ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 150

search
Live updates (closed)

Oct. 12: Israel prepares for likely Gaza ground invasion

Message hints ground incursion might be imminent; UN says such swift movement would have devastating consequences; Israelis, Jews worldwide on edge ahead of Hamas ‘day of rage’

  • A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on October 12, 2023. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
    A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on October 12, 2023. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
  • Thousands gather to rally for Israel in New York City on October 10, 2023. (Luke Tress via JTA)
    Thousands gather to rally for Israel in New York City on October 10, 2023. (Luke Tress via JTA)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes the hand of then-newly appointed minister Benny Gantz at a special plenum session presenting the new emergency government in the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes the hand of then-newly appointed minister Benny Gantz at a special plenum session presenting the new emergency government in the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
  • The trail left in the sky by a Patriot missile, as seen in the northern Israeli city of Safed, October 12, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)
    The trail left in the sky by a Patriot missile, as seen in the northern Israeli city of Safed, October 12, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • Security forces assist a journalist taking cover during an alert for a rocket attack in Sderot on October 12, 2023 (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
    Security forces assist a journalist taking cover during an alert for a rocket attack in Sderot on October 12, 2023 (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
  • Flowers on fresh graves of Israeli soldiers killed in fighting with Gaza terror groups, at Mt Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. October 12, 2023 (Chaim Goldberg/FLASH90)
    Flowers on fresh graves of Israeli soldiers killed in fighting with Gaza terror groups, at Mt Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. October 12, 2023 (Chaim Goldberg/FLASH90)
  • The scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists hit in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, October 12, 2023 (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
    The scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists hit in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, October 12, 2023 (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
  • Distribution of weapons to standby forces, near the northern Israeli border with Lebanon, October 12, 2023 (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
    Distribution of weapons to standby forces, near the northern Israeli border with Lebanon, October 12, 2023 (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
  • Mourners react beside the body of Mapal Adam, during her funeral in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 11, 2023. Adam was killed by Hamas terrorists in an unprecedented, multi-front attack that killed over 1,000 Israelis. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
    Mourners react beside the body of Mapal Adam, during her funeral in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 11, 2023. Adam was killed by Hamas terrorists in an unprecedented, multi-front attack that killed over 1,000 Israelis. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
  • Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 11, 2023 (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)
    Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 11, 2023 (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Thursday’s events as they unfold.

Blinken lands in Jordan for meetings with King Abdullah, Mahmoud Abbas

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards a plane, Wednesday Oct. 11, 2023, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards a plane, Wednesday Oct. 11, 2023, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Jordan where he will be meeting later Friday with King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

After a day in Israel and a day in Jordan, he will proceed to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as the US intensifies its diplomatic engagement following last Saturday’s onslaught by Hamas.

Internet connectivity in Gaza below 20%, analyst says

This picture taken on October 11, 2023 shows an aerial view of buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza City. (Yahya HASSOUNA / AFP)
This picture taken on October 11, 2023 shows an aerial view of buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza City. (Yahya HASSOUNA / AFP)

Internet connectivity in Gaza City has been below 20% since Tuesday, according to analyst Doug Madory of the network monitoring firm Kentik Inc., whose data shows outages began Saturday morning.

Madory says an internet provider in Gaza told him that Israeli air strikes in response to the Hamas onslaught had cut fiber optic cables. The provider declined to speak with an Associated Press reporter but Madory relays his message: “Pray for us to stay alive and stop this war.”

Egypt’s Sissi calls for urgent delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi attends the closing session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit, in Paris, June 23, 2023. (Lewis Joly/AP)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi attends the closing session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit, in Paris, June 23, 2023. (Lewis Joly/AP)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi calls for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza strip through the crossing with Egypt.

With Israel sealing off the Palestinian enclave following the Hamas onslaught, the only way in or out is through the crossing with Egypt at Rafah. While Rafah is not officially closed, airstrikes have prevented it from operating. Egypt has been trying to persuade Israel and the United States to allow the delivery of aid and fuel through Rafah.

Egypt is ready to “harness all its capabilities and efforts to mediate in coordination with all international and regional actors without restrictions or conditions,” el-Sissi says during a military college graduation ceremony in Cairo.

45 Palestinians killed in IDF airstrike on residential building in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp

Smoke plumes billow during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on October 12, 2023.  (IBRAHIM HAMS / AFP)
Smoke plumes billow during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on October 12, 2023. (IBRAHIM HAMS / AFP)

The Israeli military bombarded a residential building in the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza on Thursday, killing at least 45 people and injuring dozens more, Gaza’s Hamas-run interior ministry says.

A late-afternoon airstrike hit the al-Shihab family house at the center of the Jabaliya camp, interior ministry spokesperson Eyad Bozum tells The Associated Press. The al-Shihab house was packed with dozens of relatives at the time of the airstrike, Bozum says. Some family members had fled heavy bombing from other parts of the Gaza Strip and taken refuge there.

Bozum says the death toll was likely to rise from that airstrike as civil defense workers were still pulling bodies from the rubble and counting the dead.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the strike. The IDF says it is targeting Hamas and that the terror group embeds itself and its weapons within civilian populations.

If Israel doesn’t stop bombing Gaza, war may open on ‘other fronts,’ Iran foreign minister warns

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian listens to a question in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Tehran, Iran, July 31, 2023. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian listens to a question in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Tehran, Iran, July 31, 2023. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian says that if Israel’s bombardment of Gaza continues, the war may open on “other fronts,” an apparent reference to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

Amirabdollahian has arrived in Beirut where he was greeted by representatives of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad along with Lebanese officials.

“In light of the continued aggression, war crimes, and siege on Gaza, opening other fronts is a real possibility,” Amirabdollahian says, speaking to journalists on his arrival.

Early Thursday, Amirabdollahian had visited Iraq, where he made similar statements after a meeting with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Questions have swirled around the extent of Iran’s role in the unprecedented surprise attack launched by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel on Saturday.

Hamas officials have denied that Iran was directly involved in planning the attack or green-lighted it, and to date no government worldwide has offered direct evidence that Iran orchestrated the attack. However, many have pointed to Iran’s long sponsorship of Hamas that has included training, funding and providing it with weapons.

Nepalis return home from Israel after Hamas assault

A Nepalese woman welcomes her family member evacuated from Israel at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
A Nepalese woman welcomes her family member evacuated from Israel at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

More than 200 Nepali nationals evacuated from Israel have returned home, as their government worked to bring back the bodies of 10 Nepali students killed in the unprecedented assault by Hamas last weekend.

Nepal’s foreign minister, Narayan Prasad Saud, accompanied 254 citizens on a plane chartered by the government. The returnees were welcomed home by family and friends at Kathmandu airport.

In addition to those killed, four Nepalis were wounded and one is still missing, Saud says. One of the wounded was flown back in the evacuation flight and three others were getting treated at hospitals in Israel, Saud says.

He says 54 Nepali nationals still in Israel have been moved to safer areas and will be evacuated eventually.

Many Nepalis in Israel are students studying agriculture techniques.

WATCH: Noa Kirel sings ‘Hatikva’ at NYC exhibition game between the Brooklyn Nets and Maccabi Ra’anana

Noa Kirel sings the Israeli national anthem at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York on October 12, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Noa Kirel sings the Israeli national anthem at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York on October 12, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Pop singer Noa Kirel sings the Israeli national anthem at the Barclay’s Center in New York City where the Brooklyn Nets are playing an exhibition game against Maccabi Ra’anana.

UN calls for $294 million for ‘urgent needs’ in Gaza, West Bank

People search for survivors after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 11, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
People search for survivors after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 11, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The United Nations issues an emergency appeal for $294 million to address “the most urgent needs” in Gaza and the West Bank.

The funds would be used to help more than 1.2 million people, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says, stressing that aid groups do not have “the resources required to adequately respond to the full range of needs of vulnerable Palestinians.”

More than 423,000 people displaced in Gaza amid IDF counterstrikes — UN

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 11, 2023 (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 11, 2023 (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

More than 423,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations says, following heavy Israeli bombardments in retaliation for Hamas’s massive terror onslaught over the weekend.

As of late Thursday, the number of displaced in Gaza rose by 84,444 people to reach 423,378, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA says in a statement.

“Heavy Israeli bombardments, from the air, sea and land, have continued almost uninterrupted,” OCHA says in its update. “Multiple residential buildings in densely populated areas have been targeted and destroyed during the past 24 hours.”

It says more than 270,000 people — two-thirds of the displaced — have sought shelter in schools run by the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Another nearly 27,000 people had fled to schools run by the Palestinian Authority, while more than 153,000 people found shelter with relatives and neighbours and in other public facilities.

OCHA says that around 3,000 people had already been displaced within the enclave prior to Saturday’s attack.

The bombing campaign has destroyed 752 residential and non-residential buildings, comprising 2,835 housing units, OCHA says, citing numbers from the Gaza Ministry of Public Works and Housing.

Another nearly 1,800 housing units have been damaged beyond repair and rendered uninhabitable, it says.

The UN agency also voiced alarm at the significant destruction of civilian infrastructure damaged in the shelling.

At least 90 educational facilities, including 20 UNRWA schools and 70 schools run by the Palestinian Authority, have also been struck and damaged, with one of the schools completely destroyed.

“Eleven mosques were targeted and destroyed, while seven churches and mosques sustained damage,” OCHA says.

Water and sanitation facilities have been also hit, it says, adding that since the hostilities began, six water wells, three water pumping stations, one water reservoir, and one desalination plant serving more than 1,100,000 people were damaged by air strikes.

100-plus Congress members attend vigil on Capitol steps for those killed in Hamas attacks

Members of Congress attend a vigil commemorating the victims of the Hamas onslaught in Israel, on October 12, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Members of Congress attend a vigil commemorating the victims of the Hamas onslaught in Israel, on October 12, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Over 100 members of the US Congress from both parties are currently attending a vigil to commemorate those killed in the Hamas onslaught over the weekend in southern Israel.

The vigil is organized by Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Josh Gottheimer.

In apparent attempt at damage control, Trump issues statement saying Israel had no better friend than him

Former President Donald Trump gesture to the crowd before his speech at the California Republican Party Convention Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Former President Donald Trump gesture to the crowd before his speech at the California Republican Party Convention Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

In an apparent attempt at damage control over his comments mocking Israel after the Hamas onslaught, former US president Donald Trump issues a statement declaring, “There was no better friend or ally of Israel than [him].”

“Under my leadership, the United States stood in complete solidarity with Israel, and as a result, Israel was safe, America was safe, and for the first time in decades, we made historic strides for Peace in the Middle East. As an example, all of the experts said that the Abraham Accords couldn’t be done, but we got them done and were able to set the Middle East in a new and positive direction,” Trump says.

“With President Trump back in office, Israel, and everyone else, will be SAFE AGAIN!” the statement adds.

Red alert siren triggered in Gaza border town; no immediate reports of impact

Red alert siren have been triggered in the Gaza border town of Netiv Ha’asara.

There are no immediate reports of rocket impact.

IDF demolishes Palestinian pizzeria in West Bank that posted ad mocking elderly hostage in Gaza

The IDF demolishes a pizzeria in Huwara that posted an ad mocking an elderly woman taken hostage by terrorists into Gaza on October 12, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
The IDF demolishes a pizzeria in Huwara that posted an ad mocking an elderly woman taken hostage by terrorists into Gaza on October 12, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

The IDF demolishes a pizzeria in the northern West Bank town of Huwara after it posted an ad online that included a photo of an elderly Israeli woman who was taken hostage by terrorists into Gaza.

Settlers got wind of the ad and began gathering around the shop, calling for it to be demolished. The IDF arrived at the scene and a decision was made to shut down the pizzeria. An IDF bulldozer razed the front of the shop and it will be subsequently sealed by the army.

Central Command head Yehuda Fox signed a military order directing the pizzeria be closed for five months due to its incitement and support for terror activities.

The owner of the pizzeria was also detained, according to Hebrew media reports.

