ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Oct. 17: Jordan cancels Biden summit with Abdullah, Sissi, Abbas after hospital blast

IDF: Gaza explosion was caused by Islamic Jihad rocket misfire * Arab world blames Israel * Biden en route for solidarity visit * Israel tells citizens to leave Turkey, Morocco

  • A blast near the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    A blast near the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • Palestinians at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, which was handling the dead and wounded from a huge blast near Gaza's al-Ahli hospital, Gaza City, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
    Palestinians at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, which was handling the dead and wounded from a huge blast near Gaza's al-Ahli hospital, Gaza City, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
  • An Israeli injured when a missile was fired from Lebanon toward Metula arrives at the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, October 17, 2023 (David Cohen/Flash90)
    An Israeli injured when a missile was fired from Lebanon toward Metula arrives at the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, October 17, 2023 (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • An Israeli soldier mans a checkpoint near the northern Kibbutz Sasa close to the border with Lebanon on October 17, 2023 (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
    An Israeli soldier mans a checkpoint near the northern Kibbutz Sasa close to the border with Lebanon on October 17, 2023 (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tel Aviv on October 17, 2023. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tel Aviv on October 17, 2023. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)
  • Keren, mother of Mia Schem, and representatives of the families of the abducted people held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza hold a press conference following the release of a video by Hamas, in which the 21-year-old Israeli woman is seen. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
    Keren, mother of Mia Schem, and representatives of the families of the abducted people held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza hold a press conference following the release of a video by Hamas, in which the 21-year-old Israeli woman is seen. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center right) meets with Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu (center left) in Jerusalem on October 17, 2023 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center right) meets with Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu (center left) in Jerusalem on October 17, 2023 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
  • Policemen stand at Rafah crossing port, Egypt, as humanitarian aid convoy for the Gaza Strip is parked Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Omar Aziz)
    Policemen stand at Rafah crossing port, Egypt, as humanitarian aid convoy for the Gaza Strip is parked Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Omar Aziz)
  • A Palestinian reacts amidst the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 17, 2023 (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    A Palestinian reacts amidst the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 17, 2023 (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • US citizens and their relatives exit the arrivals lounge after disembarking from an evacuation cruise liner that brought them from Haifa to the port in Limassol, Cyprus, on Oct. 17, 2023 (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
    US citizens and their relatives exit the arrivals lounge after disembarking from an evacuation cruise liner that brought them from Haifa to the port in Limassol, Cyprus, on Oct. 17, 2023 (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
  • Ichilov Hospital CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu meets with ambassadors from 30 countries at the hospital in Tel Aviv, October 17, 2023. (Jenny Yerushalmi/Ichilov)
    Ichilov Hospital CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu meets with ambassadors from 30 countries at the hospital in Tel Aviv, October 17, 2023. (Jenny Yerushalmi/Ichilov)

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

Lebanese protesters break into UN building in Beirut

Large rallies are taking place in the Lebanese capital Beirut, particularly in Dahiye, a large Shiite suburb in the south of the city, following the blast at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza.

Several protesters are filmed as they break into a UN office in the city and set it on fire.

This came after the Hezbollah terror group called for a “day of rage” on Wednesday over the hospital blast.

Media outlets in the Arab world have almost unanimously attributed the disaster, in which hundreds are reported to have died, to an Israeli airstrike. Israel has said the blast was caused by a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket.

Following Hezbollah’s call, hundreds of demonstrators also scuffled with Lebanese security forces outside the US embassy in the suburb of Awkar, where protesters hurled stones and set a building on fire, according to AFP correspondents.

Biden ‘outraged and deeply saddened’ by Gaza hospital explosion

US President Joe Biden expresses his outrage over the deadly strike of a Gaza hospital earlier this evening but avoids assigning blame to any party.

“I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted,” he says in a statement.

He says he spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the blast and directed his national security team to continue gathering information.

“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy,” he adds.

Israel said it did not strike the hospital and that the blast was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket misfire that landed in Gaza. Hamas and much of the Arab world has blamed Israel for the hospital explosion.

Jordan canceled Biden’s meetings with Abdullah, Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set for Wednesday.

Biden speaks to Netanyahu while en route to Israel aboard Air Force One

US President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the deadly blast at a Gaza hospital, the White House says.

Biden, who is flying to Israel for a wartime solidarity visit and talks with Netanyahu, was also briefed by his national security team “following reports of the terrible loss of life,” it adds.

Biden heads to Israel for wartime solidarity visit as Jordan leg of trip canceled

US President Joe Biden is wheels up from Joint Base Andrew’s in Maryland, heading to Israel for a wartime solidarity visit.

He is slated to land at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv at 10 a.m. for meetings with Israeli officials.

White House confirms Biden summit in Amman canceled

The White House confirms that the Jordan portion of US President Joe Biden’s trip to the Mideast has been cancelled.

He was supposed to hold a summit in Amman with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, but Jordan announced that it was scrapping the meeting following the bombing of a Gaza City hospital that killed hundreds.

Israel says an errant Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket was responsible for the blast but much of the Arab world had blamed the IDF.

A White House official says in a statement that the decision to scrap the Amman summit was made after Biden consulted with Jordan’s King Abdullah “and in light of the days of mourning announced by” Abbas following the hospital blast.

Biden sent Abdullah “his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the White House official says, being careful not to place blame on a particular party as the US works to determine who was responsible.

“Biden looks forward to consulting in person with these leaders soon, and agreed to remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days,” the White House official adds.

IDF confirms Gaza hospital blast caused by Islamic Jihad rocket misfire

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari gives a statement no October 17, 2023 saying the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group was responsible for a rocket misfire that hit a hospital in the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds. (Screenshot)
IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari gives a statement no October 17, 2023 saying the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group was responsible for a rocket misfire that hit a hospital in the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds. (Screenshot)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the Israeli military did not strike the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip earlier Tuesday and that the facility was hit by a failed rocket launched by the Islamic Jihad terror organization.

The military says that following an additional review and cross-examination of the operational and intelligence systems, “it is clear that the IDF did not strike the hospital in Gaza.”

“I can confirm that following an analysis of the IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” says Hagari in a short video sent by the IDF.

Intelligence points to Islamic Jihad “which is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza,” he says.

Hamas and most Arab nations have blamed Israel for the explosion, which the Hamas terror group said killed some 500 people. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza later said between 200 and 300 had been killed.

The Israeli military says Gaza-based terror organizations fire rockets indiscriminately toward Israel and about 450 rockets launched toward Israel have fallen inside Gaza since the beginning of the war on October 7, “endangering and harming the lives of Gazan residents.”

Surveillance camera footage shows the moment the rocket launched from the Gaza Strip appears to fall short and explode inside the Palestinian enclave.

Several other videos appear to show the same.

One video, taken from Netiv Haasara, appeared to match footage taken by Al Jazeera, which also showed a rocket misfire land inside Gaza.

Another video, published by Palestinian media outlets, showed the blast at the Ahli Arab Hospital.

The Al Jazeera footage was geolocated by experts on X to the hospital.

Jordan cancels Biden meetings with King Abdullah, Sissi, Abbas in Amman tomorrow

US President Joe Biden’s summit in Amman scheduled to take place tomorrow with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Sissi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been cancelled, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announces.

Earlier this evening, a senior Palestinian official said Abbas had canceled his participation in the meeting.

Abbas was scheduled to join King Abdullah II and Sissi at the summit where they were set to discuss the latest Israel-Hamas war with Biden.

But the senior official said Abbas was withdrawing to protest an explosion at a hospital in Gaza blamed on Israel that Hamas health officials say killed hundreds of people. Hamas initially said 500 but the Health Ministry in Gaza, run by the terror group, later said the death toll was between 200 and 300, as reported by AFP.

Israel said the explosion was caused by a rocket misfire by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Hezbollah calls for ‘day of rage’ over Gaza hospital blast

Bodies of Palestinians killed in a blast at the Ahli Arab hospital are seen gathered at the front yard of the al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP/Abed Khaled)
Bodies of Palestinians killed in a blast at the Ahli Arab hospital are seen gathered at the front yard of the al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP/Abed Khaled)

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement calls for a “day of rage” to condemn a blast at a Gaza Strip hospital, blaming Israel for what it calls a “massacre.”

“Let tomorrow, Wednesday, be a day of rage against the enemy,” Hezbollah says, calling the strike a “massacre” and “brutal crime.”

The IDF says that a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad caused the blast at the Gaza hospital in which hundreds are said to have been killed. Hamas and most Arab nations have blamed Israel.

Health Ministry says almost 4,400 wounded in Israel since start of war

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

The Health Ministry says 4,399 people in Israel have been wounded since the start of the war with Hamas on Oct. 7.

As of Tuesday night, the ministry says, there are 333 wounded still hospitalized, including 83 in serious condition, 169 in moderate condition and 80 in mild condition.

Scholz forced to lie on ground at airport as air raid siren sounds while boarding plane

Air raid sirens rang out earlier today at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was boarding a flight to depart Israel.

The entire delegation was forced to get off the plane and lie on the tarmac, covering their heads, as per protocol.

Herzog says accusations Israel is behind Gaza hospital blast are ‘blood libel’

President Isaac Herzog speaks at the opening session of the Knesset's winter session, in the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, October 16, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
President Isaac Herzog speaks at the opening session of the Knesset's winter session, in the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, October 16, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

President Isaac Herzog calls accusations that Israel struck the hospital in Gaza “a blood libel.”

“An Islamic Jihad missile has killed many Palestinians at a Gazan hospital — a place where lives should be saved,” Herzog tweets.

“Shame on the media who swallow the lies of Hamas and Islamic Jihad — broadcasting a 21st-century blood libel around the globe. Shame on the vile terrorists in Gaza who wilfully spill the blood of the innocent,” he writes.

“Never before has the choice been clearer. Israel is standing against an enemy made of pure evil. If you stand for humanity – for the value of all human life – you stand with Israel.”

IDF says it struck several Hezbollah posts in southern Lebanon

Israeli soldiers near the border with Lebanon, October 16, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers near the border with Lebanon, October 16, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets carried out strikes against Hezbollah sites and observation posts in south Lebanon in response to a number of attacks on the border today.

Today, Hezbollah launched six anti-tank guided missiles at Israeli towns and military posts along the border, wounding three people. Two rockets and a drone were also launched at northern Israel.

The IDF publishes footage showing the strikes.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain also blame Israel for hospital strike despite IDF denial

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain join Egypt, Jordan and Turkey in blaming Israel for the bombing of the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, which is believed to have killed hundreds of Palestinians.

