February 21, 2024

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Gaza’s health system is ‘collapsing’ as battles intensify in the south

Gaza’s health system is ‘collapsing’ as battles intensify in the south

NBC News spoke with displaced Palestinians who were forced to evacuate to Al-Mawasi, an Israeli-designated “safe zone” along the Mediterranean in southern Gaza. United Nations officials warned that conditions in Gaza are deteriorating rapidly as Israel continues its military offensive.

About 1.9 million people have been displaced in Gaza, officials have said. Aid and health organizations have warned of a health care system that is collapsing. Cindy McCain, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, has said that “only a fraction of the food needed is getting in,” and has called the situation in Gaza “a nightmare.”

Biden officials meet with Jewish leaders in White House to discuss rise in antisemitism

WASHINGTON — Biden administration officials met with Jewish leaders at the White House to discuss rising antisemitism, according to a meeting participant.

Amy Spitalnick, chief executive of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, was there and confirmed the gathering included White House coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk, Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall, and Deborah Lipstadt, special envoy on antisemitism.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff spoke at the meeting, Spitalnick said.

“The administration has been incredibly responsive and engaged,” Spitalnick said in a statement.

Read the full story here.

Gaza captivity was ‘Russian roulette,’ freed Israeli hostage says

YAVNE, Israel — Israeli Sharon Alony-Cunio survived 52 days as a hostage in Gaza with her two little girls before she was released in an Israel-Hamas swap deal. But she fears for the life of her husband, who is still captive in the bombarded Palestinian enclave.

Now back home with her twin 3-year-olds, Julie and Emma, she pleads for the remaining 137 hostages to be freed. “Every minute is critical. The conditions there are not good, and the days go on forever,” she told Reuters in her first interview.

“It’s a Russian roulette. You don’t know whether tomorrow morning they’ll keep you alive or kill you, just because they want to or just because their backs are against the wall,” said Alony-Cunio, 34.

Alony-Cunio was one of 240 people taken hostage on Oct. 7 by Hamas gunmen who burst through the border with Israel and killed around 1,200 people.

The militants who took over her kibbutz, Nir Oz, which lies a little over a mile from Gaza, set fire to her house and took her away at gunpoint after she climbed out the window.

She was taken across the border with her husband and one of their twins, she said. Their second daughter was held separately in Gaza for 10 days before they were reunited in captivity with 12 other hostages under conditions she said were tough, particularly for children.

“Everyone gave up food for [the girls]. You don’t know if in the evening there will be a pita, so in the morning you save some for the evening. Everything is very calculated, a quarter of a pita, half a pita to keep for the next morning.”

Sometimes they were fed dates and cheese, and sometimes they would divide meat rice and rations for six among the 12 of them.

Waiting to be allowed to go to the toilet was a problem for the girls, she said, so they had to use a sink and a rubbish bin. “Sometimes when there was a power cut, they let us open the door, they drew the curtain, and then we would whisper. How do you keep a child together for 12 hours with whispers only?”

Her group of hostages was held above ground and moved a few times, she said, but with memories still raw and with her husband still inside, Alony-Cunio was reluctant to give more details of her capture and her time as a hostage.

But one of the biggest hardships, she said, was simply not knowing what was being done to get them out.

“Every day there is crying, frustration and anxiety. How long are we going to be here? Have they forgotten about us? Have they given up on us?”

More than 100 hostages were released in a seven-day truce. The rest are still being held incommunicado as Israel bombards Gaza, vowing to take out Hamas. More than 18,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to local health authorities.

Many families of the 137 hostages still in Gaza, whose names and photos on posters line the streets of Israel, are scared.

“My children are torn,” Alony-Cunio said. “I am torn without my second half, the love of my life, the father of my daughters, who ask me every day, ‘Where is Daddy?’”

David was separated from them three days before their release on Nov. 27, before fighting resumed. Getting the remaining hostages out should be the top priority, she said.

“I am petrified I will get bad news that he is no longer alive,” Alony-Cunio said.