Meanwhile, the pizzeria posted an apology on its Facebook page, claiming someone else had published the ad without their knowledge in order to harm the shop. “We are against harming men and women and just want to earn a living with dignity and live in peace with everyone. We are very sorry to the members of our family and others who were hurt.”

Trump privately calling for Netanyahu to be ‘impeached,’ asking aides if he should do so publicly — report

In this March 25, 2019, photo, then-US president Donald Trump (left) smiles at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after signing a proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
In this March 25, 2019, photo, then-US president Donald Trump (left) smiles at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after signing a proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Former US president Donald Trump has privately been calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be “impeached” over the government’s failure to anticipate the weekend Hamas onslaught, Rolling Stone magazine reports, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

The stance has been advocated in calls Trump has held with several pro-Israel, Republican allies who have asked the former president and current GOP presidential frontrunner how he would handle the current Israel-Hamas war.

Trump has proposed cutting off all US humanitarian aid to the Palestinians (in both the West Bank and Gaza, as he did when he was president) and encouraging other countries to do the same as well as capturing and extraditing Hamas figures, Rolling Stone says.

In most of the conversations, though, Trump has focused on his distaste for Netanyahu, whom he has never forgiven for congratulating US President Joe Biden after he won the 2020 election.

Trump has expressed his desire for Netanyahu to be out of office by the time he hopes to be back in the White House in 2025, according to the report.

Also in these conversations with pro-Israel Republican allies, Trump has likened Netanyahu to the “very weak” majority of American Jews who voted for Biden.

Trump has asked multiple close aides whether he should begin publicly calling for Netanyahu’s ouster but has thus far been told that doing so would not be appropriate while Israel is still counting the dead from the massive Hamas assault.

At a campaign rally yesterday, Trump appeared to make light of the intelligence failure, called the Hezbollah terror group “very smart” and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant a “jerk.”

Residents of Zikim near Gaza given ‘all clear’ after suspected security incident

A Military Police car blocks a road leading to Zikim beach after it was closed to visitors, due to escalating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel, on July 14, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A Military Police car blocks a road leading to Zikim beach after it was closed to visitors, due to escalating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel, on July 14, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Residents of the Gaza border town of Zikim have been told that they can now leave their homes after an initial alert ordered them inside due to a suspected security incident.

Suspected security incident in Zikim, near Gaza; resident told to stay home

There is a suspected security incident in Zikim, a kibbutz just north of the Gaza Strip.

Residents are instructed to hunker down in their homes until security forces examine the situation, on which no additional details are immediately available.

As ‘day of rage’ set to begin, police disperse Hamas-backing convoy in Umm al-Fahm

A convoy of about 15 cars and motorcycles in the Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm in support of the Hamas terror group has been dispersed, police say.

Police add that forces arrested four participants.

Hamas has called on its supporters in Israel and abroad to hold rallies as part of a “day of rage” on Friday.

Top EU officials to visit Israel tomorrow to show solidarity with Hamas assault victims

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola (L) and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) look on after the latter delivered her annual State of the Union address during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on September 13, 2023. (Frederick Florin/AFP)
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola (L) and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) look on after the latter delivered her annual State of the Union address during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on September 13, 2023. (Frederick Florin/AFP)

The presidents of the European Commission and the European Union parliament, Ursula von der Leyen and Roberta Metsola, will visit Israel tomorrow in the wake of Hamas’s bloody assault.

A statement from the commission says the pair will “express solidarity with the victims of the Hamas terrorist attacks, and meet with Israeli leadership.”

IDF hits 5 Gazan residential homes housing Hamas operatives, including Sinwar’s brother

The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck five residential buildings in the Gaza Strip allegedly used by Hamas operatives, including one that the brother of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar was presumed to be in at the time of the attack.

In a statement, the IDF says that one of the residences was used by Hamas commando forces.

The military says Yahya Sinwar’s brother was believed to be in a residence that housed a Hamas operational headquarters.

The IDF says it also hit a Hamas “monitoring situation room that monitored and traced IDF activity.”

The military says two Hamas operatives were in the situation room when it was hit.

Likud’s public diplomacy minister quits, acknowledging her office is ‘waste of public money’

Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distel Atbaryan speaks at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on August 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distel Atbaryan speaks at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on August 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distel Atbaryan resigns from her position, lamenting that her much-mocked ministry has been stripped during the Gaza war of the little powers it was given when it was formed at the beginning of the year.

In a lengthy tweet, Distel Atbaryan says that this week, the government empowered the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to direct Israel’s public diplomacy abroad alongside the Foreign Ministry’s work, rendering her ministry “a waste of public money.”

Many reporters and observers have noted throughout this year that Distel Atbaryan’s ministry had no real powers or justification, with the ministry consisting solely of the minister’s office. She tried and failed several times to appoint a ministry director-general, and its few products — online videos and posts in English attempting to convey the government’s position on matters such as the judicial overhaul — were widely mocked for their quality and delayed messaging.

Suspected infiltration in West Bank settlement of Neve Tzuf

There is a suspected infiltration in the West Bank settlement of Neve Tzuf, also known as Halamish.

No further details are immediately available.

Macron denounces Hamas’s ‘murderous hatred,’ urges ‘strong and fair’ Israeli response

French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address to the nation on the topic of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terror group Hamas, made from the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on October 12, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address to the nation on the topic of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terror group Hamas, made from the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on October 12, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron urges Israel to show a strong but fair response to the attack by Hamas, while condemning the “blind murderous hatred” and “absolute cruelty” of the Palestinian terror group, which butchered many hundreds of civilians in their homes and at a music festival on Saturday.

Macron says in an address to the nation that Israel has the right to defend itself “by eliminating terrorist groups, including Hamas, with targeted actions but preserving the civilian population,” adding that the “only response to terrorism is one that is… strong but fair.”

IDF says soldier killed yesterday in Hezbollah anti-tank cross-border missile attack

The Israel Defense Forces clears for publication that a soldier was killed yesterday in a Hezbollah anti-tank guided missile attack on the Lebanon border.

Staff Sgt. (res.) Matanya Elster, 22, a soldier in the 221st Battalion of the Carmeli Brigade, from Sde Ilan, was named by the IDF earlier today as among the soldiers killed during the ongoing fighting since Hamas’s surprise onslaught on southern Israel.

Another soldier was wounded in the missile attack, claimed by the Lebanese terror group.

Infiltration alert sounds in town of Patish, near Gaza

A suspected infiltration alert is sounding in the southern town of Patish, around 15 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

No further details are immediately available.

Egypt’s Sissi says Gazans must ‘remain on their land’

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says Gazans must “stay steadfast and remain on their land,” amid calls for Cairo to allow safe passage for civilians stuck in Gaza.

Residents of the Gaza Strip “must stay steadfast and remain on their land,” says the president of Egypt, which has the only border crossing with the enclave not controlled by Israel, which is fighting Gaza-based terrorists after a shock assault last week killed 1,300 people in Israel.

US Defense Secretary Austin to visit Israel tomorrow, meet Netanyahu

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reads a statement at NATO headquarters in Brussels, February 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)
United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reads a statement at NATO headquarters in Brussels, February 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Israel tomorrow and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the country reels from a devastating onslaught by Hamas terrorists that left more than 1,300 dead, an American defense official says.

Austin’s trip — which follows a visit to Israel by Secretary of State Antony Blinken — will also include meetings with defense officials and Israel’s new emergency government, the US official says.

Israelis abroad urged to take extra care tomorrow, when Hamas has urged ‘day of rage’

The Foreign Ministry and the National Security Council issue a joint statement urging all Israelis staying abroad to take extra care tomorrow, citing the Hamas terror group’s call on its supporters worldwide to participate in a “day of rage.”

This, the statement says, is expected to include attempted attacks on Israelis and Jews and rallies that might turn violent.

Israelis abroad are recommended to “show alertness, stay away from protests and demonstrations, and if possible get updates from local security forces about possible protests and incidents of unrest around them.”

Hebrew media reports say security will be upped in Israeli embassies worldwide tomorrow.

Health Ministry invites medical professionals to sign up for volunteer work in case of escalation

In response to thousands of people in and outside Israel offering to volunteer in the healthcare system as Israel fights a war against the Hamas terror group, the Health Ministry states that it is currently sufficiently staffed.

However, the ministry is preparing for a possible scenario in which the healthcare system is overburdened due to a potential extreme escalation. As part of this effort, it is creating a database of all those interested in volunteering should the need arise.

Israel would welcome people of the following professions to sign up to volunteer: doctors, dentists, nurses and nursing students, paramedics, dieticians, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, communication therapists, psychologists, pharmacists, and physician assistants. All must hold a valid license to practice either in Israel or abroad.

However, for foreign residents, it is mainly doctors who are requested to sign up. Nurses and paramedics can also do so, but not people of the other listed professions.

Individuals not from these professions can also register to volunteer to help with administration, logistics and transportation.

Those interested should fill out one of the following online forms (according to where they live). The Health Ministry will review the submissions and be in touch with respondents should the need for their assistance arise.

For residents of Israel.

For residents of other countries.

Hundreds in France defy police ban by holding pro-Palestinian rally

Several hundred people defy a police ban and demonstrate in Paris to denounce Israel’s military campaign against the Hamas terror group and show support for Palestinians. Helmeted riot police spray tear gas and water cannons to chase the crowd away.

Protesters, largely young people from various backgrounds supporting the Palestinians, spray “Free Palestine” on the monument underpinning the Republic Plaza in eastern Paris.

Many wear Palestinian flags around their shoulders, and chant “We are all Palestinians.”

Earlier this week, thousands of people marched in Paris in support of Israel after Hamas’s brutal massacre of civilians, and the Eiffel Tower was lit up with a Star of David and the blue and white of the Israeli flag.

IDF says rocket sirens in north were another false alarm

The Israel Defense Forces says rocket sirens that sounded in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona and nearby communities were a false alarm.

Several other alerts in the north today and yesterday have proven to be false alarms due to misidentification of flares sent into the air by the IDF.

The air defense systems in the north are currently set to a high sensitivity, amid concern Lebanon’s Hezbollah could join the fighting.

EU says opening investigation into Musk’s X over disinformation on Israel-Gaza war

The European Commission says it is opening an investigation into Elon Musk’s X social media platform, formerly Twitter, to determine if it has allowed the spread of disinformation around the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The Commission says it has sent a formal request for information to X in what is a first procedure launched under Brussels’ new European Digital Services Act (DSA), two days after it sent a warning letter from Commissioner Thierry Breton.

US State Department confirms Blinken to travel to Qatar, Egypt, UAE in coming days

The US State Department formally announces that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be adding stops in Qatar, Egypt and UAE after visiting Israel and Jordan today and tomorrow.

The US has said it has been in contact with Qatar, which has ties to Hamas, regarding efforts to release the hostages taken by terror groups into Gaza from Israel.

US State Department announces charter flights to airlift US citizens out of Israel

The US State Department announces that starting Friday, it will organize charter flights for American citizens and their immediate family members looking to leave Israel but who have been unable to do so due to widening commercial flight cancellations amid the ongoing Gaza war.

“The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas,” it says.

IDF says Islamic State inspiration booklet found on body of Hamas infiltrator

The Israel Defense Forces releases an image showing the cover of an “Al-Qaeda/Islamic State training and inspiration booklet” found on the body of a Palestinian terrorist who infiltrated into Israel during Saturday’s attack.

Israeli officials have repeatedly linked Hamas to IS in the aftermath of the attack, though the comparison is mainly seen as an attempt to explain the enormity of the atrocities and level of depravity as Israel rallies support for its counterattack on the Gaza-based group.

The cover of an alleged Al-Qaeda/Islamic State training and inspiration booklet found on the body of a Palestinian terrorist who infiltrated into Israel during the Hamas onslaught, in a photo released on October 12, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Reports: UK to deploy surveillance aircraft to Mideast to track arms transfers to terror groups

The United Kingdom will deploy patrol and surveillance aircraft, as well as two Royal Navy ships, to the eastern Mediterranean, according to British media reports.

Downing Street says it is “to support Israel,” the reports say.

