Israel-Hamas war: Live updates as crisis deepens in Gaza


Hezbollah says it attacked Israeli position near Lebanon

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says its fighters have targeted an Israeli position along the border directly hitting a Merkava tank.

Hezbollah said in a statement that the Sunday evening attack hit an Israeli position near the Lebanese border village of Duhaira. It gave no other details about the attack.

EU leaders will meet to deal with the fallout in Europe from the Israel-Hamas war

European Union leaders will hold an emergency summit on Tuesday as concern mounts that the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas could fuel inter-communal tensions in Europe and bring more refugees in search of sanctuary.

The leaders will also attempt to restore some order after a series of social media messages, statements and visits by EU officials sowed confusion about the 27-nation bloc’s intentions after Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, triggering a new war in Gaza.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in Israel and Gaza since Hamas launched its bloody rampage and almost 200 Israelis, including children, were taken hostage. Rallies in support of both sides have been held around Europe. Some have been banned.

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Palestinians lacking food as well as water

Across besieged Gaza, food shortages are causing desperation. With trucks full of humanitarian goods idling at the Rafah border, unable to get through, many in Gaza not only have no running water but also don’t have enough food.

Residents said they ate whatever morsels they could find in their fridge from before the war and were scared about the coming days. The worsening shortages were most visible in U.N. shelters, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge after fleeing intensifying bombardment, and in houses where dozens of family members were sheltering.

Palestinians take shelter from the Israeli bombardment at a school in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Hourslong lines snaked from bakeries, where Palestinians waited anxiously to get whatever basic food they could to distribute among their relatives.

“I have been waiting for 10 hours to get bread … and of course this amount is not enough,” said Ahmad Salah in Deir al-Balah, where he said he had to feed 20-30 family members. “This is a painful suffering for us.”

Hezbollah says it has attacked Israeli border posts

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says its fighters have targeted five Israeli posts along the border in the country’s south.

Hezbollah said in a terse statement that various types of “direct weapons” were used in the late Monday afternoon attack.

Hezbollah fighters have been destroying surveillance cameras placed on Israeli posts along the border amid heightening tensions.

Blinken meets with Israeli official for second time in a week

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has renewed pledges of American support for Israel in its war against Hamas as he returned to the country for the second time in less than a week.

In Jerusalem on Monday to consult with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials, Blinken also briefed them about discussions he had with Arab leaders on the conduct of the war and the need to protect civilians.

Blinken “underlined his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas’ terrorism and reaffirmed U.S. determination to provide the Israeli government with what it needs to protect its citizens,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Blinken also discussed U.S. efforts with the U.N. and others to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians, and the U.S. commitment to helping in attempts to rescue nearly 200 hostages held by Hamas.

Blinken arrived after a six-nation tour of Arab states during which he heard the concerns of Arab leaders about an impending Israeli ground invasion of Gaza causing a humanitarian catastrophe for Palestinians and possibly igniting a broader regional conflict.

After visiting Israel last Thursday to express U.S. solidarity, Blinken toured the region, meeting with the leaders of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, all of whom have said civilians must be protected and given assistance to survive the Israeli operation.

As those concerns have grown, the U.S. has also stepped up its emphasis on the importance of Israel respecting the laws of war regarding the treatment of civilians as it pursues Hamas. Blinken and other U.S. officials have been exploring ideas on setting up safe zones in the Gaza Strip and ensuring that badly needed humanitarian supplies reach civilians there.

Blinken has twice extended his diplomatic mission and plans to return to Jordan after his visit to Israel.

Netanyahu warns militants in the north: ‘Don’t test us’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and their Iranian backers that they will pay a high price if they become involved in the war.

Speaking to the Israeli Knesset on Monday, Netanyahu warned Iran and Hezbollah, “Don’t test us in the north. Don’t make the mistake of the past. Today, the price you will pay will be far heavier,” referring to Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah.

With a ground invasion of Gaza expected, Israel is preparing for the potential of a new front opening on its northern border with Lebanon, where it has exchanged fire repeatedly with the Hezbollah. The military has ordered residents from 28 Israeli communities close to the border to evacuate.

Live from Gaza


Trucks cross into Egypt to load up with fuel for Gaza

Oil tankers bearing United Nations flags have crossed into Egypt from Gaza to pick up fuel supplies for the besieged enclave.

The trucks were led across the Rafah border by a U.N. escort vehicle as people stood in line in hopes of crossing.

Hospitals in Gaza are expected to run out of generator fuel in the next 24 hours, endangering the lives of thousands of patients, according to the U.N. Gaza’s sole power plant shut down for lack of fuel after Israel completely sealed off the 40-kilometer (25-mile) long territory following the Hamas attack.

Hamas said it made the decision to attack Israel without direction from outside

Ahmed Abdul-Hadi, the representative of Hamas in Lebanon, insisted Monday that the decision to launch the surprise Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel was made by Hamas leadership and not directed by Iran or any other outside party, but he said that in event of a ground invasion of Gaza, allied groups will intervene.

The war in Gaza is “a Palestinian battle and the decision to enter it was a Palestinian decision” made by Hamas and its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al Qassam Brigades, “together with the Palestinian resistance factions,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of a conference convened by the group in Beirut.

Hamas officials have denied that Iran was directly involved in planning the deadly attack or gave it the green light, and to date no government worldwide has offered direct evidence that Iran orchestrated the attack. However, many have pointed to Iran’s long sponsorship of Hamas that has included training, funding and providing it with weapons.

Abdul-Hadi said that Hamas allies Iran and Hezbollah will not allow Israel “to crush Gaza” or to launch a “comprehensive ground attack,” but that the groups have deliberately left ambiguity about when and how they would respond. “This is up to the developments in the situation at the time.”

In case of a “ground attack, regardless of its level,” or if “more and more massacres continue to be committed” in Gaza and Hamas is using up its resources, he said, there will be “surprises announced.”

Hezbollah destroys Israeli surveillance cameras along the Lebanese border as tension soars

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group said Monday it has started destroying surveillance cameras on several Israeli army posts along the border as tension rose following the Israel-Hamas war that began Oct.7.

Hezbollah’s military media arm released a video showing snipers shooting at and destroying surveillance cameras placed on five points along the Lebanon-Israel border including one outside the Israeli town of Metula.

The militant group appears to want to prevent the Israeli army from monitoring movements on the Lebanese side of the border after days of fire exchange that left at least seven people dead, including four Hezbollah fighters, on the Lebanese side.

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Lebanese army finds rocket launchers on the border

The Lebanese army says search operations have led to the discovery of 20 rockets launchers near the Lebanon-Israel border.

The army said in a statement that four of the launchers discovered had rockets inside them and were ready to be fired.

The army said military experts are working on dismantling the launchers that were discovered near the village of Qlaileh, south of the port city of Tyre.

Over the past days dozens of rockets have been fired from Lebanon into northern Israel as tension rises in the region over the war in Gaza.

Lebanese government scrambles to avoid being dragged into war

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister says the country’s politically paralyzed government has been scrambling to ease tensions along its southern border with Israel and avoid dragging the tiny country into a new war.

Najib Mikati has spoken by phone with top U.S. officials and heads of state and top diplomats from the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, and Italy.

“Lebanon is in the eye of the storm, and the region as a whole is in a difficult situation,” Mikati was quoted as saying in a statement from his office. The Lebanese government remains critical of Israel, but fears a new war could further devastate its battered economy and put the lives of its approximately 6.5 million people at risk.

There are concerns that the Iran-backed Hezbollah group and its powerful armed forces will ignore concerns from the Lebanese government and escalate once Israel launches a ground invasion.

Hezbollah and Israel have clashed along the border across several towns, but Hezbollah has not yet announced that it is joining the war.

At the closed Rafah crossing, desperate people wait to escape

Crowds of Palestinian dual nationals waited anxiously at the still-closed Rafah crossing on Monday, sitting on their suitcases or crouching on the floor, comforting crying infants and trying to entertain bored children.

For many, the despair over the impasse was turning to outrage.

“They are supposed to be a developed country, talking about human rights all the time,” Shurouq Alkhazendar, a 34-year-old whose two children are American citizens, said of the United States.

“If you want to do one of the basic things that you are talking about you should protect your citizens first, not leave them all alone suffering and being humiliated in front of the crossing.”

Rafah, Gaza’s only connection to Egypt, was shut down nearly a week ago because of Israeli airstrikes. While people wait to leave on the Gaza side, aid supplies are stalled inside Egypt. Mediators are pressing for a cease-fire.

Iran says Hamas is ready to release hostages if airstrikes stop

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that Hamas potentially was ready to release the nearly 200 hostages it is holding if Israel stops its campaign of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. The militant group hasn’t acknowledged making such an offer.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani spoke at a news conference in Tehran. Iran’s theocracy is a main sponsor of Hamas in its fight against Israel, Tehran’s regional archenemy.

Hamas officials “stated that they are ready to take necessary measures to release the citizens and civilians held by resistant groups, but their point was that such measures require preparations that are impossible under daily bombardment by the Zionists against various parts of Gaza,” Kanaani said.

Hamas has said it will trade the captives for thousands of Palestinians held by Israel in the kind of lopsided exchange deals that have been reached in the past.

Iran has warned it could enter the war as well if Israel launches a widely anticipated ground offensive in the Gaza Strip in the coming days. Already, the Lebanese Shiite militia group Hezbollah, which is also sponsored by Iran, has launched missiles into Israel, though it insists that represents a “warning” for Israel rather than its full entry into the war.

“We heard from the resistance that they have no problem to continue resisting,” Kanaani said, referring to Hamas. “They said the resistance holds military capability to continue resisting in the field for a long time.”

Blinken is back in Israel after tour of Arab states

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has returned to Israel for the second time in less than a week to consult with senior Israeli officials about discussions he had with Arab leaders over Israel’s war with Hamas.

Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday after a six-nation tour of Arab states during which he heard the concerns of Arab leaders about an impending Israeli ground invasion of Gaza causing a humanitarian catastrophe for Palestinians and possibly igniting a broader regional conflict.

His talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his national security team come as the White House is weighing a potential trip to Israel by President Joe Biden as early as this week. Blinken will also meet separately with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and opposition leader Yair Lapid.

Biden, Blinken and other senior U.S. officials have pledged unwavering support for Israel as it responds to deadly Hamas attacks that have killed more than 1,400 Israelis since last week.

But as Israel’s plans for a massive military response to eradicate Hamas have gelled, Arab states and others have become increasingly alarmed at the prospect of mass civilian casualties and a major humanitarian crisis.

After visiting Israel last Thursday to express U.S. solidarity, Blinken toured the region, meeting with the leaders of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, all of whom have said civilians must be protected and given assistance to survive the Israeli operation.

As those concerns have grown, the U.S. has also stepped up its emphasis on the importance of Israel respecting the laws of war regarding the treatment of civilians as it pursues Hamas. Blinken and other U.S. officials have been exploring ideas on setting up safe zones in the Gaza Strip and ensuring that badly needed humanitarian supplies reach civilians there.

Blinken has twice extended his diplomatic mission and plans to return to Jordan after his stop in Israel.

Hezbollah takes out Israeli border surveillance cameras

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group has started destroying surveillance cameras on several Israeli army posts along the border with Lebanon.

Hezbollah’s military media arm released a video Monday showing snipers destroying surveillance cameras placed on five points along the Lebanon-Israel border, including one outside the Israeli town of Metula.

Hezbollah’s aim appears to be to prevent the Israeli army from monitoring movements on the Lebanese side of the border.

The U.N. health agency rushes medical supplies to Lebanon

The World Health Organization says it has sent two shipments of medical supplies to Beirut in preparation for a potential escalation of the so-far sporadic clashes on the border between armed groups in Lebanon and Israeli forces.

The U.N. agency said in a statement Monday that it “has expedited the delivery of critical medical supplies to Lebanon in order to be ready to respond to any potential health crisis.”

Two shipments containing “enough surgical and trauma medicines and supplies to meet the needs of 800 to 1,000 injured patients” arrived in Beirut from Dubai Monday the statement said.

Lebanon’s health system has been overstretched since the country fell into a severe economic crisis four years ago. Many medical professionals have left the country and hospitals have faced supply and equipment shortages.

The WHO noted that clashes on the border have already resulted in civilian casualties.

“If these clashes escalate, more civilians will be at risk, and they will need immediate access to lifesaving medical care,” the statement said.

Smoke rises from Israeli shelling on the outskirts of the Lebanese village of Kfar Chouba, Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. The shelling occurred during an exchange of fire along Lebanon's border with Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights between Hezbollah fighters and Israeli troops. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Smoke rises from Israeli shelling on the outskirts of the Lebanese village of Kfar Chouba, Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Since the outbreak of the latest Hamas-Israel war on Oct. 7, armed groups in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have launched missiles at sites in northern Israel, while Israel has hit sites in southern Lebanon with airstrikes and shelling.

Strikes from the Lebanese side have killed one Israeli soldier and one civilian, while Israeli strikes have killed three civilians on the Lebanese side — including Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah — as well as four Hezbollah fighters. Two members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed Monday in clashes with Israeli forces after crossing the border between the two countries.

A top EU official convenes a summit to deal with a fallout in Europe from the Israel-Hamas war

European Council President Charles Michel speaks during an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the EU Council in Brussels, Friday Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

European Council President Charles Michel speaks during an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the EU Council in Brussels, Friday Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

European Union leaders will hold an emergency summit on Tuesday as concerns grow that the war between Israel and Hamas could fuel inter-communal tensions in Europe and bring more refugees in search of sanctuary.

“This conflict has many consequences, including for us in the European Union,” EU Council President Charles Michel said in a video statement announcing that he had convened the virtual meeting. “The conflict could have major security consequences for our societies.”

Since the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked southern on Oct. 7, triggering the latest Gaza war, France has ordered a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations and the number of antisemitic acts has risen. Low-level rallies have been held in other EU countries. Both the the 27-nation bloc and the United States consider Hamas as a terrorist organization.

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Israeli military says 199 hostages being held in Gaza, higher than previous estimates

The Israeli military says Hamas and other Palestinian militants are holding 199 hostages in Gaza, higher than previous estimates.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a military spokesman, said Monday that the families have been notified. He did not specify whether that number includes foreigners, or say who is holding them.

Most are believed to be held by the Hamas militant group, which rules Gaza.

Israel orders people near Lebanon border to evacuate

The Israeli military has ordered people living in 28 communities near the Lebanese border to evacuate.

The order Monday comes as there’s been increasing cross-border fire between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militia, Hezbollah.

The military order affects communities that are within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the border.

Hezbollah has said the increased strikes were a warning and do not mean Hezbollah has decided to enter the war.

WHO says lifesaving aid is awaiting entry at Rafah crossing

Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. Israel carried out some limited ground operations ahead of an expected broader land offensive against Gaza's militant Hamas rulers following their attack into southern Israel a week ago. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

The World Health Organization said lifesaving assistance, including health supplies to serve 300,000 patients, is awaiting entry through the Rafah crossing into Gaza.

The crossing was closed because of airstrikes earlier in the war, and the U.S. has been trying to broker a deal to reopen the crossing to allow foreigners to leave and allow in humanitarian aid amassed on the Egyptian side.

The WHO, in comments to The Associated Press, reiterated calls for the immediate and safe delivery of medical supplies, fuel, clean water and food, and other humanitarian aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

It expressed concern about limited water and sanitation in the territory, particularly at hospitals where patients’ lives can be lost due to infection and disease outbreaks. WHO said four hospitals in northern Gaza are no longer functioning as a result of damage and 21 hospitals are under an Israeli evacuation order.

Urban battle from past Gaza war offers glimpse of what an Israeli ground offensive might look like

FILE - Palestinians walk between the rubble of a destroyed building in Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Oct. 12, 2014. An urban battle during the 2014 Gaza war offers a glimpse of what an Israeli ground offensive would look like, in 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

FILE – Palestinians walk between the rubble of a destroyed building in Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Oct. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

A battle that killed dozens of civilians and more than a dozen Israeli soldiers nearly a decade ago offers a glimpse of the type of fighting that could lie ahead if Israeli forces roll into Gaza as expected to punish Hamas for its rampage across southern Israel last week.

It was July 19, 2014, during Israel’s third war against Hamas. The target was Shijaiyah, a densely populated neighborhood of Gaza City that the army said Hamas had transformed into a “terrorist fortress,” filled with tunnels, rocket launchers and booby traps.

The battle came on the third day of a ground offensive that had been preceded by a 10-day air campaign. Then, as now, Palestinian civilians had been told to leave the neighborhood, Then, as now, many stayed, either because Hamas told them to or because they had nowhere else to go.

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Palestinians scramble to find food, safety and water as Israeli ground invasion looms

Palestinians rush to the street following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

Palestinians rush to the street following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

More than a million people have fled their homes in the besieged Gaza Strip in the past week as water supplies dwindle and hospitals warn they are on the verge of collapse, while the enclave’s population waits for an expected Israel invasion that seeks to eliminate Hamas’ leadership after its deadly attack.

Israeli forces, supported by a growing deployment of U.S. warships in the region and the call-up of some 360,000 reservists, positioned themselves along Gaza’s border and drilled for what Israel said would be a broad campaign to dismantle the militant group. Israel said it has already struck dozens of military targets, including command centers and rocket launchers, and also killed Hamas commanders.

But even so, a week of blistering airstrikes that have demolished entire neighborhoods but failed to stem militant rocket fire into Israel. And Israeli officials have given no timetable for a ground incursion that aid groups warn could hasten a humanitarian crisis in the coastal Gaza enclave.

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UN says Gaza — without water, food or medicine — is being strangled

A crowd of Palestinians presses up against a bakery to buy bread in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct, 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

A crowd of Palestinians presses up against a bakery to buy bread in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct, 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency says Gaza “is being strangled” and the number of people seeking shelter at their schools and facilities in the south of the territory is overwhelming.

“If we look at the issue of water — we all know water is life — Gaza is running out of water, and Gaza is running out of life,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of UNRWA at a press conference in Jerusalem on Sunday.

“Soon, I believe, with this there will be no food or medicine either,” he said.

“Last week’s attack on Israel was horrendous,” he said. “The attack and the taking of hostages are a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. But the answer to killing civilians cannot be to kill more civilians.”

At least 1 million people were forced to flee their homes in the previous week. At least 400,000 displaced people are crammed into UNRWA schools and buildings, and most are not equipped as emergency shelters. Conditions are unsanitary and appalling.

Most of the agency’s 13,000 staff in the Gaza Strip are now displaced or out of their homes, said Lazzarini.

Biden considering trip to Israel in the coming days, but travel isn’t final, according to AP source

President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel in the coming days, but nothing has been finalized, a senior administration official said Sunday.

A trip would send the strongest message yet that the U.S. is behind Israel following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. The administration has already pledged military support, sending U.S. aircraft carriers to the region as well as aid. Officials have said they would ask Congress for upward of $2 billion in aid for both Israel and Ukraine.

The official could not publicly discuss internal deliberations about the potential presidential travel and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

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U.S. State Department says 30 Americans killed in Israel; 13 missing

The U.S. State Department says the number of Americans killed since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas has risen to 30.

“At this time, we can confirm the deaths of 30 U.S. citizens. We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected,” the State Department said in a statement released Sunday. The U.S. is also aware of 13 missing citizens and has been in contact with their families.

Hamas militants stormed into Israel on Oct. 7 and murdered more than 1,400 Israelis, the vast majority of them civilians. The militants also kidnapped at least 155 people — a number that includes babies and the elderly — and are holding them hostage in Gaza. Their whereabouts are not publicly known, but their families have been urgently pressing for their release.

“The U.S. government is working around the clock to determine their whereabouts and is working with the Israeli government on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to advise the Israeli government on hostage recovery efforts,” the statement said.

The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,670 Palestinians have been killed so far.

Man killed Muslim boy and wounded woman in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say

A 71-year-old Illinois man was charged Sunday with a hate crime, accused of fatally stabbing a young boy and seriously wounding a woman because of their Islamic faith and the Israel-Hamas war, authorities said.

Officers found the 32-year-old woman and 6-year-old boy late Saturday morning at a home in an unincorporated area of Plainfield Township, southwest of Chicago, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on social media.

The statement added that the boy was pronounced dead at a hospital and the woman had multiple stab wounds and was expected to survive. An autopsy on the child showed he had also been stabbed multiple times.

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Cross-border attacks intensify between Israel and Lebanon

BEIRUT — An Israeli drone fired two missiles late Sunday evening at a hill west of the town of Kfar Kila in south Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported. There were no casualties reported in the strikes, which hit near a Lebanese army center.

The Israeli army said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it had hit Hezbollah targets but did not specify what they were.

Cross-border clashes between armed factions in Lebanon and Israel intensified Sunday, with Hezbollah firing rockets and Israeli forces responding with shelling. The Israeli army also reported a shooting at one of its border posts. The fighting has killed at least one person on the Israeli side and wounded several on both sides of the border.

Hezbollah said in a statement Sunday that it had fired rockets towards an Israeli military position in the northern border town Shtula in retaliation for Israeli shelling that killed Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah on Friday and two Lebanese civilians on Saturday.

U.S. Senate to prepare package of wartime aid to Israel

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday that he would work with Senate Republicans in the coming weeks to assemble a “generous” package of wartime aid for Israel.

“America will stand with its ally Israel,” he said at a news conference in Israel that capped a visit by a bipartisan group of senators. “I, along with my colleagues here, will lead the effort in the United States Senate to provide Israel with the support required to fully defend itself from this monstrous attack.”

Schumer, a Democrat who is the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S., said he openly wept when he heard from the families of people taken hostage by Hamas. The group of senators also met with Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz, who have formed a wartime Cabinet.

“We will work to move this aid through the Senate ASAP, and the Israeli leaders made it clear to us they need the aid quickly,” Schumer said.

The Senate leader said he would not wait for the House to consider an aid package because it is facing its own political crisis as Republicans struggle to unite around a speaker. The chamber is practically paralyzed from advancing legislation while lawmakers work to elect a new speaker, but Schumer said he hoped a bipartisan effort out of the Senate would push the House to act.

Schumer has said he expects any package should include aid for Israel and Ukraine, along with possible aid for Taiwan as it faces threats from Beijing and money for the U.S. border. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has also indicated that he wants war aid for the two countries tied together, along with aid for Taiwan.

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Mitt Romney of Utah and Democratic Sens. Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Mark Kelly of Arizona were also on the trip. During a lunch at their hotel on Sunday, the senators had to take shelter when sirens sounded indicating a rocket attack.

Schumer also said he would underscore to President Joe Biden the importance of U.S. assistance for Israel’s efforts to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas.

Israel-Hamas war upends China’s ambitions in the Middle East but may serve Beijing in the end

FILE - China's President Xi Jinping, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 14, 2023. In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the Palestinian president in Beijing and invited the Israeli prime minister for an official state visit. Benjamin Netanyahu accepted, and China was on track for a bigger role in the region. Then came the attack, which has made Netanyahu’s trip uncertain and all the more so because of China's stated neutrality on the war. (Jade Gao/Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE – China’s President Xi Jinping, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 14, 2023. (Jade Gao/Pool Photo via AP, File)

In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the Palestinian president in Beijing and invited the Israeli prime minister for an official state visit. Benjamin Netanyahu accepted, and China was on track for a bigger role in the region.

Then came the Hamas attack against Israel, which has made Netanyahu’s late October trip uncertain and put Beijing’s Middle East approach to the test. China’s stated neutrality on the war has upset Israel, but Beijing may gain in the long run by forging closer ties with Arab countries, experts said.

“For a while at least, Beijing’s Middle East policy is paralyzed by the war,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Beijing-based Renmin University of China. “The U.S., which strongly supports Israel, is directly or indirectly involved. Who is there to listen to China?”

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FBI notes increase in threats against Jewish and Muslim communities

FBI officials say they’ve noticed an increase in threatening rhetoric targeting both the Jewish and Muslim communities in the week since the brutal Hamas attacks in Israel.

Director Chris Wray said on a call with reporters Sunday that the FBI is moving quickly to mitigate the threats and that the FBI does not discount the possibility that Hamas and other groups could exploit the conflict in the Middle East to call for or plot attacks in the United States.

A senior FBI official who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the bureau said the majority of the threats that the FBI has responded to were not judged to be credible. But the official said the FBI takes them all seriously nonetheless.

Besides responding to an escalating number of threats, Wray said the FBI was also working through its legal attache office in Tel Aviv to do what it can to locate and identify Americans who remain unaccounted for after last weekend’s attacks.

Rocket strikes U.N. peacekeepers’ headquarters in southern Lebanon, no injuries reported

A rocket hit the headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon in the coastal town of Naqoura as clashes between the militant Hezbollah group and its allies and the Israeli military escalated Sunday.

The U.N. mission said no one was hurt even though the peacekeepers were not in shelters. It did not specify where the rocket came from but expressed disappointment saying that despite the mission’s efforts to get the sides “to de-escalate the situation,” the violence continues.

It later added that the mission was working to verify from where the rocket was fired.

Some local Lebanese media said the rocket was fired from positions of Palestinian Hamas militants in southern Lebanon, intending to reach Israel but that it fell short. The Associated Press could not confirm the source of the rocket.

The U.N. peacekeepers have been patrolling the Lebanon-Israel border as tensions flare. Hezbollah, a key ally of Hamas, has vowed to retaliate against Israel should they launch a ground offensive into the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The U.N. mission, known as UNIFIL, was created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon in 1978 and expanded its role after a monthlong in 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah that ended in a stalemate.

Hundreds of wounded in Gaza hospital risk death as fuel is expected to run out, doctor warns

The ICU rooms are packed full of wounded patients, mostly children, in Gaza’s second-largest hospital. Hundreds of the severely wounded arrived at the hospital in the last eight days. (Oct. 15) (AP video: Najib Jobain)

Hundreds of people injured during the latest Israel-Hamas war have arrived over the past week at Gaza’s second-largest hospital.

Fuel is expected to run out by Monday and many risk death, warned Dr. Mohammed Qandeel, a consultant in Nasser Hospital’s critical care complex.

Iranian president warns war could expand if Israel’s siege of Gaza doesn’t stop

Iran’s hard-line president spoke with France’s leader on Sunday, warning that war would expand if Israel’s siege of Gaza doesn’t stop, state-run media reported.

