Last Updated: October 09, 2023 07:13 PM

Published: October 07, 2023 06:40 AM

Israel increased airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and sealed it off from food, fuel, and other supplies in retaliation for a bloody incursion by Hamas militants. Hamas pledged to kill captured Israelis if attacks targeted civilians without warnings.

In the war’s third day, Israel was still finding bodies from Hamas’ stunning weekend attack into southern Israeli towns.

Follow our live updates.

More coverage:

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.”

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

EU Commission suspends ‘all payments immediately’ to the Palestinians following the Hamas attack

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

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.

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

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

Italian foreign minister pushes for ‘diplomatic solution’

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

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

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 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.

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

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

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.

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

US giving Israel all the help it needs, Schumer says

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

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

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.”

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


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

Israeli and Palestinian supporters rally across U.S. as Israel declares war after Hamas attack

Israeli airstrike kills 19 members of the same family in a southern Gaza refugee camp

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

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

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.

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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.

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.

Saudi foreign minister talks to Blinken, urges halt to violence

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

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

Israeli opposition leader proposes unity government

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.