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‘I feel disgusted’ by Biden visit, says Palestinian trapped in Gaza
NEAR THE ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER — A Palestinian American who had to flee his home in Gaza City because of Israel’s bombardment said today that Biden ignored what he called 75 years of Gaza oppression.
“I want him to know that I feel disgusted,” said Jason Shawa, an English translator born in Seattle who has lived most of his life in Gaza.
“He came, he comforted the families of the victims and talked so passionately about them and about Israel, their friendship to Israel — the same country that has been oppressing us, killing us for 75 years,” he said.
Shawa, 55, said he feels similarly about the U.S. government. “When they talk about Gaza, on the other hand, they totally dehumanize,” he said.
Shawa fled his home with his wife and children after Israel’s military warned civilians to leave northern Gaza as it conducts airstrikes following Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel. There are 55 people where he is sheltered, including 22 children.
“This place wasn’t made to sustain 50, 60 people for such a long period,” Shawa said.
“Just getting food every day is a major, major undertaking,” he said. “Securing drinking water is a major undertaking. … There’s no water in town, virtually no water.”
Biden returns to U.S. after trip to Israel
Biden is back in the U.S. after visiting Israel and affirming support for the country after it was attacked by Hamas.
Air Force One touched down at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, shortly after midnight Thursday morning ET.
In Israel, Biden met with Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog. He also met with first responders, families who lost loved ones in the attack and families whose relatives Hamas may be holding hostage in Gaza.
While he was in Israel, he also announced $100 million in new U.S. funding for humanitarian aid in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Biden expected to seek $60B for Ukraine and aid for Israel in $100B funding request
WASHINGTON — Top congressional lawmakers are beginning to receive details of a new funding package the Biden administration is expected to submit to Congress this week.
While it’s not yet finalized, the supplemental funding package is likely to seek $60 billion for Ukraine, a lawmaker and two sources with knowledge of the request said. The rest of the request will include roughly $40 billion to provide aid to Israel, Taiwan and the U.S.-Mexico border.
The total supplemental funding request, which is expected to be for the fiscal year that ends next September, will total around $100 billion, said four sources directly involved in the process.
Read the full story here.
Hundreds mourn as Israeli family of 5 that was slain together is laid to rest
An Israeli family of five whose bodies were discovered in one another’s arms after being killed by Hamas militants were buried together in a funeral attended by hundreds of mourners.
Family and friends bade farewell yesterday to the Kotz family — a couple and their three children who were gunned down in their home at kibbutz Kfar Azza on Oct. 7. They were buried side by side in a graveyard 30 miles west of Jerusalem.
Aviv and Livnat Kotz, their daughter, Rotem, and sons, Yonatan and Yiftach, were found dead on a bed embracing one another, a family member said.
The family had moved to Israel from Boston and built the home four years ago at the kibbutz where Aviv grew up, his wife’s sister, Adi Levy Salma, told the Israeli news outlet Ynet.
“We told her it’s dangerous, but she did not want to move away, as it was her home for life,” Levy Salma said.
With Israel simultaneously in a state of war and mourning, the funeral was one of many being held.
More than 3,400 people have been killed on the Palestinian side, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and funerals there have been a fixture of daily life, with men running through streets carrying bodies in white sheets and shouting “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great.”
With more than 1,400 killed in Israel and many still unidentified, the funerals will continue for days or longer.
Adi Levy Salma said that on the day of the Hamas attacks, she texted her sister to see whether she was OK. But Livnat Kotz didn’t reply and didn’t answer phone calls. Levy Salma was more concerned when her niece, Rotem, didn’t respond.
“Then we started getting reports of terrorists who infiltrated the kibbutz,” Levy Salma said. “It was at that moment we realized something bad had happened. Their friends and neighbors picked up, but they didn’t. We were very worried.”
At the Kotz family’s funeral, soldiers and civilians sobbed. Graves were piled high with flowers.
Livnat died a week short of her 50th birthday, her sister said. She worked to popularize old crafts and incorporate them into the school system. Her husband was a vice president at Kafrit Industries, a plastics manufacturer, the company said.
Rotem was a military training instructor in the Israel Defense Forces. The boys played basketball at Hapoel Tel Aviv Youth Academy.
“Amazing children with enormous hearts,” Levy Salma said. “Their whole lives were ahead of them.”
U.S. ramps up security measures amid warnings of potential violence
Authorities in the U.S. are ramping up security amid warnings about potential violence mounting nationwide over the Israel-Hamas war. A Homeland Security official said DHS is monitoring a “heightened threat environment.”
Video from Gaza hospital before deadly blast shows artist cheering up children
In a video shared Monday on Instagram, children in vibrant outfits collect pieces of trash at al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital in Gaza. Then, in a circle, the kids follow along as Mohammed Sami, a sketch and acrylic artist, prompts them to hold hands and yell, “Yay!”
The scenes appear to have taken place less than a day before the deadly explosion at the hospital, which the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 471 people.
Sami, 23, was among those who died in the blast, according to his cousin, Mohamed Osama Qriqea.
Qriqea, 25, said by phone from Istanbul that his brother is an independent journalist in Gaza who reported on the incident and found Sami dead. Several other family members were also among the dead, Qriqea said.
“Hours before his killing, he organized activities to help raise the children’s psychological state. They cleaned the hospital, and he played with the children,” Qriqea wrote in a post about Sami on Instagram.
“Mohamed was dreaming of a lot of things. He dreamed of a private art gallery in Gaza and in the world,” Qriqea told NBC News.
Accompanying the video Sami shared Monday was the following message:
“Today while I was at the Arab Baptist Hospital, I saw families and their children in a state of fear and psychological pressure due to the continuous bombing of the Gaza Strip.
I tried to relieve them of this fear and panic by asking for help from a team of civilian volunteers inside the hospital to change this situation into a state of playing, laughing, shouting loudly, and letting out what is inside them. This is like a first aid attempt for the children and families by creating a designated safe place for play and entertainment.
What I did today was an attempt with simple means through which I was able to change the mood of everyone inside the hospital and move them to a state perhaps much better than what they were in.
I will never forget the look and sounds of their laughter at this moment.
We are all trying to be okay.”
Law firm revokes job offers to Ivy League students over Israel letters
Top U.S. law firm Davis Polk announced in an internal email that it had rescinded letters of employment for three law students at Harvard and Columbia universities who it believed were tied to organizational statements about Israel, one of the latest responses to open letters from university groups about the Israel-Hamas conflict that have roiled university donors, employers, alumni and students.