The IDF has said that Palestinian Islamic Jihad was responsible for firing an errant rocket that struck the hospital.

“This dangerous development forces the international community to abandon double standards it has used to selectively apply international law when it comes to Israeli criminal practices and requires a serious and firm stance in order to provide protection for defenseless civilians,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry says in a statement.

Bahrain’s foreign ministry uses the opportunity to call for an “urgent ceasefire in Gaza” and affirm its “support for any regional or international effort that would deescalate and stop violence, as well as to revive the peace process” to work for a two-state solution.

UAE president adviser Anwar Gargash laments the “human tragedy and horrific scenes of innocent people as a result of the condemned Israeli targeting of Baptist Hospital in Gaza,” adding in a tweet that civilians must not be targeted under international law.

UAE, Russia call for emergency UN Security Council meeting on Gaza

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, talk to each other during their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, Oct. 11, 2022. (Pavel Bednyakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, talk to each other during their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, Oct. 11, 2022. (Pavel Bednyakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The UAE and Russia have called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tomorrow following the blast on a hospital in Gaza City, which is believed to have killed hundreds of Palestinians, a spokesperson for the UAE’s UN mission says.

The IDF has said that Palestinian Islamic Jihad was responsible for firing an errant rocket that struck the hospital, while Hamas has blamed Israel.

Netanyahu says ‘barbaric terrorists in Gaza’ responsible for hospital explosion

A blast at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A blast at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins the growing list of Israeli officials blaming the deadly hospital blast in Gaza on Palestinian terrorists.

“So the whole world knows: The barbaric terrorists in Gaza are the ones who attacked the Gaza hospital, not the IDF,” he says in a statement. “Those who cruelly murdered our children, murder their children as well.”

Hamas and many around the world have blamed an Israeli airstrike for the blast, which is said to kill hundreds, while the IDF says it was a failed rocket launch by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Surveillance video appears to show failed rocket launch causing Gaza hospital blast

A blast at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A blast at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Surveillance camera footage shows the moment a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip appears to fall short and explode inside the Palestinian territory.

The video, taken from Netiv Ha’asara, appears to match footage taken by Al Jazeera, which also shows a rocket misfire landing inside Gaza.

Another video, published by Palestinian media outlets, shows the blast at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, which Israel says was caused by a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry disseminated video, including on the official Israel X account, claiming to show an Islamic Jihad rocket falling on the hospital.

It then edited the tweet to remove the video after some people pointed out that it appeared to date 40 minutes following the blast, and also showed one video with a date in the future.

The Foreign Ministry says firmly that “the IDF did not conduct any operations in the area at the time of impact.”

Jordan’s Abdullah joins those blaming Israel for deadly Gaza blast

Jordan's King Abdullah II addresses a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not in image) after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on October 17, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)
Jordan's King Abdullah II addresses a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not in image) after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on October 17, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)

Jordan’s King Abdullah joins Egypt in blaming Israel for the rocket attack on Baptist Hospital in Gaza City that is believed to have killed hundreds of people.

The IDF has said that Palestinian Islamic Jihad was responsible for firing an errant rocket that struck the hospital, but Abdullah insists in a statement that Israel was behind the “heinous massacre.”

Abdullah considers this a “heinous war crime that cannot be tolerated. Israel must immediately stop its brutal aggression against Gaza, which is inconsistent with humanitarian and moral values ​​and constitutes a flagrant violation of the rules of international humanitarian law,” says a statement from Jordan’s Royal Court.

Families of Gazan hostages with German citizenship thank Scholz for meeting

Family members of those with German citizenship who are missing following the Hamas massacres on October 7, 2023, hold a press conference in Tel Aviv on October 17. (Screenshot)
Family members of those with German citizenship who are missing following the Hamas massacres on October 7, 2023, hold a press conference in Tel Aviv on October 17. (Screenshot)

Family members of those taken captive by Hamas who hold German citizenship say they received strong backing from visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“We thanked him warmly for his firm stance behind us,” says Gilli Roman, whose sister, Yarden Roman, is missing, during a Tel Aviv press conference. “We feel more affirmed with him here, he heard all the stories very patiently.”

Ricarda Louk describes what happened to her daughter, Shani Louk, who was taken captive by Hamas, her half-naked body thrown on the back of a pickup truck, bloody and unconscious, spit upon by passersby.

“It was just so humiliating and terrible to see,” says Louk. “Why do people behave like animals? I really have no explanation for this.”

Louk had received information that Shani was in Gaza, in a hospital being treated for her head injury, but that was the last she had heard.

“We expect to receive immediate information,” says Shaked Haran, who represented her extended family of ten. “Hamas can give information and is obliged to according to international law, it should be done immediately and requested immediately.”

IDF says assessment shows failed Islamic Jihad rocket launch caused Gaza hospital blast

The Israel Defense Forces says that based on intelligence information a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket caused the deadly blast at the Gaza hospital.

In a statement, the IDF says that “an analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit.”

“Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza,” the IDF adds.

Netanyahu, Herzog to greet Biden at airport tomorrow morning

US President Joe Biden arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on July 13, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
US President Joe Biden arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on July 13, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog will meet US President Joe Biden at Ben Gurion Airport at 10 a.m. tomorrow, the Prime Minister’s Office announces.

No press will be allowed at the scene. Netanyahu and Biden will begin their meeting at the David Kempinski Tel Aviv hotel at 11:00 a.m.

Dozens attempt to storm Israeli Embassy in Jordan after hospital blast

Dozens of people are storming toward the Israeli embassy in Jordan in the wake of the hospital blast in Gaza.

The Foreign Ministry has yet to respond.

Videos on Twitter show an angry crowd surrounding the building and attempting to force their way inside.

It is not immediately clear if there were any Israeli staffers in the building.

IDF says it does not target hospitals, is still investigating blast at Gaza hospital

The IDF issues a statement making clear that it does not target hospitals, two hours after a blast at Gaza Hospital, blamed by Hamas on Israel, said to have caused hundreds of fatalities.

“A hospital is a highly sensitive building and is not an IDF target. The IDF is investigating the source of the explosion and, like always, is prioritizing accuracy and reliability,” the army tells Fox News.

Talya Lankri, a senior reserves officer and the former deputy head of the National Security Council, also states on Channel 12 news that “the IDF does not hit hospitals. That is not a target.”

She says, therefore, that she believes that the IDF investigation into the incident “will either show some kind of technical malfunction or a failed launch of some kind or another from within Gaza.”

Abbas said to cancel meeting with Biden tomorrow after Gaza hospital blast

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)

A senior Palestinian official says Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has canceled his participation in a meeting scheduled for tomorrow with US President Joe Biden and other Mideast leaders.

Abbas was scheduled to join Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi at a summit in Amman, Jordan, where they were set to discuss the latest Israel-Hamas war with Biden.

But the senior official says Abbas is withdrawing to protest an alleged Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza that Hamas health officials say has killed more than 500 people.

The IDF has so far not commented on the blast, saying it needs more time to investigate if it was indeed an IDF airstrike.

Erdogan, EU, WHO, Arab League join condemnations of Gaza hospital blast

Palestinians at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, which was handling the dead and wounded from a huge blast at Gaza's al-Ahli hospital, Gaza City, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
Palestinians at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, which was handling the dead and wounded from a huge blast at Gaza's al-Ahli hospital, Gaza City, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

The World Health Organization condemns a deadly blast in a hospital in the Gaza Strip and demands the immediate protection of civilians and health care in the Palestinian enclave.

“WHO strongly condemns the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital,” the UN health agency’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says on the social media platform X.

Hamas claims that hundreds of Gazans have been killed in the strike, which the IDF says it is still investigating.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls the purported strike “the latest example devoid of the most basic human values.”

EU chief Charles Michel says that targeting civilian infrastructure in Gaza breaks international law.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit calls on Western leaders to “stop this tragedy immediately, adding that “Arab mechanisms will document these war crimes and the criminals will not get away with their actions.”

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel following a barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds protest in Ramallah against PA President Abbas

Hundreds of people take to the streets throughout the West Bank to protest the explosion at a Gazan hospital in which hundreds were reportedly killed.

In Ramallah, videos show protesters chanting, “The people want the fall of the president,” in protest against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s perceived inaction in the face of the Israeli war in Gaza.

The IDF has yet to comment on the blast, and whether it was caused by an Israeli airstrike as Hamas and others have claimed.

Israel tells its citizens to leave Turkey immediately amid fears of reprisal attacks

Illustrative: Sellers attend to customers in a street market in Eminonu commercial district in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)
Illustrative: Sellers attend to customers in a street market in Eminonu commercial district in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

The National Security Council issues a warning against travel to Turkey and Morocco, citing fears that Israeli travelers will be targets of those angry at the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.

The NSC says it is raising the alert to Turkey to a 4 and calling on all Israelis in the country to leave as soon as possible.

For Morocco, the threat level is being raised to a 2, and Israeli tourists are called on to exercise extra caution.

Two Israeli tourists were killed by an Egyptian police in an attack last week.

Abbas announces three days of mourning over deadly Gaza hospital blast

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

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declares three days of mourning after what he calls a “hospital massacre” in Gaza, a strike that Hamas officials blame on Israel and say killed several hundred people.

The IDF says it is still investigating the blast and whether or not it was caused by an Israeli airstrike.

Abbas announces “public mourning for three days and flags flown at half-mast for the martyrs of the Baptist hospital massacre and all our people’s martyrs,” the official Palestinian news agency Wafa says.

Egypt blames Israel for blast at Gaza City hospital

Smoke rises after Israeli air strikes in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, October 17, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Smoke rises after Israeli air strikes in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, October 17, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Egypt says Israel is responsible for striking Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, which reportedly killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians.

Egypt’s foreign ministry strongly condemns the incident and says that Cairo considers this “deliberate bombing of civilians to be a serious violation of international, humanitarian law and of the most basic values of humanity.”

The IDF says it is still investigating whether its forces were responsible for the strike, or whether it was the result of a failed rocket launch or other cause.

“Egypt called on Israel to immediately stop its policies of collective punishment against the people in the Gaza Strip,” the Egyptian foreign ministry statement adds.

UN chief Guterres to meet Sissi in Egypt to discuss Gaza aid

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the situation in Israel and Gaza during a news briefing at United Nations headquarters, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the situation in Israel and Gaza during a news briefing at United Nations headquarters, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet on Thursday in Egypt with President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi to discuss how to get humanitarian aid into Gaza as it endures steady attacks from Israel, the UN says.

Guterres, who is now in China, will confer with Egypt’s leader and other officials in Cairo, spokesman Stephane Dujarric says. Guterres will also speak Saturday at an international conference that Sissi is sponsoring, according to Dujarric.