“We are not just names on a poster. We are human beings, flesh and blood. The father of my girls is there, my partner, and many other fathers, children, mothers, brothers.”

Israel focused on preventing the ‘next massacre,’ says former PM Naftali Bennett

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says an “interim technocratic government” should govern Gaza once Hamas is rooted out until a permanent structure can be put in place. He joined “Meet the Press NOW” to discuss the state of the Israel-Hamas war and the future of Gaza.

Israeli hostage freed by Hamas says ‘time is running out’ for captives as she describes harrowing conditions

TEL AVIV — Yocheved Lifshitz, one of the first Israeli hostages released by Hamas, took the world by surprise in late October when she shook the hand of one of her captors and uttered a single word: “Shalom” — a Hebrew salutation meaning “peace.”

Now, in an exclusive interview, Lifshitz said she believes peace can be achieved only once those who are still held captive are freed.

They include her husband, Oded Lifshitz, who was also kidnapped from their kibbutz, Nir Oz, on Oct. 7.

“Time is running out,” Lifshitz, an 85-year-old peace activist who was released Oct. 23, told NBC News’ Richard Engel today.

“They need to get out today. Otherwise, they won’t survive,” she warned.

Read the full story here.

Limited hope that U.S. can secure another pause agreement, two officials say

and

There is limited hope in the Biden administration that the U.S. can secure another pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas to potentially release more hostages held in Gaza, according to two U.S. officials.

So far, there has been “zero” progress in achieving that, one of the officials said, but another suggested there is some optimism that that could shift in the coming days if all parties return to serious negotiations.

It has been over a week since the pause ended, which led to the release of more than 100 hostages. The Qataris, who have served as mediator in talks among Israel, Hamas, Egypt and the U.S., are still trying to get everyone back to the table after Israel said Hamas had not been able to produce a satisfactory list of hostages, which led to collapse of the multiday deal on Dec. 1.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday there are still “daily conversations” with U.S. partners in the region about the likelihood of getting another humanitarian pause.

“Don’t have any progress report today, but it is an active issue of discussion,” Kirby said aboard Air Force One. “We think it’s still valuable.”

Questions remain about how many hostages Hamas, or other militant groups in Gaza, might be holding. Over the weekend, Israel claimed that Hamas was in possession of the bodies of 20 hostages who had been killed since the Oct. 7 attacks.

A U.S. official said the Biden administration has no reason to doubt that figure but could not speak to whether the number could include any Americans. Eight or nine Americans are still unaccounted-for. Four U.S. citizens have been released so far: two before the exchange deal and two during the agreement before it fell apart.

Israeli soldiers lined up along the Gaza border

Israeli soldiers take positions near the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel on Dec. 11, 2023.
Israeli soldiers take positions Monday near the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel.Ohad Zwigenberg / AP

284 people killed sheltering in U.N. facilities, refugee agency says

The U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, said 284 displaced people in Gaza have been killed sheltering in U.N. facilities.

Since the war began, more than 40 UNRWA installations in Gaza have been directly hit and 60 more have sustained collateral damage. UNRWA notes in today’s situational report that nearly a thousand people have been injured at its facilities.

An estimated 1.3 million people are taking shelter in 154 UNRWA installations in Gaza.

And in the West Bank, Israeli security forces have killed 265 Palestinians. UNRWA reports that 69 of them were children.

Palestinians shelter at a UNRWA school in Rafah, Gaza, on Nov. 28, 2023.
Palestinians shelter at a UNRWA school in Rafah, Gaza, on Nov. 28.Abed Rahim Khatib / Anadolu via Getty Images

Israel to open Kerem Shalom border crossing to security checks for aid convoys

The Kerem Shalom border crossing will open to security checks tomorrow, which will help streamline inspections for aid trucks that are entering Gaza.

Israel made the announcement in a video through the official X account for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, which said opening the crossing would allow double the amount of aid being sent to Palestinians.

