ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Oct 14: Fighting intensifies in Gaza, north as Israeli ground operation looms

IDF bombs many Hamas targets, clashes with Hezbollah on Lebanon border, amid rocket barrages; government official says no hostage talks with Hamas for now, drawing families’ fury

  • Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) speaks to IDF officers at one of the communities hit by the deadly Hamas assault, on October 14, 2023 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) speaks to IDF officers at one of the communities hit by the deadly Hamas assault, on October 14, 2023 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
  • Israeli artillery fires towards the Gaza Strip enclave, from a field near the Israeli city of Sderot, on October 14, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
    Israeli artillery fires towards the Gaza Strip enclave, from a field near the Israeli city of Sderot, on October 14, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
  • A guitar and flower wreaths are laid onto the grave of soldier Ilai Azar after his funeral at Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
    A guitar and flower wreaths are laid onto the grave of soldier Ilai Azar after his funeral at Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
  • Avihai Brodutch, whose wife and three children were abducted by terrorists to Gaza, protests outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 14, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)
    Avihai Brodutch, whose wife and three children were abducted by terrorists to Gaza, protests outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 14, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)
  • Picture taken from Sderot shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, October 14, 2023. (Thomas COEX / AFP)
    Picture taken from Sderot shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, October 14, 2023. (Thomas COEX / AFP)
  • Palestinian families with their belongings flee following the Israeli army's warning to leave their homes and move south before an expected ground offensive, in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
    Palestinian families with their belongings flee following the Israeli army's warning to leave their homes and move south before an expected ground offensive, in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
  • People gather and light candles to remember the Israeli victims of the unprecedented Hamas terror onslaught, at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv, October 13, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
    People gather and light candles to remember the Israeli victims of the unprecedented Hamas terror onslaught, at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv, October 13, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
  • People gather with placards and a large Palestinian flag to take part in a 'March For Palestine' in London on October 14, 2023 (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
    People gather with placards and a large Palestinian flag to take part in a 'March For Palestine' in London on October 14, 2023 (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

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

Iran warns of ‘far reaching consequences’ if Israel does not halt Gaza campaign

Iran’s mission to the UN repeats its warning that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could widen if Israel continues striking Gaza, seen as a veiled threat to deploy its proxy terror group Hezbollah or take action itself.

Accusing Israel of “war crimes and genocide,” the mission says “the situation could spiral out of control & ricochet far-reaching consequences,” placing the blame on the UN Security Council.

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian warned the “Axis of Resistance” could respond to Israeli “crimes,” after a meeting in Lebanon with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and others.

Biden: Hamas is using innocents as human shields

Speaking at a gala dinner for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, US President Joe Biden accuses the Hamas terror group of using Palestinian civilians to shield themselves from Israeli retaliation.

“The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, innocent Palestinian families, and the vast majority have nothing to do with Hamas,” he says. “They’re being used as human shields.”

Biden notes that Saturday’s massacre was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.

The president says he spoke for an hour the day before with family members of unaccounted-for Americans on Zoom and connects it to his own experiences of losing his first wife and daughter in a car crash in 1972.

“They’ve endured an agony not knowing what’s happening. It’s not the same thing, but I can tell you what it’s like. It’s one thing to lose somebody you know you’re going to lose … like I was able to do with my son,” he says. It’s a very other thing to get a phone call, like I got years ago, saying ‘there’s been an accident, your wife and daughter are dead, I’m not sure your boys are gonna make it.’ The uncertainty of those two or three hours, trying to get back to find out, it’s the worst feeling in the world, it’s gut-wrenching.”

Hamas says 3 members who infiltrated Israel from Lebanon were killed in IAF strike

The Hamas terror group says three of its combatants in Lebanon were killed Saturday by the IDF after they blew up a section of the border fence with Israel and attempted to infiltrate, according to Reuters.

The Israeli military said earlier that Air Force jets struck a group of people who were suspected of planning to cross the border and shoot anti-tank missiles toward Israeli targets.

US sending second aircraft carrier to Mideast to deter Iran, Hezbollah — report

The USS Eisenhower off the coast of Virginia, December 10, 2015 in the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The USS Eisenhower off the coast of Virginia, December 10, 2015 in the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The United States will soon be sending a second aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran and Hezbollah from attacking Israel in the wake of the war against Gaza’s Hamas terror group, ABC reports, citing two unnamed US officials.

The report says the Pentagon has ordered that the USS Eisenhower join the USS Ford, the latter of which is in international waters off Israel’s coast.

US media reports additionally that the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship will be deployed closer to Israel.

Syrian defense ministry confirms Israeli strike puts Aleppo airport out of service

File: Algerian rescue aid arrives at Aleppo International Airport on February 7, 2023, one day after a deadly earthquake hit Syria and Turkey. (AFP)
File: Algerian rescue aid arrives at Aleppo International Airport on February 7, 2023, one day after a deadly earthquake hit Syria and Turkey. (AFP)

Syria’s defense ministry confirms strikes on the Aleppo Airport which have been attributed to Israel.

“At approximately 11:35 pm… the Israeli enemy carried out an air strike from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea… targeting Aleppo International Airport, causing material damage to the airport and putting it out of service,” the ministry says in a statement.

The ministry lambasts Israel, saying that the attack “confirms the criminal approach of the Israeli occupation,” accusing it of “crimes against the Palestinian people.”

US State Department says 29 Americans killed since Hamas launched assault

A spokesperson for the US State Department confirms that the number of Americans killed in the war between Israel and Hamas has risen to 29.

The State Department says that it will not comment further “on the circumstances of the US citizen deaths or the identities of the deceased.”

The statement adds that it is also aware of 15 US citizens who are unaccounted for.

“The US government is working around the clock to determine their whereabouts and is working with the Israeli government on every aspect of the hostage crisis,” the statement adds.

US defense secretary speaks with Gallant, stresses protection of civilians

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, is greeted by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photos/Lolita Baldor)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, is greeted by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photos/Lolita Baldor)

Shortly after leaving Israel, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, his office says.

According to the Pentagon, Austin reiterates the US’s “unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”

Austin also stresses “the importance of adhering to the law of war, including civilian protection obligations, and addressing the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

The secretary also updates Gallant on US efforts “to continue flowing air defense capabilities and munitions” to Israel.

IDF says it struck cell of Hamas terrorists exiting underground tunnel in Gaza

Smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)

The IDF says it has taken out a cell of terrorists as they emerged from an underground Hamas tunnel.

The military also says it it has struck a number of Hamas sites in recent hours, focusing on the Jabalya, Zaytun, al-Furqan and Beit Hanoun areas. It says it destroyed dozens of mortar launchers.

The IDF publishes footage of the strikes.

Reports: Israel bombing Syrian airport in Aleppo

IDF soldiers put up a checkpoint on a road near the Syrian border in the northern Golan Heights on October 7, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
IDF soldiers put up a checkpoint on a road near the Syrian border in the northern Golan Heights on October 7, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

A Syrian pro-government media outlet says Israel’s military has attacked the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo, putting it out of service.

Al-Watan daily says the strike hit the runway of Aleppo airport — putting it out of service just hours after it was fixed following a similar Israeli strike on Thursday.

The attack on Aleppo airport came shortly after two rockets were fired from Syria into the Golan Heights.

Health Ministry says elective procedures restarting Sunday at hospitals in center, north

The Health Ministry says that elective procedures at hospitals in the center and north are slated to restart tomorrow, in places where suitable reinforced areas are available.

The ministry says it also depends on the availability of operating rooms and ICU beds.

It does not apply to hospitals in the south, including Soroka, Barzilai and Assuta in Ashdod.

Biden tells PM the US is working with Egypt, Jordan, UN on aiding civilians

A picture taken from Sderot shows smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on the northern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Aris Messinis/AFP)
A picture taken from Sderot shows smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on the northern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

In his conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier today, US President Joe Biden says the US is working “with the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and others” in order to ensure civilians have “access to water, food and medical care.”

According to the president’s office, Biden reiterates “the need for all countries to unequivocally condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization that does not represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Biden and Netanyahu have spoken five times since the war began last Saturday with Hamas’s vicious attack on Israel.

WHO sends planeload of supplies for Gaza to Egypt

Smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)

A planeload of World Health Organization supplies lands at Egypt’s el-Arish airport and is destined for Gaza when humanitarian access across the border is possible, the UN says.

The cache includes enough basic essentials for 300,000 people and enough trauma medicines and materials for 1,200 wounded, the UN says in a release. It calls for opening the Rafah border crossing immediately to humanitarian deliveries.

“The critically injured, the sick and the vulnerable cannot wait,” the world body says.

Thousands attend pro-Palestinian rally in Geneva

Protesters rally in support of Palestinians in Geneva, on October 14, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Protesters rally in support of Palestinians in Geneva, on October 14, 2023. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Several thousand people demonstrate in a pro-Palestinian rally in Geneva.

Police and organizers say around 6,000 people attend, national broadcaster RTS reports. The Tribune de Geneve newspaper gives the same figure.

Protesters march behind a banner reading “Free Palestine” and chant “Long live Palestine” and “Israel: assassins” while dozens wave Palestinian flags.

Demonstrators march under heavy police escort.

PA’s Abbas speaks with Biden, urges humanitarian corridors to Gaza

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Joe Biden shake hands in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, July 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Joe Biden shake hands in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, July 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks with US President Joe Biden.

According to the state-run Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas declares “the necessity of stopping all attacks and respecting international humanitarian law” in Gaza.

Abbas also calls for allowing “humanitarian corridors” from Gaza to deliver water, electricity, fuel and medical supplies.

It is the first call between the two since the war started last Saturday with Hamas’s brutal onslaught against southern Israel.

There is no immediate readout of the call from Biden’s office.

IDF says two rockets fired from Syria landed in open areas in north

Rooad blocks in the Upper Galilee, northern Israel, October 13, 2023. (Ayal Margolini/Flash90
Rooad blocks in the Upper Galilee, northern Israel, October 13, 2023. (Ayal Margolini/Flash90

The Israel Defense Forces says two rockets were launched from Syria at northern Israel earlier, setting off sirens in the Golan Heights town of Avnei Eitan.

The IDF says both rockets landed in open areas, causing no damage.

Separately, the IDF says it launched an Iron Dome missile at a “suspicious target” that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon, but further details are under investigation.

The second incident set off an alarm in the northern town of Alma, close to the Lebanon border.

Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions several times in Lebanon in recent days, which have included rocket fire and drones being launched at Israel.

Netanyahu holds 5th phone call with Biden since start of war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with US President Joe Biden about Hamas's assault on Israel, October 10, 2023. (Video screenshot/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with US President Joe Biden about Hamas's assault on Israel, October 10, 2023. (Video screenshot/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is holding his fifth phone call with US President Joe Biden since the war with Hamas in Gaza broke out a week ago.

Netanyahu’s office says the prime minister thanks Biden for the deep US support, as well as the visits of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in recent days.

