ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Oct. 13: IDF conducts widespread strikes in Gaza; Biden speaks to hostages’ families

In primetime address, PM says Israel’s Gaza strikes ‘only the beginning’; UN chief urges Israel to ‘avert humanitarian catastrophe’; Blinken criss-crosses region on Israel’s behalf

  • A salvo of rockets is fired by Hamas terrorists towards Israel in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    A salvo of rockets is fired by Hamas terrorists towards Israel in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • Damage from a rocket impact in Ashkelon, October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: fire and rescue services)
    Damage from a rocket impact in Ashkelon, October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: fire and rescue services)
  • Protesters burn Israeli flags during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Baghdad on October 13, 2023. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP)
    Protesters burn Israeli flags during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Baghdad on October 13, 2023. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP)
  • Damage to a home in Sderot from a rocket strike on October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)
    Damage to a home in Sderot from a rocket strike on October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)
  • Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
    Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
  • Israeli soldiers patrol on October 12, 2023 near Kibbutz Beeri. (Aris MESSINIS / AFP)
    Israeli soldiers patrol on October 12, 2023 near Kibbutz Beeri. (Aris MESSINIS / AFP)
  • Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 13, 2023. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)
    Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 13, 2023. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)
  • Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP/Hatem Ali)
    Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP/Hatem Ali)
  • US Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at a press conference on October 13, 2023. (screen capture)
    US Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at a press conference on October 13, 2023. (screen capture)
  • Pro-Israel demonstrators react while singing a song during a protest at Columbia University, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, in New York. (AP/Yuki Iwamura)
    Pro-Israel demonstrators react while singing a song during a protest at Columbia University, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, in New York. (AP/Yuki Iwamura)
  • Damage from a rocket strike in Sderot. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)
    Damage from a rocket strike in Sderot. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)
  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike at Al Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP/Hatem Moussa)
    Palestinians inspect the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike at Al Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP/Hatem Moussa)
  • Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a protest at Columbia University, Oct. 12, 2023, in New York. (AP/Yuki Iwamura)
    Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a protest at Columbia University, Oct. 12, 2023, in New York. (AP/Yuki Iwamura)
  • An Indian student evacuated from Israel arrives at Delhi airport, in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP/Manish Swarup)
    An Indian student evacuated from Israel arrives at Delhi airport, in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP/Manish Swarup)
  • Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense missile system over the southern city of Sderot on October 12, 2023. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense missile system over the southern city of Sderot on October 12, 2023. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

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

Another ‘unidentified object’ shot down in northern Israel, military says

The military says another “unidentified object” that penetrated into Israeli airspace in the north was shot down by aerial defense forces after a warning alert was activated near the Arab-majority city of Shfaram.

No injuries are reported.

IDF: Aerial defense forces intercept ‘two unidentified targets’ over Haifa

The military says aerial defense forces intercepted “two unidentified targets” over the northern city of Haifa and that no warning alert was activated “according to policy.”

The Israel Defense Forces say the announcement came following reports of explosions over the city.

Document reportedly left behind by terrorists shows Hamas fighters were instructed to kill civilians

The Kan public broadcaster says it uncovered a document left behind by a Hamas terrorist after last Saturday’s onslaught in southern Israel that gives orders to fighters to kill as many civilians as possible in their takeover of the town of Alonim.

1,900 Palestinians killed, 7,696 wounded in IDF airstrikes since Hamas assault

The Hamas-run health ministry says 1,900 Palestinians have been killed and another 7,696 have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip since fighting began on October 7.

Among the deaths are 614 children and 370 women, the ministry claims.

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

Trump continues damage control over criticism of Israel after Hamas assault

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

Former US president Donald Trump continues engaging in damage control as he continues to come under fire over his criticism of Israel after the Hamas onslaught.

In a post on Truth Social, Trump writes, “I have always been impressed by the skill and determination of the Israeli Defense Forces. As they defend their Nation against ruthless terrorists, I want to wish every soldier the best of luck. May you return home safely to your families, and may God bless you all!”

Yesterday, Rolling Stone magazine reported that Trump has privately been calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be “impeached” for failing to anticipate the massive Hamas onslaught.

The Rolling Stone report came as Trump was already under fire from Israel, Biden and even Republican rivals over comments he made at a campaign rally on Wednesday criticizing Jerusalem over the intelligence failure that led to the Hamas assault, calling Defense Minister Yoav Gallant a “jerk” and the Hezbollah terror group “very smart;” and laying into Netanyahu for not doing enough to assist the US in the latter’s 2020 killing of Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani.

After his remarks gained lots of attention in Israel and the US, Trump’s campaign issued a statement declaring, “There was no better friend or ally of Israel than President Donald J. Trump.”

His campaign later issued an additional statement listing all of the steps Trump took as president to support Israel.

On Friday, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said the Rolling Stone report was “100% untrue” and “never happened.”

“These unnamed “sources” are simply making this up out of thin air. This is the most egregious example of Fake News,” Cheung wrote on X.

Israel warns hospital in northern Gaza to evacuate by 6 a.m. — rights group

The IDF has warned the Al Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate by 6 a.m., the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) rights group says in a statement.

The warning further indicates that Israel is planning a major campaign in the northern Strip in the coming hours.

“We unequivocally condemn this action, the continued indiscriminate bloodshed and attacks on health care in Gaza. We are trying to protect our staff and patients,” MSF says. “The evacuation of patients remains complicated.”

State Department diplomats warned not to call for ceasefire, calm, end to violence — report

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)

After Israel warned Palestinians at midnight on Friday to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours, the State Department circulated internal memos to its officials warning them against using the phrases “de-escalation/ceasefire;” “end to violence/bloodshed” and “restoring calm,” the Huffington Post reports.

The memo indicates that the US does not plan to call on Israel to exercise restraint when responding to the Hamas onslaught.

Blinken’s Gaza shuttle diplomacy makes day’s fourth stop in Bahrain

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in Manama on October 13, 2023. (Crown Prince Court)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in Manama on October 13, 2023. (Crown Prince Court)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to discuss the ongoing Gaza war, the State Department says.

Bahrain is the fourth country Blinken has visited in the past 24 hours, as his shuttle diplomacy rallying a coalition together against Hamas and preventing other actors from entering the war against Israel continues.

White House says it has briefed Congress members on ‘ gravity of situations in Israel, Ukraine’

The White House says administration officials briefed members of Congress this morning on the “gravity of the situation in Israel and Ukraine.”

Rocket sirens sound in Tel Aviv, surrounding suburbs and in Ashdod

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Tel Aviv and surrounding suburbs, as well as in the southern coastal city of Ashdod.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the latest rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip.

Lapid rips Netanyahu for panicking Israelis over primetime address that had no new info

Opposition Leader MK Yair Lapid speaks ahead of his Yesh Atid party's parliamentary faction meeting in Tel Aviv, September 20, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Opposition Leader MK Yair Lapid speaks ahead of his Yesh Atid party's parliamentary faction meeting in Tel Aviv, September 20, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Opposition chairman Yair Lapid tears into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the premier’s primetime address.

“It is not unacceptable for the prime minister of Israel to send an entire country into a whirlwind of panic while waiting for his statement on Friday night during a time of emergency and then not say anything new either about the families of the abductees, not about the northern front, not about evacuation,” Lapid tweets.

“Such statements must not made by a prime minister unless he has new information to bring to his people and the country,” he adds.

UN chief appeals for Israel to ‘avert a humanitarian catastrophe’

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addresses a news conference during the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addresses a news conference during the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appeals for Israel to “avert a humanitarian catastrophe,” after the Israeli army ordered more than one million people to evacuate north Gaza.

“The Secretary-General and his team have been working the phones. He’s been in constant contact with Israeli authorities, urging them to avert a humanitarian catastrophe,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric tells reporters.

“I can only tell you what we’ve been told,” Dujarric says when asked about the timeframe. “It is clear to us that the clock is ticking.”

He calls for the order “to be rescinded, avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) announced the transfer of its operations to the south of Gaza, but he said some staff had asked to stay in the north.

“We are not pushing people to move. People have to make their own their own decisions,” he says.

There are “13,000 UNRWA staff members in Gaza, frontline workers, teachers, doctors, nurses, people offering psychosocial services. They are staying with the people they are tasked to support,” he says.

With growing calls to allow international aid into Gaza, he said the UN chief’s focus was on ensuring that support reaches Palestinian civilians.

“It’s been six days since anything has come in,” Dujarric says of Gaza.

“My UNRWA colleague I just got off the phone with just said they hadn’t been able to get a drop of water in there in six days. We’re literally at the bottom of the barrel.”

He says the UN was working with the Israelis and with Egypt to get aid in and create “areas of safety” for civilians.

“People should be able to be safe in their own in their own homes,” Dujarric says.

Netanyahu: We’ve hit Hamas hard, but ‘it’s only the beginning’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a press conference announcing Israel's national emergency government, October 11, 2023 (GPO  screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a press conference announcing Israel's national emergency government, October 11, 2023 (GPO screenshot)

Addressing the nation on the war against Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, “Today, everyone knows that we’re fighting for the homeland, and we’re fighting like lions.”

