ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Oct. 26: Heavy rocket fire targets central Israel; limited IDF ground raids in Gaza to continue

Rocket lands near highway, sparking fire * White House slams ‘grotesque’ antisemitism on campuses * Pentagon: 900 US troops heading to Mideast, 2 Iron Dome batteries to Israel

  • A fire sparked after a rocket fired from Gaza hit a utility next to a highway near Rehovot, October 26, 2023. (Courtesy)
    A fire sparked after a rocket fired from Gaza hit a utility next to a highway near Rehovot, October 26, 2023. (Courtesy)
  • A woman and a man hold placards in support of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas since the October 7 attack,in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
    A woman and a man hold placards in support of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas since the October 7 attack,in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
  • Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan holds footage from Hamas's October 7 massacre, during an emergency meeting on the Israel-Hamas war at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, October 26, 2023. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP)
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan holds footage from Hamas's October 7 massacre, during an emergency meeting on the Israel-Hamas war at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, October 26, 2023. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP)
  • People watch as smoke and dust ascend following an Israeli bombardment, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS / AFP)
    People watch as smoke and dust ascend following an Israeli bombardment, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS / AFP)
  • This screen grab taken from handout footage released by the Israeli army on October 26, 2023, shows a "targeted raid" in northern Gaza with tanks and infantry.  (Israeli Army / AFP)
    This screen grab taken from handout footage released by the Israeli army on October 26, 2023, shows a "targeted raid" in northern Gaza with tanks and infantry. (Israeli Army / AFP)
  • A Shabbat table set for 224 people in Times Square, New York, on October 26, 2023, symbolizing the plight of the hostages held captive in Gaza. (Israeli-American Council)
    A Shabbat table set for 224 people in Times Square, New York, on October 26, 2023, symbolizing the plight of the hostages held captive in Gaza. (Israeli-American Council)
  • This screen grab taken from handout footage released by the Israeli army on October 26, 2023, shows a "targeted raid" in northern Gaza with tanks and infantry.  (Photo by Israeli Army / AFP)
    This screen grab taken from handout footage released by the Israeli army on October 26, 2023, shows a "targeted raid" in northern Gaza with tanks and infantry. (Photo by Israeli Army / AFP)
  • The site where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a building in Rishon Lezion a day earlier, October 26, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
    The site where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a building in Rishon Lezion a day earlier, October 26, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
  • Smoke rises from buildings demolished by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
    Smoke rises from buildings demolished by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
  • Rescuers gather in front of an apartment building hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the Israeli city of Rishon LeZion near Tel Aviv on October 25, 2023 (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
    Rescuers gather in front of an apartment building hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the Israeli city of Rishon LeZion near Tel Aviv on October 25, 2023 (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.

Pentagon says US air base in Iraq attacked again, causing minor damage

Pentagon spokesman US Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, March 24, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Pentagon spokesman US Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, March 24, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Pentagon says that there was an attempted attack at Irbil air base in Iraq but there were no casualties and only minor damage to the facilities.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, declines to detail which Iranian-backed groups may be responsible for the recent spate of attacks at bases in Iraq and Syria.

He says there have been at least 12 attacks in Iraq and four in Syria, and that 21 US personnel received minor injuries in two separate attacks early last week.

Israel slams Jordanian-backed UN resolution that calls for ceasefire, doesn’t mention Hamas

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi gives a joint press conference with his German counterpart on April 3, 2023 at the Foreign Office in Berlin. (John Macdougall/AFP)
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi gives a joint press conference with his German counterpart on April 3, 2023 at the Foreign Office in Berlin. (John Macdougall/AFP)

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, speaking at a session of the UN General Assembly on behalf of 22 Arab countries, accuses Israel of “making Gaza a perpetual hell on Earth.”

“The trauma will haunt generations to come,” he says, adding that “the right to self defense is not a license to kill with impunity. Collective punishment is not self defense, it is a war crime.”

Jordan has circulated a draft resolution that is still under discussion, which is meant to be put to vote tomorrow.

The text focuses largely on the humanitarian situation, calling for an “immediate ceasefire” and “unhindered humanitarian access” to the Gaza Strip. It also calls on all parties to comply with the “protection of civilians,” but makes no mention of the Hamas attack.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan blasts the text: “The drafters of the resolution claim to be concerned about peace,” he says. “Yet the depraved murderers who initiated this war are not even mentioned in the resolution. The only place this resolution belongs is in the dustbin of history.”

Family of 6 US citizens trapped in Gaza begs Biden to help them exit

Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip on October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip on October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Family members of six American citizens trapped in Gaza plead for US President Joe Biden to help their relatives get out from what started as a long-awaited vacation and turned into a horrific nightmare.

Shamiss Kaoud, 33, of Moreno Valley, California, says she and her sister have been calling the US State Department daily to try to get her 68-year-old father, Jamal, his four brothers and one of her cousins evacuated from the war zone.

“No one is listening. No one is helping. It’s as if nobody cares,” she tells reporters at a press conference in Anaheim, California. “Shouldn’t being a US citizen matter?”

The group traveled to Gaza in late September to visit family and has since gone three times to Gaza’s Rafah crossing with Egypt, but has not been able to get out.

EU leaders issue statement calling for ‘humanitarian corridors and pauses’ in Gaza

EU leaders call for “humanitarian corridors and pauses” to get aid into Gaza, after hours of negotiations at a summit of the bloc in Brussels.

“The European Council expresses its gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs,” a statement says.

Rocket from Gaza lands near Rehovot highway, sparking fire

A fire sparked after a rocket fired from Gaza hit a utility next to a highway near Rehovot, October 26, 2023. (Courtesy)
A fire sparked after a rocket fired from Gaza hit a utility next to a highway near Rehovot, October 26, 2023. (Courtesy)

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip in the latest barrage landed near a highway near Rehovot in central Israel, setting fire to a utility pole.

There have been reports of widespread power outages in the area.

Medics say there are no physical injuries.

Pentagon says 900 US troops heading to Mideast, 2 Iron Dome batteries to Israel

The Iron Dome missile defense system stationed close to the southern city of Sderot on October 12, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)
The Iron Dome missile defense system stationed close to the southern city of Sderot on October 12, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder says that approximately 900 US troops are either in or on their way to the Middle East — but not Israel — as part of “efforts to deter a broader conflict and further bolster us force protection capabilities.”

He also says in a briefing that the US plans to transfer two Iron Dome batteries to Israel.

US says it will respond to attacks on troops in Mideast at time ‘of our choosing’

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

A White House spokesman says the United States will respond at a “time of our choosing and a manner of our choosing” to a recent spate of attacks the US says has been carried out by Iranian-backed groups against US troops stationed in the Middle East.

The blunt warning from White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby comes a day after US President Joe Biden said Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had been directly warned that the US would respond if Iran or its proxies continued to attack US troops.

Rocket sirens sound across Tel Aviv and central Israel

Air raid sirens sound across central Israel, including in Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Petah Tikva, Lod, Rishon Lezion, Holon, Rehovot and many other cities.

Report: Qatar to reconsider its relationship with Hamas after hostages freed

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

The United States and Qatar have agreed to reevaluate the Gulf monarchy’s relationship with Hamas after Doha completes its role in freeing hostages taken by the terror group during its October 7 massacre in Israel, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The report, citing four diplomats with knowledge of the discussions, claims that it has yet to be decided if the review will include the potential deportation of Hamas’s leaders living in Qatar or other similar measures.

The agreement was reportedly reached during a recent meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and is an attempt by Washington to balance its short-term objective of freeing as many abductees as possible against the long-term strategy of choking Hamas.