The British government says the move is to “track threats to regional stability such as the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups,” according to the BBC.

The Times says that the UK will make surveillance flights over Israel.

The newspaper says the RFA Argus and RFA Lyme Bay will head to the region.

Earlier today, the UK Foreign Office said it would begin arranging commercial evacuation flights for British nationals in Israel.

Rocket alarms sound in northern city of Kiryat Shmona

Rocket alarms sound in Kiryat Shmona and surrounding communities in the north.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or interceptions.

Several other alerts in the north today and yesterday have proven to be false alarms amid concern Lebanon’s Hezbollah could join the fighting.

Biden, Harris hold security briefing on safeguarding US Jewish, Muslim communities

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hold a national security briefing with their top aides “to discuss steps we are taking to safeguard the homeland and the people of the United States, including Jewish, Arab, and Muslim communities, following the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel,” the White House says.

Lawmakers approve new emergency cabinet, after Jewish and Arab MKs spar in plenum

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes the hand of newly appointed minister Benny Gantz at a special plenum session presenting the new emergency government in the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes the hand of newly appointed minister Benny Gantz at a special plenum session presenting the new emergency government in the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Knesset votes to approve adding five National Unity ministers to the government, with 66 voting for it and 4 voting against. The plenum also approves Shas MK Uriel Buso’s appointment as health minister, by a vote of 65 for and 0 against.

Speaking on behalf of Benny Gantz’s National Unity before the Knesset voted to add five members of the opposition party as ministers in the emergency government, party No. 2 Gideon Sa’ar says that “hard decisions always need wide backing, and that’s what we’re doing today.”

Taking an apparent jab at Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which is currently sitting out the emergency government, Sa’ar says: “Yes, it’s easier to support from the outside. You’re not carrying the heavy burden.”

Labor MK Naama Lazimi, whose party remains in the opposition but has vowed backing for the addition of the new ministers, cries at the Knesset rostrum, recounting the Saturday slaughter of Israeli citizens by the Hamas terror group.

“They left an inferno, they don’t have homes to return to,” she says of survivors of the massacres in Israel’s southern communities.

MK Ayman Odeh who leads the predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta’al party, says: “There is nothing in the world that justifies hurting a civilian, an innocent person,” speaking from the Knesset rostrum.

“We need to take all the civilians, Jewish, Arab, Palestinian, out from the cycle of violence,” Odeh continues, appearing to also slam Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza. “Revenge is not the way.”

Likud MK Tally Gotliv interrupts his speech, screaming “revenge against Hamas!” and is quickly joined by other Likud and Otzma Yehudit lawmakers.

“Only peace brings security, brings rights,” Odeh shouts back.

“They burned children, how can you sleep!” yells Likud MK Keti Shitrit. “How can you compare this at all?”

IDF publishes footage of elite troops retaking Gaza border post from Hamas on Saturday

The Israel Defense Forces publishes footage showing troops of the Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit retaking the Sufa military post on the Gaza border from Palestinian terrorists on Saturday.

The headcam video shows the soldiers battling Hamas terrorists inside the base, killing some and arresting others.

The troops are seen reaching the base’s bunker, where surviving soldiers were holed up amid Hamas’s attack. “Shayetet, Shayetet, stay in the bunker, we’re coming,” one of the officers shouts.

The IDF says Shayetet 13 soldiers also operated in southern Israel on Saturday, after being airlifted to the scene following Hamas’s murderous invasion from the Gaza Strip.

The Shayetet 13 troops killed more than 60 Palestinian terrorists in the Sufa post, and in the towns of Be’eri, Kfar Aza, Sa’ad, Mefalsim and Nir Oz, and rescued some 250 hostages, according to the IDF.

Another 26 terrorists were arrested by the soldiers, including a senior member of Hamas’s naval forces, the IDF adds.

Rocket alerts blare in, around Beersheba

Rocket sirens sound in Beersheba and its surrounding communities in the Negev.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or interceptions.

2 cops hurt in Jerusalem shooting near Old City

A 'Carlo' makeshift submachine gun used by a gunman in an attack against police officers in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Israel Police)
A 'Carlo' makeshift submachine gun used by a gunman in an attack against police officers in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Israel Police)

Police say two officers are wounded, including one seriously, in a shooting attack near the Shalem station, just outside the Herod’s Gate entrance to the Jerusalem Old City.

Officers returned fire at the gunman, “neutralizing” him, police say.

The gunman used a makeshift submachine gun in the attack, images released by police show.

Netanyahu: Unity government sends a ‘huge message’; Israel will wipe out ‘barbaric’ Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a special Knesset plenum session presenting the new emergency government, in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a special Knesset plenum session presenting the new emergency government, in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel will “eliminate” the “barbaric” Hamas terror organization, speaking from the Knesset podium ahead of a vote to approve adding ministers to form his new national emergency government.

“This is a fight for our home,” Netanyahu says, saying that it needs to end with “crushing and elimination of Hamas, which is ISIS (Islamic State).”

The Jewish people, Netanyahu says, have withstood dark challenges, “perhaps more than any other nation. But we’ve never given up.”

“This was the most horrible day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” the premier continues, saying it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t know people who lost loved ones to Hamas’s Saturday terror rampage.

The premier says he visited a military reserve division before arriving at the Knesset, and the unit was oversubscribed with 130 percent appearance for duty. He describes a scene with a long line of hundreds of cars parked alongside the road, left by reservists who reported to the base without receiving a formal summons.

Ahead of the Knesset vote to add Benny Gantz and four opposition MKs to form a national emergency government, Netanyahu says that “our national unity is sending a huge message, externally and internally.”

After nine months of social unrest tied to the Netanyahu government’s highly divisive judicial overhaul, the premier says: “We stand before this conflict together in internal fraternity and with mutual concern.”

US weighing dispatching charter flights for US citizens wanting to get out of Israel

Senior US State Department official Ned Price says on a call with American faith leaders that the Biden administration is seriously considering dispatching charter flights for US citizens looking to evacuate from Israel and will likely have an announcement on the matter later today.

The number of commercial flights to and from Israel has decreased by the day since the Saturday Hamas onslaught.

Blinken: Cruelty of Hamas onslaught ‘defies comprehension,’ Gazans used as human shield

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)

Speaking in Tel Aviv, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the images from Hamas’s shocking massacres are “overwhelming,” expressing sympathy to Israel in the face of the terror group using Gazan civilians as “human shields.”

Reacting to images shown to him by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blinken says it’s hard to find words.

“A baby riddled with bullets, a soldier beheaded, young people burned in their cars… It’s simply depravity in the worst imaginable way. It almost defies comprehension,” he says as he chokes up, adding that it hearkens back to the Islamic State terror group. “When you see this, you can’t help but imagine yourself, your family, your loved ones, your friends in that situation.”

“Maybe the best word for it for me is overwhelming. I think what it’s done is united a country in profound grief but also in resolve. It’s imperative that we all join in that resolve.”

“This is a moment for moral clarity,” he continues.

“Images are worth a thousand words. These images may be worth a million.”

Blinken stresses that Hamas continues to use civilians as human shields. “That’s one of the basic facts that Israel has to deal with.” He emphasizes that civilians “are not the target of Israel’s military operations.”

Blinken adds that he discussed safe passage and other humanitarian means for Gazan civilians with Israel.

Blinken says that he does not know what Hamas’s goals were in the attack, but “the simplest explanation might be the most compelling. This is pure evil.”

He adds that it is possible that other interests include getting in the way of normalization with Saudi Arabia.

Blinken also says he will meet with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Qatar, after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah and PA President Mahmoud Abbas this week.

Blinken says that he brought with him his special representative for hostage affairs, who participated in his meetings with US citizens who have lost loved ones who were killed or taken hostage. The official will stay in Israel to keep working for the hostages’ release.

“In my meetings with the prime minister, with President Herzog, with the ministers in Israel’s newly formed national unity government, we discussed in detail what Israel needs to defend itself,” says Blinken. “We are delivering on those needs as we speak.”

Netanyahu drawn into security update before Knesset approval of emergency government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is drawn into a security update, delaying voting to approve Israel’s national emergency government.

Netanyahu was called into the briefing, shortly before the Knesset was set to begin voting to append Benny Gantz and four additional members of his National Unity party to the prime minister’s government, as part of a national emergency government set to run for the duration of hostilities against Hamas and allied terror organization in the Gaza Strip.

Before calling a brief recess, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana opens the session by reading emergency shelter directives, in case rocket barrages target Jerusalem during voting.

Ohana, deploring Hamas’s Saturday terror attack that killed over 1,200 Israelis and injured more than 3,000 calls for “destruction of the enemy and complete victory.”

In addition to adding Gantz, National Unity MKs Gadi Eisenkot, Gideon Sa’ar, Chili Tropper and Yifat Shasha-Biton will join the government as ministers without portfolio.

The five will join the security cabinet, with Shasha-Biton serving only as an observer.

In addition, Gantz will join Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in a to-be-formed war cabinet.

The Knesset is also set to add Shas MK Uriel Buso to the government, in order to take over the Health Ministry from dual-tapped minister Moshe Arbel, who also runs the Interior Ministry.

Air Force chief vows to get to everyone involved in Hamas’s murderous assault

The chief of the Israeli Air Force vows that it will strike each and every person involved in Saturday’s onslaught on southern Israel.

“We have a lot of work to do until [Hamas] disappears,” IAF chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar says in a video published by the military.

“We have a list of everyone who participated in these heinous crimes, against our family and against the residents of the area surrounding Gaza,” he says.

“And we will get to them, you know the Air Force and the Israel Defense Forces,” Bar adds.

IDF commanders said to have received intel the night before onslaught, held phone discussions

Hebrew media reports that IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and other senior officers held phone discussions the night before Hamas’s devastating Saturday infiltration, after indications were received of something out of the ordinary.

The conclusion was that it was likely a drill and that more discussions were to be held in the morning, according to the reports, which say the military didn’t view the issue as particularly pressing and decided not to raise the alert or send more forces to the Gaza border area.

In response to the reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says the premier “was updated only at 6:29 a.m. about the fighting breaking out, and not before that.”

A (Hebrew) report by the Ha’aretz military correspondent Amos Harel on the emerging information begins with the assertion that “the broad assault by Hamas was enabled because of an intelligence failure and the absence of sufficient military deployment in the Gaza-envelope region.”

The emerging reports said two sets of telephone conversations were held overnight Friday-Saturday between the Shin Bet security service’s southern district chief, IDF military intelligence, the IDF’s operations branch and the Southern Command, with the knowledge of Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi. A separate consultation was hosted by Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar, Haaretz reported.

While the Shin Bet assessed the information as “weak scraps,” the agency did fear the possibility of a kidnap attempt and dispatched a small operations team to the south. No other steps were taken, Haaretz reported. In the event, it said, the small Shin Bet team participated in the fighting at one of the kibbutzim attacked by Hamas on Saturday and some of its members were injured.

Military officials have said this week that they did not have intelligence reports of an imminent attack. The IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said earlier today there were no major intelligence warnings, but confirmed there were some signs. “There was no such warning,” Hagari said of reports that senior intelligence officers discussed the signs on Friday night and agreed to continue the conversation in the morning.

Halevi said earlier today: “The IDF is responsible for the security of the country and its citizens, and on Saturday morning in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, we did not handle it… We will learn, we will investigate, but now is the time for war.”

France bans all pro-Palestinian protests as threat to public order

France says it is banning all pro-Palestinian demonstrations after the bloody assault on Israel by Hamas, on the grounds that such protests pose a threat to public order.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says in a note to regional prefects that the demonstrations “are likely to generate disturbances to public order,” adding that organizers should face arrest.

US said to reach ‘silent understanding’ with Qatar block $6 billion transfer to Iran

US President Joe Biden’s administration has reached a “quiet understanding” with Qatar for Doha not to release the $6 billion in Iranian oil funds that the US agreed last month that Tehran would be able to access for humanitarian needs in exchange for the release of several American hostages, CBS News reports.