The two agreed to continue to be in touch, his office adds.

EU leaders to hold video summit this week on Israel-Gaza war

European Council chief Charles Michel calls a video summit of EU leaders for next week to discuss the Israel-Hamas war, as the conflict enters its second week.

“It is of utmost importance that the European Council, in line with the Treaties and our values, sets our common position and establishes a clear unified course of action that reflects the complexity of the unfolding situation,” he says in a statement.

He sets the meeting for Tuesday 5:30 p.m. (1530 GMT).

Israeli pointman on hostages says PM will meet with families; 126 notified so far

Gal Hirsch, the government point man on missing and kidnapped citizens, speaks during a meeting with relatives of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas and missing Israelis in Tel Aviv, October 13, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Gal Hirsch, the government point man on missing and kidnapped citizens, speaks during a meeting with relatives of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas and missing Israelis in Tel Aviv, October 13, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Some 126 families have received official information of some sort about missing loved ones, says Gal Hirsch, Israel’s newly appointed special envoy for missing and kidnapped Israelis.

“The decision to go to a house to tell them about a hostage or death, we have to be very precise,” he explains.

Hirsch adds that he speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu multiple times every day, and that Netanyahu will meet with families of the kidnapped and missing.

Hirsch’s team is still working to identify all the killed in action and kidnapped, and to notify the families.

“It’s hard to create a picture quickly, who is where,” he says during a phone briefing. “We are trying to be very professional, sensitive, and accurate.”

He add that his office is also pursuing an “operational intelligence effort,” as well as a diplomatic effort to let the world know about the scope of the issue and to bring the international community to Israel’s side.

Hirsch’s office is also seeking to be “the address for the families.”

They have set up a center for the families to receive help in Bnei Brak called “From the Heart” manned by dozens of officers from the rank of major and above who underwent special training this week. The center is being run by former Defense Ministry executive Avi Dadon.

Hirsch has created a team headed by Major General (res.) Meir Kalifi to solve problems that arise for the families.

The families will receive an aid package from the government as well.

“We are trying to get everyone home,” says Hirsch. “We’ve been to dozens of homes. I know we must touch people. I want to hug people personally.”

“The war is just at its beginning,” says Hirsch, echoing messages from top government officials.

IDF confirms rockets fired from Syria; strikes posts in response

The Israel Defense Forces confirms rocket were launched at northern Israel from Syria, and says that it is responding with artillery fire at the source of the fire.

The IDF does not immediately elaborate on how many rockets were fired from Syria.

Sirens had sounded in Alma, near the Lebanon border, and in Avnei Eitan, in the Golan Heights, close to the border with Syria.

There are no reports of injuries or damage.

American mom and teen daughter thought to be among hostages

Judith Raanan, left, and her daughter Natalie, 17, after Natalie's recent high school graduation. Undated photo provided by Rabbi Meir Hecht on behalf of the Raanan family (Raanan Family via AP)
Judith Raanan, left, and her daughter Natalie, 17, after Natalie's recent high school graduation. Undated photo provided by Rabbi Meir Hecht on behalf of the Raanan family (Raanan Family via AP)

Judith Raanan and her teenage daughter, Natalie Raanan, were excited to travel to Israel to celebrate a relative’s 85th birthday and the Jewish holiday season, according to their rabbi.

The pair had been sending updates as the trip progressed and were enjoying “this really special mom and daughter time together” in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Meir Hecht says.

The family hasn’t heard from either mother or daughter since a week ago. The community in their suburb north of Chicago fears they are among roughly 150 people abducted by Hamas militants.

“We received this terrible news that Judith and her daughter Natalie are missing and apparently were most likely taken as hostages to Gaza,” Hecht says. “It feels like our community has been violated.”

Families of American hostages thank Biden for ’embrace’ following video call

President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable with Jewish community leaders in the Indian Treaty Room on the White House complex in Washington, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable with Jewish community leaders in the Indian Treaty Room on the White House complex in Washington, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The families of American citizens being held hostage in Gaza issue a statement thanking US President Joe Biden for vowing to bring their loved ones home.

“We feel the embrace of the administration and its support as we navigate this terrible time,” say the families.

The families reiterate their declaration that the US has a responsibility to do all it can to secure the release of the US citizens held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, urging Biden to “use all means and resources at his disposal” to ensure the wounded receive urgent life-saving medical care “before it is too late” and to act for the immediate release of all hostages.

“Time is critical and every day that passes puts our loved ones at greater risk,” say the families.

Biden held a virtual meeting Friday with families of 14 Americans who are unaccounted for after the Hamas attacks.

“They have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what’s happening. Deeply,” Biden told CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Thursday.

France tells Iran, Hezbollah to stay out of Gaza conflict

A picture taken from Sderot shows rockets being fired towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Aris Messinis/AFP)
A picture taken from Sderot shows rockets being fired towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

France is urging Iran and Hezbollah to stay out of the war between Israel and Hamas, warning against an escalation of the conflict.

French officials are in contact with Iranian authorities and Hezbollah representatives as well as other regional players, President Emmanuel Macron’s office says. Macron also spoke with the Israeli and Egyptian leaders.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna arrived in Tel Aviv earlier today.

IDF says infiltration alert in Zikim, Karmia was false alarm

The military tells residents of Zikim and Karmia that a suspected infiltration alarm that sounded in the two communities is a false alarm.

“This is not a security incident,” the Home Front Command says.

Terrorist infiltration alert sounds in southern communities near Gaza

A suspected terrorist infiltration alert is sounding in the southern communities of Zikim and Karmia, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

No further details are immediatly available.

The vast majority of residents of communities near Gaza have evacuated in recent days amid the fighting.

US lawmaker: Israel has indicated it will allow food, water, medicine into Gaza

A picture taken from Sderot shows smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on the northern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Aris Messinis/AFP)
A picture taken from Sderot shows smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on the northern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

A US lawmaker tells The Times of Israel that Israeli officials have indicated to them that they will allow food, water and medicine into Gaza after imposing a siege on the enclave, as Israel appears to be gearing up for a ground operation to destroy Hamas.

The US lawmaker clarifies that Israel has not committed to letting in electricity and fuel supplies into Gaza, which are not covered by the same rules under law of armed conflict.

Rocket sires sound in two northern towns

A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)
A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the northern town of Alma, near the Lebanon border, and in Avnei Eitan, in the Golan Heights, close to the border with Syria.

The alerts comes as Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions several times in Lebanon in recent days.

Liberman denies agreeing to join government, demands spot on war cabinet as condition

Then-defense minister Avigdor Liberman (left) and then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, on October 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Then-defense minister Avigdor Liberman (left) and then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, on October 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In a dramatic turn, Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman denies agreeing to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency government, as was announced earlier this evening by Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Liberman says he is unsatisfied with the offer to join the security cabinet and instead wants a position on the small war cabinet, which currently comprises Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and newly joined minister Benny Gantz.

“I am ready to join the war cabinet in order to bring victory, as swiftly as possible. I have no intention of being the 38th minister in the government and be used as a fig leaf,” Liberman writes on X.

“We support and will continue to support the government’s actions that are meant to eliminate Hamas and Hamas leaders,” he adds.

Netanyahu says he has spoken today with leaders of France, Germany, Greece

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he has spoken today with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

According to the PMO, all three European leaders “expressed their unswerving support for Israel.”

Germany to start evacuating its citizens from Israel on military planes

The German army will start evacuating its citizens from Israel with military airplanes.

German news agency dpa reports that two A400M military transports are on their way from Germany to Israel tonight and further flights are planned, according to the German defense ministry.

More than 100,000 residents of Israel hold dual German and Israeli citizenship.

US embassy calls on citizens to ‘take advantage’ of charter flights ‘while they’re available’

Passengers look at a departure board at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, as flights are canceled and delayed because of a massive surprise attack by Hamas, on October 7, 2023. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)
Passengers look at a departure board at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, as flights are canceled and delayed because of a massive surprise attack by Hamas, on October 7, 2023. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

The US Embassy in Israel calls on American citizens who are seeking to leave to move quickly to access charter flights “while they are available.”

The embassy says Americans looking to leave should come to the airport tomorrow and “look for a table with a US flag,” noting that flights will not be to the US, and that people will not be able to choose their destinations.

Travelers cannot bring pets, and will have to first fill out the crisis intake form on its website before coming to the airport, it says.

Rockets from Gaza hit sites in Ashkelon, Bat Yam; no injuries reported

Picture taken from Sderot shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, October 14, 2023. (Thomas COEX / AFP)
Picture taken from Sderot shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, October 14, 2023. (Thomas COEX / AFP)

Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip in the latest barrage cause damage in the southern city of Ashkelon and the central city of Bat Yam.

The Fire and Rescue Services says it is scanning the scene of a rocket impact between two homes.

Footage from Bat Yam shows damage to a wall near stores in the central city.

There are no reports of injuries.

Israeli envoy slams UN official: ‘Don’t forget to wash the blood of Israeli babies off your hands’

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan addresses the General Assembly on January 20, 2022. (Screen capture)
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan addresses the General Assembly on January 20, 2022. (Screen capture)

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan slams UN special coordinator on the Middle East Tor Wennesland for meeting with the foreign minister of Iran.

“Don’t forget to wash the blood of Israeli babies off your hands after that handshake,” says Erdan, sharing a photo of Wennesland shaking hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian earlier today.

“Tor Wennesland not only met with the Iranian regime’s FM, but didn’t even bother condemning Iran for its role in the massacre of Israeli women and children,” writes Erdan on X. “It’s no secret that Hamas terrorists are openly praising Iran for funding, arming, and training them.”

“The UN’s support for and legitimization of genocidal terrorists is a threat to civilization!” he adds.

France’s Macron calls for humanitarian corridor out of Gaza

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

President Emmanuel Macron has urged Israel and Egypt to open a humanitarian corridor out of the besieged Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing for French nationals, his office says.

Paris had contacted all those concerned to try to ensure that French nationals could cross out of the southern Gaza Strip into Egypt and that the crossing could also be used for “humanitarian operations” to Gaza, says the statement.

Some schools to return this week

Israel’s school system is set to begin distance learning tomorrow, similar to what took place during the 2020-21 COVID lockdowns.

The ministry will allow individual schools to hold in-person classes or activities, subject to approval by the local authority, the ministry and Home Front Command. If the security situation improves, school could resume regular classes in certain areas.

Matriculation exams will be pushed off at least a month.

Israel’s school system comprises some 2.5 million students and more than 5,500 schools.

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel, including Tel Aviv

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel after a barrage of rockets fired by Hamas in Gaza, including in Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Bnei Brak, Holon, Ramle and many other cities.

Despite Liberman joining, Lapid still says he will not enter emergency government

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

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid is not currently planning to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency government, according to a source close to the Yesh Atid leader.

IDF publishes footage of airstrikes on Hezbollah sites in Lebanon

A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)
A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces publishes footage showing a drone strike against an anti-tank guided missile squad in southern Lebanon and artillery and tank shelling against Hezbollah sites in the area.