The official IRNA news agency said Ebrahim Raisi and Emmanuel Macron spoke over the phone. The Iranian president made no mention of the unprecedented Oct. 7 incursion by Gaza’s militant Hamas group into southern Israel that sparked the latest Hamas-Israel war. Iran has long been a supporter of Hamas.

“The situation will be complicated … if the crimes by the Zionist regime, including the killing of people and blockade of Gaza, are not stopped,” Raisi was quoted as saying, referring to Israel. IRNA did not provide further details.

Earlier, the Elysee Palace confirmed this weekend that Macron planned to talk to Raisi to urge Iran not to fuel tensions in the region or provide any operational support to Hamas.

Macron intended to press the argument that bringing the violence to a rapid end is in everyone’s interests, including Iran’s, the presidential office said. France feels that Iran can play a positive role in the crisis by simply not getting involved in it, either with “words that are unacceptable” or by supporting Hamas.

Over the weekend, Raisi also spoke with leaders of Arab nations of Iraq, Oman and Qatar and urged them to support Gaza’s Palestinians, Iranian media said.

He also accused Israel of perpetrating a “genocide” in Gaza and criticized the United States for its support of Israel.

Chuck Schumer and visiting US senators rushed to a Tel Aviv shelter during Hamas’ rocket attack

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on social media that a bipartisan group of senators visiting Israel was rushed to a shelter in Tel Aviv on Sunday to wait out a rocket attack from Hamas. Schumer posted a photo of himself and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah in the shelter.

“It shows you what Israelis have to go through. We must provide Israel with the support required to defend itself,” Schumer said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States, took the trip to show support for Israel ahead of an expected request from President Joe Biden for Congress to approve wartime funding for Israel as well as Ukraine. Schumer, a Democrat, has said he would also hold discussions with Israeli officials what kind of support the country would need for both military and humanitarian operations.

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Democratic Sens. Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Mark Kelly of Arizona were also on the trip.

Regional WHO chief appeals for the immediate reopening of Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza

The regional head of the World Health Organization told The Associated Press on Sunday that evacuating hospitals from the northern part of the Gaza Strip is “impossible” and said Israel’s demand for the evacuation of medical facilities there goes against international law.

Ahmed Al-Mandhari said 22 hospitals with 2,000 patients in northern Gaza managed to move “mobile patients” to the south over the past two days but most of the patients can’t be evacuated.

“It is really very risky, very dangerous if we push these hospitals to evacuate,” he said in Cairo.

Egypt has yet to reach an agreement with Israel and Hamas to reopen the Rafah border crossing to deliver medical supplies and other humanitarian aid territory to the besieged, Hamas-ruled strip.

Al-Mandhari urged for the reopening “immediately, with no delay.” The U.N. health agency has supplies waiting in Egypt, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Rafah crossing but cannot take them inside, he said.

Rafah was shuttered early on Tuesday after Israeli airstrikes hit close to Gaza’s side of the crossing.

Cross-border fighting between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel only a ‘warning,’ says group’s spokeswoman

Cross-border clashes between Lebanon and Israel intensified Sunday, with the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group firing rockets and Israeli forces responding with shelling.

The Israeli army also reported a shooting at one of its border posts. The fighting has killed at least one person on the Israeli side and wounded several on both sides of the border.

Iran-backed Hezbollah, an ally of Gaza’s Hamas rulers and an archenemy of Israel, said in a statement that it had fired rockets towards an Israeli military position in the northern border town Shtula in retaliation for Israeli shelling that killed Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah on Friday and two Lebanese civilians on Saturday.

However, a Hezbollah spokeswoman, Rana Sahili, said Sunday’s increase in the intensity of the exchanges doesn’t indicate Hezbollah has decided to fully enter into the Hamas-Israel war. The fighting on the border is “only skirmishes” and represents a “warning,” she said.

Top US envoy will return to Israel after stops in Arab nations aimed at avoiding a broader conflict

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return to Israel this week after completing a frantic six-country rush through Arab nations aimed at preventing the Israel-Hamas war from igniting a broader regional conflict.

The U.S. State Department announced Blinken’s plan to travel Monday to Israel — his second visit in five days — as America’s top diplomat arrived in Cairo for talks Sunday with Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It was the last of Blinken’s meetings with Arab leaders amid increasing fears that an impending Israeli ground offensive into Gaza could spark a wider war with devastating humanitarian consequences.

Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters traveling with Blinken that the secretary was returning to Tel Aviv “for further consultations with Israeli officials.” Miller did not elaborate.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here

Latest news on the war

Latest developments

  • People are struggling to flee from northern Gaza while also grappling with a growing water crisis after Israel stopped the flow of resources to the Gaza Strip
  • The military said Sunday that it would not target a specific route south for several hours, again urging Palestinians to leave the north en masse. The military offered two corridors and a longer window the day before. It says hundreds of thousands have already fled south.
  • No decision on a ground offensive has been announced, although Israel has been massing troops along the Gaza border
  • The war has claimed more than 4,000 lives since Hamas launched an incursion on Oct. 7
  • Gaza’s hospitals are expected to run out of fuel for emergency generations within two days, according to the U.N., which said that that would endanger the lives of thousands of patients
At al-Aqsa hospital in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, a Palestinian woman reacts next to the wounded during an Israeli airstrike, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Medics in Gaza are warning that thousands could die as hospitals packed with wounded people run desperately low on fuel and basic supplies.

Read more of AP’s war coverage:

Water runs out at UN shelters in Gaza. Medics fear for patients as Israeli ground offensive looms

Water has run out at U.N. shelters across Gaza as thousands packed into the courtyard of the besieged territory’s largest hospital as a refuge of last resort from a looming Israeli ground offensive and overwhelmed doctors struggled to care for patients they fear will die once generators run out of fuel.

Palestinian civilians across Gaza, already battered by years of conflict, were struggling for survival Sunday in the face of an unprecedented Israeli operation against the territory following a Hamas militant attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,300 Israelis, most of them civilians.

At al-Aqsa hospital in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, a Palestinian woman reacts next to the wounded during an Israeli airstrike, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

At al-Aqsa hospital in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, a Palestinian woman reacts next to the wounded during an Israeli airstrike, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Israel has cut off the flow of food, medicine, water and electricity to Gaza, pounded neighborhoods with airstrikes and told the estimated 1 million residents of the north to flee south ahead of Israel’s planned attack. The Gaza Health Ministry said more than 2,300 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting erupted last weekend.

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Pope Francis renews his call for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas

Pope Francis on Sunday renewed his call for the release of Israeli hostages held by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers and called for humanitarian corridors to help those under siege in Gaza.

“I continue to follow with much sorrow what is happening in Israel and Palestine,” Francis said during his Sunday’s Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square. “I think back to the many people, especially the little ones and the elderly.”

The Pope reiterated his appeal for the release of scores of Israeli hostages snatched during Hamas’ deadly incursion into southern Israel last weekend and taken to Gaza.

“I strongly ask that the children, the elderly, women and all civilians don’t become victims of the conflict,” Francis said. He added that humanitarian law must be respected, “especially in Gaza where there is an urgent need to guarantee humanitarian corridors and to rescue the entire population.”

The Pope appealed for the world not to “shed any more innocent blood, neither in the Holy Land, nor in Ukraine, nor anywhere else. Enough! Wars are always a defeat, always.”

Israelis in the southern city of Sderot near Gaza board buses to escape Hamas’ rockets

Residents of the southern Israeli city of Sderot boarded buses for other parts of the country on Sunday to escape the rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Hamas militants who infiltrated Israel on a rampage that killed more than 1,300 people more than a week ago have also bombarded the country with thousands of rockets. Sderot, a city of about 34,000 people located about a mile from the Gaza border, has been a frequent target.

One of the residents, Yossi Edri, told Channel 13 before boarding a bus that “children are traumatized, they can’t sleep at night.”

Thousands already left the city last week under a state-sponsored program that puts them up in hotels elsewhere as a respite from the violence. The program in Sderot was expanded Sunday.

“There is no reason to return to Sderot,” Mayor Alon Davidi told Army Radio. “It’s on the front line.”

An Arab paramedic who treated Israelis injured by Hamas militants is remembered as a hero

When Hamas unleashed its attack on thousands of Jews attending a music festival in southern Israel earlier this month, an Israeli Arab paramedic insisted on staying at the scene to try to save lives.

In the end, he gave his own.

Awad Darawshe was 23, single, handsome — but he wasn’t at the Tribe of Nova festival to dance. He worked for Yossi Ambulances and was among a team of paramedics assigned to work the festival in a tent on the site’s periphery.

He was killed when Hamas militants slipped undetected into Israel from the Gaza Strip and butchered their way through the festival crowd and into nearby villages, settlements and kibbutzim.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here

With fuel running out and Israel’s ground offensive approaching, Gaza hospitals warn of an impending tragedy

In Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza’s second largest hospital, the ICU rooms are packed full of wounded patients, most of them children below the age of 3. Hundreds of people with blast injuries have come to the hospital in the past eight days and many risk death as fuel is expected to run out by Monday, said Dr. Mohammed Qandeel, a consultant at the critical care complex of the hospital.

Many patients have severe and complex injuries and need intensive care, he said. “The difference with this escalation is we don’t have medical aid coming in from outside, the border is closed, electricity is off and this constitutes a high danger for our patients,” he said.

He said there are 35 patients in the ICU unit who depend on ventilators to stay alive. A further 60 patients are on dialysis. If fuel runs out, “it means the whole health system will be shut down, the services will be off,” he said. “We are talking about another catastrophe, another war crime, a historical tragedy.”

“All these patients are in danger of death if the electricity is cut off,” he said.

Further north, In the Kamal Alwan Hospital, the head of pediatrics Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya said the hospital did not evacuate despite the Israeli order to move south because there was no way to move patients without risking their lives.

“They have asked us to evacuate the hospital but we did not answer that order because evacuating the hospitals means death to all the children and patients under our care. We shall not evacuate the hospital even if it costs us our lives,” he said, adding that there are seven newborns in the ICU hooked up to ventilators.

Cross-border fire on Lebanon border kills one person

Cross-border fire erupted between Israel and Lebanon early Sunday, killing at least one person on the Israeli side of the border.

Both the Israeli military and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah acknowledged the fighting.

Hezbollah said it shelled Israeli military positions in the northern border town of Shtula. The group said in a statement the attack was in retaliation for Israeli shelling that killed Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah on Friday and two Lebanese civilians on Saturday.

A shell from Israeli artillery explodes over Aita al-Shaab a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. Shelling and clashes near the Lebanese southern border village of Aita al-Shaab and northern Israeli border town of Shtula marks an ongoing escalation in clashes between Hezbollah and the Israeli military. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

A shell from Israeli artillery explodes over Aita al-Shaab a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Israel has responded by targeting the outskirts of the town of Ait el-Shaab, the Israeli military said.

Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue service said a 40-year-old man was killed in the attack from Lebanon, without elaborating or giving his nationality

As Israel wages its war against Hamas over last week’s unprecedented attack by the Gaza Strip militant group, there’s been concern that Hezbollah could enter the war as well as Israel moves toward launching a ground offensive in Gaza.

Egypt border crossing remains closed

The Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza remained closed on Sunday morning, as Egyptian authorities continued negotiations with Israel, the U.S. and Palestinian militant groups over allowing aid to flow into the besieged strip and letting Americans and other foreigners and wounded Palestinians cross into Egypt, two Egyptian officials said.

Convoys of humanitarian aid, including shipments from Turkey and Jordan, have been waiting near the crossing point for delivery to Gaza, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

Blinken meets with Saudi Crown Prince

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh as the Biden administration scrambles to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from becoming a broader regional conflict.

Blinken and the crown prince spoke Sunday for a little less than an hour at his private farm outside the capital, U.S. officials said. Asked how the meeting went, Blinken replied “very productive,” but there were no other immediate details. The meeting, which had been expected late Saturday night but never materialized, was closed to media.

The talks came just hours after the Israeli military warned that a full-scale assault on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip would begin soon amid increasingly dire warnings that the expected ground invasion will have devastating consequences for Palestinian civilians.

Prince Mohammed is the sixth Arab leader Blinken has seen in person since he arrived in the Middle East on Thursday, stopping first in Israel to reaffirm the Biden administration’s pledge to stand with and support Israel. From Israel, Blinken has traveled throughout the region meeting the leaders of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. He plans to visit Egypt later Sunday.

Palestinian deaths soar past 2,300

The Gaza Health Ministry says 2,329 Palestinians have been killed since the latest fighting erupted, making this the deadliest of the five Gaza wars for Palestinians.

The death toll on Sunday surpassed that of the third war between Israel and Hamas, in the summer of 2014, when 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, were killed, according to U.N. figures.

That war lasted six weeks, and 74 people were killed on the Israeli side, including six civilians.

The current war erupted a week ago when Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel in a shocking surprise attack. More than 1,300 Israelis have been killed in the initial, wide-ranging assault and in rocket attacks from Gaza. The overwhelming majority were civilians.

For Israel, this is the deadliest war since the 1973 conflict with Egypt and Syria.

Hamas says three killed after crossing border between Lebanon and Israel

Hamas announced early Sunday that three of its members from Lebanon had been killed after crossing the border from Lebanon into Israel and clashing with Israeli forces.

The group said in a statement that its militants had “inflicted losses” before being targeted by Israeli airstrikes.

Since the outbreak of the latest Hamas-Israel war on Oct. 7, there have been sporadic border clashes between Israeli forces and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, and with Palestinian armed groups in Lebanon including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Monitor says Israel attacks airport in northern Syria

A Syrian opposition war monitor and a pro-government media outlet say Israel’s military has attacked the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo, putting it out of service.

Al-Watan daily said the Saturday night strike hit the runway of Aleppo airport — putting it out of service just hours after it was fixed following a similar Israeli strike on Thursday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that the strike also hit the runway at Aleppo airport.

The attack on Aleppo airport came shortly after a rocket was reportedly fired from Syria into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

On Thursday, Israeli struck the runways in Aleppo and Damascus International Airport. Aleppo was fixed within a day before it was again targeted Saturday.

There was no immediate comment from Israel’s military, which rarely confirms such strikes.

U.S. to send a second carrier strike group to support Israel

The Biden administration is sending the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean to support Israel, two defense officials told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the move ahead of its announcement.

The Eisenhower will join the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group, which is already sailing near Israel, to bolster U.S. presence there with a host of destroyers, fighter aircraft and cruisers.

The Eisenhower deployed from its homeport of Norfolk, Va., Friday. Having two carriers in the region can provide a host of options.

They can disperse and serve as primary command and control operations centers, to cover a wide swath of area. They can conduct information warfare. They can launch and recover E2-Hawkeye surveillance planes that provide early warnings on missile launches, conduct surveillance and manage the airspace.

Both ships carry F-18 fighter jets that could fly intercepts or strike targets. They also have significant capabilities for humanitarian work, including an onboard hospital with medics, surgeons and doctors, and they sail with helicopters that can be used to airlift critical supplies in or victims out.

Israeli military announces it is prepared for ‘coordinated’ offensive

The Israeli military says it has prepared a “coordinated” offensive in the Gaza Strip involving air, ground and naval forces.

In a statement on its website Saturday night, the army said it is “preparing to implement a wide range of offensive operative plans.

Israel has bombarded Gaza for days and ordered roughly half of the territory’s population to evacuate their homes ahead of an expected ground offensive in response to a brutal cross-border Hamas attack.

Israel has not said when the offensive will begin.

Head of Gaza’s largest hospital says 35,000 people are sheltering in hospital complex

Medical officials say an estimated 35,000 people have crammed into the grounds of Gaza City’s main hospital, seeking refugee ahead of an expected Israeli ground offensive.

Mohammad Abu Selim, general director of Shifa Hospital, confirmed that massive crowds had thronged the building and the courtyard outside. Shifa is the largest hospital in the entire Gaza Strip.

“People think this is the only safe space after their homes were destroyed and they were forced to flee,” said Dr. Medhat Abbas, a Health Ministry official. “Gaza City is a frightening scene of devastation.”

The Israeli military has ordered roughly half of Gaza’s population, including all of Gaza City, to evacuate as it prepares to send in ground forces.

Israel has been bombing Gaza for the past week, killing more than 2,200 so far in response to a cross-border Hamas attack that killed over 1,300 Israelis.

Blinken has sought China’s help to prevent spread of Israel-Hamas war, State Department says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to seek China’s help in preventing the Israel-Hamas war from spreading.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken called Wang on Saturday from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to ask China to use whatever influence it has in the Middle East to keep other countries and groups from entering the conflict.

Miller would not say which countries and groups the U.S. believes Beijing has influence with but China is known to have close trade and political ties with Iran, which in turn supports Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

Miller declined to characterize Wang’s response, but said the U.S. believes it and China have a shared interest in Middle East stability.

Hezbollah TV reports exchange of fire with Israeli troops

Hezbollah’s TV station has reported an intense exchange of fire along Lebanon’s border with Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Al-Manar TV reported that Hezbollah fighters pounded Israeli positions in the Chebaa Farms and Kfar Chouba hills area on Saturday.

It was the latest exchange of shelling between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters since last Saturday following Hamas’ attack on southern Israel.

Israel’s military said that it was striking Lebanon after coming under fire from Hezbollah. Chebaa Farms was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war, but Lebanon considers it and the nearby Kfar Chouba hills as Lebanese territories.

The Golan Heights were annexed by Israel in 1981.

Eygptian humanitarian aid for Gaza arrives in Sinai

Egyptian charities on Saturday sent over 100 trucks carrying 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid including food and other supplies to the Palestinian people in Gaza, local media reported. The aid will wait in Sinai until a deal is secured with Israel to allow the delivery of aid into the besieged territory.

Foreign ministers from OIC to meet in Saudi Arabia about Israel-Hamas war

Saudi Arabia called an urgent meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a 57-member bloc of Muslim countries. The OIC said in a statement Saturday that the meeting will “address the escalating military situation in Gaza and its environs as well as the deteriorating conditions that endanger the lives of civilians and the overall security and stability of the region.”

The meeting will take place on Wednesday in Jeddah.

UNICEF calls for immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access into Gaza

The U.N. children’s agency is calling for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access into the Gaza Strip, saying hundreds of thousands of children and their families have started fleeing northern Gaza.

UNICEF said children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of hostilities and cuts to all supply routes.

“The situation is catastrophic, with unrelenting bombing and a massive increase in the displacement of children and families. There are no safe places,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

UNICEF said its staff have continued to respond to the critical needs of children across the Gaza Strip, but access is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous.

The agency said UNICEF staff will stay in southern Gaza to continue to provide support for children in need.

Hospital patients spent part of the night on the street in Gaza, medical aid group says

Patients and medical staff of Al Awda Hospital in Gaza spent part of their night on the street “with bombs landing in close proximity,” following Israel’s orders to evacuate the facility, the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said.

Scott Hamilton, a spokesman for the aid group, which is known as MSF, said some of the medical staff and all patients have been moved to another location.

“But the situation remains extremely complicated and chaotic,” he told The Associated Press. “We call on Israel once again to cease the indiscriminate bloodshed, withdraw their ultimatum.”

Agreement reached to allow foreigners to leave Gaza amid mass Palestinian evacuation from north

Egyptian officials said Egypt, Israel and the United States have agreed to allow foreigners in Gaza to pass through the Rafah crossing point later Saturday. One official said both Israel and Palestinian militant groups had agreed to facilitate their exit, and that talks were still underway about bringing in aid. The officials were not authorized to brief journalists and so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Israel says it hit militants trying to cross from Lebanon

The Israeli army said Saturday that it had struck militants trying to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon.

The Israel Defence Forces released infra-red footage on Friday showing what they say are the strikes on militants attempting to cross the Israel border from Lebanon. It was not clear which group the alleged militants belonged to. On Friday, Hezbollah said its fighters fired several rockets at four Israeli positions along the border and the Israeli army said it had attacked Hezbollah targets with drone strikes.

“The Lebanese government bears responsibility for every attack launched from Lebanon towards our sovereignty. Anyone who tries to cross the border into our lands will be killed,” the Israeli military’s Arabic spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

An Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon on Friday, killing Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah and injuring six other journalists.

Israeli military spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told The Associated Press Saturday, “We are aware of the incident with the Reuters journalist and we are looking into it.”

He did not confirm that the journalists had been hit by Israeli shells, but called the incident “tragic,” adding, “We’re very sorry for his death.”

U.N. peacekeepers patrol on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila, with the Israeli town of Metula in the background, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. Sporadic acts of violence have been reported over the past days along the tense Lebanon-Israel border. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

U.N. peacekeepers patrol on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila, with the Israeli town of Metula in the background, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. Sporadic acts of violence have been reported over the past days along the tense Lebanon-Israel border. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Iran’s foreign minister warns Israel from Beirut it could suffer ‘a huge earthquake’

Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday called on Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza, warning that the war might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah joins the battle, and that would make Israel suffer “a huge earthquake.”

Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in Beirut that Lebanon’s Hezbollah group has taken all the scenarios of a war into consideration and Israel should stop its attacks on Gaza as soon as possible.

This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here

Egypt erects blast walls at the closed Rafah crossing

Egyptian authorities have erected “temporary” blast walls on Egypt’s side of the Rafah crossing point with Gaza, two Egyptian officials say.

The crossing point has been closed since earlier this week after Israeli airstrikes hit close to its Palestinian side.

The officials said the blast walls were erected as part of “precautionary measures” Egypt has taken in recent days over growing concerns about a mass exodus of Palestinians.

One of the officials said the walls will be removed once a deal is reached with Israel to spare the crossing from its airstrikes.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.

Palestinians were fleeing in a mass exodus after Israel’s military told people to evacuate to the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an expected ground invasion.

— Associated Press writer Ashraf Sweilam contributed.

Iranian Minister meets with Hezbollah, promises backing

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian says militant groups in the region are “fully ready” to respond to any move by Israel.

The minister spoke in Beirut at the end of a tour that took him to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, where Iran enjoys wide influence and where tens of thousands of Iran-backed fighters are deployed.

Amirabdollahian told reporters in Beirut Saturday that he met Hezbollah’s leadership, adding that “the resistance (Hezbollah) is in excellent condition and in full readiness to respond to criminal acts by the Zionist entity.”

He added that “the resistance will decide if the war will expand or new fronts are to be open.”

During his visit to Beirut, Amirabdollahian met Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and they discussed the war.

“We will do all we can to stop the Zionist crimes in Gaza,” Amirabdollahian said.

Supplies for Gaza arrived in Egypt awaiting reopening of Rafah crossing, WHO says

A plane carrying medical supplies for Gaza from the United Nations health agency landed Saturday in el-Arish airport in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, awaiting the reopening of the Rafah crossing point. That’s according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization.

We’re ready to deploy the supplies as soon as humanitarian access through the crossing is established

WHO director general- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on X, formerly known as Twitter

Egypt has designed el-Arish airport to receive supplies from aid agencies and foreign governments to deliver them to Gaza. Rafah was forced closed earlier in the week after Israeli airstrikes hit close its gate on the Palestinian side.

Adhanom also pleaded for Israel to reconsider its decision to evacuate 1.1 million people to the southern part of Gaza, saying, “It will be a human tragedy.”

US Air Force deploys fighter aircraft to Middle East

The United States Air Force said overnight that it had deployed F-15E fighter aircraft in the Middle East to support its operations backing Israel after Hamas’ unprecedented attack Oct.7.

Already, there’s more attack and support aircraft in the region over tensions with Iran as it enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation slams Israel’s treatment of Palestinians

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued a blistering statement Saturday expressing what it describes as “its absolute rejection and condemnation of Israel, the occupying power’s calls for the forced displacement of the Palestinian people.” The OIC broadly reflects the thinking of Saudi Arabia’s rulers.

The Jeddah, a Saudi Arabia-based organization, also called for humanitarian corridors to be opened into Gaza, which is under an Israeli siege blocking food, water and medicine.

Analysts say U.S.-led negotiations to have the kingdom diplomatically recognize Israel have likely stalled after Hamas’ unprecedented Oct. 7 incursion in Israel and Israel’s devastating military campaign that followed, which have left more than 3,200 dead.

Israel must give residents more time to evacuate Gaza, EU official says

The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Saturday that the Israeli military needs to give more time for 1 million people to evacuate northern Gaza ahead of any military action.

Josep Borrell, speaking to news media during a visit to China, welcomed the warning to evacuate but said the tight time frame could create a humanitarian crisis given the lack of shelters and transportation.

Palestinians were fleeing in a mass exodus after Israel’s military told people to evacuate to the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an expected ground invasion.

Palestinians flee from northern Gaza to the south after the Israeli army issued an unprecedented evacuation warning to a population of over 1 million people in northern Gaza, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Palestinians flee from northern Gaza to the south after the Israeli army issued an unprecedented evacuation warning to a population of over 1 million people in northern Gaza, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

South Korean and other Asian nationals evacuate from Israel

A South Korean military plane evacuating 220 South Korean and other Asian nationals from Israel has departed Tel Aviv and was expected to land in South Korea later Saturday, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said.

The people transported on the KC-330 military transport plane included 163 South Koreans, 51 Japanese nationals and six Singaporean nationals, the ministry said.

South Korea had also sent a civilian plane earlier this week to evacuate 192 South Korean nationals. About 470 South Koreans remain in Israel, most of them long-term residents who have chosen to stay.

No South Korean casualties have so far been reported from the violence in Israel and Gaza.

16 Palestinians killed in West Bank, Health Ministry says

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported 16 Palestinians killed Friday in the occupied West Bank, bringing to 51 the total number of West Bank Palestinians killed since Hamas waged its brutal assault on Israel last Saturday.

The United Nations says attacks by Israeli settlers have surged there since the Hamas assault.

Relatives of abducted Israelis plead for world’s help

Relatives of Israelis abducted during Hamas militants’ attack last weekend pleaded at the U.N. on Friday for the world’s help getting their loved ones home.

Speaking by video from Israel, Yoni Asher told diplomats at an Israel-organized event that he hasn’t slept or eaten since his wife and two small daughters vanished Saturday while visiting his mother-in-law in the country’s south.