“These statements are simply contrary to our firm’s values and we thus concluded that rescinding these offers was appropriate in upholding our responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive work environment for all Davis Polk employees,” said the email, signed by Neil Barr.
The identities of the students were not revealed in the email, which also did not specify which statements the students allegedly signed.
A series of public statements supporting Palestinians and blaming Israel for the recent Israel-Hamas conflict has created a firestorm on college campuses and in corporate America since last week. The Harvard Crimson, a student-run publication, reported Oct. 10 that more than 30 Harvard student groups had signed on to a letter that said Israel was “entirely responsible” for “all unfolding violence.”
Read the full story here.
Children of Kibbutz Be’eri face new reality
The children of Kibbutz Be’eri are trying to make sense of their new reality after their community came under attack by Hamas. Families open up about the impact of the trauma.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to arrive in Israel tomorrow
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will arrive in Israel tomorrow Thursday and meet with Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog before he traveled on to other regional capitals, his office said.
Sunak will share his condolences for the loss of life in Israel and Gaza as a result of the Hamas attack, his office said, and warn against further escalation of conflict in the region.
“Every civilian death is a tragedy. And too many lives have been lost following Hamas’ horrific act of terror,” Sunak said in a statement ahead of his visit.
He said a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital yesterday that killed hundreds of Palestinians should be “a watershed moment for leaders in the region and across the world to come together to avoid further dangerous escalation of conflict,” pledging Britain would be at “the forefront of this effort.”
Sunak will also urge opening up a route to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza as soon as possible and to enable British nationals trapped in Gaza to leave.
At least seven British nationals have been killed, and at least nine are missing since the attack on Israel, Sunak’s spokesperson said earlier today.
Police say hundreds arrested at Capitol Hill rally
WASHINGTON — Hundreds of people were arrested during protests today on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Capitol Police said they arrested “upwards of approximately 300” people at the Israel-Hamas war rally at the Cannon House Office Building.
The group was pushing lawmakers and the Biden administration to seek a cease-fire in Gaza.
A spokesperson said the police department does not yet have a final tally of arrests, adding that the number could change by morning.
Inside Israel’s Iron Dome defense system
The Israeli military says Hamas has launched more than 6,000 rockets in the last 10 days, most of which have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Many consider it to be the world’s best defense against missiles and rockets. Here’s how it works.
Israel’s U.N. ambassador compares cease-fire to ‘putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound’
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations downplayed calls for a cease-fire in its war with Hamas, saying it would be “like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.”
“Such steps will not eradicate the cancer that is Hamas,” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s permanent representative to the U.N., said at a Security Council meeting today.
Erdan emphasized that just 11 days had passed since Hamas launched a series of terrorist attacks inside Israel that targeted civilians. He accused the council of being “fixated only on humanitarian corridors and aid.”
“These are important and noble causes, but they are certainly not a solution to prevent Hamas’s next atrocious massacre,” Erdan said.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative to the U.N., said Israel was “seeking blind vengeance.”
“Those who cannot or will not call for a cease-fire will lose any credibility, any authority, and share some of the responsibility for the devastation that is occurring now,” Mansour said.
Drone video reveals the aftermath of an airstrike at Al Nuseirat Bakery at the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza.
Marks left by hospital blast not consistent with Israeli strike, experts say
Military and munitions experts told NBC News that available evidence indicates a misfired rocket from Palestinian Islamic Jihad — a militant group in Gaza — most likely caused yesterday’s deadly explosion at al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.
“Based on what I’ve seen so far, I really doubt that this was an airstrike,” said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a military-focused think tank in London. He added that the blast damage doesn’t fit with the missiles that Israel has been using.
Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO and an NBC News contributor, offered a similar opinion.
“To my eye, the damage on the ground does not look at all like what you would see from an airstrike or a precision-guided weapon,” he said. “It looks like a projectile with a lot of fuel in it hit a parking lot and created a fireball.”
Palestinian officials and Hamas have said Israel hit the hospital and killed hundreds of civilians in a deliberate act.
Israel’s military, however, says it was not responsible, instead suggesting that a rocket from Palestinian Islamic Jihad failed and fell short.
Read the full story here
Biden will speak to the nation in a prime-time address about Israel and Ukraine from the Oval Office at 8 ET tomorrow night. The address comes after he visited Tel Aviv and pledged support for Israel in the wake of Hamas’ attack.
Egypt agrees to humanitarian aid to Gaza through Rafah crossing
Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi say an agreement has been reached to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing.
The agreement will have “the relevant authorities in the two countries coordinating with international humanitarian organizations under the supervision of the United Nations,” a spokesperson for El-Sissi said in a statement.
The U.N.’s World Food Program and other groups have been calling for sustained humanitarian access to Gaza. Tor Wennesland, the U.N.’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, today called opening Rafah “critical.”
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Biden said the agreement will enable up to 20 trucks to cross to start. He praised El-Sissi as deserving real credit, saying, “He stepped up.”
“As did Bibi,” Biden added, referring to Netanyahu.
Earlier today, Biden said that he spoke with Israel’s Cabinet and that the country had agreed that humanitarian assistance could begin moving from Egypt into Gaza. Biden said the consensus was based on an understanding that inspections would take place and that the aid would go to civilians, not Hamas.
“Let me be clear: If Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, it will have demonstrated once again that they have no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people — and it will end,” Biden said.
Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah was working for Doctors Without Borders at al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City when the missile struck. Many of the casualties were families seeking refuge in the hospital courtyard, he said.
Dissent and tension proliferate around the globe
While President Biden spent the day in Israel, U.S. allies and partners around the world faced another difficult day.
At the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. vetoed a resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver aid to Gaza. France’s U.N. ambassador could barely conceal his criticism of the White House, saying it is “the responsibility of the Security Council to react and to call for all civilians to be spared on all sides.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., insisted the country is engaged in diplomacy on the ground and wants to let that process play out. She also expressed disappointment that the resolution did not mention Israel’s right to self-defense.
A senior Western diplomat said the vote was not a rift between the U.S. and France but warned of a widening gulf between America’s world and the rest.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, more than 30 lawmakers in the British Parliament backed calls for a cease-fire, a position Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has not supported.
The clearest crisis of confidence in U.S. leadership is in the Arab world tonight. Protesters have been in the streets from Cairo to Beirut, a worrying sign for leaders who remember the Arab Spring with trepidation. Those who watch the Middle East closely say that’s one reason a summit between Arab leaders and Biden was canceled. And from the Arab perspective, Biden’s trip to Israel is not helping, they say.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Mamoun Fandy, president of the think tank London Global Strategy Institute, worked with the U.S. Congress on how to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world. Tonight, he described Biden’s news conference in Israel as, “exhibit A on how to lose the hearts and minds of the entire Muslim world in half an hour.”