The strikes against the Hezbollah sites came as a response to mortar fire on IDF sites in northern Israel earlier today.

Some 30 mortars were fired from Lebanon at the Mount Dov area, in an attack later claimed by Hezbollah.

Israeli families of Gaza hostages accuse government of abandoning their loved ones

Families of Israeli captives in Gaza hold a press conference in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023. (Screenshot)
Families of Israeli captives in Gaza hold a press conference in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023. (Screenshot)

The spokesman of the families of missing Israelis feared held captive in Gaza slams the government for abandoning the hostages after it says it will not take engage in negotiations.

Ronen Tzur, head of The Families Headquarters, says at a press conference in Tel Aviv that if Israel will not negotiate with enemies who want to destroy Israel — according to the statement made earlier by National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi — then the government is, in effect, abandoning the captives.

Tzur says the families are awaiting a clarification of Hanegbi’s statement.

“We’re waiting for clarity from the government,” says Tzur.

Speakers at the press conference, including Dr. Hagai Levine and diplomat Eviatar Manor, demand a response from the government and the Red Cross within the next few hours. Both Levine and Manor emphasize the need to offer immediate medical attention to the captives.

“It’s essential that it’s done now, tonight, immediately,” says Manor.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military has so far notified the families of 126 hostages that their loved ones are being held in the Gaza Strip.

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

Hamas has also said that any prisoner swap negotiations will only take place after the end of the fighting.

 

 

Son of Turkish President Erdogan joins pro-Palestinian march in Istanbul

Protesters take part in a solidarity protest with the Palestinians, in Istanbul, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Protesters take part in a solidarity protest with the Palestinians, in Istanbul, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The son of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan participates in a large pro-Palestinian march in Istanbul.

Bilal Erdogan was accompanied by former interior minister Suleyman Soylu and former speaker of Turkish parliament Mustafa Sentop.

“Let us make clear our side, we should at least let our feelings be heard,” Erdogan tells The Associated Press.

The crowd of more than 1,000 people carries Palestinian and Turkish flags while chanting slogans criticizing Israel and the United States.

Speaking to AP, Sentop says, “Everyone with a conscience, regardless of race or religion, are displaying their sentiments toward this genocide.”

Netanyahu’s party says Liberman is joining emergency government

Yisrael Beytenu party chief Avigdor Liberman holds a faction meeting at the Knesset, October 9, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
Yisrael Beytenu party chief Avigdor Liberman holds a faction meeting at the Knesset, October 9, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

Yisrael Beytenu opposition party head Avigdor Liberman is joining the national emergency government and its security cabinet “immediately,” according to a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Liberman, a former defense minister, offered to join Netanyahu’s government shortly after war broke out. The former Netanyahu ally politically broke with the premier in 2019 and has been a bitter opponent.

Liberman will join the security cabinet — but not the narrow war cabinet — and a second member of Yisrael Beytenu will join the broader cabinet.

Liberman’s addition to the security cabinet is expected to further weaken the influence of far-right ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.

IDF spokesman says families of 126 hostages held in Gaza have been notified

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announces that Israel is at war, after a deadly mass Hamas infiltration from Gaza, October 7, 2023. (IDF Spokesman)
IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announces that Israel is at war, after a deadly mass Hamas infiltration from Gaza, October 7, 2023. (IDF Spokesman)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military has so far notified the families of 126 hostages that their loved ones are being held in the Gaza Strip.

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

IDF says Hamas is preventing civilians from evacuating northern Gaza

Hamas roadblocks set up in Gaza on October 14, 2023, according to the IDF. (IDF)
Hamas roadblocks set up in Gaza on October 14, 2023, according to the IDF. (IDF)

The Israel Defense Forces says the Hamas terror group is preventing Palestinians from evacuating the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

The IDF has warned Gaza residents in the northern part of the Strip to evacuate amid preparations for an expected ground incursion or a stepped-up offensive. The area is home to about 1 million people.

The military says it has identified hundreds of thousands of Palestinians moving south, but many are getting stuck in traffic caused by Hamas roadblocks.

“Hamas is making it difficult for the residents of the Gaza Strip to move on main roads, and prevents the passage of vehicles on these roads,” the IDF says.

The military releases a video showing heavy traffic in the Gaza Strip, which it says is caused by Hamas roadblocks.

“We see an active effort by Hamas to block and prevent the population from going south. Hamas wants to show the world that it has casualties and dead,” IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says in a press conference.

“We continue to urge the residents of Gaza City, go south… Hamas wants you as human shields… This is for your personal safety,” Hagari adds. “We are going to attack very widely in Gaza City in the near future.”

Italy says it believes 3 of its citizens being held by Hamas in Gaza

Italy’s foreign minister says the country is continuing its efforts to free Italian nationals who are among those believed to be held hostage by Hamas following the militant group’s attack on southern Israel last Saturday.

“We’ve done and we’ll do anything possible to free hostages, three of whom are Italian,” Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani says at an event in Rome.

Tajani, who visited Israel on Friday, said he met there with the families of the three people who are believed held hostage — a couple and a boy.

“We hope that Israel’s reaction will be proportioned and only hit the sites where Hamas terrorists are hiding or hiding weapons,” Tajani says, adding he hopes hostages could be freed through the creation of humanitarian corridors.

IDF names 14 more fallen soldiers, bringing military death toll to 279

Mourners attend the funeral of Col. Jonathan Steinberg, the commander of the Nahal Brigade, at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on October 8, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
Mourners attend the funeral of Col. Jonathan Steinberg, the commander of the Nahal Brigade, at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on October 8, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces names another 14 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 279.

They are:
Maj. (res.) Noy Shush, 36, a local security officer, from Be’eri
Cpt. (res.) Adi Bahrav Rabinovich, 62, a local security officer, from Netiv Ha’asara
Cpt. (res.) Yaakov Nadlin, 36, a combat soldier in the Samaria Brigade from Or Akiva
Warrant Officer (res.) Gil Boyum, 55, a local security officer, from Be’eri
First Sgt. (res.) Yiftah Gurni, 51, a local security officer, from Be’er Milka
First Sgt. Ibrahim Kharuba, 39, a tracker in the Gaza Division, from Maghar
Master Sgt. (res.) Shachar Tzemach, 39, a local security officer from Be’eri
Master Sgt. (res.) Dan Asulin, 38, a local security officer, from Mivtahim
Master Sgt. (res.) Shachaf Bergstein, 33, a local security officer, from Kfar Aza
Sgt. Yam Goldstein Almog, 20, a commander in the Computer Service Directorate, from Kfar Aza
Sgt. Adi Landman, 19, a Unit 414 soldier, from Yokne’am Illit
Cpl. Tomer Leibovitz, 19, a soldier in the 7th Armored Brigade, from Tel Aviv
Cpl. Rotem Kutz, 18, a commander in the Computer Service Directorate, from Kfar Aza
Cpl. Osher Simcha Barzilai, 19, a soldier in the Gaza Division, from Mazkeret Batya

Hanegbi says Israel has ‘passed messages’ to Hezbollah warning it not to join war

Israeli soldiers stand on a stationed tank near the border with Israel, in Lebanon, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Israeli soldiers stand on a stationed tank near the border with Israel, in Lebanon, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Responding to concerns that Hezbollah may open a northern front in Israel’s ongoing war, National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi says Israel has “passed messages” to discourage the terror group from joining its fellow Iran-backed proxy Hamas in war against Israel.

“Our goal is to not to be pulled into a two-front war,” Hanegbi says.

“We think Hezbollah won’t invite the destruction of Lebanon, because it won’t be less than that if there’s a war there, because that’s what there will be” should Hezbollah open the northern front, Hanegbi says.

Hezbollah fighters have made incursions into Israeli territory and the terror organization has taken responsibility for shelling Israel’s north in the week since Hamas’s devastating terror attack.

Hamas chief Haniyeh complains to UN over Israel ‘war crimes’

Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haniyeh sends a letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to brief him on the Israeli “crimes” in the Gaza Strip.

According to a summary of the letter shared by the terror group, Haniyeh claims that the Israeli operation in the Hamas-ruled Strip amounts to “war crimes” and violates international law and Geneva covenants.

He also laments the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, claiming that Israel is banning entry of humanitarian aid and medical supplies, and urges the UN secretary-general to pressure Israel into letting humanitarian aid into Gaza.

IDF says soldier killed in apparent friendly fire incident in West Bank

The Israel Defense Forces announces that a reservist officer was killed by apparent friendly fire near the West Bank village of Immatin last yesterday.

According to the IDF’s initial investigation, troops had chased after Palestinians who had hurled stones at Israeli-owned cars, and opened fire at what they believed to be an armed Palestinian in a car.

At the same time, another group of soldiers had been called to the scene, and one of them was apparently hit by the gunfire.

The officer, named as Cpt. (res.) Yaakov Nadlin, 36, a combat soldier in the Samaria Brigade from Or Akiva, was killed, and another soldier was lightly hurt.

The Military Police has launched a probe into the incident.

Hanegbi confirms 150-200 hostages held in Gaza; ‘no way to have a negotiation’ right now

Relatives of Shaked Haran from Kibbutz Be'eri near the Gaza border missing and believed to have been in Hamas captivity since Saturday, October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)
Relatives of Shaked Haran from Kibbutz Be'eri near the Gaza border missing and believed to have been in Hamas captivity since Saturday, October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)

National Security Council Head Tzachi Hanegbi confirms about 150-200 Israeli hostages are being held in the Gaza Strip, but said that the government, seven days after their capture, still does not know all of their identities and their status.

Hanegbi confirms that no active negotiation efforts are underway to repatriate Israelis kidnapped by Hamas last Saturday, saying that “there is no way right now to have a negotiation.”

“Israel will not hold negotiations with an enemy that we have vowed to wipe from the face of the earth,” he adds.

He says that the government’s liaison for hostages, Gal Hirsch, updates Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a few times a day.”

The government, and its representative Hirsch, have come under fire from hostages’ families for not sharing information, or even initiating contact, with the families of captured Israelis.

Turkey says it has evacuated 30 Turkish citizens from Israel

The Turkish government says it has successfully evacuated 30 citizens out of Israel.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, speaking to reporters alongside his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, says there are roughly 300 people with dual Turkish-Israeli citizenship in Gaza. He reiterated Turkey’s condemnation of “any attack aimed at innocent civilians.”

The Israeli Embassy in Turkey announced on social media Thursday that one Turkish citizen had been killed in Hamas’s attack and that another citizen could not be reached.

Amid Hezbollah clashes, Gallant tours IDF base in north

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with IDF commanders at the Northern Command base in Safed, October 14, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with IDF commanders at the Northern Command base in Safed, October 14, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held an assessment at the IDF Northern Command base in Safed earlier today, amid repeated clashes on the Lebanon border this week.