His wife called to tell him that they were locked in a safe room after people came into the house and she heard gunshots, Asher said. He said he later saw a video of his wife and daughters, who are under 5 and 3, being loaded into a vehicle, and he tracked his wife’s phone to Gaza.

“I don’t know if I got any more tears left,” he said. “I’m exhausted, and I just want to approach whoever can hear me in the international community. Please bring back my baby girls.”

Hamas fighters took 150 hostages during Saturday’s surprise assault. Alana Zeitchik said a half-dozen of her cousins were snatched from a kibbutz. They were known to be alive as of Friday morning, she said.

“We don’t want more bombs or rockets or blood or tears,” said Zeitchik, who lives in New York. “We want our family back immediately. And we want peace.”

AP PHOTOS: Scenes of grief and desperation on 7th day of Israel-Hamas war

Turmoil and misery, anger and anguish. Not even a week has passed since war exploded across Israel and neighboring Gaza. But the pain and fear of war is visceral on both sides of the heavily fortified border.

Biden says addressing humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a priority

President Joe Biden said Friday that it’s a priority of his administration to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at an event in Philadelphia to promote a $7 billion program to kickstart development and production of hydrogen fuel in the U.S., Biden paused to note the deteriorating situation for Palestinians as Israel continues to bombard the strip in retaliation for last weekend’s attacks on Israel.

Biden said he’s directed his team to work with the governments in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab nations and the United Nations to surge humanitarian relief to those impacted by the war.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do Hamas,” Biden said. “And they’re suffering as a result as well.”

Biden again lashed out at Hamas, saying the militant group in control of Gaza makes the terrorist group Al-Qaida “look pure.”

UN Security Council meeting behind closed doors

The U.N. Security Council met behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the Israel-Hamas war as Palestinians stream out of northern Gaza on orders from the Israeli military.

Friday’s meeting was scheduled before the evacuation order, which added still more urgency to the discussion. The U.N. has said the order affects about half Gaza’s population and could turn an already dire humanitarian crisis into a calamity.

Moving more than 1 million people across a densely populated war zone to a place with no food, water, or accommodation, when the entire territory is under siege, is extremely dangerous — and, in some cases, is simply not possible.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

He implored all parties “and those with influence over them” to do their utmost to enable humanitarian access to the besieged Gaza Strip, to release all hostages immediately and to protect civilians.

The council emerged without any collective message or action from another private session Sunday on the Israel-Hamas fighting. Divisions in the council, the U.N.’s most powerful body, where have sharpened amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In Israel’s call for mass evacuation, Palestinians hear echoes of their original catastrophic exodus

In Israel’s call for the evacuation of half of Gaza’s population, many Palestinians fear a repeat of the most traumatic event in their tortured history, their mass exodus from what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation.

Palestinians refer to it as the Nakba, or “catastrophe.” An estimated 700,000 Palestinians, a majority of the prewar population, fled or were expelled from what is now Israel in the months before and during the war, in which Jewish fighters fended off an attack by several Arab states.

This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here

Netanyahu vows to destroy Hamas and says Gaza offensive is in early stages

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas as the army prepares for an expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu delivered the threat in a nationally televised address late Friday.

Israel has been pounding Gaza with airstrikes since Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented cross-border attack last Saturday, killing over 1,300 people in a brutal rampage. Early Friday, Israel ordered half of Gaza’s population to evacuate their homes.

“This is just the beginning,” Netanyahu said. “We will end this war stronger than ever.”

“We will destroy Hamas,” he added, saying Israel has widespread international support for the operation.

70 people killed in Israeli airstrike on convoys fleeing Gaza city, Hamas press office says

Hamas officials say that 70 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on convoys fleeing Gaza City.

Hamas’ media office says the cars were struck in three places as they headed south from Gaza City. It was not immediately clear who the target of the airstrikes was, or whether militants were among the passengers.

The army ordered residents to evacuate the city early Friday ahead of an expected ground invasion.

Israeli security forces conduct a security check on Palestinians outside Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. At Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Israeli police had been permitting only older men, women and children to the sprawling hilltop compound for prayers, trying to prevent the potential for demonstration as tens of thousands attend on a typical Friday. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Israeli security forces conduct a security check on Palestinians outside Jerusalem’s Old City, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. At Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Israeli police had been permitting only older men, women and children to the sprawling hilltop compound for prayers, trying to prevent the potential for demonstration as tens of thousands attend on a typical Friday. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Israeli shelling along Lebanon border kills 1 journalist, wounds 6

An Israeli shell has landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon, killing one and leaving six injured.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw the body of the dead journalist and the six who were wounded. Some of them were rushed to hospitals in ambulances. One nearby car was charred.

Al-Jazeera identified two of its employees among the wounded. The Lebanon-Israel border has been witnessing sporadic acts of violence since Saturday’s attack by the militant Palestinian group Hamas on southern Israel.

Israel military says it has carried out small raids into Gaza strip

The Israeli military says for the first time that ground troops have been operating inside the Gaza Strip.

In a statement Friday, the army said troops had entered Gaza to battle militants, destroy weapons and search for evidence about the missing hostages held by Hamas.

The announcement did not appear to be the beginning of an expected ground invasion of Gaza. Israel has been massing troops along the Gaza border since last Saturday’s deadly incursion by Hamas militants.

Evacuation map: More than 1 million ordered to evacuate

WHO says forced evacuations would be a ‘death sentence’ for some hospital patients

The World Health Organization says the forced evacuation of severely ill or badly injured people from hospitals in northern Gaza would amount to a “death sentence” for some.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing in Geneva on Friday that the two major hospitals in northern Gaza have already exceeded their combined 760-bed capacity, and warned of a shortage of blood in hospital blood banks across Gaza. Furthermore, several medications are in short supply, including for diabetes, seizures and asthma, as well as painkillers and dialysis solution.

In general, “hospital corridors are overflowing. Dead bodies are piling up as there is no more space in morgues,” he said.

Jasarevic said some patients — many of whom are children — were on life support systems like mechanical ventilators, “so moving those people is a death sentence. Asking health workers to do so is beyond cruel.”

Mapping out the Israel-Hamas war

After Hamas’ deadly surprise attack, Israel has destroyed entire neighborhoods in Gaza.

The death toll is soaring on both sides of civilians, soldiers, militants and hostages – and intensified violence is set to continue.

Here’s a look back at how it happened, and the latest from the region.

Tens of thousands protest after Muslim prayers across Mideast over Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

Shiite Muslims chant slogans against Israeli airstrikes on Gaza during a demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinian people, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Shiite Muslims chant slogans against Israeli airstrikes on Gaza during a demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinian people, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Tens of thousands of Muslims demonstrated Friday across the Middle East in support of the Palestinians and to protest against the Israeli airstrikes pounding the Gaza Strip, underscoring the risk of a wider regional conflict erupting as Israel prepares for a possible ground invasion there.

From Amman, Jordan, to Yemen’s capital, Muslims poured out onto the streets after weekly Friday prayers. At Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Israeli police had been permitting only older men, women and children to the sprawling hilltop compound for prayers, trying to prevent the potential for demonstration as tens of thousands attend on a typical Friday.

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Muslims gather at mosques for first Friday prayers since Israel-Hamas war started

In Muslim communities across the world, worshippers gathered at mosques for their first Friday prayers since Hamas militants attacked Israel, igniting the latest Israel-Palestinian war.

Indonesian Muslims pray for the safety of the Palestinian people during a Friday prayer at Abu Bakar Ashshiddiq Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. As violence and tensions increase in the Gaza Strip with Israeli airstrikes after an unprecedented Hamas attack, Islamic leaders in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, appealed to all mosques across the country to pray for peace and safety for the Palestinian people. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Indonesian Muslims pray for the safety of the Palestinian people during a Friday prayer at Abu Bakar Ashshiddiq Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

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An employee at Israel’s Embassy in Beijing was attacked in unclear circumstances and is hospitalized

An employee of the Israeli Embassy in Beijing was attacked on Friday and later hospitalized, the country’s Foreign Ministry said. China did not immediately acknowledge the assault.

It wasn’t immediately clear what sparked the attack, though it comes after Israel had criticized China for its statement that followed Hamas’ unprecedented and deadly incursion into southern Israel last Saturday that sparked the ongoing war between the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Israel.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement to journalists, saying the attack did not happen on the embassy’s grounds. The identity of the employee was not made public and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Iran’s foreign minister calls for regional talks to keep violence in Gaza from spreading

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is seen before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Kishida's office in Tokyo Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is seen before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Kishida’s office in Tokyo Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)

Iran’s foreign minister says the aim of his visit to Beirut is to preserve security in Lebanon amid regional tensions.

Hossein Amirabdollahian called in comments after meeting caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut for leaders of the region to hold a meeting in order to discuss the situation.

He warned that the violence in Gaza could spread to the region if Israel does not stop “the destructive war against the Gaza Strip.” He added that what Hamas did over the weekend was in response to the policies of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

UN agency says it’s not evacuating Palestinian shelters or its staffers

Palestinians inspect the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike at Al Shati Refugee Camp Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. As Israel escalates its war on Hamas, it will confront many of the same dilemmas it has grappled with over decades of conflict with the Palestinians. It will want to punish Hamas like never before, but without killing so many Palestinian civilians that it loses international support. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Palestinians inspect the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike at Al Shati Refugee Camp Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency known as UNRWA has transferred only its international staff to its compound in southern Gaza.

Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the agency, said that UNRWA was not aware of any evacuation plans for its thousands of Palestinian staff members and their families in Gaza. She said that local UNRWA workers were making their own decisions about whether to stay in their homes in Gaza City, transfer to the U.N. compound in the south, or flee elsewhere within the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA also said it was not evacuating its dozens of schools-turned-shelters, home to hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians across the territory.

UNRWA provides basic services and funding to 1.3 million people registered as Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip

3 Palestinians are killed and dozens arrested overnight in the West Bank

Confrontations across the West Bank continued into late Thursday night, with Palestinian health officials reporting three Palestinians had been killed overnight. That brings the total number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank up to 35 in the seven days since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war, with 650 Palestinians wounded in that time.

The highest ever monthly total for West Bank deaths since the U.N. started recording in 2005 is 47.

Overnight, Israeli forces arrested at least 26 Palestinians in a large-scale detention raid in the southern region of the volatile territory, Palestinian state media reported. Israeli authorities did not immediately respond to the request for confirmation.

The area has seen violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Israeli authorities have sealed off the territory, closing crossings and checkpoints between cities.

Hezbollah holds talks with Iran’s foreign minister

Children ride their bicycles past by a poster of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah at the Lebanese-Israeli border village of Marwaheen, south of Lebanon, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. An explosion near Lebanon's border with Israel slightly wounded at least three members of the militant Hezbollah group, a Lebanese security official said. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Children ride their bicycles past by a poster of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah at the Lebanese-Israeli border village of Marwaheen, south of Lebanon, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Iran’s foreign minister discussed the volatile situation in the Middle East with the leader of the militant Hezbollah group.

A Hezbollah statement said Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah met in Beirut early Friday to discuss “the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the brutal crimes committed against its people.”

There have been concerns that the Iran-backed and heavily-armed Hezbollah might join the war with Israel. Sporadic acts of violence have been reported over the past days along the tense Lebanon-Israel border.

Amirabdollahian was in Iraq on Thursday before coming to Lebanon, and he’s scheduled to head to Syria later Friday.

German foreign minister is en route to Israel to show solidarity

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock makes statements ahead of a summit in Tirana, Albania, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. Foreign Ministers of the Western Balkans and the European Union member countries in the Berlin process, trying to raise up regional cooperation in their march toward becoming block members in the future, convene in Tirana to prepare the summit which is held in a non-EU member country. (AP Photo/Franc Zhurda)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock makes statements ahead of a summit in Tirana, Albania, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Franc Zhurda)

Germany’s foreign minister is heading to Israel on a visit meant to show her country’s solidarity.

During the visit Friday, Annalena Baerbock is expected to discuss how Germany can support Israel, as well as the fate of hostages taken by Hamas the previous weekend — among them several German-Israeli dual citizens. Baerbock said in a statement that “Hamas brings people nothing but suffering and death, in Israel and in Gaza.”

About 950 German citizens and their relatives left Israel Thursday on special Lufthansa flights to Germany and a ferry to Cyprus. More flights are planned Friday. As a precaution in case the situation worsens, Germany is preparing possible evacuations by its military.

13 hostages killed in Israel’s attacks on Gaza Strip, Hamas says. No confirmation from Israel

An Israeli howitzer fires at the Gaza Strip from the south of Israel on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

An Israeli howitzer fires at the Gaza Strip from the south of Israel on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Hamas said Israel’s bombardment has killed 13 of the hostages, including foreigners.

It did not give the nationality of the foreigners, saying they were killed over the last 24 hours. There was no immediate Israeli comment.

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Egypt sends troops to reinforce its border with Gaza, official says

FILE - Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. As Israeli warplanes pummel Gaza to avenge the Hamas attack, Palestinians say the military has largely unleashed its fury on civilians. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

FILE – Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

Egypt has meanwhile taken “unprecedented measures” to reinforce its border with Gaza and prevent any breaches, a senior Egyptian security official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

UN opens appeal for $294 million in aid for Palestinians

The United Nations opened an appeal Friday for $294 million that it says it needs to aid and protect 1.2 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

The U.N. said it hopes to deliver the relief funds to dozens of partners in the Palestinian territories, including U.N. agencies now struggling to provide basic services to over a million people in Gaza as Israeli attacks on the enclave intensify, along with several aid groups including the Palestinian Red Crescent.

US defense secretary is in Israel to meet with its leaders and see America’s security assistance

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin addresses a media conference on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin addresses a media conference on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived Friday in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv to meet with senior government leaders and see firsthand some of the U.S. weapons and security assistance that Washington rapidly delivered to Israel in the first week of its war with the militant Hamas group.

Austin is the second high-level U.S. official to visit Israel in two days. His quick trip from Brussels, where he was attending a NATO defense ministers meeting, comes a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the region on Thursday. Blinken is continuing the frantic Mideast diplomacy, seeking to avert an expanded regional conflict.

Austin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, and the Israeli War Cabinet.

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Hamas calls on Palestinians in Gaza to stay in their homes despite evacuation orders

Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Hamas called on Palestinians to stay in their homes Friday after Israel issued sweeping evacuation orders in Gaza.

The Hamas Authority for Refugee Affairs told residents of the north of the territory to “remain steadfast in your homes and to stand firm in the face of this disgusting psychological war waged by the occupation.”

Israel has ordered the evacuation of northern Gaza, including Gaza City, which is home to hundreds of thousands of people. Palestinians would only be able to flee south within Gaza — a narrow strip of land about 40 kilometers (25) miles long — as Israel has completely sealed off the territory.

Gaza awakes to chaos under evacuation order that some are calling impossible

Residents in northern Gaza awoke to panic Friday after its 1.1 million residents, including hundreds of thousands in Gaza City, were ordered to evacuate south.

“This is chaos, no one understands what to do,” said Inas Hamdan, an officer at the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza City while she grabbed whatever she could throw into her bags amid the panicked shouts of her relatives. She said all the U.N. staff in Gaza City and northern Gaza had been told to evacuate south to Rafah.

“Forget about food, forget about electricity, forget about fuel, the only concern now is just if you’ll make it, if you’re going to live,” Nebal Farsakh, spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City said, breaking into heaving sobs. She said there was no possible way that 1.2 million people could be safely evacuated.

Imad Abu Alaa, U.N. Palestinian refugee agency officer in charge of shelters in northern Gaza, echoed that there were too many people to evacuate on too short notice for it to work. “What about U.N. shelters? We’re talking about civilians. Suddenly that doesn’t even matter?” he said.

Farsakh said there are hospital patients who cannot be moved under the current conditions, and many of the medics were refusing to leave and abandon their patients. Instead, she said, they called their colleagues to say goodbye.

Veteran politician accuses Israel of trying to drive Palestinians into Egypt

Half an hour after a massive evacuation order was called in Gaza, veteran Egyptian politician Mustafa Bakri accused Israel of trying to drive Palestinians into Egypt.

“It seems that this warning foretells the imminent ground aggression and forced displacement of the people of the Gaza Strip towards the border with Egypt, so that they can eliminate the dream of establishing a Palestinian state,” Bakri said on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Cash-strapped Egypt fears a mass influx of migrants on its eastern border. It has called for international aid to be funneled through its Rafah crossing with Gaza.

200 evacuees arrive in india from Tel Aviv

India’s first chartered flight brought over 200 Indian nationals back home from Tel Aviv on Friday, nearly a week after the latest Israel-Hamas war erupted.

“Everyone is scared. We have no idea what would happen there. We had to move to shelters when there were missile attacks. This was not normal,” said Deepak Sharma, a 20-year-old student who was studying physics at a college in north Israel.

There are about 18,000 Indian citizens living in Israel, a small percentage of them students, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry. Nearly one-third of them have registered with the Indian embassy ready to fly back home.

New Delhi has not heard of any Indian casualties since Hamas launched its Oct. 7 incursion, the ministry said.

Number of people displaced in Gaza rises to 423,000

Palestinians inspect the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike at Al Shati Refugee Camp Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. As Israel escalates its war on Hamas, it will confront many of the same dilemmas it has grappled with over decades of conflict with the Palestinians. It will want to punish Hamas like never before, but without killing so many Palestinian civilians that it loses international support. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Palestinians inspect the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike at Al Shati Refugee Camp Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The number of people forced from their homes by the airstrikes soared 25% in a day, reaching 423,000 out of a population of 2.3 million, the United Nations said Thursday. Most crowded into U.N.-run schools.

Families were cutting down to one meal a day, said Rami Swailem, a 34-year-old lecturer at al-Azhar University, who had 32 relatives sheltering in his home. Water stopped coming to the building two days ago, and they have rationed what’s left in a tank on the roof.

The death toll from Israeli strikes on Gaza rose to 1,537, with 6,612 people wounded, the Gaza-based Health Ministry said Thursday. Of those killed, 500 were under the age of 18, the ministry said.

Palestinians were reporting heavy Israeli airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strip, with bombardment on residential buildings in densely populated city districts and refugee camps.

Israel orders the evacuation of 1.1 million people from northern part of Gaza, the UN says

Palestinians evacuate wounded people after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Palestinians evacuate wounded people after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Israel’s military on Friday directed the evacuation of northern Gaza, a region that is home to 1.1 million people — about half of the territory’s population — within 24 hours, a U.N. spokesman said.

This could signal an impending ground offensive, though the Israeli military has not yet confirmed such an appeal. On Thursday it said that while it was preparing, a decision has not yet been made.

The order, delivered to the U.N., comes as Israel presses an offensive against Hamas militants. U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric called the order “impossible” without “devastating humanitarian consequences.”

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As Israel battles Hamas, all eyes are on Hezbollah, the wild card on its northern border

Will Lebanon’s heavily armed Hezbollah militia join the Israel-Hamas war? The answer could well determine the direction of a battle that is bound to reshape the Middle East.

Hezbollah, which like Hamas is supported by Iran, has so far been on the fence about joining the fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Islamic militant rulers. For the past six days, Israel has besieged Gaza and hammered the enclave of 2.3 million Palestinians with hundreds of airstrikes in response to a deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel.

Israel, which has vowed to crush Hamas, is now preparing for a possible ground offensive. While the country’s political and military leaders weigh the next move, they are nervously watching Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border and have sent troop reinforcements to the area. Hezbollah, with an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles capable of hitting virtually anywhere in Israel, is viewed as a far more formidable foe than Hamas.

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Israeli airstrike leaves Palestinian refugee camp in ruins

Israeli warplanes pounded the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City early Thursday, reducing entire swaths of the crowded camp to ruins. (Oct. 12) (AP Video: Shadi Tabatibi)

Israeli warplanes pounded the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City early Thursday, reducing entire swaths of the crowded camp to ruins.

France has banned pro-Palestinian protests and vowed to protect Jews from resurgent antisemitism

France’s interior minister on Thursday ordered local authorities to ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations amid a rise in antisemitic acts since Hamas attacked Israel over the weekend. President Emmanuel Macron urged French people not to allow the war in the Mideast erupt into tensions at home.

Soon before Macron spoke in a televised address to the nation about the Mideast conflict, Paris police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse pro-Palestinian protesters who had defied a ban and demonstrated Thursday against the Israeli government.

With several French-Israeli citizens believed held hostage by Hamas, Macron pledged that France would protect its Jewish citizens and be ’’ruthless toward all those who bear hate,″ and noted concerns about hostility toward France’s Muslims too.

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Hamas civilian member defends group’s incursion

A prominent civilian member of Hamas defended the group’s rampage through Israeli communities in a video released by the group Thursday and decried the civilian deaths in Gaza from the six days of Israeli airstrikes that have followed.

The solemn video lacked the bravado of a recording aired by Hamas’ military wing Saturday hailing “the greatest battle” as the massacres still played out.

Basem Naim, a physician and former Hamas government minister, said in the “swift collapse” of the Israeli military on Saturday, “chaos prevailed and civilians found themselves in the middle of the confrontation” between Israeli and Hamas combatants.

The claim is contradicted by countless videos and survivor accounts of Hamas militants deliberately targeting and killing hundreds of civilians.

Naim said the 150 hostages taken back into Gaza would be treated according to religious values and international laws. “At the same time we are really worried … they might be the victims of the Israeli army bombardment, like our people,” he said.

He added that Hamas would not consider freeing the captives until Israel stopped its bombardment.

If Israel doesn’t end bombardment, war may open on ‘other fronts,’ Iran says

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian said Thursday that if Israel’s bombardment of Gaza continues, the war may open on “other fronts,” an apparent reference to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Amirabdollahian arrived in Beirut late Thursday evening, where he was greeted by representatives of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad along with Lebanese officials.

“In light of the continued aggression, war crimes, and siege on Gaza, opening other fronts is a real possibility,” Amirabdollahian said, speaking to journalists on his arrival.

Early Thursday, Amirabdollahian had visited Iraq, where he made similar statements after a meeting with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Questions have swirled around the extent of Iran’s role in the unprecedented surprise attack launched by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel on Saturday.

Hamas officials have denied that Iran was directly involved in planning the attack or green-lighted it, and to date no government worldwide has offered direct evidence that Iran orchestrated the attack. However, many have pointed to Iran’s long sponsorship of Hamas that has included training, funding and providing it with weapons.

Hezbollah sends drone over Israel, official with Lebanon group says

The militant Hezbollah group sent a drone over Israel on Thursday, according to an official with a Lebanese group familiar with the situation along the Lebanon-Israel border.

The drone was shot down over Israel, the official said, without elaborating further. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment to the news media.

An Israeli military spokesman wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, Thursday afternoon that an air-defense missile was fired in northern Israel but it turned out there was no target in the air.

Death toll in Gaza has surpassed 1,500, health ministry says

The death toll from Israeli strikes on Gaza has risen to 1,537, with 6,612 people wounded, the Gaza-based Health Ministry reported Thursday.

Of those killed, 276 were women and 500 were under the age of 18, the ministry said.

The jump in the death toll comes as Palestinians report heavy Israeli airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strip, with bombardment on residential buildings in densely populated city districts and refugee camps killing many family members at a time in their homes.

US and Qatar agree to not act on any Iranian request to access funds

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference, Thursday Oct. 12, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference, Thursday Oct. 12, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)

The U.S. and Qatar have agreed not to act on any Iranian request to access $6 billion in funds that were transferred from South Korea after a blanket waiver by President Joe Biden’s administration meant to clear the way for the release of five Americans held by Iran, a U.S. official said Thursday.

The move stops short of freezing the funds. Under the terms of the agreement, the funds must be requested by Iran and can go only for humanitarian purposes. The Americans were released last month.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the agreement and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The funding has been a concern as questions mount about Iran’s influence or role in the Hamas attack on Israel. Iran is Hamas’ principal financial and military sponsor, though the White House says it has not uncovered information that Iran was directly involved in the operation.

Israel tells citizens abroad to avoid Hamas demonstrations

Israel’s Foreign Ministry is warning Israelis abroad to avoid demonstrations said to have been called for by Hamas in cities around the world, saying they could become violent.

In a joint statement with Israel’s National Security Council, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday that there is a concern that Israelis or Jews could be targeted during the protests. The ministry statement said protests are expected on Friday and urged Israelis to be cautious.

45 Palestinians killed in airstrike on house, Gaza ministry says

The Israeli military bombarded a residential building in the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza on Thursday, killing at least 45 people and injuring dozens more, Gaza’s interior ministry said.

A late-afternoon airstrike hit the al-Shihab family house at the center of the Jabaliya camp, interior ministry spokesperson Eyad Bozum told The Associated Press. The al-Shihab house was packed with dozens of relatives at the time of the airstrike, Bozum said. Some family members had fled heavy bombing from other parts of the Gaza Strip and taken refuge there

Bozum said the death toll was likely to rise from that airstrike as civil defense workers were still pulling bodies from the rubble and counting the dead.

U.S. has no plans to send troops to Israel, White House says

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has no plans to send troops to Israel, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

“There is no intention, no plan, and frankly, no desire by the Israelis,” Kirby said.

Kirby also said there have been ongoing conversations with Israel “about the continued need for continued flow of humanitarian assistance” into Gaza.

He said establishing corridors to provide safe passage out of Gaza for civilians is “the right thing to do for innocent victims who are actually being held hostage as well by Hamas.”

Blinken tells Netyanyahu the U.S. “will always be there by your side”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Israel on Thursday amid the country’s intense fighting with Hamas.

Iran’s foreign minister says region will face repercussions if Israel doesn’t end attacks on Gaza

BAGHDAD — During a visit to Iraq Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister said that if Israel fails to stop its attacks on civilians in Gaza, the region will face “new conditions.”

“They cannot put Gaza under complete siege and bomb the citizens and commit war crimes, and expect no response,” Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a statement released by the foreign ministry.

Amirabdollahian met with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani Thursday and was expected to travel to Lebanon, where he will meet with officials on Friday.

Questions have swirled around Iran’s role in the attack launched by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel Saturday. Hamas officials have denied Iran’s direct involvement, and to date no government worldwide has offered direct evidence that Iran orchestrated the attack. However, many have pointed to Iran’s long sponsorship of Hamas.

