A child is killed about every 10 minutes in Gaza: WHO chief
UNITED NATIONS — A child is killed on average every 10 minutes in the Gaza Strip, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the United Nations Security Council today, warning: “Nowhere and no one is safe.”
Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, after the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel. Israel has struck Gaza — an enclave of 2.3 million people — from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground invasion.
“On average, a child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza,” Tedros said.
Netanyahu meets heads of communities from around Gaza strip
TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the resilience of communities near the Gaza strip that were targeted in deadly attacks by Hamas last month, and renewed a vow to neutralize the Palestinian militant group.
At a meeting with community leaders from the region Friday, Netanyahu said: “First of all (our priority is) to restore security — to make sure that there is no Hamas and that Hamas does not return — but also to make sure that there will be a strong life afterward.”
Palestinian-American family describe fear, humiliation in Gaza
A Palestinian-American family trapped in Gaza for a month as Israeli forces showered the enclave with munitions expressed gratitude for home after returning to Massachusetts on Monday.
Abood Okal, Wafaa Abuzayda, and their 1-year-old son, Yousef Okal, were visiting relatives in northern Gaza when Hamas militants attacked Israel, sparking retaliatory waves of shelling and leaving them trapped in Gaza.
For the next 27 days they prayed for their survival. “Our biggest hope was that this is a nightmare that we wake up from,” Abood Okal said.
U.S. trying to help get fuel to Gaza hospitals, top diplomat tells U.N.
A top U.S. official at the United Nations told the U.N. Security Council today that the U.S. has been working to help get fuel to hospitals in Gaza.
“We know that hospitals are in desperate need of fuel. The United States has been working tirelessly to put in place mechanisms to enable the fuel to reach hospitals and to meet other urgent needs in the south,” said Robert Wood, a U.S. representative in the United Nations. “But I also want to make clear that we share Israel’s concerns about Hamas’ hoarding and siphoning of fuel in northern Gaza. This is unacceptable, and we must all call it out.”
Though hundreds of aid trucks have entered Gaza since the war began last month, they have not been allowed to bring fuel because of Israel’s concern that it could be used by Hamas to power rockets.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said earlier today on social media that Al-Quds Hospital in northern Gaza was at risk of closing because of a lack of fuel and aid.
Wood also emphasized to the Security Council that civilian and humanitarian facilities, especially hospitals and medical facilities and those who provide care there, “must be respected and protected consistent with international law.”
More than 250 attacks on Gaza health care system: WHO says
UNITED NATIONS — The World Health Organization has verified more than 250 attacks on hospitals, clinics, patients and ambulances in Gaza since Hamas’ incursion into Israel on Oct. 7 — as well as 25 attacks on health care in Israel.
In Gaza, the “health system is on its knees” and the situation on the ground “is impossible to describe,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
“As we speak, there are reports of firing outside the al-Shifa and Rantisi hospitals,” he said, adding that Palestinian health workers were still saving lives despite being “directly in the firing line.”
Last week saw attacks on five hospitals in one day in Gaza, Ghebreyesus said, and in the past 48 hours four hospitals with some 430 beds were put out of action.
He said half of the Gaza Strip’s 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary health care centers are not functioning, and facilities that are functioning “are operating way beyond their capacities.”
Grand Central Terminal reopens after protest
Grand Central Terminal has reopened after “protest activity” earlier tonight prompted its closure.
New York City’s emergency notification system announced the reopening on social media at 11:50 p.m. ET, nearly three hours after the closure was posted at 9:08 p.m.
Several children with cancer and serious blood disorders evacuated from Gaza
More than a dozen children with cancer or other serious blood disorders have been safely evacuated from Gaza after weeks of difficult negotiations involving the U.S., Egypt, Israel and Hamas — but more than 30 remain in the war-torn territory, three doctors involved in the effort tell NBC News.
The children, accompanied by parents or companions, were evacuated from the Al-Rantisi Specialized Hospital for Children to hospitals in Egypt and Jordan, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization said Friday.
The development comes as hospitals across northern Gaza on Thursday and Friday came under munitions fire and as Israeli military vehicles drew near. Strikes hit the strip’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, though it is unclear where the projectile originated.
Read the full story here.
Grand Central Terminal closes because of protest
Grand Central Terminal, the historic train station in Midtown Manhattan, was closed tonight because of “protest activity.”
The closure was announced on the social media platform X, by city emergency notification officials at 9:08 p.m. ET. The circa-1913 transportation hub is normally open until 2 a.m. nightly.