Cyprus offers to act as hub for humanitarian aid to Gaza

A man stands on a dock and looks to the sunset at the sea in southern port city of Limassol, Cyprus, April 5, 2018. (AP/Petros Karadjias)
A man stands on a dock and looks to the sunset at the sea in southern port city of Limassol, Cyprus, April 5, 2018. (AP/Petros Karadjias)

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides says the island nation is ready to act as a hub for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Christodoulides tells reporters in Brussels that he pitched to fellow European Union leaders a proposal to establish a “humanitarian aid corridor” linking Cyprus’ main port of Limassol to Gaza.

The Cypriot president says he discussed the idea with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

Government spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis tells The Associated Press that EU leaders “showed interest” in the proposal.

Amid reports of fuel-for-captives swap, IDF spokesman reiterates that ‘no fuel’ set to enter

An image shared by the IDF showing twelve oil tanks in which Hamas  allegedly stores its reserves while the Gaza Strip is running out of fuel during the ongoing war with Israel, October 24, 2023. (IDF Arabic spokesman on X)
An image shared by the IDF showing twelve oil tanks in which Hamas allegedly stores its reserves while the Gaza Strip is running out of fuel during the ongoing war with Israel, October 24, 2023. (IDF Arabic spokesman on X)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari reiterates that no fuel is being allowed into Gaza, amid reports that the government is considering a deal to allow in fuel in exchange for a large release of captives being held by Hamas.

“At this point, the instruction of the political echelon is that no fuel is entering, if there is a change we will update the public,” says Hagari in response to a question about such a deal.

Hagari adds that a great deal of Hamas’s ability to operate “relies on fuel,” reiterating that the terror group is stealing and stockpiling fuel that could go to hospitals.

Earlier, Hebrew media reports suggested that Israel is considering allowing fuel to enter into Gaza via Egypt as part of a deal that would see a large chunk of the 224 hostages believed to be held by Hamas freed.

IDF spokesman says limited ground raids into Gaza will continue

IDF tanks enter the Gaza Strip in a 'targeted raid' early October 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF tanks enter the Gaza Strip in a 'targeted raid' early October 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the army will continue limited ground raids in the Gaza Strip, after last night infantry forces and tanks operated for a number of hours over the border fence to attack Hamas positions and members.

Hagari says raids will be carried out “tonight as well, and it will continue all the more forcefully in the coming days.”

He says the IDF is still carrying out “massive strikes” on the Gaza Strip, “from the air and sea,” focusing on killing senior Hamas members and those who participated in the October 7 massacres.

Iran says it ‘stands ready’ to play role in Gaza hostage release deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut, Lebanon, October 13, 2023. (Hussein Malla/AP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut, Lebanon, October 13, 2023. (Hussein Malla/AP)

Iran’s foreign minister says Hamas is ready to release hostages abducted from Israel, and that Tehran can play a role in an exchange deal.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tells an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly that Iran “stands ready to play its part in this very important humanitarian endeavor, along with Qatar and Turkey.”

Amir-Abdollahian issues a strong warning “against the uncontrollable consequences of the unlimited financial, arms and operational support by the White House to the Tel Aviv regime.”

“I say frankly to the American statesman, who are now managing the genocide in Palestine, that we do not welcome to expansion of the war in the region,” Iran’s top diplomat says in English at the start of his remarks.

“But I warn, if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire,” Amir-Abdollahian says. “It is our home and west Asia is our region. We do not compromise with any party and any side, and we have no reservation when it comes to our home security.”

Report: PMO chief says ‘those who were against us’ to blame for Oct. 7, not Netanyahu

Prime Minister's Office director general Yossi Shelley speaks during a Knesset Finance Committee meeting in Jerusalem, February 22, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister's Office director general Yossi Shelley speaks during a Knesset Finance Committee meeting in Jerusalem, February 22, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yossi Shelley, the director of the Prime Minister’s Office, reportedly has said behind closed doors that many people are to blame for the failures that led to the October 7 Hamas massacre — but not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The IDF chief of staff, the leaders of the [anti-overhaul] protest movement, former security chiefs, all those who were against us, they’re the ones who are guilty,” Shelley reportedly said, in comments carried by Channel 12 news.

“Blame the leadership of the IDF — not Netanyahu.”

Israel scolds Russia for meeting with Hamas leaders in Moscow

As Israel’s public frustration with Russia grows, the Foreign Ministry scolds Moscow for hosting Hamas leaders today.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization worse than ISIS,” tweets ministry spokesman Lior Haiat. “The hands of senior Hamas officials are stained with the blood of over 1,400 Israelis who were slaughtered, murdered, executed and burned and they are responsible for the kidnapping of over 220 Israelis including babies, children, women and the elderly.”

“Israel sees the invitation of senior Hamas officials to Moscow as an obscene step that gives support to terrorism and legitimizes the atrocities of Hamas terrorists,” he continues, adding that Israel calls on Moscow to immediately expel the Hamas leaders.

Spanish PM suggests ‘we can definitively’ reach 2-state solution at peace confab next year

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a media confernce at an EU summit in Brussels, March 24, 2023.  (AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a media confernce at an EU summit in Brussels, March 24, 2023. (AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Spanish acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez calls for an international peace conference on the Middle East conflict to take place within six months with the aim of resolving the Israel-Hamas war.

“From Spain, we propose that an International Peace Conference be held within six months so that the entire international community feels involved, is involved and we can definitively find a two-state solution to Israel and Palestine,” he says in Brussels ahead of a European Union Council meeting.

Sánchez also calls for a humanitarian cease-fire in order to get aid into Gaza and calls on Hamas to release its at least 224 hostages.

Russia says it discussed release of hostages in meeting with visiting Hamas official

From left to right: Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Putin's Special Envoy to the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov, and Hamas head of international relations Mousa Abu Marzouk, during a trilateral meeting in Moscow on October 26, 2023. (Hamas Telegram channel)
From left to right: Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Putin's Special Envoy to the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov, and Hamas head of international relations Mousa Abu Marzouk, during a trilateral meeting in Moscow on October 26, 2023. (Hamas Telegram channel)

The Russian Foreign Ministry says it discussed the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of Russian nationals and other foreign citizens with a Hamas representative who visited Moscow today.

The ministry says in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that talks with Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, were part of Moscow’s efforts to secure the immediate release of foreign hostages held in Gaza. It says that issues related to organizing the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens from Gaza were also discussed.

The ministry notes that the Russian side “reaffirmed its unwavering position in favor of implementing the well-known decisions of the international community,” including a two-state solution.

IDF says it has killed three senior Hamas commanders in Gaza airstrike

Smoke rises from buildings demolished by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
Smoke rises from buildings demolished by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed three senior commanders in Hamas’s Daraj-Tuffah Battalion in an airstrike in the Gaza Strip today.

The IDF says the strike killed the battalion’s commander, Rifaat Abbas; the deputy commander, Ibrahim Jadba; and a combat support commander, Tarek Maarouf.

According to the IDF, the Daraj-Tuffah Battalion is part of Hamas’s Gaza City Brigade, which is “considered the most significant brigade of the Hamas terrorist organization.”

“The battalion’s operatives played a significant role in the invasion and murderous attack against Israel on October 7th,” the IDF adds.

Gallant: Ground op soon, soldiers ready. Israel’s next 75 years depend largely on our success

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a press conference on October 26, 2023. (GPO/Screenshot)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a press conference on October 26, 2023. (GPO/Screenshot)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vows that Israel will win the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and promises a “supreme effort” to return the more than 200 hostages held by the terror group. He says a ground operation is close at hand.