Gaza fighting resumes following President Biden’s Israel visit
Fighting in Gaza has resumed after President Biden’s visit to Israel, just 24 hours after the explosion at al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in central Gaza. Raf Sanchez reports on apparent rocket fire seen from Ashdod, Israel.
U.S. says Gaza militants believed hospital blast was most likely caused by misfired Islamic Jihad rocket
The White House National Security Council this afternoon said that intelligence indicated that “some Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip believed” that the explosion at a hospital in Gaza “was likely caused by an errant rocket or missile launch carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
“The militants were still investigating what had happened. We continue to work to corroborate whether the explosion resulted from a failed PIJ rocket,” Adrienne Watson, a White House NSC spokesperson, said in a statement.
Watson also reiterated that the U.S. government “assesses that Israel was not responsible for an explosion that killed hundreds of civilians yesterday at the Al Ahli Hospital in the Gaza Strip” and that its assessment is based on “available reporting, including intelligence, missile activity, and open source video and images of the incident.”
‘Nobody is buying that … in this part of the world,’ Jordan official says of U.S.-Israeli assessment of hospital blast
The Jordanian foreign minister told NBC News’ Lester Holt today that there is deep skepticism in the Middle East about Israel and U.S.’s assessment of the blast at the Gaza hospital that has sparked outrage in the region.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said 471 people were killed in what it called a “targeted” Israeli bombing of al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in central Gaza. Since the blast, officials in Gaza and Israel have blamed each other.
Asked about the U.S. and Israel’s assessment that a Palestinian Islamic Jihad group rocket misfired and hit the hospital, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said, “Nobody is buying that narrative in this part of the world.”
“The only way that people would entertain a different narrative is if there is an independent international inquiry into the tragedy that has happened with impeccable evidence that it was not Israel,” he said.
Safadi also spoke of the planned summit between President Biden and Arab leaders in Jordan that was canceled after the Gaza hospital blast.
“We discussed it thoroughly with our American friends and we came to the conclusion that the summit will not be able to produce the only news that people will be able to hear — which is end of the war.”
Emerging threats in Europe spark security concerns in wake of Israel-Hamas war
Law enforcement in the U.S. and Europe are on high alert in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. Officers in the U.S. are increasing police presence at mosques and synagogues. Tom Winter details bomb threats and security concerns in Europe.
Jewish Americans and allies arrested on Capitol Hill after protesting for Gaza cease-fire
Jewish Americans and allies staged a protest on Capitol Hill today, infiltrating the Cannon House Office Building, calling for lawmakers and the Biden administration to push for a cease-fire in Gaza.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on the National Mall before marching to Congress. The protesters who entered the Cannon Building chanted and sang as over a dozen officers responded.
Capitol Police said Wednesday afternoon that some of the protesters were arrested, including three protesters who were charged with assault on a police officer.
Hamas says Israel ‘trying to evade its responsibility’ for blast at hospital
Hamas said today that Israel “is trying to evade its responsibility” for the explosion at Ahli Baptist Hospital, which was “sheltering thousands of Palestinians displaced from the hell of its brutal aggression.” The Palestinian Health Ministry said 471 people were killed in the blast. Officials in Gaza and in Israel have blamed each other for the blast.
Hamas said that Israel had sent warnings to hospitals calling for them to evacuate as part of their military operation and that since “the beginning of this aggression, the Israeli army has ignored the principle of distinguishing between civilian and military targets.” (Israel, however has said it considers a hospital to be a highly sensitive building and not an IDF target.)
Hamas also said “resistance missiles are homemade, and do not have the destructive power that kills hundreds at once.”
Earlier in the day, the U.S. said it has independently assessed that it was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired and hit the hospital, two senior U.S. officials and a congressional staffer told NBC News. Biden also said that “appears” to be the case. Israel has insisted it’s not responsible for the explosion.
Biden admin unveils sanctions on Iran’s missile, drone programs
The Biden administration today vowed to maintain restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs once the U.N. Security Council sanctions on Tehran’s missile arsenal expire.
The administration announced new sanctions and other measures designed to prevent Iran from selling or acquiring parts or technology related to ballistic missiles or drones, saying that Washington would remain focused on the issue despite the expiration of the U.N. measures.
The announcement came as the U.S. accused Iran of being complicit in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that claimed hundreds of civilian lives, citing Tehran’s long-running support for the group’s militants with training and weapons, which has included rocket technology.
Read the full story here.
More than 350 Americans in Gaza are asking for State Department’s help to leave
The U.S. State Department has received requests from more than 350 American citizens wanting to leave Gaza, as well as more than 400 of their family members, according to a U.S. official familiar with the situation.
The Rafah border crossing from Gaza to Egypt remained closed Wednesday despite days of negotiations between the U.S., Israel and Egypt for the safe passage of foreign nationals, including Americans, and passage in for humanitarian aid.
Pro-Hamas extremists and neo-Nazis flood social media with calls for violence
Pro-Hamas extremists are flooding social media platforms with calls for attacks on Jewish communities and other targets in the United States and Europe, prompting U.S. law enforcement agencies to step up their readiness postures amid deep concerns about possible violence, American officials and private analysts told NBC News.
Tuesday’s explosion at a hospital in Gaza is threatening to become a flashpoint, they said, with posts on X and other platforms portraying it as an Israeli atrocity using an American-made bomb, despite an assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies that the damage resulted from an errant missile fired by a Palestinian militant group.
Groups linked to Al Qaeda and American neo-Nazis have been seeking to exploit the ongoing war to encourage attacks, according to two separate intelligence products obtained by NBC News.
Read the full story here.
Cross-border fighting between Hezbollah and Israel escalates
NBC News’ Matt Bradley spoke with protesters at a Hezbollah rally in Lebanon who believe Israel is to blame for the deadly hospital blast in Gaza, despite the U.S. independently assessing that it was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired.
Israeli anger at Netanyahu erupts at hospital bedsides
JERUSALEM — One Israeli Cabinet minister was barred from a hospital visitors’ entrance. Another’s bodyguards were drenched with coffee thrown by a bereaved man. A third had “traitor” and “imbecile” shouted at her as she came to comfort families evacuated during the horror.
The shock Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas gunmen has rallied Israelis to one another. But there is little love shown for a government being widely accused of dropping the country’s guard and engulfing it in a Gaza war that is rattling the region.
Whatever ensues, a day of judgment looms for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a record-long career of political comebacks.