Earlier, the account noted that travelers could face limited access and emergency personnel at the terminal because of the protest activity.
The New York Police Department’s office of the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information said it was too early for crowd estimates or arrest figures, if there were any.
It wasn’t immediately clear what protest prompted the closure. At least one pro-Palestinian rally was scheduled for this afternoon.
Protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war also shut down the terminal late last month.
Posters of people held hostage by Hamas, affixed to light poles and buildings in cities and on college campuses around the U.S., are being torn down, leading to confrontations captured on social media and further inflaming the debate over the war in the Middle East.
Family members of hostages and antisemitism organizations said that removing the posters, meant to ensure their captured loved ones are not forgotten, is worsening already high tensions in the U.S. since Hamas’ initial Oct. 7 terror attack.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t understand why people are doing this. My daughter was taken as a hostage by a terrorist group. You’re doing a very bad act,” said Eitan Gonen, 55, who lives in Israel.
Romi Gonen, 23, was at a music festival when she was abducted.
Tearing the photos off telephone poles and other public-facing surfaces has become more frequent in recent weeks, following Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes and ground invasion, which Gaza health officials say have killed more than 10,800 people.
Read the full story here.
Conflicting accounts on U.S. intel of claims Hamas is operating under Al-Shifa Hospital
Biden administration officials and congressional sources have offered conflicting accounts on the U.S. intelligence community’s reporting about Israel’s claim that Hamas is operating a command center and tunnels under Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza.
Palestinian health officials said numerous people were wounded Thursday when a munition struck the courtyard of Al-Shifa Hospital, where thousands of people are taking shelter.
Two U.S. officials said that the United States agreed with Israel’s assessment over how Hamas uses Al-Shifa hospital. One said the U.S. has “no reason to doubt” Israel’s claim. A second U.S official said “the U.S. intelligence community’s view is that Hamas has set up its own infrastructure in and below Al-Shifa” hospital, including a command center. The militants also use other hospitals in Gaza as a base for military operations, the official added.
However, two congressional sources with knowledge of the matter said the U.S. could not independently confirm Israel’s claim regarding what is beneath the hospital. One spoke on Friday and one on Thursday.
The United States for years has tended to rely heavily on Israel’s intelligence services for insights into militants’ activities in the Gaza Strip, according to former intelligence officials.
Hamas militants deny they are using hospitals to shield themselves from attack.
Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a former Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that Hamas was violating the laws of war by operating from hospitals and that Israel had a right to target the militants.
But Regev said that Israel still would “make a maximum effort to differentiate between the Hamas terrorists who are our target and innocent civilians who we don’t want to see get caught up in crossfire.”
People have a right to protest, Vice President Harris says
Amid ongoing rallies in the U.S. related the Israel-Hamas war, Vice President Kamala Harris said people have “a right to protest.”
“We are a democracy,” Harris told reporters. “And we should value the voices and listen to the voices.”
Harris said it’s “a very difficult time” and that she hopes “we can engage in conversation and discourse in a way that understands this is not binary and then appreciates that we are talking about real human beings.”
Park Police will be lead federal agency at ‘March for Israel’, sources say
United States Park Police will be the lead federal agency for the “March for Israel,” set to take place Tuesday in Washington, two law enforcement sources tell NBC News.
Park Police have jurisdiction over the National Mall, where the rally organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington will be held. Other agencies will coordinate, the sources said.
‘Every minute, we hear bombing around us,’ doctor at Al-Shifa hospital says
TEL AVIV — A doctor at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City described heavy bombing outside the medical facility late into the night this evening.
“Every time, every minute, we hear bombing around us,” Dr. Adnan Albursh, a consultant orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, said in a phone interview with NBC News at around midnight local time.
Albursh said there were also multiple bombardments around the hospital throughout the day. He said many people fled from the hospital, but there were still thousands there.
“We cannot evacuate the hospital because there are a lot of patients here,” he said. “There’s children, women, all ages.”
Dr. Marwan Abusada, a surgeon and the head of International Cooperation at the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, told NBC News he also heard multiple bombardments and shooting outside the hospital throughout the day. He said there was heavy bombing around the facility’s gate late at night.
Both doctors said a number of people had died, and that others were injured.
Columbia University suspends Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace chapters
Columbia University has suspended their student chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) through the end of the fall term, according to a statement.