Gaza has three border crossings: Rafah, Erez and Kerem Shalom. Rafah, which is only between Egypt and Gaza, was opened for civilian crossing and aid convoys weeks ago. But Kerem Shalom is a commercial crossing that connects Gaza, Egypt and Israel, which was used to bring aid to the Palestinian enclave before Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

World Food Programme Deputy Executive Director Carl Skau has told NBC News that reopening Kerem Shalom would significantly improve the aid situation, as current convoys cannot meet the need of starving Gazans.

‘They need to get out today’: Released hostage is concerned for those still in captivity

Yocheved Lifshitz, who was taken hostage by Hamas and released, told NBC News’ Richard Engel about those who are still being held in Gaza.

“They need to get out today; otherwise, they won’t live,” Lifshitz says, citing concerns about their treatment by Hamas that have led to conditions including a lack of air in tunnels, exhaustion and a shortage of food and medicine.

Tune in for more from the interview tonight on “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” at 6:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm CT.

U.K. discussing potential travel bans on settlers accused of violence against Palestinians

Andrew Mitchell, a British Foreign Office minister, said there were discussions about potential travel bans on settlers in Israel accused of violence against Palestinians, according to Sky News.

He made the comment when he was asked directly in the House of Commons, saying that “planning is going on.” He added that targeted killings of civilians “are completely abhorrent.”

“The foreign secretary discussed this with his U.S. counterpart last week, and I hope it may be possible to say something about that shortly,” Mitchell said.

The State Department said last week that it planned to impose visa restrictions on extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank and their family members.

Shuttered shops during general strike in West Bank

Shuttered shops during a general strike in solidarity with Gaza, in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, on Dec. 11, 2023.
Hazem Bader / AFP via Getty Images
Closed shops in the West Bank city of Nablus during the observance of a global day of boycotts and strikes called for by pro-Palestinian activists to demand a cease-fire in Gaza, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.
Majdi Mohammed / AP

Stores, businesses and schools were closed in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem today in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Harvard faculty members urge university not to oust embattled president

More than 650 members of Harvard University’s faculty have signed a letter urging administrators to resist calls to remove the school’s president amid an outcry over her testimony last week at a congressional hearing about campus antisemitism.

“We, the undersigned faculty, urge you in the strong possible terms to defend the independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom, including calls for the removal of President Claudine Gay,” the letter says.

Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University, at a House hearing on campus antisemitism on Dec. 5, 2023.
Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University, at a House hearing on campus antisemitism Tuesday. Michael Brochstein / Sipa USA via AP

“The critical work of defending a culture of free inquiry in our diverse community cannot proceed if we let its shape be dictated by outside forces,” the letter goes on to say. NBC News obtained the text of the letter from history professor Alison Frank Johnson, one of the faculty members leading the effort.

Read the full story here.

White House ‘certainly concerned’ about reports of Israel using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus in Lebanon

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was asked today about a Washington Post report that munitions used by Israel in an October attack in southern Lebanon included U.S.-supplied white phosphorus.

Amnesty International reported on the use of the substance in October, accusing Israel of violating international law. Kirby told reporters that the administration was “certainly concerned” about reports that white phosphorus was being used by Israel in southern Lebanon.

But he also noted that white phosphorus has a “legitimate military use” for illumination and concealment purposes.

“And, obviously, anytime that we provide items like white phosphorus to another military it is with the full expectation that it’ll be used in keeping with those legitimate purposes and, and in keeping with the law of armed conflict,” Kirby said. “But we’ve seen these reports are they’re fresh, just don’t have any more on it.”

Capitol Police arrest protesters calling for Israel-Hamas cease-fire

Capitol Police arrested protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war after responding to a protest at the Hart Senate Office building on Capitol Hill.

Israeli shelling kills mayor of Lebanese village

DUBAI — An Israeli shell killed the mayor of a Lebanese village today, a relative and Lebanon’s National News Agency said, as Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah kept up hostilities ignited by the war in Gaza.