“We are all united,” he says, in a brief statement plainly designed to boost morale.

Netanyahu is not known to have previously spoken to the nation on a Shabbat, and there were expectations that he had something particularly dramatic to deliver.

“Much more will be told of the heroism of our people in the dark days of deep pain of that cursed Shabbat — stories that will be etched into Israel’s identity,” he says.

He says he spoke earlier today with more of the families who lost loved ones or whose loved ones are missing. “Their worlds have fallen in,” he says. “I know.”

“We’ll never forget the atrocities that our enemies carried out,” he says, “and we’ll never forgive. And we’ll never let the world, or anyone, forget these atrocities, [of a kind] that were not done to the Jewish people in many decades.”

We’re hitting “our enemies with unprecedented force,” he says, but “I stress: It’s only the beginning.”

“Our enemies have only just begun to pay the price. I won’t detail what will come next. But I’m telling you, it’s only the beginning.”

He says Israel is garnering “immense international support.”

“We are ensuring the continuation of the war, with more ammunition and weaponry coming to Israel,” he says.

“We will destroy Hamas, and we will win. It will take time,” Netanyahu says, “but we will end this war stronger than ever.”

Netanyahu to address nation, in apparent first on Shabbat

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a televised address on October 7, 2023. (Screenshot/ GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a televised address on October 7, 2023. (Screenshot/ GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to give a public address to the nation in the coming minutes about the ongoing Gaza war.

This appears to be the first time he is giving a public address on Shabbat.

First charter flight evacuating US citizens has left Israel for Europe — White House

The first flight specially chartered to evacuate American citizens has left Israel and is on its way to Europe, a White House spokesman says, without giving details of its destination.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby indicates that other flights would follow “for as long as there is demand from US citizens.”

White House says no ‘specific’ threat detected to US after Hamas attack

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, June 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, June 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US intelligence has detected no “specific” threat against the United States in the wake of a massive terror attack by Hamas on Israel six days ago, a White House spokesman says.

“That said, we continue to remain vigilant to any and all possible threats,” especially to the Jewish and Muslim communities across the United States, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says.

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon

A salvo of rockets is fired by Hamas militants towards Israel in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
A salvo of rockets is fired by Hamas militants towards Israel in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Earlier, rockets were launched toward central Israel, setting off sirens in towns close to Ben Gurion Airport.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Israel urges citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Jordan or Sinai

The National Security Council raises its travel warning for Jordan and the Sinai desert in Egypt, calling on Israelis “to avoid non-essential travel to these countries.”

UAE sends plane full of medical aid to Egypt for transfer to Gaza

The United Arab Emirates dispatched a plane full of medical aid to Egypt in order for it to be brought into the enclave through the Rafah crossing, Emirati state media says.

It is unclear whether the crossing is open after being bombed by Israel earlier this week.

IDF carrying out ‘widespread’ airstrikes against Hamas sites in Gaza

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 13, 2023. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)
Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 13, 2023. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)

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

The IDF says it will provide further details on the strikes soon.

Moments ago, Hamas took responsibility for a barrage of rockets fired toward central Israel.

Jordan king stresses need of humanitarian corridor for Gaza in meeting with Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman on October 13, 2023. (State Department)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman on October 13, 2023. (State Department)

In his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier today in Amman, Jordan’ King Abdullah “stressed the need to open humanitarian corridors to allow for the delivery of medical and relief aid into Gaza,” according to a Jordanian readout.

“King Abdullah said the work of international agencies in the Gaza Strip must not be hindered, to enable them to perform their humanitarian duties, stressing the importance of stepping up international efforts to end the escalation in Gaza and its surroundings and prevent a further deterioration of the situation and its spillover into the West Bank,” the readout says.

“His Majesty warned of any attempt to forcibly displace the Palestinians from all the Palestinian Territories or to cause their internal displacement, calling for preventing a spillover of the crisis into neighboring countries and the exacerbation of the refugee issue.”

“The King warned of inflicting collective punishment against Gaza residents, urging the protection of innocent civilians on all sides, in line with shared human values, international law and international humanitarian law.”

Abdullah does not condemn the Hamas onslaught at all.

Hamas publishes propaganda footage of members holding young Israeli captives

The Hamas terror group publishes propaganda footage showing its members holding young Israeli children and babies in a kibbutz in southern Israel last weekend, in an apparent attempt to downplay its murderous attack.

The video shows terrorists taking a number of small children and infants out of homes in Kibbutz Holit.

One clip shows the terrorists giving a child a glass of water to drink, and another clip shows terrorists rocking a baby in a stroller.

Parents of the children are nowhere to be seen.

There is evidence showing that Palestinian terrorists murdered young children during its onslaught last weekend.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Tel Aviv on Thursday, cataloged some of what he called Hamas’s “countless acts of terror in a litany of brutality and inhumanity,” specifying, “Babies slaughtered, bodies desecrated, young people burned alive, women raped, parents executed in front of their children, children in front of their parents.”

Biden holds call with families of 14 Americans unaccounted for after Hamas onslaught

US President Joe Biden speaks on October 10, 2023, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on the war between Israel and Hamas after the terror group launched its shock attack on Israel on Saturday. (AP/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden speaks on October 10, 2023, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on the war between Israel and Hamas after the terror group launched its shock attack on Israel on Saturday. (AP/Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden held a call with family members of the 14 Americans still unaccounted for following the Hamas onslaught on Saturday.

Not all of those 14 Americans are believed to be hostages in Gaza, and White House National Security Council chairman John Kirby says the number of American hostages is likely “less than a handful.”

Unconfirmed report: Riyadh puts Israel normalization talks ‘on ice’ amid Gaza war

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, left, and US President Joe Biden, right, shake hands next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, September 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Pool)
Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, left, and US President Joe Biden, right, shake hands next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, September 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Pool)

Saudi Arabia has decided to put Israel normalization talks “on ice,” amid the ongoing Gaza war, Reuters reports, citing two anonymous sources familiar with Riyadh’s thinking.

A similar report was published last month in Arabic media, which ended up being false, and this one too raises questions, even as it is being widely shared.

The two sources tell Reuters that there would be a delay in the US-brokered talks, though this was already clear, as senior US officials have already publicly acknowledged that the Hamas onslaught has derailed the normalization effort, even if they’re “not abandoning it.”

Analysts have acknowledged that one of Hamas’s goals in its assault was to block the normalization effort.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held his first-ever call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi earlier this week.

IDF drone striking Hezbollah sites in Lebanon after terror group fired at Israel

Lebanese soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint along the Khiyam plains near the Lebanon-Israel border, on October 13, 2023. (Photo by Joseph EID / AFP)
Lebanese soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint along the Khiyam plains near the Lebanon-Israel border, on October 13, 2023. (Photo by Joseph EID / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out new drone strikes against Hezbollah sites in Lebanon.

The attack comes amid clashes on the northern border, after the terror group opened fire at a number of army positions, an explosive damaged a part of the security wall earlier, and an apparent drone was intercepted.

Gaza City residents have been heeding warning and moving south, military says

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says residents of Gaza City have begun to move southward after the military warned it would begin to heavily target the area.

“The population of Gaza City has started moving south significantly in order to defend itself,” Hagari says in a press conference.

He says the IDF has struck thousands of targets across the Gaza Strip since the fighting began last weekend.

Army reports it intercepted ‘unknown object’ that flew into Israel from Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces says it intercepted an “unknown object” flying into Israeli territory from Lebanon, setting off alarms in the border town of Misgav Am.

The object is believed to be a drone.

The IDF says the it launched an air defense missile at the object, successfully intercepting it.

IDF says its fighter jets, drones continue to strike Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets and drones are continuing to carry out strikes in the Gaza Strip today.

The IDF releases footage showing airstrikes against a rocket launching site, after a barrage is launched toward Israel.

IDF: Infantry troops, tanks entered Gaza for ‘localized raids’ to clear area of terrorists, locate hostages

An Israeli self-propelled howitzer on a main road near the southern Israeli city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
An Israeli self-propelled howitzer on a main road near the southern Israeli city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says infantry forces and tanks entered Gaza Strip territory today in “localized raids” in order to clear the area of potential terrorists and locate missing Israelis.

According to the military, the troops scanned and collected various findings “that may help in the effort to locate the missing.”

The IDF says the troops also killed a number of terrorists in the area, including a Hamas cell that launched anti-tank guided missiles at Israel.

The troops did not enter deep into Gaza.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says armored and infantry forces carried out searches and “thwarted anti-tank guided missile squads that intended to infiltrate into Israeli territory.”

“The forces located findings that may help in the effort to locate the missing,” Hagari says.

“We will continue to make every effort to find every detail about the missing and hostages,” he adds.

An estimates 150-200 people were taken hostage by Hamas during its murderous attack last Saturday. The IDF has so far notified the families of 120 hostages that their loved ones are being held in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah claims responsibility for firing at Israeli military posts

The Lebanese Hezbollah terror group claims responsibility for targeting Israeli military posts on the Lebanon border with small arms fire.