U.S. to start evacuating Americans from Israel, possibly as soon as Friday

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government will begin operating evacuation flights to help Americans leave Israel as Israel prepares to escalate retaliatory action against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, according to the Biden administration.

White House National Security spokesman, John Kirby confirmed Thursday that the U.S. would arrange charter flights from Israel to sites in Europe. “We’re still working through some of the details of that to assist U.S. citizens and their immediate family members,” he said.

The evacuation flights are expected to begin operating as early as Friday. The U.S. government is arranging for at least four charter flights a day out of Israel through Frankfurt, Germany.

Lebanese Premier urges groups to avoid inciting conflict in Israel

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister is calling on all Lebanese groups to exercise self-restraint and to not be pulled into “Israel’s plans.”

Najib Mikati’s comments Thursday after a Cabinet meeting in Beirut were apparently meant to encourage the militant group Hezbollah to avoid inciting any conflict with Israel.

“Lebanon is in the eye of the storm and what is happening along our southern border leaves us deeply worried,” Mikati said.

He said the incidents along Lebanon’s border with Israel over the past few days are the result of Israel’s “provocations and continuous violations” of a United Nations Security Council resolution that ended a monthlong was between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

Mikati said Lebanon condemns “criminal acts committed by Israel.”

UN says humanitarian situation in Gaza is getting more desperate

The number of people fleeing attacks on Gaza is continuing “in very, very large numbers,” with a 30% increase in the past 24 hours, the United Nations humanitarian office says.

Two-thirds of the people displaced by the violence — 218,000 — have taken refuge in 92 schools run by the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday.

Dujarric said the humanitarian situation, with the Israeli cutoff of fuel, food and electricity, is getting more dire “by the day, if not by the hour.”

More than 2,500 units have been destroyed, severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable while nearly 23,000 others have sustained moderate to minor damage. At least 88 educational facilities have been struck.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric

Dujarric said discussions about opening a humanitarian corridor from Gaza are ongoing, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and U.N. Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland are engaging “with all relevant actors.”

Britain’s Sunak announces $3.7M for security at schools and synagogues

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced millions of pounds in extra funding to boost security at schools and synagogues and protect them against antisemitic attacks in the wake of Hamas’ attacks in Israel.

Sunak’s office said Thursday that 3 million pounds ($3.7 million) of additional funding will be provided to the Community Security Trust, an organization established to protect British Jews from antisemitic threats. The funding will enable the group to provide more guards in the schools it supports, as well as outside synagogues during prayer times.

The Community Security Trust said it recorded 139 antisemitic incidents in the U.K. over the past four days — a fourfold increase compared to the same period last year.

The funding announcement came after Sunak met with senior officials and police chiefs to discuss security and policing protests and rallies by pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups planned across the U.K. this weekend.

The morgue at Gaza’s biggest hospital is overflowing as Israeli attacks intensify

The morgue at Gaza’s biggest hospital overflowed Thursday as bodies came in faster than relatives could claim them on the sixth day of Israel’s heavy aerial bombardment on the territory of 2.3 million people.

With scores of Palestinians killed each day in the Israeli onslaught after an unprecedented Hamas attack, medics in the besieged enclave said they ran out of places to put remains pulled from the latest strikes or recovered from under the ruins of demolished buildings.

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Israel’s military says the number of soldiers killed has risen to 247

Israel’s military said Thursday that 247 soldiers have been killed since the start of the war last weekend — an increase from 222 earlier in the day.

The military previously confirmed to The Associated Press that the 222 soldiers had all been identified and their families notified.

Iran’s foreign minister urges end of violence in Gaza, says the war will affect entire region

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian expressed his country’s support for the rights of the Palestinian people, saying that the ongoing war in Gaza will affect the whole region.

Amirabdollahian said there is a need for an end to the “killing of children and civilians in Palestine.”

The Iranian official made his comments Thursday during a meeting with Iraq’s National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji in Baghdad.

Amirabdollahian’s comments were carried in a statement released by al-Araji’s office.

Al-Araji said demonstrations will be held in different parts of Iraq on Friday in support of the Palestinians.

Iran is a main supporter of Palestinian factions based in Gaza, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group.

Former Israeli defense official says bombardment of Gaza should continue until Hamas is ‘ashes’

A former Israeli defense official told the Associated Press Thursday that Israel should continue bombarding Gaza for as long as militants remain in the territory, even if it incurs massive casualties to Israeli soldiers.

Yaakov Amidror, a retired General and senior fellow at JINSA, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, said that Israel would “bomb any attempt to build military capability in the in the Gaza Strip for the next hundred years,” raising the specter of an unending military engagement in Gaza.

“We need to crush Hamas to ashes, no matter how many casualties,” Amidror said. “Of course, we will give all means to our soldiers to defend themselves. but I don’t think casualties are the main element in decision-making.”

Israel military says it dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza since start of war

The Israeli military said Thursday it had dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. While Israel says it is striking Hamas targets, many civilians in the pounded strip have been killed. Hospitals and U.N. shelters have also been hit.

The airstrikes have also killed entire families in their homes. Gaza’s Ministry of Health said Thursday that 22 entire families had been killed. An airstrike in the northern city of Jabalia Thursday killed 44 members of the same family, leaving just six survivors.

Hamas official warns against ground invasion, says it would be disaster for the Israeli military

A high-ranking Hamas official warned Thursday that any Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip will prove catastrophic for the Israeli army.

“For every action the enemy takes, there is a plan we have,” said Saleh Al-Arouri, the deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas.

Israeli defense officials have yet to order a ground invasion of the pummeled territory, but have been planning for the possibility of it. The military has called over 300,000 reservists into action in preparation.

Hundreds gather in Romania’s capital in support of Israel

Several hundred people gathered for a rally in Romania’s capital on Thursday to pledge their support for Israel in what its embassy called the country’s “fight against terrorism.”

Held at a central Bucharest park, many attendees waved Israeli flags and some brandished signs that read: “We stand with Israel.”

Israel’s ambassador to Romania, Reuven Azar, told reporters there that “we are going to tackle this evil, because without tackling this evil, we are all in danger.”

“We are now in a very difficult moment in our history. We’ve been attacked by one of the most ferocious, barbaric, savage forces in the world that is killing innocent civilians, families, babies, children, taking hostages, (and) burning people alive,” he said. “It’s a kind of savagery that we haven’t seen before.”

US Defense Secretary says Israel can use American-provided munitions as it sees fit

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that the U.S. is placing no specific conditions on how Israel uses the American-provided munitions. Israel has a professional military and “we would hope and expect that they would do the right things,” he told reporters at the close of the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.

He was asked if the U.S. would put conditions on the weapon, specifically that they would not be used against civilians. Austin said he would leave it to the Israelis to define their operations.

Austin also said that the U.S. is working to provide Israel whatever it needs, even as America continues to support Ukraine.

“The United States can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin

Why Russia is engaged in a delicate balancing act in the Israel-Hamas war

The Israel-Hamas war has forced Russia into a delicate balancing act, with Moscow urging a quick end to the fighting without apportioning blame.

The careful stand is due to Russia’s long ties to Israel, the Palestinians and other regional players, and it reflects the Kremlin’s hope to expand its clout in the Middle East by playing peacemaker.

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Aid chief calls for establishing demilitarized zones in Gaza

Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland has called for establishing demilitarized zones in Gaza amid unrelenting bombardment by Israel following last weekend’s unprecedented attack by Hamas.

Writing Thursday on X, formerly known as Twitter, Egeland said urgent life-saving support is needed for civilians trapped in Gaza.

“The siege must be lifted. Defined, safe, and demilitarised zones within Gaza itself must be established & respected by all parties.”

Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland

Egeland also called for the international community to facilitate a deal to release all civilians held by both sides, “with immediate release of children, mothers with infants, the wounded & sick.”

Health facilities damaged and 10 health care workers killed in Gaza

Fourteen health facilities have been damaged and 10 health care workers killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli airstrikes since the Israel-Hamas war broke out, Palestinian health officials said Thursday.

Blinken meets with Israeli president Isaac Herzog

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Blinken offered a statement with Herzog that touched on the same themes as his earlier statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“There really are two paths before countries in this region and in many ways, countries in this world. But here in the Middle East, there’s the path of integration, cooperation, normalization and equal measures of justice, opportunity, dignity for all peoples, including the Palestinians,” Blinken said.

He added: “Or there’s the path that Hamas has shown to the world these last few days — terror, destruction, nihilism, a path that leads to nowhere for anyone except to the darkest places in our souls.”

Israeli military says bodies of 222 soldiers have been identified

Every Israeli soldier killed by Hamas militants so far in the latest Israel-Palestinian war has been identified, the Israeli military confirmed Thursday.

A total of 222 Israeli soldiers have died and their families have all been notified, a spokesperson for the military said.

Officials says more than 1,400 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip

At least 1,417 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip and over 6,200 have been injured since the Israel-Hamas war began, Palestinian health officials said Thursday.

Of the dead, nearly 450 are children and 250 are women.

The war has claimed at least 2,600 lives on both sides since Hamas launched its attack on Israel last Saturday.

Palestinians say Israeli planes dropped flyers warning them to evacuate

Palestinian residents of the city of Beit Lahiya in the northern region of the Gaza Strip said Thursday that Israeli planes dropped flyers warning them to evacuate their homes and to head to “known shelters.”

“Anyone who is near Hamas terrorists will put their lives in danger,” the flyers said. “Adhering to IDF instructions will prevent you from being exposed to danger.”

The area had already been heavily struck by the time the flyers were dropped. Shelters in the Gaza Strip are not safe from airstrikes — the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees has seen 10 of its shelters struck since the start of the operation.

Palestinians living the pummeled Strip have said that the military often has not alerted them before striking homes, or will alert them but not with enough time to evacuate before their homes are struck. Israeli defense officials have said that they attempt to provide warning before strikes.

US death toll in Israel rises to at least 25

The number of U.S. citizens who have died in the Israel-Palestinian war has risen to at least 25, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday during a visit Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

That’s an increase from 22 on Wednesday. The State Department previously said at least 17 more Americans remain unaccounted for.

Media reports: Israeli airstrikes on airports in Syria

Syria’s pro-government media reports that Israeli airstrikes have targeted the airports of the capital city Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, damaging their runways.

Al-Watan Daily and Dama Post did not give further details other than both airports are out of service.

They were the first Israeli strikes on Syria since the militant Palestinian group Hamas carried out its deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Earlier this year, the airports of Damascus and Aleppo were hit several times.

Trump says Netanyahu ‘let us down’ before the 2020 airstrike that killed a top Iranian general

Former President Donald Trump has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of betraying him just before the U.S. killed a top Iranian general in 2020, breaking from the Republican presidential primary field’s uniform support of Israel as it responds to Hamas’ deadly attack.

Trump’s comments at a West Palm Beach, Florida, rally on Wednesday were quickly denounced by one of Netanyahu’s allies and by several Republicans who oppose Trump, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 rival.

Most American leaders have lined up behind Israel after a multi-pronged Hamas invasion that President Joe Biden said was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. At least 2,500 people have died on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

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Netanyahu praises Blinken’s visit to Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed journalists on Thursday in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu praised Blinken’s visit as a “tangible example of America’s unequivocable support of Israel.”

“President Biden was absolutely correct in calling this ‘sheer evil,’” Netanyahu said, referring to Hamas’ unprecedented attack Saturday on Israel.

They shook hands after Netanyahu’s remarks.

Blinken said that he came before journalists “not just as secretary of state, but also a Jew” while recounting his own family’s history of surviving the Holocaust.

“So prime minister, I understand on a personal level, the harrowing echoes that Hamas’ massacres carry for Israeli Jews, as well as Jews everywhere,” Blinken said.

Islamic group condemns Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Thursday strongly condemned what it called the “ongoing Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”

“The OIC considers this brutal aggression against the Palestinian people a blatant international and humanitarian law violation and a war crime,” it said in a statement. It cited the killing and wounding of women and children, the destruction of civilian buildings and other locations.

The OIC said it held Israel “fully responsible” for the “repercussions of the continuation of this sinful aggression.”

The OIC, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, broadly aligns itself with the thinking of Saudi Arabia’s rulers. That suggests the ongoing war likely will affect the ongoing efforts by the United States to broker a deal that could see Saudi Arabia diplomatically recognize Israel.

Israeli airstrikes have blocked the operation of the Rafah crossing, Egypt says

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry denied Thursday it had officially closed the Rafah crossing and said Israeli airstrikes have prevented it from operating.

In the statement, the ministry called on all countries and international organizations wishing to provide humanitarian aid to deliver supplies to el-Arish International Airport, in Egypt’s northern Sinai. Hamas’ border authorities said Tuesday that an Israel airstrike hit the no-man’s land between Gaza and Egypt, blocking the road with a large crater.

ICRC says it’s in touch with Hamas, Israeli authorities about Israeli hostages

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday said it was in touch with Hamas and Israeli authorities as part of efforts to secure the release of Israeli hostages who are believed to be held in the Gaza Strip.

“As a neutral intermediary we stand ready to conduct humanitarian visits, facilitate communication between hostages and family members and to facilitate any eventual release,” said Fabrizio Carboni, the group’s Middle East regional director.

The Mideast emirate of Qatar, a frequent mediator between Israel and Hamas, has also confirmed its involvement in the negotiations.

Carboni appealed to Israel to allow badly needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza as Palestinians face staggering supply shortages following Israel’s decision to impose a siege on the crowded territory.

International Red Cross working to mobilize supplies, staff already in Gaza

Fabrizio Carboni, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s regional director, said the aid group’s first aim is to mobilize the medical supplies, fuel and staff already within Gaza — particularly those that could support medical facilities.

Speaking to journalists at an online presser, he said that aid delivery through the Rafah crossing requires both a political agreement and also a security deal so that needed supplies can safely reach affected areas.

“I fear that what’s coming next is going to be at least as challenging as what we’re seeing now.” Carboni said.

2 Palestinians are gunned down at a funeral in the occupied West Bank

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported Thursday that two Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank when Israeli settlers sprayed bullets at a funeral for three Palestinians who had been killed in a settler rampage the day before. Footage showed Jewish settlers in their cars swerving into the funeral procession and cutting off the road to the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, before stopping and opening fire.

Health authorities identified the two men killed as father and son: 62-year-old Ibrahim al-Wadi, a local official in the secular nationalist Fatah party; and 25-year-old Ahmed al-Wadi, an off-duty Palestinian security officer.

Residents near the northern West Bank city of Nablus and north of Ramallah reported that armed settlers have rampaged through villages and hurled stones at passing Palestinian cars after the unprecedented Hamas militant attack on Israel on Saturday.

Israel is trying to identify those missing since Saturday’s attack

The Israeli official overseeing the effort to return hostages taken by Hamas says the government is still trying to identify all of those missing or taken captive in Saturday’s attack.

In a statement, Gal Hirsch said his office is working “to formulate an assessment of the situation” and to assist the families of the captives and missing. “The searches in the field are continuing and the difficult work of identifying the bodies continues,” said Hirsch, a former general who was appointed after the incursion by Hamas on Saturday.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesperson, said Thursday that the army has notified the families of 97 Israelis believed to be in Hamas captivity.

Musk’s X has taken down hundreds of Hamas-linked accounts, CEO says

Elon Musk’s social media platform X has removed hundreds of Hamas-linked accounts and taken down or labeled thousands of pieces of content since the militant group’s attack on Israel, according to the CEO of the company formerly known as Twitter.

Linda Yaccarino on Thursday outlined efforts by X to get a handle on illegal content flourishing on the platform. She was responding to a warning from a top European Union official, who requested information on how X is complying during the Israel-Hamas war with tough new EU digital rules aimed at cleaning up social media platforms.

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Palestinians rush to buy food and struggle under strikes as Israel readies possible ground operation

Palestinians lined up outside bakeries and grocery stores in Gaza on Thursday after spending the night surrounded by the ruins of pulverized neighborhoods darkened by a near-total power outage. Israel launched new airstrikes and said it was preparing for a possible ground invasion.

International aid groups warned that the death toll in Gaza could mount after Israel stopped all deliveries of food, water, fuel and electricity and the tiny enclave’s crossing with Egypt closed. The war — which was ignited by a bloody and wide-ranging assault on Israel by Hamas militants — has already claimed at least 2,500 lives on both sides.

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors in the rubble of a residential building leveled in an Israeli airstrike, Al Shati Refugee Camp Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. Israel's retaliation has escalated after Gaza's militant Hamas rulers launched an unprecedented attack on Israel Saturday, killing over 1,200 Israelis and taking captive dozens. Heavy Israeli airstrikes on the enclave has killed over 1,200 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors in the rubble of a residential building leveled in an Israeli airstrike, Al Shati Refugee Camp Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters Thursday that forces “are preparing for a ground maneuver if decided,” but that political leaders have not yet ordered one. A ground offensive in Gaza, whose 2.3 million residents are densely packed into a sliver of land only 40 kilometers (25 miles) long, would likely bring even higher casualties on both sides in brutal house-to-house fighting.

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Taiwan is closely watching the Hamas-Israel war for lessons as it faces intimidation from China

Taiwan is closely watching the war in the Middle East sparked by the unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas militants from Gaza for lessons amid what the self-governing island says is a campaign of intimidation and threats by China.

Hamas staged a stunning and massive incursion into Israel last weekend, killing hundreds in Israel and dragging dozens into Gaza as hostages. In retaliation, Israel’s increasingly destructive airstrikes in Gaza have flattened entire city blocks. The latest conflict, which has claimed at least 2,400 lives on both sides, is expected to escalate.

Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, said on Thursday that the Hamas-Israel war “blew up so suddenly,” prompting Taiwan to up its ability to forecast possible threats.

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In phone call, presidents of Syria and Iran say they stand behind Palestinians

The presidents of Iran and Syria have discussed by telephone the situation in the Gaza Strip, expressing both countries’ support for the Palestinian people.

Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that Syria’s Bashar Assad and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi said they stand behind the Palestinian people who are “being subjected to crimes and have the right to resist to defend their legitimate cause to gain back their rights.”

Assad was quoted by SANA as saying that Israel’s policies are leading to bloodshed in the region and called on Arab and Muslim countries to work on defending the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza.

The US is moving quickly to boost Israel’s military

FILE - The USS Gerald R. Ford, arrives in Halifax on Oct. 28, 2022. Within hours of the horrific attack by Hamas, the U.S. began moving warships and aircraft to the region to be ready to provide Israel with whatever it needs to respond.(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE – The USS Gerald R. Ford, arrives in Halifax on Oct. 28, 2022. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Within hours of the horrific attack by Hamas, the U.S. began moving warships and aircraft to the region to be ready to provide Israel with whatever it needs to respond.

A second U.S. carrier strike group departs from Norfolk, Virginia, on Friday. Scores of aircraft are heading to U.S. military bases around the Middle East. And special operations forces are now assisting Israel’s military in planning and intelligence.

The buildup reflects U.S. concern that the deadly fighting between Hamas and Israel could escalate into a more dangerous regional conflict. So the primary mission for those ships and warplanes for now is to establish a force presence that deters Hezbollah, Iran or others from taking advantage of the situation. But the forces the U.S. sent are capable of more than that.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Click here for a detailed look at what weapons and options the U.S. military could provide.

Hamas says it won’t be detered by Netanyahu’s unity government

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Hamas responded defiantly Thursday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement the day before that he and opposition leader Benny Gantz had formed a national unity government to lead the country in its war on the Hamas militant group.

Hamas officials vowed that Israel’s united front would not “intimidate or deter the resistance.”

“We have been preparing for this attack for years,” said Mohammad Nazzal, a senior Hamas official. “The resistance fighters have prepared to engage in the most vicious of battles for many months.”

650,000 people in Gaza face dire water shortages under Israel’s siege, UN says

An Israeli mobile artillery unit fired a shell from southern Israel towards the Gaza Strip, in a position a near the Israel Gaza border, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

An Israeli mobile artillery unit fired a shell from southern Israel towards the Gaza Strip, in a position a near the Israel Gaza border, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

The United Nations humanitarian office has reported that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has leveled 1,000 homes since the retaliation began last Saturday, and many in the territory face dire shortages of water, fuel and medical supplies.

Another 560 housing units, it said, have been severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable. Over 12,600 homes have sustained damage due to Israeli airstrikes.

The agency, known as OCHA, also reported that all 13 hospitals in the territory are only partially operational because of severe shortages of fuel and crucial medical supplies. It said the reduction in water supplies due to Israel tightening its siege on the strip has resulted in dire water shortages for over 650,000 people in the territory of 2.3 million.

Sewage systems have been destroyed, the humanitarian office added, sending fetid wastewater into the streets and posing a health hazard.

Israeli airstrikes kill Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, group says

Israeli airstrikes pounded the Gaza Strip overnight, at one point late Wednesday killing Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Moussa Naseer in an airstrike on his family home in the northern city of Beit Lahia, according to media linked to Al-Quds Brigades, the group’s armed wing.

Saudi crown prince speaks with Iran’s president

FILE - Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment event at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, Sept. 9, 2023. Saudi Arabia's most recent venture into the global sports scene — purchasing a stake in the Professional Fighters League — is yet another example of the oil-rich kingdom using athletics to increase its influence. (AP Photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Pool, File)

FILE – Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Pool, File)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has spoken by phone to Iran’s president to discuss the Gaza war.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Thursday that President Ebrahim Raisi had called the crown prince. The crown prince “underscored the Kingdom’s unwavering stance in standing up for the Palestinian cause and supporting efforts aimed at achieving comprehensive and fair peace that ensures the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights,” it said.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are longtime rivals that recently restored diplomatic relations in an agreement brokered by China.

Before the outbreak of hostilities, the U.S. had been negotiating with the Saudis over normalizing relations with Israel, a potentially historic agreement that would build on the so-called Abraham Accords with other Arab states. Iran has long supported Palestinian militant groups, and its leaders praised the wide-ranging attack into Israel launched by Hamas militants over the weekend, in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and dozens captured.

UN agency says at least 340,000 Palestinians have been displaced in the Gaza Strip

FILE - Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. As Israeli warplanes pummel Gaza to avenge the Hamas attack, Palestinians say the military has largely unleashed its fury on civilians. (AP Photo/Ramez Mahmoud, File)

FILE – Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike Jebaliya refugee camp. (AP Photo/Ramez Mahmoud, File)

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees reported Thursday that nearly 218,600 people are sheltering in 92 UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip.

As airstrikes and shelling by Israeli Forces continue across the Gaza Strip, more people are seeking emergency shelter. In addition, the agency said, many other people are displaced in government schools and other buildings.

In total, at least 340,000 Palestinians have been displaced across the Gaza Strip.

Germany will give Israel up to 2 combat drones

Germany will give Israel up to two combat drones that were already in Israel for the training of German servicepeople.

Germany’s military is currently leasing five Heron TP drones. The Defense Ministry said that it agreed to an Israeli request to use up to two of the aircraft. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday that Israel has asked Germany for ammunition for warships.

Pistorius said that the request will be discussed with Israel and stressed that “we stand beside the Israelis.”

The Israeli military says it’s preparing for a ground operation in Gaza

Israeli soldiers patrolling near Kibbutz Be'eri, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. The kibbutz was overrun by Hamas militants from Neraby Gaza Strip Saturday when they killed and captured many Israelis. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli soldiers patrolling near Kibbutz Be’eri, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

The Israeli military says it is preparing for a possible ground operation in Gaza but that the political leadership has not yet decided on one. Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told reporters Thursday that forces “are preparing for a ground maneuver if decided.”

Israel has called up some 360,000 army reservists and has threatened an unprecedented response to Hamas’ bloody, wide-ranging incursion over the weekend. It has been launching intense airstrikes on Gaza since the attack by Hamas on Saturday, as militants have fired thousands of rockets into Israel.

Egypt rejects proposals to establish corridors out of Gaza

FILE - Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. As Israeli warplanes pummel Gaza to avenge the Hamas attack, Palestinians say the military has largely unleashed its fury on civilians. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

FILE – Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

Egypt has engaged with intensive talks with Israel and the United States to allow the delivery of aid and fuel through its Rafah crossing point. However, it pushed back against proposals to establish corridors out of Gaza, saying an an exodus of Palestinians from the enclave would have grave consequences on the Palestinian cause.

The Egyptian government has rejected any proposal to establish corridors out of Gaza for Palestinians fleeing Israel’s bombardment in Gaza, a senior Egyptian official said early Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media, was responding to White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby, who said that the Biden administration is in active conversations to achieve safe passage out of Gaza for civilians.

Egypt’s state-run media reported that Israel’s offensive is part of a scheme to empty the enclave.

What was Hamas thinking? For over three decades, it has had the same brutal idea of victory

In the three and a half decades since it began as an underground militant group, Hamas has pursued a consistently violent strategy aimed at rolling back Israeli rule — and it has made steady progress despite bringing enormous suffering to both sides of the conflict.

But its stunning incursion into Israel over the weekend marks its deadliest gambit yet, and the already unprecedented response from Israel threatens to bring an end to its 16-year rule over the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s retaliation for the Hamas assault, in which over 1,200 people were killed in Israel and dozens dragged into Gaza as hostages, will likely bring a far greater magnitude of death and destruction to Gaza, where 2.3 million Palestinians have nowhere to flee and where 1,100 have already been killed.

This is an excerpt from a full story.

State Department warns US citizens to reconsider travel to Israel, West Bank

The State Department upgraded its travel warning for Israel and the West Bank on Wednesday to Level 3, “reconsider travel.” It kept its travel advisory for Gaza at the department’s highest warning level, Level 4, meaning “do not travel.” The State Department cited extremists continuing to plot attacks, the possibility of violence erupting without warning, and increased demonstrations. The travel warning comes as five days of rocket fire and missile barrages between the Hamas militant group and Israel already have led many airlines to suspend commercial flights.

Families in Israel and abroad wait in agony for word of their loved ones taken hostage by militants

One of those taken hostage is a grandmother who learned Arabic in hopes of building bridges with her neighbors. Others include 10 members of an extended family, one an elderly man in a wheelchair who requires hospital care. Still another is a nurse who delivered thousands of babies over the years to parents both Israeli and Palestinian.

