ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Oct. 9: Israel hits Gaza amid Hamas threat to kill hostages; US to Hezbollah: Stay out

Biden says 11 Americans killed, others held by Hamas; some 1,500 terrorist bodies said inside Israel; tensions spike on Lebanon border; potential progress on unity government

  • A woman holds a photo during the 'Jewish Community Vigil' for Israel in London, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP/Kin Cheung)
    A woman holds a photo during the 'Jewish Community Vigil' for Israel in London, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP/Kin Cheung)
  • A plume of smoke rises in the sky of Gaza City during an Israeli airstrike on October 9, 2023.(MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
    A plume of smoke rises in the sky of Gaza City during an Israeli airstrike on October 9, 2023.(MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
  • The aftermath of a rocket strike from the Gaza Strip that hit a building and cars in the southern city of Ashkelon, October 9, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
    The aftermath of a rocket strike from the Gaza Strip that hit a building and cars in the southern city of Ashkelon, October 9, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
  • Israeli forces launch artillery fire towards southern Lebanon from the border zone in northern Israel on October 9, 2023, after mortar fire and an infiltration attempt from Lebanon. (Photo by Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
    Israeli forces launch artillery fire towards southern Lebanon from the border zone in northern Israel on October 9, 2023, after mortar fire and an infiltration attempt from Lebanon. (Photo by Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
  • Smoke rises from Israeli shelling, in Aita al-Shaab village, South Lebanon, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP/Mohammed Zaatari)
    Smoke rises from Israeli shelling, in Aita al-Shaab village, South Lebanon, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP/Mohammed Zaatari)
  • A picture taken from southern Lebanon on October 9, 2023, shows an Israeli Merkava tank driving in the border town of Metula, Israel. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)
    A picture taken from southern Lebanon on October 9, 2023, shows an Israeli Merkava tank driving in the border town of Metula, Israel. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)
  • A missile explodes in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike on October 8, 2023 (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
    A missile explodes in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike on October 8, 2023 (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
  • IDF Paratroopers Brigade troops are seen in the southern city of Sderot near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    IDF Paratroopers Brigade troops are seen in the southern city of Sderot near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Soldiers take up position in the southern city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
    Soldiers take up position in the southern city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
  • Israeli Infantry reservists seen during light arms training in the northern Golan Heights before heading south to the Gaza Strip on October 8, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
    Israeli Infantry reservists seen during light arms training in the northern Golan Heights before heading south to the Gaza Strip on October 8, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
  • Israeli security and rescue forces at the scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit buildings and cars in the southern city of Ashdod, October 9, 2023. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)
    Israeli security and rescue forces at the scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit buildings and cars in the southern city of Ashdod, October 9, 2023. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)
  • Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, October 8, 2023. (AP Photo/ Fatima Shbair)
    Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, October 8, 2023. (AP Photo/ Fatima Shbair)
  • Uri David (right), who has not heard from his two daughters since soon after Hamas terrorists infiltrated into southern Israel on October 7, 2023, speaks during a press conference of families of Israelis whose relatives are missing, October 8, 2023. (Screenshot/used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
    Uri David (right), who has not heard from his two daughters since soon after Hamas terrorists infiltrated into southern Israel on October 7, 2023, speaks during a press conference of families of Israelis whose relatives are missing, October 8, 2023. (Screenshot/used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
  • Israelis pack up donations of food and other necessities for Israeli soldiers and civilians in the south, in Tel Aviv, on October 9, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
    Israelis pack up donations of food and other necessities for Israeli soldiers and civilians in the south, in Tel Aviv, on October 9, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
  • IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi holds an assessment at the IDF Southern Command in Beersheba, October 8, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi holds an assessment at the IDF Southern Command in Beersheba, October 8, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A salvo of rockets is fired from Gaza toward Israel on October 9, 2023.(IBRAHIM HAMS / AFP)
    A salvo of rockets is fired from Gaza toward Israel on October 9, 2023.(IBRAHIM HAMS / AFP)
  • UN peacekeepers patrol on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila, with the northern Israeli town of Metulla in the background, Lebanon, October 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
    UN peacekeepers patrol on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila, with the northern Israeli town of Metulla in the background, Lebanon, October 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
  • Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is seen at the Israeli Air Force's underground command center at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, October 9, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is seen at the Israeli Air Force's underground command center at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, October 9, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
  • IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to troops near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to troops near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

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

UAE said to warn Assad against joining Hamas conflict against Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks during a press conference with Iraq's Prime Minister (not seen) in Damascus on July 16, 2023 (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks during a press conference with Iraq's Prime Minister (not seen) in Damascus on July 16, 2023 (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly warned the Assad regime in Syria not to enter the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Abu Dhabi has also warned Damascus not to allow any attacks against Israel from its soil, the Axios news site reports, citing two sources briefed on the matter.

The diplomacy is part of a US-led effort to prevent Hezbollah and other parties from joining the ongoing war.

WATCH: White House spokesperson breaks down while speaking about scenes coming out of Israel

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby chokes up while discussing the scenes coming out of Israel after Hamas's surprise attack during a CNN interview on October 9, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby chokes up while discussing the scenes coming out of Israel after Hamas's surprise attack during a CNN interview on October 9, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby chokes up during a CNN interview while discussing the scenes coming out of Israel after Hamas’s surprise attack.

Israeli security forces said to kill terrorist in gunfire exchange near Gaza-area community

Israeli security forces are said to have killed a Palestinian terrorist in a gunfire exchange near the Gaza-area community of Kibbutz Sa’ad, Channel 12 reports.

The terrorist was one of six traveling in a vehicle near the kibbutz, according to the report.

It was not immediately clear if the terrorists infiltrated from Gaza or if they were in Israel already amid the unprecedented onslaught on Saturday.

Hamas official says Iran wasn’t given heads up on Israel attack

Ali Baraka of Hamas (Screenshot)
Ali Baraka of Hamas (Screenshot)

Iran was not given a heads up ahead of Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel Saturday morning, according to the Gaza terror group’s director of national relations abroad Ali Baraka.

“It was a surprise to everyone, including Iran,” Baraka tells NBC News in an interview.

“We did not inform them that there was an operation that would happen at dawn on Oct. 7, he adds. “After the operation began, we informed Iran.”

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Iran helped plan the attack but officials from various countries involved have since refuted the claim.

Sirens sound in southern Israel; security forces said to rush to area near Kibbutz Sa’ad

Sirens warning of incoming rockets sound in southern Israel. They are heard in Kfar Aza, Nahal Oz, Kibbutz Alumim, and Kibbutz Sa’ad.

Security forces also rushed to an area near Sa’ad, amid concerns over an infiltration of terrorists from Gaza, Channel 12 reports.

Hamas committing ‘ISIS level savagery’ against Israeli civilians — Pentagon

Israeli security forces  at the scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a shelter in the southern city of Sderot, October 9, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a shelter in the southern city of Sderot, October 9, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Hamas is carrying out “ISIS level savagery” against Israeli civilians, a senior US Defense Department official tells reporters during a briefing.

“I want to differentiate this from other times we have seen conflicts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. This is ISIS level savagery that we have seen committed against Israeli civilians – houses burned to the ground, young people massacred at music festivals.,” the official says, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We are working as fast as possible to provide critically needed munitions of various types and other equipment. We’re also contacting US industry to gain expedited shipment of pending Israeli orders for military equipment that otherwise may have been considered routine for movement,” the official says.

“We’re also working across the DOD enterprise, including with US Central Command, to assess what munitions and other equipment are in US inventory that can be made quickly available for Israel. All of this are actions we’re undertaking within our existing authority and appropriations,” the senior defense official adds.

US not planning to put ‘boots on ground’ in Israel’s war against Hamas — White House

Illustrative: IDF and American troops unload a US Air Force cargo plane at an Israeli military base during the Juniper Falcon joint military exercise, February 2019. (US Army photo)
Illustrative: IDF and American troops unload a US Air Force cargo plane at an Israeli military base during the Juniper Falcon joint military exercise, February 2019. (US Army photo)

“There is no intention to put US boots on the ground,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby tells reporters after being asked during a briefing about a scenario in which the US could join Israel’s war against Hamas.

“If we need — and it’s an IF — but if we need to go back to Capitol Hill for additional funding support for Israel, we will absolutely do that,” Kirby says.

The spokesperson says the White House cannot confirm definitively that Hamas is holding Americans hostage after US President Joe Biden said earlier this evening that Americans are “likely” among the hostages.

“We have to accept [this] grim possibility… so we’re going to keep at this,” Kirby says.

White House: US was ‘months away’ from securing Israel-Saudi deal before Hamas struck

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

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby tells reporters in a briefing that the US was “months away” from successfully brokering a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia before Hamas’s surprise attack against Israel on Saturday morning.

While the remark indicates that the attack may have derailed that effort, Kirby says the US still has “every intention to continue a process where [normalization] could occur.”

White House to light up in Blue and White tonight in solidarity with Israel

Workers prepare the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, the day before Pope Francis arrives. Washington is bracing for the crowds hoping to get a glimpse of the Pontiff. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Workers prepare the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, the day before Pope Francis arrives. Washington is bracing for the crowds hoping to get a glimpse of the Pontiff. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

This evening, the White House will be illuminated in the blue and white colors of the Israeli flag as a symbol of the United States’ 75-year relationship, the White House says in a statement.

“This symbolizes the ironclad support and solidarity of the American people with the people of Israel in the wake of the barbaric terrorist attacks committed by Hamas,” the statement adds.

Biden to deliver second address on Hamas attacks tomorrow

US President Joe Biden speaks about the terror attack against Israel, October 7, 2023. (Screenshot/Used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the terror attack against Israel, October 7, 2023. (Screenshot/Used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

US President Joe Biden will address the nation tomorrow on the Hamas terror attacks against Israel, the White House says.

It will be his second such speech since the surprise attack was launched on Saturday.

Senior IDF commander killed in earlier confrontation with terrorists from Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces has cleared for publication that the deputy commander of the 300th Brigade, tasked with defending Israel’s border with Lebanon, was killed earlier today during a confrontation with infiltrators from Lebanon .

Lt. Col. Elim Abdullah, 40, was a resident of the Druze city of Yanuh-Jat in northern Israel, near Acre.

The IDF says it “shares in the family’s grief and will continue to accompany it.”

Abdullah was critically injured in the incident in the late afternoon. Another five were injured in the northern clashes.

Israeli troops killed two gunmen who infiltrated into Israeli territory from Lebanon in the afternoon. Mortars were also fired at northern Israel.

The Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group claimed responsibility for the armed infiltration on its Telegram channel, saying this was part of the ongoing war between Israel and terror groups in Gaza.

The clashes between the gunmen and Israeli troops occurred near the northern Bedouin Israeli town of Arab al-Aramshe and the Lebanese village of Dhayra.

The IDF said it spotted several armed men infiltrating into the country, and in a later statement said that two of them had been killed, while a third fled back into Lebanon.

Western leaders issue joint statement stating ‘steadfast and united’ support for Israel

From left, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japan's Prime Minster Fumio Kishida, US President Joe Biden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at an event to announce a Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraineduring the NATO Summit, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (Paul Ellis/Pool Photo via AP)
From left, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japan's Prime Minster Fumio Kishida, US President Joe Biden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at an event to announce a Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraineduring the NATO Summit, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (Paul Ellis/Pool Photo via AP)

The leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy issue a joint statement expressing their “steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.”

“Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities. We further emphasize that this is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage,” US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni say in the joint statement.

“All of us recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed,” the leaders assert.

“Over the coming days, we will remain united and coordinated, together as allies, and as common friends of Israel, to ensure Israel is able to defend itself, and to ultimately set the conditions for a peaceful and integrated Middle East region,” they say. “We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned.”

White House: Iran complicit in Hamas attacks, but no intel showing direct involvement in planning

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, September 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, September 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby says Iran is complicit in Hamas terror attacks against Israel.

“Iran has long supported Hamas and other terrorist networks throughout the region with resources capabilities training,” Kirby tells MSNBC, as cited by Reuters.

“And so in that regard, clearly, Iran is complicit here, but in terms of specific evidence on this, these sorts of attacks, no, we don’t have anything,” he says.

“Absolutely, there’s a degree of complicity here writ large,” he says, while clarifying that there’s still no intelligence proving Tehran was directly involved in planning the attack.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that “Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday,” citing senior members of Hamas and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

A US official said Sunday it was too soon to say if Iran was “directly” involved in the Hamas attack, adding however that there was little doubt that Hamas was “financed, equipped and armed” by countries including Iran.