In a statement, Hezbollah says the attack comes in response to “Israeli aggression” on Lebanon earlier today, in an apparent reference to artillery fire after a section of Israel’s border wall was damaged in an explosion.

Cameraman killed, 2 journalists injured as IDF fires back at Hezbollah post

A Reuters cameraman has been killed and two reporters have been injured while operating a live feed of the Israel-Lebanon border, Reuters says.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed,” the news agency says. “Issam was part of a Reuters crew in southern Lebanon who was providing a live signal. We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region, and supporting Issam’s family and colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”

Foreign media reports name the injured journalists as Carmen Jokhdar and Ellie Brakhaya from Al Jazeera.

The incident was reported soon after the IDF said its tanks shelled a Hezbollah post on the border in response to Hezbollah gunfire at several IDF military posts.

IDF urges Palestinians to leave northern Gaza Strip by 8 p.m.

The IDF’s Arabic language spokesperson Avichay Adraee says Palestinians have until 8 p.m. to move south of Wadi Gaza, indicating that the army is gearing for a massive operation in the northern Gaza Strip.

The IDF initially notified Palestinians at midnight on Friday that they had 24 hours to evacuate.

“If you are concerned about yourself and your loved ones, you should head south according to our instructions. Rest assured that Hamas leaders only care about protecting themselves,” Adraee tweets.

Rocket sirens wail in kibbutz of Misgav Am bordering Lebanon

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the northern kibbutz of Misgav Am on the Lebanon border.

The alert comes amid clashes on the northern frontier after gunfire targeted a number of Israeli military posts on the border.

The Israel Defense Forces has been responding with artillery fire and tank fire against a Hezbollah post.

IDF says its tanks shelled Hezbollah military posts in response to gunfire from Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces says tanks have shelled a Hezbollah post on the Lebanon border after light gunfire targeted a number of military posts on the northern frontier.

The military says it struck a Hezbollah observation post with tank fire, and is shelling the source of the gunfire with artillery.

Residents of Kibbutz Hanita near Lebanon given all clear after suspected infiltration alert

The Home Front Command gives residents of Kibbutz Hanita an all-clear after a suspected infiltration alarm sounded there earlier.

The alert was activated following an explosion on the border wall.

Democrats said to back massive IDF campaign against Hamas but incensed by continued settler violence

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)

Haaretz reporter Amir Tibon says he just held a virtual briefing with roughly 70 Democratic members of Congress organized by J Street and gained the impression that Israel has the party’s backing for a massive military campaign against Hamas.

At the same time, there was considerable concern among members about continued settler violence in the West Bank, which has taken the lives of a handful of Palestinians over the past several days, including one who was shot point blank in front of IDF soldiers who watched and didn’t intervene.

There is no legitimacy in the party for Israel to use the Gaza conflict to further undermine the status quo in the West Bank, Tibon says.

Tibon says some of the lawmakers were moved to tears as he shared his experience hiding with his family in a bomb shelter for hours on Saturday as Hamas carried out its onslaught throughout southern Israel.

Palestinian terrorists fired at people hiding in portable toilets, new footage from onslaught shows

Hamas terrorists fire at Israelis hiding in port-o-potties near Re'im in southern Israel on October 7, 2023. (South First Responders)
Hamas terrorists fire at Israelis hiding in port-o-potties near Re'im in southern Israel on October 7, 2023. (South First Responders)

Newly released footage shows how Palestinian terrorists opened fire at people hiding in portable toilets amid the massacre at the outdoor festival near Re’im last weekend.

The video, obtained from the GoPro camera of a Palestinian terrorist and published by the South First Responders group on Telegram, shows how the second wave of Palestinian terrorists arrived at the rave.

The video shows that the first thing the terrorists do is to open fire at the closed doors of the outdoor toilets. Other images published by South First Responders show a large amount of blood in one of the toilets.

Rescue services have said they recovered around 260 bodies from the site of the festival. Others were taken hostage by the terror group.

IDF says it’s responding with artillery, tank fire into Lebanon after gunfire at northern town

The Israel Defense Forces says it is responding with artillery and tank fire into Lebanon after gunfire was identified toward the northern town of Misgav Am.

The IDF says it will provide further details soon.

The incident comes after an explosion damaged a section of the Lebanon border wall near Kibbutz Hanita.

Ya’alon: Best we can do is strike massive blow to Hamas, but there will be future rounds

Moshe Ya'alon seen during a visit in Vered Yeriho observation point, in the Judean Desert, January 21, 2020. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Moshe Ya'alon seen during a visit in Vered Yeriho observation point, in the Judean Desert, January 21, 2020. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon suggests during a Channel 12 interview that Israelis should lower expectations of what the IDF will be able to do in Gaza.

He says that the IDF must strike a massive blow to Hamas after its onslaught. However, he laments that there will likely be additional rounds of fighting in Gaza after the current one.

“Whoever thinks you can get rid of the Hamas ideology through another military campaign [is mistaken],” he says.

Biden to speak today with families of some of the American hostages in Gaza

US President Joe Biden speaks on October 10, 2023, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on the war between Israel and Hamas after the terror group launched its shock attack on Israel on Saturday. (AP/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden speaks on October 10, 2023, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on the war between Israel and Hamas after the terror group launched its shock attack on Israel on Saturday. (AP/Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden is slated to speak later today with the families of some of the Americans believed to be held hostage by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Asked why he felt it was important to take this step, Biden tells CBS’s 60 Minutes: “I think they have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about them, deeply. We have to communicate to the world this is critical. This is not even human behavior. It’s pure barbarism, and we’re going to do everything in our power to get them home — if we can find them.”

The full interview will air on Sunday.

“We’re doing everything we can to secure the release of the hostages working closely with our Israeli partners,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during his trip to Israel on Thursday, adding that the State Department’s deputy special representative for hostage affairs Steve Gillen was traveling with him.

IDF releases names of seven more soldiers killed during Hamas onslaught

The Israel Defense Forces names another seven soldiers killed during fighting with Palestinian terrorists since October 7, mostly on the border with the Gaza Strip.

The names bring the toll of slain soldiers to 264.

They are:

Cpt. Guy Admoni, 25, an intelligence officer, from Kfar Aza.

Lt. Dor Sade, 22, a Givati soldier, from Arugot.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Haim Yeshurun Katzman, 32, head of a local security team, from Holit.

Staff Sgt. Itay Avraham Ron, 20, a Golani soldier, from Nes Tziona.

Sgt. Imri Peretz, 20, a commander at the School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders, from Elyakhin.

Sgt. Roi Haim Guri, 21, a Golani soldier, from Ofakim.

Sgt. (res.) Adi Odaya Baruch, 22, a soldier in the Judea Regional Brigade, from Kiryat Netafim.

Report: Hamas preventing Gazans from evacuating homes after IDF warning of impending strike

Destruction from Israeli aerial bombardment in Gaza City, October 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Destruction from Israeli aerial bombardment in Gaza City, October 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Hamas is preventing Palestinian civilians in Gaza from leaving their homes after the IDF warns of an impending strike, Fox News reports, citing a diplomatic source and another source in Gaza City.

A senior Hamas official denies this is happening to Fox News, calling it “technically impossible.”

US envoy blasts ‘antisemitic slogans and symbols’ at global pro-Palestinian protests

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Berlin, Germany take part in a demonstration against Israel amid the fighting in Gaza between the Israeli military and Hamas, May 15, 2021. (Stefanie Loos/AFP)
Pro-Palestinian protesters in Berlin, Germany take part in a demonstration against Israel amid the fighting in Gaza between the Israeli military and Hamas, May 15, 2021. (Stefanie Loos/AFP)

“We deplore antisemitic slogans and symbols at recent protests, including chants of “Gas the Jews” in Sydney,” says US antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt tweets. “We condemn those who take to the streets of cities like London and New York to celebrate Hamas’s mass murder of 1,200 civilians.”

“Reveling in the murder and rape of civilians, or chanting ‘From the river to the sea,’ has nothing to do with advancing security, prosperity, freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people. Such hatred only makes peace harder to achieve,” she says.

“This is not a matter of religion or politics. Murder is never acceptable and cannot be justified by any faith or ideology. Whatever your views on Mideast policy, targeting people because they are Jews or based on a real or perceived connection to Israel is antisemitic.

Netanyahu, Gallant, Gantz, Eisenkot, Dermer, Deri hold security briefing at the Kirya

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is currently conducting a security assessment in the IDF’s Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz, Minister Gadi Eisenkot, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, Shas chairman Aryeh Deri and senior members of the security establishment, the premier’s office says.

One person moderately wounded after rocket falls in Rehovot

The site of an rocket impact in Rehovot on October 13, 2023. (Courtesy)
The site of an rocket impact in Rehovot on October 13, 2023. (Courtesy)

One person is moderately wounded after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip slammed into a residential area of the central city of Rehovot, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are treating and taken to hospital a woman in her 30s who was hurt by shrapnel.

Images from the scene show the rocket impacted a road, causing damage to nearby homes.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Blinken discusses hostages held in Gaza during meeting with Qatar emir in Doha

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani in Doha on October 13, 2023. (US State Department)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani in Doha on October 13, 2023. (US State Department)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani in Doha to discuss the ongoing Gaza conflict and Qatar’s efforts to coax Hamas into releasing its hostages.