An opinion poll in Maariv newspaper found that 21% of Israelis want Netanyahu to remain prime minister after the war. Sixty-six percent said “someone else” and 13% were undecided.
Were an election held today, the poll found, Likud would lose a third of its seats while the centrist National Unity party of his main rival Benny Gantz would grow by a third — setting the latter up for top office.
Read the full story here.
NYPD: ‘We are in a heightened threat environment’ due to Israel-Hamas war
The NYPD said Wednesday afternoon that it is “currently in a heightened threat environment and tensions have been rising since the assault against Israel on October 7th.”
“The NYPD is doing everything we can do to forestall future violence in our city. However, we know the ongoing events overseas may resonate with individuals domestically and that is hard to anticipate,” it said.
The department said it was continuing with its citywide “all-out deployment.”
Protesters leave a trail of destruction outside U.S. Embassy in Beirut
BEIRUT — The protesters have moved on, but the smell of tear gas lingers outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and there is a path of destruction left in their wake.
Glass is strewn across the street and nearby and buildings are burned out.
Treasury sanctions Gaza company, says it helped Hamas transfer crypto
The Treasury Department sanctioned a Gaza-based company Wednesday that it said facilitated cryptocurrency transactions for Hamas.
The company, which goes by the English name Buy Cash, appears to be a physical store with an active Facebook page, and offers to exchange conventional currencies. In 2021, Israel seized a bitcoin wallet that it said belonged to Buy Cash and that had been used for Hamas fundraising.
Elliptic, a London-based cryptocurrency analysis company, said in a blog post that it had tracked Buy Cash wallets being used by several terror groups, including an Al Qaeda affiliate and ISIS.
U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution on Israel-Hamas war
The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution on Wednesday put forward by Brazil that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver aid and supplies to civilians in Gaza. Twelve of the 15 council members voted in favor of the resolution, with Russia and the United Kingdom abstaining. The U.S. voted against it, preventing its adoption as a permanent member of the Security Council.
After the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “we need to let that diplomacy play out,” adding that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, President Joe Biden and regional actors on the ground “are engaged in intensive dialogue on the very issues we are deliberating on today.”
Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. was “disappointed this resolution made no mention of Israel’s rights of self-defense” and called on every member to “condemn Hamas as terrorism” and call on it to end its rocket fire against Israel.
She said the U.S. would continue to work closely with council members and “to reiterate the need to protect civilians including members of the media, humanitarian workers and U.N. officials.”
She concluded by asking the council to support “equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
U.S. to provide $100 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians
Biden said Wednesday the United States is providing $100 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
“This funding will help support over a million displaced and conflict-affected people with clean water, food, hygiene support, medical care, and other essential needs,” a White House statement said.
“Civilians are not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’s horrific terrorism. Civilian lives must be protected and assistance must urgently reach those in need,” the White House said. “We will continue to work closely with partners in the region to stress the importance of upholding the law of war, supporting those who are trying to get to safety or provide assistance, and facilitating access to food, water, medical care, and shelter.”
Thousands take to the streets of Beirut to protest Gaza hospital blast
BEIRUT — Some waved Palestinian flags, others held up pictures of dead children, all were among the thousands who gathered in the Dahieh neighborhood in southern Beirut wanting to express their anger about the explosion at the Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip that left hundreds dead.
Doctors and nurses were noticeably present as various speakers from the Hezbollah militant group whipped up the crowd, which erupted into multiple chants of “death to America” and “death to Israel.”
As some waved pictures of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, many of the speakers criticized President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel, saying it showed America was complicit in war crimes.
National Security Council says ‘current assessment’ shows Israel ‘not responsible’ for Gaza hospital blast
The White House National Security Council said in a statement that the “current assessment” shows that Israel was “not responsible” for the deadly blast at a crowded hospital in central Gaza yesterday.
“While we continue to collect information, our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson told NBC News.
Two senior U.S. officials told NBC News this morning that the U.S. has independently assessed that a Palestinian Islamic Jihad group rocket misfired and hit a hospital in Gaza City.
The blast killed nearly 500 people at the hospital, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Palestinian health officials and Hamas have claimed the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike.
Gaza needs fuel, humanitarian aid ‘without conditions,’ charity executive says
Israel allowing food, water and medical supplies into Gaza is not enough to help Palestinians, Melanie Ward, chief executive for Medical Aid for Palestinians, told Sky News.
“Whilst it’s important for aid to come in, it has to be a comprehensive approach without conditions,” Ward said, expressing concerns about Israel’s “piecemeal” approach. “We also need the bombing to stop. We need a cease-fire.”
People in Gaza need fuel in addition to other forms of aid in order to be able to survive, Ward noted. Aid groups will not be able to truck in enough water to keep more than 2 million people alive, meaning electricity to pump clean water is going to be critical for survival.
“The need is absolutely overwhelming, it’s desperate, and while this sounds like a tiny start to what’s needed, it’s needed now, in the next few hours,” Ward said. “It cannot wait days because more and more innocent people are going to die.”
Ward added that shelter supplies are needed for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the siege. Her own team members have been displaced, Ward said, and have been forced to try to boil dirty water to make it drinkable.
Israel says it will allow food, water and medicine from Egypt to Gaza, does not mention fuel
Netanyahu’s office said today that it will allow humanitarian supplies from Egypt to Gaza, “as long as it is only food, water and medicine for the civilian population located in the southern Gaza Strip or moving there, and as long as these supplies do not reach Hamas.” The statement did not include fuel among the humanitarian supplies Israel would allow from Egypt.
Israel’s government has cut off the supply of fuel, water and other basic utilities to Gaza.
Israel said it would not allow humanitarian aid from its territory to the Gaza Strip “as long as our abductees are not returned.”
The prime minister’s office said that the decision came in light of “the overwhelming and essential American support for the war effort and in light of U.S. President Biden’s demand for basic humanitarian aid.”
Homeland Security sees ‘heightened threat environment’ in U.S.
A homeland security official told NBC News that the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring a “heightened threat environment” in the United States and is concerned about attacks on Jewish Americans, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans.
The official noted that recent events in Israel and Gaza, including the bombing of the hospital in Gaza, has the potential to inflame tensions in the United States.
The DHS, FBI and National Counterterrorism Center are all coordinating and “constantly monitoring the threat environment,” including online chatter where “the intensity has gotten worse,” the official said.
The official said Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah are all looking to take advantage of anger over the events in Gaza and incite violence in the United States.