Gallant’s office says the minister “emphasized the defense efforts carried out by the forces in the area to protect the citizens, and was briefed on the operations carried out to thwart terror groups and other terrorist targets.”

Israel Police name three more fallen officers in fighting

Police name another three officers killed during fighting with Palestinian terrorists in southern Israel. Police have named 51 officers killed in the fighting so far.

They are:

Superintendent Avi Amar, a commander in the Yoav Unit
Chief Inspector Dan Ganot, a commander in the coordination of enforcement operations unit
Master Sergeant Sharon Leibovich, a patrolman at the Ofakim station

Hamas chief Haniyeh calls on Gazans to ignore IDF calls to evacuate

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a press conference after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, June 28, 2021. (Dalati Nohra/Lebanese Official Government via AP)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a press conference after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, June 28, 2021. (Dalati Nohra/Lebanese Official Government via AP)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh urges Palestinians to refuse “displacement” within the Gaza Strip or leaving the blockaded enclave to head to Egypt, following Israeli airstrikes and calls to evacuate.

“No to displacement from the [West] Bank, not from Gaza and no to displacement from Gaza to Egypt,” Haniyeh says in a televised speech.

Hanegbi: We obviously had erred in believing that Hamas had weakened

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to reporters at the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters, October 14, 2023. (screenshot)
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to reporters at the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters, October 14, 2023. (screenshot)

National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi says that it is obvious Israel made enormous errors and failures in keeping its citizens safe.

Hanegbi says he was obviously mistaken in comments just two weeks ago that Hamas was deterred and weakened after previous IDF military campaigns in the Strip.

“It is of course my mistake, and it shows the mistake of all such authorities for many years,” he says.

Hanegbi says that security forces received “an indication hours before” the attack began, but that the IDF and the Shin Bet believed that it was nothing close to “what we suffered.”

Lebanon says 2 civilians killed in Israeli strike

A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)
A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)

Two Lebanese civilians were killed in Israeli shelling of the southern village of Shebaa on Saturday, its mayor tells AFP.

“A man and his wife have been killed in their home by Israeli shelling,” mayor Mohammad Harb tells AFP.

An AFP correspondent near Shebaa earlier reported heavy shelling in the area.

Hanegbi: Israeli goal is to remove Hamas as ruler of Gaza; state failed to protect citizens

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to reporters at the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters, October 14, 2023. (screenshot)
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to reporters at the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters, October 14, 2023. (screenshot)

National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi reaffirms the cabinet’s war goal is remove Hamas from military and political control over the Gaza Strip, but declines to elaborate on planned next steps for the coastal enclave.

When asked about Israeli plans for alternative control, or return to occupation, of the Gaza Strip, Hanegbi tells The Times of Israel that: “We can’t report through you to the enemy on what is coming, we can tell Hamas that it is prohibited for it to be the sovereign in Gaza.”

Hanegbi says that in a recent cabinet meeting, the government approved a plan to “destroy” Hamas, as stated by the prime minister and defense minister.

“Hamas will not be the ruler, the sovereign in Gaza after the combat,” he says.

Asked about the government’s responsibility for failing to thwart Hamas and to protect Israel’s citizens, he says, “I greatly identify with what the chief of staff said. We did not fulfill our mission. Nobody can dispute that the State of Israel did not fulfill its mission.” He further acknowledges that it had been an error to assess that Hamas was deterred after 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Health Ministry: 358 wounded are currently hospitalized, 3,621 hurt since start of war

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

The Health Ministry updates that 358 people injured since the shock invasion by Hamas terrorists from Gaza and the ensuing fighting are still hospitalized.

Of them, 102 are in serious condition, 170 in moderate condition and 86 in light condition.

A total of 3,621 people have been injured since the war broke out on October 7.

IDF says it’s completing preparations for ‘attack from the air, sea and land’

Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Israel Defense Forces says it is completing preparations for a “significant ground operation” in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the IDF says it is readying to “expand the offensive” by implementing a “wide range of offensive operational plans” which it says include a “joint and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land.”

The IDF says it is finalizing the draft of hundreds of thousands of reservists, as the logistics directorate is working to provide troops with all the equipment they will need for the ground offensive.

“In recent days, the tools required for combat have been transferred to the assembly areas, and at this stage the various units of the Technological and Logistics Directorate are working to complete the qualification of the tools and equipping them with advanced combat means, as needed,” the IDF says.

“IDF battalions and soldiers are deployed all over the country and are prepared to increase readiness for the next stages of the war, with an emphasis on a significant ground operation,” the military adds.

The military is expected to launch a ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, but its extent and when it is carried out may be affected by operational considerations, including the evacuation of Palestinian civilians from northern Gaza and growing tensions on Israel’s northern border.

IDF says it’s carrying out ‘widespread’ strikes on Hamas in Gaza

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.

2 veteran Israeli commentators stress Iran behind what they see as a regional conflict

Ehud Ya'ari (photo credit: courtesy)
Ehud Ya'ari (photo credit: courtesy)

Ehud Ya’ari and Amos Yadlin, two veteran commentators in the Channel 12 news studio, analyze the Hamas and Iranian strategy in the war.

Ya’ari, the TV station’s longtime Arab affairs analyst, stresses that this is not solely a Hamas-Israel conflict, but rather a regional battle, orchestrated by Iran.

A prime goal was to prevent the US-brokered Saudi-Israel normalization effort, he says, and that is already succeeding.

Ya’ari says Hamas was assured that it will not be alone. While he says he doesn’t know if Hezbollah will get deeply involved, he notes: “Metula has not been emptied for no reason” — a reference to the closure by the IDF of parts of Israel’s northernmost town, and the departure of most of its residents.

He notes that Hezbollah’s deputy chief said on Friday that Hezbollah is ready to get involved.

Ya’ari says he has seen indications of Iranian-backed militias in Syria moving toward that border, and Iranian-backed militias in Iraq moving into Syria. “This is a regional event,” he says.

The US, gradually assembling increasing forces in the region, is seeking to deter the Iranians.

Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar “would not have attacked 22 communities and 11 IDF bases and positions” in order to free Palestinian security prisoners from Israeli jails,” says Ya’ari.

Amos Yadlin, a former head of IDF Military Intelligence (Tomer Neuberg/ FLASH90)

Amos Yadlin, a former head of IDF Military Intelligence, offers two theories of the Iranian strategy:

The worse of the two theories, he says, is that this is part of the Iranians’ staged plan against Israel. They started by stirring trouble in the West Bank, prompting Israel to deploy additional forces there, have now moved on to the Gaza border, will aim to see the IDF get stuck in Gaza with a ground invasion, and then Hezbollah will jump in.

The second theory is that they do not see the time as ripe for that, recognizing that Israel’s military remains extremely strong “although we had a catastrophe.”

He says Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah does not want Beirut turned into Gaza, and that the US has clarified that if Nasrallah hits Israel, Tomahawk missiles will rain down on Beirut.

Main Gaza City hospital says it can’t obey IDF evacuation order

A Palestinian man walks with a child while a woman comforts another outside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on October 12, 2023(Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP)
A Palestinian man walks with a child while a woman comforts another outside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on October 12, 2023(Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP)

Officials at Gaza City’s largest hospital say following the IDF’s order to evacuate to the south of Gaza is impossible.

Al-Shifa Hospital is receiving hundreds of wounded every hour and had used up 95% of its medical supplies, hospital director Mohammed Abu Selmia says. Water is scarce and the fuel powering its generators is dwindling.

“The situation inside the hospital is miserable in every sense of the word,” he says. “The operating rooms don’t stop.”

Selmia estimated that 40,000 displaced civilians were sitting under the trees in the empty grounds surrounding the hospital, as well as inside the building’s lobby and corridors, hoping they would be protected there from the fighting.

Defense Ministry authorizes transfer of thousands of donated items to IDF

Israelis pack up donations of food and other necessities for Israeli soldiers and civilians in the south, in Tel Aviv, on October 9, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israelis pack up donations of food and other necessities for Israeli soldiers and civilians in the south, in Tel Aviv, on October 9, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Defense Ministry says it has authorized the donations of thousands of items for personal protection to IDF soldiers.

The move comes amid complaints from many soldiers during the mobilization of more than 300,000 reservists that they lack proper equipment. There have been similar complaints from the standing army.

The ministry says it has approved offers to donate more than 50,000 ceramic vests, 20,000 helmets and tens of thousands of other items used for personal protection, like knee pads and goggles.

French police: Bomb threat at Palace of Versailles, evacuation underway

A photo shows the  Palace of Versailles, west of Paris, on September 20, 2023, on the first day of a British royal state visit to France. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
A photo shows the Palace of Versailles, west of Paris, on September 20, 2023, on the first day of a British royal state visit to France. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

France’s Palace of Versailles was being evacuated on Saturday after a bomb threat, police sources tell AFP.

The alert came via an anonymous message online, a source close to the matter says, adding that the palace, a major tourist attraction, would be closed at least for the rest of the day.

This comes after the Louvre was shuttered amid threats earlier in the day amid spiraling tensions following a deadly Islamist stabbing at a school yesterday.

Khamenei says Gaza war ‘a symbol of the power of Islam’

In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reviews a group of armed forces cadets during their graduation ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reviews a group of armed forces cadets during their graduation ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the unprecedented Hamas assault on Israel, in which 1,300 Israelis were massacred in southern Israel last Saturday, will lead to victory for the Palestinians and calls the ongoing war “one of the symbols of the power of Islam,” the official IRNA news agency reports.

“Part of the current [events] is an indication of the incredible power of Islam in Palestine and God willing, the move that began in Palestine will move forward and will lead to the full victory of Palestinians,” he says.

Khamenei urges the Islamic world to help the Palestinians.

Netanyahu speaks to Germany’s Scholz, discuss keeping Hezbollah out of conflict

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak during a joint press conference following talks at the Chancellery in Berlin on March 16, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP))
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak during a joint press conference following talks at the Chancellery in Berlin on March 16, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP))

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has talked again with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the current situation in Israel following last week’s assault by Hamas.

During their phone conversation on Saturday, both leaders “agreed on the need to avoid a regional conflagration and, in particular, the intervention of Hezbollah in the conflict,” the German government says in a statement, adding that Scholz briefed Netanyahu about his latest diplomatic efforts in this regard.

The German statement said that Netanyahu told Scholz about Israeli efforts to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip which the Israeli leader said were being hindered by Hamas.

Scholz reiterated “Germany’s full solidarity with the people of Israel in these difficult hours and underscored that Germany stands unwaveringly by Israel’s side.”

There was no immediate readout from Israel.

Netanyahu tours scenes of Hamas assault for first time

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) speaks to IDF officers at one of the communities hit by the deadly Hamas assault, on October 14, 2023 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) speaks to IDF officers at one of the communities hit by the deadly Hamas assault, on October 14, 2023 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has toured Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kfar Azza, two of the worst hit Gaza border communities in last week’s bloody Hamas onslaught, his office announces once he has left the area.