Iran, which does not recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, was one of the first countries to hail the Hamas assault. Tehran actively backs terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

On Monday, the IDF also said there was no evidence yet of Iran’s role.

“Iran is a major player but we can’t yet say if it was involved in the planning or training,” said IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

Over 2,700 injured in fighting, 605 currently hospitalized — ministry

The Health Ministry says 2,741 Israelis have been treated in hospitals since Saturday’s attack by Hamas.

There are currently 605 people hospitalized, including four people in critical condition, 155 with serious injuries, 187 in moderate condition, and another 259 lightly wounded.

 

Obama: Americans ‘stand squarely alongside our ally, Israel, as it dismantles Hamas’

Former US president Barack Obama weighs in on Hamas’s attack on Israel for the first time, tweeting that “All Americans should be horrified and outraged by the brazen terrorist attacks on Israel and the slaughter of innocent civilians.”

“We grieve for those who died, pray for the safe return of those who’ve been held hostage, and stand squarely alongside our ally, Israel, as it dismantles Hamas,” he writes.

“As we support Israel’s right to defend itself against terror, we must keep striving for a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” he adds.

Gantz faction says unity government may be clinched Tuesday

A source in Benny Gantz’s National Unity says progress has been made in the discussions to bring the party into the government, given the war with Hamas, and that a deal is now likely.

“The ball is now in [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s court, [but] we hope that tomorrow we’ll be able to bless the finished product,” says the source.

A report by the Kan public broadcaster which first published news of an imminent agreement says that sources involved in the discussions between Netanyahu and Gantz said late Monday night that “the conditions for an emergency government are now ripe” and that a final decision will be made after a meeting of coalition leaders tomorrow.

National Unity has said it wants a small war cabinet to be set up with representation from its party and “real influence” for its cabinet members over the management of the war in order to join the government.

Biden: 11 Americans killed, more held by Hamas

Israel supporters gather near the Israeli Consulate in New York, October 9, 2023, in the wake of an attack on Israel by Hamas. (AP/Craig Ruttle)
Israel supporters gather near the Israeli Consulate in New York, October 9, 2023, in the wake of an attack on Israel by Hamas. (AP/Craig Ruttle)

US President Joe Biden says at least 11 Americans were killed in the surprise Hamas attack on Israel and other US citizens are likely among those being held hostage in Gaza.

“We now know that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed — many of whom made a second home in Israel,” he says.

Biden says US officials are working with Israel on “hostage recovery efforts.”

“American citizens still remain unaccounted for, and we are working with Israeli officials to obtain more information as to their whereabouts,” Biden says in a statement.

“It’s heart-wrenching. These families have been torn apart by inexcusable hatred and violence,” he adds.

The president says that the State Department is providing consular services to US citizens still in Israel and says commercial flights are available, albeit limited.

“The safety of American citizens — whether at home or abroad — is my top priority as president,” Biden says.

“This is not some distant tragedy,” Biden stresses. “The ties between Israel and the United States run deep. It is personal for so many American families who are feeling the pain of this attack, as well as the scars inflicted through millennia of antisemitism and persecution of Jewish people.”

The president notes that police have stepped up security in cities across the US and authorities are closely monitoring domestic threats in connection to the terror attacks in Israel.

“In this moment of heartbreak, the American people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis. We remember the pain of being attacked by terrorists at home, and Americans across the country stand united against these evil acts that have once more claimed innocent American lives,” Biden says.

The US and Israel are “inseparable partners, and I affirmed to Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu again when we spoke yesterday that the US will continue to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself and its people,” the president adds.

Bodies of around 1,500 dead terrorists in Israel — report

There are some 1,500 bodies of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli territory, Channel 13 news reports, without citing a source.

The Israel Defense Forces has estimated it has killed hundreds of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunmen who infiltrated Israel since Saturday morning.

On the Gaza side, at least 687 people have been killed after Israel launched air strikes on the Palestinian enclave in response.

US warns Hezbollah to stay out of Gaza war

Lebanese terror group Hezbollah should not make the “wrong decision” of opening a second front against Israel as it battles attacks by Hamas, a senior US defense official warns.

“We are deeply concerned about Hezbollah making the wrong decision and choosing to open a second front to this conflict,” the official tells journalists.

Five members of the terror group were killed in strikes by Israel after cross-border fire and an infiltration attempt on the Lebanon border.

IDF bombs tunnel used in Saturday attack, other terror sites in strikes across Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it struck dozens of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad sites across the Gaza Strip in the last few hours.

The sites include tunnel entrances, a mosque that housed a war room, weapons storage sites, and an assembly area.

The IDF says one of the tunnels was used by Hamas in its initial attack against Israel on Saturday morning.

The Islamic Jihad assembly area building had many terrorists in it at the time of the strike, the IDF says, adding that it targeted two terrorists who fled the scene after the initial strike.

The military publishes footage of the strikes, as well as of recent Navy strikes against Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip.

Israel sees rare break in rocket fire, Hamas said to be open to halt

The last two hours have seen rocket fire on Israel from Gaza completely halt, a rare reprieve after almost three days of near-constant rocket fire.

Israeli strikes on Gaza are continuing, according to reports.

The lull comes after a Hamas official reportedly said that the group was open to talks about a ceasefire, having “achieved its objectives.”

France reports rash of antisemitic incidents

Demonstrators wave an Israeli national flag during a rally in support of Israel in Marseille, southern France on October 9, 2023. (CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP)
Demonstrators wave an Israeli national flag during a rally in support of Israel in Marseille, southern France on October 9, 2023. (CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP)

French police have arrested 10 people in connection with antisemitic acts that were reported since the latest fighting between Israel and Hamas militants began.

The 20 reported incidents included threats to synagogues or people frequenting Jewish stores, the interior minister said Monday.

Prosecutors have also opened 44 investigations into antisemitic hate speech online or posts glorifying terrorism in connection with the violence, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin’s office.

While France sees sporadic acts targeting Jews or Muslims, Darmanin said the number of antisemitic incidents since Saturday was ″dramatic.″

France has the world’s largest Jewish population after Israel and the US.

The Eiffel Tower is currently lit up in blue and white in solidarity with Israel, one of a number of displays in European capitals, which have been accompanied by intense pro- and anti-Israel demonstrations.

Qatar-led talks to free Israeli hostages in Gaza making ‘some headway’ — source

An informed source tells AFP that Qatar is spearheading efforts to negotiate an exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hamas, following the Palestinian group’s shock attack over the Gaza border, during which it abducted more than 100 Israelis, bringing them to Gaza.

Discussions about the release of Israelis kidnapped during the terror group’s incursion into southern Israel on Saturday have made “some headway,” says the source who was briefed on the negotiations. They do not provide additional details.

Report: Netanyahu told Biden Gaza ground op inevitable

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Joe Biden that Israel has no choice but to launch a ground operation against Hamas in Gaza, the Axios news site reports.

“We have to go in. We can’t negotiate now,” Netanyahu is quoted saying. “We need to restore deterrence.”

Netanyahu and others have promised to strike hard at Hamas in Gaza, but have not said a ground incursion is being planned.

According to the report, which cites three US and Israeli sources, Biden did not try to change Netanyahu’s mind.

The premier also reportedly said that Israel was concerned about a second front opening up with Hezbollah.

Police confirm terror suspect killed at Negev junction

Police confirm officers killed a Palestinian terrorist at the Mishmar Hanegev junction, some 25 kilometers (around 15 miles) from the Gaza Strip, earlier this evening.

A police spokesman says Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is at the scene being briefed on the incident.

Home Front Command advice sparks run on supermarkets

Israelis are taking Home Front command advice to stock up on water, food, and other supplies for at least three days seriously, with reports of supermarkets crowded with shoppers and shelves emptied of water bottles.

The manager of a Tel Aviv grocery tells Channel 13 that sales are up 200% since the announcement of the advice, though they sold out of water long ago, as Israelis read the writing on the wall.

The panic-buying spree comes despite attempts by the IDF to assure Israelis that the advice is standard and simply a reminder, not a prediction of what a looming war will bring.

Stop harassing Israelis, Erdogan tells Palestinians

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Palestinians to “stop their harassment” of Israelis and for both sides to respect the rules of war, as fighting raged in Gaza.

“We ask Israel to stop its bombardment of Palestinian territory and Palestinians to stop their harassment of Israeli civilian settlements,” Erdogan says in televised remarks, adding that “war also has its manners and morals.”

IDF renews shelling in Lebanon after mortar fire

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out artillery strikes in Lebanon following mortar fire on northern Israel earlier.

The mortar attack caused no injuries.

The incident comes after Israeli troops clashed with gunmen who infiltrated into Israel from Lebanon, and in response hit a number of Hezbollah positions on the border, killing three members.

PM: There was no advance warning from Egypt; don’t fall for fake news

Wrapping up his statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies that there was any advance warning of Hamas’s massive attack from Egyptian intelligence, as reported earlier. He urges Israelis to be wary of fake news and not to “fall into these propaganda traps.”

“I know we all want results here and now. It will take time,” he says, but when the war is over, “all of Israel’s enemies will know that it was a terrible mistake to attack Israel.” What Israel will have done to them, he says, will resonate with them “for generations.”

He also notes the appointment of Gal Hirsch as the point person for families of the missing and of the hostages held in Gaza.

“We have lost entire families, sons and daughters, youngsters and elderly people, soldiers, police officers and security officers, Jews and non-Jews,” he says.

“We all share the same destiny… Together, we’ll prevail and together we will win. Only together.”

“Difficult days are still ahead of us,” he concludes. “But we are determined to win this war, to bring life, blessing and light to our people and our state.”

Netanyahu says Israel’s divisions are over, urges opposition to join unity government ‘without preconditions’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on the opposition to join a national unity government with “no preconditions,” as was done on the eve of the 1967 Six Day War.

He says he ordered five actions at the start of the war:

First, defeating those terrorists still in Israel and preventing others from entering — an operation that is ongoing.

Second, moving to a massive, unprecedented offensive operation against Hamas, that is now underway.

Third, keeping other fronts quiet — in the north, facing Hezbollah, in Judea and Samaria, and inside Israel. He praises the security forces for their indefatigable work in all these areas.

Fourth, continuing to recruit international support for the operation “and preserve Israel’s freedom of action.”

And finally, and most importantly, solidifying Israel’s national unity. “The divisions amongst us are ended. We are all united. And when we are united, we win,” he declares.

Now “the leadership must unify,” he says, and call on the leaders of the opposition to immediately establish “an emergency national unity government with no pre-conditions,” as happened under Menachem Begin in the Six Day War.

He says Israel has only just begun to hit Hamas and that the pictures of destruction in Gaza “are only the start. We have wiped out hundreds of terrorists and we won’t stop there.”

Wherever Hamas operates, “we will turn into a city of ruins.”

He says he is in “constant contact with President Biden” and thanks the US for its support for Israel’s security “in word and deed.”

The US aircraft carrier on its way to the area sends a message that “our common enemies well understand.”

He also thanks many other world leaders for unprecedented support.

Three Hezbollah members killed in Israeli strike

Three members of the Iran-backed group Hezbollah were killed in Israeli strikes on Lebanon Monday, the terror group says.

Hezbollah issues three separate statements confirming the death of its members, all of them “martyred as a result of the Zionist aggression on south Lebanon Monday afternoon.”

Netanyahu: We are in a war to ensure our existence; Hamas atrocities are like those of ISIS

Addressing the nation in a televised speech, his first public appearance since Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is in a war to ensure its existence, and that the atrocities that Hamas has carried out have not been seen since the days of ISIS (Islamic State).

“We are on the third day of the operation,” he begins. “We are in an operation for our home, a war to ensure our existence, a war that we will win,” he says.

“This war was imposed upon us by a despicable enemy — by savages who celebrate the murder of women, children, and the elderly.”

“The atrocities carried out by Hamas have not been seen since the atrocities of ISIS. Children bound and executed with the rest of their families, young girls and boys shot in the back, executed, and other atrocities that I will not describe here.”

“We have always known what Hamas is. Now the whole world knows. Hamas is ISIS.”

“And we will defeat [Hamas] precisely as the enlightened world defeated ISIS.”