He did not specify if the UN secretary-general will also go to Israel or anywhere else in the Middle East.

“Obviously, we need, in order to move humanitarian aid through Gaza, we need safe passage, right? We can’t move humanitarian trucks and convoys while active bombardment is ongoing,” Dujarric says.

He adds: “There are intense discussions going on in which we’re involved with a number of parties in order to try to get the most basic humanitarian aid in as quickly as possible and that’s food, water, medicine. Those things are urgently needed.”

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska offers support in call to her Israeli counterpart

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, center, meets with President Isaac Herzog, right, and with Herzog's wife Michal in Tel Aviv, June 19, 2023. (Igal Slavin)
Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, center, meets with President Isaac Herzog, right, and with Herzog's wife Michal in Tel Aviv, June 19, 2023. (Igal Slavin)

First Lady Michal Herzog, the wife of President Isaac Herzog, speaks with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska.

According to the president’s office, Zelenska calls Herzog “to offer her support” for Israel and her condolences for “the heavy loss of life in the brutal terror attack carried out by Hamas.”

Zelenska tells Herzog that Ukrainians “can understand what you are going through, we can understand your concerns, and your grief,” according to Herzog’s office.

Herzog thanks Zelenska and says that “I really appreciate this call — it is very strengthening, and very heartwarming.”

In-person schooling to gradually return in some areas

View of an empty classroom at a school in Tel Aviv, during a strike of the National Student and Youth Council, on September 12, 2023. (Flash90)
View of an empty classroom at a school in Tel Aviv, during a strike of the National Student and Youth Council, on September 12, 2023. (Flash90)

The Home Front Command announces new location-based guidelines for schools, gatherings, funerals and workplaces.

The Home Front Command’s decision allows schools and kindergartens to implement physical learning in new locations, under the emergency system already set up, which requires adequate safety measures and permission from relevant authorities, the Education Ministry says in a separate statement. The new locations where this will be allowed are: Dan area of central Israel, the Shefala, the Dead Sea and the Bekaa Valley.

The ministry notes that “this is a gradual return to an emergency learning routine, which will be carried out while protecting and maintaining the security and safety of students.”

In the areas surrounding Gaza, as well as along the northern border, only remote learning is allowed. In Jerusalem and most central areas, schools are allowed to operate if students and staff are able to reach a bomb shelter during an air raid siren.

Most children in Israel have been off school for several weeks, with a break that began during the Jewish holidays.

IDF says sirens in towns near Lebanon were false alarm

Israeli soldiers man a checkpoint near the northern border with Lebanon on October 17, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
Israeli soldiers man a checkpoint near the northern border with Lebanon on October 17, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says sirens that sounded in the northern communities of Dishon and Malkia, close to the border with Lebanon, were a false alarm.

The IDF says it had identified a “suspicious target” heading toward Israeli airspace, but after further investigation, it appeared there was no infiltration into Israeli airspace.

Universities announce delay of tuition payments, dorm fees amid ongoing war

Students at Hebrew University on the first day of the academic year on October 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Students at Hebrew University on the first day of the academic year on October 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

In light of the security situation, tuition payments due for November will be waived until a later date, and students staying in university dorms who were called up for IDF service will have their October rental fees waived, the Committee of University Presidents says.

The universities had already announced last week that the fall semester would begin on November 5, instead of October 15. This November 5th start date will now be “reviewed again, taking into account developments.”

“At every university there are many initiatives which aim to help in these difficult days, whether it is supporting students in various medical fields in hospitals, mobilizing students and professionals in the resilience and mental health fields, housing for evacuees in vacant dormitories, help with information, and more,” the universities say in a statement.

IDF spokesman says Israel is looking into Gaza hospital blast, too early to tell if Israeli strike

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 16, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 16, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says reports of a possible Israeli airstrike against a hospital in Gaza are still under review.

Hagari says he does not have all the information yet, and further details will be provided when possible.

He says he does not know yet if the blast, reportedly causing hundreds of casualties, was an Israeli strike.

“There are a lot of airstrikes, a lot of failed rockets, and a lot of fake reports by Hamas,” he says.

A Channel 12 news reporter speculates that the blast was the result of a failed Hamas rocket launch, or that an ammunition store ignited. He notes that the Israel Air Force does not target hospitals.

Italy confirms 1 citizen killed in Hamas onslaught, 2 thought kidnapped

Eight children were found dead in this house at Kibbutz Be'eri, killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (David Horovitz/Times of Israel)
Eight children were found dead in this house at Kibbutz Be'eri, killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (David Horovitz/Times of Israel)

Italy says one of three Italian-Israeli citizens believed to be kidnapped by Hamas was killed in Israel during the Hamas terror assault on the Be’eri kibbutz in southern Israel.

The Italian foreign ministry reports that DNA tests conducted by Israeli authorities confirmed the death of Eviatar Moshe Kipnis, 65. The ministry says it remains committed to locating Kipnis’s wife and another Italian-Israeli citizen who remain unaccounted for.

The Kipnis family sounded the alarm about Kipnis and his wife, 60-year-old Lilach Lea Havron, after their kibbutz was stormed by Hamas terrorists on October 7. At least 120 people were killed there and an unknown number were taken hostage.

The family initially believed the couple, plus eight members of Havron’s family, were among the hostages since their bodies weren’t initially recovered and their cellphones were traced to Gaza.

Hamas claims hundreds killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza hospital

A blast at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A blast at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, October 17, 2023. (Via social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A spokesperson for the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza estimates that between 200 and 300 people have been killed in an Israeli strike on the Baptist Hospital in central Gaza.

Hundreds of people are thought to be still under the rubble, the spokesperson adds.

The IDF does not immediately comment on the purported strike.

Air raid sirens sound in northern border communities

People run to take cover as sirens sound in the northern kibbutz of Kfar Giladi near the border with Lebanon, on October 17, 2023. (Yuri Cortez/AFP)
People run to take cover as sirens sound in the northern kibbutz of Kfar Giladi near the border with Lebanon, on October 17, 2023. (Yuri Cortez/AFP)

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the northern communities of Dishon and Malkia, close to the border with Lebanon.

The alerts come amid repeated missile attacks by Hezbollah from south Lebanon. There have also been several false alarms in recent days.

Ahead of trip, Biden speaks to senators who just visited Israel

US President Joe Biden waves as he walks towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
US President Joe Biden waves as he walks towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US President Joe Biden holds a call with members of a bipartisan Senate delegation that recently made a wartime visit to Israel to hear about what the lawmakers heard from Israeli leaders on their trip, the White House says.

Participants included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) as well as White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Counselor to the President Steve Ricchetti, Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer and Director of Legislative Affairs Shuwanza Goff.

Man seriously hurt after falling into ditch while seeking shelter from rocket

Police on the scene after a man was hurt while seeking shelter from a rocket near Holon, October 17, 2023. (MDA)
Police on the scene after a man was hurt while seeking shelter from a rocket near Holon, October 17, 2023. (MDA)

A man is seriously hurt after he fell while exiting his vehicle in order to shelter from a rocket from Gaza.

First responders say the man in his 20s is in serious condition after he accidentally fell into a drainage ditch on the side of a highway near Holon as he was seeking shelter while air raid sirens rang out across central Israel.

He has been taken to Sheba Medical Center for treatment.

Israel shows major damage to Erez Crossing with Gaza following Hamas assault

Damage is seen to the Erez Crossing with the Gaza Strip, October 17, 2023, after it was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7. (Defense Ministry)
Damage is seen to the Erez Crossing with the Gaza Strip, October 17, 2023, after it was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7. (Defense Ministry)

The Defense Ministry publishes footage showing damage to the Erez Crossing with the Gaza Strip, after it was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

The ministry says that for the first time since the war began, ministry personnel returned to the pedestrian crossing to assess the damage.

The crossing had facilitated the daily entry of thousands of Palestinians into Israel for work, medical treatment and other special cases. It is not expected to reopen amid the fighting.

Air raid sirens once again ring across major swath of central Israel

Air raid sirens once again ring out across major swaths of central Israel, including Tel Aviv and other surrounding cities.

IDF has arrested 440 Palestinians, including many Hamas members, in West Bank since Oct. 7

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 440 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including 220 affiliated with Hamas, since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7.

Over the past day, 51 Hamas members, including several senior members, were arrested, the military says.

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

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 61 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

‘They had nowhere else to go’: UN says Israeli strike on school in Gaza kills 6

At least six people were killed and dozens were injured this afternoon while sheltering in an UNRWA school in central Gaza’s al-Maghazi refugee camp that was struck during an Israeli airstrike, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees says.

“This is outrageous, and it again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians,” UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini says in a statement.

“At least 4,000 people have taken refuge in this UNRWA school turned shelter. They had and still have nowhere else to go,” he says, adding that the casualty count is likely to climb.

Hamas official: We expected more support from Iran

Hamas terror group deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk discusses 'collaborators' with Israel who were arrested or fled to Israel in recent weeks. (Screenshot: Al-Mayadeen TV)
Hamas terror group deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk discusses 'collaborators' with Israel who were arrested or fled to Israel in recent weeks. (Screenshot: Al-Mayadeen TV)

Prominent Hamas political bureau member Moussa Abu Marzouk says that Hamas expected more support and participation from Iran in the terror group’s ongoing war with Israel.

In an interview with the Turkish Arabic-language news outlet TRT, Abu Marzouk says that there is “no coordination [with Iran], only talks.”

This is in spite of a long-standing strategy of “unifying the battlefields” between Palestinian terror factions and Hezbollah in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon under Iranian coordination.

On Saturday, the Hamas official had said in another interview that Hamas political leaders were not aware of plans for the October 7 onslaught, noting that they had been “surprised by the date – but not by the actions.”

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel after rocket barrage from Gaza

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel and other areas including Tel Aviv after a volley of rockets is fired from Gaza.

Rockets hit car, building in Sderot, no injuries reported

Damage to a building in Sderot from a direct rocket strike, October 17, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)
Damage to a building in Sderot from a direct rocket strike, October 17, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)

The Sderot municipality reports at least two direct hits in the city, including on a car and a building.

Significant damage is caused, but no injuries have been immediately reported.

The vast majority of Sderot residents have left the city in the days following Hamas’s brutal onslaught on October 7.

IDF chief threatens Hezbollah with ‘destruction’ if it ‘makes a mistake’

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi is seen at the Northern Command in Safed, October 17, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi is seen at the Northern Command in Safed, October 17, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The chief of the Israel Defense Forces threatens Hezbollah after it has been carrying out attacks on the Lebanon border in recent days, saying that if the terror group “makes a mistake” it will face “destruction.”