A short statement says Netanyahu “walked between the ruins of the houses where these terrible massacres took place.”

The prime minister was briefed by IDF officers currently there, including from the head of the paratrooper battalion.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) speaks to IDF officers at one of the communities hit by the deadly Hamas assault, on October 14, 2023 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

This visit was Netanyahu’s first to the scene, more than a week after the massacres that saw more than 1,300 Israelis killed, most of them civilians, as waves of Hamas terrorists breached the border.

Netanyahu has come under increasing criticism for not coming to the scene, attending funerals or visiting the wounded.

Tel Aviv Open tennis canceled because of Israel-Hamas war

Serbia's Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy after winning the final tennis match of the ATP 250 Tel Aviv open against Croatia's Marin Cilic in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy after winning the final tennis match of the ATP 250 Tel Aviv open against Croatia's Marin Cilic in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Tel Aviv Open tennis tournament scheduled for next month has been canceled because of the Israel-Hamas war.

The ATP men’s tour says the decision was made after consultation with security experts and with the safety of players and fans in mind.

“The violence and acts of terror witnessed in Israel are beyond comprehension,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi says. “We strongly condemn any form of terrorism and mourn the loss of innocent lives across this conflict. We hope and pray for peace in the region.”

The event was scheduled for early November.

In last year’s final, Novak Djokovic defeated Marin Cilic in straight sets to take the title.

PLO official say Israeli efforts to evacuate civilians from Gaza a war crime

Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), attends the funeral of prime minister Ahmad Qurei in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank on February 22, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), attends the funeral of prime minister Ahmad Qurei in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank on February 22, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

PLO Executive Committee secretary-general Hussein al-Sheikh says Israel’s call on residents of north Gaza to leave ahead of an expected ground offense is a “war crime.”

In a statement, he says that the “Palestinian leadership rejects by all means the Israeli attempts to displace the citizens of Gaza Strip, considers this a war crime added to the series of Israeli war crimes and calls on the international community to intervene to stop this genocidal war in the Gaza Strip.”

Israel says Hamas leaders in the area are using the civilians as cover for their terror network.

IDF says drone hit anti-tank cell on Lebanese border

A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)
A picture taken from Lebanese town of Marjayoun shows smoke billowing in the contested border area of Mount Dov on October 14, 2023. (Joseph EID / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out a drone strike against a terrorist cell in southern Lebanon that is suspected of planning to carry out an anti-tank guided missile attack against troops in the area.

The IDF says the cell was spotted as troops were returning fire against Lebanon, after some 30 mortars were launched at Israeli military sites in the Mount Dov area.

The IDF does not provide information on possible casualties from the mortar fire.

Hamas chief accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza

PA President Mahmoud Abbas (left), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center) and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh meeting in Ankara, July 26, 2023. (Turkish Presidency)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas (left), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center) and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh meeting in Ankara, July 26, 2023. (Turkish Presidency)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh accuses Israel of committing war crimes and preventing humanitarian aid from entering the Gaza Strip, as Israel pounds the blockaded territory with air strikes.

“Israeli atrocities amount to war crimes,” he says in a letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that was posted on the Palestinian group’s website.

His accusations come a week after Hamas terrorists launched an unprecedented assault on Israeli border communities, killing 1,300 people, most of them civilians, and taking more than 100 hostages to Gaza.

Russia says 16 citizens killed in Hamas onslaught, 8 missing

Russia’s embassy in Israel says that the number of Russian citizens killed since Hamas launched its attacks against Israel a week ago has risen to 16. Eight Russian citizens are missing, according to embassy press secretary Marina Ryazanova.

“According to the Israeli side, as of 13:00 on October 14, the number of dead citizens of the Russian Federation who also had Israeli citizenship increased to 16 people, Ryazanova said. “The updated lists of missing persons provided by the Israeli side include eight Russian citizens.”

At least one Russian citizen is being held hostage in the Gaza Strip, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Huge anti-Israel protest in London as police warn Hamas supporters to be arrested

People gather with placards and a large Palestinian flag to take part in a 'March For Palestine' in London on October 14, 2023 (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
People gather with placards and a large Palestinian flag to take part in a 'March For Palestine' in London on October 14, 2023 (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Thousands of people rally in central London for an anti-Israel protest following police warnings that anyone showing support for the Hamas terror group could face arrest.

Attendees, who gathered near BBC News’ headquarters through the morning, began a march through the British capital ahead of an afternoon rally near parliament and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street office and residence.

Some display Palestinian flags and placards — bearing slogans including “freedom for Palestine”, “end the massacre” and “sanctions for Israel” — as they made their way towards the end-point for a series of planned speeches.

“I think all just people around the world, not just in Britain, must stand up and call for this madness (to end),” Ismail Patel, chairman of the Friends of Al-Aqsa campaign, tells AFP at the demonstration.

“Otherwise, in the next few days, (we) might see a catastrophe unfolding.”

The rally comes as Israel intensifies its war to destroy Hamas’s capability, relentlessly pounding the Gaza Strip and deploying tens of thousands of soldiers nearby ahead of an expected ground offensive in the enclave.

That follows last Saturday’s unprecedented assault by Hamas, which saw hundreds of its fighters cross the Israeli border to take hostages and kill more than 1,000 civilians on the streets, in their homes or at a rave party.

Ahead of the London protest, the city’s Metropolitan Police Service said it would deploy more than 1,000 officers.

Police and the government have noted a spike in UK antisemitic crime and incidents since the Hamas assault, while officers in Sussex, southeast England, arrested a 22-year-old woman Friday suspected of having made a speech backing Hamas.

A banned terrorist organization in Britain, its members — or those found guilty of inviting support for it — can be jailed for up to 14 years under UK law.

The Met said this week that general expressions of support for Palestinians, including flying the Palestinian flag, were not criminal offenses but reiterated that supporting Hamas is a crime.

Hezbollah claims mortar, missile fire at IDF posts on Lebanese border

Israeli soldiers guard a check point near the border with Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Israeli soldiers guard a check point near the border with Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The Hezbollah terror group claims responsibility for an attack on Israeli military sites in the Mount Dov area on the Lebanon border.

In a statement, Hezbollah says it launched mortars and anti-tank guided missiles at the sites.

The Israel Defense Forces says it is returning fire against the source of the fire in Lebanon.

BBC office doused in red paint in apparent protest at refusal to call Hamas terrorists

The offices of the BBC were doused in red paint in an apparent protest against the broadcaster’s refusal to call Hamas a terror organization.

The broadcaster has come under widespread criticism for not using the word “terrorist” to describe the Hamas assault that killed more than 1,300 people in Israel, most of them civilians.

The BBC claims it avoids the word as part of its efforts at neutrality even though Hamas is a banned terrorist organization in Britain. Its members — or those found guilty of inviting support for it — can be jailed for up to 14 years under UK law.

The BBC offices are also near the starting point of a mass pro-Palestinian protest being held in London.

 

US embassy authorizes departure of diplomat families, non-essential workers

The US State Department authorizes the departure of family members of diplomats and non-essential workers from Israel amid the fighting with Gaza, but says the embassy remains open.

“The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas, including US government personnel serving abroad,” says an embassy spokesperson.

“The Embassy remains open. We remain diplomatically engaged at the highest levels and that will continue,” the spokesperson adds.

Hamas claims nine hostages killed in Israeli airstrikes over last 24 hours

Posters of those held hostage by terrorists in Gaza are glued to the wall outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 14, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)
Posters of those held hostage by terrorists in Gaza are glued to the wall outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 14, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)

The military wing of Hamas terror group says nine hostages, including four foreigners, were killed over the past 24 hours as a result of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

The Qassam Brigades say the hostages were killed when Israel’s military hit areas where they were being held.

The announcement came a day after the group said 13 hostages it is holding were killed in the strikes, raising the total number of hostages killed to 22.

The claim could not be independently verified. Israel has rebuffed previous similar claims as propaganda, saying it has its own information.

Hamas terrorists who launched an unprecedented assault into Israeli border communities took an estimated 150-200 people hostage during last Saturday’s attack on southern Israel and military posts surrounding Gaza.

Several of the hostages are elderly or children.

Mortars fired at IDF posts on Lebanese border, army returns fire

Israeli soldiers stand on a stationed tank near the border with Israel, in Lebanon, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Israeli soldiers stand on a stationed tank near the border with Israel, in Lebanon, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

A number of mortars have been launched from Lebanon at Israeli military sites in the contested Mount Dov area on the border, according to the military.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces says it is looking into the details. It does not immediately provide information on potential casualties.

The IDF says it is returning fire against the source of the mortar fire in Lebanon.

The incident comes as Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions several times in Lebanon in recent days.

At hostage solidarity rally, anger mounts at Netanyahu

Monica Levy holds a sign reading 'resign' at a rally in solidarity with hostages taken by Hamas in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023 (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Monica Levy holds a sign reading 'resign' at a rally in solidarity with hostages taken by Hamas in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023 (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

Anger mounts at a rally in solidarity with hostages captured by Hamas, with focus turning to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Terror survivor Monica Levy, who lost her family member Mapal Adam, 25, in the Hamas onslaught last Saturday, says Netanyahu and his government are more interested in their own survival than in governance.

“I want Benjamin Netanyahu and all his people to go home because they’ve abandoned residents of the south and they’re not interested in the lives of residents there and instead they’re obsessed with small politics,” Levy, 62, from Tel Aviv, says.

“He wants to just save himself and he’s willing to sacrifice all of us,” she adds.

Levy is a survivor of a deadly 1994 bus bombing of Tel Aviv’s bus line 5 and her cousin’s daughter, Adam, was killed at the Re’im music festival, where Hamas killed 260 Israelis.

Protesters chant “Go to jail, Bibi!” and “Leave,” showing support for the families of those killed and help captive by Hamas.

Among the crowd, placards read: “Bibi, you have blood on your hands,” “We’ve been abandoned,” “Return the hostages immediately,” and “There’s no trust, quit.”

A lone pro-Netanyahu protester shouts support for the government at the crowd, and is quickly separated from other demonstrators by the police.

Defense Ministry allocates NIS 10 million in immediate help to border communities

A burnt house in Kibbutz Be'eri after the deadly assault by Hamas, October 11, 2023 (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)
A burnt house in Kibbutz Be'eri after the deadly assault by Hamas, October 11, 2023 (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)

The Defense Ministry sets up an assistance agency to deal with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Gaza border communities that were devastated in the Hamas assault last week.

Ministry Director-General Eyal Zamir allocates an initial NIS 10 million ($2.5 million) for immediate assistance.

The assistance will include dealing with the electricity, gas and water infrastructure along with clearing the ruins of shattered buildings, and cleaning up in the aftermath of the massacres.

The work will be done in full cooperation of the communities, the ministry says.

Zamir also decides that work will begin immediately and not wait for the war to end.

Lapid receives security briefing, tours Sderot

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid receives a security briefing from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Military Secretary Avi Gil, according to Lapid’s office.