Gaza raises death toll to 687

Lightning strikes as smoke billows following Israeli bombardment of Gaza City on October 9, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Lightning strikes as smoke billows following Israeli bombardment of Gaza City on October 9, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The health ministry run by terror-group Hamas says 687 Palestinians have been killed and another 3,800 have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the start of fighting on Saturday.

The Israel Defense Forces has said it has killed hundreds more Palestinian terrorists in Israeli territory.

Biden meets US senior officials on Gaza developments

US President Biden met this morning with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, Homeland Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall, and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients this morning for updates on the situation in Gaza, the administration says.

Biden “directed his team to follow up on coordination with Israel on all aspects of the crisis and to continue their work with regional partners to warn anyone who might seek to take advantage in this situation,” the White House says, in a likely reference to efforts to keep Hezbollah out of the fight.

“This afternoon, President Biden will be speaking with several of our close allies about the latest developments in Israel and we will have more to share soon.”

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz earlier said he would speak with Biden and leaders from the UK and France on the issue Monday.

Fourth slain firefighter named

Sgt. Maj. Roi Moshe, killed near the Gaza border on October 7, 2023.
Sgt. Maj. Roi Moshe, killed near the Gaza border on October 7, 2023.

The Israel Fire and Rescue Services say Sgt. Maj. Roi Moshe, a deputy squad commander at the Beersheba station, was killed during the Hamas attack on the Gaza border.

Moshe, 36, a father of two from Ashkelon, was drafted into the fire service in 2018.

He is the fourth firefighter killed in the attacks. He has been posthumously promoted to the rank of 1st Sgt Maj.

Czech PM pushes to move embassy to Jerusalem

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala says it is the right time to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

“I am convinced that this would be a desirable step at the present time,” he tweets. “I intend to discuss the specific course of action in this situation with my coalition partners.”

Fiala was supposed to host Netanyahu today in Prague, but the Hamas attacks forced a postponement of the planned government-to-government meetings.

Government, union announce efforts to aid teachers, students during war

In light of the security situation, the Education Ministry has established a new aid office, to be headed by former Education Ministry director general Dalit Stauber, the ministry says in a message to workers.

In this new capacity, Stauber will oversee an effort to provide assistance to staff, students and parents who have been affected by the war with Hamas, including psychological services.

A parallel program for teachers is to be provided, managed jointly by the ministry and the Histadrut teachers union.

Schools have been closed since the weekend and will remain shut until Wednesday at least.

The notice provides a hotline: *6552 extension 5, and email: sherut@education.gov.il.

Bennett: This is 100x worse than Yom Kippur War. We’re facing equivalent of Nazis

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett speaks to Channel 12 news from southern Israel, October 9, 2023. (Screenshot used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law.)
Former prime minister Naftali Bennett speaks to Channel 12 news from southern Israel, October 9, 2023. (Screenshot used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law.)

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett calls the current conflict “the harshest event since the War of Independence.”

Speaking to Channel 12 news from southern Israel, Bennett elaborates: “This is not the Yom Kippur War — it is Yom Kippur multiplied by 100, because here we are talking about murder, the systematic slaughter of babies, girls, boys, things that are hard to bear.”

“We set up a Jewish state in this land in order to defend ourselves, and now the time has come to fight back,” he says.

“We have to lift up our heads… we are heroic people,” Bennett adds, citing acts of heroism by residents of Kfar Aza, Nahal Oz, Netiv Ha’Asara and other communities where “heroes confronted the terrorists,” killed some of them, and in some cases were killed. “We are a people of lions,” he says.

Ultimately, says Bennett, this is a war against Iran, “the octopus” which is “conducting” Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah.

He says he does not want to give advice to Prime Minister Netanyahu, but, asked about a ground incursion, says there must be a specific purpose for every soldier sent into action.

He says he had to raise $4 million overseas to finance hotels for Sderot residents, and notes that there are families who have nothing and urgently need government help. “There are children with trauma… Families who were trapped in a safe room for 16 hours” with terrorists outside, and where the father was holding the door closed with a terrorist on the other side.

“When we are facing the Iranian enemy — Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Iran — we are facing a Nazi conception,” Bennett says. “I’ve not said this in the past. I never conceived that they would come and slaughter, cut the throats of children. These are animals. Not a state enemy. We have to deal with this as though they are Nazis. What we would do to Nazis, to do to them.”

“This is the worst period in the history of the state,” he repeats, but the government must utilize the incredible resilience and energy of the people. “We have a wonderful people and we will prevail.”

Rockets fired from Lebanon at north; no injuries

The Israel Defense Forces says a number of rockets were fired from Lebanon at Israel.

The military says there are no injuries in the latest attack on the northern frontier, following an exchange of fire with gunmen earlier today.

No sirens sounded in towns on the border.

The IDF says it will provide more information on the rocket attack soon.

Defenders of Kibbutz Nir Am say they killed 2 terrorists Saturday, preventing takeover

A drone flown by an Israeli man carries his national flag near the border fence with the Gaza Strip on May 29, 2018, next to Kibbutz Nir Am. (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA/ File)
A drone flown by an Israeli man carries his national flag near the border fence with the Gaza Strip on May 29, 2018, next to Kibbutz Nir Am. (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA/ File)

A failed attempt by terrorists on Saturday to enter Nir Am, a kibbutz situated some 500 yards (457 meters) away from the border with Gaza, ended with the death of two perpetrators, a local defender says.

“The terrorists appear to have tried to penetrate a large chicken farm next to Nir Am, possibly mistaking its fence for the kibbutz’s fence,” says Ami Rabin, 70, the previous security coordinator of Nir Am, who is also the uncle of his successor, Amit Rabin.

The kibbutz’s guard detail, whose members took up forward positions upon hearing gunshots, shot two of the terrorists as they entered the factory, Rabin tells The Times of Israel. Blood trails around the scene indicated a third sustained a serious injury, he adds.

“We were alert, prepared and effective, but we were also very fortunate that the thrust of the attempt to penetrate the kibbutz was poorly executed,” says Ami Rabin. None of the kibbutz’s residents was injured.

Nir Am is among the few communities that Hamas terrorists attempted to enter but were repelled. In Ein Habsor, a moshav that is also near the Gaza Strip, a handful of local defenders staved off a larger number of better armed terrorists, one resident of the moshav, Noam Gotliv, says.

“What happened to us was part alertness, part miracle,” Gotliv says, regarding the events at Ein Habsor.

Hezbollah says 2 members killed in Israeli shelling

The Hezbollah terror group says two members were killed in Israeli strikes on its positions in southern Lebanon earlier today.

The Israel Defense Forces said it hit three Hezbollah sites on the border, after three gunmen infiltrated Israel and clashed with troops.

The terror group says Housam Mohammad Ibrahim and Ali Raif Fatuni were killed in the IDF strikes.

EU backpedals on announced aid cut to Palestinians

A senior European source tells The Times of Israel that the decision announced earlier today by European Union Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi to immediately sever all EU aid to the Palestinians will not be implemented, due to opposition from member states.

Varhelyi is a diplomat from Hungary, which takes a much more hawkish approach toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than many of the 27 other members of the EU.

The senior European source speculates that Varhelyi’s decision will be walked back tomorrow when the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borell meets with European foreign ministers.

IDF strikes Gaza City’s ritzy Rimal neighborhood

The Israel Defense Forces says it launched massive airstrikes against the upscale Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, targeting dozens of sites.

The IDF says Rimal is a “nest of terror” used by Hamas to launch attacks against Israel.

Dozens of fighter jets participated in the strikes, the IDF adds.

At least 100 killed on Kibbutz Be’eri alone — emergency group

About 100 bodies have been removed from Kibbutz Be’eri, Hebrew media report, citing the ZAKA search and rescue group

Channel 12 reports that the bodies were removed in refrigerated trucks.

The number of victims killed in the devastated kibbutz, home to some 1,000 residents, is thought to be even higher, according to the reports.

A resident earlier told Kan that the community had been completely destroyed in the Hamas assault.

IDF tells people to stock up on food, water; notes instructions are standard advice

The IDF’s Home Front command releases instructions telling Israelis to make sure they are stocked up on food and water for at least 72 hours, with war on the horizon.

“The campaign may be long and it is important that each family ensure it has water, food, medicine, and necessary equipment for emergency situations,” it says in a statement.

It recommends that people review where their nearest bomb shelter is and ensure they have a clear path to it.

Israelis inside a public bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon, amid rocket barrages from Gaza and after and assault by Hamas terrorists, October 8, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The command advises safe rooms be stocked with three liters of water per person per day, stocks of non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, phones and battery-powered radios along with mobile charger banks, first aid, medicine, and important documents such as ID cards and cash.

The army is quick to point out that the instructions are not new and are always in place.

Erdogan warns Herzog against collective punishment for Gaza

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with President Isaac Herzog, Erdogan’s office announces.

Erdogan warns that steps that harm Gazans indiscriminately “will further increase the sufferings and the spiral of violence in the region.”

He also pushes for “the immediate restoration of peace in the region.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant earlier ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, saying authorities would cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel.

Erdogan also spoke with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Prime Minister Najib Mikati of Lebanon, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, his office says.

UN chief slams Hamas, warns Israel over retaliatory actions

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lambasts Hamas’ attacks on Israel, calling on the terror group to release all hostages while also expressing distress over Israel’s response to the surprise assault that began on Saturday morning.

“Let me begin by repeating my utter condemnation of the abhorrent attacks by Hamas and others against Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza periphery, which have left over 800 Israelis dead and more than 2,500 injured,” Guterres says in a statement to the press after huddling with senior UN officials to discuss the ongoing violence from Gaza. “I recognize the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people. But nothing can justify these acts of terror and the killing, maiming and abduction of civilians.”

“I reiterate my call to immediately cease these attacks and release all hostages,” he adds.

Guterres says he is “deeply alarmed” by the death count on the Palestinian side as well, which has included many women and children.

“While I recognize Israel’s legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law,” he says, blasting Israel for targeting civilian infrastructure.

“I am deeply distressed by today’s announcement that Israel will initiate a complete siege of the Gaza Strip, nothing allowed in – no electricity, food, or fuel,” Guterres says. “The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities; now, it will only deteriorate exponentially,” he adds, calling on Israel to allow humanitarian supplies and personnel into the Strip.

Guterres says he and other top UN officials are engaging with leaders in the region to prevent a further spillover of violence.

“Even in these worst of times – and perhaps especially in the most trying moments – it is vital to look to the long-term horizon and avoid irreversible action that would embolden extremists and doom any prospects for lasting peace,” he says.

“This most recent violence does not come in a vacuum. The reality is that it grows out of a long-standing conflict, with a 56-year long occupation and no political end in sight.”

“Israel must see its legitimate needs for security materialized – and Palestinians must see a clear perspective for the establishment of their own state realized,” Guterres continues, calling for a two-state solution.

Police exchange fire with terrorists in central Negev — reports

Israeli forces are clashing with Palestinian terrorists near the southern town of Mishmar HaNegev and the city of Rahat, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the Gaza border, Hebrew-language media report.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, police forces battled the terrorists near a gas station, killing one, but another fled the scene.

.Forces are now searching the area for the second gunman, the report says.

IDF issues new restrictions on northern towns

The military’s Home Front Command issues restrictions for residents of towns in northern Israel, as tensions rise, following an exchange of fire on the Lebanon border earlier.

Businesses in towns along the Lebanon border and in the Golan Heights can only be opened if they have ready access to bomb shelters, the military says.

Gatherings are also restricted to 30 people outdoors and 300 people indoors in those areas, the IDF Home Front Command says.

Public beaches are closed as well, it says.

Schools across the entire country are already closed, due to restrictions the Home Front Command issued following Hamas’s attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The restrictions are valid until Tuesday at 6 p.m., but will likely be extended further due to ongoing fighting.

Hamas threatens to begin executing hostages in response to strikes

The Hamas terror group is threatening to begin executing hostages in response to Israeli strikes in Gaza carried out without warnings, the spokesperson for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades says, according to Gaza’s Shehab news outlet.

“From this hour, any targeting of our people in the safety of their homes, without warning, will be met with the execution of civilian hostages, which will be broadcast with video and audio,” says the spokesperson, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Obeida.

A defense official reportedly told Knesset members in a briefing earlier in the day that Israel was not dropping dummy bombs on roofs of buildings set to be targeted, meant to warn civilians to flee.