Gaza rocket barrage triggers sirens in Tel Aviv; Rehovot home reported struck

A salvo of rockets is fired by Hamas militants towards Israel in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
A salvo of rockets is fired by Hamas militants towards Israel in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A Gaza rocket barrage triggers sirens all the way in Tel Aviv and other towns in central Isael.

A house in Rehovot has reportedly been struck.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it is scanning after receiving reports of rocket impacts in central Israel.

Putin compares ‘unacceptable’ Gaza siege to Nazi blockade of Leningrad

Photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club forum in Sochi on October 5, 2023. (Sergei Guneyev/Pool/AFP)
Photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club forum in Sochi on October 5, 2023. (Sergei Guneyev/Pool/AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin compares the “unacceptable” Israeli siege of Gaza in response to the Hamas onslaught to the Nazi blockade of Leningrad.

IDF says blast causes minor damage to section of Lebanon border wall; troops fire artillery in response

An armored vehicle of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is stationed near a border point in Lebanon's Khiyam plain, opposite the northern Israeli town of Metula (background) on October 11, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)
An armored vehicle of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is stationed near a border point in Lebanon's Khiyam plain, opposite the northern Israeli town of Metula (background) on October 11, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says an explosion caused minor damage to a section of the security wall on the Lebanon border near the northern kibbutz of Hanita.

Troops are responding with artillery fire toward Lebanon in the area, the IDF says.

A suspected infiltration alert sounds in Hanita, as the IDF says it is scanning the area for possible suspects that infiltrated into Israel.

‘We’re celebrating Noa, but only a picture of her is here’: Parents of hostage mark her birthday

Liora and Yaakov Argamani speak to Channel 12 on October 13, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)
Liora and Yaakov Argamani speak to Channel 12 on October 13, 2023. (Screen capture/Channel 12)

The parents of Noa Argamani share the experience of celebrating the 23rd birthday of their daughter who was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists into Gaza last week.

“We’re celebrating Noa, but only a picture of her is present,” her father Yaakov tells Channel 12.

On Saturday, her family shared harrowing footage of her abduction in southern Israel.

The video shows her being taken away on the back of a motorcycle by Hamas terrorists as she screams “Don’t kill me” and stretches her arms out to her boyfriend, Avi Natan, who is also being held by Hamas operatives. They were both attending a festival in the south.

Since then, a video of Argamani was released on social media showing her drinking water in captivity.

Her father tells Channel 12 that he hopes her captors “have a heart” and won’t hurt his daughter.

European diplomats make solidarity visits to southern Israel

Diplomats including Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani pay solidarity visits to southern Israel, accompanied by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, October 13, 2023 (Lazar Berman / Times of Israel)
Diplomats including Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani pay solidarity visits to southern Israel, accompanied by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, October 13, 2023 (Lazar Berman / Times of Israel)

After the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Israel yesterday and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today, European foreign ministers begin to reach southern Israel on solidarity trips.

Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani met with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Netivot, where they heard from Yoni, whose wife and daughters were kidnapped into Gaza by Hamas terrorists.

As Tajani embraced Cohen with a farewell hug at a house in Netivot where three generations of a family were killed after a direct strike by a missile, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock showed up at the blackened building. A dog barked nervously at the rush of German diplomats and blond security guards.

“This is the worst day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” Cohen said next to the German foreign minister.

“I will say something I never thought I would have to say,” said Cohen as they stood in the rubble of the building: “Never again.”

“Never again will we let ourselves live next to vicious terrorists.”

Diplomats including Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, left, pay solidarity visits to southern Israel, accompanied by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (center right), October 13, 2023 (Lazar Berman / Times of Israel)

He then pivoted to compare Hamas to ISIS.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen , European Parliament Roberta Metsola and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly are all visiting Israel today as well.

EU chief visits Kfar Azza: ‘The horror of what happened here is unspeakable’

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (L) visits Kfar Aza on October 13, 2023. (Ursula von der Leyen/X)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (L) visits Kfar Aza on October 13, 2023. (Ursula von der Leyen/X)

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola visit Kfar Azza during a solidarity trip to Israel following the Hamas onslaught.

“We were in Kfar Azza. One of the epicenters of the atrocities committed by Hamas last weekend. The horror of what happened here is unspeakable. We mourn with the families of the victims,” she tweets.

Suspected infiltration alert sounds in kibbutz near Lebanon border

A suspected infiltration alert is sounding in the northern kibbutz of Hanita on the Lebanon border.

There have been several false alarms in northern Israel in recent days, as tensions remain high with the Hezbollah terror group.

Day’s death count of Palestinians killed in West Bank clashes — PA health ministry

Palestinian protesters push a dumpster to be used for cover during clashes with Israeli forces following a rally in solidarity with Gaza by supporters of the Fatah and Hamas movements, in the city of Hebron in the West Bank on October 13, 2023.(HAZEM BADER / AFP)
Palestinian protesters push a dumpster to be used for cover during clashes with Israeli forces following a rally in solidarity with Gaza by supporters of the Fatah and Hamas movements, in the city of Hebron in the West Bank on October 13, 2023.(HAZEM BADER / AFP)

The number of Palestinians killed in West Bank clashes during the Hamas-declared “Day of Rage” has risen to nine, the Palestinian Authority health ministry says.

US Senate majority leader to lead solidarity delegation to Israel

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks into a closed-door caucus meeting after the House approved a 45-day funding bill to keep federal agencies open, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Washington. The measure now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks into a closed-door caucus meeting after the House approved a 45-day funding bill to keep federal agencies open, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Washington. The measure now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel this weekend, his office says.

Schumer will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and National Unity chairman Benny Gantz.

Schumer’s office says he “will discuss [in his meetings] what resources the United States can provide to support Israel on all fronts.”

1,799 Gazans have been killed, 6,388 injured in IDF airstrikes this week — Hamas health ministry

Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

The Hamas-run health ministry says 1,799 Palestinians have been killed and another 6,388 have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip since fighting began on October 7.

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

Suspected drone infiltration alert sounds in southern border town of Bnei Netzarim

A suspected drone infiltration alert is sounding in the southern town of Bnei Netzarim, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas terror group has claimed to have launched several drones at Israel amid the fighting in southern Israel in recent days.

Police say officers killed 4 Palestinians who planted IEDs on West Bank barrier

Damage is seen caused to the West Bank security barrier near the Nitsanei HaShalom Industrial Zone, October 13, 2023. (Israel Police)
Damage is seen caused to the West Bank security barrier near the Nitsanei HaShalom Industrial Zone, October 13, 2023. (Israel Police)

Police say officers have killed four Palestinians after they planted explosives on the West Bank security barrier.

In a statement, police say Border Police officers spotted the four suspects approaching the fence near the Nitsanei HaShalom Industrial Zone, close to Tulkarem, and setting off bombs.

The officers returned fire, killing them, police say.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 44 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since October 7.

Blinken thanks Abbas for efforts to calm situation in West Bank

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on October 13, 2023. (State Department)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on October 13, 2023. (State Department)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman earlier today, the State Department says.

Blinken in the meeting “reiterated the United States’ unequivocal condemnation of the abhorrent terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel [and] detailed US efforts to coordinate with partners to prevent the conflict from widening,” according to the US readout.

Blinken “extended his condolences to the families of Palestinian civilian victims of this conflict, and reiterated that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s legitimate right to dignity, freedom, justice, and self-determination.”

The secretary thanked “Abbas and his team for their work to further calm the situation for the benefit of Palestinians, Israelis, and the tens of thousands of Americans who also call the West Bank home.”

‘Blinken reaffirmed the US commitment to cooperation with the Palestinian leadership and people on efforts to ensure security for all,” the US readout says.

For his part, Abbas told Blinken he is opposed to Palestinians being forced to leave Palestinian territory against the backdrop of Israel warning over one million Gazans in the northern part of the enclave to evacuate to the south by midnight on Saturday, Reuters reported, citing a State Department official.

Abbas also “stressed the need to immediately stop the Israeli aggression,” and allow the establishment of humanitarian corridors in Gaza, the PA readout says.

Abbas warned Blinken “of a humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza due to the ongoing aerial bombardment by Israel, according to the PA readout.

He blasted settler terrorism in the West Bank against Palestinians and stressed his rejection of targeting civilians on both sides, without explicitly condemning Hamas.

Abbas also called for a two-state solution with Israel on the pre-1967 lines.

Blinken to Jordan king: Hamas doesn’t stand for Palestinian people

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman on October 13, 2023. (State Department)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman on October 13, 2023. (State Department)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Jordan’s King Abdullah earlier today to discuss the ongoing Gaza war, the State Department says.

The pair discussed the Hamas onslaught, efforts to secure the release of all hostages in Gaza and to prevent the war from widening, according to the US readout.

Blinken “underscored that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination and discussed ways to address the humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza while Israel conducts legitimate security operations to defend itself from terrorism,” the readout says.