“We are in decisive moments. This is a war for our home and we will win it. It’s either us or them,” he says in a televised address.

“On October 7, Hamas began a war,” he continues, “a war against the citizens of Israel, against little children, against women, against Holocaust survivors. It’s a war against civilian communities. It’s a war of murder, rape, kidnapping, looting. It’s a war intended to deter us and destroy the will of Israeli citizens to live here.”

“We will win this war,” he declares. “I know this because I saw on October 7 and October 8, IDF soldiers and civilians fighting — civilians protecting their children at all cost, soldiers storming toward the gunfire.”

“I saw soldiers fall in battle and division commanders lead the fighting,” Gallant says. Together “they halted the enemy’s progress deeper into Israel and prevented them from harming more citizens.”

“And within 24 hours, we went on the offensive,” he says. “Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza is being carried out by air, land and sea… hitting bunkers, tunnels and outposts.”

“The war is precise, lethal and powerful. It is our duty to win this war. That’s the unwritten contract between the security establishment and the citizens… It is my duty as the defense minister to lead so that we win the battle, and the citizens can live here in peace and quiet,” he continues.

Gallant says the planned ground offensive will occur soon. “Additional stages in the war will also come, we are creating the conditions for them and we will carry them out. I am determined… to ensure the State of Israel is victorious over this tough and evil enemy — over this epitome of evil.”

Gallant says “another thing happened in this campaign that we have never seen before. We have over 200 prisoners and missing people, and we lost about 1,400 soldiers and civilians in the battle,” he says.

“As a father, grandfather and son of Holocaust survivors, I understand and am deeply saddened by the very heavy price of those who fell in battle. I am determined to make every effort to return the hostages to their families, this is my supreme obligation, along with the effort for absolute victory in the war,” he says.

“Nothing like has happened in Israel’s 75 years of existence,” he continues. “What will happen in the next 75 years depends largely on the achievements in this battle.”

Answering questions, Gallant says the ground operation “is close at hand” and “will begin when the conditions are ripe. The forces are ready.”

He says Israel is also “ready for any eventuality” in the north. Israel is “not interested in widening the war, but will deal with it if necessary.”

He does not directly answer questions on possible terms for hostage releases, or on Qatar’s role, instead again promising to “make every effort to get them back as soon as possible.”

And he says he won’t discuss how the October 7 failure to prevent Hamas’s devastating infiltration and onslaught should be investigated. His only focus now, he says, is on victory.

Hamas official says group ‘expects more’ from Hezbollah involvement in war

Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas's political bureau, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas's political bureau, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

A senior Hamas official tells The Associated Press that the terror group had expected stronger intervention from Hezbollah in its war with Israel.

Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, says that “we need more” from allies, including Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“Hezbollah now is working against the occupation,” Hamad says at the Hamas office in Beirut. “We appreciate this. But… we need more in order to stop the aggression on Gaza… we expect more.”

Herzog meets relatives of Bedouin hostages held in Gaza: ‘This is not a war between Jews and Muslims’

President Isaac Herzog meets in Rahat with family members of Bedouin hostages held captive in Gaza, October 26, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog meets in Rahat with family members of Bedouin hostages held captive in Gaza, October 26, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog meets in the southern town of Rahat with family members of Bedouins held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

“We came to say that we share deeply in the grief of the entire Israeli Arab population, and the Bedouin society in particular,” Herzog says. “This is not a war between Jews and Muslims. This is a war between the people who seek to bring light and the people who seek to bring darkness.”

Herzog adds that it is “important for me to tell the entire Arab society in Israel how much I appreciate the responsibility shown across this community in these difficult days. But we must remember, this is not a political struggle. It is about our ability to live here in a Middle East of peace versus a Middle East of bloodshed and war.”

IDF says it carried out drone strike on Hezbollah cell in Lebanon

Israeli tanks take part in a military drill near the border with Lebanon in the upper Galilee region, October 26, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
Israeli tanks take part in a military drill near the border with Lebanon in the upper Galilee region, October 26, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out a drone strike against a Hezbollah cell in southern Lebanon preparing to carry out an anti-tank guided missile attack against an army post on the northern border.

In recent days, the IDF has stepped up airstrikes on Hezbollah terrorists planning to carry out missile and rocket attacks on northern Israel.

The terror group has so far named 46 members killed by Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon amid the war in the Gaza Strip. The IDF publishes footage showing the latest strike.

White House slams ‘grotesque’ displays of antisemitism on college campuses

Messages reading 'Glory To Our Martyrs' and 'Divestment From Zionist Genocide Now,' along with others, are projected onto a building at George Washington University's campus in Washington, October 24, 2023. (StopAntisemitism via X)
Messages reading 'Glory To Our Martyrs' and 'Divestment From Zionist Genocide Now,' along with others, are projected onto a building at George Washington University's campus in Washington, October 24, 2023. (StopAntisemitism via X)

The White House calls out the “grotesque” and “antisemitic” actions of students protesting against Israel on American college campuses since the outbreak of the Gaza war.

“Amidst the rise in poisonous, antisemitic rhetoric and hate crimes that President Biden has fought against for years, there is an extremely disturbing pattern of antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates tells The Times of Israel.

“Just over the past week, we’ve seen protests and statements on college campuses that call for the annihilation of the State of Israel; for genocide against the Jewish people. Jewish students have even had to barricade themselves inside buildings,” he says.

The comments appear to be the furthest that the White House has gone yet to weigh in on campus debates about Israel. In the past, Biden officials stressed the importance of allowing peaceful protests while also stressing the importance of Arab, Jewish and Muslim Americans feeling safe.

On Tuesday night, messages including “Glory To Our Martyrs,” “Divestment From Zionist Genocide Now,” and “Free Palestine From The River To The Sea” were projected onto the exterior of a campus building at George Washington University. At Cooper Union College in New York last night, Jewish students were locked in their school’s library for 20 minutes as pro-Palestinian demonstrators pounded on the doors and shouted anti-Israel slogans.

Jewish students in a library at Cooper Union College in New York as demonstrators outside pound on the doors and chant ‘Free Palestine,’ October 26, 2023. (X screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Bates says “these grotesque sentiments and actions shock the conscience and turn the stomach. They also recall our commitment that can’t be forgotten: ‘never again.’”

“Delegitimizing the State of Israel while praising the Hamas terrorist murderers who burned innocent people alive, or targeting Jewish students, is the definition of unacceptable – and the definition of antisemitism. President Biden is proud to have been an enemy of antisemitism and hate his entire life, and he always will be,” Bates adds.

JTA contributed to this report.

IDF strike kills deputy head of Hamas intelligence directorate

Smoke rises from buildings demolished by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
Smoke rises from buildings demolished by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed the deputy head of Hamas’s intelligence directorate, Shadi Barud, in a strike in the Gaza Strip today.

The IDF accuses Barud of planning the October 7 attacks in southern Israel with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

Barud previously served as a battalion commander in the Khan Younis area and held other roles in the terror group’s intelligence directorate, and “was responsible for planning numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians,” the IDF adds.

The IDF publishes a video showing the airstrike that killed the senior commander.

Defense Ministry transfers NIS 70 million to towns near Gaza border

A man walks past Sderot police station, which was destroyed during battles to dislodge Hamas gunmen inside, on October 8, 2023. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)
A man walks past Sderot police station, which was destroyed during battles to dislodge Hamas gunmen inside, on October 8, 2023. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

The Defense Ministry says it has transferred a sum of NIS 70 million to the four local councils in the Gaza border area as well as the city of Sderot to fund the evacuation of their residents.