IDF spokesman: Gaza terrorists no longer breaching border, we have info on all hostages

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says Israel is completing clearing southern Israel of terrorists and has information on all Israelis taken hostage in Gaza.

In a press conference, Hagari says that troops are still going from house to house in towns close to the Gaza border, searching for terrorists.

“There are no terrorists crossing the fence from Gaza into Israel,” he says, noting that those who try are being struck by the Air Force.

“Since this morning, there have been a few encounters with terrorists. There have been none at all in the last few hours,” Hagari says.

Hagari says the army has “the full details” on all of those taken captive by the Hamas terror group.

“As of now, we have notified 30 families. When we complete notifying the families, the number of hostages in Gaza will be made available to the public,” he says.

The rate of Israeli Air Force attacks on the Gaza Strip is five times that carried out against Hezbollah in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hagari says.

Some 60 fighter jets are carrying out waves of airstrikes against Hamas targets at this hour.

He says that the military has completed the evacuation of the towns adjacent to the border, and that there are a few families who have chosen to stay.

Regarding the armed infiltration from Lebanon, Hagari says the identities of the gunmen are still under investigation. He confirms that three terrorists who breached the border were killed, while one managed to escape back into Lebanon.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Over 900 reported killed in Israel since start of Hamas attacks

The death toll from the Hamas onslaught is now over 900, Hebrew media report.

There has been no official confirmation of the death toll.

IDF chief: It started badly for us, it will end badly for them

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to troops near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to troops near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The chief of the Israel Defense Forces tells troops near the border with the Gaza Strip that the army is finding its footing after being challenged by Hamas’s surprise attack, even as mop-up operations against terrorists inside Israel are continuing.

“After a rough start, we are shaping the line of engagement. We hit a lot of terrorists — whoever gets close, they are killed,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said during the meeting earlier Monday, the military says.

“We will finish purging the area, so that we do not have terrorists here, and, at the same time, we are already on the offensive,” he says.

“We have many more tasks. We need to be strong. It started badly, and will end very badly on the other side,” he adds.

Senior Israeli source: Gaza will not be Hamastan; ‘roof knocking’ policy no longer norm

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s defined goal for the war at this stage is to deprive Hamas of the ability and the motivation to harm Israel, a senior Israeli government source tells reporters.

The source notes that “this is a very broad definition, and our interpretation of it is not limited. We don’t want to define it any further, but [Gaza] will not be Hamastan.”

Regarding the IDF’s attack policy in Gaza, the source clarifies that the “roof knocking” policy, whereby the IDF has previously used text messages, phone calls, or an initial strike on the roof to warn residents of a building that it is about to be struck, is not the system currently applying. In certain circumstances, it will be used, the source says, but today Israel is already evacuating masses of the [Gaza] populace from central terrorist areas and attacking there.

IDF releases names of 12 slain troops

The Israel Defense Forces names another 12 soldiers killed in southern Israel during fighting with the Hamas terror group over the past two days.

The names bring the toll of slain Israeli soldiers to 85.

They are:

Maj. Roi Chapel, 25, a Nahal commander, from Zichron Yaakov.

Cpt. (Res.) Meir David Haim, 31, a Sayeret Matkal soldier, from Jerusalem.

Lt. Alina Pravosudova, 23, a Home Front Command officer, from Haifa.

Lt. Eden Nimri, 22, a commander in the Artillery Corps’ drone unit.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Tomer Dolev. 34, a Home Front Command soldier, from Ashkelon.

Staff Sgt. Alexander Masli, 21, a Combat Engineering technician, from Afula.

Staff Sgt. Tal Levi, 21, a Nahal soldier, from Jerusalem.

Sgt. Rotem Dushi, 20, a Paratrooper, from Shimshit.

Cpl. Idan Raz, 20, a Golani soldier, from Ein HaMifratz.

Cpl. Lior Azizov, 20, a Golani soldier, from Kfar Silver.

Cpl. Roi Peri, 19, a Golani soldier, from Shoham.

Sgt. Or Malka, 21, a COGAT soldier, from Acre.

Israel to strike Hamas in Gaza even at cost of harming Israeli hostages – senior source

Israel has decided that its attacks on terrorist targets in Gaza will be carried out with great force and breadth, even at the cost of harming Israelis who are being held captive in Gaza, a senior government source tells reporters.

The source clarifies that if Israel has precise intelligence information on the location of Israeli captives, it will of course refrain from attacking in that specific location. But so long as no such information exists, all Hamas targets will be attacked.

US, UK, French and German leaders to meet on keeping war from snowballing

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he is due to hold talks later Monday with the leaders of France, Britain, and the United States, on the crisis triggered by Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel.

“The United States, Britain, France, and Germany are united,” he says alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, who was visiting the German city of Hamburg for talks.

This “must not be allowed to become a conflagration in the region,” he adds.

Senior Israeli source: Indications Iran pushed Hamas to act, is telling Hezbollah to be ready

Israel has indications that Iran pushed Hamas into carrying out its massive infiltration and deadly assault, a senior Israeli government source tells reporters.

Iran is also pushing Hezbollah to be ready for conflict with Israel, the senior source says.

Israel has not specified how long the war will last, but the senior source says it will continue for many days, perhaps many weeks, and possibly longer than that.

Video shows police taking down terrorist at southern junction

Police publish footage showing a Palestinian terrorist being killed by members of the Matilan Border Police counterterrorism unit near the Shaar Hanegev junction on the Route 34 highway in southern Israel early this morning. The terrorist can be seen hiding behind a bus stop before he is shot to death.

One officer was lightly hurt by shrapnel in the exchange, police say.

Top UAE diplomat discusses Gaza with Lapid

Leader of the opposition and former prime minister Yair Lapid speaks with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed, in the wake of Hamas’ brutal assault on Israel, Lapid’s office states.

Ben Zayed “expressed solidarity with the State of Israel” and Lapid thanked him for his support, according to a statement put out by Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

Sirens in Netivot, factory in Sderot burning

Rocket sirens are sounding in several areas in the Gaza border region, including Netivot.

In Sderot, a factory is going up in flames, with the culprit suspected to have been a rocket strike, Channel 12 news reports.

‘They’re in the house’: Sister of kidnapped 12-year-old boy recounts last contact with missing relatives

Composite images of Erez Calderon, 12, and his sisters Gaya Calderon, 21, and Sa'ar Calderon, 16. Erez was seen an a video being taken by Palestinian terrorists on October 7, 2023. Sa'ar Calderon and her father Ofer Calderon are missing. (Courtesy of the Calderon family)
Composite images of Erez Calderon, 12, and his sisters Gaya Calderon, 21, and Sa'ar Calderon, 16. Erez was seen an a video being taken by Palestinian terrorists on October 7, 2023. Sa'ar Calderon and her father Ofer Calderon are missing. (Courtesy of the Calderon family)

Gaya Calderon was at home in Tel Aviv early Saturday when the unprecedented Hamas assault began with a barrage of rockets into southern Israel.

Raised in Kibbutz Nir Oz near the Gaza Strip, she lived with her family in the kibbutz until she moved to Tel Aviv just this year.

“I’ve lived there my whole life, we know these rockets. I called my parents, they told me that it was never like this, but I told them that it was going to be ok, and that I was going to go back to sleep,” she says in a briefing with reporters over Zoom.

Her parents and her siblings — 18-year-old brother Rotem, 16-year-old sister Sa’ar, and 12-year-old brother Erez — all live in the kibbutz, as do her grandmother, aunt, and cousin.

“A few minutes later, my friend called and says ‘Hey, do you know that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are in the kibbutz?”

She says she jumped out of bed and called her parents. They didn’t pick up but wrote back and said they couldn’t talk and needed to stay quiet.

A text from her 16-year-old sister Sa’ar read: “‘I am so scared, Gaya, I want to cry,'” she recounts. “I told her to stay calm and trust dad.”

A few moments later, Sa’ar texted: “Gaya, they are in the house. We are hiding outside, don’t message anymore.”

Then in the family WhatsApp group, Sa’ar texted: “Mom, I love you.”

“Then nothing,” Gaya says.

She texted her mom, who lives elsewhere on the kibbutz. “Gaya, I hear gunfire; I think this is the end.”

Gaya’s mother was in her safe room when terrorists tried to open the door. She says her mom, who survived the assault, held the door handle for dear life.

Her 18-year-old brother, who has his own place in the kibbutz, also survived. His home was destroyed and partly torched.

Gaya says that during this time, she was praying, crying and hoping for the best. Then a short clip came through.

“It was a video of my brother, Erez, a terrorist was grabbing him, holding him. I saw no blood on him, so I can only hope that he is ok.”

“My sister, my father, my grandmother and my cousin — we don’t know where they are. They were not found.”

“I sit at home and cry all day, I am helpless, I can’t go to Gaza and save them.”

Though there has been little contact with authorities, Gaya says she doesn’t blame anyone. “I trust my country. I want to get my family back.”

“Please help us.”

Hezbollah said to threaten response after member killed in shelling

Hezbollah says one of its members was killed in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon, the Reuters news agency reports.

The member of the terror group tells Lebanon’s al-Jadeed that it will respond to the shelling of the Ayt al-Shaab area “in accordance with the deterrence rules it has imposed.”

Lebanon’s Naharnet news site says Israel has resumed striking the area.

Rocket alarms in Ashkelon

Sirens are sounding in Ashkelon and surrounding areas, warning of a fresh rocket barrage.

Ynet photographer missing, feared kidnapped along with 3-year-old daughter

Palestinians from the Gaza Strip enter Kibbutz Kfar Aza on Oct. 7, 2023 amid a massive assault by the Hamas terror group. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)
Palestinians from the Gaza Strip enter Kibbutz Kfar Aza on Oct. 7, 2023 amid a massive assault by the Hamas terror group. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)

A Kfar Aza-based journalist whose wife was murdered is missing and feared taken hostage along with his 3-year-old daughter, the man’s sister says.

“We’re waiting for any fragment of information about them,” the sister, Dafna, says in an interview in Ynet, where her missing brother, Roee Idan, works as a photographer.

Neighbors of Roee Idan and his late wife, Smadar, told the family that the child, Avigail, was seen after the incident with blood on her clothes. The blood came from a gunshot wound her father sustained, Dafna says.

Roee Idan documented Saturday terrorists crossing into his kibbutz on paragliders, his sister says, as Hamas gunmen stormed Israeli communities.

He rushed back to his home, on the western edge of Kfar Aza, only to find that terrorists had killed his wife, Smadar, in the couple’s living room, Ynet reports. Their two eldest children, 9-year-old Michal and 6-year-old Amalia, hid in a closet until the terrorists left, the report says. They are being cared for by relatives.

Idan was carrying his younger daughter Avigail when he was shot outside of their home. The small girl found shelter at the home of neighbors, but they were abducted, and she is thought to have been taken along with them, Dafna says, based on testimonies of other neighbors.

The whereabouts of Roee Idan remain unknown following multiple searches for him by locals and authorities across Kfar Aza’s territory and nearby roads.

“We are experiencing a nightmare. And we’re praying,” his sister, Dafna, tells Ynet.

Hostage czar says families of kidnapped, missing have address to turn to

The newly appointed representative for kidnapped and missing Israelis, Gal Hirsch, says in a message that “we are creating a full situational picture and are working at full strength to create an effective system” for families to turn to.

The statement appears to be in response to numerous complaints that the government has abandoned those with loved ones missing or kidnapped, offering no help or information.

“We have heavy missions ahead of us, and I am with you in the campaign to bring all the missing and kidnapped back home to Israel,” he says.

Netanyahu denies getting warning from Egyptian spymaster

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (C) and military chiefs at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv for a security assessment on October 8, 2023. (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (C) and military chiefs at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv for a security assessment on October 8, 2023. (GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says a report that Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel warned him about an “unusual, terrible operation” 10 days before Hamas’s attack on Israel is “total fake news.”

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office says the premier “has not spoken with or met with [Kamel] since the formation of the government — not by backchannels nor directly.”

“This is total fake news.”

Over 2,600 wounded since fighting began

The Health Ministry says 2,616 people have been treated at hospitals since the start of fighting on Saturday.

According to the ministry, 578 people are currently hospitalized, including 157 in serious condition, 259 in moderate condition and 161 with light injuries.