Hussein Mansour was killed in his home in the village of Taybeh a few miles from the border with Israel, the relative, Mohamed Mansour, told Reuters. The shell which struck him did not explode, the National News Agency said. The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Violence escalated at Lebanon’s border with Israel yesterday, with the Iran-backed Hezbollah launching explosive drones and powerful missiles at Israeli positions, and Israeli airstrikes rocking several towns and villages in south Lebanon.

Smoke from an Israeli bombardment billows across the horizon along the hills in southern Lebanon on Dec. 10, 2023.
Smoke from an Israeli bombardment yesterday along the hills in southern Lebanon.Jalaa Marey / AFP via Getty Images

ADL reports unprecedented rise in antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7

The Anti-Defamation League said today it recorded more than 2,000 antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7, the highest number recorded in a two-month period since it began tracking incidents in 1979.

“This includes 40 incidents of physical assault, 337 incidents of vandalism, 749 incidents of verbal or written harassment and 905 rallies including antisemitic rhetoric,” it said in a statement.

“The lid to the sewers is off, and Jewish communities all across the country are being inundated with hate,” CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.

Anti-Muslim incidents have similarly spiked during the same period, the Council on American–Islamic Relations reported last week. In the eight weeks since Oct. 7, CAIR received 2,171 requests for help and reports of bias, which is a 172 percent increase over a similar period last year.

Palestine Red Crescent is preparing a Qatari field hospital in Rafah

The Palestine Red Crescent Society today said its volunteers have begun the initial preparations for a Qatari field hospital in Rafah in southern Gaza.

“The hospital’s capacity is 50 beds, including an operating room, intensive care unit, reception, and radiology,” it said in a post on X.

The hospital will be managed by PRCS staff it said, aiming to support the medical personnel in southern Gaza.

Injured children treated at central Gaza hospital

Injured Palestinian children receive care at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip after strikes hit the al-Maghazi refugee camp today.

Injured Palestinians injured following strikes on al-Maghazi refugee camp receive care at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip on Dec. 11, 2023.
AFP via Getty Images

Israel says it sees the ‘beginning of the end of Hamas’

As Israeli forces advance in the Gaza Strip, Israeli government spokesperson Ofir Gendelman said today, “We see the beginning of the end of Hamas.”

“Hamas infrastructure is destroyed,” he said, calling for their surrender in a briefing in Arabic.

The statement was echoed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Hamas is “at the beginning of the end.”

A military analyst told the BBC, however, that it is “wildly optimistic” to suggest that Hamas is nearing surrender.

Gendelman added, “Today every person from Gaza thinks how beautiful life was before [Oct. 7] and how great the suffering was as a result of Hamas’ decision to wage war on Israel.”

Prior to Hamas’ attacks Oct. 7, Gaza had the among the highest unemployment rates in the world and most of the water was unfit for consumption. Most of its population was not allowed to leave the enclave without explicit approval.

European Union diplomats push for new sanctions against Hamas

ROME — The French, German and Italian foreign ministers are pushing for speedy adoption of new E.U. sanctions against Hamas for its “atrocious and indiscriminate terror attacks” against Israel on Oct. 7.

“The swift adoption of this sanctions regime will allow us to send a strong political message about the European Union’s commitment against Hamas and our solidarity with Israel,” the three ministers wrote in a letter today to Josep Borrell, the bloc’s high representative for foreign affairs.

The letter does not detail possible sanctions, but said it should enable the targeting of Hamas members, affiliated groups and supporters. The ministers said they broadly support a framework that Borrell outlined last week.

Foreign ministers of the 27-member bloc are meeting in Brussels today. The E.U. on Friday froze the funds and other assets in Europe of the commander general of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, and deputy commander Marwan Issa.

Hostages in Gaza will not be released except through an exchange, Qassam Brigades says

The military-wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, said yesterday that no hostages will be released without an exchange agreement.