“This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated University policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation,” said Gerald Rosberg, Columbia’s senior executive vice president and chair of the Special Committee on Campus Safety.
This means that both groups will not be allowed to hold events on campus or receive university funding, according to Rosberg.
“Lifting the suspension will be contingent on the two groups demonstrating a commitment to compliance with University policies and engaging in consultations at a group leadership level with University officials,” Rosberg said.
Florida lawmaker says ‘All of them’ after colleague asks how many dead Palestinians are enough while calling for a ceasefire
A Florida lawmaker is facing criticism after saying “All of them” when a colleague asked how many dead Palestinians are enough while calling for a ceasefire.
Rep. Angie Nixon, D-FL., introduced a resolution today calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages. During the debate, she asked “We are at 10,000 dead Palestinians, how many will be enough?”
Rep. Michelle Salzman, R-FL., interrupted her, saying, “All of them.”
“One of my colleagues just said ‘All of them,’ wow,” Nixon responded. “That’s what we have become in this state? We don’t care about innocent babies that don’t get the chance to blow out their first birthday candle?”
Nixon’s resolution failed in a 104-2 vote.
In a statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Florida chapter condemned what they called Salzman’s “genocidal comment” and called on the state GOP to censure her as well as make a “public repudiation” of the statement.
Photos: A vigil in London for health care workers killed in Gaza
In London this evening, medical workers gathered outside Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street residence to honor the memory of Palestinian health care workers who have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war. Sunak has resisted calls to support a cease-fire.
U.N. secretary-general: 821 trucks have entered Gaza, 101 UNRWA staffers killed and 12 children with cancer evacuated
The spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general, Stéphane Dujarric held a briefing describing the situation in Gaza, saying, “We remained very concerned about the escalating violence and tension we are seeing in the West Bank.” Dujarric said more than 50,000 people left Gaza yesterday and 65 trucks of aid entered, bringing the total number of trucks to 821.
Dujarric went on to say that 12 children with cancer and other blood disorders have evacuated with their families into Egypt and Jordan, and that 101 UNRWA staff members have been killed as a result of the conflict. The food situation has deteriorated in the north, as U.N. security partners have not been able to deliver assistance in the past eight days.
However, the U.N. is ready to increase aid, blaming the slow “trickle” of aid on the border clearance process. Dujarric also mentioned that the continued bombings on “civilian infrastructure” has a direct impact on the health care system.
NBC News’ Josh Lederman reports on “one of the more intense displays of aerial fighting” spotted from a camera aimed at the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Twenty students arrested at Brown University during sit-in protesting the war
Twenty students affiliated with the Brown University campus groups BrownU Jews for Ceasefire Now and Brown Students for Justice in Palestine were arrested this week after holding a sit-in on campus and refusing to leave an administrative building until the school’s president agreed to a list of demands related to the Israel-Hamas war.
In a statement, Brown University said campus police officers repeatedly warned the activists they would face arrest for trespassing if they stayed in the building after the end of operating hours at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday. The arrested students were transported to the Providence Police Department and individually charged with willful trespass.
The students had demanded that Brown “promote an immediate ceasefire and a lasting peace by divesting its endowment from companies that enable war crimes in Gaza,” including cutting ties with corporations linked to weapons manufacturers, according to a document shared with NBC News.
“We also wanted to change the conversation and complicate the narrative that there is one perspective of Jewish students on campus and there is one way to ensure and protect the safety of Jewish students,” said Rita Feder, a student who is involved in Jews for Ceasefire Now but did not attend the sit-in. “For us, to be safe means to stand in solidarity with Palestinian students on campus … It was important for us, as Jews, to stand up.”
Lily Gardner, a co-organizer of the sit-in, said all 20 people were released on their own recognizance by 11 p.m. ET Wednesday. She said they are all scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 28.
IDF says it targeted Hezbollah in response to launches over the past day
The Israel Defense Forces says it targeted Hezbollah positions in response to launches over the past day.
The IDF says three soldiers were injured “due to an anti-tank missile launched at an IDF post in the area of Manara in northern Israel.”
“Also, a short while ago, an IDF soldier was severely injured and another was moderately injured from the fall of a hostile aircraft that infiltrated into Israeli territory from Lebanon,” the IDF said in a statement.
NBC News has not independently verified any of these claims.
Senior doctor says there are no Hamas fighters at Al-Shifa hospital
A senior doctor in Gaza City’s largest hospital tells NBC News that militants were not allowed inside the facility amid growing fears that patients and medical staff will get further caught up in the fighting engulfing the enclave.