“This is a war for our home, our civilians, our sovereignty, our deterrence and our existence,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says to officers at the Northern Command, referring to the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

“If Hezbollah makes a mistake and attacks… destruction, destruction, destruction,” Halevi says.

Abbas fumed after Hamas condemnation was added to PA readout without his knowledge

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

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not say earlier this week that Hamas in its October 7 onslaught “does not represent the Palestinian people,” as an official PA media report had initially quoted him as having said, two Palestinian sources reveal to The Times of Israel.

The line had been included in a Wafa report on Abbas’s Sunday call with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in what would have been the furthest the PA leader had gone to condemn the Hamas assault.

But the two Palestinian sources say that the line about Hamas’s actions “not represent[ing] the Palestinian people” was added into the Wafa report at the request of PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj.

The apparent condemnation gained media attention, drawing the eye of Abbas who fumed over having not been consulted about the edit and ordered Wafa to remove it, the sources say.

Wafa complied and an updated version of the report on Abbas’s call with Maduro removed that sentence about Hamas.

A spokesperson for Abbas does not respond to a request for comment.

Likud minister walks back comments denying government has responsibility for Hamas onslaught

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi heads into a cabinet meeting in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi heads into a cabinet meeting in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi walked back remarks he made just an hour ago claiming that the government did not have a reason to apologize for its failures leading to the Hamas brutal onslaught against Israel on October 7.

In comments to Army Radio, Karhi said “I keep hearing ‘apologize, take responsibility, ask for forgiveness’ — for what?”

After a wave of criticism, Karhi issued an apology in which he said that the quote was taken out of context: “I apologize! God forbid I did not intend to sound crass or to shirk responsibility. The opposite! I immediately added that of course there is responsibility for leadership — my intention was to say that we should not be dealing with that during a time of war.”

Karhi is the same minister who earlier this year said that IDF pilots who said they would refuse to serve after the government’s judicial overhaul should “go to hell.”

IDF says it is again striking Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon

Smoke rises from Israeli shelling in Dahaira, a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Smoke rises from Israeli shelling in Dahaira, a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out new airstrikes against sites belonging to the Hezbollah terror group in southern Lebanon in response to recent attacks on the northern border.

Today, Hezbollah launched six anti-tank guided missiles at Israeli towns and military posts along the border, wounding three people. Two rockets and a drone were also launched at northern Israel.

Rocket sirens sound across central and southern Israel

Rocket sirens sound across southern and central Israel after rockets are fired from Gaza, including in Ashdod, Rishon Lezion, Tel Aviv and many other areas.

IDF says a huge number of reservists have reported for duty, including those not summoned

File: IDF reserve units help guard a Kibbutz near the Syrian border in northern Golan Heights on October 8, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
File: IDF reserve units help guard a Kibbutz near the Syrian border in northern Golan Heights on October 8, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has seen an overwhelmingly positive response to the draft of reservists to fight in the expected ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

In the 252nd Sinai Reserve Division, some 120 percent of reservists have shown up for duty according to the IDF, meaning many troops have arrived at the army’s assembly areas even without receiving a formal order.

The IDF has mobilized more than 300,000 troops in recent days, many of them being deployed to the Gaza border, as the army readies for a “coordinated attack from the air, sea and land.”

The military says that following a major logistical effort to provide the ground forces with all the equipment they would need, “IDF forces are preparing to implement a wide range of offensive plans.”

In a video statement, the commander of the 252nd Division, Brig. Gen. Moran Omer, says his soldiers are readying themselves for “the next stages.”

“The division’s units have been in combat for the past week, and these days are training for the next stages. I am confident that the reserve troops, like the standing army soldiers, together, will beat Hamas,” Omer says.

Egypt says it is still negotiating with Israel over entry of aid to Gaza

Members of a humanitarian aid convoy for the Gaza Strip wave Egyptian and Palestinian flags at Rafah crossing port, Egypt, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Omar Aziz)
Members of a humanitarian aid convoy for the Gaza Strip wave Egyptian and Palestinian flags at Rafah crossing port, Egypt, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Omar Aziz)

Egypt is still negotiating with Israel on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and fuel to Gaza from its crossing points, Rafah and Kerem Shalom, a senior Egyptian official says as trucks loaded with aid wait for permission to cross into the territory.

The official says Israel still insists on searching all aid deliveries and wants to “ensure that such aid won’t benefit Hamas.”

He says they’re also negotiating a compromise that would allow foreign passport holders to cross into Egypt. Egypt has proposed that the United Nations oversee the process with help from Egyptian forces, the official said. Israel has yet to respond to the proposal.

The US, Qatar, the UN and several European countries are involved in the talks, which are led by security agencies in Egypt and Israel, the official says.

Israeli envoy vows that Israel will ‘act in accordance with international law’

Israel's deputy ambassador to the US Eliav Benjamin addresses an Israel solitary event in Washington on October 17, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Israel's deputy ambassador to the US Eliav Benjamin addresses an Israel solitary event in Washington on October 17, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Israel’s deputy ambassador to the US asserts that Israel will abide by international law in its military response to the Hamas onslaught.

“Israel did not choose to fight this war, but Israel will end it,” Eliav Benjamin says at an Israel solidarity event in Washington organized by major American Jewish organizations.

“As we respond, the IDF — one of the world’s most moral militaries — will act in accordance with international law and ethics,” Benjamin adds.

“But make no mistake: like every nation in the world, Israel has the right, and in fact the duty, to defend its citizens against the brutality of terrorism. We will ensure that the Hamas war machine is eliminated and to do that we will not and we shall not apologize,” he says.

99 US senators sign onto resolution backing Israel against Hamas

The Senate side of the Capitol is seen in Washington, early Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, as lawmakers rush to complete passage of a bill to fund the government. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Senate side of the Capitol is seen in Washington, early Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, as lawmakers rush to complete passage of a bill to fund the government. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Every lawmaker in the Senate except for Republican Rand Paul has signed on to a resolution expressing support for Israel in the face of the Hamas onslaught.

The resolution “reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense and is committed to helping Israel safeguard its people from future aggression.” It also expresses support for restocking Israel’s weapons supply and urges additional sanctions against Iran over its support for terror proxies.

Separately, in the House, 13 of the body’s most progressive lawmakers have introduced a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The resolution “urges the Biden administration to immediately call for and facilitate de-escalation and a cease-fire to urgently end the current violence” and to speedily facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Blinken meets with PA President Abbas in Jordan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on October 17, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on October 17, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds another meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan, as he continues his marathon diplomatic engagements across seven countries in the region.

As Abbas walks into the room at the start of the meeting, he quips to the secretary, “You could have a house here.”

“I’m thinking about it,” a smiling Blinken responds.

Israel strikes Gaza home of Hamas political leader-in-exile, killing 14

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)

Palestinian medical sources report that 14 family members of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, in Gaza City.

Haniyeh’s brother and nephew have been reportedly killed in the strike. The leader himself is currently in Qatar.

IDF says military death toll rises to 301

Family and friends attend the funeral of Cpl. Dvir Lisha at the Mount Herzl military cemetary in Jerusalem, October 8, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Family and friends attend the funeral of Cpl. Dvir Lisha at the Mount Herzl military cemetary in Jerusalem, October 8, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Israel Defense names another three soldiers and reservists — many of whom are local security officers — killed during the war that began October 7.

The names bring the toll of slain soldiers to 301.

They are:

Master Sgt. (res.) Ofir Libstein, the head of the Shaar Hanegev regional council and a local security officer, from Kfar Aza
First Sgt. (res.) Tal Eilon, 46, a local security officer, from Kfar Aza
First Sgt. (res.) Eitan Hadad, 43, a local security officer, from Be’eri

WATCH: Scholz: Germany will always stand ‘alongside Israel’; PM: Hamas savagery worst since Holocaust

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a joint statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 17, 2023. (Screenshot/GPO)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a joint statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 17, 2023. (Screenshot/GPO)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says in Tel Aviv that Berlin will always stand beside the Jewish state, citing its responsibility following the Holocaust.

“As I said last week in the Bundestag, in hard times, Germany has only one place, and it is alongside Israel,” Scholz says, at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The security of Israel and its citizens is crucial to Germany, Scholz says. “It is very important to say this today here during these difficult times in Israel: Germany’s history and the responsibility it had for the Holocaust requires us to maintain the security and existence of Israel.”

Scholz says Germany utterly condemns the “bloodthirsty” Hamas terrorist attack, referring to “the brutal attack on innocent citizens, the execution of citizens, murders of babies, abduction of women, men and children, and  humiliation and presentation of Holocaust survivors, freezes the blood.”

He says Israel has the right and obligation under international law to protect its civilians. He notes that Germans are among those abducted, and said that it will work to help attain their release, and the release of all the hostages.

He says Germany will also work to prevent an escalation of the conflict into a wider one. “I warn all [other] actors” against getting involved in this conflict,” he says, saying this would be “unforgivable” and that Germany has been working in diplomatic circles to make that message clear.

He stresses German and Israeli commitment to democracy, rights and laws, and says Germany “is not indifferent to the humanitarian situation in Gaza” and that he and Netanyahu discussed “improving” the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

He says he will therefore travel from Israel to Egypt, to speak with President Sissi “on the situation and humanitarian aspects.”

And he concludes by saying “antisemitism has no place in Germany” and decries the celebration of violence. He calls Jewish life in Germany “a gift” and pledges to protect Jewish institutions in Germany.”

Netanyahu, who spoke before Scholz, says the Hamas massacre of Israelis on October 7 marks “the worst crimes committed against Jews since the Holocaust…”

Netanyahu specifies: “The decapitation of people; the shooting of little children with bound hands; the murder of children in front of their parents; the murder of parents in front of their children; the hiding of babies in the attic and the murderers who came to the attic to murder the babies; the rape and murder of women; the abduction of families, the tearing of grandmothers and Holocaust survivors into captivity; the death pits that remind us of Babyn Yar, where jeeps surround a depression in the ground where they crowd young people in, and they shoot them with machine-guns — this is the savagery that we only remember from the Nazi crimes of the Holocaust.

“Hamas are the new Nazis, Hamas is ISIS, in some instances worse than ISIS,” says Netanyahu. “And just as the world united to defeat the Nazis, just as the world united to defeat ISIS, the world has to stand united behind Israel to defeat Hamas.”

The Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas “axis of evil” has “the open goal to eradicate the state of Israel,” he says. Hamas’s open goal is to kill as many Jews as it can. “They would have killed every last one of us, murdered every last one of us, if they could;  they just don’t have the capacity. But they murdered an extraordinary 1,300 civilians… in American terms, many, many, many 9/11s…. We must take action to defeat Hamas, and to ensure this does not happen again.”