Since the massive Hamas onslaught against Israel over the weekend, the Biden administration has been facing pressure to block the funds from reaching Iran, which backs the Gaza-based terror group.

Lapid accuses government of ‘unpardonable failure,’ says won’t join emergency government

Opposition Leader and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid speaks during a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Opposition Leader and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid speaks during a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 12, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid reaffirms that he will not join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz’s national emergency government, saying that he does not believe it will work with its current structure and membership.

Lapid points to three issues: the keeping of “extremists” in the hardline government, a double security cabinet structure without clear lines of authority, and the continued presence of those at fault for the “unpardonable failure” to prevent Saturday’s crushing Hamas terror attack, which triggered the ongoing war.

While saying that his Yesh Atid party will continue to support the war effort from outside and will not vote against today’s Knesset confirmation of five National Unity party ministers being added to Netanyahu’s government, Lapid says that it’s still necessary to “take the extremists out of the government of extremists.”

Lapid declines to name the extremists outright, but points to far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and independent minister in the Defense Ministry Bezalel Smotrich, saying their presence in the security cabinet is “no way to make decisions.”

Ben Gvir and Smotrich, the latter of whom is also finance minister, sit on the security cabinet. The national emergency government will also form a smaller war cabinet, which will be entrusted with powers to set wartime policy and give operational and strategic directives to the security forces.

Lapid calls this “a structure that can’t work, it’ll just add to the mess,” because “instead of one cabinet, [there are] two cabinets that will clash.”

The opposition leader says that “what happened this last Shabbat is a failure without reparation,” and charges that those “who started the failure can’t fix it.”

In addition to Netanyahu at the helm, Lapid says it’s a particular problem that Ben Gvir is in charge of Israel’s police and that Smotrich oversees the West Bank’s Civil Administration, especially as he has failed to condemn recent retributive Jewish violence in Palestinian towns.

“If I had thought that what is happening today is a real unity government, I would have done it,” Lapid says, adding that in the interim, “We’ll support every action, we’ll help every way we can.”

Biden rebukes Trump for ‘praising the terrorists who seek to destroy Israel’

US President Joe Biden (L) speaks in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on December 2, 2022. Former US president Donald Trump announces a third run for president as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 15, 2022. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, Rebecca Blackwell/AP)
US President Joe Biden (L) speaks in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on December 2, 2022. Former US president Donald Trump announces a third run for president as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 15, 2022. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

US President Joe Biden goes after his predecessor Donald Trump after the latter appeared to mock Israel’s failure to anticipate Hamas’s massive onslaught and called the Hezbollah terror group “very smart.”

Trump at a campaign rally yesterday said the US and Israel should not have publicly warned Hezbollah against joining Hamas in the war.

“Our nation’s support for Israel is resolute and unwavering,” reads a tweet from Biden’s X (formerly Twitter) account, which links to a clip from Trump’s campaign rally.

“The right time to praise the terrorists who seek to destroy them is never,” the Biden tweet adds.

Unlike the former president, who regularly used the platform to attack rivals and send unfiltered messages to the public, Biden is widely understood to not be personally operating his own social media account.

IDF says jets striking ‘numerous’ Hamas targets throughout Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets are carrying out airstrikes against “numerous” Hamas sites across the Gaza Strip.

The IDF says it will provide further information soon.

PA President Abbas rejects ‘killing civilians or abusing them on both sides’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls for “an immediate end to the comprehensive aggression against the Palestinian people,” his office says following a meeting in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Abbas also rejects “practices related to killing civilians or abusing them on both sides,” emphasizing that “the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) renounces violence and adheres to international legitimacy, peaceful popular resistance, and political action as a path to achieving our national goals.” The PLO is a Palestinian political body chaired by Abbas that is opposed to Hamas.

He also warns of a looming humanitarian crisis in light of the Gaza Strip’s only power plant having stopped working due to a fuel shortage, which he warns could cause a cessation of health services, and calls for the opening of humanitarian corridors to provide water and electricity to the blockaded region.

Relatives of French-Israeli Gaza hostages demand stronger action by Macron

Relatives of French-Israelis held captive by Hamas in Gaza hold a press conference on October 12, 2023. (Screenshot)
Relatives of French-Israelis held captive by Hamas in Gaza hold a press conference on October 12, 2023. (Screenshot)

At a joint press conference of French-Israeli families whose loved ones are missing following the Hamas massacre in the Gaza border communities and at the Supernova desert rave, family members demand that French President Emmanuel Macron offer some answers.

“I want my country to get back to what it was, I want my sister back and they all want their family back, all of us,” says Meitar Journo, whose sister, Karine, 24, has been missing since taking part in the Supernova party. “Macron, you have the power to bring them back home.”

Four families tell their stories, which include that of two different young women who went to the Supernova party and haven’t been heard from since the early morning hours of Saturday, October 7.

“We haven’t heard from her since then,” says Ido Nagar, whose wife, Seline Ben David, was hiding in an open field shelter due to the initial rocket attack. “We have a small baby. Please help me return Seline home to her daughter.”

“We’re also here because they’re also French citizens,” says Nagar. “And France has a commitment to its citizens.”

Gaia Calderon speaks about the five people missing from her family in Kibbutz Nir Oz — her father, her sister, her 12-year-old brother, her French-born grandmother and her cousin.

“I don’t have half my family and I don’t know if they’re even alive,” says Calderon.

One woman tells a harrowing story of her family’s experience, including her husband, Ohad, who was injured trying to protect the family and is missing, as well as her 12-year-old, Eitan, who was taken to Gaza by the Hamas terrorists.

“Help us, French government, give us some information,” she says.

Dafna Posnaski, who works as a representative of French citizens in Israel — working with the French Embassy, but not for them — says the embassy has been silent and isn’t handing over any information.

Posnaski says that Macron is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. about the French captives.

IDF says troops killed Palestinian terrorist by Kissufim, near Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says troops have killed a Palestinian terrorist near Kibbutz Kissufim in southern Israel, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

“The forces are continuing to search the area,” the IDF says.

The IDF has said no Palestinian terrorists have managed to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip in recent days, though there may be some terrorists still in Israel from the weekend’s onslaught.

Rocket alerts in Metula in north; no immediate word of impacts

More sirens are sounded in northern Israel, this time in Metula, the country’s northernmost town.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says there have been no reports of impacts or casualties.

Rocket alerts blare again in Ashkelon area

Rocket sirens sound once more in Ashkelon and surrounding communities, sending residents to shelters again.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or interceptions.

Hamas deputy chief lies: We don’t target civilians, we only attacked IDF, Israel planned Gaza offensive

Hamas deputy political chief Saleh al-Arouri, after signing a reconciliation deal with senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, during a short ceremony at the Egyptian intelligence complex in Cairo, Egypt, October 12, 2017. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
Hamas deputy political chief Saleh al-Arouri, after signing a reconciliation deal with senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, during a short ceremony at the Egyptian intelligence complex in Cairo, Egypt, October 12, 2017. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)

Hamas’s deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri says that Hamas does not target civilians “as a policy,” and that its Saturday attack only targeted the IDF’s Gaza Division stationed along the border — despite overwhelming evidence, footage and testimonies that its terrorists systematically targeted and massacred civilians.

“We knew that there were [Israeli] plans to launch a massive attack against us after the [Jewish] holidays,” al-Arouri says, according to a report in the pro-Hamas Shehab news outlet. “We preempted it by surprising the commanders of the Southern Command,” which includes the Gaza Division.

He provides no evidence that Israel had planned to attack Gaza.

“The bloated army collapsed in less than three hours, faster than we expected. Only 1,200 members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades entered the enemy camps,” he says, referencing Hamas’s military wing. Israel has said forces have killed 1,500 terrorists in Israeli territory.

Al-Arouri reiterates that prisoner swap negotiations will only take place after the end of the battle, and adds that in the meantime, the terror group has devised a defensive plan that is “much stronger” than the offensive one, and that it is prepared to respond to any action Israel will take.

“We are fighting for the world to recognize the right of our people to live like other peoples,” the terror leader continues.

“How is it right for a soldier to be wearing an Israeli army uniform, and then it turns out that the soldier holds American or French citizenship?” he asks.

With regard to the potential expansion of the fighting to other fronts — mainly the Hamas-allied Hezbollah terror group — al-Arouri says that “all possibilities are 100% open.”

IDF says sirens in north caused by Iron Dome launch; unclear if rockets were fired at Israel

The Israel Defense Forces says the incoming rocket siren that sounded in several towns in northern Israel was due to an Iron Dome launch at an “identification in Israel’s skies.”

The IDF says it is still investigating if any projectiles were actually launched at Israel.

There have been several false alarms in northern Israel in recent days due to mistaken identifications.

‘No conditions’ on use of US military support to Israel — Defense Secretary Austin

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meet in Brussels on June 15, 2023. (Elad Malcha/Defense Ministry)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meet in Brussels on June 15, 2023. (Elad Malcha/Defense Ministry)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says Washington was not limiting how Israel can use the weapons it provides for fighting Hamas.

“We have not placed any conditions on the provision of this equipment. This is a professional military, led by professional leadership, and we would hope and expect that they would do the right things in the prosecution of their campaign,” Austin says, after a meeting of NATO ministers in Brussels.

Meanwhile, the US Defense Department says Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has held another phone call with his US counterpart Austin to discuss the ongoing Gaza war.

The call took place yesterday and was the fourth that the two have had since the shocking Hamas onslaught on Saturday morning.

Gallant provided an update on IDF operations in response to the Hamas invasion and Austin stressed the Biden administration’s commitment to ensuring that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and deterring other actors from trying to escalate the conflict, the US readout says.

Rocket sirens heard in Ashdod, Ashkelon, other communities in south

Sirens blare in many southern Israeli communities, including Askelon, Ashdod and Gan Yavne, possibly indicating a major barrage.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or interceptions.

German foreign minister to visit Israel tomorrow

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, right, listens to her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen during a news conference after a meeting at the foreign ministry in Berlin, Germany, February 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, right, listens to her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen during a news conference after a meeting at the foreign ministry in Berlin, Germany, February 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will travel to Israel tomorrow, almost a week after Hamas launched its murderous assault on the country, a spokesman for her ministry says.

Baerbock will make the “solidarity visit” to Israel as part of her efforts at “crisis diplomacy,” the spokesman says. The visit comes the day after Baerbock held talks in Berlin with the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, seen as a potential broker in the conflict.

IDF says it’s bombed 3,600 terror targets in Gaza so far

The Israel Defense Forces says it has so far carried out strikes against some 3,600 targets in the Gaza Strip, using more than 6,000 munitions.

According to the IDF, strikes in the last few hours included the targeting of a senior Hamas operative and several other terror group members.

The military says it is attacking all of Hamas’s assets across the Gaza Strip, including war rooms, military sites, weapon production centers, and sites linked to to the terror group’s leadership.

White House slams Trump’s ‘unhinged’ praise for Hezbollah, mocking of Israel

The White House fires back at former US president Donald Trump after he appeared to mock Israel’s failure to anticipate Hamas’s massive onslaught over the weekend, as he called the Hezbollah terror group “very smart” and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant a “jerk.”

“Statements like this are dangerous and unhinged,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates says in a statement.

“It’s completely lost on us why any American would ever praise an Iran-backed terrorist organization as ‘smart’ or have any objection to the United States warning terrorists not to attack Israel,” Bates says. Trump at a campaign rally yesterday said the US and Israel should not have publicly warned Hezbollah not to join Hamas in the war.

“Especially now as Israel is fighting back against one of the worst acts of mass murder in the country’s history, this is a time for all of us to stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel against unadulterated evil. That’s what [US President Joe Biden] is doing as commander in chief,” Bates adds.

Rocket alarms blare in 3 northern communities; explosions said heard

Rocket alarms sound in three communities in the north, sending residents of She’ar Yashuv, Hagoshrim and Dafna to bomb shelters.

Hebrew media reports explosions heard, but it isn’t immediately clear what they are.

Rocket sirens blare in Sderot, Sha’ar Hanegev region

Rocket alarms are heard in Sderot and in the Gaza-adjacent Sha’ar Hanegev region.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or interceptions.