Lapid also tours the hard-hit border town of Sderot and is briefed on the planned evacuation of civilians by Mayor Alon Davidi.

“I came to Sderot to embrace the residents and to hear from the mayor and his people, to see how we can help in any way,” Lapid says.

“We are all together in this until we finish off Hamas and ensure a quiet life for the residents of Sderot and the Gaza border communities,” he says.

Blinken urges protection of civilians on both sides amid green light for ground incursion

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls for protection for civilians in both the Gaza Strip and Israel as the Israeli military ordered half of the Palestinian territory’s population to evacuate in advance of an expected ground assault.

Blinken met his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, in Riyadh as he began a third day of intense Middle East diplomacy aimed at preventing the Israel-Hamas war from expanding into a regional conflict and fueling a humanitarian crisis.

Both stress the importance of minimizing the harm to civilians as Israel prepared for an anticipated incursion against Hamas a week after the militant group’s unprecedented assault on Israel.

“As Israel pursues its legitimate right, to defending its people and to trying to ensure that this never happens again, it is vitally important that all of us look out for civilians, and we’re working together to do exactly that,” Blinken says before heading to the United Arab Emirates for similar discussions.

“None of us want to see suffering by civilians on any side, whether it’s in Israel, whether it’s in Gaza, whether it’s anywhere else,” he says.

An American official says that the US did not ask Israel to slow or hold off on the evacuation plan. The official said the discussions with Israeli leaders did stress the importance of taking into account the safety of civilians as Israel’s military moved to enforce the evacuation demand.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about internal discussions, says the Israeli leaders acknowledged the guidance and took it under advisement.

Saudis call emergency meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation over Gaza

Saudi Arabia calls an urgent meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a 57-member bloc of Muslim countries.

The OIC says in a statement that the meeting will “address the escalating military situation in Gaza and its environs as well as the deteriorating conditions that endanger the lives of civilians and the overall security and stability of the region.”

The meeting will take place on Wednesday in Jeddah.

Paris’s Louvre museum closes ‘for security reasons’

This photograph taken on September 21, 2023, shows the Louvre Pyramid, designed by Chinese architect Ieoh Ming Pei at the Louvre museum in Paris.
This photograph taken on September 21, 2023, shows the Louvre Pyramid, designed by Chinese architect Ieoh Ming Pei at the Louvre museum in Paris.

The Louvre museum in Paris closes “for security reasons,” while France is on high alert following an Islamist stabbing attack in the northeastern town of Arras.

“The Louvre received a written message stating that there was a risk to the museum and its visitors,” a spokeswoman tells AFP after announcing the closure on social media. “We have decided… to evacuate and close it for the day, while we carry out the necessary checks.”

Army releases footage of Snapir unit foiling naval infiltration on morning of assault

New footage released by the Israel Defense Forces shows members of the Navy’s Snapir unit killing Hamas terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip via the sea on the morning of October 7.

The video shows that after Hamas speedboats were sunk by other Navy vessels of the 916th Patrol Squadron, the Snapir sailors engaged surviving terrorists.

The IDF says the terrorists attempted to swim toward the Israeli coast.

“Snapir fighters opened fire on the terrorists, amid a naval pursuit. The fighters thwarted a number of terrorists at sea, and from there they continued to thwart terrorists when they reached the coastline,” the IDF says.

19-year-old injured in rocket attack on Abu Ghosh dies of his wounds

Majed Ibrahim, 19, who was critically wounded when a rocket fired by Gaza terror groups landed in Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem earlier in the week, has died of his wounds, Hebrew media says.

Family of hostages say they have transferred medical information, medicine to Red Cross

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

A forum representing families of the missing and the hostages being held by terror groups say they have transferred medical details and medicines used by their loved ones to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Yesterday the ICRC reiterated that it was trying to gain access to the estimated 150-200 hostages.

“Our hearts go out to people who lost family members or are worried sick about loved ones taken hostage. We reiterate our call for their immediate release and stand ready to conduct humanitarian visits,” the ICRC said.

The families forum said the effort began last night and they were currently working to make contact with other families to ensure that all the information was passed on.

Several of the captives are believed to be elderly and children.

IDF says it arrested 280 Palestinians across West Bank since Hamas assault

An Israeli Border Policeman holds a Palestinian flag taken from Palestinians during clashes following a demonstration in support of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Nablus, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
An Israeli Border Policeman holds a Palestinian flag taken from Palestinians during clashes following a demonstration in support of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Nablus, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

The Israel Defense Forces says troops have arrested 280 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including 157 affiliated with Hamas, since fighting began last weekend in southern Israel.

Last night alone 25 Hamas members were arrested by the IDF, among them two senior members detained in Nablus, the military says.

There have been several clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians in the West Bank in recent days, and at least 10 attempted terror attacks, according to the army.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 54 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

Protest outside Defense Ministry grows with calls for Netanyahu to resign

Israelis protest outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over the devastating Hamas attack that killed 1,300 people (courtesy Niki Sharir)
Israelis protest outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on October 14, 2023, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over the devastating Hamas attack that killed 1,300 people (courtesy Niki Sharir)

A protest started outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv by a family member of one of the people being held hostage by Hamas swells to dozens of people.

Many hold signs with the names and pictures of those missing or held captive following the massive assault launched by Hamas last Saturday that killed more than 1,300 people, most of them civilians.

Others wave Israeli flags and signs saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is responsible for the devastating failure and calling on him to resign.

IDF drone strike hits squad launching anti-tank missile

The Israel Defense Forces says it has carried out a drone strike against a Hamas anti-tank guided missile squad on the border with the Gaza Strip.

The IDF says the strike was carried out after the squad launched a missile. The missile attack reportedly wounded one person in southern Israel.

Agreement reached to allow foreigners to leave Gaza

A picture taken on October 10, 2023, shows the closed gates of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
A picture taken on October 10, 2023, shows the closed gates of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Egypt, Israel and the United States have agreed to allow foreigners residing in Gaza to pass through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, a senior Egyptian official says.

The official says Israel has agreed to refrain from striking areas the foreigners would pass through on their way out of the besieged Palestinian territory. He adds that Qatar was involved in the negotiations and the participants received approval from the Palestinian terror groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The agreement  does not deal with hostages being held by Hamas.

A second official at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing point says they received “instructions” to reopen it on Saturday afternoon for foreigners coming from Gaza.

The first official said negotiations were still underway to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza through the crossing point.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

Israel has ordered a mass evacuation of Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip.

IDF says drone infiltration alert in north was a false alarm

The Israel Defense Forces says a suspected drone infiltration siren that sounded in the northern community of Gornot HaGalil was a false alarm.

There have been several false alarms in recent days along the tense Lebanese border.

Anti-tank missile reported fired at Eshkol region, 1 person hurt

An anti-tank guided missile has reportedly been fired from the Gaza Strip toward the Eshkol region in southern Israel.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, at least one person is hurt.

The Hamas terror group at the same time claims its members crossed the Gaza border fence near Khan Younis and is engaged in clashes with Israeli forces.

Drone infiltration alert sounds in Gornot HaGalil on the Lebanon border

A suspected drone infiltration alert is sounding in the northern community of Gornot HaGalil on the Lebanon border.

Earlier this morning, the Israel Defense Forces said it intercepted three apparent drones over northern Israel.

There have also been several false alarms in the north in recent days, amid clashes between the IDF and Hezbollah and Palestinian allies in southern Lebanon.

IDF says it killed top Hamas commando who led an assault on Israeli communities

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed a commander in Hamas’s commando forces, who led one of the murderous attacks on southern Israel communities last week.

The IDF says Ali Qadhi, a company commander in the so-called Nukhba unit, was killed in a drone strike following intelligence efforts by the Shin Bet security agency and Military Intelligence Directorate.

According to the IDF, Qadhi was arrested by Israel in 2005 over the kidnapping and murder of Israeli civilians and had been released to the Gaza Strip as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

Iranian FM says Hezbollah entry into war will be ‘huge earthquake’ for Israel

Hezbollah supporters wave Lebanese, Palestinian and their group flags, as they hold pro-Gaza placards during a protest to show their solidarity with the Palestinians, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023.  (AP/Hussein Malla)
Hezbollah supporters wave Lebanese, Palestinian and their group flags, as they hold pro-Gaza placards during a protest to show their solidarity with the Palestinians, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP/Hussein Malla)

Iran’s foreign minister calls on Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza, warning that the war might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah joins the battle, and that would make Israel suffer “a huge earthquake.”

Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in Beirut that Lebanon’s Hezbollah group has taken all the scenarios of a war into consideration and Israel should stop its attacks on Gaza as soon as possible.

Amirabdollahian says he met Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who briefed him on the terror group’s conditions in Lebanon.

“I know about the scenarios that Hezbollah has put in place,” Amirabdollahian says. “Any step the resistance [Hezbollah] will take will cause a huge earthquake in the Zionist entity.”

Amirabdollahian adds: “I want to warn the war criminals and those who support this entity before it’s too late to stop the crimes against civilians in Gaza, because it might be too late in [a] few hours.”

Hamas says 2,215 Gazans killed in Israeli strikes

Palestinians are treated at a hospital in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 12, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Palestinians are treated at a hospital in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 12, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)

The Hamas-run health ministry reports that 2,215 Palestinians have been killed and another 8,714 have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip since fighting began on October 7.

The bodies of an estimated 1,500 Palestinian terrorists were found in Israeli territory following Hamas’s onslaught last weekend, according to the Israeli military.

355 Israelis still hospitalized from Hamas assault

Israelis donate blood at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, October 10, 2023. (Ichilov Hospital)
Israelis donate blood at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, October 10, 2023. (Ichilov Hospital)

The Health Ministry updates that as of 11 a.m. Saturday morning, 3,526 people were brought to hospitals around the country with injuries sustained as a result of the shock invasion by Hamas terrorists from Gaza and ensuing fighting.

There are still 355 of the injured hospitalized. Of them, 95 are in serious condition, 186 in moderate condition, and 74 in light condition.

Four said hurt in mortar attack on Nirim

Four people are reported wounded by a mortar attack near the southern community of Nirim, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, one is listed in critical condition.

There is no immediate comment from medical authorities or the military.

IDF says it’s ‘very sorry’ for death of journalist on Lebanese border

In this photo provided by Reuters, Issam Abdallah, a videographer for the news agency, poses for a selfie while working in Maras, Turkey, on Feb. 11, 2023. Abdallah was killed Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, when an Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon. Six other journalists were injured in the incident. (Issam Abdallah/Reuters via AP)
In this photo provided by Reuters, Issam Abdallah, a videographer for the news agency, poses for a selfie while working in Maras, Turkey, on Feb. 11, 2023. Abdallah was killed Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, when an Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon. Six other journalists were injured in the incident. (Issam Abdallah/Reuters via AP)

The Israeli army says it was “very sorry” for the death of a Reuters journalist killed when caught up in cross-border shelling along the frontier with Lebanon.