He stresses: “But this is not only our battle — it is our common battle, the battle of civilization against barbarism.”

Netanyahu says that “if it’s not stopped here, this savagery will reach you very soon, and reach the entire world.”

This can only be achieved with the solidarity of the civilized world. He says he hopes many around the world see Hamas for what it is.

“We appreciate the fact that you come here to stand with us in this battle for the future of civilization,” Netanyahu concludes.

After Scholz’s statement, Netanyahu returns to the microphone and says, regarding the safety of civilians: “Hamas is committing a double war crime. Not only is it targeting and murdering civilians with unprecedented savagery. It’s hiding behind civilians — their own civilians. We’re calling on the civilians to leave Gaza, go south, to safe zones. And Hamas is preventing them, often at gunpoint, from doing so. Hamas wants to keep them there as a human shield, and prevent the people from leaving and getting out of harm’s way. It is important that the entire world understands this.

Responsibility for the abducted citizens of Israel and of dozens of other countries, and for the Palestinian civilians themselves, says Netanyahu, “sits squarely on the shoulders of the Hamas war criminals. They’re committing a double war crime — attacking civilians, and hiding behind civilians as human shields.  The entire world should condemn it and support Israel in its just war.”

100 Jewish groups condemn deadly attack on 6-year-old US-Palestinian boy

Family members of Wadea Al Fayoume, who was killed in an alleged hate crime against the background of the 2023 Gaza war, bring his casket into Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Family members of Wadea Al Fayoume, who was killed in an alleged hate crime against the background of the 2023 Gaza war, bring his casket into Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

In the wake of the attack in which a six-year-old Muslim boy was murdered and his mother critically injured by a man who targeted them because of their faith and the October 7 Hamas assault, over 100 Jewish groups have released a statement condemning the attack and rejecting any effort to exploit the situation in Israel and Gaza to spread hate and bigotry.

“This is a moment of deep Jewish pain, mourning the lives taken and praying for the safe release of the hostages in Gaza – and this pain and fear is compounded by a horrific rise in antisemitism here in the United States and around the globe,” the statement backed by Jewish groups across the religious spectrum.

“We also know that we are not the only ones being targeted in this moment. Our Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian American neighbors are facing bigotry, threats, and violence – including the despicable murder of a six-year-old child this weekend outside Chicago, by a man who reportedly espoused anti-Muslim hate,” the statement organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs says.

“Let us be unequivocally clear: The Jewish community rejects Islamophobia, anti-Arab hate, antisemitism, and all forms of bigotry. Particularly as extremists continue to exploit this moment, we are reminded that all of our communities’ safety and futures are inextricably linked — and recommit ourselves to fighting hate in all its forms.”

“We stand in solidarity with all our neighbors under threat and urge our elected and civic leaders, law enforcement, schools and universities, and employers to make clear there will be zero tolerance for any act of hate,” the Jewish groups add.

IDF says drone intercepted by Iron Dome over Lebanon border

The Israel Defense Forces says a drone heading toward Israeli airspace was intercepted by the Iron Dome over the Lebanon border earlier today.

The IDF says no sirens sounded in the incident as no towns were under any threat.

The incident comes as Hezbollah launched six anti-tank guided missiles at Israeli towns and military posts along the border, and two rockets were also fired at northern Israel today.

Hamas says around 3,000 Gazans killed since start of war

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Around 3,000 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry says.

More than 12,500 others have been wounded since Israel started bombarding Gaza on October 7, following a shock Hamas assault on Israel that killed around 1,300 people, the vast majority of whom were civilians.

Israel says it intends to eradicate Hamas after the massacre of its civilians and has been striking Hamas terror targets, which are embedded within the civilian population across the Hamas-run Strip, while striving to cause minimum harm to uninvolved citizens. It has urged Gazans to evacuate northern Gaza, and charged that Hamas uses Gaza civilians as human shields.

France says 21 of its citizens killed, 11 missing after Hamas onslaught against Israel

Israeli soldiers around the destruction caused by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 15, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers around the destruction caused by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 15, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

France’s foreign ministry says it has confirmed the deaths of 21 French citizens in the Hamas attacks on Israel.

The ministry says 11 French citizens are missing.

French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking during a visit to Albania, says his government is doing “everything possible” for the release of French and other hostages held in Gaza.

“This difficult moment for the Israeli people, the Palestinian civilians, for the whole region shows that the [unresolved] issue there is a political one which cannot be solved without a peaceful process,” Macron says.

Scholz meets Netanyahu, tweets that Germany ‘stands firmly’ with Israel

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz boards his plane on October 17, 2023, near Berlin, before leaving to Israel. (Michael Kappeler / POOL / AFP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz boards his plane on October 17, 2023, near Berlin, before leaving to Israel. (Michael Kappeler / POOL / AFP)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets in Tel Aviv with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Scholz tweets the same message in German, English and Hebrew:

“My visit to Israel is a visit to friends. Germany stands firmly by Israel’s side.

“Afterwards I will travel to Egypt to see President Al-Sisi. It’s about protecting the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and avoiding a conflagration.”

113 US members of Congress disavow calls for ‘premature’ ceasefire in Gaza

The US Capitol Building looms behind flags on the National Mall in Washington November 7, 2022. (J. David Ake/AP)
The US Capitol Building looms behind flags on the National Mall in Washington November 7, 2022. (J. David Ake/AP)

A bipartisan group of 113 US House lawmakers have penned a letter to US President Joe Biden repudiating calls from some progressives for “de-escalation” amid the ongoing Gaza war and pressing him to further sanction Iran over its support for Hamas.

“Premature de-escalation would be a victory for the terrorists, and allow them to continue to threaten Israeli civilians with future attacks,” states the letter signed by 63 Democrats and 50 Republicans.

“We urge the administration to take all necessary steps to cut off Iranian funding sources. This includes maximum enforcement of all US sanctions, and taking any and all steps to end Iran’s oil trade to China, which currently brings in $150 million per day in revenue.

“On October 18, UN ballistic missile sanctions will expire under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This cannot be allowed to happen. We urge your administration to work with our European allies to immediately implement snapback sanctions on Iran at the UN Security Council,” the lawmakers say.

The representatives also urge Biden to put significant pressure on Qatar and Turkey to cease their support for Hamas and expel the terror group’s leaders whom they host.

Hezbollah says four of its operatives killed in south Lebanon

Smoke rises from Israeli shelling in Dahaira, a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Smoke rises from Israeli shelling in Dahaira, a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movment says four of its members have been killed in south Lebanon, bringing to nine the number of the Iran-backed terrorist group’s members killed in intensifying border skirmishes with Israel.

In statements, Hezbollah says four of its operatives had been killed “performing jihad,” just hours after Israel said it killed four terrorists who attempted to infiltrate the border from Lebanon.

4 rockets fall in Sderot, damaging homes; no injuries reported

Damage caused to a home in Sderot from a rocket impact on October 17, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)
Damage caused to a home in Sderot from a rocket impact on October 17, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)

Authorities say that four rockets have achieved direct hits in the city of Sderot near Gaza in rocket barrages within the past few hours.

The impacts caused significant damage to homes in Sderot, but no injuries have been reported.

Most residents of Sderot have evacuated in the days since Hamas launched its murderous rampage on Oct. 7.

IDF confirms assassination of senior Hamas commander in Gaza

Ayman Nofal, commander of Hamas's Central Gaza Brigade, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike on October 17, 2023 (Social media)
Ayman Nofal, commander of Hamas's Central Gaza Brigade, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike on October 17, 2023 (Social media)

The IDF confirms the assassination of senior Hamas member Ayman Nofal, a member of the terror group’s General Military Council and commander of the Central Gaza Brigade, publishing footage of the airstrike.

The IDF says the airstrike killing Nofal was carried out following intelligence efforts by the Shin Bet security agency and Military Intelligence Directorate.

According to the IDF, Nofal, as part of his role, carried out “numerous terror attacks against Israel and security forces.”

The IDF says Nofal was also previously involved in the production and development of weapons and was involved in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

The military adds that Nofal was “one of the most dominant senior officials in the organization, and was close to Muhammad Deif,” the terror group’s military leader.

Spain says it will ‘work’ with Israel to maintain good ties amid diplomatic feud over war

Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares arrives for a meeting of Foreign Affairs Council at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on February 20, 2023. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)
Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares arrives for a meeting of Foreign Affairs Council at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on February 20, 2023. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)

Spain says it will “work” with Israel to maintain good ties after the Israeli embassy accused some Spanish ministers of siding with Hamas.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares says he has spoken to Israel’s ambassador to Spain amid the diplomatic feud.

“The final conclusion was that we were going to work together so the friendship between Spain and Israel, between the people of Spain and Israel, is maintained, as it has been until now,” he tells a news conference following a weekly cabinet meeting, adding the issue was “settled.”

“In every government there are different opinions, much more so in a coalition government,” the minister says. “The position of the government of Spain at the moment is very clear… We condemn the terrorist attack by a terrorist organization, which is what Hamas is, against Israel.”

Israel’s embassy in Spain said yesterday it was “absolutely immoral” that “certain elements within the Spanish government have opted to align themselves with this ISIS-type terrorism,” in a reference to Hamas.

The statement came following criticism over Israel’s response to Hamas’s attacks from several hard-left ministers in acting Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s coalition government.

Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra of far-left party Podemos on Saturday called on Sanchez to file a lawsuit for “war crimes” against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the International Criminal Court for carrying out a “genocide attempt” in Gaza.

IDF confirms 2 rockets fired from Lebanon, says no damage caused

People run to take cover as sirens sound in the northern kibbutz of Kfar Giladi near the border with Lebanon, on October 17, 2023. (Yuri Cortez/AFP)
People run to take cover as sirens sound in the northern kibbutz of Kfar Giladi near the border with Lebanon, on October 17, 2023. (Yuri Cortez/AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says two rockets were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel, setting off sirens in Kiryat Shmona.

The military says one of the projectiles was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, while the second landed in an open field, causing no damage.

30 ambassadors to Israel meet wounded victims in Tel Aviv hospital

Ichilov Hospital CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu meets with ambassadors from 30 countries at the hospital in Tel Aviv, October 17, 2023. (Jenny Yerushalmi/Ichilov)
Ichilov Hospital CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu meets with ambassadors from 30 countries at the hospital in Tel Aviv, October 17, 2023. (Jenny Yerushalmi/Ichilov)

Thirty ambassadors from European, South American, and Asian countries visit Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv in an expression of support for the wounded.

