The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they happened.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds another phone call with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin to update him on the Israeli military response to the October 7 Hamas onslaught.
The US readout repeats Biden administration talking points about allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza, the importance of protecting civilians in the Strip and the need for all hostages to be released.
ROME — Relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome to speak about their anguish and raise awareness for their loved ones’ plight in Gaza.
Nadav Kipnis’ parents, Evyatar and Lilich Kipnis, were found dead days after the October 7 Hamas attack. His cousin is being held captive.
“None of them deserved to be treated in such horrible ways. We have to spread the message of anything that can help. It’s what my parents would have wanted,” Kipnis says.
Ilan Regev’s two children, 21-year-old Maya and 18-year-old Itay, were kidnapped at the Nova Music Festival.
Hamas has said it seeks the release of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for the captives.
“Give them everything, 4,000, 5,000 prisoners in Israel. I don’t care, these are children, babies, bring them back,” Regev says.
Since the terrorists’ bloody attack more than two weeks ago, Meloni has traveled to Israel and visited Rome’s main synagogue, where she pledged to defend Jewish citizens against “every form of antisemitism.”
Jewish students shelter in NY college library as demonstrators pound on doors, shout ‘free Palestine’
A group of Jewish students take shelter in a library at Cooper Union in New York as a group of demonstrators loudly chant “free Palestine” outside.
In video from the college, the Jewish students can be seen in the library as those outside pound on the doors and repeatedly shout, “free Palestine.”
— Jake Novak (@jakejakeny) October 25, 2023
According to New York police, the Jewish students were safely escorted from the library.
WASHINGTON — US lawmakers pass a resolution voicing solidarity with Israel in its war with Hamas terrorists, in their first act after electing a new speaker of the Republican-led House of Representatives.
The measure, entitled “Standing with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists,” receives near-unanimous backing from Republicans and all but 10 Democrats.
The Israel Defense Forces says air defense systems intercepted a surface-to-air missile launched from Lebanon at an Israeli military drone.
The UAV was apparently not damaged in the attempt.
Another aircraft struck the source of the missile fire in southern Lebanon, the IDF adds.
A Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza has failed to win the nine-vote minnimum.
Only Russia, China, the UAE and Gabon voted in favor of the draft, while nine members abstained; and the US and the UK voted against.
US President Joe Biden has urged Prime Minister Netanyahu during phone calls in recent days to ensure that Israeli authorities are preventing growing incidents of settler violence, fearing that a deterioration in the West Bank will significantly exacerbate the current Gaza war, the Axios news site reports.
Ninety Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the October 7 Hamas onslaught. Most of them were armed gunmen shot dead in clashes but some were civilians, including five shot dead by Israeli settlers who have not been prosecuted.
Russia and China have used their vetos to block a UN Security Council resolution drafted by the United States, which condemned Hamas, expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense and called for the immediate release of all hostages.
China’s representative says Beijing opposes the resolution because it does not call for an immediate ceasefire.
The United Arab Emirates also voted against the US resolution along with Russia and China.
England, Switzerland, Malta, Japan, Ghana, Gabon, France, Ecuador and Albania voted with the United States.
Mozambique and Brazil abstained.
US President Joe Biden says, “There’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on October 6.”
“That means ensuring that Hamas can no longer terrorize Israel and use Palestinians civilians as human shields. It also means that when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next, and in our view it has to be a two-state solution,” he says in a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Biden indicates that he has suggested delaying the ground operation in order to secure the release of more hostages but insists that this was not a directive.
“What I have indicated to him is, that if that’s possible, to get these folks out safely, that’s what he should do. It’s his decision. I did not demand it. I’ve pointed out to him if it’s real, it should be done,” Biden says, adding that the hostages are “in jeopardy.”
“Israel has the right and I would add a responsibility to respond to the slaughter of our people. And we will ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself against these terrorists, that’s a guarantee,” Biden says.
As for the potential for a broader regional escalation, Biden says, “We have had troops in the region since 9/11 to go after ISIS… in the region, having nothing to do with Israel at all. My warning to the Ayatollah was that if they continue to move against those troops, we will respond and he should be prepared. It has nothing to do with Israel.”
US President Joe Biden calls for the newly elected Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives to act quickly on approving military aid for Israel and Ukraine.
“We need to move swiftly to address our national security needs and to avoid a shutdown in 22 days,” Biden says in a statement congratulating Mike Johnson on his election after weeks of gridlock.
“Even though we have real disagreements about important issues, there should be mutual effort to find common ground wherever we can. This is a time for all of us to act responsibly.”
Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect who broke into a Jewish family’s home and allegedly threatened to kill those inside.
An individual inside who called 911 said that the suspect said threatened to kill them because they are Israeli. It’s not immediately clear whether they are in fact.
The LAPD tell the local Fox news affiliate that the family was visibly shaken up but that no one was physically injured.
Fox 11 reports that officials believe the suspect may have been influenced by drugs and was dressed in undergarments. He repeatedly shouted, “Free Palestine” after being placed in a police car.
The suspect has not immediately been identified but the LAPD reassures the local Jewish community that this was an isolated incident, Fox 11 says.
At least one antisemitic sign is spotted at a pro-Palestinian protest of NYU students and others in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park.
The same sign was used at a pro-Palestinian protest earlier this week in Europe.
— יונה לייבזון yuna leibzon (@YunaLeibzon) October 25, 2023
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says two people are lightly hurt by the rocket impact in Rishon Letzion.
A 48-year-old woman sustained minor injuries as a result of glass shards and a man who was hit with rocket shrapnel is also in light condition, MDA says.
In the Petah Tikva area, another two people are being treated by MDA medics, including a 13-year-old boy who was lightly wounded as a result of a rocket blast, and a woman who fell while running to a bomb shelter, and is also listed in light condition.
New House speaker visited Israel in 2020 in trip led by settler activist, toured Temple Mount, met with Kohelet
New US House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson visited Israel in a 2020 trip sponsored by 12Tribe Films Foundation, which is run by a settler activist, Haaretz reports.
During the trip, the evangelical Christian lawmaker met with leaders of the Kohelet Policy Forum, which helped draft the legislation for the judicial overhaul.
He also visited the Temple Mount with Yehudah Glick, a former Likud MK who backs Jewish prayer at the flashpoint site, Haaretz says.