“No, they won’t come,” Dr. Ahmad Mukhlalat, the head of the burn unit at Al-Shifa hospital, told NBC News when asked if he had seen Hamas or Islamic Jihad fighters. “The people won’t allow them. They are not in Shifa Hospital.”
NBC News hasn’t verified the doctor’s claims.
Already the hospital has totally “collapsed” from a shortage of staff and supplies, Mukhlalat said. “You’re in a war zone. … Every minute you hear one or two bombardments”
As the Israel Defense Forces fight through Gaza City, much of the world’s focus will be on the hospitals. It will be viewed as a test of how the war is being conducted. A good deal of global diplomacy will depend on news of the doctors, nurses and patients trapped amid urban warfare.
A senior security official told NBC News today that one of the strikes at Al-Shifa hospital resulted from “a projectile launched by a militant group.” And Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told reporters today that it does not target hospitals unless soldiers see “Hamas terrorists shooting from hospitals. … We do what needs to be done.”
Asked if he is scared tonight, Mukhlalat told us, “Absolutely.”
Casualties in Gaza could be ‘even higher than are being cited,’ says official
The casualties in Gaza could be “even higher than are being cited,” according to Barbara Leaf, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.
When testifying before the House Committee on Foreign Relations Wednesday, Leaf was asked about the Palestinian death count by Rep. Nathaniel Moran, R-Texas.
“In this period of conflict and conditions of war, it is very difficult for any of us to assess what the rate of casualties are,” Leaf said. “We think they’re very high, frankly, and it could be that they’re even higher than are being cited. We’ll know only after the guns fall silent.”
Leaf said the State Department relies on different sources on the ground for casualty reports, including nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations Relief and Work Agency.
“I would just say, as a point of comparison, Gaza Strip is about 25 miles in length and 7 to 12 miles in width, and you’ve got 2.2 million of people compressed into a piece of land that is comparable to Rhode Island, I guess. But I think Rhode Island is actually a bit larger and is half the population. So in these extraordinarily dense confines, it just stands to reason that there are very high casualties.”
What international law says about the protection of hospitals during war
Several hospitals in Gaza have reported coming under attack today. Under international humanitarian law, all health establishments, including hospitals, are protected and should not be targeted. This protection extends to the wounded and the sick — whether military or civilian — the medical staff and means of transport, like ambulances.
But hospitals can lose their protected status if they are used outside of their humanitarian function, for example by housing able-bodied fighters or storing weapons, Cordula Droege, International Committee of the Red Cross’ chief legal officer, explained in a post on X.
It is the responsibility of the enemy party to conduct a factual assessment before an attack, and it is required to issue warnings ahead of an assault. Droege emphasized that this does not give an armed force “free license to attack,” as they will remain subject to the principle of “proportionality and precaution” and must do everything feasible to avoid or minimize civilian casualties.
Israel has claimed that Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is above the headquarters for Hamas, which Hamas denies. Last week, the IDF bombed an ambulance as it was leaving the hospital, an act Human Rights Watch said should be investigated as a war crime.
Intense clashes and sniper fire reported near Al-Quds hospital
Intense clashes are taking place around Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said on X. It added that snipers had opened fire on the facility.
In a later post, it said that at least one person had died and two dozen people had been injured.
NBC News could not independently verify the claim and has approached the Israel Defense Forces for comment.
Al-Quds Hospital shut down key services yesterday as fuel supplies ran down, but continued to shelter displaced people.
Senior Israeli official: Missile strike at Shifa Hospital fired by militant group inside Gaza that misfired
TEL AVIV — A senior Israeli security official tells NBC News that a strike at Shifa Hospital today resulted from a projectile launched by a militant group inside Gaza that misfired. The official said that the IDF is conducting an “extensive review of its operational systems and intelligence” regarding the event.
NBC News has not independently verified the claim by the security official.
Early Friday, strikes hit the courtyard and the obstetrics department of Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, where tens of thousands of people are sheltering, according to Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesperson at the Health Ministry.
The IDF is expected to release additional information that they say will back up this claim of a misfire. The official did not identify which group launched the projectile nor did he specify whether Israel knows which group was responsible. The official also did not say whether the IDF has launched any strikes of its own on Shifa or other hospitals today.
Blinken says ‘far too many’ Palestinians have been killed
Blinken said today that “far too many Palestinians have been killed” in Israel’s conflict with Hamas.
