UNITED STATES NEWS

Live updates | Israel’s Netanyahu says offensive against Hamas will ‘reverberate’ for generations

Oct 7, 2023, 3:28 AM | Updated: Oct 9, 2023, 7:12 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Monday that Israel’s fierce offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has “only started.”

Netanyahu delivered the pronouncement in a nationally televised address as Israel pressed ahead with a third day of heavy airstrikes in Gaza following Hamas’ unprecedented and deadly incursion into Israel.

“We have only started striking Hamas,” he said. “What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”

Israel formally declared war on Sunday. The hostilities so far have killed around 900 people in Israel and more than 680 people in Gaza, according to authorities on each side.

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

The Israeli military said early Tuesday that it struck two tunnels used by Hamas militants to enter Israeli territory.

The news came a day after 70 militants infiltrated the Be’eri kibbutz Monday night. The small farming community has been a flashpoint of the conflict — the scene of a hostage standoff during the attack.

Authorities did not immediately provide more information on the location of the tunnels.

The militant group has used tunnels in the past. It has an established a network running from Gaza to Egypt to smuggle in weapons, as well as attack tunnels burrowing into Israel.

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 Monday.

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.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER AT SYNAGOGUE TO SUPPORT ISRAEL

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined a large crowd gathered for prayer at a London synagogue on Monday to underline his solidarity with Israel.

Addressing the congregation at Finchley United Synagogue in north London, Sunak condemned Hamas’ bloody incursion into Israel on Saturday as “evil.”

“There are not two sides to these events. There is no question of balance. I stand with Israel,” he said. “The United Kingdom stands with Israel against this terrorism today, tomorrow and always.”

He also sought to assure Britain’s Jewish community that he will do everything to protect them amid concerns about the rise of antisemitism.

HUNDREDS OF RIVAL PROTESTERS HOLD RALLIES IN US, EUROPE

Thousands of pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters held vocal but peaceful gatherings Monday, at a historic French plaza and outside Israeli embassies in London and Athens, Greece.

Several thousand people rallied in Paris in support of Israel, marching to the Trocadero Plaza overlooking the Eiffel Tower. The monument was lit up in the colors of the Israeli flag, with a white Star of David in the middle, in a gesture of solidarity announced by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

In Athens, an estimated 250 people, mostly Palestinian expatriates and members of Greek left-wing groups, held a peaceful protest outside the Israeli embassy to show solidarity with Palestinians. Protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans, while a strong police contingent blocked off access to the embassy building.

In London, hundreds chanted “Israel is a terrorist state” and “Free Palestine” and some waved signs calling for Israel to “end the occupation.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., supporters of Israel and of the Palestinians held competing rallies in several cities, including in New York, where rival protesters shouted at each other near U.N. headquarters amid a massive police presence.

EUROPEAN UNION REVERSES SUSPENSION OF AID TO PALESTINIAN AUTHORITIES

The European Union late Monday reversed an earlier announcement by an EU commissioner that the bloc was immediately suspending aid for Palestinian authorities and instead said it would urgently review such assistance in the wake of the attacks on Israel by Hamas.

“There will be no suspension of payments” at the moment, a terse European Commission statement said late Monday, five hours after EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi had said that all payments from the development program for Palestinians would be immediately suspended.

No immediate explanation for the reversal was given. The reversal on a 691 million-euro ($730 million) program capped an embarrassing day at the EU’s executive at a time of extreme geopolitical sensitivities.

MORE THAN 680 PEOPLE KILLED IN GAZA, HEALTH MINISTRY SAYS

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.

UN SAYS EFFORTS UNDERWAY TO PREVENT CONFLICT FROM SPREADING

The United Nations says intense diplomatic activity is taking place aimed at ensuring that regional and international leaders are on the same page in trying to prevent the conflict between Israel and Hamas from spreading.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters Monday that he and U.N. Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland are engaging with key parties in the region.

Guterres has spoken to Israel’s president and Jordan’s king and expects to talk to the Palestinian president, Israel’s prime minister, Egypt’s president and Lebanon’s prime minister, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. Wennesland has been in touch with his counterparts from the United States, European Union, Qatar, Lebanon and others.

MORE THAN 100 BODIES FOUND IN FARMING COMMUNITY, ISRAEL 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. Be’eri, a kibbutz, had a population of about 1,000 people before the attack.

CHEVRON TO STOP PRODUCTION IN MEDITERRANEAN OFF ISRAEL COAST

American oil giant Chevron Corp. said Monday that at Israel’s instruction it had stopped production at its offshore Tamar natural gas rig in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel.

In a statement announcing the action, the company declined to discuss any security issues and didn’t say why Israel ordered it.

The Tamar field, which went online in 2013, is believed to hold more than 300 billion cubic meters of gas. Chevron and the Israeli-American company Isramco each own around a third of Tamar, with the remainder held by smaller firms.

There have been threats previously against Israel’s offshore oil rigs by militant groups in the region and Lebanon has disputed Israel’s maritime boundaries.

The ongoing fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip has sparked a jump in crude oil prices, in part over a fear of a wider regional conflict breaking out. Israel and the Palestinian territories don’t produce oil. Benchmark Brent crude traded up Monday to over $87 a barrel.

HEZBOLLAH SAYS ONLY 3 MEMBERS KILLED IN CONFLICT

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says only three of its members were killed along the border with Israel during an exchange of fire Monday.

Earlier Monday, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group had said that five members were killed during Israeli shelling in southern Lebanon.

Also Monday, the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said in a statement that it sent four gunmen across Lebanon’s border into Israel as part of the Hamas-led attack that started over the weekend. Israeli Defense Forces reported that its troops shot and killed several gunmen who crossed into the country from Lebanon.

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.

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.

TURKEY’S LEADER HOLDS CALLS WITH PALESTINIAN, 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.

ARAB LEAGUE SCHEDULES MEETING AT REQUEST OF PALESTINIANS

Arab foreign ministers plan to convene Wednesday in Cairo for a meeting on the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant groups in Gaza.

Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki said the ministers would discuss Arab efforts to “stop the Israeli aggression” on Gaza.

The meeting was called by the Palestinians.

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This story has been updated to correct the day of the week U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed at least 11 U.S. citizens have been killed in the surprise Hamas attacks. He said so Monday, not Wednesday.

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Live updates | Israel’s Netanyahu says offensive against Hamas will ‘reverberate’ for generations