A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip during the latest barrage on central Israel has directly hit a building in Rishon Letzion.
Footage shows heavy damage to a building.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it is scanning the scene for possible injuries but that there don’t appear to be any.
Separately, MDA says one person is lightly hurt in a rocket impact in Kfar Sirkin, close to Petah Tikva.
More from Rishon Letzion pic.twitter.com/cXkbRTrCog
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 25, 2023
Rocket sirens are wailing across central Israel following a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza.
There is an initial report of an impact in Rishon Lezion but no reports of anyone injured.
Footage aired by Channel 12 news tonight shows a large group of Hamas terrorists patrolling along the border with the Gaza Strip a month before the October 7 onslaught.
They are driving in a convoy of white pickup trucks — the kind of vehicles used by many Hamas terrorists en route to massacring over 1,400 people in southern Israel on October 7.
According to the network, the group stopped at one point and stayed for a while to observe the border.
The military correspondent for the Ynet news site says that this was not a particularly unusual incident, as such patrols had been carried out by Hamas on a daily basis since 2015.
הסרטון שרץ על טנדרי חמאס ליד הגבול חודש לפני המתקפה זה הדבר הכי אולד ניוז.
אלו פיק-אפים עם חמושי חמאס שמפטרלים כל יום מאז 2015 על ציר המערכת העזתי, בין מגדלי המחבלים שמול הישובים.
ממשלת ישראל פקדה על צה"ל לאפשר הקמת צבא טרור בעזה, אז למה מתרגשים מהסרטון??https://t.co/ENhairtQNk pic.twitter.com/undCWCBRnJ
— יואב זיתון (@yoavzitun) October 25, 2023
Asked about the death counts being provided by the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza, US President Joe Biden says, “I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”
US President Joe Biden says, “I continue to be alarmed by extremist settlers attacking Palestinians in the West Bank,” adding that the attacks are “adding fuel to the fire.”
“They’re attacking Palestinians in places they’re entitled to be … it has to stop now,” he adds during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Biden also says Israel has the right to respond to the Hamas attack but must do “everything in its power” to protect civilians.
The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets have destroyed a Hezbollah military compound and an observation post belonging to the terror group in southern Lebanon.
The strikes come in response to several missile and rocket attacks on northern Israel earlier today.
Republicans finally rallied behind a new standard-bearer Wednesday as the US House of Representatives elected its 56th speaker — ending weeks of party infighting that paralyzed Congress in a period of international and domestic crisis.
Louisiana’s Mike Johnson, a staunch ally of Donald Trump and who spearheaded legal efforts to overturn the 2020 election, won unanimous support from his party to lead the lower chamber of Congress and draw a line under the chaos.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military continues to carry out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip to “improve” the army’s situation for the upcoming ground offensive.
“Today we struck in Gaza City terror infrastructure in buildings and underground,” Hagari says.
“We will continue to strike in Gaza to achieve the goals of the war. Every strike improves our situation for the next stages,” he adds, referring to the expected ground incursion.
He says the war “will be long, and to achieve the goals of the war, resilience, trust and patience are required” from the public.
Israel has stated that the main goals of the war are to completely destroy Hamas and to return the hostages the terror group has been holding captive since the October 7 onslaught.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf has departed for the Mideast for meetings with regional leaders aimed at preventing the Gaza war from spreading to additional fronts, the State Department says.
Leaf’s first stop will be the United Arab Emirates, after which she will continue to Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
Additional stops may be added, the State Department says.
Minister Benny Gantz told residents of Zikim and Netiv Ha’asara earlier today that it’s possible that they will not return to their homes on the Gaza border for a year, Channel 12 reports.
Gantz told the residents that they should be prepared to remain in hotels paid for by the state for another three months before being transferred to alternative housing, Channel 12 reports.
The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon in response to missile and rocket attacks on northern Israel today.
The IDF says it will provide further information on the strikes soon.
The Israel Defense Forces publishes new footage showing members of the Israel Air Force’s elite Shaldag unit battling Hamas terrorists in the southern community of Be’eri, and other troops rescuing residents amid the October 7 onslaught.
The video, from the community’s surveillance cameras, shows a group of Hamas terrorists arriving by car at Be’eri, slamming into the entrance gate. Two Shaldag soldiers are seen surrounding the car, killing the driver and then two other terrorists who attempted to flee.
In another clip, troops can be seen escorting civilians from Be’eri.
More than 100 Israelis were murdered by the terrorists in the community.
IDF publishes new footage showing members of the elite Shaldag unit battling Hamas terrorists in the southern community of Be’eri, and other troops rescuing residents amid the October 7 onslaught. pic.twitter.com/4xPttdiliE
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 25, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces says it struck three terror cells in southern Lebanon in the last few hours.
One cell was preparing an attack near the northern community of Dovev, and was struck by an IDF drone, and another near Arab al-Aramshe was struck by IDF tanks, the military says.
The IDF says it also struck a Hezbollah cell that fired a missile toward Israeli forces near Avivim earlier today.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again avoids taking responsibility for the October 7 Hamas onslaught as several security chiefs have done, the premier says he will face a probe into what happened on that day but that the investigation must not take place until after the war.
“October 7 was a black day in our history. We will get to the bottom of what happened on the southern border and the Gaza-envelope area. The debacle will be checked to the full.”
“Everyone will have to give answers on the debacle — including myself — but all that will happen only after the war,” he says in an address to the nation. “As prime minister, I am responsible for securing the future of the state. And right now, my job is to lead the state of Israel and the people to a crushing victory over our enemies.
“Now is the time to join forces for one goal: to surge forward to victory… with deep faith in the justice of our cause,” he says.
In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns Israel is in a battle for its existence, says that the goal is “saving the nation,” and promises that a ground incursion to destroy Hamas in Gaza is coming.
“Israel is in the midst of a fight for our existence,” the prime minister begins. He says the war’s two aims are “to eliminate Hamas by destroying its military and governance capabilities, and to do everything possible to get our hostages back.”
“All Hamas members are dead men walking — above and below ground, inside and outside Gaza,” he says. “Together with Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz, the security cabinet, the chief of staff and heads of the security organizations, we are working around the clock in order to achieve the war aims until victory, and doing so without political considerations.”