“We are very sorry for the journalist’s death,” military spokesman Richard Hecht tells reporters when asked about the killing of the Reuters videographer on Friday.

The Israeli military did not acknowledge responsibility, however. “We are looking into it,” Hecht says of the incident in which six other journalists, including two from AFP, were also injured.

Iran FM meets Nasrallah, says terror proxies in region ‘fully ready’ to respond

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian says Tehran’s proxy terror groups in the region are “fully ready” to respond to any move by Israel.

The minister speaks in Beirut at the end of a tour that took him to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, where Iran enjoys wide influence and where tens of thousands of Iran-backed fighters are deployed.

Amirabdollahian tells reporters in Beirut Saturday that he met Hezbollah’s leadership, adding that “the resistance [Hezbollah] is in excellent condition and in full readiness to respond to criminal acts by the Zionist entity.”

He adds that “the resistance will decide if the war will expand or new fronts are to be open.”

During his visit to Beirut, Amirabdollahian met Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and they discussed the war.

“We will do all we can to stop the Zionist crimes in Gaza,” Amirabdollahian says.

Sirens sound as Hamas fires rocket barrage at Ashkelon and Tel Aviv areas

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in Rehovot, Israel, October 13, 2023. (Dor Kedmi/AP)
Israelis take cover as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in Rehovot, Israel, October 13, 2023. (Dor Kedmi/AP)

Rocket warning sirens sound in the Ashkelon and Tel Aviv areas as Hamas fires a large barrage of rockets at the area.

Hamas claims credit for the attack.

The Magen David Adom rescue service says there are no immediate reports of direct impacts or injuries, but it is carrying out searches.

Saudis said to tell US they are halting normalization talks with Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Friday Oct. 13, 2023, and is greeted by MFA Undersecretary for Protocol Affairs Abdulmajeed Alsmari after stops in Jordan, Qatar, and Bahrain in the same day. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Friday Oct. 13, 2023, and is greeted by MFA Undersecretary for Protocol Affairs Abdulmajeed Alsmari after stops in Jordan, Qatar, and Bahrain in the same day. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Saudi Arabia has suspended talks on potentially normalizing ties with Israel, a source tells AFP, amid the war raging between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

Hamas launched a large-scale onslaught on Israel on October 7 that killed more than 1,300 people, most of them civilians, sparking a fierce Israeli response ahead of a potential Israeli ground invasion of the territory.

“Saudi Arabia has decided to pause discussion on possible normalization and has informed US officials,” a source familiar with the discussions tells AFP.

The report comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Riyadh on his Middle East shuttle diplomacy tour.

Saudi Arabia in the weeks before the attacks had spoken of progress in US-led diplomacy to normalize relations with Israel — which would be a landmark step for the conservative kingdom that is guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites.

But Riyadh has voiced increasing disquiet about the fate of Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where Israel has launched thousands of strikes and ordered the evacuation of the territory’s north, prompting thousands to flee.

Hamas officials say at least 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia denounced the displacement of Palestinians within Gaza and attacks on “defenseless civilians,” its strongest language criticizing Israel since the war broke out.

Riyadh “affirms its categorical rejection of calls for the forced displacement of the Palestinian people from Gaza, and its condemnation of the continued targeting of defenseless civilians there,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

IDF urges Palestinians to evacuate: We are going to attack with great force

Israeli artillery fires towards the Gaza Strip enclave, from a field near the Israeli city of Sderot, on October 14, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
Israeli artillery fires towards the Gaza Strip enclave, from a field near the Israeli city of Sderot, on October 14, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

The military’s top spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the Israel Defense Forces is preparing for the next stages of the ongoing war with Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip and urges Palestinians in the north of the enclave to evacuate, saying Israel was going to “attack with great force.”

“We are deployed and strongly prepared for the next stages of the war,” Hagari says in a press conference.

“We are preparing the forces, going over plans, prepared in all arenas, south, north, and center,” he says.

“We are focused on Gaza but are widely deployed [across the country] that allows us to operate simultaneously in all arenas,” he says.

Hagari says hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians have evacuated from northern Gaza to the south, following warnings by the IDF that it will soon heavily target the area.

“There are still citizens who have not yet evacuated. Anyone who chooses not to evacuate puts himself and his family in danger. We will attack with great force in the areas that have been evacuated,” he says.

Hagari says Hamas is under pressure and trying to prevent Palestinian civilians from evacuating, “because the organization’s leaders are hiding beneath them.”

IDF publishes footage of drone strike on Lebanon border infiltrators

The Israel Defense Forces publishes footage showing a drone strike against a terrorist cell that attempted to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon this morning.

Three terrorists were killed in the strike, close to the northern town of Margaliot, according to the military.

Death toll of Thais killed in Hamas onslaught rises to 24

Relatives of Thai nationals working in Israel speak to Thai media at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on October 12, 2023. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)
Relatives of Thai nationals working in Israel speak to Thai media at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on October 12, 2023. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)

Three more Thai nationals have died following the massive Hamas assault last week on Israeli border communities, bringing the death toll to 24, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says.

“I have been informed that there are three more people who died, making it a total of 24,” Srettha tells reporters.

Two additional Thai nationals have been wounded, the Thai foreign ministry says, bringing the total to 16.

There are also 16 Thais believed to be held hostage by Hamas.

Kanyarat Suriyasri, the wife of a hostage, urged the Thai government to do everything to bring her husband home safely.

“I just want my husband back. I just want to hug him,” she tells AFP, in Si Sa Ket province in the country’s northeast.

About 30,000 Thais are working in Israel, mostly in the agriculture sector, according to the kingdom’s labor ministry.

 

Four rockets hit Sderot, no injuries

Four of the rockets fired in the latest salvo from Gaza terrorists land in the border town of Sderot causing extensive damage but no injuries, city officials say.

One rocket landed on the roof of a yeshiva and another hit an educational institute.

A further projectile landed on the railway line and the fourth fell in a road.

A Channel 13 film team was meters away from the rocket that exploded in the road but took cover in a shelter.

Public warned not to use imported breastmilk donations to feed babies

An undated photo of bottled breastmilk. (Magen David Adom)
An undated photo of bottled breastmilk. (Magen David Adom)

Magen David Adom reports that breastmilk shipments have arrived in the country from abroad and warns the public not to use the milk.

“This milk from other countries has not been checked and could endanger the lives of babies, and even lead to their deaths,” MDA said.

Since the beginning of the war a week ago, MDA’s national breastmilk bank has supplied milk for babies of women who are missing or have been killed, injured, kidnapped, or have been called to IDF reserve duty.

MDA is cooperating with the Health Ministry in this effort, which meets strict standards for checking donated breastmilk and ensuring its safety.

“Breastmilk that has been transferred specifically to Israel without supervision could be a way of introducing poisons that could hurt babies,” said MDA national breastmilk bank director Dr. Sharron Bransburg-Zabary.

“The national breastmilk bank acts in accordance with US Food and Drug Administration food protection guidelines to prevent dangerous tampering,” she said.

German newspaper fills front page with names of those killed in devastating Hamas attack

People gather and light candles to remember the Israeli victims in Gaza war at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv, October 13, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
People gather and light candles to remember the Israeli victims in Gaza war at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv, October 13, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Germany’s “Die Welt” national daily newspaper’s front page is filled with the names of those killed in the Hamas onslaught last Saturday.

A reporter for the outlet says that the names of only around half of those killed fit on the page.

Rockets fired from Gaza toward border communities

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

The renewed fire from the Strip comes after a lull of approximately 10 hours, a pattern that the Gaza terror groups have replicated over the past three days.

Television crews capture the interceptions by missile defense systems.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF: 2 Palestinian terrorists killed while attempting to infiltrate from Gaza overnight

Two Palestinian terrorists were killed while attempting to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip overnight, the military says.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, a tank fired a shell at the two gunmen, near the southern community of Nahal Oz.

IDF tells Gaza residents to leave northern Strip using evacuation corridors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Palestinians flee from northern Gaza to the south after the Israeli army issued an unprecedented evacuation warning to a population of over 1 million people in northern Gaza ahead of an expected ground incursion in response to deadly Hamas attack, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee from northern Gaza to the south after the Israeli army issued an unprecedented evacuation warning to a population of over 1 million people in northern Gaza ahead of an expected ground incursion in response to deadly Hamas attack, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

In an Arabic message, the Israel Defense Forces tells residents of the northern Gaza Strip that they should move to the southern part of the enclave using evacuation corridors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“If you care about yourself and your loved ones, go south as instructed,” the military says. “Rest assured that Hamas leaders have taken care of themselves and are taking cover from strikes in the region.”

The IDF has notified the United Nations that the entire Palestinian population north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to the southern Strip.

The message indicated that the IDF could be readying to launch a ground invasion after a week of aerial bombardment in response to the massive Hamas onslaught last Saturday.

Hamas terrorists killed 1,300 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

IDF kills terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon

Israeli troops have killed three or four terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon near the northern town of Margaliot, military sources say.

The Israel Defense Forces in a statement says it carried out a drone strike against the terror cell after they were identified attempting to cross the border.

The IDF has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon several times in recent days.

IDF says head of Hamas’s aerial forces killed in overnight Gaza strike

Picture taken from the city of Ashkelon shows smoke rising from the Gaza Strip on October 13, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
Picture taken from the city of Ashkelon shows smoke rising from the Gaza Strip on October 13, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed a senior member of the Hamas terror group in an overnight airstrike in the Gaza Strip.

The strike, targeting a headquarters from which the terror group managed its aerial activity, kills Murad Abu Murad, the head of Hamas’s aerial array, according to the IDF.

The IDF says Abu Murad “took a big part in directing terrorists during the massacre” last weekend, which included attackers who entered Israel from the air on hang gliders.

In separate “widespread” strikes overnight, the IDF says it hit dozens of sites belonging to Hamas’s commando forces, who led the infiltration into Israel on October 7.

EU policy chief: Israel’s call to evacuate northern Gaza in one day ‘utterly impossible’

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends the EU-China High-Level Strategic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on October 13, 2023. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends the EU-China High-Level Strategic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on October 13, 2023. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says that a plan by Israel to evacuate more than one million people out of northern Gaza in a single day was “utterly impossible to implement.”

Israel warned residents in the area to evacuate before an expected ground offensive against Hamas in retaliation for the deadliest attack in Israel’s history.

“I am saying that, representing the official position of the European Union… [the evacuation plan] is utterly, utterly impossible to implement,” Borrell tells a press conference in Beijing on the final day of a three-day diplomatic visit to China.

“To imagine that you could move one million people in 24 hours in a situation like Gaza can only be a humanitarian crisis,” he adds.

More than 400,000 Gazans flee homes — UN

The United Nations says that more than 423,000 people had already fled their homes in Gaza, even before Israel’s directive to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip came through Friday.

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.