All are among roughly 150 people abducted by Hamas militants early Saturday during sweeping raids on Israeli towns and villages near the heavily fortified border with the Gaza Strip. They include citizens of Brazil, Britain, Italy, the Philippines and the United States, as well as many Israelis. The number of hostages, provided by Hamas and Israeli officials, has not been independently confirmed.

Militants have vowed to start killing hostages if Israel’s airstrikes target civilians inside Gaza without first providing a warning allowing them to flee. It has placed the families and friends of those taken in a terrifying and desperate situation, with little they can do but wait.

▶This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

Far-right protesters riot outside hospital in Tel Aviv

More than a hundred far-right protesters rioted outside one of the main hospitals in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night after hearing reports that doctors there were treating a militant from Hamas, according to Hagai Levine, Chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians.

Protesters from La Familia — a group of notoriously racist Jerusalem fans of the “Beitar” soccer team — blocked the main entrance to the emergency room for three hours, according to videos circulated by doctors on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The ultranationalist soccer fans clashed violently with police and disrupted the passage of emergency crews into the hospital.

At the time of the riot, Sheba hospital was not treating any militants from Hamas, Levine said. It’s unclear if militants have been treated in Israel’s public hospitals since the Hamas rampage on Saturday.

The protest came on the heels of a letter circulated Wednesday by Israeli health minister Moshe Arbel that barred Israel’s public hospitals from treating militants. Arbel wrote that injured militants should be referred to the Israeli military or Israel’s intelligence services.

Palestinians in Gaza move from place to place, only to discover nowhere is safe

Over 180,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are packed into U.N. shelters as Israeli warplanes pound the tiny territory of 2.3 million people after their Hamas militant rulers launched an unprecedented weekend attack on Israel.

Residents say there is no real escape in Gaza, which has been under a suffocating 16-year blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt. When war breaks out, as it has four times since the Hamas militant group seized power in 2007, even U.N. facilities that are supposed to be safe zones risk becoming engulfed in the fighting.

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Biden calls Hamas attack deadliest day for Jews since Holocaust

U.S. President Joe Biden called the Hamas attack on Israel “the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust,” and a campaign of “pure cruelty.”

Biden was addressing a roundtable with Jewish community leaders convened at the White House on Wednesday.

“This attack was a campaign of pure cruelty, not just hate, but pure cruelty, against the Jewish people,” Biden said. He added: “I never really thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children.”

Biden thanked the leaders for their efforts combating anti-Semitism in the nation, and reiterated continued U.S. support for Israel.

Israel will ‘crush and destroy’ Hamas, Netanyahu says

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Hamas beheaded soldiers and raped women in their attack on Israel, and he vowed that Israel would “crush and destroy” the militant group.

Speaking in a late-night televised address as Israeli planes pounded Gaza, Netanyahu said every Hamas member was a “dead man.”

Netanyahu says soldiers beheaded, women raped in Hamas attack

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Hamas militants beheaded soldiers and raped women in their attack on Israel.

Netanyahu, in a late night televised address, detailed some of the atrocities that took place during the attack. He said boys and girls were shot in the head and that people had been burned alive.

At least 1,200 Israelis were killed in the attack, which set off fierce Israeli response in the Gaza Strip.

Israel orders military closure

Palestinian workers arriving in West Bank from Gaza

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinians who have been expelled from their workplaces in Israel have begun showing up in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where a temporary shelter was set up to house them.

The sudden influx of about 600 workers created an “overwhelming situation” that is bound to get worse as more arrive, Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam said Wednesday.

At the shelter where men sat on mattresses, some workers said they had been abused by Israeli soldiers.

“We were working and everything was fine, and suddenly they came to us and detained us,” said Raed Al-Moghribi. “When we told them that we are from Gaza, they started beating us.”

The workers began arriving in Ramallah on Wednesday after Israeli security forces brought them to checkpoints in the West Bank.

Khader Achour, another Gaza resident who had worked in Israel, said he wanted to return home but it had been demolished and his nephew, cousin and neighbor had all been killed.

“I wish to return to my family in Gaza to die among them,” Achour said.

White House says the U.S. is working to allow safe passage out of Gaza for civilians

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is in active conversations to allow for safe passage out of Gaza for civilians, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.

Kirby noted that Israel and Egypt are the two most significant players in the efforts.

“We are having active conversations about trying to allow for that safe passage,” Kirby said. “It’s the civilians who did nothing wrong so we want to make sure they have a way out.”

A Palestinian walks through the destruction by Israeli bombing in Gaza City on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

A Palestinian walks through the destruction by Israeli bombing in Gaza City on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Biden calls attacks in Israel ‘beyond the pale’ after latest call with Netanyahu

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden said that he and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden, who is set to meet with Jewish leaders later in the day, sought to connect the weekend attacks by Hamas militants that have left hundreds dead directly to decades of antisemitism and violence endured by Jews around the world.

“This attack has brought to the surface the painful memories and scars left by a millennium antisemitism and genocide against the Jewish people. And this moment we have to be crystal clear: There is no justification for terrorism, no excuse and the type of terrorism that was exhibited here is just beyond the pale. Beyond the pale,” he said.

It was at least the fourth call between Biden and Netanyahu since Saturday’s attack.

The number of US citizens killed in the Israel-Hamas war rises to 22

The number of U.S. citizens confirmed to have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war has risen to 22, the State Department said Wednesday.

That’s an increase from the 14 who’d been confirmed dead one day earlier.

We have to be crystal clear. There is no justification for terrorism. The United States has Israel’s back and we’re going to be working on this through the day and beyond.

President Joe Biden told reporters

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Israel tells residents in north to shelter after “hostile aircraft” enter from Lebanon

The Israeli military said Wednesday night that hostile aircraft had entered the country from Lebanon, setting sirens blaring across northern Israel as it urged citizens there to shelter.

The military did not specify the kind of aircraft. But Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Palestinian militants are known to have drones and gliders.

Hezbollah says US is ‘responsible’ for attacks in Israel

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group on Wednesday blasted the United States for its support of Israel, saying that sending an aircraft carrier to the region “will not scare our people or the resistance movements that are ready for the confrontation.”

Hezbollah said that the U.S. “is a full partner of the Zionist aggression and is responsible for the killings, crimes, siege, the destruction of homes and horrifying crimes against innocent civilians.”

The group added in a statement that sending an aircraft carrier to the region reveals the weakness of Israel’s military and its need for continuous foreign support.

Hezbollah criticized President Joe Biden’s “flagrant” support to Israel “killing machine.”

It called on Arab and Muslim nations to condemn the American intervention in the region.

Israel’s Netanyahu, opposition agree on unity government and war cabinet after Hamas attack

A top opposition Israeli politician says he has reached an agreement to enter a wartime unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Benny Gantz, a former defense minister and military chief of staff, released what he said was a joint statement with Netanyahu.

The statement said they would form a five-member “war-management” Cabinet. It will consist of Netanyahu, Gantz, current Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and two other top officials serving as “observer” members.

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Prominent mosque calls for investigation into war crimes by Israel

Al-Azhar al-Sharif, the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning, on Wednesday called for an international investigation into allegations of war crimes by Israel against civilian Palestinians in Gaza.

In a strong worded statement, the Cairo-based religious institution called for Arab and Islamic countries to take “a serious and unified position against the West’s inhuman rally” behind Israel’s attacks against “innocent Palestinian civilians.”

It said Israel’s “inhuman siege,” which included cutting off electricity and water, and preventing the delivery of food and humanitarian aid to the strip, is a “genocide and war crimes.”

The statement urged Arab and Islamic countries to quickly provide humanitarian aid and “ensure its crossing” to the Palestinians in Gaza.

Gaza’s sole power plant runs out of fuel

Gaza’s only power plant ran out of fuel Wednesday afternoon, forcing it to shut down after Israel cut off supplies, the Energy Ministry said. That leaves only generators to power the territory — but they also run on fuel that is in short supply.

Media reports: 3 civilians injured and 10 homes damaged in Lebanon by Israeli shelling

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency says Israeli shelling of southern Lebanese villages has wounded three civilians and damaged about 10 homes.

The agency said the shelling hit the villages of Marwaheen and Duhaira.

The Israeli shelling came after the militant Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli army position.

A prominent militia threatens to attack US bases if the country intervenes in the latest Gaza war

The leader of a prominent Iranian-backed militia in Iraq threatened Wednesday to attack American bases in retaliation if the United States intervenes in the latest war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza.

“Our missiles, drones, and special forces are ready to direct qualitative strikes at the American enemy in its bases and disrupt its interests if it intervenes in this battle,” Ahmad “Abu Hussein” al-Hamidawi, head of the Kataib Hezbollah militia, said in a statement. He also threatened to launch missiles at Israeli targets.

Al-Hamidawi called on Iraqis to demonstrate and collect donations in support of the Hamas military campaign.

9 UN staffers are killed in airstrikes in Gaza since Saturday

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees told the AP on Wednesday that nine of its staffers have been killed in airstrikes since the the start of the Israeli bombardment on Gaza on Saturday, with several killed late Tuesday.

“The protection of civilians is paramount, including in times of conflict,” said Juliette Touma, director of communications of the agency, known as UNRWA. “They should be protected in accordance with the laws of war.”

Touma said the strikes killed the U.N. staffers at their homes across the territory. She also said that 18 UNRWA schools-turned-shelters were damaged in the bombing, and that its headquarters in Gaza City was also damaged, without causing casualties.

Pope Francis calls on Hamas to release hostages immediately

Pope Francis on Wednesday called for the immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas fighters in the most serious assault on Israel in half a century.

Francis said during a weekly audience that he is following events in Israel and the occupied territories with “pain and apprehension,” with “many dead and injured,’’ and said he is praying for those who saw “a day of celebration transformed into a day of mourning.”

The pope said that “whoever is attacked has the right to defend himself. But I am very worried about the total siege under which the Palestinians in Gaza are living, where there are also many innocent victims.”

Some Israelis abroad desperately try to head home — to join reserve military units, or just to help

At the most harrowing of times, some Israeli citizens living overseas aren’t running from the war at home, but to it. From Athens to New York, they’re rushing to airports and diving into online chat groups for help, desperate to make their way to the country after Hamas militants attacked.

Some of these Israelis abroad are yearning to serve, whether that means fighting in a military reserve unit or volunteering to shuttle supplies to those in need, even as the war has already claimed at least 1,800 lives and shows no signs of abating. On Tuesday, Israel’s military expanded its mobilization of reservists to 360,000, according to the country’s media, as it ramped up its retaliation for the surprise attacks.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here

Israel strikes the Islamic University of Gaza, IDF says

Aircraft struck the Islamic University of Gaza on Wednesday, Israel Defense Forces said.

According to Israel, the university was being used as a Hamas training camp for military intelligence operatives, as well as for the development and production of weapons. The IDF also says Hamas used university conferences to raise funds for terrorism, and that the university maintained close ties with the senior leadership of Hamas.

Hezbollah fires missiles at an Israeli military position

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah fired missiles at an Israeli military position in a northern border town of Aramsha. The group claimed in a statement Wednesday that the attack led to a “large number” of wounded as well as some killed troops, without specifying any numbers.

The Israeli military said that anti-tank missiles were fired at a position in the northern border town of Aramsha, but did not mention anything about casualties. The Israeli army shelled the Lebanese border town of Duhaira and surroundings where the missile attack came from.

Hezbollah said the attack was in response to Israeli shelling Sunday that killed three Hezbollah militants. The Iran-backed group, a key ally of Hamas, has endorsed the Palestinian groups’ attacks on Israel, but has not officially joined the war.

Photos: Protests by pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators span the world as war escalates

From Bangladesh to Las Vegas and Brazil to Rome, demonstrations by supporters of Israel and the Palestinians were held around the world as people took to the streets to expresses their views and often outrage as the war escalated between Israel and Hamas militants.

People chant anti-Israel slogans while waving Palestinian flags during a rally celebrating the attacks that the militant Hamas group carried out against Israel, in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

People chant anti-Israel slogans while waving Palestinian flags during a rally celebrating the attacks that the militant Hamas group carried out against Israel, in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

A demonstrator crossing the street is silhouetted behind a flag of Israel during a rally in support of Israel Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Bellevue, Wash. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

A demonstrator crossing the street is silhouetted behind a flag of Israel during a rally in support of Israel Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Bellevue, Wash. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Rome, Barcelona, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Vancouver and other cities and towns to show support for one side or the other. In San Francisco and other cities, demonstrators from the opposing sides faced off across main streets.

Click here for more of AP’s photo coverage.

At least 30 killed in an airstrike on a law expert’s house, Hamas says

Palestinians walk through the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)

Palestinians walk through the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)

A respected expert in international law was visiting family in Gaza when an Israeli airstrike struck his home in central Gaza City late Tuesday and killed everyone inside, authorities said. Saeed al-Dahshan was on his way to Cairo, where he primarily lives.

Health officials did not immediately give a number of those killed but al-Dahshan’s friends said that his entire immediate family along with his brother and his family were killed, with Hamas official Bassem Naim estimating the death toll to be at least 30 people.

“This level of death and destruction is unprecedented,” said Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad, whose house was razed by airstrikes late Tuesday along with the homes many other members of the Hamas political bureau.

Hamas official says Israeli airstrikes killed family members of leader Mohammad Deif

Hamas officials say Israeli airstrikes late Tuesday struck the family house of Mohammad Deif, the leader of Hamas’s military wing. The attack killed his father, brother and at least two other relatives in the southern town of Khan Younis, senior Hamas official Bassem Naim confirmed to The Associated Press. The whereabouts of Deif himself have long been unknown.

Gaza is set to run out of electricity within hours

A neighborhood in Gaza City hit by an Israeli airstrike lies in rubble, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Israel has launched intense airstrikes in Gaza after the territory's militant rulers carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel Saturday, killing over 1,000 people and taking captives. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in the airstrikes. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

A neighborhood in Gaza City hit by an Israeli airstrike lies in rubble, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Gaza’s power authority says its sole power plant will run out of fuel within hours, leaving the territory without electricity after Israel cut off supplies. Palestinians in Gaza have long relied on generators to power homes, offices and hospitals, but have no way of importing fuel for those either.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here

Gaza can’t reach people who are trapped under rubble, officials say

Palestinians walk through the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)

Palestinians walk through the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)

Gaza can’t reach people who are trapped under rubble, officials say

As airstrikes are reported nonstop in the Karama district north of Gaza city, many dead and injured are stuck under rubble that Gaza lacks the equipment to handle, officials said Wednesday.

With streets badly damaged and the ongoing and intense nature of the airstrikes, ambulances and civil defense teams are unable to approach areas where people were reported trapped under crumbled infrastructure, Eyad Bozum, the Interior Ministry spokesperson, said in a statement.

Bozum said that heavy airstrikes were also reported in the southern town of Khan Younis and in an area east of the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

20 Thai nationals are feared dead with dozens injured or kidnapped

There are 20 Thai nationals feared dead, 13 injured and 14 kidnapped, the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Wednesday during a news briefing, citing reports from workers and their employers.

About 30,000 Thais have been working as low wage laborers in Israel, especially engaged in farm work. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke says 5,019 have registered so far to be evacuated back to their homeland.

The first plane carrying US armaments lands in Israel, IDF says

Israeli soldiers take positions near Kibbutz Kfar Azza on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Hamas militants overran Kfar Azza on Saturday, where many Israelis were killed and taken captive. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli soldiers take positions near Kibbutz Kfar Azza on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A plane carrying advanced armaments “designed to facilitate significant military operations” landed Tuesday evening at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.

“We are grateful for the US backing and assistance to the IDF, and to the State of Israel in general, during this challenging period. Our common enemies know that the cooperation between our militaries is stronger than ever, and is a key part in ensuring regional security and stability,” the IDF said in a statement.

2 Filipinos killed in attacks by Hamas, foreign secretary says

Two Filipinos have been killed as a result of the attacks by Hamas militants on Israel, where thousands of Filipinos live and work, said Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo.

Manalo condemned the killings in a brief statement he posted Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, but did not provide other details, including the circumstances of the deaths and the identities of the victims.

“The Philippines condemns the killing of two Filipino nationals and all other acts of terrorism and violence as a result of Hamas actions against Israel,” Manalo said.

He added that the Philippines is ready to work with other countries toward a long-lasting resolution to the conflict, in accordance with a U.N. Security Council resolution.

Canada planning to airlift Canadians from Israel

Canadian citizens will be flown out of the country from the Tel Aviv, Israel, airport in coming days in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel, Canada’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

The government plans to conduct the evacuation using aircraft from the Canadian Armed Forces, and is working on other options for people who are unable to reach the airport in Tel Aviv, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The post did not mention those Canadians who are believed to be trapped in Gaza after Israel closed off the Hamas-controlled territory.

Canada is trying to determine how many of its citizens are among the dead or missing. Friends and family have confirmed that 22-year-old Ben Mizrachi from Vancouver and former Montreal resident Alexandre Look, who recently celebrated his 33rd birthday, were two of the hundreds killed while attending a music festival in southern Israel.

Son of missing Italian-Israeli citizens thinks they were kidnapped

A son of two Italian-Israeli citizens unaccounted for after Hamas’ incursion into Israel believes they were kidnapped by Hamas militants.

Eviatar Moshe Kipnis, 65, who has an autoimmune disease and uses a wheelchair, and his wife, Lilach Lea Havron, 60, were holed up in their safe room on Saturday morning at their home in the Kibbutz Be’eri, Nadav Kipnis told The Associated Press on Tuesday. He said that was the last time he and his brother Yotam heard from them.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani briefed parliament about the incursion on Tuesday, identifying the two Italians by name and saying they were “probably taken hostage.”

The family also has lost contact with Havron’s sister and her extended family who lived nearby. All together, 11 people from two family households at the kibbutz are unaccounted for, including children ages 3, 8 and 12, Nadav Kipnis said.

The family has been working ever since to try to draw attention to their plight, hoping in particular that the Kipnises’ Italian citizenship will bring diplomatic pressure to bear.

Czech foreign minister visits Israel to show support

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky visited Israel on Tuesday to show his country’s support after the Hamas attack and brought more than 30 Czech nationals home from Israel on his plane, the Foreign Ministry said.

Lipavsky met his Israeli counterpart Eli Kohen and President Isaac Herzog, the Ministry said.

“Israel is one of us, the attacks and kidnappings unleashed by Hamas terrorists are an attack on all of us,” Lipavsky said in a statement.

Lipavsky also met the relatives of a woman kidnapped by Hamas.

Portuguese citizen and student in Tel Aviv found dead

JERUSALEM — Rotem Neumann, who was identified as missing in an Associated Press story yesterday, was found dead Tuesday, her cousin, Tomer Neumann, said. Rotem, a 25-year-old Portuguese citizen and a student in Tel Aviv, had been missing for at least three days by the time her body was found.

Neumann was was at the Teva festival, one of several music festivals near the Gaza border that was invaded by militants in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Rotem first called her parents from the festival when she heard rocket fire, Tomer said. That was the last time the family heard from her. Rotem then got into a car with friends and drove north, seeking shelter. The car soon encountered trucks filled with militants, shooting at them with machine guns. Panicked, they turned around and started going in the opposite direction. Militants with guns crowded the roads south, too.

They climbed out of the car and began running east, away from the border, piling into a concrete shelter they found at Kibbutz Re’im. Rotem sent a message to a friend there, sharing with him her location so he could take shelter.

Militants soon peppered the shelter with bullets. Bodies have been found in the area around the shelter, Tomer said, though it was not immediately clear if Neumann’s body had been discovered at the site.

Israel shells Syria after rockets hit open land in Golan Heights

The Israeli military said it shelled Syria on Tuesday after rockets hit open land in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

The military did not accuse any group of the rocket attack.

The Syrian government did not comment. However, Britain-based opposition war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a Palestinian faction conducted the rocket attack from Syrian territory.

U.S. intelligence didn’t see attack coming, security adviser says

U.S. intelligence did not pick up signs of the Hamas attack on Israel, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

“We did not see anything that suggested an attack of this type was going to unfold any more than the Israelis did,” Sullivan told reporters.

As other White House officials have done in recent days, Sullivan also reiterated that the U.S. government has also not seen any direct linkage between Iran and the Hamas attack over the weekend.

“While Iran plays this broad role — sustained, deep and dark role — in providing all this support and capabilities to Hamas, in terms of this particular, gruesome attack on Oct. 7, we don’t currently have that information,” Sullivan said.

At least 20 U.S. citizens unaccounted for after Hamas attacks, national security adviser says

Twenty or more U.S. citizens are unaccounted for as U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration continues to determine how many were killed in the Hamas attacks or are being held hostage, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

Sullivan said the U.S. does not know precisely how many citizens are being held hostage, or their conditions.

Biden confirmed earlier Tuesday that 14 Americans have been killed in the bloody Hamas incursion.

Biden calls Hamas attack act of ‘pure unadulterated evil’

U.S. President Joe Biden continued to condemn Saturday’s attack by Hamas on Tuesday, calling it an act of “pure unadulterated evil.”

“In this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel. We stand with Israel,” he said Tuesday.

Biden warned adversaries not to take advantage of the crisis. “I have one word: Don’t. Don’t.”

U.S secretary of state going to Israel on urgent mission

U.S. President Joe Biden is dispatching his top diplomat to Israel on an urgent mission to show U.S. support after the unprecedented attack by Hamas militants, the State Department said Tuesday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will leave Wednesday and is expected to arrive Thursday to deliver a message of solidarity and support, and will “talk about what additional resources we can give them,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Tuesday.

Gaza health ministry says death toll in has risen to 900

Israeli airstrikes since Saturday have resulted in 900 deaths in Gaza, including 260 children and 230 women, with an additional 4,500 individuals wounded, the Ministry of Health in Gaza said Tuesday.

The airstrikes have caused the deaths of 150 members of 22 families, six health workers, and eight journalists, while 15 health workers and 20 journalists have been wounded, the ministry said.

Airstrikes on residential neighborhoods have displaced approximately 140,000 citizens to U.N. shelters and hospitals, the ministry said. The U.N. is reporting that at least 200,000 residents have been displaced.

The strikes have targeted nine health institutions, including the Ministry of Health building, the Rimal Clinic, and the International Eye Center, and bombed 15 ambulances, the ministry said.

The situation is further complicated by fuel shortages and electrical outages affecting generators, the ministry said.

Colombian president compares Gaza to concentration camps

Colombian President Gustavo Petro angered Jewish groups after he compared the Gaza strip to a World War II concentration camp.

Responding to a video where Israel’s Defense Minister announced a “complete siege” of Gaza, that includes cutting off electricity and water supplies to the enclave, Petro wrote on his X account Monday that “no democrat in the world should accept that the Gaza strip be turned into a concentration camp.”

His comments were rejected by the World Jewish Congress, which wrote on X that Petro’s remarks were “an insult to the six million victims of the Holocaust and to the Jewish People”.

Colombia’s Confederation of Jewish Communities also criticized Petro for not condemning Hamas’ attacks on Israeli citizens.

US says special operations forces working with Israelis

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday that a small group of U.S. special operations forces is now working with the Israelis to help with planning and intelligence in their counteroperations against Hamas.

Austin released the information to reporters traveling with him to a Ukraine contact group meeting in Brussels.

Live from Ashkelon, Israel

AP is live from Ashkelon, Israel, where rockets were seen in the night sky.


Unprecedented Israeli bombardment lays waste to upscale Rimal, the beating heart of Gaza City

Palestinians inspect the damage of destroyed building after Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Palestinians inspect the damage of destroyed building after Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Collapsed buildings, mangled infrastructure, streets turned into fields of rubble.

Scenes of violence and destruction in the long-blockaded Gaza Strip have filled the world’s airwaves throughout four wars and countless rounds of hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants. But this conflict, Palestinians say, is different.

On Tuesday, following a night of intense bombardment, residents were struggling to grasp the sheer scale of damage inflicted on Gaza City’s upscale Rimal neighborhood, with its shopping malls, restaurants, residential buildings and offices belonging to aid groups and international media far from the territory’s hard-hit border towns and impoverished refugee camps.

Israel has hit Rimal, also home to Hamas government ministries, in the 2021 war, but never like this.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

LIVE: President Biden speaks on the Israel-Hamas war


What is Hamas? Terrorism expert explains what the group is fighting for

Hamas militants streamed into Israel and killed hundreds in an unprecedented attack, catching Israel off guard on a major Jewish holiday.

Hamas militants streamed into Israel and killed hundreds in an unprecedented attack, catching Israel off guard on a major Jewish holiday. (Sept. 9)

Carrier strike group arrives in Eastern Mediterranean, US official says

The Ford carrier strike group has arrived in the far Eastern Mediterranean, within range to provide a host of air support or long-range strike options for Israel if requested, but also to surge U.S. military presence to prevent the now four-day old war with Hamas from spilling over into a more dangerous regional conflict, a U.S. official told the Associated Press.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the arrival ahead of an official announcement.

The Pentagon has said that the U.S. warplanes, destroyers and cruisers that sailed with the Ford will conduct maritime and air operations which could range from intelligence collection and interdictions to long range strike.

Along with the Ford, the U.S. is sending the cruiser USS Normandy and destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt, and augmenting regional Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region.

Erdogan: US deployment to the region could lead to “massacres”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Israel’s blockade of Gaza saying cutting off electricity and water is against the Palestinians’ human rights.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Tuesday, Erdogan criticized U.S. plans to send an aircraft carrier to the region, saying the deployment could lead to “massacres.”

What is the U.S. aircraft carrier doing in Israel? What is it coming to do? It will take down Gaza by striking the surrounding areas and start committing serious massacres.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The Turkish leader reiterated his offer to mediate between the sides and said he would continue his efforts to end the war. He said he also would hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres later on Tuesday.

6 rockets were fired into northern Israel, Lebanese official says

A Lebanese security official said six rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel Tuesday evening.

The officials said it was not immediately clear who fired the rockets from the area of the Lebanese southern village of Qlaileh. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. A statement from UNIFIL, the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, also confirmed the rocket fire and urged “everyone to exercise restraint at this critical time.”

Officials from the Hezbollah militant group did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Spokespeople with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said they had no information on the rockets.