The goal is “saving the nation, achieving victory.” Thousands of terrorists have been killed, he says, “and that is only the beginning.”
He says Israel is getting ready for a ground operation, but will not share when or how. He says he will not share the range of considerations involved.
“We are preparing for a ground incursion. I won’t specify when, how, how many. I also won’t detail the range of considerations, most of which the public is not aware of. And that’s the way it is supposed to be. This is the way, so that we protect our soldiers’ lives.”
Netanyahu says there was a unanimous decision about the timing of the ground incursion. “The timing of the operation was determined unanimously by the war cabinet and the chief of staff,” he says.
“We will extract the full price from those murderers, those perpetrators of atrocities… from Hamas-Daesh,” in the ground invasion, he says.
He again calls on Gazan noncombatants to head to southern Gaza.
He says the huge pain of the loss of 1,400 people in Hamas onslaught is not forgotten, referring to “our brothers and sisters who were slaughtered in cold blood and who fell in heroic battles” against the predators.
He says days of mourning will be called in memory of those killed in the assault.
And he vows that the devastated southern kibbutzim and communities will be rebuilt.
The prime minister stresses that that government ministries are coming up with plans to take care of the displaced in Israel, and to take care of the rest of the population “just like we did during COVID.”
Netanyahu says that Israel is enlisting the help of world leaders, and that they now understand that “Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas.”
He says the war is one for the sake of all humanity, and that the world now understands that Israel’s fight is their fight, that this is a fight of light against darkness.
Roughly 500 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters received specialized combat training in Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force in the weeks leading up to the October 7 terror onslaught, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with intelligence related to the assault.
The terrorists blitzed the border by disabling Israeli observation posts in drone strikes while some paraglided into Israel and others rode in on motorcycles, which are commonly used by Iranian paramilitary groups, but not to date by Hamas, WSJ says.
Earlier this month though, The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran directly helped plan the October 7 onslaught and even gave the go-ahead for the attack five days earlier — something that was widely refuted by US, Israeli and Hamas officials who agree that Iran has long supported Hamas but insist that there is no proof that Tehran was directly involved in the October 7 assault.
“Before the war, Iran directly assisted Hamas with money, training and weapons and technological know-how,” IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said yesterday. “Even now, Iran is helping Hamas with intelligence.”
Al Jazeera reporters say that the Qatari network’s Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh’s wife and three children have been killed in an Israeli airstrike.
There hasn’t been an Israeli confirmation of the strike.
Israel says its airstrikes are targeting Hamas terrorists and infrastructure, while recognizing that civilians are sometimes caught in the crossfire.
Aljazeera' s brave veteran journalist Wael Dahdouh's wife, son and daughter were killed in an Israelis airstrike which targeted a shelter house they had fled to. Wael received the news while on air covering the nonstop Israeli strikes on Gaza! pic.twitter.com/yT7jYdG8jn
— Mohamed Moawad (@moawady) October 25, 2023
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will give a statement to the press within the hour, his office says.
Israel’s war cabinet is also meeting at the IDF’s Kirya military headquarters.
The full cabinet will subsequently meet later tonight, Netanyahu’s office says.
Dozens of settlers from flashpoint Yitzhar stormed the lands of the neighboring Palestinian village of Burin, assaulting farmers and setting fire to vehicles while vandalizing and stealing equipment and produce, the Yesh Din rights group says.
“The Israeli policy that allows and even supports acts of revenge by settlers against innocent Palestinians in the West Bank continues,” the left-wing group adds.
 Today, dozens of settlers coming from the direction of Yitzhar invaded the lands of Burin, assaulted farmers, set fire to vehicles, & vandalized & stole equipment and produce. pic.twitter.com/LV8gLKir1a
— Yesh Din English (@Yesh_Din) October 25, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces names a soldier killed in the October 7 attacks in southern Israel, more than two weeks after his death.
First Sgt. Ziv Dado, 36, from Rehovot, served as a logistics supervisor in the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion.
The IDF says Dado’s family has been notified of his death, after his body was identified yesterday.
Authorities are still working to identify dozens of bodies of those who were killed in the Hamas massacres on October 7.
Dado’s death brings the total number of slain soldiers, officers, and reservists — many of whom are local security officers — in the war to 309.
Israel has agreed to a request from the US to temporarily delay its planned Gaza ground incursion to give Washington more time to deploy additional air defense systems to protect its troops in the region, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing US and Israeli officials.
The Pentagon is rushing to deploy roughly a dozen air defense systems to protect troops in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from missile fire. Iran-backed proxies have carried out at least 13 attacks since the outbreak of the Gaza war, injuring at least two dozen troops in Syria in one attack and 10 US soldiers in Iraq in another attack. All of the injuries are minor, US officials said.
The US has managed to convince Israel to hold off on invading Gaza until those systems are in place, which could be as soon as later this week, WSJ reports.
But the US request is not the only factor Israel is taking into account, as it readies for a ground incursion. It is also factoring in efforts to supply humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza as well as diplomatic efforts to release more hostages, the officials tell the Journal.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved Jack Lew’s nomination to serve as US ambassador to Israel.
Twelve members vote for Lew while nine vote against him. Rand Paul was the lone Republican to vote with Democrats to advance Lew’s nomination.
The nomination is expected to be brought to the Senate for a full-body vote in the coming days.
The verbal war between Israel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres continues.
After Israel accused Guterres of justifying the Hamas onslaught by stating yesterday that “it did not happen in a vacuum,” the UN chief hit back saying Jerusalem misrepresented his remarks and that he had specifically said in the same speech that “grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.”
Unsatisfied by the defense, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan says it is a “disgrace” that Guterres didn’t retract or apologize for his remarks and, repeating a demand he first issued yesterday, says the secretary-general must resign.
“The secretary-general once again distorts and twists reality. He clearly said yesterday that the massacre and murder spree by Hamas ‘did not happen in a vacuum.’ Every person understands and understood very well that the meaning of his words is: That Israel is guilty for the actions of Hamas or, at the very least, a demonstration of understanding and justification by the secretary-general for the massacre,” Erdan says in a statement.
“A secretary-general who does not understand that the murder of innocents can have no justification and no ‘background’ cannot be secretary-general,” he adds.