Blinken also “reaffirmed the strength of the bilateral partnership and the US commitment to Jordan’s security and economic prosperity, and expressed enduring US appreciation for Jordan’s special role in Jerusalem and as a force for stability in the region.”

Residents of Gaza border town briefly ordered to remain in homes amid suspected drone infiltration

A small drone flies over the Gaza Strip, August 21, 2023. (Screenshot: X)
A small drone flies over the Gaza Strip, August 21, 2023. (Screenshot: X)

Residents of towns in the Hevel Shalom area, near the tri-border with Gaza and Egypt, are briefly ordered to remain in shelters amid a suspected drone infiltration from the Strip, local authorities say.

An all-clear is given after around 10 minutes.

The vast majority of residents living in communities close to the border with the Gaza Strip have already evacuated amid the fighting.

Sderot municipality reports direct rocket hit on building, no injuries

The Sderot municipality reports a direct hit to a building sustained during a rocket barrage on October 13, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)
The Sderot municipality reports a direct hit to a building sustained during a rocket barrage on October 13, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)

The Sderot municipality reports a direct hit to a building, sustained during the latest rocket barrage.

There are no injuries.

Gaza evacuation a ‘tall order’ but US understands need, White House says

The Israeli army’s call for more than 1 million people to evacuate north Gaza is a “tall order,” the White House said Friday, adding that the United States understands Israel is trying to give civilians “fair warning.”

“We understand what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to move civilians out of harm’s way,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN.

“Now it’s a tall order. It’s a million people, and it’s very urban, dense environment. It’s already a combat zone. So I don’t think anybody’s underestimating the challenge here of effecting that evacuation.”

Video shows settler shooting, injuring Palestinian

An Israeli settler shoots and severely injures a Palestinian from point blank range during a confrontation in the At-Tuwani village in the South Hebron Hills, the latest in a series of violent attacks on West Bank Palestinians by settlers.

In a video sent by the B’Tselem human rights organization, a settler armed with an assault rifle is seen at first standing in wasteland behind a large rock with several unarmed Palestinian men close by.

The Israeli man then approaches one of the Palestinians, hits him with his rifle and despite the Palestinian taking a step or two backwards then fires at him from point-blank range at his abdomen.

An IDF soldier is then seen approaching the scene of the incident and escorts the shooter together with another individual, also apparently a settler, away from the scene.

In a subsequent video also sent by B’Tselem the man is seen bleeding from his wound but apparently conscious and being loaded into a car to take him to hospital.

A police spokesperson for the Judea District said they were aware of the incident, that they know the identity of the assailant, and that he will be questioned.

The spokesperson confirmed that the assailant was an Israeli settler and resident of one of the settlements or illegal outposts in the South Hebron Hills region.

Six Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank in two separate incidents in the last three days, reportedly by settlers.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said on Thursday that two Palestinians were killed after Israeli settlers opened fire on a funeral procession near the West Bank town of Qusra, south of Nablus.

According to the Palestinian Authority’s WAFA news agency, ambulances were carrying the bodies of four Palestinians who were shot dead a day earlier, reportedly also by Israeli settlers, when settlers arrived at the scene and attempted to halt the funeral procession.

‘US will make sure Israel has what it needs for defense,’ Austin says

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says that the US will continue to support and supply Israeli forces in its battles, not ruling either out the possibility of sending US troops.

Responding to a question about the potential of US forces joining a fight against Hezbollah in the north, Austin says: “I won’t speculate on anything that could happen in the future,” adding that “make no mistake, the United States will make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself.”

Austin says that the Pentagon is already sending “munitions, air defense capabilities and other equipment resources” as well as additional “interceptors for Iron Dome, to save Israeli lives.”

The defense secretary also says that US officials “will continue to coordinate closely with Israel to help secure the release of the innocent men, women and children in the clutches of Hamas, including American citizens.”

Asked about concerns over civilian casualties in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes, Austin says that “Israel has a right to defend itself… I’ve worked with Israeli forces for many years, my experience is that they’re professional, they’re disciplined and they’re focused on the right things.”

“This is a time for resolve and not revenge, for purpose and not panic, and for security and not surrender,” he says.

Gallant says that “Israel never ever will shoot civilians on purpose,” hence the IDF request for Gazans to evacuate from Gaza City and head south, “and the reason is that we don’t want to harm them.”

Hamas rocket knocked down by David’s Sling interceptor

The long-range rocket was intercepted by the David’s Sling medium-range air defense system, a military source says.

Hamas launched an Ayyash 250 rocket toward the southern city of Eilat in a round of fighting in May 2021.

Before that launch, the group’s range was thought to max out at 160 kilometers.

220 arrested in West Bank since Saturday massacre, Israel says

The Israel Defense Forces says troops have arrested 220 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including 130 affiliated with Hamas, since fighting began last weekend in southern Israel.

Last night alone 32 Hamas members were arrested by the IDF, among them senior members detained in Hebron, the military says.

There have been several clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians in the West Bank in recent days, and several attempted terror attacks.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 35 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

Hamas claims to have fired on northern Israel

The Hamas terror group claims to have launched Ayyash 250 rockets from the Gaza Strip at northern Israel, which have a range of 250 kilometers.

It appears to be the furthest location in Israel Hamas has targeted since fighting began last weekend.

Sirens sound across northern Israel

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding across northern Israel.

The alerts go off in the Upper Galilee and Center Galilee.

There have been several false alarms in northern Israel in recent days, and it remains unclear if rockets have been launched into Israel from Lebanon.

The IDF says it is investigating.

Hezbollah says it’s not afraid of US firepower

Hezbollah will be “on the lookout” for military craft sent to the Mediterranean Sea near Israel meant to deter the Lebanese terror group from attacking Israel as it fights Hamas in Gaza.

“Your battleships do not interest us, nor do your statements frighten us,” deputy terror chief Naim Qassim says at a rally in a southern suburb in Beirut, Lebanon.

Thousands of Hezbollah supporters waving Lebanese, Palestinian and Hezbollah chant slogans supporting Gaza and “Death to Israel.”

US defense chief Austin: No time for neutrality

US Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at a press conference on October 13, 2023. (screen capture)
US Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at a press conference on October 13, 2023. (screen capture)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says that now is not the time to equivocate on atrocities.

“This is no time for neutrality, or for false equivalence, or for excuses for the inexcusable,” Austin says at a press statement alongside his Israel counterpart Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv.

“There is never any justification for terrorism. And that’s especially true of this rampage by Hamas,” Austin adds.

Austin says that “anyone who wants lasting peace and security for this region must condemn and isolate Hamas,” adding that “Hamas does not speak for the Palestinian people, or their legitimate hopes for dignity, security and statehood and peace alongside Israel.”

Austin says that Hamas activity — “bloodthirsty, fanatical” — reminds him of the ISIS terror group: “Hamas has nothing to offer, but zealotry, bigotry and death.”

In a not-so veiled threat to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Austin says that “any country, or any group or anyone trying to take advantage of this atrocity… we have just one word: Don’t.”

Gallant thanks US counterpart as second ordnance shipment flies in

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says that a second aircraft is arriving in Israel today carrying munitions for the IDF.

“Mr. Secretary, when you said that you stand with Israel, you showed up,” Gallant says in a joint press statement alongside his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Tel Aviv.

“You stand here with us, Mr. Secretary, you have shown us what it means to be an ally, to be a friend, to be a brother,” Gallant says.

“Defense cooperation and US support in the Pentagon, in the White House, Congress, ensure freedom of operation and enforce our capabilities,” Gallant says.

Today, “we will receive the second aircraft carrying essential munitions to the IDF,” Gallant says. “US deployment of assets on land and in air and at sea sends a strong message to our partners and enemies in the region.”

“This is a war on freedom and on our common values and we are on the front line. We will keep fighting and we will win this war,” he adds.

Hezbollah ‘fully prepared’ to join fight against Israel

Israelis arrive at a weapons distribution point for people allowed to carry arms, at the Ayyelet HaShahar Kibbutz, in northern Israel, near the Lebanese border on October 12, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
Israelis arrive at a weapons distribution point for people allowed to carry arms, at the Ayyelet HaShahar Kibbutz, in northern Israel, near the Lebanese border on October 12, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement says it is ready to join Hamas in the war against Israel when the time is right.

“We are fully prepared, and when the time comes for action, we will take it,” Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem tells a pro-Palestinian rally in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Abbas: Israeli call for Gazans to move south a ‘second Nakba’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appears to join calls for Palestinians to remain in northern Gaza after the Israeli army ordered civilians to evacuate.

Abbas “completely rejects the displacement of our people from the Gaza Strip, because it will be tantamount to a second Nakba for our people,” he says, according to a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The Nakba, or “catastrophe,” refers to some 760,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war that coincided with Israel’s creation.

Israel says it wants to minimize civilian casualties as it goes after Hamas terrorists entrenched in residential areas of the Strip.

Putin: Gaza incursion would lead to ‘unacceptable’ casualties

Russian President Vladimir Putin says an expected Israel ground offensive in the Gaza would lead to “unacceptable” civilian casualties.

“The use of heavy machinery in residential areas is a complex matter fraught with grave consequences,” says Putin in televised remarks, “most importantly, the civilian casualties will be absolutely unacceptable.”