“The enemy’s prisoners have not and will not be released except through an exchange,” spokesperson Abu Udaid said, adding said Israel cannot take the hostages alive “without exchanging or abiding by the conditions of resistance.”

Israel releases names of Hamas’ hostages believed to be dead

Israel released the names of 20 hostages that it believes to be dead under Hamas’ captivity.

The names include Shani Louk, a 23-year-old who attended the Supernova music festival. Her family had earlier announced her death.

The families of those still held hostage by Hamas, and those who have been released, continue to press for the freeing of 137 people who remain in captivity. Israel reiterated today that one of its primary goals continues to be the rescue of remaining hostages.

Rockets fired from Gaza strike Israeli city of Holon

Israeli security forces and residents gather at the scene of a rocket attack from Gaza that hit a residential area in Israel’s central coastal city of Holon today.

Gaza Israel Rocket
Ahmad Gharabli / AFP via Getty Images

Israeli military says it is focusing on three Hamas strongholds

The Israeli military is fighting in three areas it says are Hamas’ strongholds: Sajaiya, Jabalia and the Khan Younis area, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said yesterday.

“There are fierce and difficult battles, when terrorists emerge from the tunnels, planting explosives, and coming with RPG squads, a battle ensues,” he said in a news conference.

Hagari added that the IDF has secured the heart of Gaza City, which houses properties and offices of senior Hamas officials.

Smoke billows over Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip after an Israeli strike on Dec. 11, 2023.
Smoke billows over Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip after an Israeli strike today.Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images

More than 50 Palestinians transferred to Egyptian hospital

A total of 27 injured Palestinians along with 27 of their relatives entered Egypt yesterday and were transferred to the Al-Arish General Hospital, the head of the Egyptian Red Crescent in North Sinai, Dr. Khaled Zayed, told NBC News.

He added that dozens of trucks were also lined up in front of the Rafah crossing waiting to cross in to Gaza, including seven fuel and gas trucks.

IDF airdrops 7 tons of water to its troops in Gaza

The IDF today conducted its first aerial supply drop in Gaza, it said, parachuting 7 tons of water to hundreds of its soldiers in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Meanwhile, a dire food and water shortage is putting many at risk of infection and death in Gaza, with 1.9 million Palestinians displaced across the Gaza Strip.

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks, Israel blocked any supply of food or water to the enclave for weeks, only to later allow a few dozen trucks with supplies a day, which aid agencies say is nowhere near enough.

Netanyahu says Hamas is at ‘beginning of the end’

Israel says Hamas’ grip on power in Gaza is being broken and released footage of fighters allegedly turning in their weapons and surrendering. This comes as the fighting intensifies and families of the remaining 137 hostages worry about their conditions. NBC’s Richard Engel reports for “TODAY.”


U.N. Security Council envoys travel to Gaza-Egypt border

A dozen U.N. Security Council envoys flew to Egypt to visit the border with the Gaza Strip today just days after Secretary-General António Guterres warned that thousands of people in the besieged Palestinian enclave were “simply starving.”

The envoys landed in the town of Arish to be briefed by the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, on the situation inside Gaza before setting off toward the Rafah crossing 30 miles away. On their journey they passed dozens of trucks backed up waiting to deliver aid to desperate Gaza residents.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini described an “implosion of civil order” in which Gazans who have not eaten for days were looting aid distribution centers and stopping trucks on roads as they tried to secure supplies for their families.

The United Arab Emirates’ U.N. ambassador, Lana Nusseibeh, said the aim of the visit was “to learn first-hand what is needed in terms of a humanitarian operations scale-up that meet the needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza.” She noted it was not an official Security Council visit.

The U.S. is not sending a representative on the trip.

At least 40 U.N. facilities directly hit since war began, UNRWA says

As many as 40 different United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) installations have been directly hit since the war began, according to a report released today.

At least 284 people staying in the agency’s shelters have been killed, and another 976 have been injured since Oct. 7, the report added.

A UNRWA staff member was killed Dec. 9, bringing the total to 134 people associated with the agency who have been killed.