The funds are also intended to “provide a flow of assistance” to the local councils.

Hamas makes unverified propaganda claim that ‘almost 50’ hostages killed in airstrikes

Posters calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 21, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Posters calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, October 21, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Hamas terror group makes an unverified claim that “almost 50” Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip have been killed by Israeli airstrikes.

There is no independent verification, and Israel has not reacted to such claims in the past. Hamas frequently fabricates such statements and is also engaged in psychological warfare against the families of the hostages as well as the general population.

“Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades estimates that the number of Zionist prisoners who were killed in the Gaza Strip as a result of Zionist strikes and massacres has reached almost 50,” the group says in a statement on its Telegram channel.

Rocket sirens ring out across cities in central Israel, including Tel Aviv

Air raid sirens sound in a range of cities across central Israel, including Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Bat Yam, Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Holon and others, following a heavy barrage of rockets from Gaza.

Israel gives out QR code linking to images of Hamas atrocities ahead of UN session

QR codes dispersed by Israel ahead of a UN emergency session on the Israel-Hamas war, October 26, 2023. (Courtesy)
QR codes dispersed by Israel ahead of a UN emergency session on the Israel-Hamas war, October 26, 2023. (Courtesy)

At the outset of the UN emergency session on Gaza called by Jordan and Mauritania, Israel’s mission to the UN hands out sheets with a QR code that opens a video showing Hamas atrocities.

The images include piles of burned bodies, a baby shot in its bed, civilians lying dead in cars and in the street, and a gagged woman who had been burned to death.

Herzog rejects comments by UN chief, says key root of conflict ‘is terror’

President Isaac Herzog shows materials recovered from the body of a Hamas terrorist during an interview with Sky News, October 22, 2023. (Screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
President Isaac Herzog shows materials recovered from the body of a Hamas terrorist during an interview with Sky News, October 22, 2023. (Screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

President Isaac Herzog condemns the widely panned remarks by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at Tuesday’s Security Council meeting, where he said Hamas’s murderous October 7 onslaught “didn’t occur in a vacuum” and was brought on by decades of Israeli military rule and other policies in the West Bank and Gaza.

The President’s Residence releases the transcript of remarks Herzog made yesterday in an interview with French television channel BFMTV.

“I heard the comments of the secretary-general of the United Nations Guterres,” he said. “In a way, he alluded as if the source of all this evil has to do with the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.

“I absolutely reject his words, because there was a sort of implication or even consent for atrocities, for terror. The problem with the conflict is terror. The most inherent problem that derails the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians has to do with terror.”

Herzog also says during the interview that Israel adheres to international humanitarian law, including by telling civilians to leave northern Gaza. He accuses Hamas of preventing civilians from leaving.

Hamas delegation, Iranian deputy FM meet Russian officials in Moscow

Muslims pray outside the Moscow Cathedral Mosque during Eid al-Adha celebrations in Moscow, Russia, on June 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Muslims pray outside the Moscow Cathedral Mosque during Eid al-Adha celebrations in Moscow, Russia, on June 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Hamas representatives are in Moscow, according to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

“I can also say and confirm that representatives of the relevant Palestinian movement are on a visit to Moscow,” she says in a briefing, reported by the Russian RIA Novosti outlet.

The outlet had earlier reported that Hamas politburo member Moussa Abu Marzuk was leading the delegation.

Zakharova says that Iranian deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani is in Moscow as well.

Two children held hostage in Gaza are Hungarian citizens, Budapest says

Young men look at photos of Israelis missing and held hostage in Gaza, displayed on a wall in Tel Aviv, on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Young men look at photos of Israelis missing and held hostage in Gaza, displayed on a wall in Tel Aviv, on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Hungary’s foreign ministry says two Israeli-Hungarian children are among the more than 200 hostages held by the militant Hamas group in the Gaza Strip.

The children, both dual Hungarian citizens, are 15 and 8 years old, and were taken from the home of their father in a kibbutz near the border with Gaza during Hamas’s deadly Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel.

That’s according to an interview with the children’s mother by the Hungarian weekly magazine Hetek. A spokesman for the ministry confirmed to the magazine that the children were being held in Gaza, and said that the ministry was in contact with their mother.

Business leaders slam Smotrich economic plan, back Barkat counter-plan

Finance Minister and Head of the Religious Zionist Party Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, October 23, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
Finance Minister and Head of the Religious Zionist Party Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, October 23, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

A forum of leading business and trade associations representing about 1.5 million employees lambasts Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich for proposing an emergency aid plan for war-affected businesses that will not help them survive.

During an emergency meeting, the group of business organizations announce that they outright reject the Finance Ministry’s outline, which they say is detached from reality. Instead the forum, which includes the Israel Manufacturers’ Association, the Association of Contractors and Builders, and the Chamber of Independent Organizations and Businesses, urges the government to adopt the plan proposed by Economy Minister Nir Barkat.

“We do not want our soldiers to return home after the war, just to fight to make ends meet,” says Ron Tomer, president of the Israel Manufacturers’ Association. “If we don’t wake up, reservists will come home to find themselves out of business and out of work.”

The alternate compensation plan presented by Barkat this week 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%. His plan also proposes to increase the amount of grants for fixed expenses presented in the Treasury’s outline for businesses that have suffered losses.

Qatar sentences 8 Indians to death, reportedly on charges of spying for Israel

A Qatari court hands down death sentences to eight Indian employees of a Qatari company on spying charges. According to reports in Indian media, they were arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel on Qatar’s military submarine program.

The Indian government vows in response to explore “all legal options.”

According to Indian media reports, the eight men are retired Indian navy officers who worked for the consulting company Al Dahra, advising the Qatari government on the acquisition of submarines.

India’s External Affairs Ministry says in a statement it is awaiting the detailed judgment in the case.

“We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options,” it says. “We attach high importance to this case and have been following it closely. We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities.”

Leading Saudi newspaper warns Hezbollah not to drag Lebanon into new war

Hezbollah fighters shout slogans, as they attend the funeral procession of Hezbollah fighter, Bilal Nemr Rmeiti, during his funeral procession in Majadel village, south Lebanon, Oct. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Hezbollah fighters shout slogans, as they attend the funeral procession of Hezbollah fighter, Bilal Nemr Rmeiti, during his funeral procession in Majadel village, south Lebanon, Oct. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The Saudi newspaper Okaz warns Hezbollah against dragging Lebanon into “adventures” that will endanger the entire country and deplete its resources.

In an editorial, the Saudi paper accuses the Lebanese terror group of having taken control over the “political, military and economic decision-making” in Lebanon, as well as of the country’s resources, disregarding the interests of the Lebanese people.

“Hezbollah imposes by armed force its control over the sea, air and land,” the article continues, “and has caused international sanctions to be imposed on Lebanon, and hostility with Arab countries, especially in the Gulf, which has led to a halt in the flow of capital and tourists.”

Hezbollah is also blamed for the current economic crisis in Lebanon and the collapse of the local currency, which has eroded the savings of millions of citizens.

“In the July 2006 war, Hezbollah entered recklessly into a confrontation with Israel, resulting in a brutal war for which the Lebanese people bore the brunt, as well as the Arab countries that paid for the reconstruction,” the editorial says. “Today, if Hezbollah drags Lebanon into a new war with Israel, it will end up being a new disastrous adventure that Lebanon does not need at all at this critical stage in its history.”