“The most important thing now is to stop the bloodshed,” Putin says, adding his country was “ready to coordinate with all constructive partners.”

Russia has been carrying out what Moscow calls a military operation in Ukraine since February 2022, during which thousands of civilians are estimated to have died after strikes hit numerous residential areas across the country.

Rockets launched at Ashkelon

Rockets are once again flying toward Ashkelon and surrounding towns, as the city continues to be bombarded by Gazan terrorists.

US secretary of defense: Actions of Hamas are ‘worse than what I saw with ISIS’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet in Tel Aviv on October 13, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet in Tel Aviv on October 13, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says he believes that in many ways the Hamas terror group is worse than ISIS.

“We’re with you, Mr. Prime Minister, and as the president said, we have your back,” Austin tells Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting in Tel Aviv. “It’s an awful week… disgusting acts by this terrorist group.”

Austin tells Netanyahu: “As you know, I was the guy that initially put the ISIS campaign together and I know a lot about ISIS, and this is worse than what I saw with ISIS.”

Rocket destroys cars in Ashkelon, no injuries

Damage from a rocket impact in Ashkelon, October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: fire and rescue services)
Damage from a rocket impact in Ashkelon, October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: fire and rescue services)

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip has slammed into a residential area of Ashkelon.

According to authorities, several cars are heavily damaged in the impact, and shrapnel has hit a nearby building.

There are no reports of injuries.

Areas in Metula declared closed military zone

A picture taken from southern Lebanon on October 9, 2023, shows an Israeli Merkava tank driving in the border town of Metula, Israel. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)
A picture taken from southern Lebanon on October 9, 2023, shows an Israeli Merkava tank driving in the border town of Metula, Israel. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces has declared some areas in the northern town of Metula a closed military zone, according to local authorities.

In a statement to residents, the municipality says this morning the head of the IDF’s Northern Command issued the order.

According to Army Radio, the closed military zone only applies to sections of the town near the Lebanon border fence.

Residents who have left the town in recent days are asked to not return.

“We are in continuous contact with army officials, hold daily situation assessment meetings, and will continue to update on all developments,” the municipality adds.

The military has bolstered forces in northern Israel in recent days, amid fears the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group will open up a second front amid the war triggered by last weekend’s unprecedented invasion from the Gaza Strip.

Metula in recent days has recommended that residents leave the town amid the tensions.

Jordanians, Iraqis mass to protest Israel

Thousands have gathered in the Jordanian capital of Amman for a demonstration in support of Palestinians amid Israeli air strikes on Gaza in reprisal for a deadly Hamas attack.

More than 10,000 people converge in central Amman near Grand Hussein Mosque, responding to a call from Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, as well as several leftist and youth groups.

There is a heavy security presence in the area, say AFP journalists at the scene.

Jordanian protesters attempting to reach the Israel-controlled Jordanian border with the West Bank earlier clashed with police, according to reports.

Similar protests are expected in Lebanon, Syria and other Arab countries following afternoon prayers on Friday.

In Baghdad, tens of thousands of demonstrators gather in Tahrir Square in the center of the city to show support for Palestinians and protest Israel.

The protest is called by influential Shiite cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon

Fresh rocket sirens are heard in Ashkelon, which has been targeted several times in the last two hours.

Seven rockets hit Sderot; no injuries

Damage to a home in Sderot from a rocket strike on October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)
Damage to a home in Sderot from a rocket strike on October 13, 2023. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)

The Sderot municipality reports a total of seven rockets falling in the city during the most recent barrage, five of them constituting direct hits.

The municipality reports no physical injuries.

Iran foreign minister warns conflict could expand if Israeli strikes don’t stop

Iran’s foreign minister says other parties could get involved if Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip don’t halt.

“If these organized war crimes that are committed by the Zionist entity don’t stop immediately, then we can imagine any possibility,” Hossein Amirabdollahian says. He does not elaborate but it was an apparent hint that Iran-backed groups could join the war.

“What is funny is that at a time when America is calling on parties for self-restraint, it is allowing the criminals in the fake Zionist entity to kill women, children and civilians in Gaza,” Amirabdollahian says.

“America cannot send weapons and bombs to kill women, children and civilians in Gaza and at the same time call on all sides for self-restraint.”

Amirabdollahian speaks to reporters in Beirut after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart and talks with Hezbollah terror leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Neighbors gather on street for Jerusalem family burying son

Jerusalem residents pay last respects as a neighbor's son is buried on October 13, 2023. (Jessica Steinberg / Times of Israel)
Jerusalem residents pay last respects as a neighbor's son is buried on October 13, 2023. (Jessica Steinberg / Times of Israel)

Hundreds of neighbors in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona are gathering with Israeli flags to accompany the family of Anar Elyakim Shapira, as they boarded buses to bury their son, grandson and brother.

Shapira was killed during the Hamas massacre at the Supernova desert rave, as he saved the lives of friends around him, reportedly throwing out grenades that were tossed into the field shelter where he and others were standing.

Shapira and his friend, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, went to the desert rave together on October 6 at night, camping out before Hamas invaded the event attended by thousands of young people. Goldberg-Polin, whose arm was blown off, is being held hostage in Gaza.

As the buses carrying family members to bury Shapira at Mount Herzl move down the street, neighbors and friends follow slowly, singing Hatikvah softly.

Air infiltration alert sounds in Nahal Oz

A suspected aircraft infiltration alert is sounding in the southern kibbutz of Nahal Oz, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas terror group has claimed to have launched several drones at Israel amid the fighting in southern Israel in recent days.

Two rockets slam into Sderot, no injuries

Damage from a rocket strike in Sderot. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)
Damage from a rocket strike in Sderot. (Courtesy: Sderot municipality)

Two rockets have hit Sderot. There are no immediate reports of injuries.

One rocket scored a direct hit on a building, according to the municipality.

Some 70% of the city has evacuated, according to Channel 12 news.

Gunfire heard as forces rush to suspected infiltration near Ashkelon

Special forces are rushing to the Ashkelon industrial zone near the southern coastal city and close to the border with the Gaza Strip, local authorities say.

Gunfire is heard in the area, the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council says.

No further details are immediately available, but media describe the incident as a suspected infiltration.

Beijing Jews on edge after embassy attack

The Beijing Chabad says it is shutting down for the weekend, under the advice of the Israeli embassy and police, after an Israeli diplomat was attacked earlier in the day.

Israeli reports have described the attack as a stabbing and a suspected terror attack.

The Chabad says police have promised it 24-hour protection for the foreseeable future.

Some half a dozen plainclothes police are stationed outside the embassy, in addition to the normal contingent of uniformed officers. A call to the embassy went unanswered.

Some 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) away at the Palestinian Embassy in Beijing, plainclothes officers are also on hand. One is seen tightening wires on a fence.

Ashkelon bombarded for third time in 45 minutes

More sirens are going off in Ashkelon and other areas in quick succession, evidence of another bombardment sent at the southern city, which already took a direct hit from one rocket less than an hour ago.

This is the third barrage to target the city in some 45 minutes.

IDF says drone launch positions on residential roofs destroyed

The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck dozens of drone launch sites in the Gaza Strip that were located on the roofs of residential buildings.

“This is another example of how the Hamas terror group uses the citizens of the Gaza Strip as a human shield,” the IDF says in a statement.

Hamas has claimed to have launched several drones at Israel since the fighting began last weekend.

The IDF publishes footage of drone strikes against the “hostile UAV launch positions.”

“The IDF will continue its intense offensive activity, and will work to destroy the Hamas UAV array completely,” the military adds.

Rocket barrage targets Gedera, Judean foothills

Rocket sirens blare in several areas northeast of Gaza in the Judean foothills as a fresh barrage is launched.

Cities taking cover include Kfar Bilu, Gedera, and Kiryat Ekron.

Hamas forcing people to remain in northern Gaza, local source says

Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A Gazan resident speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity confirms that Hamas is preventing residents of the north of the strip from evacuating to the south, following an evacuation order issued by the IDF for Friday morning.

“When they find people going to their cars, they force them to go back,” the Gazan man says.

The source adds that many residents are not planning to evacuate, as they feel they would not have anywhere to go in the south of the enclave.

Hamas has told Gazans to ignore Israel’s evacuation order.

Ashkelon home takes direct hit, fresh alarms in city

A home damaged in a rocket strike in Ashkelon October 13, 2023. (credit: fire and rescue services)
A home damaged in a rocket strike in Ashkelon October 13, 2023. (credit: fire and rescue services)

A rocket slammed into a home in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, following the latest barrage launched from the Gaza Strip, rescuers say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it is scanning the scene for possible injuries.

New sirens are sounding in the southern town.

Fewer than 400 remain hospitalized from assault, fighting

The Health Ministry says 394 people injured in Saturday’s onslaught and subsequent fighting remain hospitalized. Of them, 99 are in serious condition, 193 in moderate condition, and 102 are lightly injured.

Nearly 3,400 people have been treated at hospitals since Saturday.