The firing of the rockets from southern Lebanon came a day after three Hezbollah fighters were killed along the border and an Israeli army officer as well.

Drone footage: Israel pounds Hamas stronghold in Gaza’s Rimal

Israel pounded downtown Gaza City with relentless bombardments Tuesday after it vowed a retaliation that would “reverberate for generations” against the Hamas militant group for its surprise weekend attack.

Israel pounded downtown Gaza City with relentless bombardments Tuesday after it vowed a retaliation that would “reverberate for generations” against the Hamas militant group for its surprise weekend attack. (October 10) (AP video/Shadi Tabatibi)

Egypt’s president urges a cease-fire

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt said Tuesday the ongoing escalation between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza “is very serious,” warning of repercussions on the region’s “security and stability.”

El-Sissi, whose government maintains ties with Israel and Hamas, said they have intensified their efforts to reach a cease-fire of the ongoing war, according to the state-run MENA news agency.

We are communicating with all international and regional parties in order to reach an immediate cessation of violence and achieve de-escalation.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt

The Egyptian leader affirmed his country’s position on establishing a “just and comprehensive peace” based on the two-state solution.

Misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war is flourishing on X

The social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, says it is trying to take action on a flood of posts sharing graphic media, violent speech and hateful conduct about the latest war between Israel and Hamas.

X said it’s treating the crisis with its highest level of response.

But outside watchdog groups say misinformation about the war abounds on the platform that billionaire Elon Musk bought last year. Musk himself has recommended unreliable accounts posting about the war. And his job cuts since taking over Twitter last year have left fewer people responsible for taking action on posts that violate the platform’s policies.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

Red Cross officials working to gain access to prisoners, including Israeli hostages

An official at the International Committee of the Red Cross says his organization has been in touch with both Hamas and Israeli officials about accessing prisoners, but so far have had no access to them.

Fabrizio Carboni, the regional director for the Near and Middle East for the ICRC, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that included the Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during their unprecedented incursion into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

“The level of violence is still very high but we’ve asked for access,” Carboni said from Geneva. “We ask also for the civilians who have been captured to have an opportunity to communicate with their family, to tell them that they are safe and well. We also ask that some people who have nothing to do in prison or shouldn’t be captured to be released”

UN human rights chief condemns alleged mass killings in Israel

The United Nations human rights chief said Tuesday Israel’s announcement of a “complete siege” of Gaza would exacerbate the “already dire” humanitarian situation in the strip, as he condemned alleged mass killings and executions by Palestinian militants.

Volker Türk, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement that such siege “risks seriously compounding the already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the capacity of medical facilities to operate.”

Türk also said he was “deeply shocked and appalled by allegations of summary executions of civilians and, in some instances, horrifying mass killings by members of Palestinian armed groups.”

Israeli soldiers take positions in kibbutz Kfar Azza on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Hamas militants overran Kfar Azza on Saturday, where many Israelis were killed and taken captive. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli soldiers take positions in kibbutz Kfar Azza on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

“It is horrific and deeply distressing to see images of those captured by Palestinian armed groups being ill-treated, as well as reports of killings and the desecration of their bodies,” he said.

He called on Palestinian militant groups to “immediately and unconditionally release all civilians who were captured and are still being held.”

Putin says the latest Gaza war is a result of US policy failures

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday described the latest Israel-Palestinian war as a result of failed U.S. foreign policy.

Speaking at the start of his talks with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani, Putin said in his first comment on the war that “many will agree with me that this is a vivid example of the failure of the U.S. policies in the Middle East.”

He added that the U.S. has “tried to monopolize the settlement, but, regrettably hasn’t bothered to search for compromises that would be acceptable to both parties and, just the opposite, sought to enforce their own view of how it should be done, exerting pressure on both parties.”

Putin said the U.S. has failed “to take vital interests of the Palestinian people into account,” ignoring U.N. General Assembly resolutions envisaging the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Concern grows about dwindling medical supplies in Gaza

The head of Doctors Without Borders for the Palestinian territories said he is concerned their team in Gaza will soon run out of medical supplies now that the enclave’s borders have closed.

Leo Cans told The Associated Press that he is particularly concerned about the supply of surgical equipment, bandages, antibiotics and fuel. The group, otherwise known as MSF, are currently operating from Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, and Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

“We are just running on the stock we have,” Cans said. The group had previously brought in all its supplies through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom border crossing.

In Gaza, MSF has 300 local staff and 23 international workers, he said.

Germany investigating kidnapping of its citizens in Israel

German prosecutors are investigating after German citizens were apparently kidnapped in the attack by Hamas on Israel.

The federal prosecutor’s office said in an emailed statement the investigation of unknown members of Hamas on suspicion of hostage-taking, murder and membership in a foreign terrorist organization was opened on Tuesday.

The German Foreign Ministry has said it has to assume that an unspecified number of German-Israeli dual citizens were among those kidnapped by Hamas on Saturday.

It is standard practice for German prosecutors to open an investigation when the country’s citizens are harmed abroad.

India’s Modi reiterates support for Israel

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said he had spoken with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone and thanked him for “providing an update on the ongoing situation.”

During the Cold War, India didn’t have open relations with Israel and leaned heavily in favor of the Palestinians. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992. Ties between the two countries have grown under Modi, who became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel in 2017.

2 Russian citizens killed in Hamas attacks in Israel

Russia’s ambassador to Israel said two Russian citizens have been killed in of the latest Israel-Palestinian war.

Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov didn’t name the victims, saying in remarks broadcast by Russia’s state Channel 1 that the embassy isn’t aware of the circumstances of their deaths and hasn’t contacted their families yet.

Viktorov said that four other Russian citizens remain missing. He said the embassy has no information confirming Hamas’ claim that several Russian citizens were among the hostages it has taken.

France has no ‘formal trace’ of Iran’s involvement in the attacks, says Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron says his country has no evidence that Iran was directly involved in Hamas’ attack on Israel but the militant group does appear to have had outside help and cooperation.

Iran has been a longtime supporter of Hamas other militant groups, and senior Iranian officials have openly praised Saturday’s incursion.

Asked what Iran’s role in the crisis was after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Hamburg on Tuesday, Macron said France has “no formal trace” that Iran was directly involved in the attacks.

“It seems that there was help for and cooperation with Hamas but I will stay cautious on this point as long we haven’t consolidated intelligence that is totally certain,” he added, but didn’t elaborate further.

Macron said: “We condemn with a lot of clarity all the countries that congratulated the horrors perpetrated by Hamas, which was the case with Iran.”

Cleric says Iraq stands ready to send supplies to Gaza

The influential Iraqi Shiite cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr in a speech Tuesday from the city of Najaf urged “all Arabs, especially Egyptians, to open their borders and break the inhumane siege imposed on Gaza, allowing water and food to reach the civilians” and said Iraq stands ready to send supplies to the besieged coastal enclave, although it was unclear how it would do so.

He criticized “Arab rulers who kept silent and did not show any reaction towards this righteous case in order to keep their position,” in reference to Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel in recent years.

Rafah crossing to be evacuated under bomb threats, Hamas says

The Rafah Crossing administration on the Egyptian side informed the Rafah Crossing crews on the Palestinian side to evacuate the crossing immediately due to threats to bomb the crossing, spokesperson for the Hamas Ministry of Interior and National Security Iyad Al-Bazm said Tuesday.

Russia says it will talk to Israel and Palestinians in hopes of reaching a settlement

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that Moscow has been talking to both Israel and the Palestinians to help search for a settlement.

Asked about a claim by the Palestinian ambassador to Moscow that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will visit Moscow soon, Peskov said that the visit had been planned before the war. He added that Moscow will announce the date after it’s finally determined.

Peskov rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s claim that Moscow was interested in fueling the war as “totally baseless.”

WHO says medical supplies are already used up in Gaza

The United Nations health agency says the medical supplies that it had pre-positioned in seven hospitals in Gaza have already been used up, as needs balloon in the wake of Israel’s military strike against the militant group Hamas.

Spokesperson Tarik Jazarevic of the World Health Organization told a briefing Tuesday that affiliate hospitals had triggered emergency plans to better manage the surge of casualties, “but with the number of casualties currently coming in, these hospitals are now running beyond their capacity.” He said WHO was reprogramming $1 million of its funds to allow for purchases of medical supplies from the local market to fill gaps in need.

The health agency has already called for a humanitarian corridor to be opened to allow new supplies to be ferried into Gaza.

UN agency for Palestinian refugees reports significant damage from airstrike

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says the building housing its headquarters in Gaza city suffered significant damage because of an airstrike nearby. No casualties among staff were recorded.

UNRWA said Tuesday that all U.N. international staff present in Gaza are taking shelter in another building within the same compound.

Since October 7, UNRWA recorded both collateral and direct damage to at least 18 of its facilities including schools sheltering displaced civilians. It said that until Tuesday, the U.N. estimates that over 187,500 people have been displaced within Gaza, and more than 137,000 people are sheltering in over 80 UNRWA schools across the Gaza Strip.

Iran rejects allegations that it played a role in Hamas attacks

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected allegations Tuesday about his country’s role in Hamas attacks against Israel, but said Iran will continue supporting Palestinians, media reported. It was the first reaction to the war by Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in the country.

However, Khamenei said, “We defend Palestine, we defend the fights.” He praised Palestinian “capable, smart and courageous” young Palestinians. He said the disaster for Israel came because mistakes by Israel against Palestinians.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group says 2 members were killed

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group announced Tuesday that two of its members were killed by Israeli fire after crossing from Lebanon into Israel on Monday as part of the Hamas-led attack that started over the weekend. Funerals were set to be held in Ein el-Hilweh on Tuesday.

Islamic Jihad said in a statement that seven Israeli soldiers were wounded in Monday’s cross-border operation, while the Israeli army reported that its troops shot and killed several gunmen who crossed into the country from Lebanon. Israel also intensified shelling of southern Lebanon in response to the incident.

Aid agencies talk to Egypt about ways to secure humanitarian corridors

Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ramez Mahmoud )

Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ramez Mahmoud )

The United Nations and other aid agencies were talking with Egypt to send humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza through the Rafah crossing point between the strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, an Egyptian official and aid worker said Tuesday. They said Egyptian authorities have contacted Israel and the United States to secure humanitarian corridors in Gaza amid Israel’s unrelenting bombardment of the strip.

Both the official and the aid worker spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.

The efforts came as Israel sealed it off from food, fuel and other supplies to over 2 million people in Gaza in retaliation for a bloody incursion by Hamas militants.

The UN is struggling to help refugees as its Gaza Strip hospitals and schools are damaged

FILE - Palestinians inspect the rubble of the Yassin Mosque destroyed after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, early Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

FILE – Palestinians inspect the rubble of the Yassin Mosque destroyed after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, early Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that it has been struggling to accommodate over 187,518 Palestinians in Gaza displaced by ongoing Israeli strikes as hospitals and schools that it runs across the Gaza Strip were damaged in the fighting.

The agency said in a situation report that they are sheltering some 137,500 people in 83 schools that they run in the Gaza Strip, but have become overcrowded, with some only providing limited potable water. They have struggled to provide adequate mattresses, cleaning supplies, and jerrycans for fuel as well.

The ongoing conflict has disrupted their operations in the tiny territory, with UNRWA saying that nearly half a million people were unable to receive food aid this week because they had to close distribution centers.

Gaza’s parliament and civilian ministries are legitimate targets, Israel says

Israeli army vehicles move near the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations, killing hundreds and taking captives. Palestinian health officials reported scores of deaths from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. (AP Photo/Oren Ziv)

Israeli army vehicles move near the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Oren Ziv)

In a briefing Tuesday, Israel’s military spokesperson said Gaza’s parliament and civilian ministries were legitimate targets in its offensive against Hamas.

Spokesperson Richard Hecht also said that because Israel’s air force is stretched thin, there might not be the same “level of fidelity” in warning targets before strikes. Asked if Israel considered Hamas’ civil government, such as parliament and ministries, legitimate targets, Hecht said “if there’s a gunman firing rockets from there, it turns into a military target.”

Israeli military says about 1,500 bodies of Hamas militants found in Israel as border is secured

FILE - Israeli soldiers take position near the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Oren Ziv, File)

FILE – Israeli soldiers take position near the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Oren Ziv, File)

Israel’s military said about 1,500 bodies of Hamas militants were found in Israeli territory as, as it said it had largely gained control in the country’s south and “restored full control” over the border on the fourth day of fighting following an unprecedented surprise attack.

Spokesperson Richard Hecht said no Hamas fighters have crossed into Israel since last night, although infiltrations could still be possible. Israel has previously reported 900 soldiers and civilians killed, and Palestinian authorities have reported about 700 deaths in Gaza and the West Bank.

▶This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

Biden’s hopes for establishing Israel-Saudi relations could become a casualty

FILE - President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, Sept. 20, 2023. Less than three weeks ago, Netanyahu sat beside Biden and marveled that an "historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia" seemed within reach. Now, the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinians is threatening to delay or derail a country-by-country diplomatic push by the United States to improve relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE – President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Less than three weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat beside President Joe Biden and marveled that a “historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia” seemed within reach — a diplomatic advance that he predicted could lead to lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Biden was equally optimistic, telling Netanyahu during their meeting in New York, “If you and I — 10 years ago — were talking about normalization with Saudi Arabia, I think we’d look at each other like, ‘Who’s been drinking what?’”

Now, the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinians after a devastating Hamas attack on Israeli soil is threatening to delay or derail the years-long, country-by-country diplomatic push by the United States to improve relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The so-called normalization push, which began under former President Donald Trump’s administration and was branded as the Abraham Accords, is an ambitious effort to reshape the region and boost Israel’s standing in historic ways. But critics have warned that it skips past Palestinian demands for statehood.

▶This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

Airstrike in Gaza City kills two Palestinian journalists

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City killed two Palestinian journalists early Tuesday, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Wafa identified the journalists as editor Saeed Al-Taweel and photographer Mohammed Sobih. The airstrike occurred close to an area housing several media offices.

Three Palestinian journalists reportedly were shot and killed while reporting in Gaza on Saturday. The Committee to Protect Journalists, citing Palestinian press freedom groups, identified two of them as photographer Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi and reporter Mohammad Jarghoun. CPJ said it confirmed that freelance reporter Mohammad El-Salhi also was killed.

Lafi worked for Ain Media, and Jarghoun reported for Smart Media, CPJ said.

Israel says deputy commander killed in clashes on border with Lebanon

FILE - An Israeli tank is deployed between houses in the Israeli town of Metula as seen from the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

FILE – An Israeli tank is deployed between houses in the Israeli town of Metula as seen from the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Israel’s military said early Tuesday that a deputy Israeli commander was killed in clashes on the northern border with Lebanon.

The military identified the deputy commander as Alim Abdallah, but did not specify the exact circumstances of his death.

Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad group slipped from Lebanon into Israel, sparking Israeli shelling into southern Lebanon. Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group said five of its members were killed, and it retaliated with a volley of rockets and mortars at two Israeli army bases across the border.

Number of those displaced in Gaza surpasses 187,000, U.N. office says

As retaliatory Israeli airstrikes continue, more than 187,500 people have been displaced in Gaza since the beginning of the conflict, according to a report from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, is hosting more than 137,000 people in schools across the territory. The report says airstrikes have razed 790 housing units and severely damaged 5,330 in the territory of 2.3 million people.

OCHA said damage to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in Gaza has disrupted service for more than 400,000 people.

Israel strikes two tunnels used by Hamas militants, military says

The Israeli military said early Tuesday that it struck two tunnels used by Hamas militants to enter Israeli territory.

The news came a day after 70 militants infiltrated the Be’eri kibbutz Monday night. The small farming community has been a flashpoint of the conflict — the scene of a hostage standoff during the attack.

Authorities did not immediately provide more information on the location of the tunnels.

The militant group has used tunnels in the past. It has an established a network running from Gaza to Egypt to smuggle in weapons, as well as attack tunnels burrowing into Israel.

Evacuations ordered for dozens of towns near Gaza Strip

Following the Oct. 7 surprise attack by Hamas militants, Israeli authorities directed residents to leave dozens of towns near the Gaza Strip.

Senior Hamas official says Iran, Hezbollah had no role in Israel incursion, but will help if needed

A senior Hamas official on Monday said only a small number of top commanders inside Gaza knew about the wide-ranging incursion launched into Israel, but that allies like Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation.”

Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership, spoke to The Associated Press in his Beirut office as Israel bombarded Gaza and vowed a total blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

Barakeh said the attack was planned by around a half dozen top Hamas commanders in Gaza and that even the group’s closest allies were not informed in advance about the timing. He denied reports that Iranian security officials helped plan the attack or gave the go-ahead at a meeting last week in Beirut.

▶This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

What is Hamas? The group that rules the Gaza Strip has fought several rounds of war with Israel

Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, launched an attack inside Israel over the weekend, killing hundreds and taking others hostage.

Its unprecedented breach of the border sent fighters inside border communities and military installations, shocked Israel and its allies, and raised questions about the group’s capabilities and strategy.

The group has vowed to annihilate Israel and has been responsible for many suicide bombings and other deadly attacks on civilians and Israeli soldiers.

The U.S. State Department has designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1997. The European Union and other Western countries also consider it a terrorist organization.

▶This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

Lack of House Speaker will slow US response to war in Israel, AP explains

Republicans have no clear idea who to elect U.S. House speaker, leaving an unprecedented power vacuum in Congress. They’re preparing to meet Monday evening as the vacancy limits America’s ability to quickly respond to the crisis in Israel.

Republicans have no clear idea who to elect U.S. House speaker, leaving an unprecedented power vacuum in Congress. They’re preparing to meet Monday evening as the vacancy limits America’s ability to quickly respond to the crisis in Israel. (Oct. 9)

At least 11 US citizens have been killed, Biden says

At least 11 U.S. citizens have been confirmed dead in the surprise Hamas attacks, U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

Biden also said the U.S. government believes it is “likely” that Americans are among those currently being held hostage by Hamas militants, while other U.S. citizens are still unaccounted for after the deadly assault.

“My heart goes out to every family impacted by the horrible events of the past few days,” Biden said in a statement. “The pain these families have endured, the enormity of their loss, and the agony of those still awaiting information is unfathomable.”

He stressed that the State Department is offering assistance for U.S. citizens who are currently in Israel, and air and ground options to leave the country are still available for those who choose to do so. He also said federal law enforcement officials are “closely monitoring” potential domestic threats stemming from the weekend attacks.

PHOTOS: Families in Israel and Gaza mourn the dead

Familiar scenes of grief were on display from Gaza to Jerusalem as people on both sides of the latest Israel-Hamas war buried their dead.

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A woman cries during the funeral of Israeli Col. Roi Levy at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Col. Roi Levy was killed after Hamas militants stormed from the blockaded Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns. Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence apparatus was caught completely off guard, bringing heavy battles to its streets for the first time in decades. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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A woman cries during the funeral of Israeli Col. Roi Levy at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Col. Roi Levy was killed after Hamas militants stormed from the blockaded Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns. Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence apparatus was caught completely off guard, bringing heavy battles to its streets for the first time in decades. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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Relatives mourn people killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Israel’s military battled to drive Hamas fighters out of southern towns and seal its borders Monday as it pounded the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

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Relatives mourn people killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Israel’s military battled to drive Hamas fighters out of southern towns and seal its borders Monday as it pounded the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

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Israeli soldiers carry the flag-covered coffin of Col. Roi Levy during his funeral at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Col. Roi Levy was killed after Hamas militants stormed from the blockaded Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns. Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence apparatus was caught completely off guard, bringing heavy battles to its streets for the first time in decades. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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Israeli soldiers carry the flag-covered coffin of Col. Roi Levy during his funeral at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Col. Roi Levy was killed after Hamas militants stormed from the blockaded Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns. Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence apparatus was caught completely off guard, bringing heavy battles to its streets for the first time in decades. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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Relatives mourn people killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Israel’s military battled to drive Hamas fighters out of southern towns and seal its borders Monday as it pounded the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

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Relatives mourn people killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Israel’s military battled to drive Hamas fighters out of southern towns and seal its borders Monday as it pounded the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

You can find more of AP’s photo coverage of the violence in Israel and retaliatory strikes in Gaza here.

Latest casualty figures

The war’s death toll rose to nearly 1,600 on both sides on Monday.

Around 900 people, including 73 soldiers, have been killed in Israel, according to media. In Gaza, more than 680 people have been killed, according to authorities there. Thousands have been wounded on both sides.

EU reverses earlier announcement that it was ‘immediately’ suspending aid to Palestinians

The European Union on late Monday reversed an earlier announcement by an EU commissioner that the bloc was “immediately” suspending aid for Palestinian authorities and instead said it would urgently review such assistance in the wake of the attacks on Israel by Hamas.

No immediate explanation for the reversal was given.

This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

Israel has ‘only started’ offensive in Gaza Strip, Netanyahu says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel has “only started” a fierce offensive in the Gaza Strip in response to an unprecedented Hamas attack.

Netanyahu delivered the pronouncement in a nationally televised address as Israel pressed ahead with a third day of heavy airstrikes in Gaza.

We have only started striking Hamas. What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Health Ministry in Gaza says more than 680 people killed in Israeli strikes

The Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip said Monday that more than 680 people have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory strikes following an unprecedented Hamas attack.

The ministry said more than 3,700 people have been wounded.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since the Saturday attack, striking hundreds of targets and leaving vast destruction.

Relatives mourn people killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Israel's military battled to drive Hamas fighters out of southern towns and seal its borders Monday as it pounded the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Relatives mourn people killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

More than 100 dead recovered in small Israeli farming community, rescue service says

Israeli rescue service Zaka says more than 100 bodies have been recovered from a small farming community that was the scene of a hostage standoff during Hamas’ attack against Israel.

The figure is part of the total 900 reportedly killed in Hamas’ multi-pronged attack. Beeri, a kibbutz, had a population of about 1,000 people before the attack.

Biden to speak with allies on Israel situation, White House says

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to speak with several allies Monday regarding the situation in Israel, according to the White House.

Earlier Monday, Biden convened a meeting with top national security aides, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, Homeland Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients.

During that meeting, Biden urged continued coordination with Israel and other regional partners, the White House said.

The White House has called a “lid” for the day, meaning the public won’t lay eyes on the U.S. president until Tuesday.

Biden has spoken at least twice with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House says his top national security aides have been in regular contact with their counterparts in the region since the surprise Hamas attack on Saturday.

Hamas wing warns that Israeli strikes will bring hostage deaths

The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas has warned that it will kill an Israeli hostage every time Israel’s military bombs civilian targets in the Gaza Strip without warning.

Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the Qassam Brigades, said in an audio released Monday night that the threat was a response to intense air strikes by Israel on civilian areas.

“We have decided to put an end to this and as of now, we declare that any targeting of our people in their homes without prior warning will be regrettably faced with the execution of one the hostages of civilians we are holding,” he said.

In a video statement Monday, Israel’s foreign minister warned Hamas against harming any of the hostages who were taken from Israel and being held in Gaza. Eli Cohen said Israel was committed to bringing the hostages home “in the spirit of mutual responsibility.”

“We demand Hamas not to harm any of the hostages, Cohen said. “This war crime will not be forgiven,” he added.

UN leader ‘distressed’ by Israel’s plans for a Gaza siege

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres says he’s “deeply distressed” by Israel’s announcement of a complete siege on the Gaza Strip.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities. Now, it will only deteriorate exponentially.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres

He spoke after the Israeli defense minister said he had ordered a cutoff of electricity and deliveries of food, fuel and other supplies to the territory.

Guterres called for U.N. access to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. He pressed the international community to provide immediate support for the humanitarian effort.

What went wrong? Questions emerge over Israel’s intelligence prowess after Hamas attack

Israel’s intelligence agencies have gained an aura of invincibility over the decades because of a string of achievements. Israel has foiled plots seeded in the West Bank, allegedly hunted down Hamas operatives in Dubai and has been accused of killing Iranian nuclear scientists in the heart of Iran. Even when their efforts have stumbled, agencies like the Mossad, Shin Bet and military intelligence have maintained their mystique.

But the weekend’s assault, which caught Israel off guard on a major Jewish holiday, plunges that reputation into doubt and raises questions about the country’s readiness in the face of a weaker but determined foe.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here

Turkey’s leader holds calls with Palestinian and Israeli presidents

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held back-to-back telephone calls with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, according to Erdogan’s press office.

Erdogan and Abbas discussed the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. “President Erdogan stated that Turkey is making every effort to end the conflicts in the region and ensure calm as soon as possible,” a statement from his press office said.

In his call with Herzog, “President Erdogan emphasized that any step that could harm the people of Gaza collectively and indiscriminately will further increase the suffering and spiral of violence in the region.” the presidential office statement said.

Erdogan also told his Israeli counterpart that it’s “necessary to act with common sense and that establishing tranquility in the region as soon as possible is of great importance for the well-being of the entire region.”

Map of Israel-Palestinian conflict

European leaders and US president plan to discuss Israel

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he and French President Emmanuel

will discuss the situation in Israel with U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak late Monday.

Scholz, who was hosting Macron at a joint German-French Cabinet retreat in Hamburg, called Hamas’ attack on Israel “barbaric.” But he added that Germany, France, the U.S. and the U.K. agree that there must not be a “conflagration” in the region, and “no one should further fuel terror in this situation.”

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on at left. The deadly Hamas militant attack on Israel and the massive retaliation it provoked from Jerusalem have thrust President Joe Biden into a Middle East crisis that risks expanding into a broader conflict and has left him fending off criticism from GOP presidential rivals that his administration's policies led to this moment. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Macron pledged his “full support and solidarity for Israel.” He spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the second time in three days and spoke over the weekend with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

International aid group warns of ‘utter disaster’ in Gaza

The secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, an international aid organization, warns that the Israeli government’s vow to besiege and blockade the Gaza Strip would spell “utter disaster” for the more than 2 million Palestinians living in the small territory.

Jan Egeland’s comments came after Israel’s defense minister ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza after an unprecedented incursion by Hamas fighters into Israel early Saturday. Israel formally declared war on Sunday and has since retaliated against Hamas for the attack.