9 Arab nations – including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco – accuse Israel of ‘collective punishment’

People watch as smoke and dust ascend following an Israeli bombardment, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS / AFP)
People watch as smoke and dust ascend following an Israeli bombardment, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS / AFP)

The foreign ministers of nine Arab countries issue a joint statement calling on the UN Security Council to implement an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Morocco blast Israel for killing civilians in Gaza, arguing that “self-defense does not justify violations of international law, and deliberate disregard for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

They also condemn the displacement of Palestinians, and accuse Israel of implementing “collective punishment” against the Palestinians.

European Central Bank ‘very attentive’ to economic risks from Israel-Hamas war

File: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks in Washington, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
File: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks in Washington, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The European Central Bank is “very attentive” to economic risks posed by the conflict between Israel and Hamas, ECB president Christine Lagarde says.

Referring to the crisis in the Middle East as well as the war in Ukraine, she says: “We are monitoring the situation, we are very attentive to the economic consequences that that could have, whether in terms of direct or indirect impact on energy prices, or the level of confidence that economic actors will continue to display.”

Report: Netanyahu delaying move to temporarily shutter Al Jazeera in Israel

Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/Kamran Jebreili, File)
Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/Kamran Jebreili, File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly delaying the push by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel.

According to the Ynet report, Netanyahu has yet to bring the move for approval in the security cabinet, a move necessary to enact the ban.

The news site suggests that the delay is linked to the ongoing role of Qatar in diplomatic efforts to free the at least 224 hostages being held in Gaza. Al Jazeera is a state-funded Qatari outlet.

But sources involved have denied that is the case, saying the issue is a legal one.

Karhi reportedly sought to enact a sweeping ban against the channel, although Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara demanded that the move be temporary in nature and require approval of the defense minister and the war cabinet as well as immediate judicial review.

Further air raid sirens ring out in Ashkelon, Zikim

Air raid sirens sound in Ashkelon, Zikim, shortly after a separate wave of rockets was fired at the area.

Air raid sirens sound in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Netivot

Air raid sirens sound in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Netivot and surrounding areas following a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza.

7 lightly hurt after IDF drone falls on balcony in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, says hospital

Illustrative: A soldier in the IDF's Combat Intelligence Corps operates a new drone purchased by the military for company commander. (Screen capture: Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: A soldier in the IDF's Combat Intelligence Corps operates a new drone purchased by the military for company commander. (Screen capture: Israel Defense Forces)

The Galilee Hospital in Nahariya says that seven people are lightly hurt after an IDF drone fell on the balcony of their home in the northern city of Ma’alot-Tarshiha, not far from the Lebanon border.

The hospital says that the patients include five adults and two children, 5 and 11, being treated for smoke inhalation and acute anxiety.

Six of the individuals were treated and sent home, while a 66-year-old man is hospitalized for further treatment, the hospital adds.

The IDF said the incident is under investigation.

Erdogan slams EU for not calling for ceasefire in Gaza

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 20, 2023. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 20, 2023. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slams the European Union for failing to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, accusing the West of indifference toward the suffering of Muslims.

“How many more children must die before the EU Commission calls for a ceasefire?” he says in a televised speech. “How many more tons of bombs must fall on Gaza before the United Nations Security Council can take action?”

Erdogan accuses the West of failing to see the violence unfolding in Gaza “because the blood being shed is Muslim blood.”

Outrage after move to extend medical residencies for those doing over 45 days reserve duty

Medical residents demonstrate for better work conditions on HaBima square in Tel Aviv, on August 30, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Medical residents demonstrate for better work conditions on HaBima square in Tel Aviv, on August 30, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Mirsham, the organization of medical residents in Israel, reacts harshly to a letter sent by the scientific council of the Israeli Medical Association informing medical residents that they would have to extend their residencies if they do more than 45 days of military reserve duty this year.

“This letter is scandalous and shows a total disconnect from reality,” Mirsham said in a statement.

Thousands of medical residents have been called up to reserve duty since the beginning of the war on October 7, many of whom had been required to do reserve duty earlier in 2023 as well.

With the length of the current call-up unknown, these residents will likely exceed the 45-day limit.

Mirsham call for a reversal of the policy.

“We are deeply disappointed at the poor timing of the publication of this letter when doctors have left their families behind at home and are risking their lives for the country,” Mirsham stated.

In its letter, the IMA recognized the difficult situation of medical residents who have been called to military duty or who have lost loved ones in the barbaric October 7 attacks by Hamas terrorists from Gaza and the ensuing fighting — or both.

However, it also mentioned the heavy strain Israel’s healthcare system is under trying to treat the huge number of injured without many residents at work in the hospitals.

In response to the complaint from Mirsham, the IMA said it would reconsider the 45-day policy, but noted its responsibility to properly balance reserve military duty with sufficient medical training.

USC Shoah Foundation to collect testimony on Hamas onslaught

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)

The USC Shoah Foundation announces a new initiative to collect testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

The foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, holds 56,000 testimonies from people in 65 countries about genocidal attacks that have taken place worldwide.

More than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, were killed and more than 224 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza in the Hamas onslaught.

IDF says it killed a top Hamas rocket man

The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck and killed the head of Hamas’s North Khan Younis rocket array, Hassan al-Abdullah.

The IDF says the airstrike was carried out following intelligence information on al-Abdullah’s whereabouts, gathered by the Shin Bet security agency and Military Intelligence Directorate.

It adds that fighter jets struck and killed several more Hamas members, and destroyed several sites belonging to the terror group in the Gaza Strip today.

The IDF publishes a video showing some of the recent airstrikes.

Officials eye legislation to strip citizenship, residency from terror supporters

Justice Minister Yariv Levin seen during a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Justice Minister Yariv Levin seen during a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel meet with legal and judicial officials to discuss the feasibility of stripping citizenship and residency from people who “deal in terror, support terror, incite terror, or identify with a terror activity,” they say in a joint statement.

“Given the current situation, it was agreed to immediately advance legislation that would view carrying out the above activities at a time of war as sufficient grounds to rescind citizenship or residency,” the statement says.

Building in Petah Tikvah damaged in rocket attack

A building in the central city of Petah Tikvah is damaged in a rocket attack on central Israel.

The Fire and Rescue Service is on the scene as a blaze erupts in the building.

They are carrying out searches in case anyone is injured or trapped.

Hamas says Gaza toll passes 7,000

Injured Palestinians are evacuated following Israeli airstrikes on town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)
Injured Palestinians are evacuated following Israeli airstrikes on town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

The Hamas terror group says the death toll in Gaza has passed 7,000 since it launched a surprise assault on Israel.

The figures issued by the terror group cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include its own terrorists and gunmen, killed in Israel and in Gaza, and the victims of a blast at a Gaza City hospital on October 17 caused by an Islamic Jihad missile misfire but that Hamas has blamed on Israel. Israel says it killed 1,500 Hamas terrorists inside Israel on and after October 7.

Rocket salvo fired at Tel Aviv area

Terrorists in Gaza fire a barrage of rockets at the Tel Aviv area.

Warning sirens are heard in Tel Aviv, Holon, Rishon Lezion and surrounding communities.

Residents report explosions, apparently from Iron Dome interceptors.

The Magen David Adom rescue service says there are no immediate reports of injuries

12 aid trucks enter Gaza

A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023. (Eyad BABA / AFP)
A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023. (Eyad BABA / AFP)

Twelve aid trucks enter Gaza today, bringing food, water and medicine, Channel 12 reports.

This brings the total number of trucks to have entered the Strip in recent days to 74.

Rockets fired at Gaza border community

Rockets are fired at the Gaza border community of Kissufim.