“Much more needs to be done to protect civilians and to make sure that humanitarian assistance reaches them,” the secretary of state told reporters in New Delhi as he wrapped up a nine-day diplomatic tour of the Middle East and Asia.
Recent Israeli moves to improve conditions in Gaza through pauses in military operations and creating a second humanitarian corridor were positive, he said, but they are not nearly enough.
‘The world is failing at its duties,’ Holocaust survivors say
Marion Deichmann was 9 years old when she last saw her mother, Alice, who was killed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Holocaust. Members of the French resistance saved Deichmann’s life. The terror attack against Israel on Oct. 7 left her in “disbelief,” she said.
Deichmann, 90, is one of 10 Holocaust survivors who signed a letter released by the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center explaining how the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas reverberates with many Holocaust survivors.
“The world is failing at its duties,” read the letter, which was released on the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass.” “People are retreating to their corners, casting blame on those who look, sound, or worship differently. Jewish places of gathering and worship are being defaced with swastikas as Jews around the world are being told that ‘Hitler should have eradicated all of you.’ A 6‐year‐old boy in our community was stabbed to death because he was Palestinian. None of these actions will bring about a more peaceful and just world.”
“We all are different in our heritage, the color of our skin, but we are all human beings, and we need tolerance, not hatred,” Deichmann told NBC News.
Anti-Defamation League Director Jonathan Greenblatt, said, “One of the lessons of Kristallnacht is how quickly things can turn. So I think as a Jewish community, even here in America, we’ve got to be vigilant.”
Hospital officials painting a bleak picture, leading Palestinian lawmaker says
JERUSALEM — Hospital officials are painting a bleak picture after Israeli strikes in the vicinity of several medical complexes in northern Gaza, a leading Palestinian lawmaker told NBC News.
Dr. Moustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative party, accused Israel of “indiscriminate bombardment” in the vicinity of hospitals in northern Gaza.
“I never thought that in the 21st century, we will be in such a situation,” said Barghouti, who is a physician as well as a politician. He added that his colleagues had told him they’ve had to perform surgeries without anesthesia.
NBC News has approached the Israel Defense Forces for comment about the strikes in the vicinity of hospitals.
Almost half of Gaza’s housing has been destroyed, U.N. says
Using analysis of satellite imagery, the United Nations said in a report today it had determined that at least 45% of the housing in Gaza has been destroyed or damaged by Israel’s monthlong bombardment.
Published by the United Nations Development Program, the report also found that 40% of schools have been destroyed or damaged beyond use, leaving 625,000 students without access to education.
The analysis also found deep disruption in the agricultural sector: 36% of greenhouses have been destroyed or damaged, and some 1,023 fields are pocked with craters.
Children are transported by any means out of northern Gaza
A woman drags two children in baby seats along a road as Palestinians families stream out of Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza toward the southern areas today.
Arrests as pro-Palestinian protesters gather outside government buildings in Washington
WASHINGTON — Pro-Palestinian demonstrators called for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip as they protested outside government buildings in Washington, resulting in several arrests.
Battling rain, several dozen protesters gathered at each of the four entrances to the State Department yesterday afternoon, displaying Palestinian flags and holding signs criticizing Israel and the Biden administration. The protest was timed to coincide with the end of the workday, with protesyers shouting “Shame!” and “Quit your job!” at State Department employees as they left the building.
The protest was part of a global effort to stage demonstrations in support of Palestinians yesterday, and included a pray-in at the Senate Office Building, and a large protest in New York that shut down midtown streets.
Saudi crown prince accuses Israel of violating international law
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today accused Israel of violating international law and called for an end to the war in Gaza.
“We condemn what the Gaza Strip is facing from military assault, targeting of civilians, the violations of international law by the Israeli occupation authorities,” he said during an African-Saudi summit held in the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh
“We stress on the need to stop this war and the forced displacement of Palestinians,” the powerful crown prince added.
French far-right leader’s plan to march against antisemitism raises a storm
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has set off a cacophony of criticism over her plans to attend a weekend march to protest against rising antisemitism in France, with critics saying that her once-pariah party has failed to shake off its antisemitic heritage despite growing political legitimacy.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, numerous political parties and people are to attend Sunday’s march. Le Pen has said that she and her National Rally party also will be there, in what some see as an attempt to leverage the Israel-Hamas war to make herself more palatable to mainstream voters.