There is no doubt that collective punishment is in violation of international law. It’s clear as that. If and when it would lead to wounded children dying in hospitals because of a lack of energy, electricity, and supplies, it could amount to war crimes.

Jan Egeland, Secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council

Egeland also slammed donor countries for halting humanitarian assistance to Gaza after the unprecedented attack by Hamas militants on Saturday.

France reports uptick in antisemitic acts

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’s 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 U.S.

Two French citizens are confirmed dead in Israel following the outbreak of violence. At least eight others are missing or believed held hostage, according to a lawmaker who represents French people abroad.

Militant group says it sent gunman into Israel from Lebanon

A Palestinian militant group claims it sent four gunmen across Lebanon’s border into Israel as part of the Hamas-led attack that started over the weekend.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad said in a statement that seven Israeli soldiers were wounded in Monday’s cross-border operation.

The Israeli Defense Forces reported earlier that its troops shot and killed several gunmen who crossed into the country from Lebanon. Israel also intensified shelling of southern Lebanon in response to the incident.

The Lebanese military called on residents of border towns to “take the utmost precautions.” Families in several towns in southern Lebanon started fleeing north as the Israeli shelling continued.

Egyptian University students rally in support of Palestinians

Dozens of students held a rally in support of the Palestinian people Monday at the prestigious American University in Egypt’s capital.

The students rallied across the university campus in Cairo’s upscale 5th Settlement neighborhood.

Students were seen waving Palestinian flags and holding banners with slogans such as “Free Palestine.”

The rally came as fighting raged for a third day between Israel and Palestinian militant groups following Hamas’ unprecedented Saturday attack on southern Israel.

UN agency near capacity for displaced Palestinians in Gaza

The U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, says it is near maximum capacity in accommodating internally displaced people in Gaza.

The agency’s director of external communications, Tamara Alrifai, said Monday that nearly 137,000 people have sheltered so far in over 70 U.N. schools around Gaza. Alrifai said the agency can host up to 150,000 people at up to 79 schools around the territory.

She added there is fuel in Gaza that could last for up to 10 days.

Families near Lebanon-Israel border flee under shelling

Families in several border towns in southern Lebanon have started fleeing north as Israeli shelling continues in the area.

An Associated Press team saw several cars packed with people and belongings departing Monday. “We tried to flee Ait el-Shaab to Rmeish, but they told us everyone has to stay in their area,” a man said as he and his family tried to flee.

Israeli shelling intensified after four militants crossed over the border and clashed with Israeli Defense Forces troops on Monday. Several rockets were fired from near the Lebanese border earlier. A Hezbollah spokesperson denied the militant group’s involvement in the operation.

Israeli survivors recount terror at music festival, where Hamas militants killed at least 260

The night was a getaway. Thousands of young men and women gathered at a vast field in southern Israel near the Gaza border to dance without a care. Old and new friends jumped up and down, reveling the swirl of the bass-heavy beats.

Maya Alper was standing toward the back of the bar with teams of environmentally conscious volunteers, picking up trash and passing out free vodka shots to party-goers who reused their cups. Just after 6.a.m., as a light-blue dawn broke and the headliner D.J. took the stage, air raid sirens cut through the ethereal trap music. Rockets streaked overhead.

FILE - Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The rockets were fired as Hamas announced a new operation against Israel. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

Alper, 25, jumped into her car and raced to the main road. But at the intersection she encountered crowds of stricken festival attendees, shouting at drivers to turn around. Then, a noise. Firecrackers? Panicked men and women staggering down the road just in front of her fell to the ground in pools of blood. Gunshots.

▶ This is an excerpt from a full story. Continue reading here.

EU Commission suspends ‘all payments immediately’ to the Palestinians following the Hamas attack

European Union Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said Monday the bloc is suspending “all payments immediately” to the Palestinians because of what he called the “scale of terror and brutality” during the attacks of Hamas against Israel.

The surprise announcement by Varhelyi came just hours after EU officials stressed that no EU money whatsoever was going to Hamas in the first place and that contacts had been frozen for 16 years. The EU considers Hamas a terror group.

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State Department: 9 Americans are among the dead in Israel

The U.S. State Department said Monday that at least nine American citizens have been killed in the weekend Hamas attacks on Israel, raising the toll from four.

The State Department says an undetermined number of American citizens remain missing and unaccounted for. It is not clear whether the missing had been taken hostage, were killed or are in hiding.

The State Department is in touch with families “and providing all appropriate consular assistance,” spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Major airlines suspend flights to Israel after massive attack by Hamas ignites heavy fighting

Major airlines have suspended flights to Israel after the nation declared war following a massive attack by Hamas.

American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines suspended service as the U.S. State Department issued travel advisories for the region citing potential for terrorism and civil unrest.

FILE - In this file photo made Jan. 21, 2010, a passenger walks past a Delta Airlines 747 aircraft in McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Mich. Major airlines are suspending flights to Israel after it formally declared war following a massive attack by Hamas. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines suspended service as the U.S. State Department issued travel advisories for the region citing potential for terrorism and civil unrest. Delta said its Tel Aviv flights have been canceled into this week. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

In this file photo made Jan. 21, 2010, a passenger walks past a Delta Airlines 747 aircraft in McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

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Report: Egypt seeks Israeli-Palestinian prisoner trade

Egypt has engaged in negotiations with Israel and Palestinian militant groups to release Palestinian women in Israel’s prisons in exchange for Israeli women captured by Hamas militants, the state-owned Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported Monday.

The daily paper quoted an unnamed source as saying that the negotiations were aimed at finalizing an agreement on the trade.

“The Egyptian government is presently awaiting responses from both parties regarding the proposed prisoners exchange and a temporary cease-fire,” Al-Ahram said.

An Israeli soldier works on a tank at a staging ground near the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations, killing hundreds and taking captives. Palestinian health officials reported scores of deaths from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

An Israeli soldier works on a tank at a staging ground near the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Palestinian militant groups have claimed to be holding over 130 people who were captured in Israel in the past two days. Hamas spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua told The Associated Press by phone that the group’s fighters had captured more Israelis as recently as Monday morning.

He said the group aims to free all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, which in the past has agreed to lopsided exchanges.

Lebanon urges international community to pressure Israel

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Monday that the tiny country’s priority is to maintain stability along its southern border with Israel following an exchange of attacks between Israeli troops and Hezbollah militants over the weekend.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for firing rockets at three Israeli positions in a disputed territory along the border of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights, before Israel returned fire.

Mikati called on the international community to “take responsibility” in pressuring Israel to return to peace talks under the Arab Peace Initiative. “Anything other than that is a further spiraling of violence that will not benefit anyone,” he said.

Iran-backed Hezbollah has praised key ally Hamas for its unprecedented incursion into Israel but not said if it would attempt to join forces.

Israel has estimated that Hezbollah has some 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at the country.

Russia expresses concern over ‘spiral of violence’ in Israel

The Kremlin is “extremely concerned” by the “spiral of violence” in Israel, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

“We believe that this situation needs to be put onto a peaceful track as soon as possible. And the continuation of such a spiral of violence, of course, is fraught with further escalation and expansion of this conflict. This is a great danger for the region, so we are extremely concerned,” Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman added that Russian authorities were not aware of any Russian nationals injured in the conflict.

Zelenskyy compares Hamas to Russia

FILE - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens as President Joe Biden speaks in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens as President Joe Biden speaks in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has drawn a parallel between Russia’s invasion of his country and the Hamas militant 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,” Zelenskyy said in a video address Monday to a NATO parliamentary assembly in Copenhagen.

“Our unity must and can stop the evil,” Zelenskyy said. “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.”

Israeli defense minister orders ‘complete siege’ on Gaza Strip

FILE - Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant talks to reporters ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on Sept. 10, 2023. Israel accused Iran on Monday Sept. 11, 2023 of building an airport in southern Lebanon to be used as a launchpad for attacks against Israelis across the border, signaling a possible escalation in tensions between the regional foes. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, Pool, File)

FILE – Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant talks to reporters ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on Sept. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, Pool, File)

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

Israel and Egypt have imposed various levels of blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

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Italian foreign minister pushes for ‘diplomatic solution’

People gather as Palestinian civil defense crews try to extinguish fire in a house that was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

Israelis inspect a damaged residential building after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Monday that Rome was working with allies in Washington, Paris, Berlin and London to avoid a wider conflict in the Middle East.

“We need to work to find a diplomatic solution, remaining firm that the Italian government stands by the Israeli people,’’ Tajani told reporters.

Italians leaving Israel due to the violence have begun returning home aboard El Al flights. One arrived Sunday night at Milan’s Malpensa airport.

Austria to freeze development aid for Palestinian areas

Austria’s foreign minister says his country will freeze development aid for the Palestinian areas following the attack by Hamas on Israel. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told Oe1 radio on Monday that all development aid payments will be “put on ice for now” and that the affected funds are worth around 19 million euros ($20 million).

Schallenberg also said he will summon Iran’s ambassador to the Austrian Foreign Ministry on Monday to complain about the country’s “abhorrent reactions” to the Hamas attack.

On Sunday, Germany’s development minister said her country would review its financial aid for the Palestinian areas. Her ministry put the amount currently pledged at 250 million euros ($265 million) and said no payments are currently being made.

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

The leaders of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on Monday discussed the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.

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

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 Tel Aviv as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020. The Arab Gulf nation has frayed ties with Hamas.

Nearly 600 Romanians repatriated from Israel in 2 days

Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says 245 Romanian citizens including two groups of pilgrims have been repatriated from Israel on two separate flights by a commercial carrier.

The repatriation on Sunday came after 346 were also flown back to Romania over the weekend, bringing the total number in the past two days to nearly 600 after Hamas launched its unprecedented attacks against Israel.

Hamas wants to ‘liberate all Palestinian prisoners,’ it says

FILE - Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kfar Azza kibbutz into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land, and sea and catching the country off-guard on a major holiday. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

FILE – Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kfar Azza kibbutz into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

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

Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua told The Associated Press over the phone that Hamas militants were 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 said. “This battle is linked to the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners and the cessation of this fascist government’s activities in Jerusalem.”

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

Egyptair suspends flights to Israel

Passengers look at the monitor displaying delayed flights at Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, March 27, 2023. Israeli Airports Authority says flights out of main international airport have been grounded following strike cal. Israel's largest trade union group launched a strike across a broad swath of sectors, joining a surging protest movement against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to overhaul the judiciary. (AP Photo/Oren Ziv)

FILE – Travelers walk with their luggage in the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Nov. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Egypt’s national carrier suspended its flights to Israel on Monday amid fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, Cairo airport officials said.

The flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv are suspended until further notice, said two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media. EgyptAir normally operates a daily flight between Cairo International Airport and Ben Gurion International Airport, just outside Tel Aviv.

Many carriers suspended flights to and from Israel following the unprecedented attack by the Hamas militant group, which rules Gaza, Israeli media reported.

Schumer criticizes China for not supporting Israel after Hamas attack

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., center, and U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, left, meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, at the Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., center, and U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, left, meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, at the Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer criticized China on Monday and told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that he was very disappointed by China’s statement on the recent Hamas attack because it didn’t show any sympathy or support for Israel.

Schumer is leading a delegation of six senators to China this week.

“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn these cowardly and vicious attacks,” said Schumer.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday called on both sides to exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities — but made no mention of the Hamas attack.

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Israel moves to prop up its currency

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

The shekel has fallen to a near eight-year low against the U.S. dollar in early trading Monday.

Israel military says it is fighting Hamas in “seven to eight” places

Israelis run to take cover in a shelter as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza strip, in Ashkelon, Israel, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations, killing hundreds and taking captives. Palestinian health officials reported scores of deaths from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israelis run to take cover in a shelter as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza strip, in Ashkelon, Israel, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israel’s military spokesperson Richard Hecht said it was taking longer than expected to repel the incursion because there were still multiple breaches in the border, which Hamas could be using to bring in more fighters and weapons. “We thought this morning we’d be in a better place,” Hecht said.

Meanwhile, Israel hit more than 1,000 targets in Gaza, its military said, including airstrikes that leveled much of the town of Beit Hanoun in the enclave’s northeast corner.

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Hamas attack at music festival led to chaos and frantic attempts to escape or hide

The outdoor Tribe of Nova music festival was meant to be an all-night dance party in a rural area near the Gaza-Israel border, where thousand of young people would celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

But it became a site of deadly chaos when Hamas militants attacked the festival in the desert area early Saturday, killing an estimated 260 people. Terrified revelers tried to run and hide from the gunfire, according to an Israeli rescue organization, news outlets and accounts on social media.

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US giving Israel all the help it needs, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of D-N.Y., speaks to reporters following a closed-door caucus meeting about preventing a government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of D-N.Y., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says senators were briefed by senior State Department and Pentagon officials and given assurances that the United States was 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 said 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 said.

More than 123,000 Gazans now displaced, UN says

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building after it was struck by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land, and sea, killing hundreds and taking captives. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building after it was struck by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The United Nations says the number of displaced Gazans has risen to more than 123,000 as a result of the fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas following the militant group’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

As of late Sunday, retaliatory Israeli airstrikes had destroyed 159 housing units across Gaza and severely damaged 1,210 others, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said a school sheltering more than 225 people took a direct hit. It did not say where the fire came from.

Several Israeli news outlets, citing rescue service officials, said at least 700 people have been killed in Israel, including 44 soldiers. The Gaza Health Ministry said 413 people, including 78 children and 41 women, were killed in the territory. About 2,000 people have been wounded on each side. An Israeli official said security forces have killed 400 militants and captured dozens more.

Israel wants to remove Hamas from power, military spokesperson says

Jonathan Conricus made the statement in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. His words appeared to go further than those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said Sunday that his security cabinet had made the decision to destroy Hamas’ ability to govern in a way that posed a threat to Israeli civilians.

UN Security Council meets, takes no action on US demand

FILE - Cars burn after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a parking lot and a residential building in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The rockets were fired as Hamas announced a new operation against Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE – Cars burn after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a parking lot and a residential building in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting behind closed doors Sunday, with the United States demanding all 15 members strongly condemn “these heinous terrorist attacks committed by Hamas,” but they took no immediate action.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood said afterward that “a good number of countries” did condemn the Hamas attack but not all council members. He told reporters they could probably figure out one of them.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told The Associated Press the Americans tried to say during the meeting that Russia isn’t condemning the attacks, but “that’s untrue.”

“It was in my comments,” he said. “We condemn all the attacks on civilians.”

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Bipartisan unity in Congress to help Israel, Pelosi says

Former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there is bipartisan unity in Congress “in support of what we need to do” to support Israel.

Speaking at an event in San Francisco on Sunday organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area, Pelosi condemned the attacks on Israel as “acts of cowardice.”

“I want you to know that in the Congress of the United States … there is unity, bipartisan unity in support of what we need to do, whether it’s militarily, whether it’s diplomatically, whether it’s financially to help our friends, the Israelis,” Pelosi said, according to a recording of her remarks provided by her office.

Pelosi said the surprise attack from the Gaza Strip was “outside the circle of civilized human behavior.”

“This assault on these children, on these grandmas, on these families, is something that takes us to a different threshold of how we deal with this subject,” she said.

American Airlines pilot union calls for stopping flights to Israel, citing declaration of war

The pilots’ union for American Airlines has directed its members to refuse to fly to Israel, citing the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza.

Union President Ed Sicher said in an email to members that the company’s pilots should not fly to Israel until they “can be reasonably assured of the region’s safety and security.”

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Israeli and Palestinian supporters rally across U.S. as Israel declares war after Hamas attack

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An unidentified audience member holds a sign urging support for Israel during “a communal gathering of unity and peace” at Congregation Sherith Israel, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

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An unidentified audience member holds a sign urging support for Israel during “a communal gathering of unity and peace” at Congregation Sherith Israel, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Supporters of Israel and backers of the Palestinian cause rallied in many American cities Sunday over the conflict that has killed hundreds and wounded thousands in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy)

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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Supporters of Israel and backers of the Palestinian cause rallied in many American cities Sunday over the conflict that has killed hundreds and wounded thousands in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy)

Supporters of Israel and backers of the Palestinian cause held competing rallies in several American cities Sunday over the conflict that has killed hundreds and wounded thousands in the Middle East.

The demonstrations and involvement of American political leaders show the far-reaching ramifications of a conflict that’s already prompted the U.S. to order naval forces deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean, ready to assist Israel.

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Israeli airstrike kills 19 members of the same family in a southern Gaza refugee camp

Nasser Abu Quta lost 19 members of his family in an instant when an Israeli airstrike blew up his home in a crowded refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

The airstrike in Rafah, a southern town on the border with Egypt, came as Israeli forces intensified their bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip following a big, multi-front attack by Hamas militants Saturday that had killed over 700 people in Israel by Sunday night.

So far, the waves of airstrikes had killed over 400 Palestinians, including dozens of women and children, health officials reported Sunday.

But Abu Quta doesn’t understand why Israel struck his house. There were no militants in his building, he insisted, and his family was not warned.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the strike on Abu Quta’s home.

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More than 130 held hostage in Gaza, according to Hamas and Islamic Jihad

A senior Hamas official says the militant group is holding more than 100 people captive after its unprecedented assault on Israel.

Mousa Abu Marzouk made the remarks to Arabic language news outlet al-Ghad on Sunday. The figure is in addition to more than 30 people said to be held by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group.

During their rampage through southern Israel, militants dragged back into Gaza dozens of captives, among them women, children and the elderly. Their precise number hadn’t been clear until the two militant groups made their announcements.

Israeli rescue service says it retrieved about 260 bodies from a music festival attacked by Hamas

The Israeli rescue service Zaka says its paramedics removed about 260 bodies from a music festival attended by thousands that came under attack by Hamas militants.

The total figure is expected to be higher as other paramedic teams were working in the area.

Video aired on social media and by Israeli news outlets showed dozens of festival goers running through an open field as gunshots rang out. Many hid in nearby fruit orchards or were gunned down as they fled.

Islamic Jihad leader says dozens of Israelis held captive in Gaza

The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group says militants in Gaza are holding dozens of Israeli prisoners, including more than 30 held by his group

Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land, and sea and catching the country off-guard on a major holiday. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land, and sea and catching the country off-guard on a major holiday. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Ziad Nakhaleh said in a televised speech Sunday night that the captives will not be released until all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are set free.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group took part in the operation that Hamas carried out Saturday in which hundreds of Israelis were killed.

“The prisoners that are being held are in the tens and I can say that they are much more than that,” said Nakhaleh, who usually lives in Beirut.

He added that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has more than 30 prisoners.

Nakhaleh added that Israel should acknowledge defeat.

US will send a carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean in support of Israel

UPDATED at 1:45 p.m.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday he has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel after the surprise attack by Hamas that has left more than 1,000 dead and thousands wounded on both sides.

The USS Gerald R. Ford and its approximately 5,000 sailors and deck of warplanes will be accompanied by cruisers and destroyers in a show of force that is meant to be ready to respond to anything, from possibly interdicting additional weapons from reaching Hamas and conducting surveillance.

The large deployment, which also includes a host of ships and warplanes, underscores the concern that the United States has in trying to deter the conflict from growing. The Israeli government formally declared war Sunday and gave the green light for “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas.

The Norfolk, Virginia-based carrier strike group[ was already in the Mediterranean. Last week it was conducting naval exercises with Italy in the Ionian Sea. It’s the United States newest and most advanced aircraft carrier and this is its first full deployment.

3 British men dead or missing, their families say

Three British men were said to either be dead or missing after the Hamas attack on Israel.

Nathanel Young, 20, was killed while serving in the Israel Defense Forces, his sister, Gaby Shalev, said on Facebook. His death was later confirmed by the Israeli Embassy in London.

British photographer Danny Darlington, who lived in Berlin, and his German girlfriend, Carolin Bohl, had not been heard from after hiding out in a bunker at kibbutz Nir Oz, according to Sam Pasquesi, who is Bohl’s brother-in-law.

Pasquesi said his family learned later Sunday from a man working at the kibbutz that the bodies of the two had been identified.

Jake Marlow, 26, had been providing security at a music festival near kibbutz Re’im when he called his mother, Lisa, before dawn to say rockets were flying overhead.

He texted her an hour later but that was the last she heard from him, she told Jewish News. The Israeli Embassy in London did not know if Marlowe “is taken hostage or dead or in a hospital,” a spokesperson said.

The U.K. Foreign Office did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the three.

Europeans believed among dead or captured

A French woman in Israel has died “in the context of the terrorist attacks,” France’s foreign ministry said Sunday, without providing details. French teams in Israel and Paris are trying to clarify the situations of several citizens who have not been located, the statement said.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it has to assume that German citizens are among those kidnapped by Hamas on Saturday. It didn’t say how many people that might be, but said they are all believed also to be Israeli citizens.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said two Ukrainian women had been killed. Both had lived in Israel for a long time, he said without elaborating on the circumstances of their death.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said two Belarusians were injured during the shelling of the city of Ashkelon, and one of them was in serious condition.

Israel confirms Americans are among Hamas captives

Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, Ron Dermer, said American citizens are among those who were taken captive but gave no details about them, nor about Americans who might have been killed.

“Unfortunately I can’t. We have a lot of dual citizens in Israel. I suspect there are several, but we’re still trying to sort through all of all this information after this horrific surprise attack and we’ll make sure to put that information out so that the loved ones of these people who were killed and who are held hostage, they know as quickly as possible,” Dermer told CNN’s ‘’State of the Union.’’

Germany to review aid for Palestinian areas

Germany’s development minister says her country will review its aid for the Palestinian areas following the attack by Hamas on Israel.

The development ministry says Germany does not finance the Palestinian Authority directly, but a total of 250 million euros ($265 million) is currently pledged in German aid – half of that for bilateral projects via Germany’s overseas aid agency and development bank, and the other half for the U.N. agency for the Palestinians, UNRWA.

Development Minister Svenja Schulze said in a statement Sunday that Germany already took great care that its aid for Palestinians “serves peace and not the terrorists.”

“But these attacks on Israel are a terrible watershed, so we will review our whole commitment to the Palestinian areas,” she added.

Schulze noted that Israel also has an interest in Palestinians being able to live in long-term stability, and said Germany will also coordinate with its international partners.

Photos show fear, death and destruction

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Palestinians walk away from the kibbutz of Kfar Azza, Israel, near the fence with the Gaza strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah, File)

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Palestinians walk away from the kibbutz of Kfar Azza, Israel, near the fence with the Gaza strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah, File)

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Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

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Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

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An Israeli woman react over the body of her relative who was killed by Palestinian armed militants who entered from the Gaza strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Baz Ratner, File )

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An Israeli woman react over the body of her relative who was killed by Palestinian armed militants who entered from the Gaza strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Baz Ratner, File )

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Rockets are fired toward Israel from Gaza, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

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Rockets are fired toward Israel from Gaza, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

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Israeli police officers evacuate a family from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

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Israeli police officers evacuate a family from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

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An Israeli soldier walks outside a police station that was overrun by Hamas militants on Saturday, in Sderot, Israel, Sunday, Oct.8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

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An Israeli soldier walks outside a police station that was overrun by Hamas militants on Saturday, in Sderot, Israel, Sunday, Oct.8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

U.S. is looking at possibly sending more assistance to Israel, Blinken says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. is looking at additional requests for assistance that the Israelis have made, and there could be developments on that front later Sunday.

He told CNNS President Joe Biden’s “direction was to make sure that we’re providing Israel everything it needs in this moment to deal with the attacks from Hamas.’’

Blinken, who gave interviews to multiple U.S. television news shows Sunday, also talked about how the Hamas attack could have been motivated in part to derailed an emerging diplomatic deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“It’s no surprise that those who are opposed to the talks, those who are opposed to Israel normalizing relations with its neighbors and the countries beyond the region are Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. And so it’s entirely possible that one of the motivations for this attack was to try to derail these efforts to advance normalization,” Blinken said.

He said Washington had seen reports that Americans were missing or had been killed and “we’re working overtime to verify that.”

German leader warns of danger of regional escalation

German Chancellor OIaf Scholz is stressing the need to avoid a wider “conflagration” in the Middle East after Hamas attacked Israel.

Scholz said he spoke Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and assured him that Israel’s security is a cornerstone of German policy. He pledged that “we will act accordingly.” He said he plans to speak to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and will support Egypt in efforts to mediate and de-escalate.

Scholz said he also will talk by phone with the leader of the U.S., France and the U.K. to evaluate the situation.

He added: “It is clear that we condemn the actions of Hamas in the strongest terms, but above all we are doing everything so that this attack doesn’t turn into a conflagration with incalculable consequences for the whole region — and we warn everyone in this situation against fueling terrorism.”

The Israeli flag was raised Sunday at the chancellery, the German parliament’s Reichstag building and the German president’s office. Germany has increased protection for Jewish and Israeli facilities.

Israeli Security Cabinet declares the country is at war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says his Security Cabinet has declared the country at war following a deadly Hamas assault in southern Israel.

The decision, announced on Sunday, formally authorizes “the taking of significant military steps,” it said it a statement.

“The war that was forced on the State of Israel in a murderous terrorist assault from the Gaza Strip began at 06:00 yesterday,” it said.

It gave no further details. But Netanyahu had previous declared the country at war, and the military has promised a harsh response in Gaza.

Israeli media say at least 600 people have been killed in the surprise cross-border incursion by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians seek refuge in UN schools

The U.N. agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNRWA, said over 20,000 people were sheltering in 44 of its schools around Gaza by Saturday evening.

“The number (of displaced) is rapidly increasing, “ said Inas Hamdan, acting public information officer in Gaza.

The agency said three of its schools suffered “collateral” damage from Israeli airstrikes. The agency also said its operations of nine water wells around the Gaza Strip were stopped early Saturday. Operations in three wells resumed Sunday, said Hamdan. The agency’s food distribution centers, which provide for over 540,000 of Gaza residents, have been closed since Saturday.

In an UNRWA school in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood northwest of Gaza city center, residents described overnight Israeli strikes that hit the school’s courtyard causing panic and light injuries among those sheltering there.

At another school serving as a shelter in central Gaza city, people were piling blankets and food stuff in the three-story building. New arrivals brought in mattresses, packing their children into small and crowded classrooms.