IDF says it found weaponry in a civilian residence in northern Gaza

Israeli troops found explosive devices, guns and rocket launchers in a civilian residence in the Jabalia camp, the IDF said in a statement, adding it also found a truck loaded with rockets near a school.

“IDF ground troops also directed aerial strikes on dozens of terrorists in the Gaza Strip,” it said this morning.

The IDF said it also found “a Hamas launch site containing approximately 50 projectiles, some of which were loaded and ready to fire.”

NBC News could not independently verify the report.

Palestinian activists call for a global strike

Palestinian activists have called for a global strike today, with the Palestinian Information Ministry saying that life in the Palestinian territories “came to a standstill.”

“The local strike, called for by the national and Islamic forces in the West Bank, paralyzed all aspects of life, including public transportation, education, the financial sector, shops, and all sorts of businesses,” it said in a statement.

It said the strike was held in light of the U.S. veto of the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire.

Activists across social media are using hashtags like “#StrikeForGaza,” which has garnered thousands of posts as of this morning.

Israel has detained 142 women and girls in Gaza, Palestinian prisoners’ group says

and

Israeli forces have detained 142 women and girls from Gaza in Israeli occupation prisons, “including infant girls and elderly women” arrested during its campaign in Gaza, The Commission for Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said in a statement yesterday.

“The Israeli occupation was carrying out horrific crimes against Gaza detainees,” the statement said, adding that the IDF refused to reveal the numbers of prisoners and their circumstances. 

Until last month, a total of 260 people from Gaza have been detained and are classified as illegal combatants, it added.

IDF resumes military activities in Rafah

A four-hour humanitarian pause has come to an end in Rafah. The IDF said the standstill in military activity, from 10 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) to 2 p.m., was to allow supplies to be moved around southern Gaza.

Rafah Gaza Destruction
Palestinians walk past a shattered building in Rafah, southern Gaza, this morning.Fatima Shbair / AP

IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee added in a post on X that the military would allow movement of civilians through a coastal road until 4 p.m. local time.

The IDF also called for residents in northern Gaza to evacuate south and said the southern part of the Salah al-Din road, the main artery of Gaza and earlier used to move south, was now a battlefield.

WHO adopts resolution on access for lifesaving aid into Gaza

The World Health Organization adopted a resolution yesterday aimed at addressing the current humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The resolution calls for the “immediate, sustained and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, including the access of medical personnel,” while also urging for all parties to fulfill their duties, in accordance with international law.

The resolution is the first time that the United Nations has reached a consensus on the conflict since Oct. 7.

“It does not resolve the crisis. But it is a platform on which to build,” WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Mourners wait to collect lost relatives in Rafah

Relatives mourn next to the shrouded body of a loved one at Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah today.

Rafah Gaza Mourners
Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images

One shower for every 700, one toilet for every 150 people in Gaza, WHO chief says

In a meeting yesterday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said those in Gaza “are looking for shelter anywhere they can find it. But nowhere and no one is safe in Gaza,” he added.

Ghebreyesus warned that increasing overcrowding in the southern part of Gaza is making the lack of food, water, shelter and sanitation worse and leading to the spread of disease.

“On average, there is one shower unit for every 700 people, and one toilet for every 150 people,” he said.

Israel says it has ‘eliminated’ a Hamas leader

and

The IDF said today it killed Emad Krikae, a commander of Hamas’ Shejaiya Battalion Krikae.

It did not specify the circumstances surrounding his death.

The army is battling Palestinian militants across Gaza in the war ignited by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack into Israel.
Israeli soldiers during ground operations in Gaza City’s Shijaiya neighborhood Friday.Moti Milrod / AP

It said in a post on X that he was “responsible for anti-tank missile training in the Gaza City Brigade,” before assuming his current role after the death of the previous leader.

NBC News has not verified the claims.

IDF: Six launches intercepted from Lebanon

Sirens sounded in northern Israel after missile launches were fired from Lebanon, according to the IDF, which said it had intercepted the attacks.