Party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father, was convicted repeatedly of antisemitic hate speech and played down the scope of the Holocaust. Daughter Marine — runner-up in the last two presidential elections and likely a top contender in 2027 — has worked to scrub the party’s image, kicking her father out and changing its name from National Front to National Rally.
But the party’s current president, Jordan Bardella, said in an interview on BFM TV this week that he doesn’t think Jean-Marie Le Pen is antisemitic, a remark that revived the link between past and present.
Hundreds of journalists sign letter protesting war coverage
Hundreds of journalists have signed an open letter condemning Israel’s killing of reporters and urging integrity in the Western media’s coverage of the war with Hamas.
“We are writing to urge an end to violence against journalists in Gaza and to call on Western newsroom leaders to be clear-eyed in coverage of Israel’s repeated atrocities against Palestinians,” it says, adding, “We also hold Western newsrooms accountable for dehumanizing rhetoric that has served to justify ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”
Accusing Israel of “wide scale suppression of speech,” it says, “We stand with our colleagues in Gaza and herald their brave efforts at reporting in the midst of carnage and destruction. Without them, many of the horrors on the ground would remain invisible.”
Among the signatories are journalists from The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Boston Globe and the Reuters news agency.
Fate of hostages whose release was promised remains unknown
JERUSALEM — There is no news this morning about the fate of two Israeli hostages whose release was promised by the military wing of the Islamic Jihad group yesterday.
Abu Hamza, a spokesperson for the Al-Quds Brigade, said in a video on the Telegram messaging app yesterday that Hanna Katsir, 77, would be released for health reasons because they could not provide her with medicine.
He also said that 12-year-old Yagil Yaqoub would be freed. In a statement earlier this week, Israel’s government said the child had a life-threatening peanut allergy.
The International Committee of the Red Cross told NBC News today that it would need guarantees. “We cannot force our way through the bullets,” spokesperson Alyona Synenko said.
Rafah border crossing open for around 600 foreign nationals today
The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is preparing to receive 595 foreign passport holders, according to the spokesman for Egypt’s North Sinai governorate.
Most of the foreign nationals are Russian, Ukrainian and Egyptian. So far, 3,828 have been able to leave Gaza, not including those slated to exit today. At the start of the war, there was an estimated 7,500 foreigners in Gaza.
Evacuations from the border crossing are heavily negotiated, and have included more than 400 U.S. citizens, among other countries, as well as injured Palestinians.
Four-hour pauses ‘cynical and cruel,’ U.N. official says
Israel’s decision to allow a daily four-hour humanitarian pause in combat operations in northern Gaza is “very cynical and cruel,” the U.N. special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories said today.
“There has been continuous bombings, 6,000 bombs every week on the Gaza Strip, on this tiny piece of land where people are trapped and the destruction is massive,” Francesca Albanese told reporters in the Australian city of Adelaide. “There won’t be any way back after what Israel is doing to the Gaza Strip.”
She added that the four-hour pause would “let people breathe and to remember what is the sound of life without bombing before starting bombing them again.”
“It’s very cynical and cruel,” Albanese added.
Blasts leave behind a scarred landscape in Rafah
Palestinians stand at the edge of a blast crater in Rafah, in southern Gaza, this morning.
Palestinian Authority ready to assume responsibility in Gaza in broader deal, Abbas says
President Mahmoud Abbas said today that his Palestinian Authority was ready to assume responsibilities in the Gaza Strip as part of a comprehensive political solution for the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
His comments came as Israel continued its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, having vowed to “destroy” the militant group that has been entrenched in Gaza for decades and in power since 2006. Abbas’ Fatah-run Palestinian Authority partially administers the West Bank.
However, the Israeli government has yet to outline what it envisions for the densely populated enclave after the military operation ends. Netanyahu said last night that Israel had no intent to reoccupy or govern Gaza, having earlier suggested that his country would maintain “overall security responsibility” for the enclave when the conflict ends.
20 Gaza hospitals out of action, ‘intense violence’ at Al-Shifa: WHO
Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital was coming “under bombardment,” a spokesperson for the World Health Organization said today, adding that 20 hospitals in the besieged enclave were now out of action entirely.
Quoting colleagues on the ground, Margaret Harris told a news briefing that she didn’t have “the detail on Al-Shifa but we do know they are coming under bombardment.” Asked to elaborate, she said there was “intense violence” at the site.
At the same briefing, the U.N. humanitarian office said that there had been some “issues” getting aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, which it said had been designed for pedestrians, not trucks.