After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Hamas isn’t a group of terrorists, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat says that “Israel wholeheartedly rejects the Turkish President’s harsh words about the terrorist organization Hamas.”
“Hamas is a despicable terrorist organization worse than ISIS that brutally and intentionally murders babies, children, women and the elderly, takes civilians hostage and uses its own people as human shields.” Haiat says in a tweet.
“Even the Turkish president’s attempt to defend the terrorist organization and his inciting words will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen and the unequivocal fact: Hamas = ISIS.”
UN Secretary-General hits back at Israeli allegations that he justified Hamas’s terror onslaught when he told the Security Council that the October 7 assault “did not happen in a vacuum.”
“I am shocked by the misinterpretations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council – as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite,” Guterres says in a statement.
“In the beginning of my intervention yesterday, I clearly stated – and I quote: ‘I have condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians – or the launching of rockets against civilian targets.’”
“Indeed, I spoke of the grievances of the Palestinian people and in doing so, I also clearly stated, and I quote: ‘But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.’”
“And then I went on with my intervention referring to all my positions on all aspects of the Middle East crisis.”
“I believe it was necessary to set the record straight – especially out of respect to the victims and to their families,” he concludes.
In Guterres’s speech yesterday, he said, “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing. But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
With the force of Israeli airstrikes ripping bodies apart, Gazans are having a hard time recognizing those killed and many of the dead are being identified with a number, rather than a name, Reuters reports.
Some parents are writing their children’s names on their legs while others are having them wear unique bracelets so they better spot them.
The El-Daba family tells Reuters they have split up in order to avoid being all killed together in a single airstrike. Other Palestinians have spoken of specifically deciding to sleep together in the same room so that no individual family member will be left to grieve their loved ones on their own if their home is targeted.
Israel says its airstrikes are targeting Hamas terrorists and infrastructure, while recognizing that civilians are sometimes caught in the crossfire.
Thousands are believed to have been killed in the airstrikes, though it’s not clear how many are civilians and how many are combatants.
Gaza families wear ID bracelets to avoid burial in mass graves https://t.co/C6jFnP9pgn
— Nidal al-Mughrabi (@nidalal) October 25, 2023
Israeli authorities have been working nonstop since Hamas’s brutal onslaught on October 7 to identify the bodies of over 1,000 civilians killed, many of whom were burnt to death, beheaded or otherwise mutilated by the invading terrorists. Civilians have been harder to identify than soldiers, and the identification work continues.
The Israel Defense Forces says four rockets were launched from Lebanon at the northern city of Kiryat Shmona.
According to the IDF, all four landed in open areas, causing no injuries or damage.
The military says the Iron Dome air defense system was not used as the projectiles were not heading for populated areas.
US Secretary of State Tony Blinken asked Qatar’s prime minister to tone down the state-owned Al Jazeera’s rhetoric about the Gaza war, the Axios news site reports.
The request to “turn down the volume on Al Jazeera’s coverage because it is full of anti-Israel incitement” suggests that the US fears the Qatari network’s coverage of the war is inflaming tensions in the region.
The request was one of several Blinken made as part of a broader plea for Qatar to change its public posture toward Hamas, Axios says.
Speaking alongside Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani in Doha earlier this month, Blinken said “there can be no more business as usual with Hamas.”
Qatar has come under fire for hosting Hamas’s political leaders but has leveraged those relationships in negotiations to free the hostages in Gaza.
US officials have been pressed several times on whether they condemn Qatar for hosting Hamas officials and have carefully avoided doing so, instead expressing appreciation for Qatar’s role in releasing four of the 220-plus hostages abducted from Israel and held in Gaza.
Jordan’s Queen Rania suggests that Israeli children may not have been butchered and that babies weren’t beheaded during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, during a CNN interview in which she avoided condemning the terror group and accused the West of applying a “double standard” to the detriment of Palestinians.
“The CNN website at the beginning of the conflict reported a headline of Israeli children found butchered in an Israeli kibbutz and when you read through the story, it hasn’t been independently verified,” she says.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour pushes back, saying there has been plenty of evidence proving the murderous brutality directed at children and other people of all ages during the assault in southern Israel.
Rania focuses on the Palestinian suffering that has escalated in Gaza since the opening attack.
“The people all around the Middle East, including in Jordan, we are just shocked and disappointed by the world’s reaction to this catastrophe that is unfolding. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a glaring double standard in the world.
“When October 7 happened, the world immediately and unequivocally stood by Israel and its right to defend itself and condemned the attack that happened … but what we’re seeing in the last couple of weeks, we’re seeing silence in the world,” she says.
In a world exclusive, @QueenRania of Jordan spoke with me about the ongoing bombing of Gaza, civilian deaths, the massacres of October 7, and what she calls “a glaring double standard” in the west’s reaction to all this. Watch our full conversation. pic.twitter.com/68QUO3Vez9
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) October 24, 2023
“This is the first time in modern history that there is such human suffering and the world is not even calling for a ceasefire,” Queen Rania adds. “So the silence is deafening – and to many in our region, it makes the Western world complicit.
“Are we being told that it is wrong to kill a family, an entire family, at gunpoint, but it’s OK to shell them to death? I mean, there is a glaring double standard here. It is just shocking to the Arab world.
“As a mom, we’ve seen Palestinian mothers who have to write the names of their children on their hands – because the chances of them being shelled to death, of their bodies turning into corpses, are so high,” Rania continues. “I just want to remind the world that Palestinian mothers love their children just as much as any other mother in the world.”
The IDF announces that Abu Ubeida, the spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, is a man named Hudhaifa Kahlout. The army also releases a short video revealing his face.
“This is Hudhaifa Kahlout, who hides behind the nom de guerre Abu Ubaida, and behind his red keffiyeh, just as Hamas hides behind civilian buildings to launch rockets towards Israel,” writes Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson.
“He and other Hamas-ISIS leaders like to hide inside tunnels and behind women and children, as well as behind masks and shadows. Hudhaifa Kahlout, you have been exposed. It is time to drop the cover,” the post adds.
The IDF has already claimed to reveal Abu Ubeida’s identity once before — in 2014 — so the decision to do so again might be an implicit threat against him.
The chairman of Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum accuses UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of having “failed the test” of the refrain “Never again” after he appeared to say the Hamas slaughter of Israeli civilians was justified.