“IDF artillery is striking the sources of the fire,” it said.

The IDF and the Lebanese militia-group Hezbollah have been exchanging fire for weeks now, which Hezbollah says is in support of those in Gaza.

NBC News could not independently verify the attacks.


Rep. Elise Stefanik on University of Pennsylvania president’s resignation: ‘One down, two to go’

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. — who recently went viral for engaging in a contentious exchange with university presidents at a congressional hearing on antisemitism — on Saturday praised the resignation of University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill.

“One down. Two to go,” Stefanik wrote on X. “This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most ‘prestigious’ higher education institutions in America.”

“This forced resignation of the president of @Penn is the bare minimum of what is required,” she added. “These universities can anticipate a robust and comprehensive Congressional investigation of all facets of their institutions negligent perpetration of antisemitism including administrative, faculty, funding, and overall leadership and governance.”

Magill stepped down Saturday after she faced widespread backlash for some of her remarks at the five-hour House hearing Tuesday — during which she and her counterparts at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were grilled over how their institutions responded to the rise in anti-Jewish hate since Hamas launched its attack in Israel on Oct. 7.

Read the full story here.

U.N. General Assembly set to hold emergency meeting

The United Nations General Assembly will meet tomorrow to discuss the situation in Gaza in an emergency meeting, its president said.

Northern Gaza Israeli Shelling
Smoke billows from destroyed buildings in northern Gaza this morning.Menahem Kahana / AFP – Getty Images

This comes after the U.S. on Friday vetoed a Security Council resolution for a cease-fire — one that was backed by almost all other members. The United Kingdom abstained.

The U.S. has come under increasing criticism from humanitarian aid agencies, U.N. officials and many countries for voting against a cease-fire.

‘The clock is really ticking’: Desperation mounts for starving Palestinians

As goods become increasingly scarce and expensive, World Food Programme Deputy Executive Director Carl Skau reiterated calls for a cease-fire and the opening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing to help scale up aid deliveries in Gaza.

“There’s a lot of tension around food. People are so desperate,” Skau told NBC News. “I went to distribution points where there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people waiting in queues, and there’s anger and frustration.”

It’s unclear how long order can be sustained when so much of Gaza’s population is starving. Aid trucks that do manage to get through the Rafah crossing aren’t able to meet the need, Skau said. The food crisis comes on top of the operational challenges that are waiting other on the side.

Skau said that during his recent visit to the Palestinian enclave, he spoke to people who hadn’t eaten in days.

“If this further deteriorates, you know, people will have nothing, and you can just imagine the desperation that we will have in our hands then if we’re not even able to deliver what we are delivering at the moment,” he said. “And I think, you know, the clock is really ticking.”

Detained Palestinians are bound and blindfolded in Gaza

This image taken Friday and released by The Associated Press today after being reviewed by the Israeli military censor, shows a truck carrying detained Palestinian men, bound and blindfolded, to an undisclosed location in northern Gaza.

Israeli forces have been rounding up Palestinians in northern Gaza for interrogation as they search for Hamas fighters.
Moti Milrod / AP

IDF claims Hamas ‘preventing Gazans from accessing humanitarian aid’ by ‘forcefully diverting supplies’

and

The Israel Defense Forces said Hamas is preventing residents of Gaza from accessing humanitarian aid by forcefully diverting supplies for its own use.

The IDF Border Defense Corps released video footage that it says shows members of Hamas forcefully taking humanitarian aid from civilians, loading it it onto a vehicle and then driving to a Hamas-run site. NBC News was not able to independently verify the contents of the video.

The IDF said that it has continued efforts to enable humanitarian aid to reach civilians in the Gaza Strip, further adding that tens of thousands of tons of aid designated for international humanitarian organizations have entered Gaza.

The United Nations and the World Health Organization maintain that a major humanitarian crisis is unfolding and that the amount of aid entering Gaza is nowhere near sufficient.