Islamic Jihad claims northern border attack

Israeli forces launch artillery fire towards southern Lebanon from the border zone in northern Israel on October 9, 2023, after mortar fire and an infiltration attempt from Lebanon. (Photo by Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
Israeli forces launch artillery fire towards southern Lebanon from the border zone in northern Israel on October 9, 2023, after mortar fire and an infiltration attempt from Lebanon. (Photo by Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

The Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group claims responsibility for the armed infiltration on the Lebanon border earlier today.

The terror group makes the announcement on its Telegram channel, calling the attack part of the ongoing war between Israel and terror groups in Gaza.

Gallant says Israel’s future hinges on outcome of war

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is seen at the Israeli Air Force's underground command center at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, October 9, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is seen at the Israeli Air Force's underground command center at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, October 9, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says the war Israel is fighting against the Hamas terror group is “a war for our future.”

“Exacting a heavy price from the enemy is a necessary condition for our existence in the region,” adds Gallant in remarks provided by his office.

Gallant makes the comments during a visit to the Israeli Air Force’s underground command center at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Gallant’s office says the defense minister has instructed the military to “significantly increase the intensity of attacks in the Gaza Strip” and “eliminate all of the Hamas targets.”

Bahrain denounces Hamas kidnappings

Bahrain has joined the UAE in condemning Hamas’s attack on Israel

The foreign ministry in Manama says “attacks launched by Hamas constitute a dangerous escalation.”

“Bahrain denounces…. the kidnapping of civilians from their homes as hostages,” the statement says, calling for immediate efforts to stop the fighting.

A statement from Bahrain on Saturday made no mention of Hamas and drew an equivalency between the two sides.

Egypt spy chief warned Netanyahu of Gaza assault, was ignored — report; PM denies it

Abbas Kamel, the powerful head of Egyptian intelligence, warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 10 days before the attack, Ynet reports.

Kamel warned Israel that “something unusual, a terrible operation” was about to take place around Gaza.

Kamel was reportedly aghast at Netanyahu’s passivity upon hearing the report.

Egyptian sources tell Ynet that Netanyahu responded that IDF forces were focused on fighting terror in the West Bank, where deadly terror attacks against Israel were being carried out.

Netanyahu’s office calls the Ynet report “a lie.”

Troops battling terrorists near Karmia on Gaza border

Clashes between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli forces are reported near Kibbutz Karmia, close to the northern border with the Gaza Strip, the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council says.

Local authorities say Israeli troops apparently came under fire, and more forces are heading to the scene.

Sirens sound in Beersheba

Rocket sirens have sounded in the northern Negev city of Beersheba.

There are no immediate reports of impacts.

Six injured in northern border clash — hospital

The Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya says it has received six injuries from the clashes on the Lebanon border, including one in critical condition, and another in serious condition.

The IDF has not yet provided information on casualties from the incident, which saw troops kill a number of gunmen after they infiltrated into Israel, according to the army.

Eshkol releases names of 47 residents killed in Hamas massacres

The Eshkol Regional Council releases a list identifying the 47 people killed across 16 of its towns and kibbutzim that have been cleared for publication so far.

The list includes 10 people in the tiny kibbutz of Holit, home to around 200 people. In the 300-person kibbutz of Kissufim, eight deaths have been recorded, including three members of the Zak family.

In a statement, the council says that these are people whose families have been notified and whose names have been cleared for publication. More names are expected to be released in the coming days.

Approximately 15,000 people live in Eshkol.

Re’im
Dvir Karp
Amit Gabai
Yuval Gabai
Faber Assaf
Varda Haramati

Holit
Shlomi Mattias
Shahar Mattias
Meir Elharrar
Liz Elharrar
Lily Caseman
Rolan Sultan
Ronit Sultan
Moshe Ridler
Petro Busko
Tehila Katabi
Hayim Katsman

Kissufim
Tom Gudo
Gina Smiatitz
Ofer Ron
Menuha Hulati
Sa’ar Margolis
Etti Zak
Itai Zak
Sagi Zak

Nir Yitzhak
Ofek Arazi
Yaron Shahar

Sufa
Iddo Hubara
Bernard Cohen
Ofir Erez

Shlomit
Reuven Shishportish
Aviad Cohen

Kerem Shalom
Amihai Vizan
Yedidya Raziel

Mivtahim
Dan Asulin
Chen Ben Avi
Dor Nahum
Tal Maman

Yesha
Gil Avital
Lior Ben Yaakov
Itai Nahmias

Ein Habesor
Yehuda Kader

Magen
Avi Fleisher

Sde Nitzan
Dudi Turgeman

Yevul
Avi Tzidon

Ohad
Rudy Sakrisevsky

Be’eri
Adi Dagan

Talmei Yosef
Stav Kimhi

Woman critically injured, man seriously hurt in rocket strikes near Jerusalem

Three people are wounded in rocket strikes in the Jerusalem region, the Magen David Adom ambulance service says.

MDA says medics are treating a man in his 20s who has been seriously wounded by shrapnel as a result of a rocket impact in Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem.

In Beitar Illit, MDA says it is treating four people wounded by the rocket attacks, including a 10-year-old boy in serious condition and three men in light condition.

Another two people are being treated in an undisclosed area near Jerusalem — a woman in her 60s in critical condition, and a man with light injuries, MDA says.

Residents across northern border told to take cover

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

The military’s Home Front Command orders residents of 28 towns in northern Israel, close to the Lebanon border, to remain in the shelters until further notice out of fear of rocket attacks as the border with Lebanon heats up.

The call covers the northern towns of Metula, Rosh Hanikra, Manara, Shlomi, Misgav Am and Dafna, among others.

It earlier ordered residents of the towns Arab al-Aramshe, Adamit, Hanita and Eilon to take cover.

The order comes as the IDF carries out strikes in Lebanon following an armed infiltration on the border.

Rocket from Jerusalem barrage strikes inside Beitar Illit settlement

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are responding to reports of injuries in a direct rocket impact in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit, south of Jerusalem.

It is not immediately clear how many people are hurt and their conditions.

Footage shows smoke rising from the community.

IDF confirms striking Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces says combat helicopters are carrying out new strikes in Lebanon.

The IDF does not immediately provide further details.

The strikes come after a number of gunmen infiltrated into northern Israel from Lebanon earlier.

IDF troops killed several of them, the military said.

Rocket sirens sound in Jerusalem, surrounding area

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Jerusalem and the surrounding area.

Residents report hearing explosions.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Netanyahu to southerners: Coming fight will change the Mideast

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells local politicians from southern Israel that Israel will transform the region as it retaliates for a devastating Hamas attack and rehabilitates shell-shocked communities.

“I know you’ve been through tough, terrible things. What Hamas will go through will be tough and terrible — we’re already in the midst of the battle and we’ve only just begun,” Netanyahu says according to a statement from his office.

He praises them for their steadfastness and says the coming fight will take time.

“The nation will turn over every stone to help you all. I ask that you stand strong because we are going to change the Middle East,” he says.

Israel said to shell Hezbollah post in southern Lebanon

The Israeli military is reportedly striking targets in southern Lebanon, following the infiltration of several gunmen into northern Israel earlier.

An image published by a reporter for the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar outlet shows a large blast in the area.

Another clip circulating on social media shows a Hezbollah observation post being targeted.

Earlier, the IDF said it was using combat helicopters to carry out strikes in the area, after troops killed several gunmen in Israeli territory near the Lebanon border.

Sderot man moderately hurt by rocket shrapnel

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says a 50-year-old man is moderately hurt by shrapnel following a recent rocket attack on Sderot.

Sirens sound in Ashkelon, other towns

Sirens ring out in a large number of cities in southern Israel as Gazan terrorists fire a large barrage of rockets.

Targeted areas include Ashkelon, Yad Mordechai, Netiv Ha’asara and other areas immediately north of the Strip.

Kiryat Shmona residents told to enter bomb shelters

The Kiryat Shmona municipality has instructed residents of the northern border city to enter their bomb shelters and remain there until further notice.

The city says it fears rocket attacks and is “in constant contact” with defense officials.

The announcement comes after the Home Front Command issued similar instructions to residents of a number of smaller communities in the area.

IDF says intense airstrikes targeted Gaza City ‘terror nest’

The Israel Defense Forces says it launched massive airstrikes against a coastal neighborhood of Gaza City, targeting dozens of sites.

It calls the area, dubbed al-Furqan after a mosque in the area, a “nest of terror” used by Hamas to launch attacks against Israel.

Dozens of fighter jets participated in the strikes, the IDF adds.

EU suspends Palestinian aid payments, will ‘review’ future funding

The EU has halted development aid payments to the Palestinians and is placing 691 million euros ($728 million) of support “under review” after the Hamas assault on Israel, an EU commissioner says.

“All payments immediately suspended. All projects put under review. All new budget proposals, including for 2023 postponed until further notice. Comprehensive assessment of the whole portfolio,” European Union Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi posts on social media.

Mortars on north confirmed; Hezbollah denies role in infiltration

Israeli tanks and artillery pieces are seen just before sunset in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, on October 8, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
Israeli tanks and artillery pieces are seen just before sunset in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, on October 8, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces says two mortars were launched from Lebanon at northern Israel earlier.

Sirens sounded in the Upper Galilee towns of Iftach and Ramot Naftali.

The military says one projectile landed in an open area, causing no injuries, and the other projectile landed short in Lebanon.

A Hezbollah official tells Reuters it had no part in a cross-border raid in which several gunmen were killed by Israeli forces after breaching the ceasefire line.

Rocket sirens sound near Gaza border

Sirens sound in several communities near the Gaza border, including Kissufim, Sderot and Kfar Azza.

There are no immediate details on impacts.

Gaza death toll rises to 560, says Hamas-run health ministry

The death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 560, the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave says.

Another 2,900 injured were injured since Saturday’s surprise dawn attack when Hamas gunmen stormed Israel under a barrage of rocket fire.

US confirms nine US citizens killed in Hamas invasion

The United States has confirmed the deaths of nine US citizens in the war between Israel and Hamas, with more unaccounted for, amid fears they were taken captive.

“At this time, we can confirm the deaths of nine US citizens,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller says.

“We can confirm that there are unaccounted for US citizens, and we are working with our Israeli partners to determine their whereabouts.”

IDF reports widespread strikes on Gaza

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

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

Iran president praises ‘innovative operation’ in call with Islamic Jihad chief

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a news conference, in New York, September 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a news conference, in New York, September 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hails the “brilliant and impressive victories” of the “Palestinian resistance,” in a phone call with Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Nakhaleh, Iran’s Tasnim news outlet reports.

“You really made the Islamic community happy with this innovative and victorious operation,” the president says. “The Zionist regime is declining while the resistance front is conquering the peaks of victory,” Raisi adds.

For his part, Nakhaleh thanks Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the government and people of Iran for supporting Palestinians.

The report comes after Iran rejected allegations it had a role in the Hamas onslaught.

Iran has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and was one of the first countries to hail Hamas’s devastating surprise assault on Saturday.

Nakhaleh is known to be in close contact with the Iranian leadership, which provides arms and financing to both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.

Troops kill gunmen who breached northern border — IDF

The Israel Defense Forces says troops have killed several gunmen who infiltrated into Israel from Lebanon.

“Troops continue to scan the area,” the IDF says.

The army adds that a combat helicopter is striking targets in the area.

Gunfire and explosions in Lebanon as IDF responds to incursion on northern border

Gunfire and explosions are reported on the Lebanon border, as the Israeli military responds to the infiltration of several suspects into Israel.

A reporter for the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar station publishes a video in which gunfire and several explosions can be heard, near the southern Lebanon village of Dhayra.

The Israel Defense Forces has yet to provide further details on the incident.

Two more fallen police officers named

Police name another two officers killed during fighting with Hamas terrorists in southern Israel.

They are identified as Master Sergeant Uriel Avraham, a member of the Negev Yasam patrol unit, and Master Sergeant Eliyahu Michael Harush, a patrolman at the Sderot station.

Police have so far named 37 officers killed in the fighting.

Master Sergeant Uriel Avraham (left), a member of the Negev Yasam patrol unit, and Master Sergeant Eliyahu Michael Harush, a patrolman at the Sderot station, both killed in combat with Hamas gunmen in October 2023. (Israel Police)

Several suspects infiltrate northern Israel from Lebanon – IDF

The Israel Defense Forces says a number of suspects infiltrated into Israeli territory from Lebanon.

“IDF soldiers are deployed in the area,” the military says.

Residents of several towns in the area have been instructed to remain locked in their homes.