The public can turn to a designated ministry webpage providing critical information on healthcare during the war, where to donate blood, and links to a variety of mental health support resources.

Families of hostages meet to launch campaign

Hundreds of people are meeting in an underground room as an organization formed to represent families of the 150 to 200 kidnapped or missing Israelis presents their plight, laying out plans to secure the release of their loved ones.

Gal Hirsch, the government’s point man on the issue, says he ran over to the event at a museum in Tel Aviv after hearing about it, promising to be there for the families, to tepid applause.

Shimshon Leibman, who was on the team that secured the release of soldier Gilad Shalit, says a massive public campaign will be launched emphasizing how they are all part of the same family.

“We will be with the country if needed, and we’ll be against them if needed,” he says.

“We may need to speak with the devil” to free the hostages,” he says to applause. “That’s what we’re here for and that’s what will be done.”

“The country is obligated to bring them home,” he adds.

Hamas claims 150 rockets fired at Ashkelon

The Hamas terror group in a short statement claims to have launched a barrage of 150 rockets at Ashkelon.

Initial pictures appear to show dozens of interceptions in the sky over the city.

Sirens in Ashkelon as rocket fire resumes

A barrage of rockets is heading toward Ashkelon and other areas near the Gaza border, setting off a string of sirens.

The launches end some 14 hours in which nearly no rockets were fired.

Hezbollah head Nasrallah meets with Iran foreign minister on Gaza

Iran’s foreign minister has discussed the volatile situation in the Middle East with the leader of the Hezbollah terror group.

A Hezbollah statement says Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah met in Beirut early Friday to discuss “the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the brutal crimes committed against its people.”

There have been concerns that the Iran-backed and heavily-armed Hezbollah might join the war with Israel. Sporadic acts of violence have been reported over the past days along the tense Lebanon-Israel border.

Amirabdollahian was in Iraq on Thursday before coming to Lebanon, and he’s scheduled to head to Syria later Friday.

Blood of Gazans is on Hamas for telling residents not to flee, IDF says

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari in a press conference says Hamas is responsible for any harm to civilians who do not evacuate from the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas is taking advantage of the residents of the Gaza Strip, bringing disaster upon them and calling on the residents of the Gaza Strip at this time as well not to listen to the IDF’s recommendations,” Hagari says.

“The responsibility for what may happen to those who do not evacuate is on Hamas’s head,” he says.

Hagari says the IDF is “preparing for the next stages of the war” and that it is “prepared to operate throughout the Middle East and wherever there is a security need.”

Hagari says the military has so far notified the families of 120 hostages being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“It keeps us awake at night, and many efforts are concentrated on this matter,” Hagari says.

Referring to claims that hostages have been killed in Israeli strikes, Hagari says “There are many statements from Hamas, we will only report reliable information.”

Israeli diplomat attacked in Beijing

An Israeli embassy staffer in Beijing has been hospitalized after an attack, Israel’s Foreign Ministry says.

The diplomat is in stable condition.

A motive for the attack, which did not occur at the embassy, is being probed, the ministry says.

Israelis and Jews worldwide have been advised to be on alert Friday after Hamas called for a “day of rage.”

Pentagon chief Austin in Israel for meetings with war cabinet

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has arrived in Tel Aviv to meet with senior government leaders and see firsthand some of the US weapons and security assistance that Washington rapidly delivered to Israel after a brutal assault on southern Israel by the Hamas terror group.

Austin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and the war cabinet, which includes Netanyahu, Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz, and a handful of observers.

Defense officials traveling with Austin say he wants to underscore America’s unwavering support for the people of Israel and that the United States is committed to making sure the country has what it needs to defend itself.

A senior defense official says the US has already given Israel small-diameter bombs as well as interceptor missiles for its Iron Dome system and more will be delivered. Other munitions are expected to arrive Friday.

Gallant is expected to take questions during a press conference with Austin, which would make him the first government leader to agree to be questioned since Saturday’s slaughter.

Hamas claims 13 hostages killed in airstrikes, including foreigners

The Hamas terror group claims 13 hostages it is holding in the Gaza Strip were killed during the past day by Israeli airstrikes.

In a statement, the terror group says the 13 hostages include foreigners.

During its murderous onslaught on southern Israel last weekend, Palestinian terrorists are believed to have taken some 200 people to the Gaza Strip, where they are being held hostage.

The Israeli military says it has so far notified families of 97 Israelis taken hostage by the terror group that their loved ones are being held.

Single rocket siren in last 13 hours

There has been only a single rocket siren nationwide in the last 13 hours, an overnight alarm in Netiv Ha’asara, near the Gaza border. No injuries were reported.

The last few days have seen a significant slowdown in the number of rockets fired at Israel, after thousands were launched on Saturday and Sunday.

Hamas and other terror groups are thought to be holding back rocket fire as they conserve power and prepare for a likely Israeli ground invasion in the coming days.

Israeli teen arrested for sharing Hamas post praising massacre

Police say they have arrested a 14-year-old in Kafr Qassem for sharing a video posted by Hamas on social media praising the terror group’s slaughter of Israelis on Saturday.

The teen is suspected of incitement and support for terror.

The teen’s mother, who accompanied him to a police station, is also arrested after she “violently attacked a policewoman while yelling racist epithets at her,” police say.

The two are due for an arraignment later today.

“Police will show zero tolerance for any expression of support for the enemy or incitement to terror, especially during war,” a police statement says.

Hamas tells Gazans not to evacuate

Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes, on October 13, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Hamas has dismissed Israel’s orders for Palestinians to evacuate the northern half of the Strip and is telling residents to stay put.

The group calls on Palestinians to “remain steadfast in your homes and to stand firm in the face of this disgusting psychological war waged by the occupation,” according to a statement from its authority for refugee affairs.

A statement on the terror group’s website calls Israel “delusional” for thinking people will flee.

“Scenes of migration and displacement are a thing of the past and won’t be repeated, except with the victorious return of our people to our occupied land,” the group says.

Turks told to avoid southern Lebanon

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry is warning its citizens in Lebanon to stay away from the south of the country due to “developments,” as tensions heat up between Israel and the Hezbollah terror group.

“Our citizens in Lebanon are advised to be cautious and, if possible, stay away from the areas south of the Litani River,” it advises.

Trains to keep running on Shabbat, in extraordinary move

Illustrative: the Netanya train station, February 19, 2008. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)
Illustrative: the Netanya train station, February 19, 2008. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

Trains will continue running over the Shabbat due to the emergency situation in the country, according to Channel 12 news, citing a Transportation Ministry order.

Trains will run between Ben Gurion airport and Tel Aviv as well as Beer Sheba starting at 6 p.m. Friday and running through the night. On Saturday, trains will run from Beer Sheba to Nahariya at a frequency of once an hour from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to the report.

Israel does not have public transportation on Shabbat due to opposition from ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, who have threatened to collapse the government in the past over work being done on tracks. It is unclear if Deputy Transportation Minister Uri Maklev of the Shas party signed off on the move.

The report comes a day after El Al said it would operate flights on Shabbat for the first time ever to help Israelis abroad trying to get home.

 

Poll shows backing for Netanyahu imploding, Gantz taking the rudder

A poll shows public support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies collapsing in the wake of Hamas’s deadly assault on southern Israel, with voters shifting to Benny Gantz’s National Unity party in the wake of his decision to join the government and form a wartime cabinet.

The survey, published by Maariv, gives the centrist National Unity 41 seats, up from the 12 it currently holds. Likud meanwhile drops to just 19 seats, well below the 32 it currently has. The poll gives hardline parties Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism five and four seats respectively. The two garnered 14 seats together in the last election. Ultra-Orthodox parties are also seen losing a modicum of support.

The results show how much the Hamas massacre, which saw the terror group rampage through southern Israel, killing at least 1,300 and taking some 150 hostages, has punctured people’s faith in the country’s leadership and their claims of being the only ones who could secure the country. Leaders often receive a boost in support thanks to the rally around the flag effect, but the enormity of the slaughter and the depth of the intelligence and security failure have instead led to an implosion for Netanyahu and Co.

Respondents show a marked preference for Gantz over Netanyahu leading the country, 48 percent want the former defense minister, compared to 29% for the current prime minister.

They give IDF chief Herzi Halevi a 57% approval rating, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant a 54% rating, with Netanyahu only getting 42%. Even among likely Likud voters, Netanyahu only gets 67%.

Despite the issues exposed in Saturday’s onslaught, 71% say they are very or somewhat trusting in the IDF to protect the country.

The survey polled 600 people on October 11 and 12.

 

 

Panic, confusion and chaos in northern Gaza after IDF evacuation warning

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 13, 2023. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)
Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 13, 2023. (Mahmud Hams / AFP)

The IDF’s evacuation order for northern Gaza has set off a flurry of panic, according to accounts from inside the Strip.

“This is chaos, no one understands what to do,” Inas Hamdan, an officer at the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza City, tells AP, grabbing whatever she could throw into her bags as the panicked shouts of her relatives could be heard around her. She says all the UN staff in Gaza City and northern Gaza have been told to evacuate south to Rafah.

Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City, says there is no way more than one million people could be safely moved that fast.