The DHS is also concerned about the ways the recent events in Gaza and Israel may continue to inspire lone offenders, and they are concerned about the possibility of clashes at protests, the official added.
Gaza at risk for ‘a breeding ground for cholera,’ Oxfam says
Palestinians trapped in Gaza are running out of water, and remaining sources are at major risk of sewage pollution, according to Oxfam, the British charitable organization.
“There is no power, no food and now no water in Gaza,” said Amitabh Behar, interim international director. “It risks becoming a breeding ground for cholera and other diseases. The situation for civilians is already intolerable.”
The charity notes that most of Gaza’s 65 sewage pumping stations have been forced to close, discharging waste into the sea and streets.
Gaza has been cut off from fuel, water and other basic utilities by Israel. Government officials in Israel said they briefly restored water to southern Gaza earlier this week, but the Palestinian Water Authority reported there was no electricity to operate the pumps.
“The chaotic nature of where displaced people are now, and the logistical and political challenges in allowing aid through the borders, gives us grave concern for their future,” Behar said. “This wait-and-see situation becomes a life-or-death situation.”
Biden cautions Israel not to make same ‘mistakes’ U.S. did after 9/11 attacks
In his remarks in Tel Aviv, Biden urged the Israeli government and the country’s citizens not to make the same “mistakes” as the U.S. in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“I caution this while you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it,” Biden said after meeting with Netanyahu. “After 9/11, we were enraged in the U.S. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”
In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a global “war on terror” that include the eight-year U.S. war in Iraq, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and more than 4,000 American service members.
Tensions boil in West Bank as protests erupt over hospital blast
RAMALLAH, West Bank — More clashes here after protests overnight.
Some Palestinians, mostly young men, are gathering and using slingshots to target an Israeli jeep.
It looks like it’s going to escalate, as anger spreads about the explosion at al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, a Christian-run medical complex in central Gaza City, which left hundreds dead.
This is a moment of anger, a moment that Palestinians and Arabs in general are using to rally, to come out on the streets to express their outrage. Some support Hamas, others don’t, but they are coming together to express their rage.
Satellite imagery shows aftermath of hospital blast
New satellite imagery collected today by Maxar Technologies shows the aftermath of the deadly blast at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.
The pictures reveal a “probable discolored blast area in the main parking area of the hospital compound,” said the U.S. defense contractor which is headquartered in Colorado.
Maxar added that the imagery did not show any “significant structural damage” to the buildings surrounding the hospital.
Biden to Israel: ‘We will not let you ever be alone’
Biden expressed solidarity with Israel and Jewish people around the world in remarks after his meeting with Netanyahu, lamenting the loss of life in the country and decrying the Hamas terror attack as “pure unadulterated evil.”
“As long as the United States stands, and we will stand forever, we will not let you ever be alone,” Biden said in Tel Aviv. He added that the Hamas assault left “a deep, deep wound” on Israel and the Jewish diaspora.
Biden invoked the Holocaust, saying that the Oct. 7 attack “brought to the surface painful memories” of the genocide of Jewish people and the antisemitism that has stalked Jews for centuries.
In his remarks, Biden said the U.S. “unequivocally” opposes civilian casualties on both sides of the conflict, adding that he grieved for the families of people killed in Gaza since Israeli forces launched airstrikes in retaliation for the Hamas incursion.
Biden announced $100 million in new U.S. funding for humanitarian assistance in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which he said would support displaced people and emergency needs in the Palestinian enclave. More than 3,400 people have been killed and more than 12,500 have been injured in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
“We believe in the fundamental dignity of every human life,” Biden said.
“The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas,” Biden said. “Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people.” (Hamas was elected to rule Gaza in 2006, though elections have not been held there since. The U.S. government considers Hamas a terrorist organization.)
Israel’s foreign minister says Israel will present evidence on Gaza hospital blast to U.S. Security Council
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Israel will be presenting evidence today on the Ahli hospital explosion at the U.N. Security Council meeting.
“We have concrete evidence that Israel did not attack the al-Ahli hospital,” Cohen said in a recorded video message posted to X.
Israel and Palestinian militants have accused each other of the hospital explosion that Palestinian authorities said killed hundreds of people. NBC News has not been able to enter Gaza and has not verified either side’s claims.
Misfired rocket by Palestinian Islamic Jihad likely caused Gaza hospital blast, U.S. officials say
The U.S. has an independent assessment that it was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad group rocket that misfired and hit the hospital in Gaza, according to two senior U.S. officials.
That would match what Israeli officials have said caused the blast. Palestinian health officials and Hamas have blamed an Israeli airstrike for the explosion, which they said killed almost 500 people.
Biden said earlier, before a meeting with Netanyahu, that the blast appeared to be caused by the “other team.” Asked later what made him confident the Israelis weren’t behind the hospital strike, he said: “The data I was shown by my Defense Department.”
Biden speaks to community leaders in Israel
Biden met with community leaders, first responders and family members with lost or missing loved ones during his visit to Israel and continued to pledge his support for “the vibrance of the state of Israel” and the “security and safety” of the Israeli people.
Palestinian man describes life in Gaza amid constant airstrikes
Mohammad Ghalayini, a Palestinian British air quality expert, described life sheltering with 16 of his family members in Khan Younis more than week into the siege on Gaza, saying life has to go on, but everyone is terrified when someone leaves the house.
In fact, while recording a video diary for NBC News yesterday, he and his younger brother were sheltering in a staircase due to a bombing nearby.
“I hate the fact that he has to be making these calculations about wondering whether he’s safe here when you know like children should not have to think about being safe from bombs,” Ghalayini said of his brother. “Children should be protected from that.”
Biden met with Netanyahu and his war Cabinet during his visit to Tel Aviv today, expressing Washington’s solidarity with Israel, and saying he was “deeply sad and outraged” by a deadly hospital explosion in Gaza.
U.S. imposes new sanctions on Hamas for ‘brutal and unconscionable massacre’
The United States put a new round of economic sanctions on Hamas this morning, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen saying Washington was “taking swift and decisive action to target Hamas’s financiers and facilitators following its brutal and unconscionable massacre of Israeli civilians.”
“We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel,” Yellen said in a statement released by the Treasury Department, which administers and enforces sanctions through the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, took responsibility for the surprise assault in southern Israel on Oct. 7, which killed more than 1,000 people. The U.S. government considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
The group is already heavily sanctioned by the U.S. government. The new sanctions were imposed on 10 “key Hamas terrorist group members, operatives, and financial facilitators in Gaza and elsewhere,” including in Sudan, Turkey, Algeria and Qatar, the Treasury Department said.