Israeli official denies report of Qatar-mediated negotiations for prisoner swap

An Israeli official says “there is no negotiation” for the release of hostages, responding to an earlier claim by a Hamas source that Israel had been in touch with Qatar as a mediator.

The denial comes as Reuters confirms earlier reporting by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, saying Qatari mediators have been in touch with Hamas officials in a bid to secure the release of Israeli women and children held in Gaza in exchange for 36 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.

The Reuters report says the talks are being coordinated with the United States and are “moving positively” though there are no signs of a breakthrough.

Israeli death toll in Gaza war said to climb to 800

According to uncorroborated Hebrew media reports, the estimated death toll in Hamas’s assault and subsequent battles has climbed to 800.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry says that as of this afternoon, 2,506 injured have been taken to hospitals, including 23 who are in critical condition and 353 who are seriously hurt.

EU foreign ministers to hold emergency talks on Israel

EU foreign ministers will hold urgent talks tomorrow on the situation in Israel and Gaza after Hamas terrorists launched a devastating surprise assault, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says.

“I am convening tomorrow an emergency meeting of EU Foreign Ministers to address the situation in Israel and in the region,” Borrell writes in a social media post.

Borrell and a number of EU foreign ministers are currently in Oman for long-planned talks with Gulf states from the Gulf Cooperation Council.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell speaks during a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 1, 2023. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

A spokesman in Brussels says the EU talks will be held in a hybrid video and in-person format to allow those foreign ministers not in Muscat to participate.

The EU has strongly condemned the unprecedented attack by the Islamist terrorists that has sparked a barrage of strikes by Israel on Gaza.

Liberman calls for ground invasion of Gaza

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, a former defense minister, calls for a ground invasion of Gaza in order to root out and destroy Hamas in the wake of the terror militia’s devastating assault on Israel.

“Eliminating Hamas is what is required in the situation that has been created; unfortunately that requires entry on the ground to Gaza City,” Liberman says in a statement, singling out Gaza’s biggest city as the center of the terror group’s operations.

“We have to clean out the stables. Just as we recently entered Jenin, so must we also go into Gaza City,” says Liberman.

He also essentially calls for the government to assassinate Hamas leaders abroad, saying it must “pursue” the group’s leadership wherever they might be, and references the decision by former prime minister Golda Meir to kill the perpetrators and organizers of the Munich Olympics massacre.

Liberman also accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi of failing to adequately update Israelis on the state of the war.

“I think it’s a mistake that the prime minister, defense minister, and [IDF] chief of staff are not presenting themselves to the media, are not speaking with the media… not to send videos but stand in front of the Israeli people, in front of the cameras, take questions and provide answers. That’s their obligation. They owe this to the Israeli people after three days of battle.”

He reiterated that his party would enter a unity government on condition that Hamas be eliminated and that all arrangements allowing for financial assistance from Qatar and other sources to Gaza be ended.

Hezbollah threatens US, as Russia sees ‘high risk’ of 3rd party entering conflict

Hezbollah threatens to attack American positions in the Middle East should it intervene directly in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“Palestine is not Ukraine,” a spokesperson for the Lebanese terror group says in a statement, after the US moved warships closer to its ally Israel.

“If the US intervenes directly, all US positions in the region will become legitimate targets of the resistance axis and face our attacks. And on that day there will be no red line,” the spokesperson says.

Meanwhile, Russia says there is a “high risk” of a third party entering the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“The risk of third forces becoming involved in this conflict is high,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

“It is very important to find ways as soon as possible to move towards some kind of negotiation process in order to reduce this escalation and move away from a military solution,” he says.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah fired on Israeli positions yesterday, and some Western countries have expressed fears Iran could get involved in the Hamas offensive against Israel.

Tehran has rejected the accusations.

Rocket alerts sound in northern Israel

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the north.

The alarms are blaring in the Mevo’ot Hahermon Regional Council, and the towns of Yiftah and Ramot Naftali.

Energy minister instructs authorities to cut off water to Gaza

Energy Minister Israel Katz announces that he has instructed authorities to cut off water to the Gaza Strip.

“I instructed that the water supply from Israel to Gaza be cut off immediately,” Katz says in a statement, adding that the flow of power and fuel was ceased two days ago.

Rocket alerts sound in Holon and Rishon Lezion

Fresh rocket alerts sound in the central cities of Holon and Rishon Lezion, south of Tel Aviv.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Hamas releases fresh footage of its members damaging Israeli border defenses

Hamas publishes new footage showing its members damaging Israeli surveillance systems on the Gaza border on Saturday morning, enabling it to invade southern Israel.

The videos show Israeli observation towers being targeted by sniper fire. The terror group previously published videos of its use of drones to drop explosives on the Israeli surveillance equipment.

The clips also show Israeli tanks being bombed, apparently by drone, and terrorists blowing up parts of the border fence to infiltrate into Israel.

Large cities announce special war footing, offer psychological help

Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Municipality sets up a dedicated team to support families in the city with loved ones who have been killed or injured or are missing.

Social workers will offer emotional help and connect the families with relevant services. The team can be contacted directly at 02-5406971 or via the municipal hotline on 106.

Members of the general public needing psychological help are advised to call the hotline.

The Beitar soccer team’s training field in the west of the city, near Shaare Zedek Medical Center, has been earmarked to receive helicopters evacuating wounded from the Gaza area, and has begun to operate volunteer-run activities for the children of medical staff to free up doctors, nurses and others to carry out life-saving work. Lists are being compiled by HMOs and the city’s hospitals.

The city is also preparing for an uptick in funerals. The moment it receives word about a fatality from the city, it will send municipal staff with the police to inform the families. With the help of the National Insurance Service and Interior Ministry, it will help organize funerals and, where necessary, provide transportation and refreshments.

A list of open public bomb shelters can be found here in English.

In partnership with the Home Front Command and local community centers, the municipality is also offering couples whose wedding plans have to be canceled at the last minute because of the war the opportunity to tie the knot in a protected space.

Further details about war-related arrangements can be found here, in English.

Guidance and red alerts from the Home Front Command can be found here, in English.

Tel Aviv

The municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, periodically under fire from Gaza since the war started, reports that it is housing 92 families evacuated from the war-torn south of the country in hotels.

It is calling on anyone in need of psychological help to phone *9106, the municipal hotline at 106+, or to reach out via the city’s internet application.

It is appealing to emergency workers to deposit their children in kindergarten through grade three at childcare centers being set up at various schools.

And it is inviting parents stuck at home to register for online activities for their children being run by city libraries.

Beersheba

The Beersheba city council in southern Israel is coordinating with the town of Mevasseret Zion, just outside of Jerusalem, to help get residents of Gaza border towns out of the war-torn region.

Mevasseret Zion residents who wish to host evacuees can fill out this form.

Families from the south looking to be hosted can register here.

US envoy leads moment of silence at Human Rights Council

The top US envoy to the Human Rights Council leads a moment of silence to honor the victims of Hamas’s attacks against Israeli civilians and the people killed in an earthquake in Afghanistan over the weekend.

Ambassador Michele Taylor speaks with a “heavy heart,” she says, following the “horrific attacks carried out by Hamas terrorists on Israeli civilians” starting on Saturday.

“The United States unequivocally condemns these heinous acts of terrorism. We extend our deepest condolences to the families affected and express our solidarity with the people and government of Israel in these trying times,” she tells the council, the UN’s top human rights body, which has faced persistent allegations of anti-Israel bias.

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather for rally in Sydney; Jews told to steer clear

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gather at the Sydney Opera House and police are advising the Jewish community to stay away.

Around 1,000 protesters march 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Sydney Town Hall to the harborside landmark chanting: “Free, free Palestine!” They are surrounded by a heavy police presence. One person at the town hall rally briefly waves an Israeli flag before fleeing.

The opera house is among several public buildings in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra that were to be illuminated in blue and white — the colors of Israel’s flag — on Monday night in solidarity with the Israelis.

Zelensky compares Hamas to Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky draws a parallel between Russia’s invasion of his country and the Hamas terror group’s incursion into Israel, saying only “rules (and) international law” can ensure peace around the world.

“The same evil, and the only difference is that there is a terrorist organization that attacked Israel, and here is a terrorist state that attacked Ukraine,” Zelensky says in a video address to a NATO parliamentary assembly in Copenhagen.

“Our unity must and can stop the evil,” Zelensky says. “Let everyone who sponsors terror feel the power of our wrath. And let everyone who needs help defending themselves against terror feel the power of our solidarity.”

Military announces ‘widespread’ strikes against Hamas sites in Gaza

People stand outside a mosque destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, October 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)
People stand outside a mosque destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, October 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

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

It says it will provide further details on the strikes soon.

Visiting the wounded, Herzog hails Israelis’ resilience, heroism and ‘huge heart’

Visiting the wounded at Beersheba’s Soroka hospital, President Isaac Herzog offers a message of unity to Israelis and a warning to Hamas.

He says that in the hospital rooms he has seen “what Israeli resilience is, what Israeli heroism is.”

Speaking in front of cameras, Herzog says Israelis are showing their core values, “a huge heart, a sense of mission, unity, social cohesion.”

He  assures viewers that even though Hamas is trying undermine Israelis’ sense of security, “no one can beat us.”

“It won’t work for you,” says Herzog, “no way.”

Hamas claims 4 Israeli hostages killed in air force strikes on Gaza

The spokesperson for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Obeida, claims Israel’s bombing in the Gaza Strip has killed four Israeli hostages.

“The occupation’s bombing tonight and today on the Gaza Strip led to the killing of four enemy prisoners and the martyrdom of their captors, the Qassam Mujahideen,” Abu Obeida says in a statement on his Telegram channel.

Gantz says small ‘war cabinet,’ legislative freeze are conditions for unity government

MK Benny Gantz’s National Unity proposes that in order for it to join an emergency unity government, a small “war cabinet” must be created, with representatives from its party as well as “relevant ministers” chosen by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that will direct the war against Hamas.

Most of the powers for conducting a war would need to be delegated to this war cabinet, the party says in a statement to the press made following a meeting earlier today between representatives of National Unity and Netanyahu’s Likud to discuss the entry of Gantz’s party into the government.

The party says it is proposing that its representatives be made ministers without portfolios, as opposed to taking new or current cabinet positions, for the duration of the war.

National Unity party leader Benny Gantz speaks while touring northern Israel, October 3, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Additionally, legislation not connected to the war cannot be passed in the Knesset during the tenure of this emergency government, National Unity stipulates, a seeming reference to the government’s highly controversial judicial overhaul agenda.

National Unity adds that it will give its full backing to the government and the security forces during the war regardless of whether it ends up joining or not.

Netanyahu said Saturday night that he had offered both National Unity and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party the option of joining the government, but little progress has been made toward that goal since then.

Yesh Atid says it will not join a government that includes the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties, essentially calling on Netanyahu to oust them from his cabinet before it will join.

Magen David Adom calls for blood donations throughout country

The Magen David Adom emergency service calls for blood donations, and says they can be made at the following locations:

Carmiel: Heichal Hatarbut, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Jerusalem: Main entrance, Pais Arena, Malha, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Haifa: Oren hall, Congress Center, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tiberias: Main entrance to Big Daniloff, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Kiryat Ata: Glazer House, 26 Jabotinsky Street, from noon to 8 p.m.
Petah Tikva: At the sports hall next to the Sportan, 10 Greenspan Street, from noon to 9 p.m.
Rishon LeZion: In the lobby of the Heichal Harbut, 16 Jabotinsky Street, from noon to 9 p.m.
Ramat Gan: Sheba Hospital, Tel Hashomer, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Details on making appointments can be found here (in Hebrew).

Iran denies it had role in Hamas attack on Israel

Iran rejects as unfounded allegations it had a role in the massive assault on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

“The accusations linked to an Iranian role… are based on political reasons,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani tells reporters.

The Islamic Republic, he says, does not intervene “in the decision-making of other countries, including Palestine.”

Iran, which does not recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, was one of the first countries to hail Hamas’s devastating surprise assault on Saturday.

The Palestinians had “the necessary capacity and will to defend their nation and recover their rights” without any help from Tehran, Kanani says.

“Talking about an Iranian role aims at turning public opinion (away from the facts) and at justifying the potential future actions” of Israel, the spokesman adds.