The message indicated that the IDF could be readying to launch a ground invasion after a week of aerial bombardment in response to the massive Hamas onslaught last Saturday.

Hamas terrorists killed 1,300 people, a majority of them civilians.

Hamas official: Non-military leaders ‘surprised by date, not by actions’ of shock onslaught

Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (AP/Hatem Moussa)
Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (AP/Hatem Moussa)

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas political bureau member based in Doha, says all of the terror group’s non-military members had no prior knowledge of the shock attack on Israel last Saturday, October 7, when terrorists infiltrated by land, sea, and air, and launched a devastating onslaught that killed over 1,300 people, a majority of them civilians.

The terrorists also captured between 150 and 200 hostages and took them to Gaza, including babies, young children, women, and elderly people.

“All of Hamas’s leaders who are not military ones received the news early Saturday morning,” he tells the New Yorker

Abu Marzouk says the “political” leaders were “surprised by the date but not by the actions.” The Qatar-based officials said Hamas’s military wing “are the ones who plan, execute, and so on, but they abide by the general policies put forth by our political bureau.”

He says that Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, was surprised by the success of its devastating early morning attack and expected the IDF units around Gaza to be “the strongest divisions, and the most trained,” with “a lot of information and fortifications,” as well as assistance from “intelligence officers who know a lot about our movements.”

He says Hamas “never expected” the confusion and retreat in the face of the massive infiltration.

Abu Marzouk also denies — against overwhelming evidence, including footage posted proudly by terrorists — that Hamas killed civilians but conceded that some of the indiscriminate violence may have been committed by other terrorists and civilians who had followed the initial Hamas terror squads when they blew open holes in the security barriers.

Of the hostages, he says, “the innocent people who were imprisoned, we will not keep them,” and adds that “it’s too early to talk about swaps” between captured Israeli soldiers and Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails.

Hamas’s Gaza leaders have threatened to execute hostages and post these executions online if Israel targets Gaza buildings without first warning occupants, as it has done in previous operations.

Israel has launched intense airstrikes in Gaza, vowing to “dismantle” Hamas. On Friday, Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip in “localized raids” to clear the area of potential terrorists and locate missing Israelis in a likely precursor to a full-scale incursion, the military said.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said some 1,900 Palestinians had been killed since fighting began on October 7. It did not differentiate between members of armed groups and civilians.

Israel said it is targeting terrorist infrastructure and all areas where Hamas operates or hides and that Israeli forces have also killed some 1,500 Hamas terrorists who infiltrated into its territory since Saturday.

Abu Marzouk tells the New Yorker the threat to kill hostages is “a mistake — we can’t execute hostages,” and claims four captives — Israeli soldiers — had already died, blaming Israeli strikes.

“Let the situation calm down and the bombardment stop for us to be able to differentiate the prisoners from various factions. They are a very big number. Let us stop the war and everything can be discussed on this issue.”

Asked what Hamas hoped to achieve with its deadly massacre that would only prompt punishing Israeli reprisals, he says it was the first time Palestinians “are crossing the borders and fighting in their historic land,” blaming Israel, the US, Europeans and everyone else for failures to “achieve the Palestinian people’s rights.”

“Israel used to wage war against us outside its borders, to kill us and imprison us. Now it’s the opposite. Now the future Israeli generations will know they can’t continue to occupy the Palestinians — they can’t continue their wars forever. This is the biggest achievement,” he says.

He says Ara states will likely continue pursuing ties with Israel and that the devastating attack would likely only delay moves in this direction.

Biden says humanitarian crisis in Gaza a priority as evacuation deadline nears

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at Tioga Marine Terminal, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at Tioga Marine Terminal, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP/Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden says that it’s a priority of his administration to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at an event in Philadelphia to promote a $7 billion program to kickstart development and production of hydrogen fuel in the US, Biden paused to note the deteriorating situation for Palestinians in the Palestinian enclave as Israel continues to bombard the strip in retaliation for last weekend devastating surprise assault on Israel.

Hamas terrorists killed over 1,300 people, a majority of them civilians, during an hours-long raid on southern Israeli communities and at a music festival. They also took between 150 and 200 Israelis and duals nationals hostage, including children, women, and elderly people, and are holding them in the Gaza Strip.

Israel responded by cutting off electricity, food, and fuel and launching extensive airstrikes to target the terror group’s infrastructure and hit Hamas leaders and members.

The military early Friday warned Gaza residents in the northern part of the strip to evacuate within 24 hours, amid preparations for a likely ground incursion or a stepped-up offensive. The area is home to about 1 million people.

The deadline is nearing.

In his comments Friday, Biden said he’s directed his team to work with the governments in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab nations and the United Nations to surge humanitarian relief to those impacted by the war.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do Hamas,” Biden said. “And they’re suffering as a result as well.”

Biden again lashed out at Hamas, saying the terror group in control of Gaza makes the terrorist group Al-Qaeda “look pure.”

Russia calls for Israel-Hamas cease-fire at UN

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations calls for a “humanitarian cease-fire” in the Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday, while blaming the United States for the ongoing conflict.

The Russian draft resolution, presented to the Security Council and seen by AFP, calls for an “immediate” ceasefire and the secure release of all hostages, and “strongly condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism.”

The document did not specifically name Hamas, the terror group that governs Gaza and on Saturday burst through the heavily militarized border into Israel and killed 1,300 people, mostly civilians.

Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, took about 150-200 Israeli, foreign and dual-national hostages to Gaza in the initial attack, Israel has said.

The United States has called on the Security Council to condemn the Palestinian terrorists and their attack, the deadliest in Israel’s history.

“We’re convinced that the Security Council must act to put an end to the bloodshed and restart peace negotiations with a view to establishing a Palestinian state as it was supposed to do so long ago,” Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said after the closed-door meeting of the Security Council on Friday.

Israeli UN envoy hosts event for hostages held after Hamas shock onslaught

Israeli envoy to the UN Gilad Erdan holds an event for the families of Israelis held hostage in Gaza by the Hamas terror group, October 13, 2023. (Antony Hatuel)
Israeli envoy to the UN Gilad Erdan holds an event for the families of Israelis held hostage in Gaza by the Hamas terror group, October 13, 2023. (Antony Hatuel)

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations held a solidarity event for hostages held by Hamas in Gaza following its shock assault in Israel last Saturday, his office says.

The event, held ahead of a closed-door Security Council meeting on the war, featured the families of Israelis and duals nationals taken captive during the terror organization’s massive attack in Israel last week, where over 1,300 were killed across Israeli southern communities and at at music festival in southern Israel, a majority of them civilians.

The terror group is also holding bout 150-200 hostages in Gaza, including babies and young children and women, as Israel engages in aerial bombardment in retaliation and appears to be readying for a ground incursion. Israel has vowed to dismantle Hamas.

A short video was screened at the event “showing the atrocities committed by Hamas on innocent civilians including women, children, and the elderly and explaining why Hamas is the same as ISIS,” his office says.

Family members of the hostages Yoni Asher, Alana and Liam Zeitchik, and Rabbi Burton Visotzky, spoke at the gathering.

Representatives of over two dozen countries attended including the US, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Gabon, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Serbia and others.

“For years the UN has put its head in the sand. As resources and funds poured into Gaza and went straight into Hamas’ terror coffers – the UN stayed silent. As Hamas dug terror tunnels under residential neighborhoods – the UN stayed silent,” said Erdan, according to his office.

He criticized the UN for wanting to “minimize collateral damage, but in the same breath condemns civilian evacuation.”

After Israel issued a warning Friday to residents in northern Gaza to evacuate ahead of a possible incursion or a stepped up aerial offensive, a spokesperson said the UN “considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences” and “strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

“What we all hear is not the UN’s concern for civilians. What we hear is the UN’s indifference to the murder of 1,300 Israelis,” Erdan said. “The UN is making it clear that it does not want Israel to defend itself.”

“Hamas, the genocidal Jihadist terror group, bears the sole responsibility for everything that happens in Gaza,” he added.

“What if your child – your baby – was being held in Gaza by a genocidal Jihadist organization? What if it was your parents? What would you do? What would your country do?” he asked attendees.

“Israel is fully committed to bringing the hostages home and to obliterating Hamas’ terror capabilities,” he said.

UN chief urges Israel to ‘reconsider’ Gaza evacuation order

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 António Guterres urges Israel in a New York Times opinion piece on Friday to “reconsider” its warning to civilians in Gaza that they should leave the northern part of the Gaza Strip within 24 hours.

The message, at midnight on Friday, indicated that the IDF could be readying to launch a ground invasion after days of aerial bombardment in response to the massive Hamas onslaught on Saturday, in which 1,300 were killed, a majority of them civilians.

The warning applies 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,” a UN spokesperson said. “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.”

Roughly 1.1 million Palestinians live north of Wadi Gaza, according to the UN.

Israel also warned the Al Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate by 6 a.m. Saturday, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) rights group said in a statement.

In his opinion piece, Guterres writes that the warnings are “dangerous and deeply troubling,” and says that “any demand for a mass evacuation on extremely short notice could have devastating humanitarian consequences.”

The order, he says, applies to “approximately 1.1 million people. It applies to a territory that is already besieged, under aerial bombardment and without fuel, electricity, water and food. It applies to a territory that has suffered critical damage to roads and infrastructure in the past week, making the act of evacuating nearly impossible in the first place. It applies to United Nations staff members and more than 200,000 people sheltering in U.N. facilities, including schools, health centers and clinics. It applies to hundreds of thousands of children: Nearly half of Gaza is under the age of 18.

“As secretary general of the United Nations, I appeal to Israeli authorities to reconsider, he says.

“We have approached a moment of calamitous escalation, and find ourselves at a critical crossroads. It is imperative that all parties — and those with influence over them — do everything possible to avoid fresh violence or spillover of the conflict to the West Bank and the wider region,” Guterres writes in a likely reference to Washington which has given Israel its full support in the aftermath of the Hamas massacre.

Earlier Friday, the White House said the Israeli warning was a “tall order” 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.”

Guterres, in his opinion piece, says: “We urgently need a way out of this disastrous dead end before more lives are lost.”

He says “all hostages in Gaza must be released” and “civilians must not be used as human shields” and that the UN and its partners “need rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now throughout Gaza.”

“Humanitarian aid including fuel, food and water must be allowed to enter,” he urges.

He condemns the “abhorrent attacks by Hamas and others that terrorized Israel” and says “grievances felt by the Palestinian people do not justify the terror that was unleashed against civilians in Israel.”

He says he’s “horrified to hear the language of genocide entering the public discourse. People are losing sight of each other’s humanity.”

Blinken arrives in Saudi Arabia amid diplomacy efforts over Gaza war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Saudi Arabia, as he continues his shuttle diplomacy amid the ongoing Gaza war.

The Biden administration is engaging aggressively with Mideast allies to build a coalition against Hamas, keep other actors from joining the war against Israel and try and secure the release of the hostages from Gaza.

Over the past day and a half, Blinken has visited Israel, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain.

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