During a UN Security Council meeting Yesterday on the Israel-Hamas war, Guterres said, “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.”
Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan, who met with Guterres earlier this year at a Holocaust-related exhibit at the UN headquarters in New York, says the UN chief had “failed the test” regarding ensuring atrocities against Jews don’t repeat.
“The slaughter of Jews by Hamas on October 7th was genocidal in its intents and immeasurably brutal in its form. Part of why it differs from the Holocaust is because Jews have today a state and an army. We are not defenseless and at the mercy of others,” a statement from Dayan says.
“However, it puts to test the sincerity of world leaders, intellectuals and influencers that come to Yad Vashem and pledge ‘Never Again,’” he continues. “Those who seek to ‘understand,’ look for a justifying context, do not condemn the perpetrators, and do not call for the unconditional and immediate release of the abducted – fail the test.
“UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres failed the test.”
Economy Minister Nir Barkat presents his own compensation plan to help businesses whose revenues have been dented during the war with the Hamas terror group.
Barkat’s proposal directly challenges the emergency aid plan presented by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich last week, which has come under scrutiny in recent days by regional council heads of communities in the south as well as some business representatives.
Speaking at a Knesset Economy Committee meeting, Barkat calls for expanding the geographic areas that are entitled to the emergency aid package. According to the Finance Ministry’s outline, businesses throughout the country that have been hurt during the ongoing war will receive compensation for loss of income, but only businesses within seven kilometers (four miles) of the Gaza border will be entitled to full compensation for war damages.
Barkat says his plan would enable every business to employ part-time workers. On days an employee can’t work, the government would compensate businesses at a rate of 70%.
“Our goal is for businesses to survive during the war and at the same time to encourage the continuity of employment of workers,” says Barkat.
Barkat’s plan also proposes to increase the amount of grants for fixed expenses presented in the Treasury’s outline for businesses that have suffered losses.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accuses the United States of “directing” strikes Israel has been carrying out on Hamas in Gaza in response to the October 7 assault.
“America is a definite accomplice of criminals,” says Khamenei during a speech in Tehran.
“The United States is in some way directing the crime that is being committed in Gaza.”
Khamenei says the hands of Americans “were tainted with the blood of the oppressed, children, patients, women and others.”
“Let everyone know that in this matter and future matters, the Palestinian nation is victorious and the future world is the world of Palestine, not the world of the Zionist regime,” Khamenei says, referring to Israel.
The United States has moved two aircraft carriers into the eastern Mediterranean in a move it says is to deter Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, both allies of Hamas, from getting involved in the Israel-Hamas war.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he supports a pause in fighting to allow aid into Gaza, though he rejects calls for a full ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
Sunak says that Israel has the right to respond militarily to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack as long as it follows international law.
He tells lawmakers in the House of Commons that the United Kingdom is working to get aid into besieged Gaza, including a Royal Air Force plane carrying 21 tons of aid that is flying to Cyprus on Wednesday bound for the region.
He says that British officials and allies at the United Nations had discussed “specific pauses, as distinct from a ceasefire” to allow aid into Gaza and let UK citizens and other foreign nationals leave.
The Israel Defense Forces confirms a long-range rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip toward the Eilat area.
The IDF says the projectile landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage.
No sirens sounded in towns, but an alert was activated in an open area on the Home Front Command mobile application “according to protocol,” the IDF says.
???? Al-Qassam Brigades launched an Ayash-250 rocket towards “Eilat” (where Raymond airport) in response to the Zionist massacres against innocent civilians.
This is possible the 3rd time al-Qassem used the Ayyash-250 rocket since the war, and the first for going south pic.twitter.com/WWDVfFVVZP
— Arya ???????? (@AryJeay) October 25, 2023
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees says it will be forced to stop its work in Gaza unless it receives fuel today.
“Time is running out. We urgently need fuel,” says UNRWA communications director Juliette Touma.
Six Gaza hospitals have already shut down because of a lack of fuel, the World Health Organization has said.
A small number of aid trucks have entered Gaza since the weekend, but they are only a fraction of the usual flow across the border.
Israel says Hamas is hoarding fuel.
The Hamas terror group claims to have launched a long-range rocket from the Gaza Strip at Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat.
No sirens sounded in Eilat or any other towns in the south.
There are no reports of injuries or damage, but residents of the area report hearing an explosion, indicating the rocket may have landed in an open area or exploded mid-air.
There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the rocket fire.
Israel might soon deprive those detained for security-related offenses of a timely meeting with a lawyer, according a wartime proposal that Justice Minister Yariv Levin is raising for cabinet support today.
Levin is asking the cabinet to support legislative changes to custody regulations, so that detainees suspected of committing a war-related security offense can continue to be interrogated.
Israel is believed to have detained hundreds of Hamas terrorists who crossed the border to carry out massacres in Israeli communities.
Qatar’s foreign minister says that hostage negotiations with Hamas over the more than 200 people it took hostage during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel continue.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who also serves as Qatar’s prime minister, makes the comments during a news conference with his Turkish counterpart in Doha on Wednesday.
“Regarding the progress on the hostage negotiation, it’s still ongoing,” Sheikh Mohammed says. “If we compare where we started and where we are right now, there is some progress and some breakthrough and we will remain hopeful.”
He adds: “The negotiations are still ongoing and at any moment of time, I think that if we will be able to get along between the two parties, I think we will see some breakthroughs hopefully soon.”
Tzahi Hanegbi, the head of Israel’s National Security Council, tweeted today that he is “pleased to say that Qatar is becoming an essential party and stakeholder in the facilitation of humanitarian solutions.”
The Knesset’s Health Committee holds a discussion today on Israel’s preparedness to provide rehabilitation for those wounded in the war.
The country’s healthcare system is significantly short on rehabilitation beds in hospitals and other rehab facilities, especially in the north of the country and in Jerusalem.
More than 4,500 Israelis have been injured since the war began on October 7 following Hamas’s savage attack on southern Israeli communities resulting in the murder of 1,400 people and the taking of more than 220 hostages.
The ministry estimated that at least 500 of the injured will require rehabilitation lasting months to years.
Tens of people are amputees, and there are many cases of people with multiple physical injuries combined with PTSD.
At this time, there are only 115 open rehabilitation beds in the country, as compared to 930 available before the war.