The Wall Street Journal reported that “Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday,” citing senior members of Hamas and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

Several injured in Ashdod, Ashkelon after rockets score direct hits

The aftermath of a rocket strike from the Gaza Strip that hit a building and cars in the southern city of Ashkelon, October 9, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
The aftermath of a rocket strike from the Gaza Strip that hit a building and cars in the southern city of Ashkelon, October 9, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Rockets barrages impact in the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, causing several injuries.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it treated four people who were wounded as a result of rocket impacts in Ashkelon, including a 75-year-old man in serious condition, two men aged 55 and 30 in moderate condition, and one person who was lightly hurt.

In Ashdod, MDA says its medics are treating a woman in her 50s who was seriously wounded as a result of a rocket impact.

Rocket impacts near Ben Gurion Airport; no reports of injuries or damage

One of the rockets fired from Gaza in a recent barrage impacts near Ben Gurion International Airport.

Footage posted to social media shows smoke billowing from an open field in the area.

There are no reports of injuries or damage.

Fresh rocket alerts blare in southern and central towns

Fresh rocket alerts sound throughout the southern region and in cities south of Tel Aviv, including Holon and Rishon Lezion.

Egypt and UAE leaders discuss need for ‘just and permanent peace’

The leaders of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan agreed on “the importance of… advancing diplomatic efforts that aim to de-escalate violence, protect civilians, spare blood,” a statement from the Egyptian president’s office says.

Such efforts should include establishing “a comprehensive, just and permanent peace,” it adds.

Egypt was the first Arab country to establish diplomatic ties with Israel in the 1970s, and shares borders with both Gaza and Israel. The UAE normalized ties with Jerusalem as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020. The Arab Gulf nation has frayed ties with Hamas.

Defense minister announces ‘complete siege’ of Gaza: No power, food or fuel

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says he has ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, as Israel fights the Hamas terror group.

“I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed,” Gallant says following an assessment at the IDF Southern Command in Beersheba.

“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” he adds.

IDF continues to strike Gaza targets and Hamas vehicle; downs drone

The Israel Defense Forces says that in the last few hours, it has struck a number of sites in the Gaza Strip belonging to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups.

The sites include a Hamas munitions warehouse and an entrance shaft to an underground tunnel, and two Islamic Jihad war rooms, one of which was inside a mosque.

The IDF says it has also struck a Hamas vehicle attempting to infiltrate into Israel.

The military publishes footage of the strikes.

The military also says it has intercepted a drone launched from Gaza toward Israel.

Earlier, a drone infiltration alarm had sounded in the southern town of Gvaram.

Troops kill Palestinian terrorist in Kfar Aza, along border

The Israel Defense Forces says troops have killed a Palestinian terrorist in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

“Exchanges of fire continue between our forces and the terrorists,” the IDF says in a short statement.

Rockets fired at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, other areas; impacts reported but not injuries

Rocket alerts sound in various locations throughout Israel, including in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the central Shfela region and towns around Gaza.

Jerusalem residents report hearing at least one interception over the city.

There are also reports of impacts in an open area in Tel Aviv and on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are scanning the area following reports of rocket impacts in the center, but it is unaware of any injuries at this stage.

Hamas leader Sinwar ‘is a dead man,’ IDF spokesman threatens

The top IDF spokesman, Rear Adm. Hagari, threatens Hamas’s leadership.

“Yahya Sinwar is the commander of the campaign, and he is a dead man,” Hagari says in a press conference.

Hamas’s “military and political leadership, all of its assets, are attackable, and doomed,” he adds.

‘Free Palestine’: London kosher restaurant vandalized in apparent antisemitic attack

Vandals smash the front door of a kosher restaurant in the northwest London neighborhood of Golders Green, which has a large and prominent Jewish community, in what appears to be an antisemitic attack against the backdrop of Israel’s conflict with Hamas.

Photos uploaded to social media this morning show a gas canister hurled through the glass door of the Pita eatery on Golders Green Road.

A railway bridge across the same street is spray-painted with the words “Free Palestine,” while another section of the bridge has the words “Palestine will be free” daubed across it.

The acts of vandalism are carried out overnight.

IDF carries out fresh strikes; drone infiltration from Gaza reported

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out a fresh wave of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF says it is hitting targets belonging to the Hamas terror group.

Further details will be provided soon, the military adds.

Meanwhile, a suspected drone infiltration alert blares in the southern town of Gvaram, close to the border with Gaza.

The siren comes amid repeated rocket attacks from the Strip on Israel.

IDF spokesperson says military has regained control of all Gaza border towns but terrorists may remain

The Israel Defense Forces’ top spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, says Israeli troops have regained control of all towns on the Gaza border.

He says incidents of clashes between troops and Palestinian terrorists in the last few hours have been “isolated.”

Hagari says that in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council three terrorists were killed by troops; in Be’eri one was killed; in Holit and Sufa five were killed; and in Alumim four were killed.

He says that currently, there is no fighting in any of the towns.

“It is possible there are still terrorists in the area,” Hagari says.

Hagari says breaches of the Gaza border barrier will be physically secured by tanks, which will be supported by combat helicopters and drones.

He says the army has evacuated 15 out of 24 towns on the border, and will continue to evacuate the others in the coming day. Sderot will not be evacuated at this stage, he says.

Hagari says some 4,400 rockets have been launched toward Israel since the fighting started on Saturday morning.

Regarding the draft of reservists, Hagari says the IDF “has never mobilized so many reservists so quickly — 300,000 reservists in 48 hours.”

Hamas says it wants to ‘liberate all prisoners,’ claims to capture more Israelis today

Hamas wants to “liberate all Palestinian prisoners” from Israel and end Israeli “provocations” in the Bank and Jerusalem, particularly at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a spokesman for the terror group says.

Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua tells The Associated Press over the phone that Hamas terrorists are still fighting Israeli forces and had captured more Israelis on Monday morning.

“We are in an open battle to defend our people and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he says. “This battle is linked to the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners and the cessation of this fascist government’s activities in Jerusalem.”

He says the group has captured “a large number of Israelis” in Gaza, without giving a specific figure. He says Hamas’s military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, will announce the figures later.

Hamas claims female prisoner swap being discussed with Qatari mediation

Negotiations are ongoing under Qatari mediation for a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas, according to a source in the terror group quoted by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

“With US support, Qatar is seeking to accomplish an urgent agreement that would lead to the release of Israeli women captured by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli prisons,” the anonymous source told Xinhua yesterday.

There is no Israeli comment on the report.

There are currently 36 Palestinian women detained in Israeli prisons whose liberation Hamas is seeking, the Chinese outlet reports.

Police name counter-terror officer killed in action

Police release the name of another officer killed during fighting with Hamas terrorists on the Gaza border, Chief Inspector Avraham Henkin, a member of the Yamam counter-terror unit.

Chief Inspector Avraham Henkin, a member of the Israel Police’s Yamam counter-terror unit who was killed in the Gaza Strip, October 2023 (Israel Police)

Police have so far named 35 officers killed in the fighting.

China ‘opposes and condemns actions that harm civilians’ in Israel-Hamas violence

China says it “opposes and condemns” violence against civilians both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.

“China is highly concerned about the recent escalation of conflict between Palestine and Israel,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning says, adding that Beijing “is deeply saddened by the civilian casualties caused by the conflict, and opposes and condemns actions that harm civilians.”

The statement comes after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told China’s foreign minister that he was very disappointed by Beijing’s previous statement on the recent Hamas attack because it didn’t show any sympathy or support for Israel.

“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn these cowardly and vicious attacks,” Schumer, who is leading a delegation of six senators to China, tells Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wang, who spoke before Schumer in their opening remarks, does not respond before journalists are escorted out of the room.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement yesterday called on both sides to exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities. It said that establishing an independent state of Palestine is the fundamental way to resolve the issue.

Hamas says almost 500 Palestinians killed in Gaza

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip says 493 Palestinians have been killed and 2,300 have been wounded in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed hundreds more Palestinian terrorists in Israeli territory.

As of late yesterday, Israeli airstrikes had destroyed 159 housing units across Gaza and severely damaged 1,210 others, the UN says. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says a school sheltering more than 225 people took a direct hit. It does not say where the fire came from.

In the Palestinian city of Rafah in southern Gaza, an Israeli airstrike early today killed 19 people, including women and children, says Talat Barhoum, a doctor at the local Al-Najjar Hospital.

Barhoum says aircraft hit the home of the Abu Hilal family, and that one of those killed was Rafaat Abu Hilal, a leader of a local armed group. The strike caused damage to surrounding homes.

Lebanon says Hezbollah has promised not to join war unless Israel ‘harasses’ country

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib in Beirut, Lebanon, December 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib in Beirut, Lebanon, December 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib says his government has received assurances from Hezbollah that it will not join the fighting unless Israel “harasses” Lebanon.

Yesterday morning, Hezbollah launched mortar shells at Israeli military sites on the Lebanon border, as fighting continued in southern Israel.

The Iranian-backed terror group claimed to have fired dozens of rockets and shells at three Israeli positions in the contested Mount Dov region in solidarity with the Hamas attack.

The Lebanese group said in a statement that the attack, using “large numbers of rockets and shells,” was in solidarity with the “Palestinian resistance.” It claimed the Israeli positions were directly hit.

The Israel Defense Forces did not report any injuries, and said it responded with artillery fire toward the area of the launches and a drone strike against “Hezbollah infrastructure” in the area.

According to a military source, the site targeted in the drone strike was a tent the terror group set up in Israeli territory months ago.

Over 123,000 people displaced in Gaza Strip, UN says

More than 123,000 people have been displaced in the Gaza Strip since the outbreak of the conflict between Palestinian terrorists and Israel, the United Nations says.

“Over 123,538 people, have been internally displaced in Gaza, mostly due to fear, protection concerns and the destruction of their homes,” with more than 73,000 sheltering in schools, says the UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA.

12 Thai national killed in Hamas attack, Bangkok says

Twelve Thai nationals have died in Israel following Hamas’s attack, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke says.

Eleven others were taken hostage and eight were injured. The numbers, based on reports from workers and employers in the area, are still awaiting confirmation from Israeli authorities, Kanchana says.

Around 5,000 Thai workers are in the areas around the Gaza Strip, and some have been evacuated to safer areas, the spokesperson says, adding that Thailand’s air force is preparing planes for an evacuation whenever the situation allows.

Many Thais work on farms in Israel.

Egyptian intelligence official says Israel ignored repeated warnings of ‘something big’

An Egyptian intelligence official says Egypt, which often serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, had spoken repeatedly with the Israelis about “something big,” without elaborating.

He says Israeli officials were focused on the West Bank and played down the threat from Gaza.

Netanyahu’s government is made up of supporters of Jewish West Bank settlers who have demanded a security crackdown in the face of a rising tide of violence there over the last 18 months.

“We have warned them an explosion of the situation is coming, and very soon, and it would be big. But they underestimated such warnings,” says the official, who speaks on condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to discuss the content of sensitive intelligence discussions with the media.

IDF releases pic of Gaza Division commander, dispelling rumor he was captured by Hamas

Commander of the IDF Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, is seen near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces publishes a photo of the commander of the IDF Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, directing the fighting against Hamas terrorists near the border with the Gaza Strip.

The image comes to dispel unsubstantiated rumors on social media that the head of the Gaza Division had been captured during Hamas’s attack on Saturday morning.

Hamas had raided the division’s base, the Re’im Camp, killing soldiers and capturing others.

The IDF regained control of the base several hours later.

IDF says paratroopers engaging with terrorists in Sderot in bid to clear city

IDF Paratroopers Brigade troops are seen in the southern city of Sderot near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Paratroopers Brigade troops are seen in the southern city of Sderot near the border with the Gaza Strip, October 9, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces says troops of the Paratroopers Brigade, including senior officers, are working to clear the southern city of Sderot of suspected Palestinian terrorists who infiltrated into Israel over the past two days.

“The Paratroopers Brigade is engaged in persistent fighting, during which the commanders and fighters of the brigade are carrying out searches in the towns and thwarting terrorists,” the IDF says in a statement.

The IDF says the commander of the brigade, Col. Ami Biton, his deputy, the head of the brigade’s training base, and many other forces are searching Sderot and “purging the city of gunmen.”

Smotrich urges emergency unity government with Gantz; Ben Gvir sets condition

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior opposition figure MK Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and defense minister, to immediately form an emergency government to manage the war.