There are no immediate reports of direct hits or injuries

PA foreign minister says Israel waging ‘a war of revenge’ on Gaza

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki addresses the United Nations Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters on October 24, 2023 in New York City.(David Dee Delgado/Getty Images/AFP)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki addresses the United Nations Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters on October 24, 2023 in New York City.(David Dee Delgado/Getty Images/AFP)

The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister calls Israel’s offensive in Gaza a “war of revenge,” as he called for a ceasefire in the conflict.

Israel vowed to destroy the Hamas terror group and began striking Gaza after the surprise Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed some 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and terrorists took at least 224 people hostage in Gaza.

“This time the war that Israel is waging is different. This time… it’s a war of revenge,” Riyad al-Maliki says in The Hague. “First we need to end this one-sided aggression and then we need to call for a ceasefire.”

IDF detains 46 Hamas members in West Bank raids overnight

Protesters march with Palestinian flags during a rally in support with people in the Gaza Strip, in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)
Protesters march with Palestinian flags during a rally in support with people in the Gaza Strip, in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces says troops detained 46 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 some 1,000 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, including some 660 affiliated with Hamas.

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.

Erdogan tells pope that Israel committing a ‘massacre’ in Gaza, world silence a ‘shame’

Turkey's president and leader of the Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)
Turkey's president and leader of the Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discusses the Israeli-Hamas war with Pope Francis, telling the head of the Catholic Church that Israel’s strikes on Gaza have “reached the level of a massacre” and that the international community’s silence was a “shame for humanity.”

Erdogan is also quoted as telling Francis during their telephone conversation that everyone should support efforts to deliver “uninterrupted aid to innocent civilians” in Gaza. The statement from Turkey’s presidential communications directorate was posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Erdogan reiterates Turkey’s position that a permanent solution to the conflict can only be achieved through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

The Turkish leader, whose country recently rehabilitated ties with Israel, has increased the tone of his criticism of Israel’s military actions in Gaza. Yesterday, Erdogan described Hamas as a group fighting for liberation — and not a terrorist organization, as it has been designated by the West. He also said he has shelved plans to visit Israel.

There was no mention of Hamas’s vicious assault on Israel, which killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians.

Gantz denies reports of US pressure, says Israel making its own military decisions

Minister Benny Gantz speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023 (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Minister Benny Gantz speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023 (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

War cabinet member Minister Benny Gantz says that Israel will ultimately make its own decisions regarding war plans, in light of several reports saying Israel has bowed to American pressure to delay its Gaza ground invasion.

“We are making decisions only based on our own interests,” Gantz says to reporters in Tel Aviv, while also saying Israel appreciates the support it’s received from its ally the United States.

“Only we will defend ourselves and every Jew,” he adds, saying that “the danger of being eliminated” is not Israel’s “but its enemies.”

“Tough times are expected for us,” adds Gantz of the war ahead, but he says that the war cabinet is functioning well.

Regarding his National Unity party’s decision to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government two weeks ago, Gantz says: “I say to you with full confidence that this was the right step for Israel and this step has already proved itself,” in security decisions and a message of internal unity, important both for domestic and enemy audiences.

“I am a soldier. I wasn’t playing politics when I joined the emergency government. Just as I knew when to enter, I will also know when to exit,” he says, adding, “I’m here until after the war.”

“We, as leadership, are aware of the difficulties” for civilians, in light of Hamas’s assault and the war that ensued.

“We will work on a new plan for the area” in order to ensure security for the communities the state plans to resurrect in the Gaza border area.

Gantz also says the government is working to return hostages, using every avenue possible.

He reassures Israelis of the strength of the military and the rightness of Israel’s cause. “We will not be the ones at risk of being wiped out. That will be the fate of those who seek to do us ill,” he says.

IDF releases recording of Gazan saying Hamas shooting at people trying to flee south

The Israel Defense Forces releases an audio recording of an officer in the Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 504 — which specializes in HUMINT — speaking to a Gazan man, during which he describes how Hamas is preventing people from evacuating from the northern part of the Gaza Strip and even shooting at them.

The IDF says Unit 504 soldiers have been calling up Palestinians in northern Gaza in recent days, instructing them to leave the area for their safety, as the military intensifies strikes in the Gaza City area ahead of an expected major ground incursion.

In the newly released call, the IDF officer can be heard calling on the man to head toward Khan Younis in southern Gaza, but the Gazan responds by saying Hamas is blocking all the roads.

The man says that Hamas is placing roadblocks with cars, and “just sending people back home.”

The Gazan also says that Hamas members are shooting at Palestinians attempting to leave the area.

The IDF has accused Hamas of preventing Palestinians from evacuating south several times since the war began on October 7.

Lapid urges government to get over ‘shock,’ start helping war-affected citizens

Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks at the Knesset on October 26, 2023 (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks at the Knesset on October 26, 2023 (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid attacks the government for what he characterizes as inadequate delivery of services to citizens, twenty days after Israel was shocked into war with Hamas.

“It’s possible to understand the shock and paralysis of the government” immediately after Hamas’s October 7 attack, he says, but “it’s hard to understand how the government hasn’t emerged from the shock” nearly three weeks into the ensuing war.

“The government isn’t present,” he adds.

He presents eight recommendations, which he says were formed in consultation with experts and former government officials.

They are: Increasing the frequency of communication with the public; improving care of evacuated citizens, in part by moving delivery of services to local authorities, aided by the government; aiding small and medium-sized businesses and independent contractors called up to reserve duty; expanding financial protections for reservists and frontline residents; increasing educational services, especially for evacuated children; broadening mental health services; increasing personal protection, in part by putting armed community security organizations in each Israeli town; and closing unneeded government ministries and diverting coalition funds to the war effort.

The opposition leader identifies eight superfluous government ministries, saying, “They are ministries that don’t need to exist, especially not in wartime.”

“It’s impossible to continue this way,” he adds.

Lapid says his party’s economic recommendations were handed to the Finance Ministry last week, and some were integrated into the government’s economic recovery plan

UN General Assembly to meet to discuss ‘illegal Israeli actions’

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 19, 2023. (AP/Mary Altaffer)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 19, 2023. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

The United Nations General Assembly will hold an emergency session in New York today at 10 a.m. ET, 5 p.m. Israel time to discuss the Gaza conflict.

The session, called “Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” was called by Jordan and Mauritania. It is the 39th time the “tenth emergency special session” has met on the issue.

The Jordanian/Mauritanian request to reconvene the session does not mention Hamas at all, or the attacks of October 7.

It does, however, stress the “siege and military aggression by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, that has, of this date, caused wanton destruction of homes and other civilian properties and infrastructure, and inflicted catastrophic humanitarian conditions, risking further dangerous destabilization of the situation, endangering more civilian lives and threatening international peace and security.”

Police say 808 civilian victims of Hamas assault have so far been identified

Family and friends attend the funeral of three members of the Sharabi family, Lian, Noya and Yahel, who were murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7, 2023, in Moshav Kfar HaRif, southen Israel, October 25, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Family and friends attend the funeral of three members of the Sharabi family, Lian, Noya and Yahel, who were murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7, 2023, in Moshav Kfar HaRif, southen Israel, October 25, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Police say that as of today 808 civilian victims of the October 7 Hamas assault have been identified.

Police say this represents 84% of the civilians believed killed.

Authorities have said there are difficulties in identifying many of the bodies as they were badly burned or mutilated.

Police say that so far 701 victims have been buried.

In addition to the civilian victims, more than 300 members of the security forces have been killed.