“We didn’t know where to go,” said Umm Mohammad, or mother of Mohammad, a resident of a district on the eastern borders of Gaza. She described waking up in the middle of the night to screams, strikes and calls for evacuation. “We arrived at the schools miraculously because there was no transport.”

Media reports: Israeli death toll stands at 600

The death toll in Israel following a surprise attack by the militant group Hamas stands at 600, according to several Israeli media outlets.

The Kan public broadcaster and Channel 12, as well as the Haaretz and Times of Israel newspapers, reported the toll Sunday.

There has been no official confirmation of the number of deaths on the Israeli side since the fighting erupted early Saturday.

Palestinian officials say more than 300 people have been killed in Gaza, without differentiating between fighters and civilians.

Hamas gunmen used explosives to break through the border fence enclosing Gaza on Saturday, then crossed with motorcycles, pickup trucks, paragliders and speed boats on the coast.

Leaders of Egypt, Jordan discuss crisis

The leaders of Israel’s neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, discussed the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to a statement by the Egyptian president, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi received a phone call from King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Both leaders agreed on working to avoid further deterioration of the situation, the statement said.

Both Egypt and Jordan are close allies with the U.S. and are the first Arab nations to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

The latest round of violence began with an unprecedented surprise attack in which Hamas militants raced into Israel, killing hundreds of people and taking captives back to Gaza.

Israel responded by rushing troops to the border area and launching airstrikes across the blockaded territory. Palestinian officials say more than 300 Gazans have been killed.

Watch live

We’re live from Gaza City.

Israeli soldiers are battling Hamas fighters in the streets of southern Israel and launching retaliation strikes across Gaza.


Explosions and airstrikes in Rafah

In the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Sunday, residents heard a loud explosion, apparently from an Israeli airstrike that hit a target close to the borders with Egypt. It was not immediately clear what was targeted. Residents said a house in the area had been evacuated.

Israel carried out dozens of airstrikes in Rafah overnight. One of the strikes hit three homes in one of the most crowded refugee camps, Shaboura, killing 19 members of the same family, according to a family member who posted their names on his social media. Surviving family members and neighbors filled al-Farouk mosque, holding funeral prayers as the bodies of those killed wrapped in white shrouds lined the floor. The crowd then marched to the nearby cemetery for burial, some carrying the bodies.

Also on Sunday, loudspeakers from mosques and moving cars in Rafah blared with condolences and praise for fighters from Hamas, believed to be natives of Rafah, who were killed during the assault on Israel.

Islamic bloc condemns ‘Israeli military aggression’

The world’s largest bloc of Muslim countries has condemned what it refers to as “Israeli military aggression” amid ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation said Sunday that it is “greatly concerned about the developments on the ground and the dangerous Israeli escalation in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The 57-member bloc went on to condemn “the Israeli military aggression that led to the fall of hundreds of martyrs and wounded among the Palestinian people.”

The latest round of violence began with an unprecedented surprise attack in which Hamas militants raced into Israel, killing hundreds of people and taking captives back to Gaza.

Israel responded by rushing troops to the border area and launching airstrikes across the blockaded territory. Palestinian officials say more than 300 Gazans have been killed.

Hezbollah replace destroyed tent that had led to tensions

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency says Hezbollah fighters have set up a tent in a disputed area along the country’s tense southern border hours after an Israeli drone destroyed another one in the same place.

Hezbollah initially erected the tent over the summer in a disputed area along Lebanon’s border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that Lebanon claims is Lebanese territory.

That has led to tensions with Israel over the past months and the U.N. has been working to persuade Hezbollah to remove the tent.

Earlier Sunday, Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets and shells at three Israeli positions in the disputed area of Chebaa Farms and Kfar Chouba hills and Israel’s military fired back using armed drones.

Romania repatriates hundreds of citizens and other foreigners

Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that 346 Romanian citizens and other foreigners were repatriated from Israel overnight on two separate flights.

The ministry said Sunday that a mobile consular team was sent to Ben Gurion Airport from the Romanian Embassy in Tel Aviv and Romania’s representative office in Ramallah to provide consular assistance.

On Saturday, the ministry “strongly condemned” Hamas’ rocket attacks against Israel, “including against the civilian population, terrorist infiltrations and hostage-taking.” It said Israel has a sovereign right to defend itself.

Media reports: Egyptian policeman opens fire on Israeli tourists

An Egyptian policeman opened fire on Israeli tourists Sunday in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, killing at least two Israelis and one Egyptian, local media reported.

Extra News television channel, which has close ties to Egyptian security agencies, quoted an unidentified security official as saying that another person was injured in the attack which took place in the Pompey’s Pillar tourist site in Alexandria. The suspected assailant was detained, it reported.

Israel’s Zaka rescue service reported two people killed in Alexandria.

China calls for the creation of a Palestinian state

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country is “deeply concerned over the current escalation of tensions and violence between Palestine and Israel.”

“The recurrence of the conflict shows once again that the protracted standstill of the peace process cannot go on,” the statement said. “The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said China would continue to work with the international community to find a way to bring about peace, and urged the community to act with greater urgency and help “facilitate early resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel.”

Egypt intervenes over Israeli hostages

An Egyptian official says Israel has sought help from Cairo to ensure the safety of abducted Israelis, and Egypt’s intelligence chief had contacted Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group to seek information.

According to the official, Palestinian leaders claimed that they don’t yet have a “full picture” of hostages, but said those who were brought to Gaza were taken to “secure locations” across the territory.

“It’s clear that they have a big number — several dozens,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to brief media.

Egyptian intelligence also spoke with both sides about a potential cease-fire, he added, but Israel was not open to a truce “at this stage.”

— By Sam Magdy in Cairo.

Israeli official says hundreds of Hamas militants have been killed

An Israeli military official says “hundreds of terrorists” have been killed and dozens captured in fighting with Hamas militants in Gaza and southern Israel.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari spoke to reporters on Sunday, more than 24 hours after the Palestinian militant group launched an unprecedented assault into Israel, killing hundreds of people, firing thousands of rockets and taking captives back into blockaded Gaza.

Israel is battling militants in the south and launching airstrikes across Gaza that have leveled buildings.

UN peacekeepers call for restraint after rockets fired from Lebanon

A U.N. peacekeeping force deployed along Lebanon’s southern border called for “everyone to exercise restraint” and make use of the force’s “liaison and coordination mechanisms to de-escalate” and prevent a fast deterioration of the security situation. It said it had detected several rockets fired from southeast Lebanon toward “Israeli-occupied territory,” followed by artillery fire from Israel toward Lebanon.

The statement came shortly after Hezbollah said it fired at Israeli positions in the disputed Chebaa Farms along the border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The force known as UNIFIL said it is in contact with authorities on both sides of the border at all levels “to contain the situation and avoid a more serious escalation.”

Hezbollah attacks Israeli positions in Golan Heights

Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group fired dozens of rockets and shells on Sunday at three Israeli positions in a disputed area along the country’s border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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

Israel’s military fired back at the Lebanese areas, but there was no immediate word on casualties.

At least 26 Israeli soldiers die in Hamas attack in country’s south

At least 26 Israeli soldiers have been killed in an attack by the Hamas militant group on the country’s south, Israel’s military said Sunday.

The figure is part of a death toll of more than 250 people in the deadliest attack against Israelis in decades.

Israeli military says two hostage situations ‘resolved’

An Israeli military spokesperson said Sunday morning that two hostage situations had been “resolved,” but did not say whether all the hostages had been rescued alive.

Hamas militants had taken hostages during their surprise attack on Saturday as Israel’s military scrambled to muster a response. Gun battles continued well after nightfall, and militants held hostages in standoffs in two towns. Militants occupied a police station in a third town, where Israeli forces struggled until Sunday morning to finally reclaim the building.

On Sunday, Israel was fighting Hamas incursions in eight places, the Israeli military said.

Militants fire more rockets from Gaza

Before daybreak on Sunday, militants fired more rockets from Gaza, hitting a hospital in the Israeli coastal town of Ashkelon. The hospital sustained damage, said senior hospital official Tal Bergman.

Rockets are fired toward Israel from Gaza, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Rockets are fired toward Israel from Gaza, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Video provided by Barzilai Medical Center showed a large hole punched into a wall and chunks of debris scattered on the ground of what appeared to be an empty room and a hallway. There was no report of casualties.

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza had intensified after nightfall, flattening residential buildings in giant explosions, including a 14-story tower that held dozens of apartments as well as Hamas offices in central Gaza City. Israeli forces fired a warning just before.

Around 3 a.m., a loudspeaker atop a mosque in Gaza City blared a stark warning to residents of nearby apartment buildings: Evacuate immediately. Just minutes later, an Israeli airstrike reduced one nearby five-story building to ashes.

After one Israeli strike, a Hamas rocket barrage hit four cities, including Tel Aviv and a nearby suburb. Throughout the day, Hamas fired more than 3,500 rockets, the Israeli military said.

Cambodian student dies in fighting in Israel

A Cambodian student has died in the violence in Israel, the Cambodian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. The Southeast Asian country has some 450 students in Israel, the statement added.

Two workers from Thailand were also believed to have been kidnapped in Israel, according to a statement from Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The information came from the Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv. Israel has not been able to verify the claim.

“The Royal Thai Government is taking this matter very seriously,” the statement said. “Prime Minister [Srettha Thavisin] has issued an order for the Royal Thai Air Force to be on standby for the immediate evacuation of Thai nationals from Israel by air, as needed.”

Netanyahu says Israel will cut off supplies to Gaza

Israel will stop supplying electricity, fuel and goods to Gaza, according to a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office Saturday night. Much of Gaza was already thrown into darkness by nightfall after electrical supplies from Israel, which supplies almost all of the territories’ power, were cut off earlier in the day.

Netanyahu also said the “first phase” of the counter operation had ended, and that Israel had fought off the majority of Hamas militants.

He vowed to continue the offensive “without reservation and without respite.”

The announcement came after a surprise attack by Hamas militants into Israel on Saturday morning.

Airlines suspend flights to Israel

Airlines canceled more than 80 flights to and from Tel Aviv by Saturday evening — roughly 14% of all flights scheduled — because of the unprecedented attack in Israel by the militant group Hamas, according to FlightAware.

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines canceled flights Saturday night and Sunday night from New York’s JFK Airport to Tel Aviv, although a Delta return flight was able to depart Tel Aviv Saturday night. United Airlines also canceled a Saturday flight from San Francisco. An earlier United flight turned around over Greenland and returned to San Francisco.

German carrier Lufthansa canceled several flights between Frankfurt and Tel Aviv.

What we know about Hamas’ surprise attack — and Israel’s response

Backed by a barrage of rockets, dozens of Hamas militants broke out of the blockaded Gaza Strip in an unprecedented attack Saturday. Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes, with Prime Minister Netanyahu saying the country is now at war. AP’s Josef Federman explains what we know.

Backed by a barrage of rockets, dozens of Hamas militants broke out of the blockaded Gaza Strip in an unprecedented attack Saturday. Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes, with Prime Minister Netanyahu saying the country is now at war. AP’s Josef Federman explains what we know.

Israeli death toll rises to at least 250

Israeli media, citing rescue service officials, said at least 250 people were killed and 1,500 wounded, making Saturday’s surprise early morning attack by Hamas the deadliest attack in Israel in decades. At least 232 people in the Gaza Strip have been killed and at least 1,700 wounded in Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Hamas fighters took an unknown number of civilians and soldiers captive into Gaza, a deeply sensitive issue for Israel, in harrowing scenes posted on social media videos.

Among those killed in Israel was Lt. Col. Jonathan Steinberg, a senior officer who commanded the military’s Nahal Brigade, a prominent infantry unit.

People look at the damage from a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Moti Milrod)

People look at the damage from a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Moti Milrod)

Saudi foreign minister talks to Blinken, urges halt to violence

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has spoken to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to urge a halt to the violence in and around Gaza. A Saudi Foreign Ministry statement released late Saturday says the two discussed “the necessity of working toward an immediate halt to the escalation.”

Prince Faisal emphasized “the kingdom’s rejection of the targeting of civilians and the need for all sides to respect international humanitarian law.”

The Saudis have been in talks with the White House over potentially forging diplomatic relations with Israel. Those efforts have been thrown into question by the unprecedented incursion into Israel launched by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Saturday.

Netanyahu vows revenge after surprise Hamas attack

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his stunned nation in a televised address that the war against the militant group Hamas, which launched a surprise incursion into Israel on Saturday, will “take time.”

The latest conflagration erupted when dozens of Hamas fighters broke out of Gaza Strip and into nearby Israeli towns, killing dozens and abducting others in an unprecedented surprise early morning attack during a major Jewish holiday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday vowed to “destroy” Hamas to enact “revenge” for the deadliest attack on Israel by the Gaza Strip’s militant rulers in decades. (Oct 7)

Netanyahu said the Israeli military will use all of its strength to destroy Hamas’ capabilities. He also vowed to extract a heavy price if “even a single hair” is harmed on the Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity.

Israel has maintained a blockade over Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. The bitter enemies have fought four wars since then.

Jordanian king talks to Biden, warns against escalation

King Abdullah II of Jordan has called for intensifying international efforts to stop the escalation of the latest violence between the Palestinians and Israel.

A statement from the Royal Palace says Abdullah spoke to President Joe Biden about ways to to stop the conflict from escalating and ways to protect civilians.

Abdullah warned that continued escalation would have negative repercussions on the region and stressed the need for restraint, the protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law.

Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets and sent dozens of fighters into Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented surprise early morning attack during a major Jewish holiday on Saturday.

It was the deadliest attack against Israel in decades.

Seat of Sunni learning supports Palestinians

A mosque in Cairo that is a seat of Sunni learning has expressed its solidarity with Palestinians in the wake of an attack by the militant group Hamas that took Israel by surprise.

The Al-Azhar al-Sharif mosque houses the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning. A statement by the mosque said it “stands fast with full support to the free people of Palestine, who have come to revive our self-confidence, lifeline, and a long-lost sense of aliveness,” the statement read.

The statement also criticized the global approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that the international community “adopts nothing but double standards when it comes to the Palestinian cause.”

The statement was issued in the wake of a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel on Saturday. At least 200 Israelis were killed and a number were also taken hostage. An equal number of Palestinians died amid Israel’s military response to the attack.

Jewish Federation announces fund to help Israel

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington announced the opening of an Israel Crisis Fund, saying it was ready to help meet the urgent needs of Israelis after “the largest terrorist attack on Israel since the Yom Kippur War.”

Gil Preuss, the federation’s chief executive officer, said in a statement that it had a responsibility to mobilize the Jewish community across the political spectrum to stand against the ongoing “deluge of terror” in Israel.

“At the holy time of Shabbat, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah, while Jews were immersed in celebration and spiritual contemplation, dozens of terrorist gunmen infiltrated communities near the Gaza border and Hamas launched a deluge of thousands of rockets at Israel cities,” he said.

“This is a terrifying moment for our family in Israel,” Preuss added, “and we fear the horror will be quite prolonged.”

Israeli rescue service Zaka said at least 200 Israelis were killed, making it the deadliest attack against Israel in decades. An equal number of Palestinians were also killed, officials in Gaza said, amid Israel’s response.

NYC, Los Angeles mayors, rabbis condemn Hamas attack

Hours after the Hamas attack on Israel, a small squad of New York City police officers stood outside Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue as a safety measure during Saturday worship services.

Inside the synagogue, which has one of the city’s largest Jewish congregations, Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson began services by acknowledging the “highly coordinated attacks.”

He noted how the surprise attack by Hamas from Gaza into southern Israel was executed “in a fashion eerily reminiscent” of the Yom Kippur War five decades ago.

“No people is safe from terror,” he said.

“In moments of fear, in moments of concern,” he said, “we know we draw strength from our being together.”

In Los Angeles, Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz urged congregants at Valley Beth Shalom during Saturday services to call their elected representatives to urge support for Israel, especially in the coming days as the country responds to the attack.

New York Mayor Eric Adams and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass also condemned Saturday’s attack by Hamas. Those cities have the largest Jewish populations outside of Israel.

Rescue service says more than 200 Israelis killed

An Israeli rescue service says the attack by Hamas in southern Israel has left at least 200 people dead.

Rescue Service Zaka says an additional 1,100 people were wounded in the attack Saturday that took Israel by surprise.

Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets and sent dozens of fighters into Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented surprise early morning attack during a major Jewish holiday on Saturday.

It was the deadliest attack against Israel in decades.

At least 198 people in the Gaza Strip were killed and at least 1,610 wounded amid Israel’s retaliation.

Israeli opposition leader proposes unity government

Israel’s opposition leader says he has proposed forming an emergency government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a statement, Yair Lapid said he had met Saturday with Netanyahu and suggested the prime minister replace his far-right coalition with a broad unity government of centrist parties.

He said Netanyahu knows he “can’t manage a war” with his current partners. “Israel needs to bed led by a professional, experienced and responsible government,” he said.

He said such a coalition would send a message to Israel’s enemies that the country is united against its enemies.

Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets and sent dozens of fighters into Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented surprise early morning attack during a major Jewish holiday Saturday.

Israel said it is now at war with Hamas and launched airstrikes in Gaza.

New York mayor condemns Hamas attack

New York Mayor Eric Adams, whose city is home to the largest Jewish population outside Israel, called the attack a “cowardly action by a terrorist organization.”

The mayor said city authorities are monitoring the situation for any possible threats.

“While there is no credible threat to New York City at this time, our administration is in touch with Jewish leaders across the five boroughs, and we have directed the NYPD to deploy additional resources to Jewish communities and houses of worship citywide to ensure that our communities have the resources they need to make sure everyone feels safe,” he said in a statement.

“We extend our sincerest condolences for all the innocent lives lost in these attacks, and hope that not another family has to experience the pain of losing a loved one.”

Netanyahu says Israel is ‘at war’ after surprise attack by Hamas militants

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated Israel is now at “war” with militant group Hamas after a massive show of force that caught Israel off-guard on a major holiday. (Oct. 7)

Fighting in 22 locations in southern Israel

An Israeli army spokesman says fighting is continuing in 22 locations in southern Israel some 12 hours after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari also said that Israel was striking targets in Gaza from the air and that ground operations were imminent.

A rocket from the Gaza Strip struck a street in Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip infiltrated Saturday into southern Israel and fired thousands of rockets into the country while Israel began striking targets in Gaza in response. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A rocket from the Gaza Strip struck a street in Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Hagari confirmed ongoing hostage situations in the towns of Ofakim and Beeri. Earlier, both the Israeli military and Hamas confirmed that some Israelis had been captured and taken hostage.

Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets and sent dozens of fighters into Israeli towns near the Gaza on Saturday, the day of a major Jewish holiday.

Biden condemns attack by Hamas against Israel

President Joe Biden has condemning the “appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza” and says he’s spoken with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden says in a statement released by the White House that he told the Israeli leader that “we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support” to the Israeli government and the Israeli people.

Biden says that the Jewish state “has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation.”

The president also says his administration’s support for Israel’s security is “rock solid and unwavering.”

President Joe Biden on Saturday decried the surprise assault by Hamas militants and pledged to ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself. (Oct. 7)

Other Western leaders condemned the Hamas attack and expressed support for Israel.

The head of the European Union’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday that the attack “is terrorism in its most despicable form.” She said that “Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks.”

The Israeli flag was raised at the Austrian chancellor’s office and Foreign Ministry in a gesture of solidarity, and Chancellor Karl Nehammer said in a post on X on Saturday: “We stand with Israel in the fight against terrorism. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.”

Israeli death toll now at least 70

Israel’s national rescue service said at least 70 people have been killed and hundreds more were wounded in a surprise attack by the militant group Hamas.

The casualties made Hamas’ attack on southern Israel the deadliest one in Israel in years.

The Magen David Adom said Saturday that “hundreds” of people were seriously injured and strongly urged the public to heed the directives of Israeli authorities for safety.

The wounded were being evacuated in ambulances, mobile intensive care vehicles, and by helicopter to various hospitals.

At least 198 people in the Gaza Strip have been killed in Israel’s retaliation, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said.

UN peacekeepers closely monitoring Lebanon-Israel border

The U.N. peacekeeping force deployed along the Lebanon-Israel border says it is closely monitoring the situation in Israel.

In a statement, the force said that peacekeepers are present along the border line to maintain stability and help avoid escalation.

“We have also adapted and enhanced our presence throughout our area of operations, including counter rocket-launching operations,” said the force known as UNIFIL.

It has been months since rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel. The border area has been relatively calm since a monthlong war between Israel and Hezbollah ended in August 2006.

UNIFIL said its leader is in contact with all sides since the violence began in southern Israel “to ensure effective coordination and avoid misunderstandings.”

The force said its primary goal is to preserve stability along the Blue Line and avoid any escalation “that could have disastrous consequences for people living in the area.”

Israeli soldiers, civilians captured as hostages

The Israeli military has confirmed that Hamas militants are holding Israeli civilians and soldiers hostage in Gaza. The military did not say how many hostages were seized, but their capture marks a major escalation in the fighting.

The military confirmed Hamas claims that its fighters had kidnapped a number of Israelis after infiltrating Israel’s highly fortified separation fence and storming into Israeli communities in the country’s south.

Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land, and sea and catching the country off-guard on a major holiday. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

The army did not offer further details Saturday. Social media has been filled with videos showing Hamas fighters dragging lifeless Israeli soldiers on the ground and parading captured civilians through the streets of Gaza.

Palestinian death toll is at least 198

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 198 people have been killed and at least 1,610 wounded in the territory in Israel’s retaliation after a wide-ranging Hamas assault into Israel.

Israel has carried out a number of airstrikes in Gaza and has clashed with gunmen at the border fence around the coastal territory.

Death toll in Israel raised to 40

Israel’s national rescue service says at least 40 people have been killed in a wide-ranging Hamas assault into Israel.

The latest toll came from the Magen David Adom rescue service as fighting was still underway on Saturday.

Hospitals in Israel are treating hundreds of wounded people, including dozens in critical condition.

Netanyahu promises to exact ‘a huge price’ from Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will exact a “huge price” from Hamas in response to an unprecedented infiltration that killed at least 22 people.

Netanyahu told his Security Cabinet on Saturday that Israel’s first goal is to “cleanse the area” of militants and regain control of the southern communities that were attacked.

“The second goal, at the same time, is to exact a huge price from the enemy, also in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

He called on the nation to remain calm and unite “to achieve our highest goal — victory in the war.”

Cars burn after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a parking lot and a residential building in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The rockets were fired as Hamas announced a new operation against Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Cars burn after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a parking lot and a residential building in Ashkelon, southern Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

White House condemns attack

The White House said Saturday that it “unequivocally condemns” the Hamas attacks.

“We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

“The U.S. unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. There is never any justification for terrorism.”

Watson said Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, has spoken with his Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi. The U.S. and Israel are remaining in close touch, Watson said.

Russia says it is in contact with all sides and urges a cease-fire

Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister and former ambassador to Israel and Egypt, told the state Tass agency Saturday that Moscow has been in touch with “all parties (of the conflict), including Arab countries” and urged “an immediate cease-fire and peace” between Hamas and Israel. Bogdanov did not specify which Arab states Russian diplomats were speaking to.

“We call for an immediate start to a peace process on the basis of existing, internationally recognized agreements,” Bogdanov said. He added that a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions on the conflict remain unimplemented, but gave no details.

U.N. human rights chief calls for an end to violence

The U.N. human rights chief says he is “shocked and appalled” by the firing of large numbers of rockets at Israel and the death of at least 22 people in the country.

Volker Türk called for an immediate end to the violence, appealing to all sides and “key countries in the region” to de-escalate and avoid further bloodshed.

Türk said in a statement released in Geneva he is also “deeply concerned at reports that Israeli civilians have been taken hostage.”

Türk said that “this attack is having a horrific impact on Israeli civilians” and that civilians must never be the target of attacks.

He added: “I note also that Israeli forces have responded with airstrikes into the densely populated Gaza Strip, reportedly killing at least five people. I call on them to take all precautions to avoid civilian casualties there.”

More than 460 people receiving medical treatment

The Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba said it was treating at least 280 casualties, with 60 in serious condition. The Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, near Gaza, said it was treating 182 wounded people, including 12 in critical condition.

Police officers evacuate a woman and a child from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The rockets were fired as Hamas announced a new operation against Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Police officers evacuate a woman and a child from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

There was no official comment on casualties in Gaza, but Associated Press reporters witnessed the funerals of 15 people who were killed and saw another eight bodies arrive at a local hospital. It was not immediately clear if they were fighters or civilians.

Europe’s leaders express support for Israel

European leaders are condemning the Hamas attack and voicing solidarity with Israel.

The head of the European Union’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday that the attack “is terrorism in its most despicable form.” She said that “Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks.”

German Chancellor OIaf Scholz said that the militants’ rocket fire and the escalating violence “shock us deeply.” He added that “Germany condemns these attacks by Hamas and stands beside Israel.”

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote that he “firmly” condemns the “terrorist attacks” against Israel and expressed “my full solidarity with the victims, their families and their loved ones.”

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Italy’s government condemns the attacks on Israel “with utmost firmness.”

“At risk are the life of people, the security of the region and the resumption of any kind of political process,’’ Tajani said in a post on X platform.

Hezbollah says the attack is the only response to Israel’s occupation

Lebanon’s Hezbollah congratulated Hamas for the operation, saying it had “divine backing and pledges final and comprehensive victory.” The group said the attack is a response to “Israel’s crimes” and attacks on holy places and that “the will of the Palestinian people and the rifle of the resistance is the only alternative to face occupation.”

Hezbollah said that its military command in Lebanon is following the developments on the ground and is in direct contact with the Palestinian command and they are both “evaluating the situation and the ongoing operation.”

“We call upon the government of the Zionist enemy to take lessons from the facts that the Palestinian resistance have implemented on the ground,” Hezbollah said.

Ukrainian foreign ministry: Israel has the right to defend itself

Ukraine’s foreign ministry has voiced its support for Israel’s “right to defend itself and its people” in a post Saturday on its official channel on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.

The ministry said it “strongly condemns the ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks against the civilian population in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.”

Ukraine has been fighting a war against Russia since its neighbor invaded in February 2022.

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