The statement comes after a televised address by Gantz last night, in which he said he had told the prime minister on Saturday that he would be willing to join the government “with the intention of establishing a war cabinet that will direct the battlefront against Gaza and other fronts.”

“Unity and cohesion are the imperative of the hour in order to defeat our enemies,” Smotrich says in a statement. “Never mind [negotiation] teams, and never mind negotiations.”

Opposition Yisrael Beytenu party chief Avigdor Liberman also said Sunday he would join the current government. But he conditioned his support on Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi publicly announcing that the government intends to “eliminate the Hamas terror organization and all its terrorist leaders” and will not suffice with anything less.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Netanyahu’s second senior far-right partner, echoes Liberman’s conditions, saying in a statement this morning that he will agree to a unity government only if its “stated goal is the total defeat of Hamas and the shattering of its military and political might.”

Several casualties reported in Sderot shootout; hostage situation ruled out

Israeli forces engage in a shootout with several Hamas terrorists at a municipal swimming pool in Sderot, according to media reports.

The reports say there are several Israeli casualties, and the terrorists have been killed.

At the same time, reports say fears of a hostage situation seem to have been dispelled.

Forces fighting Hamas terrorists in 7-8 locations on Israeli side of border – IDF

Fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists is ongoing in seven to eight locations around the Gaza Strip inside Israel, the army now says.

“We’re still fighting. There are between seven to eight open places around Gaza (where) we have still warriors fighting terrorists,” military spokesman Richard Hecht tells reporters.

“We thought by yesterday we would have full control,” he says. “I hope we will by the end of the day.”

Hostage situation reported in Sderot; municipality unaware of incident

Several Hebrew media outlets report that there is a suspected hostage situation in Sderot, along with a second shooting incident.

Responding to the reports, the municipality says, “We aren’t aware of any incident involving hostages in the city. Please rely only on official information.”

Israel moves to prop up shekel amid market uncertainty

Israel’s central bank says it will sell up to $30 billion in foreign exchange to prop up the shekel currency following market uncertainty in the wake of Hamas’s incursion from the Gaza Strip.

The central bank issues a statement announcing the plan, saying it “will operate in the market during the coming period in order to moderate volatility in the shekel exchange rate and to provide the necessary liquidity for the continued proper functioning of the markets.”

It adds that it will provide additional liquidity of up to $15 billion in the market as well.

The move comes as the shekel falls to a near eight-year low against the US dollar in early trading today.

Sderot residents told to stay in their homes due to infiltration fears

Soldiers take up position in the southern city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Soldiers take up position in the southern city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The Sderot municipality orders residents of the town to remain locked in their homes due to “fears of a security incident.”

In a statement to residents, the municipality says: “You must lock yourself in your houses immediately, lock doors and windows, and do not open to any stranger.”

The announcement comes as troops seek to clear Hamas terrorists out of Israeli territory after they infiltrated from the Gaza Strip over the past two days.

IDF continues to strike terrorists pouring into Israel over damaged border

The Israel Defense Forces says it is continuing to strike Palestinian terrorists infiltrating into Israel through the porous Gaza border.

Israel’s security barrier with the Gaza Strip has been heavily damaged since Hamas launched its attack on southern Israel, allowing terrorists to infiltrate.

The IDF publishes footage of several airstrikes against terrorists who were crossing into Israel overnight.

The military believes there are many terrorists still in Israeli territory since the initial invasion on Saturday morning, and others still trying to infiltrate.

US giving Israel all the help it needs, Senator Schumer says

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says senators were briefed by senior State Department and Pentagon officials and given assurances that the United States is giving Israel “everything they need.”

“I asked the representatives of our Defense Department if they are giving Israel everything they need, and I was heartened that they said yes and that they are surging support,” Schumer says in a statement after Sunday evening’s unclassified briefing.

“I asked them if they have denied any requests that Israel has made, and they said no. I urged them to ensure Israel has everything it needs to protect itself, and reiterated that the Senate stands ready to deliver on additional needs,” he says.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced earlier Sunday that the US was sending a host of military ships and aircraft to the region. He also said it was providing the Israeli defense forces with additional equipment, including munitions.

2,382 people injured so far in Gaza war, Health Ministry says

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

The Health Ministry says that as of this morning, 2,382 people have been treated in hospitals in Israel for wounds they sustained in the war.

Twenty-two of them are in critical condition and 345 are seriously injured.

According to the latest estimates, more than 700 Israelis have been killed.

El Salvador president, who has Palestinian ancestry, calls Hamas ‘criminals’

Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, September 19, 2023. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, September 19, 2023. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, who has Palestinian ancestry, decries Hamas after its attack on Israel.

“The best thing that could happen to the Palestinian people is for Hamas to completely disappear. Those savage beasts do not represent the Palestinians,” Bukele says on the social network X, previously known as Twitter.

“Anyone who supports the Palestinian cause would make a great mistake siding with those criminals.”

He also compares Hamas to the MS-13 gang, which has terrorized El Salvador for years.

IDF releases footage of overnight Gaza strikes

The Israel Defense Forces publishes footage showing overnight strikes in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF says it hit more than 500 targets in the strikes, including eight Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad war rooms, several high-rise towers housing Hamas assets, a mosque housing Hamas assets, and three tunnels in the Beit Hanoun area in northern Gaza.

IDF spokesperson denies reports of equipment shortages

Hagari, the IDF spokesperson, denies reports of equipment shortages in the military.

“There is no shortage of equipment in the IDF,” he says. “It takes time to move some of the equipment, but there is no shortage.”

IDF releases names of 16 more soldiers killed in Gaza war; official toll at 73

The Israel Defense Forces names another 16 soldiers killed in southern Israel during fighting with the Hamas terror group over the past day.

The names bring the toll of slain Israeli soldiers to 73. They include:

Lt. Col. Eli Ginsburg, 42, a Shayetet 13 officer, from Dovrat.

Maj. Peleg Salem, 30, a logistics officer, from Netanya.

Cpt. (res) Roi Nagri, 28, a Lotar unit commander, from Tel Aviv.

Lt. Itay Cohen, 22, a Yahalom commander, from Rehovot.

Lt. Nitai Omer, a Combat Engineering officer 22, from Alumim.

2nd Lt. Yonatan Guttin, 20, a signals officer in the Multidomain Unit, from Modiin.

Staff Sgt. Orel Moshe, 21, a Golani soldier, from Rechasim.

Staff Sgt. Yosef Itamar Beruchim, 20, a paratrooper, from Ashdod.

Staff Sgt. Tshager Taka, 21, a Golani soldier, from Jerusalem.

Staff Sgt. Nave Eliezer Lex, 21, a Sayeret Matkal soldier, from Lod.

Sgt. Ben Rubenstein, 20, a Lotar unit instructor, from Hod Hasharon.

Sgt. Yaron Uri Shay, 21, a Nahal soldier, from Kadima Zoran.

Cpl. Adir Tahar, 19, a Golani soldier, from Jerusalem.

Cpl. Amit Tzur, 19, a Golani soldier, from Elyachin.

Cpl. Ili Bar Sadeh, 19, a Golani soldier, from Ramat Gan.

Pvt. Lior Levy, 19, a soldier in the Home Front Command, from Dimona.

IDF spokesman says fighting ongoing in six Gaza-border towns; more terrorists have crossed border in past two days

Israeli soldiers take up position in the southern city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers take up position in the southern city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces’ top spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, tells reporters that there are still six sites of active fighting in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip.

Fighting is ongoing in Be’eri, Kfar Aza, Nirim and Alumim, he says. Some of the terrorists have been in Israel since the preliminary attack on Saturday, while others crossed the border over the past two days.

Hagari says that overnight, some 70 terrorists infiltrated Be’eri. Most of them were killed in battle with IDF troops, but others are still hiding in homes in the kibbutz.

In Kfar Aza, seven terrorists were identified in the town’s vicinity, and the mouth of a tunnel near the kibbutz was found as well, Hagari says.

Six terrorists were identified near Kibbutz Nirim, and four in Alumim, he says.

Hagari estimates that 425 Palestinian terrorists have been killed by the IDF so far in the Gaza Strip, and hundreds more in Israeli territory.

Hagari says the IDF is drafting hundreds of thousands of reservists.

The IDF says it has hit 1,148 targets in strikes across the Gaza Strip.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza periphery

Rocket sirens are sounding in the Gaza periphery, in the Nirim area.

There is no immediate word on rocket strikes.

US antisemitism envoy: Barbaric attack most lethal assault on Jews since Holocaust

US Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt, center, speaks with the head of the American Jewish Committee Ted Deutch at a conference in New York City, September 19, 2023. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
US Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt, center, speaks with the head of the American Jewish Committee Ted Deutch at a conference in New York City, September 19, 2023. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Weighing in on the Hamas terror attacks on Israel for the first time after the Simchat Torah holiday, US antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt says, “No one has the right to tell Israel how to defend itself and prevent and deter future attacks.”

“Yesterday’s heinous, barbaric terrorism against Israeli civilians is the most lethal assault against Jews since the Holocaust. There is no justification whatsoever for this mass murder. None,” Lipstadt tweets.

On El Al flight from New York, many young men planning to join the fight

Israelis waiting at the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport for an El Al flight to Israel on October 8, 2023 (Hillel Zand)
Israelis waiting at the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport for an El Al flight to Israel on October 8, 2023 (Hillel Zand)

A full El Al flight from New York lands at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport at 4 a.m. Monday morning. The flight’s passengers are of all ages, but a disproportional number are young men returning to Israel to serve in the army, either as conscripted soldiers as reservists.

Many are lone soldiers without immediate family in Israel. As the plane lands, the pilot announces that rides to soldiers’ homes, military bases or units have been arranged for those who need them. In addition, a free bus was available outside the terminal to shuttle people to Tel Aviv’s Savidor train station.

The airport’s arrivals hall was packed with Israelis returning home, while the departure hall and gates — usually full of Israelis leaving on flights to European destinations — were relatively deserted.

Source close to Hamas describes years-long campaign to fool Israel

A car destroyed in an attack by Palestinian terrorists is seen in Sderot, Israel, October 7, 2023. (Ohad Zwigenberg/AP)
A car destroyed in an attack by Palestinian terrorists is seen in Sderot, Israel, October 7, 2023. (Ohad Zwigenberg/AP)

A source close to Hamas tells Reuters the terror organization conducted a years-long campaign to fool Israel into thinking the group did not desire armed conflict and could be placated with economic incentives to maintain relative calm.

“Hamas gave Israel the impression that it was not ready for a fight,” the source tells the agency. “Hamas used an unprecedented intelligence tactic to mislead Israel over the last months, by giving a public impression that it was not willing to go into a fight or confrontation with Israel while preparing for this massive operation.”

He says that as part of its preparations, the terror organization built a mock Israeli community to train in. “Israel surely saw them but they were convinced that Hamas wasn’t keen on getting into a confrontation,” he says.

“Hamas was able to build a whole image that it was not ready for a military adventure against Israel,” the source adds.

Former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror tells Reuters that some countries allied with the Jewish state had bought into the lie, telling Jerusalem that Hamas was showing “more responsibility.”

“We stupidly began to believe that it was true,” he says. “So, we made a mistake. We are not going to make this mistake again and we will destroy Hamas, slowly but surely.”

Oil prices soar after Hamas attack on Israel

Oil prices soar more than four percent after Hamas launched its massive attack on Israel over the weekend, sparking concerns about possible supply shocks from the crude-rich region.

Brent jumps 4.7 percent to $86.65 and West Texas Intermediate is up 4.5 percent at $88.39 in early Asian business.

The surprise attack that claimed the lives of 700 Israelis, a great many of them civilians, and Israel’s declaration of war in response have raised concerns that a potential broadening of the conflict could draw in the United States and Iran.

“Key for markets is whether the conflict remains contained or spreads to involve other regions, particularly Saudi Arabia,” says ANZ Group’s Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes.

“Initially at least, it seems markets will assume the situation will remain limited in scope, duration, and oil-price consequences. But higher volatility can be expected.”

Air Force continues mass strikes on Gaza to ‘devastate’ Hamas capabilities

The military says that overnight aircraft continued to pound the Gaza Strip overnight in order to “devastate the capabilities of the Hamas terror group.”

Among the targets hit in recent hours were several command posts; a building housing Hamas operatives; a command center used by a senior official in Hamas’s naval forces; an “operational asset used by Hamas” located within a mosque in Jabaliya; and an asset used by the terror group for intelligence.

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