Dozens of residents of Kfar Aza rally in Tel Aviv, calling for return of hostages

Dozens of residents of Kfar Aza, one of the worst-hit communities in the October 7 Hamas assault on southern Israel, are protesting in Tel Aviv.

Dozens of residents of the kibbutz were killed and others taken hostage by Hamas.

The residents hold up signs urging the government to do all it can to free the captives.

“Our hearts are captive in Gaza,” reads on sign. Others hold up pictures of their loved ones.

IDF: Families of 224 hostages notified they are being held in Gaza

Large teddy bears painted with red paint and carrying photographs of the children held hostages by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, seen on Dizengoff Square. October 25, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Large teddy bears painted with red paint and carrying photographs of the children held hostages by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, seen on Dizengoff Square. October 25, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military has so far notified the families of 224 hostages that their loved ones are being held in the Gaza Strip.

He says the number is not final as the military investigates new information.

The number does not include four released hostages — mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Ra’anan, freed on Friday night, and elderly women Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper released on Monday night.

267 people still hospitalized in Israel after Hamas assault

According to the latest update from the Health Ministry, there are still 267 people injured in the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists and the ensuing war in hospitals across the country.

Of them, 161 are in general hospital wards — 50 in serious condition, 73 in moderate condition, and 38 in mild condition.

In addition, there are 106 injured hospitalized in rehabilitation departments.

UN says nowhere in Gaza is safe

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 26, 2023 shows flares fired by the Israeli army over the northern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing war with Hamas.  (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 26, 2023 shows flares fired by the Israeli army over the northern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing war with Hamas. (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP)

The United Nations issued a warning that “nowhere is safe” in Gaza amid stepped-up Israeli air raids in preparation for a widely expected ground offensive.

“People are left with nothing but impossible choices. Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” Lynne Hastings, UN humanitarian coordinator for the territory, says in a statement.

Israel has urged people in northern Gaza to move to the south, but has also said anywhere that terrorists or their infrastructure can be found is a legitimate target.

The IDF said overnight it had hit a rocket launch site in southern Gaza that was hidden between a mosque and a kindergarten.

IDF says it hit 250 Hamas sites, including missile launcher adjacent to mosque and kindergarten

The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets struck over 250 sites belonging to the Hamas terror in the Gaza Strip over the past day.

The sites included Hamas infrastructure, command centers, tunnels, and rocket launchers, according to the IDF.

The IDF says the rocket launchers were “placed in the heart of civilian areas that fired toward Israeli territory throughout the war.”

Separately, the IDF says Navy forces struck a Hamas surface-to-air missile launch position in Khan Younis.

The IDF says the missile launch site is “located adjacent to a mosque and kindergarten, which is further proof that Hamas deliberately uses civilian sites for terror purposes.”

Hamas deputy chief: The fighting has not begun yet

In this photo released on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, by the Hezbollah Media Relations Office, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, right, meets with Ziad al-Nakhaleh, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, center, and Hamas deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, in Beirut, Lebanon. (Hezbollah Media Relations Office, via AP )
In this photo released on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, by the Hezbollah Media Relations Office, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, right, meets with Ziad al-Nakhaleh, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, center, and Hamas deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, in Beirut, Lebanon. (Hezbollah Media Relations Office, via AP )

Saleh al-Arouri, the Lebanon-based deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, says that “the battles have not begun yet.”

In a phone interview with al-Manar, the TV channel of Hezbollah, al-Arouri says that Hamas leaders are in constant communication with Hezbollah, and reveals that he met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on October 7, the day of Hamas’ onslaught on Israel, and that not all their meetings are made public.

Al-Arouri had a publicized meeting yesterday with Nasrallah and Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhaleh.

“Our battle is also Hezbollah’s battle,” he adds.

“If the enemy enters by land, it will be an unprecedented defeat [for Israel],” he continues, referring to the anticipated Israeli ground incursion into Gaza, and claims that Hamas terrorists are in good condition in spite of Israeli strikes on the Strip.

Al-Arouri further addresses the issue of the hostages held by Hamas, and says that the foreigners are “guests” but the Israeli prisoners will be exchanged for Hamas detainees in Israel.

Many of the some 220 hostages have foreign citizenship.

He also calls on the people of the West Bank to “escalate the resistance by any means.”

Red Cross says it plans to bring 8-10 trucks of medical aid into Gaza today

Palestinians unload boxes of medicine from a truck arrived at Nasser Medical Complex, as part of the aid batch that entered in to the Gaza strip from Rafah crossing Sunday, in town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)
Palestinians unload boxes of medicine from a truck arrived at Nasser Medical Complex, as part of the aid batch that entered in to the Gaza strip from Rafah crossing Sunday, in town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

An official with the International Committee of the Red Cross says it hopes to bring in more than half a dozen trucks filled with vital medical supplies into Gaza.

“This is a small amount of what is required, a drop in the ocean if you will, given the severity of the consequences of the violence in the last two and a half weeks,” says William Schomburg, head of the sub-delegation in Gaza.

“Today, we are looking at eight to ten trucks coming in. We have more that are lined up,” he says. “We are trying to establish a pipeline.”

In recent days, Israel let more than 60 trucks with aid enter from Egypt, which aid workers say is insufficient and only a tiny fraction of what was being brought in before the war. Israel is still barring deliveries of fuel — needed to power generators — saying it believes Hamas will take it.

Hamas calls for mass protests to demand opening of Rafah border

A damaged poster on a lamppost shows an image of an Israeli citizen kidnapped by terrorists from Gaza, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London, October 21, 2023. (AP Photo/David Cliff)
A damaged poster on a lamppost shows an image of an Israeli citizen kidnapped by terrorists from Gaza, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London, October 21, 2023. (AP Photo/David Cliff)

Hamas calls for mass protests in Israel, the West Bank, and the Muslim world on Friday and Sunday to demand the opening of the Rafah border crossing.

“We call on our people throughout the homeland and outside, and on all the members of the Arab and Islamic nation, and the free people of the world, to intensify the popular mobilization in the coming days, and to demonstrate actively on Friday and Sunday under the slogan ‘Open the Rafah crossing’ and ‘Stop the genocidal war on Gaza,’” a statement from the terror group reads.

Several relief convoys have come through the Egyptian-controlled crossing, but aid officials say it is not nearly enough for Gaza’s needs.

Likud minister says it’s clear ‘entire government’ responsible for Hamas assault

Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar at his office in Jerusalem, January 2, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar at his office in Jerusalem, January 2, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar says the entire government is responsible for the devastating Hamas assault, but now is not the time to investigate.

“It is clear to me that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the entire government of Israel, and those who this happened on their watch, are responsible. That’s also clear to the prime minister,” Zohar tells Army Radio.

Netanyahu has so far refused to directly take responsibility.

But he did say last night that “everyone will have to give answers,” including himself, on the failures that led to Hamas’s bloody invasion on October 7 — the closest he has come to taking responsibility for failing to anticipate the devastating attack.

Zohar, from Netanyahu’s Likud party, says, however, that now is not the time to examine the failures.

“We can’t deal now with questions of guilt because we are in a war. I don’t want to investigate now what happened in the intelligence branch, or the operational branch, or on the political level. There will be an independent state commission of inquiry,” he says.

Two settlers wounded, one seriously, in West Bank clash with Palestinians

Two Israeli settlers are injured, one seriously, following a reported confrontation with Palestinians close to the West Bank settlement of Rimonim, northeast of Jerusalem.

The Hatzalah medical emergency organization says the two Israeli youths were injured when rocks were thrown at them near Rimonim Junction.