Blinken, Moroccan top diplomat discuss de-escalation and efforts to free Gaza captives

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes statements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the media inside the Kirya, which houses the Defense Ministry, after their meeting, Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes statements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the media inside the Kirya, which houses the Defense Ministry, after their meeting, Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has held a phone call with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, the State Department says.

Blinken, who is currently on a solidarity visit to Israel, has held a series of calls with counterparts in the region as the US works to prevent other actors from joining the war against Israel and also to push Mideast allies to stand with the Jewish state against Hamas, a US official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

During the latest call, Blinken and Bourita discussed the Hamas onslaught and efforts to prevent regional escalation and secure the release of the hostages held in Gaza, the State Department says.

Blinken praised “Morocco King Mohammed VI’s commitment to peace and security in the region and welcomed continued close cooperation between Morocco and the United States,” the US readout says.

Morocco is party to the 2020 Abraham Accords, which normalized ties between Israel and several Arab countries.

Father recounts welcoming the news his 8-year-old girl is dead, rather than held in Gaza

The father of an eight-year-old girl who had been missing since Saturday’s Hamas onslaught in Kibbutz Be’eri near Gaza has welcomed the news that she is dead rather than being held hostage in the Strip, in a heartbreaking interview with CNN.

Thomas Hand says he waited for two days to hear about his daughter Emily’s fate, after she slept at a friend’s house the night before terrorists massacred more than 100 people in its early morning attack.

“They said: ‘We found Emily. She’s dead,’ and I just went ‘Yes!’ I went ‘yes,’ and I smiled, because that is the best news of the possibilities that I knew,” he says, trembling.

“She was either dead, or in Gaza. And if you know anything about what they do to people in Gaza, that is worse than death,” he says.

“They’d have no food. They’d have no water. She’d be in a dark room filled with Christ knows how many people. And terrified every minute, hour, day, and possible years to come. So death was a blessing. An absolute blessing.”

Ben Gvir announces worsening of terror inmates’ conditions

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir announces new restrictions on terror inmates in Israeli prisons, aimed at worsening their living conditions in light of Israel’s ongoing war with the Gaza Strip, where an estimated 200 hostages are being held.

Approved by Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, the restrictions will “make prisoners’ living space more crowded.”

In addition, Ben Gvir says that terror convicts will sleep on mattresses, which the far-right minister says will enable prisons to absorb new inmates — namely terrorists captured by Israel after they infiltrated from the Gaza Strip on Saturday to conduct a staggering mass onslaught.

IDF says Patriot missile launch in north was a false alarm

The Israel Defense Forces says the Patriot launch in northern Israel was a false alarm.

“An investigation shows that there was no hostile aircraft, and it is a false interception,” the IDF says.

There have been several false alarms in northern Israel in recent days due to mistaken identifications.

Hebrew University to Harvard and Stanford: ‘You have failed us’

In response to what they perceive as inadequate statements put out by Harvard and Stanford universities in the US in response to the unprecedented October 7 Hamas massacre of civilians in the south of Israel, heads of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem release a strongly worded response, saying that the statements did not “meet the most minimal standards of moral leadership, courage, and commitment to truth.”

In joint letters, the Hebrew University leaders berate the Harvard and Stanford administrations, saying they have “failed us not only as Israelis, who are subject to the imminent threat of being subject to genocide, but also as leaders of an academic institution, who expect their colleagues to present higher moral standards, and more courage.”

“One may remind Israel of its duties, and may criticize it, if one finds that Israel has violated its commitments. These are issues that will have to be addressed when the relevant information is available. This factual uncertainty cannot serve as a justification for taking a morally relativist approach regarding the massacre committed by Hamas,” the Hebrew University says.

The Hebrew University letter is signed by its president Prof. Asher Cohen, its rector Prof. Tamir Sheafer, and former rector Prof. Barak Medina.

Both Harvard and Stanford universities posted what were seen by some as lukewarm statements about the brutal assault, and Harvard, in particular, found itself embroiled in controversy this week after an umbrella group of pro-Palestinian students released a separate statement blaming Israel for the attack, part of the latest round of campus issues around Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Patriot air defense missile is launched in north; no immediate comment from IDF

A Patriot air defense missile is reportedly launched over northern Israel, according to footage shared online.

The Israel Defense Forces has not yet commented on the incident.

Earlier this week, a Patriot missile was launched, in what was later said to be a false alarm.

Hamas ministry says 1,417 killed, 6,268 injured in Gaza strikes

The Hamas-run health ministry says 1,417 Palestinians have been killed and another 6,268 have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces has said it has killed some 1,500 Palestinian terrorists inside Israeli territory.

Rocket alerts sound in Ashdod

Rocket sirens blare in Ashdod, sending residents to bomb shelters.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or interceptions.

‘I’m angry’: Survivor recounts his family hiding while terrorists were in their home

Glen Eilon, a resident of the Netiv Ha’asara moshav and a survivor of Hamas’s murderous attack on southern Israel, speaks in Maale HaHamisha near Jerusalem on October 12, 2023. (Jeremy Sharon/Times of Israel)
Glen Eilon, a resident of the Netiv Ha’asara moshav and a survivor of Hamas’s murderous attack on southern Israel, speaks in Maale HaHamisha near Jerusalem on October 12, 2023. (Jeremy Sharon/Times of Israel)

“I feel anger and I feel revenge,” says Glen Eilon, a resident of the Netiv Ha’asara moshav and a survivor of Hamas’s murderous attack on southern Israel.

“I’m not terrified, I’m not scared, I’m not shaking in my boots, but if I had power I would exercise it with those two feelings,” he says, speaking from a hotel in Ma’ale Hahamisha near Jerusalem, where evacuees from the community are staying.

Eilon, 82, his wife, his youngest son, his daughter-in-law and their three young children mercifully escaped harm as Hamas terrorists stormed the community, located just several hundred meters from Gaza’s northern border, and set about murdering whoever they could.

“One of my neighbors lost his two sons in the attack. Our two elderly neighbors hid in their safe room and when they [the terrorists] couldn’t get in they piled up tires against the house and burned it down with them inside,” he tells The Times of Israel.

“A young mother was in the bathroom and when the terrorists saw her, they lobbed in a grenade and killed her.”

Eilon, originally from South Africa, and his family ran to their bomb shelter when Hamas began its massive rocket barrage, around 6 a.m. on Saturday, and for the first two hours did not know that terrorists had infiltrated into Israeli territory since there was no power or internet connection in the moshav for much of the time.

At one stage, Eilon’s wife even went to make breakfast for their grandchildren, aged 12, eight and five.

“Then we heard them shooting with the Kalashnikovs, we heard them firing in the street next to us,” says Eilon about the moment they realized that there were terrorists among them.

“My family was terrified… my son was shaking like a leaf, I couldn’t protect him, I couldn’t protect my grandchildren,” he continued.

After spending 12 hours in their shelter and after the sounds of gunfire had abated, Eilon and his family, together with his eldest son who lives nearby, eventually got in their cars at around 6 p.m. and fled the moshav.

“I’m angry because no one’s taking responsibility, angry because something like this could happen, angry because the government didn’t know what was going on.

“Where were our vaunted security forces, where were the soldiers, where was the army for the first seven hours?” he demands.

“People were screaming for help but there were no tanks, no jeeps, no soldiers.”

Eilon says that despite being right wing, he is deeply angry with the current government.

“We have no government. We’ve got people looking to blame others instead.

“If the prime minister were a man, he’d quit and say ‘I failed the country, I failed the people, I failed everyone, I’m going home,’ with his tail between his legs.”

IDF chief Halevi admits military failed to prevent Hamas attack, vows to investigate

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks to the media in southern Israel, October 12, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks to the media in southern Israel, October 12, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

In his first public statement since the war between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip began, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi acknowledges failures that enabled Hamas’s infiltration and mass murders on Saturday.

“The IDF is responsible for the security of the country and its citizens, and on Saturday morning in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, we did not handle it. We will learn, we will investigate, but now is the time for war,” Halevi says from southern Israel.

He also says Israel will do everything it can to return the hostages taken by Hamas and other groups.

“We are five days after a murderous, brutal and surprising incident. The slaughter by the murderous Hamas terrorists, the human animals, of our children, our wives and our people, is animalistic, it is inhumane. The IDF is fighting merciless terrorists who have committed unimaginable acts.

“Yahya Sinwar, the ruler of the Gaza Strip, decided on this horrible attack, and therefore he and the entire system under him are dead men. We will attack them, we will dismantle them, dismantle their system,” he says.

Halevi says a time will come to investigate how Hamas managed to carry out the attack.

On the estimated 200 Israelis and foreigners held captive by the terror group in the Gaza Strip, Halevi says: “We will do everything to return the hostages back home.”

“We are killing many terrorists, many commanders, destroying terror infrastructure that supported this terrible, brutal crime,” Halevi continues.

“Gaza will not look the same,” he adds.

Syria’s two main airports out of service after Israel strikes — state media

Israeli strikes have knocked Syria’s two main airports out of service, Syrian state media says.

The “simultaneous” strikes on the Aleppo and Damascus airports “damaged landing strips in the two airports, putting them out of service,” state media says, citing a military source.

Egypt urges Israel to stop bombing Rafah crossing to allow aid delivery

Smoke billows from the Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt during an Israeli airstrike on October 10, 2023. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Smoke billows from the Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt during an Israeli airstrike on October 10, 2023. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry urges Israel to stop attacking the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt so that it can be reopened, Channel 12 reports.

The crossing has been closed since it was hit by IAF airstrikes on Tuesday afternoon, after Israel declared that no food or fuel would be allowed into the Strip in an effort to implement a complete blockade to isolate Hamas. The IAF said it bombed the crossing as it was targeting an underground smuggling tunnel.

In a statement, Egypt states that it did not close its side of the crossing, and calls on all countries and international organizations in the region to provide humanitarian aid to Gazans by flying it through the El-Arish airport in northern Sinai, located about 56 kilometers (35 miles) from the Rafah crossing.

Jordan has sent to Egypt a delivery of humanitarian supplies intended for Gaza, the New York Times reports, but it is unclear if the aid will be allowed to enter the coastal strip.

Likud minister: Trump’s ‘shameful’ comments show he can’t be relied on

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi speaks at the Knesset on January 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi speaks at the Knesset on January 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi responds to former US president Donald Trump, who appeared to mock Israel for failing to anticipate the weekend Hamas onslaught and for not going on the offensive against Hezbollah amid several deadly clashes along its northern border.

Trump also launched personal attacks against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he accused of “letting him down,” and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, whom he called a “jerk.”

Karhi told Israel’s Channel 13 that it is “shameful that a man like that, a former US president, abets propaganda and disseminates things that wound the spirit of Israel’s fighters and its citizens.”

“We don’t have to bother with him and the nonsense he spouts,” Karhi says. Asked if Trump’s comments make it clear that he can’t be relied on, Karhi replies, “Obviously.”

Trump’s comments stood in sharp contrast to the full-throated support given to Israel by serving US President Joe Biden and his officials, who have expressed steadfast backing of the country as it reels from the brutal massacres committed by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza border communities over the weekend.

Anti-tank guided missile launched from Gaza hits empty home in border community

An anti-tank guided missile launched from the Gaza Strip hit an empty home in the border community of Netiv Ha’asara, the Hof Ashkelon regional council says in a statement.

It adds that another home in the council was hit by a rocket in a recent barrage, though there are no injuries.

The IDF meanwhile says it is carrying out airstrikes against “many” Hamas sites across the Gaza Strip.

IDF: 361 out of 854 bodies of civilians brought to rabbinate are identified, along with 222 soldiers

Flowers on fresh graves of Israeli soldiers killed in fighting with Gaza terror groups, at Mt Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. October 12, 2023 (Chaim Goldberg/FLASH90)
Flowers on fresh graves of Israeli soldiers killed in fighting with Gaza terror groups, at Mt Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. October 12, 2023 (Chaim Goldberg/FLASH90)

The Israel Defense Forces has identified the vast majority of soldiers killed by Hamas terrorists during their attack on southern Israel at the weekend.