Prof. Yoram Weiss, director general of Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, says that his hospital’s new 150-bed rehabilitation center at its Mt. Scopus campus is scheduled to open in two months.
However, the hospital is waiting for funds that were promised by the Health Ministry to medical institutions that boost their rehabilitation capacity by the end of 2024.
Syrian media report an alleged Israeli airstrike against Aleppo International Airport, causing damage.
The pro-government Sham FM radio says there are no injuries in the strikes, and the damage was limited to the runway.
It marks the fourth time the runway at Aleppo Airport has been hit in recent weeks, as Israel is believed to be stepping up efforts to prevent the shipment of advanced weapons from Iran to its various Middle East proxies, chief among them Hezbollah.
Aleppo Airport was hit on October 12, 14, and 22, and was due to open after repairs following the last strike.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops detained 58 members of the Hamas terror group in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank.
The IDF says that since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, troops have arrested more than 930 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, including some 608 affiliated with Hamas.
The military also releases footage showing an airstrike against a group of Palestinian gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp who had been hurling explosives and shooting at Israeli forces overnight.
IDF publishes footage showing a drone strike against a group of Palestinian gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp who had been hurling explosives toward Israeli forces. pic.twitter.com/wFUESPbTrI
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 25, 2023
There have been numerous clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians in the West Bank in the past two weeks, and several attempted terror attacks, according to the army.
According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, around 100 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, and in some cases settlers, since October 7.
An anti-tank guided missile was launched at an Israeli tank operating on the Lebanon border, close to the northern community of Avivim, the military says.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, there are no injuries in the attack.
Many IDF tanks are equipped with the TROPHY active defense system, which can protect against missile attacks.
The IDF adds that it is responding with artillery shelling at the source of the missile fire.
The Hezbollah terror group has launched dozens of missiles at IDF positions and Israeli towns in northern Israel since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7.
One long-range rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip a short while ago, setting off the sirens in towns south of Haifa, the Israel Defense Forces says.
The IDF says the projectile exploded mid-air.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says there are no reports of injuries.
The Hamas terror group claims responsibility for the attack, saying it launched a R160 missile, which is thought to have a range of 160 kilometers.
Hamas has launched long-range rockets several times amid the war that began on October 7, setting off sirens in northern Israel.
Former prime minister Naftali Bennett slams the government after National Security Adviser Tzahi Hanegbi thanked Qatar for its “crucial” diplomatic efforts.
“The government of Israel is making a grave moral and practical mistake. Qatar is not a crucial partner for humanitarian and diplomatic activities. Qatar is the enemy itself,” Bennett posts on X.
“Qatar funds, artists and strengthens the Hamas-ISIS terror group,” he writes. “Israel’s stated goal is to destroy Hamas. Qatar’s goal is the exact opposite: saving Hamas.”
During his time as prime minister Bennett stopped the transfer of funds from Qatar to Hamas that had been initiated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an effort to keep Hamas quiet.
Health Minister Uriel Busso sends a letter today to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir requesting that armed defense teams be swiftly stationed at all hospitals in Israel “to protect them from possible security threats from inside and outside the country.”
Busso expresses concern about threats against a medical facility in the form of missile fire and terror attacks that could injure doctors, patients, and visitors to the point of disrupting the facility’s ability to function.
“The mass call-up of military reservists has left health institutions with half the number of its usual armed security guards, leaving them vulnerable at this time when security should be stepped up,” Busso writes.
While recognizing the strains that the police are under, Busso nonetheless requested that Ben-Gvir allocate a budget for these defense teams and cut through the red tape that would hold up arming them, as well as arming currently unarmed guards at community clinics.
Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the northern towns of Daliyat al-Karmel and Kerem Maharal, south of Haifa.
It is unclear if rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip or from Lebanon. The military says it is investigating the cause.
Speaking to a gathering of his AK party faction in parliament, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Israel “can view Hamas as a terrorist organization along with the West. The West owes you a lot. But Turkey does not owe you anything.”
“Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a group of mujahideen defending their lands,” he says to a standing ovation.
Erdogan also says he is canceling plans to visit Israel because of its “inhumane” war.
“We had a project to go to Israel, but it was canceled, we will not go,” Erdogan says.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, speaking in Qatar, accuses Israel of “a crime against humanity” in its campaign in Gaza.
“Targeting our Palestinian brothers, including children, patients and the elderly, even in schools, hospitals and mosques, is a crime against humanity,” he says, alongside Qatari FM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck another terror cell in southern Lebanon that was preparing to carry out an attack, near the northern community of Zar’it.
The IDF says the cell was targeted with artillery shelling and a drone strike.
The military says the cell was “attempting to open fire,” without specifying if it was trying to launch rockets, or missiles, or using light arms.
More than 200,000 Israelis have returned to Israel since the October 7 outbreak of war, says a report prepared for the Knesset’s State Control Committee.
The Knesset report did not detail breakdowns of why the Israelis returned and whether they subsequently joined the war effort.
The report further elaborates on a lack of budgets for dedicated consular services to repatriate Israelis for humanitarian reasons, and the lack of policy dictating priority for repatriating Israelis during emergencies.
About NIS 120 million from the Jewish National Identity Authority will be transferred through the Prime Minister’s Office to support the war effort, in line with letter sent to the PMO’s director general by Deputy Minister Avi Maoz, who oversees the authority.
The controversial authority, established to cement Maoz’s one-man far-right party’s entry into the coalition, will also transfer its manpower allocations for the duration of the war.
The authority was budgeted NIS 120 million for 2023 and NIS 165 million for 2024.
A readout from Maoz’s spokesperson says that the Jewish National Identity Authority transferred its budgets and manpower allocations, and sources familiar with the matter say that 2024’s budget will be redirected, as well, if the war continues into next year.
National Security Adviser Tzahi Hanegbi praises Qatar for its “crucial” diplomatic efforts.
“I’m pleased to say that Qatar is becoming an essential party and stakeholder in the facilitation of humanitarian solutions. Qatar’s diplomatic efforts are crucial at this time,” Hanegbi posts on X.
Qatar is believed to be working on securing the release of the hostages seized by Hamas during its shock onslaught in southern Israel on October 7 and held since then in the Gaza Strip.