A Hatzalah paramedic says the Israelis sustained head wounds and were taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, one in serious condition and one moderately wounded.

The circumstances of the clash were not immediately clear. Recent days have seen a wave of settler attacks against Palestinians.

Report: Evacuation of border communities to be extended until December 31

Evacuees from Kibbutz Nir Oz in the lobby of a hotel in Eilat on October 17, 2023. (Aris MESSINIS / AFP)
Evacuees from Kibbutz Nir Oz in the lobby of a hotel in Eilat on October 17, 2023. (Aris MESSINIS / AFP)

The Defense Ministry intends to extend the evacuation of the communities along the Gaza and Lebanese borders until December 31, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The report says such a move will cost the state billions of shekels and several other government ministries are opposed to such a declaration at this time, calling it premature.

Some 200,000 Israelis are displaced internally due to the ongoing war with Hamas in the south and skirmishes with Hezbollah in the north,

Troops stage ‘targeted raid’ into Gaza Strip overnight

The Israel Defense Forces says that overnight it carried out a “targeted raid” in the northern part of the Gaza Strip with infantry forces and tanks.

IDF says troops struck numerous terrorists, infrastructure and anti-tank guided missile launch positions.

The IDF says the raid is part of preparing the border area for the “next stages of the war,” referring to a full ground offensive.

Troops left the area after the raid, the IDF adds.

The raid appears to be the largest IDF incursion into Gaza so far since the start of the war.

Israel’s US envoy: We are giving an opportunity for the hostages to be released

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog hands birthday cards for an Israeli boy being held hostage in Gaza to two senior International Red Cross officials at their office in Washington on October 24, 2023. (Israeli Embassy to the United States)
Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog hands birthday cards for an Israeli boy being held hostage in Gaza to two senior International Red Cross officials at their office in Washington on October 24, 2023. (Israeli Embassy to the United States)

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog says Israel is “giving an opportunity” for Gaza terror groups to release the hostages they hold.

“Israel is giving an opportunity for the hostages to be released. We are obviously calling for the immediate unconditional release of all of them,” he tells Army Radio.

“Taking hostages is a war crime. I don’t want to comment beyond that,” he says amid speculation that Israel is holding off on a ground offensive to give mediators a chance to secure the release of the more than 220 people being held.

Libyan parliament orders diplomats to leave countries backing Israel

TRIPOLI, Libya — The Libyan parliament demands the departure of ambassadors from countries that “support” Israel as it fights Hamas in Gaza, taking specific aim at the United States, Britain, France and Italy.

In a statement published on its official website, the eastern-based parliament — backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in Libya split between two rival administration — threatens to cut energy supplies if “massacres” against Palestinians did not stop.

“We demand that the ambassadors of the states which support the Zionist entity (Israel) in its crimes leave the territory (of Libya) immediately,” the statement says.

“If the massacres committed by the Zionist enemy do not stop, we demand that the Libyan government suspend the export of oil and gas to the states that support it,” it continues.

The parliament denounced “in the strongest terms” the actions of “the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy.”

It said these nations “support the Zionist entity in its crimes” in the Gaza Strip, while their leaders “lecture on human rights and the right of peoples to self-determination.”

Maine cops say suspect in mass shooting is a firearms instructor treated at mental health facility

LEWISTON, Maine — The man identified as a person of interest in a mass killing in Maine is a firearms instructor trained by the military and was recently committed to a mental health facility, according to a state police bulletin.

The police intelligence bulletin, reviewed by The Associated Press, is being circulated to law enforcement officials after the shootings that left at least 16 people dead.

The bulletin says the man, Robert Card, had been trained as a firearms instructor at a US Army Reserve training facility in Maine. The document says Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023. It doesn’t provide specific details about his treatment or condition.

The document also says Card had reported hearing voices and had threatened to carry out a shooting at the military training base in Saco, Maine.

Card was being sought by police as a person of interest in the shootings. A telephone number listed for Card in public records is not in service.

Lewiston Police confirm in a Facebook post that Card is a person of interest in the shooting and says he should be considered armed and dangerous.

EU leaders to debate calling for ‘humanitarian pause’ in Gaza

BRUSSELS — EU leaders will later today debate calling for a “humanitarian pause” in Israel’s war with Hamas, as the bloc grapples with another conflict on its fringes alongside Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The European Union has struggled for both unity and influence in the face of the crisis that has engulfed the Middle East since Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel on October 7.

The surge in bloodshed has stretched Europe’s attention at a time of rising doubts about the West’s ability to keep supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

The 27-nation bloc has long been split between more pro-Palestinian members such as Ireland and Spain, and staunch backers of Israel including Germany and Austria.

After days of negotiations, a draft statement for the summit calls “for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including a humanitarian pause.”

That statement — which could change when leaders meet in Brussels — falls short of demands from the United Nations for a “ceasefire.”

Germany, wary of urging a more definitive halt that could tie Israel’s hands, has mooted calls for humanitarian “windows” or “pauses” in the plural.

“Letters, commas, language matter, and that’s how you find agreements,” says a senior EU official.

Gunman shoots dead at least 16 in US state of Maine, is still at large

LEWISTON, Maine — A man opens fire at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, killing at least 16 people and engulfing the state’s second-largest city in chaos. The suspect remains at large as authorities order residents and business owners to stay inside and off the streets.

Two law enforcement officials tells The Associated Press dozens of people also are wounded. The officials are not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and speak to AP on condition of anonymity.

Lewiston Police said in an earlier Facebook post that they were dealing with an active shooter incident at Schemengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles (6,4 kilometers) away. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released two photos of the suspect on its Facebook page that showed a gunman walking into an establishment with a weapon raised to his shoulder.

“Please stay off the roads to allow emergency responders access to the hospitals,” police say.

On its website, Central Maine Medical Center say staff are “reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event” and are coordinating with area hospitals to take in patients. A woman who answered the phone in the emergency department says no further information can be released and that the hospital itself is on lockdown.

Florida orders state universities to disband SJP, saying it backs Hamas

Republican US presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at Saint Anselm College, October 13, 2023, in Manchester, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Republican US presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at Saint Anselm College, October 13, 2023, in Manchester, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration is taking the extraordinary step of ordering state universities to ban a pro-Palestinian student organization from campuses, saying it illegally backs Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel earlier this month.

As Israel’s attacks on Gaza have intensified, some college students have expressed solidarity with Palestinians, resulting in swift censure from some Jewish academics and even some prospective employers. But Florida has gone further, saying Students for Justice in Palestine is supporting a terrorist organization.

State university system Chancellor Ray Rodrigues wrote to university presidents at DeSantis’ urging, directing them to disband chapters of SJP. He quotes the national group’s declaration that “Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.”

“It is a felony under Florida law to ‘knowingly provide material support … to a designated foreign terrorist organization,’” Rodrigues says in the letter.

Biden and PM discuss freeing hostages held by Hamas, letting foreigners out of Gaza

US President Joe Biden (L) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)
US President Joe Biden (L) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

The White House releases a statement on US President Joe Biden’s phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the two discussed “ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release of hostages to include American citizens we believe are held by Hamas.”

“They also reviewed ongoing discussions to ensure safe passage for foreign nationals wishing to depart Gaza as soon as possible,” the readout says. “The president discussed ongoing US support for the continuous flow of humanitarian support to the civilian population in Gaza and welcomed efforts to increase this support over the coming period.”

The statement says Biden also stressed his support for Israel’s “right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism and to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law,” while calling on Israel to focus on ensuring “a pathway for a permanent peace” following the war.

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