The families of 222 soldiers have been formally notified, and their names released to the public.

The identification process for the slain soldiers has been relatively quick, as the army has databases of their fingerprints and dental scans, and the troops themselves have dogtags on them.

The military aims to bury all the slain troops by Friday afternoon.

For civilians, matters have been more complicated. As of this afternoon, a total of 854 bodies of civilians have been brought to the IDF rabbinate base for identification.

Of them, only 361 have been identified, and 264 buried.

Before authorities clear a body for burial, DNA tests and pictures must be taken, which are then run through various national databases. In some cases, families are being asked to come in to identify their loved ones.

The process has been slowed by a lack of experienced staff and equipment, and the devastatingly high death toll, reported to be more than 1,300.

The bodies of Palestinian terrorists are still mostly strewn across southern Israel, and are being slowly collected and taken to another facility. The IDF is also conducting DNA tests on the bodies of those believed to be Palestinian terrorists, in case of any potential mix-up.

IDF chief Halevi to give 1st public statement since start of war

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to officers at the Southern Command base in Beersheba, October 11, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to officers at the Southern Command base in Beersheba, October 11, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The chief of the Israel Defense Forces will give a first public statement since the war between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip began on Saturday.

Several remarks by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi have been released in recent days, but he has not given a formal address.

The statement will be given later this afternoon from southern Israel.

Blinken: For as long as America exists, Israel will never have to defend itself alone

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes statements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the media inside the Kirya, which houses the Defense Ministry, after their meeting, Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes statements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the media inside the Kirya, which houses the Defense Ministry, after their meeting, Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Speaking after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he is “incredibly grateful” to be back in Israel, “in this incredibly difficult moment, for this nation, but in fact for the entire world.”

Blinken tells a personal story as a Jew. He tells of his grandfather fleeing pogroms in Russia, and of his stepfather surviving concentration camps in the Holocaust.

“I understand on a personal level the harrowing echoes that Hamas’s massacres carry for Israeli Jews, indeed for Jews everywhere,” he says.

“I also come before you as a husband and father of young children. It’s impossible for me to look at the photos of families killed, such as the mother, father, and three small children murdered as they sheltered in their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, and not think of my own children,” he says.

“This was just one of Hamas’s countless acts of terror in a litany of brutality and inhumanity that, yes, brings to mind the worst of ISIS,” Blinken says. “Babies slaughtered, bodies desecrated, young people burned alive, women raped, parents executed in front of their children, children in front of their parents.

“How are we even to understand this, to digest this?

“And yet, at the same time that we’ve been shocked by the depravity of Hamas, we’ve also been inspired by the bravery of Israel’s citizens. The grandfather who drove over an hour to a kibbutz under siege armed only with a pistol and rescued his kids and grandkids,” he says. “The mother who died shielding her teenage son with her body, giving her life to save his. Giving him life for a second time. The volunteer security teams on the kibbutzes who swiftly rallied to defend their friends and neighbors despite being heavily outnumbered.”

He also notes the “remarkable solidarity” of the Israeli people, the long lines of people giving blood, the reservists who flew home from abroad, the people who opened their homes to fellow citizens displaced from the south.

“The people of Israel have long and rightly prided themselves on their self-reliance, on their ability to defend themselves even when the odds are stacked against them,” Blinken continues.

‘The message that I bring to Israel is this — you may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself, but as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to. We will always be there by your side,” he says. “That’s the message that President Biden delivered to the prime minister from the moment that this crisis began.”

Blinken welcomes the creation of the national emergency government, and the “unity and resolve that it reflects across Israel’s society.”

“We are delivering on our word,” says Blinken. ”Supplying ammunition interceptors to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome, along other defense materiel. The first shipments of US military support have already arrived in Israel, and more is on the way. As Israel’s defense needs evolve, we will work with Congress to make sure that they are met. And I can tell you there is overwhelming, overwhelming bipartisan support in our Congress for Israel’s security.”

Blinken repeats America’s “crystal clear” warning against any and all other actors — state or non-state — thinking of taking advantage of the crisis to attack Israel: “Don’t. The United States has Israel’s back.”

The US has deployed the world’s largest aircraft carrier to the Eastern Mediterranean, and bolstered the presence of US fighter aircraft in the region and provided Israel with other support, he says.

He affirms that the US is also working closely with Israel to secure the release of the hostages taken by Hamas.

And he says the US is continually engaging in “intensive diplomacy throughout the region to prevent the conflict from spreading.”

Blinken criticizes world leaders in the past for equivocating when it comes to terrorist attacks against Israel.

“There is no excuse, there is no justification for these atrocities,” he stresses. “This is, this must be, a moment for moral clarity.”

The failure to unambiguously condemn terrorism, he says, puts at risk people in Israel and everywhere, he says, noting that people from 36 countries were killed or are missing from the Hamas attacks. “Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas — no region has escaped Hama’s bloody reach. Anyone who wants peace and justice, must condemn Hamas’s reign of terror.”

“We know Hamas doesn’t represent the Palestinian people” or their legitimate aspirations. “We know Hamas rules repressively and dedicates the resources it has to terror tunnels and rockets… We know Hamas does not stand for the future the Palestinians want for themselves and their children. Hamas has only one agenda — to destroy Israel and to murder Jews,” he says.

“No country can or would tolerate the slaughter of its citizens, or simply return to the conditions that allowed it to take place.

“Israel has the right, indeed the obligation, to defend itself and to ensure that this never happens again.”

Blinken repeats the exhortation that democracies must take every precaution to avoid causing civilian casualties.

“As the prime minister and I discussed, how Israel does this matters. We democracies distinguish ourselves from terrorists by striving for different standards even when it is difficult, and holding ourselves to account when we fall short. Our humanity, the value that we place on human life and human dignity, that’s what makes us who we are. And we count them among our greatest strengths. That is why it is so important to take every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians. And that is why we mourn the loss of every innocent life — civilians of every faith, every nationality, who have been killed.”

The death toll continues to rise, he says. And among those, “at least 25 American citizens were killed,” Blinken says.

Again invoking his own family’s Holocaust experiences, Blinken concludes: “In this moment, where evil, hatred and madness have once more taken so many innocent lives, we must stand together, and resolve to confront what is worst among humanity with what is best. We must provide an alternative to the vision of violence and fear, nihilism and terror, presented by Hamas. That is what the United States will do, standing with Israel, working together with its people and all those in this region who remain committed to the vision of a more peaceful, more integrated, more secure and more prosperous Middle East.”

Blinken and Netanyahu shake hands and embrace.

Syrian media says Israel hit Aleppo International Airport in addition to Damascus airfield

Syrian media report that Israel also struck Aleppo International Airport.

The pro-government Sham FM radio says damage is caused to the airport, but there are no injuries.

Earlier, the station said Israeli jets targeted Damascus International Airport.

Netanyahu thanks Blinken for US support, says ‘barbarians of Hamas’ must be crushed

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the media together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on October 12, 2023 (Screencapture)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the media together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on October 12, 2023 (Screencapture)

“Mr. Secretary, my good friend Tony, thank you for your important visit here today,” says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in English to US Secretary of State Tony Blinken at the start of their joint statements in Tel Aviv.

“Thank you, thanks to President Biden, and thank you to the American people for your incredible support for Israel in our war against the barbarians of Hamas,” Netanyahu says.

He then thanks them in Hebrew, and says “Mr. Secretary, you have come to a hurting nation, a fighting nation, a nation of lions, a nation that is determined to defeat the forces of evil around us.”

Switching back to English, Netanyahu says that the visit “is another tangible example of America’s unequivocal support for Israel.”

“Hamas has shown itself to be an enemy of civilization. The massacring of young people in an outdoor music festival, the butchering of entire families, the murder of parents in front of their children and the murder of children in front of their parents. The burning of people alive. The beheadings. The kidnappings – of a young boy, not only kidnapped, molested, hurt, attacked,” Netanyahu says.

Netanyahu also laments “the sickening display of celebrating these horrors — the celebration and glorification of evil.”

“President Biden was absolutely correct in calling this sheer evil,” Netanyahu continues. “Hamas is ISIS, and just as ISIS was crushed, so too should Hamas be crushed.”

“And Hamas should be treated exactly as ISIS was treated,” Netanyahu declares. “They should be spit out from the community of nations. No leader should meet them. No country should harbor them. And those that do should be sanctioned,” he says.

“There will be many difficult days ahead, Netanyahu says, but he has “no doubt that the forces of civilization will win, and the reason that’s true is because we understand what is the first prerequisite of victory. It’s what you just said in our meeting — moral clarity.”

“This is a time, a particular time, a special time, that we must stand tall, proud and united against evil. Tony, you are taking that stand; America is taking that stand,” he says.

“Thank you, America, for standing with Israel today, tomorrow, and always, “ he concludes, then shares a firm handshake with Blinken.

WATCH: Blinken and Netanyahu give joint press conference in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken give a press conference after holding a one-on-one meeting.

Syrian media: Israel carries out strike near Damascus International Airport

Syrian media outlets are reporting an alleged Israeli airstrike near the Damascus International Airport.

The pro-government Sham FM radio says Syrian air defenses are confronting the attack.

UK-Israeli relatives of those abducted to Gaza in London plea: ‘Hamas has shown us they have no mercy’

Sharon Lifschitz, left, and Noam Sagi sit down for a press conference of British children of Israeli hostages at a hotel in London, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Sharon Lifschitz, left, and Noam Sagi sit down for a press conference of British children of Israeli hostages at a hotel in London, October 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The London-based family members of some of those kidnapped and taken to Gaza give a press conference in London, pleading for help in securing their release.

“I am one of your own,” says Noam Sagi, whose elderly mother was taken. “On Saturday morning in Kibbutz Nir Oz they woke up to a massacre. They were burned, butchered, slaughtered and kidnapped. Young kids and old people.”

“They burned the place to the ground, shot the dogs, nothing is left,” he said. “There is no politics here, no context, no religon, no race. Simple humanity,” he says.

“People who survived the Holocaust found themselves facing another one,” Sagi says. “One of the hostages was on the Kindertransport.”

Sagi called on the media to “call Hamas for what they are” and says news outlets are being “manipulated” by the terror group.

Sagi also says he wants to thank the people of Britain and the British government for their support.

Sharon Livshitz, whose elderly parents were taken, says, “The senseless destruction took so much from me and my community.”

“I feel hollow for the past few days, but I feel like we are strong. Together we are facing this thing, an act of such barbarity that it is coaxing us into hate and rage and wanting to destroy,” she says.

“These are the children that we all know, and I am here to be a voice on their behalf,” she says.

“I am here because there is work to do. There are hostages in Gaza, my mum was disconnected from her oxygen and loaded onto a motorbike,” she says.

“My father spent his life fighting for peace. We are all his children when we ask for peace,” she says.

“I am not here for politics. I do not have the luxury of that. We need to act together to fight the hatred and say no to the massacre and destruction,” she says.

“I don’t accept butchery from Boko Haram, Islamic State or from our neighbors, Hamas,” she says. “They have shown us that they have no mercy.”

Through tears, she explains that her neighbor’s daughter is autistic and will not be coping in Gaza.

“I want her out,” she says. “The children and elderly must come home.”

Rocket sirens sound in Jerusalem area

Rocket alert sirens sound in the area surrounding Jerusalem, including Beit Shemesh.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

WATCH: UK press conference by families of relatives abducted by Hamas

The relatives of a number of those kidnapped to Gaza who hold UK citizenship are giving a press conference in London.

El Al to fly on Saturday for 1st time in 41 years to bring reservists to Israel

FILE: An El Al airplane on the tarmac at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, October 4, 2022. (Moshe Shai/Flash 90)
FILE: An El Al airplane on the tarmac at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, October 4, 2022. (Moshe Shai/Flash 90)

El Al Israel Airlines announces that for the first time since 1982, it will fly on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, to bring back Israelis called up for emergency military reserve duty as well as security and rescue forces stranded abroad.