I’m pleased to say that Qatar is becoming an essential party and stakeholder in the facilitation of humanitarian solutions.
Qatar’s diplomatic efforts are crucial at this time.
— Tzachi Hanegbi • צחי הנגבי (@Tzachi_Hanegbi) October 25, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces publishes footage of Navy forces foiling an attempt by the Hamas terror group to send divers to infiltrate into Israel via the sea yesterday.
The IDF says two terrorists were killed by the Navy, despite earlier unverified reports by Hebrew-language media suggesting higher numbers.
The video also shows an airstrike on the compound from which the Hamas divers set out, and a strike on a weapons storage site belonging to Hamas’s naval forces.
אמש זיהו בקריות שליטה ימית של זרוע הים חוליית מחבלים של ארגון הטרור חמאס.
המחבלים יצאו דרך פיר מנהרה בחוף ברצועת עזה וחוסלו כאשר ניסו לחדור לשטח ישראל במרחב זיקים דרך הים.
מטוסי קרב וכוחות זרוע הים תקפו ברצועת עזה את הפיר ממנו יצאו המחבלים ואת מחסן אמצעי הלחימה ששימש את המחבלים pic.twitter.com/g1YtlEgcIE
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) October 25, 2023
French President Emmanuel Macron is to hold talks in Cairo later today with Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Macron’s office says, on the latest leg of a whistlestop crisis tour.
Egypt has been one of the main brokers in efforts to secure the release of more than 200 hostages, including French citizens, held by Hamas in Gaza. Macron already met separately with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and was due to meet King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman before leaving for Egypt.
A brief statement issued following the meeting between Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas’s Saleh al-Arouri and Islamic Jihad’s leader Ziad al-Nakhleh says that they agree on the next steps that the terror groups — along with other Iran-backed groups — should take at this “sensitive stage.”
Their goal, according to the statement carried on Hezbollah-run and Lebanese state media, is to achieve “a real victory for the resistance in Gaza and Palestine” and halt Israel’s “treacherous and brutal aggression against our oppressed and steadfast people in Gaza and the West Bank.”
No other details were provided.
Goshen, an organization promoting community child health and well-being, announces that it has published a “dictionary” to help parents and caregivers have conversations with children about the war.
The guide, validated by University of Haifa psychology professor Tirtsa Joels, is appropriate for interactions with children from preschool age through elementary school.
It is not meant for use with children who have experienced severe, complex trauma because of the war.
In the resource’s introduction, Goshen reassures parents that there is no right age to begin speaking with children about the war. However, the language used by adults must be age-appropriate.
It is best to start off conversations by asking the child what they already know, have heard, and whether they have any questions.
Other suggestions are provided, with an emphasis on reassuring the child and on telling them the truth — but with phrasing and a level of complexity that they can handle given their age and stage of development.
The dictionary lists 14 war-related terms, each with a basic, intermediate, advanced, and expert explanation. The adult can read through these and decide which is most appropriate for use in conversation with their child.
Some of the terms, such as sirens, rockets, and safe room are familiar to most young Israeli children. However, other words are less so.
Among these are invasion, terrorists, missing persons, captives, hostages, Tzav 8 (emergency military reserve call-up), casualties, funerals, and shiva (the week of post-burial mourning).
The dictionary is available here.
Israel Police says that since the start of the Israel-Hamas war it has detained 110 people for inciting violence and charges have been filed against 17 of them.
Most of the incidents involved Arab Israelis glorifying and praising the vicious Hamas attacks that killed some 1,400 people, most of them civilians.
המאבק בהסתה – מתחילת הלחימה משטרת ישראל עצרה 110 חשודים והוגשו 17 כתבי אישום בהליך מזורז נגד מסיתים לאלימות וטרור pic.twitter.com/4tcM2uve4I
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) October 25, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck a terror cell in southern Lebanon preparing to carry out an anti-tank guided missile attack, in the Mount Dov area on the border.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says in a press conference that the military struck five cells in southern Lebanon over the past day, amid repeated rocket and missile attacks by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian terror groups.
The tensions on the northern border come as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders publicize their first meeting since the start of the war.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says Iran directly aided Hamas ahead of the October 7 attack on southern Israel.
“Iran directly aided Hamas before the war, with training, supplying weapons, money, and technological know-how,” Hagari says in a press conference.
“Even now, Iranian aid to Hamas in the form of intelligence and online incitement against the State of Israel continues,” he says.
The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed the commander of Hamas’s North Khan Younis Battalion, Taysir Mubasher, in an airstrike in the Gaza Strip.
According to the IDF, Mubasher previously served as head of Hamas’s naval forces, and also held several positions related to the terror group’s weapon manufacturing.
“Mubasher has extensive experience in the military and as a commander, directing terror attacks, and he is considered close to Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing,” the IDF says in a joint statement with the Shin Bet security agency.
The IDF says Mubasher was behind the deadly 2002 attack at the Atzmona pre-military academy in Gush Katif among other attacks against IDF forces when Israel controlled the Gaza Strip before 2005, and the Hamas infiltration into Israel via Zikim beach in 2014.
צה״ל חיסל בהכוונת מידע מודיעיני מדויק של אמ"ן ושב"כ, את מפקד גדוד גזרת צפון חאן יונס של ארגון הטרור חמאס, תיסיר מבאשר. בעברו, שימש כמפקד הכוח הימי של ארגון הטרור והחזיק במספר תפקידים במערך ייצור אמצעי לחימה >> pic.twitter.com/Jl2MnaM4Og
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) October 25, 2023
The war between Israel and Hamas is already battering the economies of nearby countries, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund tells a Saudi investor forum.
“You look at the neighboring countries -– Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan –- there the channels of impact are already visible,” Kristalina Georgieva says at the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The head of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, meets with top representatives of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups in Beirut.
Images published show Nasrallah meeting with Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri and Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh.
Sayyed Nasrallah received PIJ’s leader Ziad Nakhaleh and deputy to Hamas’ political bureau Saleh al Arouri
Among other topics, discussions regarding the appropriate measures that Resistance Axis members must take to reach a definite victory in Gaza and Palestine took place pic.twitter.com/Kg4uQO709i
— Hussein (@EyesOnSouth1) October 25, 2023
Syrian state-run news agency SANA, citing a Syrian military source, says eight soldiers were killed and another seven were wounded in an overnight Israeli airstrike in the Daraa area.