Ichilov CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu gives the group a tour of the hospital’s underground hospital facility, where some patients are already being treated.

“This allows us to keep the medical services intact, the best way, and in a protected facility,” he explains.

Gamzu says despite 30 years as a doctor, he has never encountered anything like what happened on October 7: “I have been in wars. I have been in operations. I have gone into battle zones. Things like this I have never seen… It was terror. It was brutal.”

The ambassadors also meet with two people who were shot as Hamas terrorists attacked partygoers at the Supernova festival near Re’im.

Shirel Gabai recounts being shot in the leg as she hid with many others in a small bomb shelter. She sat curled up with dead bodies on top of her until she was rescued.

Tomer Zadik, whose arm was bandaged and in a sling tells the group that the attack had nothing to do with the Israel-Palestine conflict: “I am not a soldier. I am a civilian who went to a music festival with friends to celebrate love, peace, and freedom… What happened was an attack on humanity.”

German chancellor lands in Israel ahead of meetings with PM, president

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left) arrives in Israel on October 17, 2023, and is greeted by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right). (Shlomi Amsallem/Foreign Ministry)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left) arrives in Israel on October 17, 2023, and is greeted by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right). (Shlomi Amsallem/Foreign Ministry)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz lands in Israel ahead of expected meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other officials.

He is greeted at the airport by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who welcomes him on “this important visit, which proves that Germany stands by the State of Israel and supports its struggle for the safety of its citizens.”

Rocket sirens sound in northern town of Kiryat Shmona

An Israeli Merkava tank drives into position in the north of Israel near the border with Lebanon on October 15, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
An Israeli Merkava tank drives into position in the north of Israel near the border with Lebanon on October 15, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona and nearby towns on the Lebanon border.

The sirens come amid repeated attacks by the Hezbollah terror group on the northern border in recent days.

There have also been several false alarms, amid the heightened tensions.

Hanegbi says issue of Israeli hostages in Gaza is ‘central part’ of every discussion

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to reporters at the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters, October 14, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash 90)
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to reporters at the Israel Defense Forces' Tel Aviv headquarters, October 14, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash 90)

National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi says that the issue of the at least 200 hostages being held in Gaza is a top priority for Israel, including in discussions with foreign groups about humanitarian aid.

In a press briefing to reporters, Hanegbi says that the issue of the captives “is a central part of every discussion over humanitarian aid.” However he would not confirm or deny the existence of any talks or negotiations to free the hostages.

Hanegbi also says Hamas is trying to prevent residents of Gaza from evacuating southward as it wants to use them as “a human shield.”

The official thanks Biden for his upcoming flash visit tomorrow “in order to be with us in difficult times” as well as the ongoing US assurances that it will supply with Israel will all needed aid.

And Hanegbi warns that the IDF will take out every single Hamas member who took part in the murderous rampage in southern Israel on October 7: “We will find them and we will kill them.”

Chief of Hamas military brigade killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Hamas terror group announces the death of a senior member in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, Hamas says Ayman Nofal, a member of the terror group’s General Military Council and the head of its military wing’s Central Gaza Brigade, was killed in a strike in the Bureij refugee camp.

The Israel Defense Forces has not yet commented on the apparent assassination.

IDF says 2 reservists, 1 civilian wounded by anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon

An Israeli wounded by rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel arrives at the Ziv hospital in Safed, October 17, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)
An Israeli wounded by rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel arrives at the Ziv hospital in Safed, October 17, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces confirms two reservists were wounded in an anti-tank guided missile attack from Lebanon on the northern town of Metula earlier today.

The Hezbollah terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.

One reservist is listed in moderate condition, and the second is lightly hurt. An Israeli civilian was also lightly hurt in the attack.

IDF intelligence chief says he ‘bears full responsibility’ for failure to prevent attack

IDF Military Intelligence Directorate chief Aharon Haliva, right, speaks at the Herzliya Conference, May 22, 2023. (Gilad Kavalerchik)
IDF Military Intelligence Directorate chief Aharon Haliva, right, speaks at the Herzliya Conference, May 22, 2023. (Gilad Kavalerchik)

The head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate says he bears responsibility for the intelligence failures that led to Hamas carrying out its surprise onslaught on October 7.

“In all my visits to Military Intelligence Directorate units in the last 11 days, I sat down and stressed that the beginning of the war was an intelligence failure,” Maj. Gen Aharon Haliva says in a missive.

“The Military Intelligence Directorate, under my command, failed to warn of the terror attack carried out by Hamas,” Haliva says. “We failed in our most important mission, and as the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, I bear full responsibility for the failure.”

“What needs to be investigated, we will investigate, in the deepest and most comprehensive way, and draw the conclusions,” he says. “But now, there is only one task, to fight back and to win.”

Haliva is the latest defense official to say they bear responsibility for the deadly invasion carried out by Hamas, after the head of the Shin Bet security agency and IDF chief of staff made similar remarks in recent days.

White House: 2,000 US troops preparing for Mideast deployment to ‘send signal of deterrence’

Illustrative: US Marines during a training exercise in mainland Japan, on December 8, 2020. (US Marine Corps/Cpl. Levi J. Guerra)
Illustrative: US Marines during a training exercise in mainland Japan, on December 8, 2020. (US Marine Corps/Cpl. Levi J. Guerra)

The US military orders 2,000 personnel to prepare for deployment to the Middle East as a show of force amid the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the deployment will allow the United States “to respond more quickly” to the crisis, while the White House stresses it does not intend to put US combat forces on the ground.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says preparing the troops for deployment “is really about sending a signal of deterrence.”

“We don’t want to see this conflict escalate and widen,” Kirby says on CNN. “There are no plans or intentions to put US boots on the ground in combat in Israel.”

US media reports the troops being readied for deployment would cover support roles, such as medical assistance and handling explosives.

Mortgage payments to be deferred for soldiers, evacuees, families of victims and missing

Remains of destruction on Kibbutz Be'eri seen on October 11, 2023. (Lazar Berman / Times of Israel)
Remains of destruction on Kibbutz Be'eri seen on October 11, 2023. (Lazar Berman / Times of Israel)

The government agrees to advance legislation that will allow for the deferral of mortgage and other payments for IDF soldiers, both conscripted and in the reserves, police officers, prison officers, firefighters, Hamas hostages, missing persons from Hamas’s terror assault, and their families, families of those murdered in the attack, and citizens who have been evacuated from their homes due to the ongoing war with Gaza and the skirmishes on the northern border.

“Since the war has had a significant impact on a number of population groups and disrupted the regular routine leaving them unable to fulfill their legal obligations on time, it has been proposed to grant… the option of a 30-day postponement to the [payment] date in the contract” for mortgage and tax payments, says the office of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who initiated the legislation.

The postponement will not apply to alimony payments and salary payments to employees.

The legislation will now move to the Knesset for approval. The law will be extended if necessary, depending on the security situation, Levin’s office says.

IDF says another anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon; responding with shelling

An Israeli soldier mans a checkpoint near the northern Kibbutz Sasa close to the border with Lebanon on October 17, 2023 (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
An Israeli soldier mans a checkpoint near the northern Kibbutz Sasa close to the border with Lebanon on October 17, 2023 (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says another anti-tank guided missile was fired from Lebanon, at the northern town of Zar’it.

The attack marks at least the sixth missile fired today at towns and military posts on the northern border, apparently by the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group.

The military does not immediately provide information on casualties.

The IDF says it is responding with artillery shelling at the source of the missile fire in southern Lebanon.

White House says it sees no deepening of Iranian role in Gaza war

A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on October 17, 2023, shows him speaking during a meeting in the capital Tehran. (KHAMENEI.IR / AFP)
A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on October 17, 2023, shows him speaking during a meeting in the capital Tehran. (KHAMENEI.IR / AFP)

The White House sees no signs of a deepening engagement by Iran in the Israel-Hamas war, a senior official says.

Asked whether US authorities have noticed that Iran was engaging in the conflict in new ways, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on CNN, “Outside of the rhetoric… no, we haven’t.”

30 French, American doctors and paramedics arrive in Israel to volunteer

French and American medical professionals who have come to Israel to volunteer during the war with Gaza. (MDA)
French and American medical professionals who have come to Israel to volunteer during the war with Gaza. (MDA)

Thirty medical professionals from the US and France have arrived in Israel to work alongside teams in Magen David Adom ambulances and intensive care vehicles.

The doctors and paramedics are undergoing accelerated training to learn MDA’s protocols and procedures, become familiarized with equipment and medications, and learn how to act in a multi-casualty event and under fire.

“On Saturday morning [October 7], the moment we heard the war had broken out, I decided I must go to Israel. Tonight, I will be doing my first shift in an intensive care vehicle,” says Dr. Yoav Dori, a cardiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“My colleagues and I are here to give and help and do everything we can. The most important people are the IDF soldiers and the residents of the south. I give them a big hug,” he adds.

Foreigners in Gaza plead with Egypt to show ‘compassion’ and allow them to cross

Policemen stand at Rafah crossing port, Egypt, as humanitarian aid convoy for the Gaza Strip is parked Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Omar Aziz)
Policemen stand at Rafah crossing port, Egypt, as humanitarian aid convoy for the Gaza Strip is parked Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Omar Aziz)

For a third straight day, dual Palestinian nationals’ hopes to leave the Gaza Strip are dashed as the border with Egypt remains closed.

Jameel Abdullah, a Swedish passport holder, says he had been told by his embassy to return to the border, but after waiting many hours he turned back toward Gaza where Israeli airstrikes continue to pound the densely populated Strip.

Israel has declared its intention to destroy Hamas, which rules Gaza, after the terror group burst through the border fence and slaughtered over 1,300 people, mostly civilians, in southern Israel last week.

“We come to the border crossing hoping that it will open, but so far there is no information,” he says. “We plead with the Egyptian people to look at us with compassion because frankly we are in a very dangerous place. There is shelling all around us, and even if I wanted to return home [to Gaza], I would be risking my life.”

Times of Israel staff contributed.

Herzog: Perhaps Israel’s toughest-ever period, but we will defeat the enemy

President Isaac Herzog (center right) at a Netivot council meeting, October 17, 2023 (Amos Ben Gershom / GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (center right) at a Netivot council meeting, October 17, 2023 (Amos Ben Gershom / GPO)

Visiting Ofakim and Netivot in southern Israel, President Isaac Herzog denounces the “murderous” Hamas’s psychological war against Israel, as evidenced by its release of the video of hostage Mia Schem. The move is intended to create “fear, heartache and to exert psychological pressure,” and shows the true cruel face of the terrror group, he says.