Only 65 trucks carrying food, medicine, hygiene supplies and water, and seven ambulances, crossed from Egypt into Gaza on Wednesday, it said.
Fire burns at dawn along the Gaza border
An image taken from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza shows a fire burning at dawn in the northern Gaza Strip today.
‘Be strong’: Father of 8-year-old girl believed kidnapped by Hamas speaks out
TEL AVIV — Thomas Hand, an Irishman who has lived in Israel for decades, let his daughter sleep at a friend’s house on the other side of the Be’er kibbutz Oct. 6. The next day, after Hamas militants terrorized their village and Hand was rescued by Israeli soldiers, he was told that his 8-year-old daughter, Emily, had been found dead.
But that was wrong, as weeks later IDF soldiers told Hand they had found no sign of her body and that they thought she had been taken to Gaza as a hostage, along with her friend and her friend’s mother.
The Red Cross has been unable to provide Hand with any proof of life for his only daughter, but he remains hopeful that she is alive, and he said, “The evidence that I’ve got is enough to tell me she is alive.”
Emily will celebrate her 9th birthday next week.
“We love you, we are waiting for you, we want you to come home soon,” Hand said in a message to Emily. “Hopefully you’ll be here for your birthday. Be strong, we know you’re strong.”
Iran warns that an expansion of the war in Gaza is ‘inevitable’
Iran warned that the war in Gaza could lead to an expansion of the conflict, as Israel continues its aerial bombardment and its ground offensive presses deeper into Gaza.
“Due to the expansion of the intensity of the war against Gaza’s civilian residents, expansion of the scope of the war has become inevitable,” Reuters quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying to his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
While it is unclear what exactly Iran meant by an inevitable expansion, the country has long maintained a network of proxy militias across the Middle East.
‘More needs to be done’ to protect civilians, Blinken says
Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the news that Israel would formalize daily humanitarian pauses but said that “more needs to be done.”
“Far too many Palestinians have been killed, far too many have suffered these past weeks,” said Blinken, speaking in New Delhi at the end of a lengthy diplomatic trip across the Middle East and Asia.
“I think some progress has been made,” he said, but he added that “much more needs to be done to protect civilians and to make sure that humanitarian assistance reaches them.”
Heavy blasts hit near Gaza City hospitals
TEL AVIV — A whoosh as an object flies past, then a bang and then shouts and screams from people outside the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City, all captured in graphic video that also showed people badly wounded and bloodied in the facility’s courtyard.
Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Health Ministry, said in a statement that there had been multiple casualties at the hospital.
Gazan officials have also accused Israel of launching strikes near a number of hospitals in northern Gaza overnight and early this morning.
Dr. Mustafa Al-Kahlot, director of the Al-Rantisi and Al-Nasr hospitals for children, said at least one child had died while others were trapped. “We were bombed twice. The first was at the hospital gate and the second was directly on the departments,” he said.
NBC News has approached the Israeli Defense Forces for comment about the strikes near hospitals.
Top U.S. and Indian officials discuss range of issues including Israel-Hamas war
Top diplomats and defense chiefs from India and the United States met today focusing on security issues involving the Indo-Pacific, China and the Israel-Hamas war.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. and India have a strong partnership and would discuss matters with implications for the future.
“The future is now,” he told reporters.
“We are promoting a free and open and prosperous Asia-Pacific, including by strengthening our partnership in the Quad with Japan and Australia,” Blinken said in remarks at the start of the meeting.
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Israel strikes target in Syria
Israel’s military attacked a target in Syria that launched a unmaned aerial vehicle toward Eilat yesterday and hit a school, it said in a statement today.
The IDF would “respond severely to every aggression against Israeli territory,” the statement said.
It added that Israel held Syria responsible for “every terror activity emanating from its territory.”
Israeli tanks seen near children’s hospital in Gaza City
Multiple tanks can be seen in the vicinity of Gaza City’s Rantisi Specialist Hospital, in videos posted on social media and geolocated by NBC News.
The videos show two tanks stationed in destroyed alleys, indicating the advancement of Israeli troops deep in the city. Witnesses told an NBC News crew that military vehicles were seen about a half-mile away from the Al-Shifa medical complex, also in Gaza City.
“The occupation is present in the vicinity of the hospitals square in central Gaza and is demanding its evacuation,” the Hamas-run government media office told NBC News. NBC News has reached out to the IDF for comment.
The reports of Israeli ground forces in the vicinity of the hospitals came after local health officials reported bombardment in the area left multiple hospitals damaged. Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra said the attacks had not stopped all morning, causing a “major disaster.”