“Forget about food, forget about electricity, forget about fuel. The only concern now is just if you’re going to make it, if you’re going to live,” Farsakh said, breaking into heaving sobs.

“What will happen to our patients?” she asked. “We have wounded, we have elderly, we have children who are in hospitals.” Farsakh said many of the medics were refusing to evacuate hospitals and abandon patients. Instead, she said, they called their colleagues to say goodbye.

Al Jazeera correspondent Safwat al-Kahlout says relatives are trying to figure out where they can even go if they move south.

“More than one million Palestinians are panicking, are confused, and they don’t have a plan, and they don’t understand what to do. Now my children are asking me, ‘Where should we go?’ I said, I don’t know.”

UNRWA moves south, tells Israel schools can’t be touched

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, says it has moved its main operations center and non-local staff in Gaza south as Israel warns civilians to evacuate in that direction.

The agency warns Israel that it must protect civilians in UN schools and shelters.

“These UN schools and all other UN shelters are UN facilities. They must be protected at all times and must never come under attack in accordance with international humanitarian law,” it says.

Over 200,000 people are sheltering in 92 UNRWA schools, according to the UN.

Israel has long charged Hamas with hiding weapons and infrastructure in tunnels around schools, hospitals and residential buildings, and tunnels and weapons have been found at UNRWA schools.

During the fighting in 2021 between Israel and Gaza terrorists, a tunnel was found underneath an UNRWA school. The IDF also determined that the courtyard of at least one Gaza school — it was not clear if it belonged to UNRWA — housed 14 underground rocket launchpads, which it said were used during the fighting.

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, rockets were found in UNRWA schools on several occasions.

750 sites in Gaza targeted in overnight airstrikes

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out airstrikes against some 750 targets belonging to Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip overnight.

Among the targets were 12 multi-story towers, which the IDF says contain Hamas assets.

The military says it also struck three Hamas operatives responsible for mortar fire on Israel in recent days.

The trio were targeted at a military command center in Gaza City, according to the IDF.

Other targets include tunnels, military compounds, residences of senior members used as military command centers, weapons storage warehouses, and communications rooms, the IDF says.

IDF warning meant for all northern Gaza

A military official tells Army Radio that though the IDF’s warning telling Gazans to flee south is directed specifically at Gaza City, it is meant to cover all areas of northern Gaza.

According to the report, the army believes some 300,000 to 400,000 Gazans from areas north of Gaza City have already fled, but also wants to clear out Gaza City.

According to the UN, 340,000 Gazans have been displaced since Israel began its campaign following Hamas’s massacre of over 1,300 Israelis.

12 more slain soldiers named

The Israel Defense Forces has named another 12 soldiers killed during fighting with Palestinian terrorists since October 7, mostly as they defended communities on the border with the Gaza Strip from a Hamas onslaught.

The names bring the toll of slain soldiers to 257.

They are:

Col. (res.) Lion Bar, 53, a senior officer in the Judea and Samaria division, from Gedera.

Cpt. (res.) Avraham Hananel Hindi, 37, a local security officer, from Kfar Aza.

Warrant Officer (res.) Avraham Fleischer, 63, a local security officer, from Magen.

First Sgt. Gil Avital, 56, a local security officer, from Yesha.

Master Sgt. (res.) Aviv Baram, 33, a local security officer, from Kfar Aza.

Staff Sgt. Itamar Ben Yehuda, 21, a Golani commander, from Rehovot.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Bezgodov, 22, a Nahal soldier, from Afula.

Staff Sgt. Aner Elkim Shapira, 22, a Nahal soldier, from Jerusalem.

Staff Sgt. Shlomo Rashtnikov, 20, a Golani soldier, from Haifa.

Sgt. Ori Carmi, 20, a Golani soldier, from Rishon Lezion.

Sgt. Benjamin Blai, 20, a driver in the Gaza Division, from Rehovot.

Cpl. Nahman Dekel, 20, a Nahal soldier, from Holon.

IDF trying to minimize harm to Gazan civilians, spokesman says

After ordering residents of Gaza City to evacuate, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stresses that Israel does not want to harm Palestinian civilians.

“We are fighting a terror group, not the Gazan population. We want civilians not to be harmed, but we cannot live with the rule of Hamas-ISIS near our border,” Hagari says in a call with reporters.

He says the order to evacuate Palestinians from the area is intended to enable “freedom of action and to deepen the damage” against Hamas.

“Hamas carried out one of the most horrific acts the world has seen, we are carrying out an effort to evacuate residents in order to deepen the damage, to collapse this organization,” Hagari says.

After the UN says such an evacuation within 24 hours would be impossible, Hagari says, “We understand it will take several days.”

“We are conveying [the warning] through communication channels and in Arabic, there are ways for the message to reach the population,” he adds. “Whoever does not listen to these recommendations, puts his family in danger.”

He says that in the past day, there had been a number of clashes between troops and terrorists along the Gaza border fence, but few incidents in Israeli territory.

The IDF believes it has located the vast majority of terrorists who infiltrated Israel last weekend, and that no new terrorists have managed to infiltrate into the country in recent days.

Hagari also says the IDF is still focusing its efforts to kill senior Hamas members.

Gaza death toll passes 1,500 — ministry

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says 1,537 Palestinians have been killed and another 6,612 have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes in the Strip since fighting began on October 7.

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

Army tells civilians in northern Gaza to flee, not become human shields

The Israeli military is warning civilians in Gaza City to evacuate from their homes, publishing the following message:

“The IDF calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection, and to move to the area south of Wadi Gaza, as shown on the map.

The Hamas terrorist organization waged a war against the State of Israel, and Gaza City is an area where military operations take place. This evacuation is for your own safety.

You will be able to return to Gaza City only when another announcement permitting you to do so is made. Do not approach the area of the security fence with the State of Israel.

Hamas terrorists are hiding in Gaza City inside tunnels underneath houses and inside buildings populated with innocent Gazan civilians.

Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields.

In the following days, the IDF will continue to operate significantly in Gaza City and make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians.”

WHO warns that Gaza health system ‘at breaking point’

Palestinian children injured in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes receive treatment at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on August 6, 2022. (Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP)
Palestinian children injured in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes receive treatment at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on August 6, 2022. (Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP)

The World Health Organization issues a statement warning that the health system in the Gaza Strip “is at a breaking point” amid the near-constant aerial bombardment by the IDF in response to Hamas’s onslaught last Saturday.

“Time is running out to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe if fuel and life-saving health and humanitarian supplies cannot be urgently delivered to the Gaza Strip amidst the complete blockade,” WHO says.

“Hospitals have only a few hours of electricity each day, as they are forced to ration depleting fuel reserves and rely on generators to sustain the most critical functions. Even these functions will have to cease in a few days when fuel stocks are due to run out.”

“As injuries and fatalities continue to rise due to the ongoing air strikes on the Gaza Strip, acute shortages of medical supplies are compounding the crisis, limiting the response capacity of already overstretched hospitals to treat the sick and injured,” WHO adds.

WHO says it has documented 34 attacks on health care in Gaza since last Saturday that have resulted in the death of 11 health workers on duty, 16 injuries, and damages to 19 health facilities and 20 ambulances.

WHO calls for an end to the fighting and the immediate establishment of a humanitarian corridor for the currently besieged enclave.

Israeli envoy blasts UN over response to IDF warning Gazans to evacuate

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addresses the Security Council on October 19, 2021. (Courtesy)
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addresses the Security Council on October 19, 2021. (Courtesy)

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan tears into the United Nations over the latter’s response to Israel warning all 1.1 million Palestinians living north of Wadi Gaza to evacuate by midnight on Saturday to the southern Strip.

“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” a UN spokesperson said earlier. “The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded, avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

Hitting back, Erdan says, “The UN’s response to Israel’s early warning to the residents of Gaza is a disgrace! For many years, the UN turned a blind eye to the arming of Hamas and its use of civilian populations and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip for murder and for stockpiling its weapons.”

“Now, instead of standing with Israel whose citizens were slaughtered by Hamas terrorists and which still tries to minimize harm to non-combatants, it preaches specifically to Israel,” Erdan says.

“It would be better for the UN to focus now on returning the captives, condemning Hamas and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself,” he adds.

IDF warns 1 million Palestinians in northern Gaza to evacuate within 24 hours — UN

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)

The IDF notified the United Nations at midnight on Friday that the entire Palestinian population north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to southern Gaza within 24 hours, a UN spokesperson says.

The message indicates that the IDF could be readying to launch a ground invasion after six days of aerial bombardment in response to the massive Hamas onslaught on Saturday.

Roughly 1.1 million Palestinians live north of Wadi Gaza, the spokesperson says in a statement.

The warning applied to UN staff and those sheltered in UN facilities in those areas.

“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” the spokesperson adds. “The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

The spokesperson says the warning was delivered to team leaders of the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN’s Department of Safety and Security in Gaza by their liaison officers in the IDF.

Israel has already imposed a complete siege on Gaza; shutting off water, electricity and gas; shuttering its own border crossings into the enclave; and bombing Egypt’s Rafah crossing, temporarily rendering it unusable as well.

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