The current emergency situation “is perhaps the gravest in the history of the state,” Herzog says, “but the people of Israel are facing it with courage.”

“The people of Israel are one, the people of Israel are united,” he says. “We will stand stand firm… and defeat the enemy. And with God’s help, we will bring the hostages home.”

US slams ‘despicable’ Hamas ‘propaganda video’ of Israeli hostage

Keren, mother of Mia Schem, and representatives of the families of the abducted people held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza hold a press conference following the release of a video by Hamas, in which the 21-year-old Israeli woman is seen (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Keren, mother of Mia Schem, and representatives of the families of the abducted people held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza hold a press conference following the release of a video by Hamas, in which the 21-year-old Israeli woman is seen (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

The United States respondesto Hamas’s release of a hostage video by calling on the group to immediately release all hostages.

“There should be no reason for them to have any hostages in the first place,” says US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby on American TV.

Asked if he believes the woman in the video, identified as 21-year-old Mia Schem, is being treated OK, Kirby says she was “probably forced” to record the message.

“There’s no question in my mind that that woman gave that video testimony under duress, probably forced to do it,” Kirby says on NBC’s “Today.”

“It’s a propaganda video much more than it is proof of life or, certainly, proof of concept for Hamas. It’s despicable, deplorable that they would take these hostages and then advertise how well they’re treating them when they’re the ones who hurt them in the first place.”

Gallant in message to Hamas terrorists: Surrender or die

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to pilots at the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel, October 17, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to pilots at the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel, October 17, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says members of the Hamas terror group have two options in the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip: to surrender or to die.

“Our planes will reach everywhere… every missile has an address. We will reach each and every one of the members of Hamas,” Gallants says to pilots and technicians of the Israel Air Force’s F-35 fleet at the Nevatim airbase.

“Hamas members have two options: Either die in their positions or surrender unconditionally. There is no third option. We will wipe out the Hamas organization and dismantle it of all its capabilities,” Gallant says.

Health Ministry: 344 people injured since devastating Hamas attack remain hospitalized

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

The Health Ministry updates that as of Tuesday morning, 344 people injured since the devastating Hamas attack on Israel from Gaza on October 7 are still hospitalized. Of them, 82 are in serious condition, 194 are in moderate condition, and 68 are in good condition.

A total of 4,229 injured individuals have been brought to hospitals around the country since October 7.

IDF says two more anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon toward Israel

The Israel Defense Forces says two more anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon at the border, close to Kibbutz Yiftah.

Additionally, several more army posts along the border were attacked by gunmen, the IDF says.

The IDF says that no soldiers are hurt in the latest attacks, adding that it is responding with tank and artillery fire against Hezbollah posts in southern Lebanon.

Rocket sirens in Gaza border towns

Rocket alert sirens in the Gaza border towns Nir Oz and Nahal Oz.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Jordan’s King Abdullah to host Biden, Abbas and Sissi for 4-way summit

(L) US President Joe Biden speaks on July 8, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (R) Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks on May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
(L) US President Joe Biden speaks on July 8, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (R) Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks on May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

US President Joe Biden will stay in Israel for some five hours on his visit tomorrow, Channel 12 says.

He will then head to Amman, where he will meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Biden will then participate in a four-way summit hosted by Abdullah also including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The declared goal of that conference, the TV report says, is to deal with continued humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians.

In Israel, Biden is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and some of the families of the hostages and the missing.

Biden’s advance team tours Gaza border communities where Hamas massacres took place

US President Joe Biden’s advance team arrived in Tel Aviv last night, Channel 12 reports.

Late last night, they drove in State Department and US Embassy armored vehicles to the areas around Gaza where Israelis in numerous communities were massacred by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

Rocket alert sirens sound in Ashkelon

Rocket alert sirens sound in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Yesterday, Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam assailed ministers over the lack of support for his city, where many residents lack adequate shelters.

Rockets fired toward central Israel

Rocket sirens sound in a number of locations in central Israel, including Rishon Lezion.

Residents report hearing the sounds of explosions — either from impacts or interceptions by missile defense systems.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF says 2nd anti-tank missile within hours fired from Lebanon at Israel

The Israel Defense Forces says another anti-tank guided missile was fired from Lebanon, this one at a military post near the northern community of Margaliot.

It marks the second missile attack today, apparently carried out by the Hezbollah terror group.

The IDF does not immediately provide details on possible casualties.

Additionally, a number of other military posts along the Lebanon border were attacked with gunfire, the IDF adds.

The IDF says it is responding with artillery shelling toward the sources of the missile fire and gunfire.

Macron reportedly to visit Israel, says ‘intense talks’ underway over Gaza hostages

French President Emmanuel Macron looks on during a signature signing ceremony in Tirana, on October 17, 2023 ( Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron looks on during a signature signing ceremony in Tirana, on October 17, 2023 ( Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

France’s President Emmanuel Macron will visit Israel in the coming days, Hebrew-language media reports.

The French Embassy does not confirm the visit, but says Macron wants to visit Israel as soon as there is a “useful agenda and concrete actions to promote.”

Visiting Albania, Macron says intense talks are ongoing to free hostages held by Hamas after its devastating attack on Israel.

“I want to be very cautious here… so as not to endanger the intense talks we are currently conducting,” Macron says. “But they are progressing and we are following these talks hour by hour.”

Macron’s comments came after the mother of a French-Israeli captive who was seen in a Hamas hostage video, begged world leaders to intervene.

Germany’s Scholz to meet Netanyahu, Gantz during wartime Israel visit

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a joint news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a joint news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this evening, says an adviser to the premier, during Scholz’s wartime visit to Israel.

War cabinet member Minister Benny Gantz is also scheduled to meet Scholz, along with Minister Gadi Eisenkot, a war cabinet observer and, like Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff.

Rocket alert siren sounds in Gaza border town

Rocket alert sirens sound in Nahal Oz near the Gaza border.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Khamenei: ‘No one can stop resistance forces’ if Israel continues retaliatory Gaza bombardment

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a ceremony commemorating the death anniversary of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini at his mausoleum just outside Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2023. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a ceremony commemorating the death anniversary of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini at his mausoleum just outside Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2023. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says that “no one can stop resistance forces” if Israel keeps up its retaliatory bombardment of Gaza in response to the vicious October 7 attack by the Hamas terror group, which rules the Strip.

Israel has declared its intention to eradicate Hamas.

“If the crimes of the Zionist (Israeli) regime continue, Muslims and resistance forces will become impatient, and no one can stop them,” Khamenei says.

Iran has been in close contact with its regional allies, including Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and pro-Tehran Iraqi militias, since Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas attacked Israel, breaking through the heavily fortified border from Gaza and killing more than 1,300 people, most of them civilians.

Gazan terrorists also kidnapped some 200-250 hostages, including babies, children and the elderly.

Israel has responded with a devastating air and artillery bombardment of Hamas-controlled Gaza that has killed at least 2,750 Palestinians, most of them civilians, according to the health ministry controlled by the terror group. The figure could not be independently verified.

“No matter what the Zionist regime does, it cannot make up for the scandalous failure it suffered,” Khamenei says.

Netanyahu meets with Romania’s Ciolacu, the 1st world leader to visit Israel since start of war

Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu in Berlin, Germany, July 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu in Berlin, Germany, July 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Romania’s Marcel Ciolacu in Jerusalem.

Ciolacu is accompanied on the visit by a number of officials, including Defense Minister Angel Tîlvar.

Ciolacu is the first world leader to visit Israel since the start of the war with Hamas, which began when the Gaza-based terror group carried out a cross-border assault, killing at least 1,300 people, mainly civilians.

Terrorists also kidnapped at least 200 more, many of them babies, children and the elderly.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II: Palestinian refugees entering Jordan or Egypt is ‘red line’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on October 17, 2023. (Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on October 17, 2023. (Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

Jordanian King Abdullah II says that neither his country nor Egypt will accept Palestinian refugees, declaring it a “red line.”

At a press conference held after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Abdullah says that “some of the usual suspects are trying to create facts on the ground,” according to Sky News Arabia.

“There will be no refugees in Jordan and no refugees in Egypt.”

Abdullah references Israeli calls for Gazans to evacuate toward the south of the Strip, near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, ahead of an expected IDF ground offensive in the north.

Khaled Mashaal, a prominent Hamas figure and the former political leader of the group, said in an interview yesterday that Gazans will not leave the Strip no matter what, and that their displacement would harm Egyptian national security and would pose a danger for Jordan, implying that a mass exodus of Palestinians to a neighboring country could set also a precedent for the West Bank.

Nevertheless, there have been reports that Egypt is making preparations to host a limited number of civilians fleeing the conflict in Gaza.

IDF says it hit terror targets in Gaza City, Rafah, Jabaliya and Khan Younis

A Palestinian reacts amidst the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 17, 2023 (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
A Palestinian reacts amidst the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 17, 2023 (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out a series of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip this morning, targeting Hamas headquarters, military sites where members were gathered, and hideout apartments.

The strikes took place in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, the northern part of Rafah, Jabaliya and Khan Younis, according to the IDF.

The IDF says it is continuing to carry out more strikes now against Hamas targets.

The military has told residents of northern Gaza to move to the south of the enclave ahead of its ground operation.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II: Middle East ‘on the brink of falling into the abyss’

Jordan's King Abdullah II addresses a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not in image) after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on October 17, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)
Jordan's King Abdullah II addresses a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not in image) after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on October 17, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)

BERLIN — Jordanian King Abdullah II warns of a dire situation in the Middle East if the conflict between Israel and Hamas is allowed to spread to other countries.

“The whole region is on the brink of falling into the abyss,” Abdullah says after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

“All our efforts are needed to make sure we don’t get there,” he says.

Scholz, who will travel to Israel later today, also warns against an escalation.

“We have a common goal to prevent a conflagration in the region,” says Scholz. “I once again expressly warn Hezbollah and Iran not to intervene in this conflict.”

He will be the first head of government to visit Israel since Hamas launched the bloodiest attack in Israel’s 75-year history last week. US President Joe Biden is also set to visit.

 

Mother of woman in Hamas hostage video: ‘I screamed when I saw Mia, I can see they’re telling her what to say’

Keren Schem, with Mia's brother and a photo of Mia, held hostage in Gaza, at a press conference on October 17, 2023 (Facebook Live screen shot)
Keren Schem, with Mia's brother and a photo of Mia, held hostage in Gaza, at a press conference on October 17, 2023 (Facebook Live screen shot)

“I screamed when I saw the video of Mia, because I saw she’s alive, but when I watched it again, I saw that she’s wounded,” says Keren Schem, mother of Mia Schem, who was shown in a Hamas video from Gaza last night.