Israel’s national airline says it is preparing to operate flights this Saturday from the US and Asia to help bring back Israeli army reservists whose return to the country is vital during the current war with the Hamas terror group.

Reserve soldiers will be flying back on Saturday free of charge on two Boeing 787 aircraft leaving from New York and Bangkok. The cost of the flights will be borne by El Al and large US financial institutions, El Al says in a statement.

El Al says breaking its decades-long policy of not flying on the Jewish Sabbath has received halachic approval as the rescue flights are considered part of what is known in Hebrew as pikuah nefesh — the Jewish legal principle that saving a life trumps nearly all other religious requirements.

Blinken and Netanyahu begin one-on-one meeting in Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023 (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023 (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken begin their one-on-one meeting in the Kirya military HQ in Tel Aviv.

The two officials will give statements to the press afterwards.

Afterward, they are slated to meet with members of the emergency unity government, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, and MK Gadi Eisenkot, a former chief of staff.

In Israel, Blinken tells Netanyahu: ‘We’re here, we’re not going anywhere’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023 (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023 (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the the IDF Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The two shake hands solemnly. Blinken says quietly, “Good to see you. I’m sorry it’s under these circumstances.”

“We’re here, we’re not going anywhere,” promises Blinken.

Joining Blinken are US Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Hallett and several top aides. Netanyahu is flanked by Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, Military Secretary Avi Gil, ambassador to Washington Michael Herzog, and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who Netanyahu rarely invites to such meetings.

The two officials will then meet one-on-one, and give statements to the press afterwards.

Afterward, they are slated to meet with members of the emergency unity government, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, and MK Gadi Eisenkot, a former IDF chief of staff.

Underlining Germany’s historical responsibility for Israeli security, Scholz offers military aid

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a government statement on the situation in Israel during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 12, 2023. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a government statement on the situation in Israel during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 12, 2023. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)

Germany is offering military help to Israel and promising to crack down on support for Hamas at home following the terror group’s attack on Israel as Chancellor Olaf Scholz underlines Germany’s historical responsibility for Israel’s security.

The German Defense Ministry says it agreed to an Israeli request to use up to two of five Heron TP combat drones that are currently leased by the German military and were already in Israel for the training of German servicepeople.

And Defense Minister Boris Pistorius says in Brussels that Israel has requested ammunition for warships, a request that will now be discussed.

Scholz tells the German parliament that he has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to inform Germany of any needs, “for example the treatment of wounded.”

“At this moment, there is only one place for Germany — the place at Israel’s side,” he tells lawmakers. “Our own history, our responsibility arising from the Holocaust, makes it a perpetual task for us to stand up for the security of the State of Israel.”

Scholz note that thousands of people have demonstrated in support of Israel in recent days, but said that “there were also other, shameful pictures from Germany last weekend.”

On Saturday, a small group handed out pastries in a Berlin street and dozens of people later demonstrated in celebration of the devastating Hamas attack.

Scholz says Germany will issue a formal ban on activity by or in support of Hamas, which is already listed by the European Union as a terror group. He says groups such as Samidoun, which was behind the weekend pastry action, will be banned.

Scholz says there will be “zero tolerance for antisemitism.”

The chancellor also questions the lack of a clear condemnation of the Hamas attack by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that “their silence is shameful.”

Germany has suspended development aid for the Palestinian areas, though it is keeping up humanitarian help.

Scholz also assails Iran’s role in the region. “We have no tangible evidence that Iran gave concrete and operative support to this cowardly attack by Hamas,” he said. “But is clear to us all that, without Iranian support in recent years, Hamas would not have been capable of these unprecedented attacks on Israeli territory.”

Several German citizens were among those kidnapped in the Saturday attack.

American Friends of Magen David Adom sends ambulances, intensive care vehicles to Israel

Ambulances set to be sent to Israel by American Friends of Magen David Adom (Courtesy)
Ambulances set to be sent to Israel by American Friends of Magen David Adom (Courtesy)

The American Friends of MDA sends ambulances and intensive care vehicles for use by Magen David Adom rescue service in treating the wounded.

Eleven mobile intensive care units and six ambulances donated by AFMDA will arrive in Israel this weekend. The ambulances and vehicles left the factory in Elkhart, Indiana, and will be put on four direct flights from New York. After a quick preparation, they will be immediately delivered to MDA teams.

The ambulances and intensive care vehicles will join MDA’s current rescue vehicle fleet — 1,400 MDA ambulances and MICUs (some bulletproof) — across the country currently working at peak alert.

In late September, MDA announced an emergency campaign for 300 new ambulances to add to its current fleet in response to growing concerns about the security of Israel’s northern border and the fear it could lead to an armed conflict. The campaign’s aim was to triple the number of ambulances the national emergency response organization usually adds to its fleet annually.

“I thank our dear donors in the United States, for their willingness to help Magen David Adom, especially these days while the State of Israel is facing difficult challenges and we are in great need of this assistance,” said MDA director-general Eli Bin.

“I call on our friends in the world to make great efforts and help Magen David Adom in purchasing additional ambulances and intensive care vehicles, which we need very much to help the IDF and all the residents of the State of Israel,” he said.

Herzog spars with foreign journalists over retaliatory Gaza strikes

President Isaac Herzog speaks to foreign journalists at his residence in Jerusalem on October 12, 2023. (Amy Spiro/Times of Israel)
President Isaac Herzog speaks to foreign journalists at his residence in Jerusalem on October 12, 2023. (Amy Spiro/Times of Israel)

President Isaac Herzog has several markedly contentious exchanges with foreign journalists during a briefing at his residence in Jerusalem.

The generally mild-mannered leader reacts angrily to questions from CNN and the UK’s Channel 4 about the IDF’s ongoing bombing of the Gaza Strip.

Asked by CNN anchor Becky Anderson about Israel’s “collective punishment” of Gazan civilians, calling it a “war crime,” Herzog raises his voice in response.

“I’m quite disappointed that what’s you’re asking me instantaneously, haven’t you seen [the carnage in southern Israel]? You’ve all seen it. So now we’re starting with the rhetoric about war crimes. Really? Truly?” Herzog reiterates that “Israel abides by international law, operates by international law.”

Channel 4’s Matt Frei says he is “confused” by Herzog’s responses considering that “you seem to hold the people of Gaza responsible for Hamas.”

The president cuts off his question angrily: “With all due respect, if you have a missile in your goddamn kitchen and you want to shoot it at me, am I allowed to defend myself? That’s the situation.”

Herzog later rejects a question from Anderson about whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bears responsibility for the failure to thwart the attack, saying “we are at war, I’m not dealing with this issue at all.”

PA: 2 Palestinians killed by Israeli settlers near Nablus

The Palestinian Authority health ministry reports two dead by Israeli settlers’ gunfire near the West Bank town of Qusra, south of Nablus.

Yesterday, the Palestinian Authority health ministry said three Palestinians were killed by settlers in Qusra.

According to reports, today’s incident may have taken place during their funerals.

Government set to appoint new health minister, Shas’s Uriel Buso

Shas MK Uriel Buso attends a Knesset committee meeting on May 16, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Shas MK Uriel Buso attends a Knesset committee meeting on May 16, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The government is set to appoint a new health minister, six days into the war sparked by a devastating assault by Hamas.

The Shas party plans to nominate MK Uriel Buso as a new and permanent health minister, swapping out Moshe Arbel who has held both the health and interior portfolios since Shas leader Aryeh Deri was dismissed from the cabinet.

Arbel will continue to serve as interior minister, his spokesperson confirms.

Injury toll hits 3,297; 28 critical and 335 in serious condition

Israeli soldiers wounded in fighting in the south arrive at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, October 7, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers wounded in fighting in the south arrive at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, October 7, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Health Ministry updates the injury toll: As of 9 a.m. on Thursday, 3,297 injured people have been brought to hospitals throughout the country since Saturday morning.

Of them, 28 were in critical condition, 335 in serious condition, 581 in moderate condition, and 1,805 in good condition.

There are still 115 people undergoing medical assessment, and 142 people who arrived at hospitals were brought in due to psychological shock.

Currently, 423 injured individuals are still hospitalized: 111 in serious condition, 189 in moderate condition, and 113 lightly injured.

Number of injured in Sderot rocket attack updated to 4

Another two people are wounded as a result of the latest rocket attack on the southern city of Sderot, medics say.

In addition to two people seriously wounded, the Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are treating a 33-year-old man in moderate condition who was hurt by shrapnel, and a 37-year-old man who fell while running to a shelter.

Universities delay start of academic year until November 5

In light of the ongoing security situation, Israeli institutes of higher education will delay the start of the 2023-2024 academic year until November 5.

The Council of University Heads confirms the decision and tells The Times of Israel a formal announcement will be released later in the day.

The fall semester was set to begin October 15, a week after the Jewish High Holidays, and a previous decision, made in the days immediately after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, had delayed this until October 22.

The unprecedented Hamas attack from the Gaza Strip on October 7, and the subsequent massive callup of Israeli reserve forces, has upended the university system, as critical amounts of students, teachers and staff have been called to serve.

2 seriously injured in rocket attack on Sderot

Two people are seriously wounded in the latest rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on the southern city of Sderot, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are taking a woman in her 20s and a man in his 30s to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon, after the pair were seriously hurt by rocket shrapnel.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border towns

Rocket alert sirens sound in a number of communities close to the Gaza border.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF says it has notified families of 97 hostages held by terrorists in Gaza

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military has so far notified the families of 97 hostages being held by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim to be holding 130 hostages, with some reports estimating at least 200 are held in the Gaza Strip.

IDF: Gaza strikes are crippling Hamas’s ability to function

Explosions illuminate the sky during Israeli strikes on Gaza City on October 10, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Explosions illuminate the sky during Israeli strikes on Gaza City on October 10, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military’s strikes in the Gaza Strip are crippling Hamas’s ability to function.

“We are destroying Hamas’s ability to function as a sovereign; it is no longer managing to administer Gaza. Hamas is in anarchy and chaos and we need to increase this,” Hagari says in a press conference.

He says the military will strike everyone involved in the murderous attack on southern Israel on Saturday.

“We take the horrific videos and we are identifying the people who committed the atrocities, use facial recognition, and get them… they will not have immunity. Whoever gives them shelter is taking on himself and his family a very big risk,” Hagari says.

Hagari also says it has obtained intelligence from Hamas terrorists Israel has arrested in order to carry out new strikes against its assets in the Gaza Strip.

Herzog: Grieving Israel preparing for extensive military campaign against Hamas

President Isaac Herzog speaks to foreign journalists at his residence in Jerusalem on October 12, 2023. (Amy Spiro/Times of Israel)
President Isaac Herzog speaks to foreign journalists at his residence in Jerusalem on October 12, 2023. (Amy Spiro/Times of Israel)

President Isaac Herzog says Israel is preparing for an extensive military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“My nation is grieving. This tragedy has inflicted almost every home in Israel,” he says in a briefing to foreign journalists at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

“It will be a long and drawn-out campaign against Hamas, which is basically a long and drawn-out campaign on ISIS,” he says.

Herzog shows reporters a slideshow of kidnapped children and babies, says that Holocaust survivors were killed, entire families were slaughtered together and set on fire in the brutal Hamas rampage in southern Israel.

IDF confirms Islamic State flag found on terrorist killed during attack on kibbutz

An undated pic on Islamic State flag found on terrorist killed during attack on Kibbutz Sufa (Israel Defense Forces)
An undated pic on Islamic State flag found on terrorist killed during attack on Kibbutz Sufa (Israel Defense Forces)

The military confirms claims that soldiers found a flag of the Islamic State jihadist group on the vest of a terrorist killed during an assault on Kibbutz Sufa, near the Gaza border.

The IDF publishes a picture showing troops holding the flag.

Yesterday, a Telegram channel called South First Responders, which has been distributing shocking footage from scenes on kibbutzim and other areas devastated in Saturday’s attack, published images showing the Islamic State flag.

Israeli officials have repeatedly linked Hamas to IS in the aftermath of the attack, though the comparison is mainly seen as an attempt to explain the enormity of the atrocities and level of depravity as Israel rallies support for its counterattack on the Gaza-based group.