The sanctions target people managing assets in what the Treasury Department described as “a secret Hamas investment portfolio, a Qatar-based financial facilitator with close ties to the Iranian regime, a key Hamas commander, and a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange and its operator.”
Thousands across Middle East protest after hospital explosion
AL BIREH, Israel — In Beirut, thousands of protests converged on the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, while in Turkey demonstrators rushed to the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.
They were all reacting to what the Palestinian Health Ministry called a “targeted” Israeli bombing on the Ahli Baptist Hospital in central Gaza, which it said left hundreds of people dead.
Israel said the blast was caused by a misfired rocket from a Palestinian militant group.
Palestinian health minister says 3,478 killed in Gaza; Israeli government says 1,400 killed in Israel
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza have killed 3,478 people and injured another 12,065, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a Facebook post this morning. In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 61 people have been killed and more than 1,250 wounded, the ministry said yesterday.
In Israel, more than 1,400 people have been killed and another 3,500 wounded since the Hamas attack Oct. 7, according to the government’s press office.
The death toll in Israel includes 260 people slaughtered at a music festival and 107 murdered in a small farming community, according to Zaka, a community emergency response service recognized by the Israeli government.
Palestinian Health Ministry says almost 500 people killed in Gaza hospital blast
RAMALLAH, West Bank — The deadly explosion at a Christian-run hospital in central Gaza yesterday killed 471 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Gazan authorities claimed the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike; Israel claimed the blast was caused by a misfired rocket from a Palestinian militant group.
Health Minister Mai Kayla said that more than 3,300 people have been killed across Gaza since Israel started airstrikes following the Hamas terror attacks Oct. 7.
“There is an acute shortage of medicines in the Gaza Strip and a major problem in accessing hospitals,” Kalya said, “and the water outages and deterioration of the sewage system increases the risks of the spread of communicable diseases.”
Analysis: Gaza hospital blast upends U.S. diplomacy
The Gaza hospital blast has upended international politics again, putting U.S. diplomatic efforts at risk.
The United Arab Emirates is a close U.S. ally and signatory to the Abraham Accords that built bridges with Israel. Overnight, the Gulf state strongly condemned what it called the ‘Israeli attack that targeted Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital,’ despite Israel denying responsibility and blaming Palestinian militants.
Today, the UAE has joined Russia and China in supporting a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting on the issue, while the U.N. secretary-general called for an “immediate humanitarian cease-fire” and said Hamas “attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
But it is where he made those comments that may be just as notable: He was speaking in China. Developing countries have gathered at a conference to salute Beijing’s investment around the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin is there and told reporters the hospital bombing is ‘a terrible event’ that he hopes ‘will be a signal that this conflict should be ended as quickly as possible.’
It’s another indication that Russia and China will look to use events in Gaza to further attempt to win over hearts and minds in the Middle East and developing countries.
Meanwhile, the Western push to secure the release of hostages is at the very least on hold. A diplomat with knowledge of the talks told NBC News the hospital blast has ‘made it impossible for Hamas to do anything now even if they’re willing.’
British PM says intel services trying to ‘independently establish the facts’ on Gaza hospital blast
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Parliament today that the country’s intelligence services are “rapidly analyzing the evidence to independently establish the facts” in the deadly blast at a Christian-run hospital in central Gaza, which Palestinian health officials say killed 500 people.
Sunak decried the explosion, telling Parliament that “any loss of innocent life is a dreadful tragedy.” He said the U.K. “should not rush to judgment before we have all the facts on this awful situation.”
Gazan officials have claimed the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike; Israel’s military claimed the blast was caused by a misfired rocket from a Palestinian militant group.
In a post on X this morning, Britain’s foreign secretary said “too many jumped to conclusions” after the explosion. “Wait for the facts, report them clearly and accurately,” James Cleverly said in the post. “Cool heads must prevail.”
Diocese in charge of al-Ahli Hospital says the building was a ‘sanctuary’ during strikes
Before the blast at al-Ahli, Palestinians across Gaza were using the hospital as a sanctuary from the constant barrage of strikes, according to Archbishop Hosam Naoum.
Naoum, who is part of the Diocese of Jerusalem that runs the hospital, said al-Ahli is a complex of seven buildings with a courtyard and church in the center. It was the parking lot that took the brunt of the damage, the archbishop confirmed.
Naoum told a news conference in Jerusalem today that two employees were injured but the rest were busy with patients.
“There were operations taking place while the blast took place,” Naoum said. “So they were in surgeries, and then we had to evacuate all our patients to neighboring hospitals.”
Naoum said that the hospital was hit three days prior in an Israeli airstrikes and the hospital received multiple evacuation notices afterward, but he did not consider the two issues connected. The church administrators could not determine the cause of the blast, Naoum said, noting that the clergymen were not military experts.
The hospital has solar power capabilities, as well as a reserve of fuel and supplies, but Naoum said it was just a matter of days until those supplies are gone.
‘People are dehydrated — especially babies,’ U.N. Palestinian refugee agency warns about Gaza’s water shortages
As water shortages in Gaza are becoming more dire, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) spoke with CNBC about the impact on civilians, as the enclave is in its 10th day of complete blockade by Israel.
Biden joins war Cabinet, says ‘we will continue to have Israel’s back’
Biden reiterated Washington’s support for Israel after meeting with Netanyahu and his war Cabinet.
“We will continue to have Israel’s back,” Biden said, according to a pool report. He added that they were working with partners across the region to prevent more tragedy for civilians.
Biden did not respond when asked about his earlier comment that “the other team” appeared to be responsible for the deadly blast at the Gaza hospital.
Netanyahu, who spoke before Biden, said that blame for the hospital explosion should be placed on Palestinian militants. Gaza health officials and Hamas blame Israel. NBC News has not been able to enter Gaza and has not verified either side’s claims.
Protesters in Iran burn Israeli flags after Gaza hospital blast
Protesters in the Iranian capital, Tehran, chanted “death to Israel” and burned Israeli flags last night after a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital was estimated to have killed hundreds.
Death toll in Gaza reaches more than 3,300 as humanitarian crisis grows
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Health authorities in Gaza said the death toll in Gaza reached more than 3,300 today, amid what they said was a “severe shortage” of medicine in the enclave that has been under Israel’s complete blockade for 10 days.
Health Minister Dr. May Al-Qila said there was a major problem in access to hospitals, exacerbated by water cuts and deterioration of the sewage system that are increasing the risk of an outbreak of communicable diseases.
International organizations have been warning for days that Gaza’s health system is on the brink of collapse, unable to cope with the number of people needing medical help.