SANA adds that damage was also caused to the sites that were hit by the Israeli Air Force.
The Israel Defense Forces said it had carried out airstrikes against Syrian military infrastructure and mortar launching positions after two rockets were launched at northern Israel.
The rocket attack caused no injuries or damage.
The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out dozens of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip overnight, including against Hamas tunnels, command centers, weapons storage sites, and mortar and anti-tank missile launch sites.
The IDF says the strikes also targeted war rooms, infrastructure and command centers belonging to Hamas’s so-called emergency operational apparatus.
According to the IDF, Hamas’s emergency operational apparatus is responsible for setting up blockades preventing Palestinians from evacuating from northern Gaza to its south.
The IDF has been warning Gazans to leave the northern part of the Strip.
במהלך תקיפות נרחבות ברצועת עזה ביממה האחרונה, צה"ל בהכוונת שב״כ חיסל פעילים ותשתיות טרור של חמאס. בין המטרות שהושמדו: פירי מנהרות, מפקדות צבאיות, מחסני אמצעי לחימה ועמדות שיגור פצצות מרגמה וטילי נ"ט>> pic.twitter.com/dFyU4zEMAN
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) October 25, 2023
Rockets are fired from Gaza at cities and communities in southern Israel.
Warning sirens are heard in Ashkelon and in the communities of Zikim and Karmiya.
There are no immediate reports of direct impacts or injuries.
צבע אדום (25/10/2023 09:01-09:02): אזור תעשייה הדרומי אשקלון, זיקים, כרמיה pic.twitter.com/ZPXUlB1KhI
— צופר – צבע אדום (@tzevaadom_) October 25, 2023
The Hamas terror group claims that some 80 people were killed in overnight Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
A statement from Hamas says “more than 80 people were martyred and hundreds wounded in massacres committed by the occupation raids” overnight.
The toll cannot be verified and Hamas does not differentiate between terrorists and civilians. The IDF says it is striking Hamas targets across the Strip after the October 7 assault on Israel that killed some 1,400 people, most of them civilians.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tries to walk back his remarks that appeared to justify Hamas’s deadly assault on Israel.
“The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the horrific attacks by Hamas,” Guterres tweets, adding: “Those horrendous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
Israel officials railed at Guterres after he told the UN Security Council, “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” with many calling on him to resign.
The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the horrific attacks by Hamas.
Those horrendous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 25, 2023
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan says the country will deny visas to UN officials after remarks by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that appeared to justify Hamas’s brutal assault on Israel.
“Due to his remarks we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives,” Erdan tells Army Radio.
“We have already refused a visa for Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths,” Erdan said. “The time has come to teach them a lesson.”
“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said at a UN Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas war, which erupted when the terror group ravaged Israeli border communities, killing some 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians.
Iconic rock band the B-52s will no longer perform at a White House dinner for Australia’s premier due to the “sorrow” of the Israel-Hamas conflict, US First Lady Jill Biden says.
The band, best known for the 1989 hit “Love Shack,” was scheduled to play at the state dinner for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday hosted by President Joe Biden.
“While we had initially planned for the legendary B-52s to perform their iconic dance and party music, we are now in a time when so many are facing sorrow and pain, and we have decided to make adjustments to the entertainment portion of the evening,” Jill Biden tells reporters.
The New Wave band, named after a US bomber aircraft but more famous for their beehive hairdos, will still attend the state dinner but as guests, she adds.
Presidential military bands will provide “instrumental music” instead.
Jill Biden made the announcement during a preview for the dinner, which will feature a guest chef, dishes including sarsaparilla-braised short ribs and design featuring US and Australian elements.
Albanese arrived at the White House on Tuesday ahead of a formal state visit on Wednesday when he is expected to discuss topics including China, Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war.
Australia says it is sending troops and two military transport aircraft to the Middle East as concern grows for Australian citizens in the region.
Defence Minister Richard Marles says a “significant number” of troops was being sent but declined to give the number. Two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft had also been deployed.
Marles, who is also deputy prime minister, would not say where the aircraft and troops would be based.
The planes will add to a C-17A Globemaster heavy transport aircraft and a KC-30 air refueller already in the area.
“The point of this is to provide support to Australian populations who are in the Middle East if this gets worse,” Marles tells public broadcaster ABC.
The Israel-Hamas war was triggered by an unprecedented attack on Israel launched by the Palestinian terror group on October 7 from the Gaza Strip, in which gunmen poured through the border fence and killed, tortured and mutilated some 1,400 people in Israel, mostly civilians including Australian citizens, and kidnapped over 200.
Israel declared its intention of toppling and destroying the terror group that rules the Strip, and began heavy bombardment ahead of an expected ground offensive. According to unverified Hamas figures, thousands have been killed in the strikes on Gaza, though it is not clear how many of those are its operatives.
More than 800 Australians have been flown out of Israel since October 13.
Marles says the Australian government is trying to help 79 citizens in Gaza and 51 in the West Bank who have asked to leave.
Australia has a long history of military presence in the wider Middle East.
It contributes troops to a joint task force fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, focusing on training Iraqi security forces.
At least three people were killed and several were injured in an Israeli airstrike in Jenin, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Wafa news agency.
The military said the strike targeted Palestinian gunmen who were shooting at Israeli soldiers and hurling explosives.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) October 25, 2023
A rocket warning alert sounds in Kissufim, a kibbutz east of the Gaza Strip.
Sirens were also heard overnight in two other kibbutzim in the area.
US President Joe Biden is asked by reporters whether he is pressuring Israel to delay its ground incursion into Gaza.
“The Israelis can make their own decisions,” he responds.
The Israel Defense Forces says Palestinian gunmen opened fire on troops who arrested a pair of terror suspects in the northern West Bank.
According to a military statement, the soldiers “identified hits” among the gunmen.
In a separate incident in the Jenin refugee camp, the IDF said gunmen hurled explosives and shot at troops before a military aircraft carried out a strike “to remove the danger.”
“Hits were identified,” the statement says, adding no soldiers were injured.
The Israel Defense Forces says it struck several Syrian military targets, after rockets were fired from Syria toward Israeli communities in the Golan Heights.
The IDF says fighter jets hit “military infrastructure” and mortar launching sites.
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