A child takes in the damage in Rafah
A young girl rides on top of a bicycle as she stares at the destruction in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in Rafah, in southern Gaza, today.
Harvard shares plan for combating antisemitism after criticism
Harvard announced plans for fighting antisemitism on campus after intense criticism from students and alumni over its response to the Israel-Hamas war.
Prominent alumni have threatened to cut off donations, citing a letter signed by more than 30 student groups that blamed Israel for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, as well as video of a pro-Palestinian protest at Harvard Business School on Oct. 18 that appeared to show a Jewish student being harassed.
In an email to the Harvard community yesterday, President Claudine Gay said the school would implement a “robust program of education and training” for students, faculty members and staff on antisemitism at Harvard and beyond.
“As part of this program, we will provide education about the roots of certain rhetoric that has been heard on our campus in recent weeks, and its impact on Jewish members of our community, to help us all better recognize antisemitism in daily life and interrupt its harmful influence,” she said.
More than 50,000 Gazans flee south again, U.N. says
More than 50,000 people left northern Gaza yesterday, fleeing south via a humanitarian corridor along the main traffic artery, Salah Ah Deen road, according to a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Most of the people evacuated via foot or donkey carts, the report, published today, said. It added that “most were able to carry only few personal belongings.”
The corridor will remain open today from 10 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) to 4 p.m, Avichay Adraee, a spokesperson for the Israeli military wrote on X in Arabic, adding that northern Gaza was a “fierce combat zone.”
War is costing more than expected, Israel’s central bank chief says
War with Hamas is costing Israel more than expected, its central bank chief said, describing it as a “major shock” to the economy.
Though the Israeli economy is strong and stable, “there is no doubt the war will have fiscal implications and generate budget pressures,” Bank of Israel’s governor, Amir Yaron, said yesterday at an International Monetary Fund conference in Washington.
Israel’s gross domestic product growth is likely to shrink about 1% in 2023 and 2024, he said, while the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio is likely to rise above 65% by the end of 2024, compared with just under 60% before the conflict began, “as costs are larger than was initially projected.” He said the estimates were based on the war remaining concentrated at Israel’s southern border and lasting until the end of this year.
“The Israeli economy has known how to function and to recover from difficult periods in the past and to return to prosperity rapidly,” Yaron said. “I have no doubt that the same will be the case this time.”
IDF says it killed several top Hamas commanders
The Israel Defense Forces said this morning its troops had killed three top Hamas commanders who it said were part of the Oct. 7. attacks.
Ahmed Musa, a company commander, and Omar Al-Hindi, a platoon commander, were located in western Jabaliya, it said today, adding that Mohammed Kahlout, head of a sniper array, was also killed.
“Furthermore, IDF troops struck a shipping container located at a beach, containing approximately 20 rocket launchers,” it added.
NBC News has not verified the claims.
International travel demand has fallen since Israel-Hamas war began, data shows
International flight bookings around the world have fallen since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict, especially in the Americas, as people cancel trips to the Middle East and around the world, according to the travel analysis firm ForwardKeys.
“This war is a catastrophic, heartbreaking, human tragedy that we are all seeing daily on our TV screens,” Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights at ForwardKeys, said in a statement. “That is bound to put people off (from) traveling to the region, but it has also dented consumer confidence in traveling elsewhere too.”
In the three weeks after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas, international flight bookings from the Americas dropped 10%, compared with the number of tickets issued in the three weeks before the attack, according to flight ticketing data from the firm.
International flight bookings fell 5% across regions on average, impacting the global rebound in international travel from the pandemic.
A boy searches through the rubble of a home in Khan Younis today
‘We don’t seek to occupy’ Gaza, Netanyahu says
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview Thursday, “we don’t seek to govern Gaza, we don’t seek to occupy” but that he is committed to destroying Hamas.
“We’re going to continue until we eradicate Hamas. Nothing will stop that,” Netanyahu said in an interview on Fox News.
Netanyahu did not give an estimated time for the military offensive against Hamas in Gaza to last. “I’ve set goals. I didn’t set a timetable, because you know, it can take more time. I wish it will take little time,” he said.
Netanyahu said in an interview with ABC News this week that Israel would have “the overall security responsibility” for Gaza for an indefinite period after the war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said subsequently that it was clear that “Gaza cannot be continued to be run by Hamas,” but that “it’s also clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza.”