Pope Francis deplores ‘desperate’ situation in Gaza
Pope Francis deplored the “desperate” situation in Gaza today as he urged the faithful to take “only one side” in the Israel-Hamas conflict, the side “of peace.”
Speaking during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, Francis did not mention the deadly Gaza hospital blast, for which Israelis and Palestinians are blaming each other.
“War does not solve any problem, it only sows death and destruction, increases hatred, multiplies revenge. War erases the future,” he said.
Palestinians march through Ramallah following hospital blast
Palestinians in the West Bank marched in anger through Ramallah last night following the deadly blast at the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza.
Groups expressed discontent at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was due to hold a meeting in Jordan today with Biden, but the meeting was canceled after the blast. The apparent displeasure over his leadership culminated in chants for the end of his presidency.
Daytime images reveal extent of Gaza hospital blast
Damaged vehicles sit in front of the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City today after an explosion last night. A woman cries while holding a pillow, surrounded by debris as she stands close to where the blast struck.
Israeli military outlines case that militants’ misfired rocket caused deadly hospital explosion
The Israeli military held a briefing this morning to outline its case that the deadly hospital blast was a misfired rocket from a Palestinian militant group — a claim disputed by Gaza health officials and Hamas.
Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari told the news media that a rocket was misfired from a nearby cemetery in Gaza at 6:59 p.m. local time (11:59 a.m. ET) and eventually hit the hospital accidentally. The hospital itself was not struck but the hospital’s parking lot was, he said.
“This professional review was based on intelligence, operational systems, and aerial footage, all of which we cross-checked,” Hagari said. The Israeli military put forward audio and drone video it said supported its claims, which NBC News has not verified. NBC News has not been able to enter Gaza.
Palestinian health officials and Hamas blamed Israel for the hospital blast.
“The occupation is directly responsible for the Baptist Hospital massacre, and its blatant lies will not deceive anyone,” Hamas said in a new press statement this morning.
Five brothers all preparing for war in Israeli military
KFAR AZA, Israel — A band of five brothers are all combat soldiers for Israel and preparing for war. NBC News’ Raf Sanchez was on the ground in Israel and shares the story of their family.
What are big European powers, Russia saying about the Gaza hospital blast?
Top European leaders condemned what they called an attack on the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in central Gaza, urging for responsibility to be established but stopping short of directly assigning blame. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has asked Israel to provide evidence it was not involved in the blast.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on X that “nothing can justify striking a hospital,” adding that “all the light must be shed on the circumstances.”
Germany’s Olaf Scholz said he was “horrified” by the images of the explosion, and that it was important that this incident is investigated “very carefully.”
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called the hospital blast “a devastating loss of human life,” and said the United Kingdom will work with its allies “to find out what has happened.” He later added that “too many jumped to conclusions around the tragic loss of life at Al Ahli hospital” and urged to “wait for the facts.”
Meanwhile, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson called on Israel to provide satellite images to prove it was not involved in the hospital blast, calling what happened “a crime and an act of dehumanization,” according to state news agency Ria.
Speaking on his visit to China today, President Vladimir Putin, who is fighting his own war in Ukraine, called what he said was a strike on the hospital “a catastrophe,” adding that he hoped that this would be “a signal” that this conflict should be ended as quickly as possible.
Molotov cocktails thrown at Berlin synagogue
Two hooded men threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in central Berlin early this morning, police said, adding that they had arrested a man who shouted antisemitic slogans while they were investigating.
Security has been stepped up around Jewish institutions in Germany since Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel and resulting Israeli airstrikes inflamed opinion in the country’s Arab-speaking and Jewish communities.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz voiced outrage today at the Molotov attack.
“I want to expressly say that I am outraged,” he said during a visit to Egypt. “It outrages me personally what some are shouting and doing.”
Gaza taps are running dry as water shortage reaches crisis point
The taps in the besieged Gaza Strip are running dry, and residents are scrambling to save every last drop of water as the shortage reaches a crisis point.
Dunia Aburahma said her family has rationed supplies, allowing her only a quart of drinking water per day.
“I haven’t taken a shower for four days now,” said Aburahma, 22, an architecture student who fled northern Gaza with her family last week ahead of Israel’s threatened ground invasion and is now living with relatives in Zawaida in central Gaza.
At the heart of the water supply issue is the lack of fuel and electricity, which powers water pumps to treatment centers. Only about 10% of Gaza’s water comes from Israel; most of what residents drink is drilled locally, and it then needs to be treated to remove salt and contamination, said Elai Rettig, an assistant professor at Bar-Ilan University who studies environmental policy.
Read the full story here.
‘We saw martyrs everywhere, in hundreds,’ eyewitnesses describe the hospital explosion
A bright flash is what Muhammed Al-Turk saw when he looked at the sky before a missile strike that he said killed two of his friends and injured many more at the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza.
“When we looked up, a missile fell,” he told NBC News.
At the hospital, corpses of children, women and elderly people were at every turn. “I was unable to stand on my feet from the horror of the scene,” said Abu Fulla Mohammed, who was looking for his family and had rushed to the hospital.
“When I arrived at the site of the explosion, it was as if I was in a scene from the day of resurrection, with fires everywhere, and there were explosions that we did not know exactly what they were, and burning cars,” he added.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said 200 to 300 people were killed at the hospital — NBC News has been unable to independently verify this figure.
Surgeon describes courtyard full of bodies and limbs at the al-Ahli Hospital
Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah had been performing surgeries all night yesterday. Suddenly, he heard a large explosion and “parts of the ceiling of the operating room fell.”
“When I got to the emergency department, there were wounded in the hundreds. Some had amputated limbs, some had very severe injuries,” the plastic surgeon with Doctors Without Borders said at the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza.
He began treating a patient who had shrapnel in his neck, escorting him to the ambulance for further treatment at the Al Shifa Hospital through the courtyard.
“You could see bodies all over the courtyard and amputated parts of bodies all over the courtyard,” he said.
Protests erupt in Middle East over hospital blast
Anger and unrest spread across the Middle East overnight after the deadly blast at al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza yesterday and more than a week of siege on the strip.
Hundreds of civilians took to the streets in Beirut, Amman, Tehran, Turkey and in the West Bank to show support for Palestinians in Gaza. Reuters reported that tear gas was deployed outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
Though the protests spread across countries and languages, many of the protesters carried Palestinian flags and chanted anti-Israel sentiment.
The Palestinian Health Ministry first placed blame on the hospital blast on an Israeli airstrike, but Israel denied the claim and said the incident was sparked by a rocket misfire from a Palestinian militant group.