Schem said they had heard rumors that Mia was shot in the shoulder or leg, but could see from the video that she was shot in the shoulder, and had undergone surgery.

“I see that she’s very terrified, in a lot of pain, and I can see that she’s saying what they’re telling her to say,” says Schem.

A screenshot from a clip published by the Hamas terror group on October 16, 2023, showing Mia Schem, an Israeli woman abducted by terrorists from a music festival during a massacre by Hamas gunmen on October 7, 2023. (Screenshot: X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Schem asked world leaders to bring home all captives.

“We have undergone an outrageous terrorist attack that could be in France tomorrow or the US. The enemy is evil,” says Schem.

Former Shin Bet head Ya’akov Peri, also present at the press conference, says, “The first glimpse that Hamas gave us as a message, it means that people are living, breathing and need medical help, and we place all responsibility on them — for their personal welfare and bringing them home.”

Analysis of the video’s metadata carried out by The New York Times revealed that at least some of the footage in the video of Schem was filmed at least six days ago.

Rocket alert sirens sound in Beersheba and surrounding area

Rocket alert sirens sound in the southern city of Beersheba and surrounding communities.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Yesh Atid postpones first ever primaries amid war

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

The Yesh Atid party is postponing its primary election for the party leadership due to the ongoing war with Gaza and the broader threats to Israel’s borders.

The party, founded by its current leader Yair Lapid in 2012, has never yet held a primary election but had scheduled a leadership contest for December.

Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak had been expected to run against Lapid, who has served as interim prime minister, foreign minister, and finance minister, and is currently the opposition leader.

The party did not formally announce it was postponing the primary election but a Yesh Atid source confirms it was being pushed off.

Yesh Atid intended to hold a leadership primary last year, but canceled when Lapid ended up being the only candidate running.

At least 3 injured in anti-tank guided missile attack launched from Lebanon

Ziv Medical Center in Safed says it will soon admit three people wounded in the anti-tank guided missile attack launched from Lebanon on the northern town of Metula.

Their conditions are not given, but earlier reports said two people were lightly hurt.

The hospital says it is preparing for the victims’ arrival.

Some 100,000 people remain in Gaza City, says IDF spokesman

Illustrative: Palestinian men carrying bread walk past damaged cars and debris in front of a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS/AFP)
Illustrative: Palestinian men carrying bread walk past damaged cars and debris in front of a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS/AFP)

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman says that some 100,000 people remain in Gaza City despite warnings from the Israeli military that they should move to the south of the enclave ahead of the ground operation.

According to The Guardian, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus says the “enhanced military operations” will begin “when the timing suits the goal.”

IDF shells southern Lebanon after at least 2 injured in anti-tank missile attack on Metula

The Israel Defense Forces is responding with artillery shelling against southern Lebanon after an anti-tank missile was fired at the northern town of Metula, footage shows.

The attack, according to Hebrew-language media reports, leaves at least two people lightly hurt.

The Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen says the Hezbollah terror group is responsible for the latest attack. Hezbollah has claimed several missile, mortar, and gunfire attacks on the northern frontier in recent days.

Reports of anti-tank guided missile fire from Lebanon

View of the Israeli military security barrier on the border with Lebanon, close to the northern town of Metula, with the Lebanese town of Kfarkela in the background, August 2, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
View of the Israeli military security barrier on the border with Lebanon, close to the northern town of Metula, with the Lebanese town of Kfarkela in the background, August 2, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has received reports of apparent anti-tank guided missile fire from Lebanon at the northern town of Metula.

It is unclear if there are injuries in the attack.

The Hezbollah terror group has launched several missiles at Israeli towns and military posts on the border in recent days.

IDF: Hamas using ‘psychological terror’ against Israel with hostage video of woman held in Gaza

A screenshot from a clip published by the Hamas terror group on October 16, 2023, showing Mia Schem, an Israeli woman abducted by terrorists from a music festival during a massacre by Hamas gunmen on October 7, 2023. (Screenshot: X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A screenshot from a clip published by the Hamas terror group on October 16, 2023, showing Mia Schem, an Israeli woman abducted by terrorists from a music festival during a massacre by Hamas gunmen on October 7, 2023. (Screenshot: X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military is continuing to strike the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip, hitting thousands of targets since the war began on October 7.

“I want to stress, there is no ceasefire. We continue to fight,” Hagari says.

He says the IDF is continuing to “prepare for the next stages of war.”

On the Hamas hostage video published last night showing 21-year-old Mia Schem, Hagari says the military expects further such clips, as the terror group is believed to hold more than 200 captives.

“This is psychological terror by Hamas against the citizens of Israel. We understand that there will be more videos like this. In this video, Hamas tries to present itself as a humanitarian organization while it is in fact a murderous terror group,” Hagari says.

He says one must ask, “How did a 21-year-old girl who went to a party to dance, end up being kidnapped by a murderous terror group in the heart of Gaza?”

Rocket alert sirens in Gaza border towns

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

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

After Ofakim slaughter, tech firms pay for 600 residents to take a break in Eilat

Some 600 people, mainly families with small children, are leaving the southern town of Ofakim for a week to stay at hotels in Eilat as part of an initiative by tech companies.

Fiver and HiBob, as well as other tech firms, are leading the effort to provide some respite to residents of the town, which saw some 50 people killed during the Hamas onslaught on October 7.

Ofakim, a city of 34,000 some 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the Strip, does not fall under the national evacuation plan for communities on the southern and northern borders ahead of the Gaza ground operation.

Belgian police arrest man suspected of killing 2 Swedes in Brussels

Belgian police officers from the forensic service at the scene of a suspected terror shooting in which two people were killed, in Brussels on October 16, 2023. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)
Belgian police officers from the forensic service at the scene of a suspected terror shooting in which two people were killed, in Brussels on October 16, 2023. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)

Belgian police arrest a man suspected of having gunned down two Swedish soccer fans in an attack in Brussels, a spokesman for the federal prosecutors’ service says.

Spokesman Eric Van Duyse tells AFP officers “opened fire” as they apprehended the man in the Schaerbeek area of the city, but do not say if the suspect was wounded.

IDF says it killed 4 terrorists trying to cross from Lebanon to plant explosive device

The Israel Defense Forces says it killed four terrorists who tried to cross the border from Lebanon and plant an explosive device, close to the northern community of Hanita.

The military says the cell was identified as it approached the border fence, and it was struck by a drone.

No Israeli soldiers were hurt.

 

After lull of 11 hours, Gaza terrorists fire rocket toward Israel

Rocket sirens sound in a Gaza border community after a lull of some 11 hours.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF spokesman: Biden visit won’t delay Gaza ground operation

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)

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman says the military does not expect tomorrow’s visit to Israel by US President Joe Biden to delay or complicate the ground operation in Gaza.

“I think the president also said that ‘Hamas needs to be destroyed,’ and that is exactly our military aim,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus tells CNN.

Biden will make a wartime visit in the latest demonstration of Washington’s overwhelming support for Jerusalem following the October 7 Hamas onslaught.

He will be the first head of state to visit Israel since the conflict began. He delivered a passionate speech last week in which he expressed his horror over the brutal Hamas assault, winning over Israelis across the political spectrum.

Relief convoys in Egypt head toward Gaza border crossing, aid groups say

A convoy of trucks carrying aid supplies for Gaza from Egypt waits on the main Ismailia desert road, about 300 kilometers east of the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip, on the way to the Rafah crossing on October 16, 2023.  (Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
A convoy of trucks carrying aid supplies for Gaza from Egypt waits on the main Ismailia desert road, about 300 kilometers east of the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip, on the way to the Rafah crossing on October 16, 2023. (Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

Relief convoys that had been waiting in the Egyptian city of El Arish are heading toward the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, aid officials say.

“We have arrived at the terminal and are now waiting for the next step,” says Heba Rashed, who runs the aid group Mersal. Hundreds more trucks were headed along the coast road for the 40-kilometer (25-mile) journey to Rafah, other aid officials said.

It still remains unclear if the crossing will be opened to allow the aid to be transferred into Gaza.

NY Gov. Hochul set to arrive in Israel for solidarity mission

Illustrative: New York Governor Kathy Hochul at the state Capitol in Albany, New York, July 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Illustrative: New York Governor Kathy Hochul at the state Capitol in Albany, New York, July 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says she will arrive in Israel today for a “solidarity mission.”

She says she plans to meet with diplomatic leaders and communities devastated after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas terror attack on southern Israel.

“During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever for New York to show up in support of Israel,” Hochul says.

New York has the largest percentage of Jews among all the US states, according to the American Jewish Population Project at Brandeis University.

Putin arrives in China ahead of talks with ‘dear friend’ Xi on ‘international issues’

Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport to attend the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on October 17, 2023. (Parker Song / POOL / AFP)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport to attend the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on October 17, 2023. (Parker Song / POOL / AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in China to meet his “dear friend” Xi Jinping and bolster their relationship at a summit that will be overshadowed by the Israel-Hamas war.

China this week welcomes representatives of 130 countries for a forum of President Xi’s vast trade and infrastructure Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

At the top of the guest list is Putin, who is on his first trip to a major global power since the Ukraine invasion threw his regime into international isolation.

He is due to hold talks with Xi on the sidelines of the forum on Wednesday, the Kremlin says, with the war raging between Israel and Palestinian terror group Hamas looming large over the summit.

“During the talks, special attention will be paid to international and regional issues,” the Kremlin says in a statement, without elaborating.

CENTCOM chief arrives in Israel to meet with Halevi, Gallant and other officials

CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla  (left) and IDF chief Herzi Halevi meet in Tel Aviv on May 30, 2023. (IDF)
CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla (left) and IDF chief Herzi Halevi meet in Tel Aviv on May 30, 2023. (IDF)

The head of the United States Central Command has landed in Israel to meet with Israeli defense officials amid the ongoing war against Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip and as tensions heat up on the Lebanon border.

In a statement, CENTCOM says Gen. Michael Kurilla will meet with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and others, to “gain a clear understanding of Israel’s defense requirements, outline US support efforts to avoid expansion of the conflict, and reiterate the Department of Defense’s ironclad support for Israel.”

“I’m here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and am particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” Kurilla says in remarks provided by CENTCOM.

IDF says it hit over 200 Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in overnight Gaza strikes

The Israel Defense Forces says it struck more than 200 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip overnight.

The sites, according to the IDF, include a headquarters where a number of Hamas members were killed and a bank used by Hamas.

The IDF adds that Navy vessels have also carried out strikes, including against Hamas command centers and weapons storage sites in Gaza City.

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