Actual links between Hamas and IS — which has been largely decimated and rendered irrelevant in the last several years — are harder to find. An IS affiliate in the Sinai, Ansar al-Bayt al-Maqdis, is also thought to have few connections with Hamas.

Gallant shows NATO defense ministers an uncensored video of Hamas atrocities, says ‘2023 is not 1943; Israel is strong’

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant briefs NATO counterparts on October 12, 2023 (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant briefs NATO counterparts on October 12, 2023 (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant briefs 31 of his counterparts at a NATO meeting in Brussels, his office says.

Gallant tells them about the of the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists against children, women, men and the elderly, and shows them an uncensored video.

“We have been hit hard. Yet make no mistake – 2023 is not 1943. We are the same Jews, but we have different capabilities. The State of Israel is strong. We are united, and powerful,” he says.

“Hamas is the ‘ISIS’ of Gaza, a savage organization, funded and supported by Iran. Hamas is ISIS,” he says.”The ‘ISIS’ of Gaza will not exist, on our borders. The IDF will destroy Hamas. And we will hunt down every last man, with the blood of our children, on his hands.”

Gallant expresses appreciation for the global show of solidarity with Israel, particularly the support from the United States.

Blinken arrives in Israel ahead of meetings with Netanyahu, Herzog and other officials

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Ben Gurion Airport, Oct. 12, 2023 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Ben Gurion Airport, Oct. 12, 2023 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lands in Israel and is met at the airport by a number of officials, including Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

He does not make a statement to the gathered reporters.

He is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other senior officials.

Speaking to reporters before boarding a plane at Joint Base Andrews, Blinken said he’s heading to Israel with “a very simple and clear message on behalf of the president of the United States and on behalf of the American people, and that is that the United States has Israel’s back.

“We have the back of the Israeli people. We have their back today. We’ll have it tomorrow. We will have it every day,” Blinken said.

Blinken reiterated that the US is determined to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself, highlighting the Islamic State-levels of depravity committed by Hamas.

He said the US will continue working to ensure that no additional actors join the fight against Israel.

Blinken added that he’ll also work with Israeli counterparts to locate the hostages — including American citizens — and work to secure their release.

Pressed on whether the Biden administration has urged Israel to exercise restraint in responding to the Hamas attacks, Blinken said, “We know that Israel will take all of the precautions that it can – just as we would. That’s what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that engage in the most heinous kind of activities.”

Blinken will travel to Amman on Friday where he will meet with senior Jordanian officials as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will be traveling with a delegation that includes PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj and PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh, a Palestinian official says.

Rocket alert sirens in Gaza border communities

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Hamas says 1,203 Palestinians killed in Israeli retaliatory strikes on Gaza

Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli retaliatory airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip, Oct. 10, 2023 (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)
Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli retaliatory airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip, Oct. 10, 2023 (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

The Hamas-run health ministry says 1,203 Palestinians have been killed and another 5,769 have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces has said it has killed some 1,500 Palestinian terrorists in Israeli territory.

Energy minister: No electricity or water to Gaza until abductees returned home

Energy Minister Israel Katz speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Energy Minister Israel Katz speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Energy Minister Israel Katz says no electricity or water will be supplied to Gaza until those abducted during Hamas’s shock onslaught are returned home.

“Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water pump will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home,” he posts on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Humanitarianism for humanitarianism. And no one can preach morality to us,” he writes.

The fate of an estimated 150 people abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip during the devastating attack by the Hamas terror group is still unclear.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border towns

Rocket alert sirens sound in a number of towns on the Gaza border.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF: Slow rate of rocket fire suggests Hamas readying for long war

The scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists hit a building and cars in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, October 11, 2023 (Edi Israel/Flash90)
The scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists hit a building and cars in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, October 11, 2023 (Edi Israel/Flash90)

The chief of the military’s Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo, says the slow rate of rocket fire over the past day indicates Hamas is preparing itself for a long war.

“We have identified the behavior of Hamas, which realizes that it is entering a long war,” Milo says in a call with reporters.

“Hamas is managing the fire in a way that is meant for weeks [of fighting], and they dropped to a rate of fire of around 200-400 rockets per day, to allow themselves a very long fight,” he says.

Milo says Hamas is targeting central Israel once or twice a day to keep many Israelis under the threat of rocket fire.

Egypt rejects proposal for evacuation corridor from Gaza, official says

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 11, 2023 (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 11, 2023 (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

The Egyptian government has rejected any proposal to establish corridors out of Gaza for Palestinians fleeing Israel’s retaliatory bombardment in Gaza, a senior Egyptian official says.

The official, who speaks on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media, was responding to White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby, who said that the Biden administration is in active conversations to achieve safe passage out of Gaza for civilians.

Egypt has engaged with intensive talks with Israel and the United States to allow the delivery of aid and fuel through its Rafah crossing point.

Israeli death toll from Hamas shock onslaught reaches 1,300

Mourners react beside the body of Mapal Adam, during her funeral in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 11, 2023. Adam was killed by Hamas terrorists in an unprecedented, multi-front attack that killed over 1,000 Israelis. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Mourners react beside the body of Mapal Adam, during her funeral in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 11, 2023. Adam was killed by Hamas terrorists in an unprecedented, multi-front attack that killed over 1,000 Israelis. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The Israeli death toll since the start of the war has continued to climb, reaching 1,300, according to Hebrew media reports.

The fate of an estimated 150 people abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip during the devastating attack by the Hamas terror group is still unclear.

Some 3,300 have been injured, including 28 in critical condition and 350 in serious condition.

Rocket sirens in central Israel, West Bank after lull of some 10 hours

Rocket alerts sound in a number of towns in central Israel and the West Bank.

Sirens are heard in localities including Even Yehuda, Tayibe, Ariel and Kfar Yona.

Explosions are heard from either impacts or interceptions.

The rocket fire comes after a lull of around 10 hours.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

IDF deploys reservist troops to towns on Lebanon border

Israelis wave the national flag in show of support to Israeli security forces, in the northern town of Katsrin, Golan Heights on October 11, 2023 (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
Israelis wave the national flag in show of support to Israeli security forces, in the northern town of Katsrin, Golan Heights on October 11, 2023 (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has deployed reservist forces to towns on the Lebanon border, amid a general reinforcement of troops in northern Israel.

“The forces are carrying out various defense tasks in the towns, which include patrols, ambushes, and the deployment of roadblocks, in order to ensure the safety of the residents,” the military says.

Tensions have been high in northern Israel in recent days, amid several deadly clashes on the border, some of them claimed by Palestinian terror groups operating out of Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon, and others by Hezbollah themselves.

IDF says there were ‘signs’ night before deadly Hamas attack, but no major warnings

A dead body after the devastating assault by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be'eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 11, 2023 (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
A dead body after the devastating assault by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be'eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 11, 2023 (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

The military responds to a report by Channel 13 news that there had been some unspecified indications the night before Hamas launched its deadly terror attack on southern Israel.

According to the report, senior intelligence officers discussed the signs on Friday night and agreed to continue the conversation in the morning.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says there were no major intelligence warnings, but confirms there had been some signs.

“There was no such warning. The signs that came up hours before could be based on different intelligence signs,” Hagari says, adding that the military would investigate everything surrounding the terror group’s surprise attack.

Saudi crown prince, Iran president speak about war between Israel and Gaza terror groups

In this file photo provided by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chairs the Arab summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2023. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)
In this file photo provided by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chairs the Arab summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2023. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler and Iran’s president speak by phone about the war between Israel and Hamas, Saudi state media says, their first call since a surprise rapprochement in March.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a call on Wednesday from the Iranian leader, Ebrahim Raisi, during which they discussed “the current military situation in Gaza and its environs,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) says.

Prince Mohammed told Raisi that Riyadh is “communicating with all international and regional parties to stop the ongoing escalation,” SPA says.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York City on September 20, 2023. (Ed Jones/AFP)

He also stressed “the kingdom’s firm position towards supporting the Palestinian cause,” it says.

Iranian state news agency IRNA also reports on the call, saying the two men discussed the “need to end war crimes against Palestine.”

Hamas launched a devastating surprise attack on Israel on Saturday that killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

Officials in Hamas-controlled Gaza have reported more than 1,000 people killed in Israel’s retaliatory campaign of air and artillery strikes.

IDF says 81 families of hostages now notified; Gaza terror groups say holding at least 130

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military has so far notified the families of 81 hostages being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“We are aware of the uncertainty but there is a tension between reliability and speed and understanding what is happening on the ground, it must be accurate,” he says in a call with reporters.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim to be holding 130 hostages, with some reports estimating at least 200 are held in the Gaza Strip.

IDF says it killed senior member of Hamas’s naval force in Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces says it struck and killed a senior member of Hamas’s naval force in the Gaza Strip overnight.

The IDF says Muhammed Abu Shamala was a senior operative in the terror groups’s naval forces in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

“Abu Shamala’s house was also used to store naval weapons intended to be used in terror operations against Israel,” the military adds.

In a call with reporters, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military also killed Mustafa Shahin, a Hamas operative who filmed and broadcast the terror group’s murderous attack on southern Israel on Saturday.

“We will close the account with everyone who was involved in the horrors of the war. We take videos from the internet and identify them with the help of facial recognition,” Hagari says.

In separate strikes overnight, the IDF says it hit dozens of sites belonging to Hamas’s commando forces.

Trump: Hezbollah ‘very smart,’ Defense Minister Gallant is a ‘jerk’

Republican presidential candidate former US President Donald Trump speaks Oct. 11, 2023, at Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Republican presidential candidate former US President Donald Trump speaks Oct. 11, 2023, at Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Former US president Donald Trump hails the Hezbollah terror group as “very smart” while branding Defense Minister Yoav Gallant a “jerk.”

Speaking at a campaign rally in West Palm Beach, the GOP presidential front-runner says, “Two nights ago, I read all of Biden’s security people [who] said, ‘Gee, I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack [Israel] from the north because that’s the most vulnerable spot.”

“I said, ‘Wait a minute, Hezbollah is very smart. They’re all very smart. — The press doesn’t like it when I say that. I said that President Xi of China — 1.4 billion people. He controls it with an iron fist. — I said, ‘he’s a very smart man.’ They killed me the next day.”

Turning to Gallant in Israel, Trump says, “They have a national defense minister or somebody saying, ‘I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack us from the north.’ So the following morning, they attacked… If you listen to this jerk, you would attack from the north because he said, ‘That’s our weak spot.'”

IDF names another 31 soldiers killed since Saturday, taking confirmed military toll to 220

The IDF names another 31 soldiers killed during fighting with Palestinian terrorists since Saturday, mostly on the border with the Gaza Strip.

The names bring the toll of slain soldiers to 220.

No rockets fired toward Israel from Gaza since 10 p.m.

Hamas terrorists fire rockets towards Israel from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 11, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Hamas terrorists fire rockets towards Israel from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 11, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

There has been no rocket fire toward Israel since 10 p.m. last night.

The lull may suggest that the Gaza terror groups are conserving their supplies for use during a potential ground operation by Israel.

Thai death toll in Hamas onslaught rises to 21; 14 still missing

A house is on fire in Kibbutz Kfar Aza during an attack by Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, 2023  (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)
A house is on fire in Kibbutz Kfar Aza during an attack by Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, 2023 (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)

Twenty-one Thai nationals have been killed in the conflict between Israel and militant group Hamas, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says, up from the previous toll of 20.

“The update from last night is bad news that one more Thai died, the number rises to 21,” he says.

There are approximately 30,000 Thais in Israel, mostly working in the agriculture sector, according to Thailand’s labour ministry.

Fears are mounting over the fate of 14 Thai citizens who have been taken hostage.

IDF carries out ‘widespread’ airstrikes on multiple Hamas sites across Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out “widespread” airstrikes against many Hamas sites across the Gaza Strip.

The IDF made the announcement at around 4 a.m., and adds that it will provide further details on the strikes.

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.