Biden praises ‘stunning’ bravery of Israelis, says Hamas doesn’t represent Palestinian people
Biden addressed the people of Israel, praising their courage, during his press remarks alongside Netanyahu on his visit to Israel today.
“I want to say to the people of Israel: Their courage, their commitment, their bravery is stunning. Really stunning. I am proud to be here,” he said.
Biden said he was looking forward to having a discussion about “where everybody goes from here,” and called for “life-saving capacity” to help innocent Palestinians “caught in the middle of this” as he said Hamas does not represent all the Palestinian people.
Searching through the rubble in Rafah
Palestinians look for survivors in the rubble of their destroyed homes following an Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, today.
Biden comments on Gaza hospital blast before Netanyahu meeting
Biden sad he was “deeply sad and outraged” by the deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital yesterday as he spoke alongside Netanyahu ahead of a meeting in Israel.
“And based on what I’ve seen it appears as though it was done by the other team — not you,” Biden said. “But there’s a lot of people out there who are not sure, so we’ve got to overcome a lot of things,” he added.
Biden did not specify what exactly he has seen to be able to draw that conclusion, and did not provide any supporting evidence to the press.
Palestinian health officials and Hamas have accused Israel of deliberately bombing the hospital. Israel has denied responsibility and blamed a stray rocket from Palestinian militants.
How the hospital bombing made Biden’s task even harder
TEL AVIV — The task facing Biden as he arrives in Israel is far more difficult than when he announced the trip just a day earlier.
“In the battle of narratives, the truth becomes secondary,” said Yossi Mekelberg, an associate fellow at the London think tank Chatham House. The hospital explosion makes Biden’s task “much more complex and difficult,” he said, “especially because everyone is behaving according to their preconceived narratives.”
Before the hospital blast, there were signs that the American diplomatic effort might be getting somewhere, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken shuttling back and forth between Israel and its Arab neighbors, urging restraint and seemingly stalling an expected ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.
Israelis hopeful for support and ‘good advice’ from Biden
ASHDOD — As Biden landed in Tel Aviv this morning, Israelis across the country were watching to see what the president would say during his brief visit to show U.S. solidarity with Israel, ahead of its expected ground invasion into Gaza.
While the streets in Ashdod are eerily quiet, the very few people who have emerged from their homes all say they’re aware of Biden’s visit — and are hopeful for his support in Israel’s war against Hamas.
Guy Dabush, 31, said he hoped the president would give Israel “good advice” — and he said he hoped that advice would be to “attack Gaza.”
Another man working out at an outdoor exercise area nearby also wanted to weigh in, saying he wanted Biden to “support us.”
Both men said the streets were so empty because people were afraid. “If a rocket comes now, we die,” Dabush said. “We need to run away.”
Biden and Netanyahu hug on the tarmac in Tel Aviv
Biden is greeted by Netanyahu after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv today.
Israel’s young military conscripts busy with the demands of war
TEL AVIV — Amid Tel Aviv’s anxious calm, the Camp Rabin downtown military headquarters is an island of activity.
Under the imposing Matcal Tower, a cylindrical structure surrounded by an arch-shaped building of steel and glass, Israelis in olive green military fatigues come and go through the gates guarded by units dressed in black and armed with automatic rifles. Media were invited here for a briefing on last night’s hospital explosion.
One of their number explains that these are mainly desk-based personnel; most of the soldiers who would be involved in a ground offensive are already at the front line.
“Have you been to the south?” she asks, referencing the region where hundreds of her colleagues were killed during a surprise raid by Hamas. “I wouldn’t want to go down there.”
Israel’s conscription law, under which most people over the age of 18 must serve more than two years in the military, means there are many people here who wouldn’t strike you as typical service members.
There are subtle variations in uniform: some wear their pants baggy, others are all neatly pressed lines. A few wear fashionable wire frame glasses. One carries a Zara shopping bag. Almost all are young.
Biden lands in Israel for high-stakes trip
Biden has landed in Tel Aviv for a brief but crucial trip meant to demonstrate U.S. solidarity with Israel ahead of an expected ground assault against Hamas and concerns about humanitarian aid in Gaza.
Biden’s visit will include a bilateral meeting with Netanyahu, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters. Biden plans to deliver public remarks, Kirby said, and he’ll also meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, as well as first responders, families who lost loved ones in the attack and families whose relatives Hamas may be holding hostage in Gaza.
On his way back to the U.S., Biden is expected to speak with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in discussions likely to focus on a path forward in Gaza as Israeli military leaders consider next steps and Palestinian civilians call for humanitarian aid. Biden initially planned to meet with Arab leaders at a summit hosted by Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, but the event was canceled following the deadly Gaza hospital blast.
Read the full story here.
U.N. Security Council to vote today on Israel-Gaza conflict, discuss Gaza hospital blast
The United Nations Security Council will vote today on a Brazilian-drafted resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the conflict between Israel and Hamas to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.
The council is then expected to discuss — at the request of the United Arab Emirates and Russia — a Gaza hospital blast yesterday, diplomats said.
U.N. chief ‘horrified’ by deaths at al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres spoke at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war today and condemned the explosion at a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of people.
Blinken expresses ‘profound condolences’ over hospital blast in call with Abbas
Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “profound condolences” for the civilian lives lost in the explosion at the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza late yesterday in a phone call with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to a State Department spokesperson.
Blinken and Abbas discussed “the continuing U.S. support for the Palestinian people” and provision of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, according to spokesperson Matthew Miller.
Daylight aftermath of Gaza hospital blast
Scorched vehicles sit outside the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in central Gaza this morning, following an explosion at the facility late yesterday.
Israeli troops prepare for possible two-front war
TEL AVIV — While Israel and Hamas fight near Gaza in the south, Hezbollah is launching missiles from Lebanon along the northern border. And Israeli troops are preparing for the possibility of a simultaneous war along both borders.
Violent protests erupt outside U.S. Embassy in Beirut
Lebanese people gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut into the early hours of today, after the blast at Gaza’s al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.
Biden set to arrive in Israel after Jordan summit canceled
Biden is expected to arrive in Israel today to demonstrate steadfast support and consult with the Israeli government.
But he arrives in the wake of the deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital, which has left the Middle East at perhaps its most tense in 11 days of war between Israel and Hamas.
Biden said in a statement that he was “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.”
He had planned to travel to Amman for talks with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority that were set to focus on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but the meeting has been canceled after the hospital explosion.
Catch up with NBC News’ coverage of the Israel-Hamas war
Here are just some of the articles we’ve published on the conflict in the last 24 hours.