for talks aimed at a “de-escalation” of the war.

“Let us work together to quickly cool down the situation in Gaza and restore peace in the Middle East as soon as possible,” Wang tells foreign ministers in opening remarks in Beijing.

“A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Gaza,” Wang tells the delegates, including the secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

“The situation in Gaza affects all countries around the world, questioning the human sense of right and wrong and humanity’s bottom line,” he says.

“The international community must act urgently, taking effective measures to prevent this tragedy from spreading,” Beijing’s top diplomat adds.

China to work to ‘restore peace in Middle East,’ FM Wang tells diplomats

China is willing to work to help “restore peace in the Middle East,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi tells a visiting delegation of diplomats from Arab and Muslim-majority nations.

“Let us work together to quickly cool down the situation in Gaza and restore peace in the Middle East as soon as possible,” Wang says in opening remarks in Beijing.

IDF releases names of 2 soldiers killed in Gaza; total toll of operation at 65

The IDF says two more soldiers were killed in operational activity in northern Gaza yesterday:

Staff Sgt. Dvir Barazani, 20, from Jerusalem, of the Paratroopers Brigade’s 890th Battalion.

Sgt. Yinon Tamir, 20, from Pardes Hanna-Karkur, of the Paratroopers Brigade’s 890th Battalion.

Their deaths brings the death toll in the ground operation to 65.

Japan ‘strongly condemns’ ship seizure by Yemen rebels

The Japanese government says it “strongly condemns” the seizure of a Japanese-operated ship in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

“Yesterday we received information that car carrier Galaxy Leader, operated by Nippon Yusen, was seized by Houthis when it was navigating down southward in the Red Sea off Yemen… The government strongly condemns such an act,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno says.

Houthi rebels said they had seized an Israeli ship but Israel said it was British-owned and that no Israeli nationals were on board.

The Japanese transport ministry said around 25 people were on board including Bulgarians and Filipinos, but no Japanese.

Rocket alerts sound in towns near Gaza

Sirens sound once more in Israeli communities near Gaza.

There is no immediate word on impacts.

Palestinians earlier reported Israeli strikes in northern Gaza, including the area of the Indonesian Hospital.

Head of Knesset defense panel reprimands PM over home front management

Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein arrives for a meeting of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee at the Knesset in Jerusalem on March 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein arrives for a meeting of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee at the Knesset in Jerusalem on March 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

MK Yuli Edelstein, head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not designating a single body to oversee the home front amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Noting that he’d asked last week that Netanyahu name the National Security Council as the body to oversee the home front’s “security, finance, education, welfare, etcetera,” Edelstein said earlier that no progress had been made on the matter.

“Given this situation, I find it difficult to see how I can continue to approve the ‘special situation’ in the home front without receiving clear answers, and without understanding who is responsible for managing the entire economic-civil aspect of the war.”

Iran’s former IRGC chief: New war fronts could open against Israel

Iran's Mohsen Rezaee (Courtesy)
Iran's Mohsen Rezaee (Courtesy)

The former head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has warned that “new war fronts” could open if Israel continues its offensive in Gaza.

Mohsen Rezaee, now the head of the Supreme Council for Economic Coordination, told the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen: “The axis of resistance will play a bigger role in the future and the Zionist regime will definitely lose in this war.”

He said he believed the war will cause the downfall of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “in the coming years we will witness the downfall of the Zionist regime.”

Rezaee argued that the deeper Israel goes into Gaza, the deeper it will sink into a quagmire.

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