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Pressure mounts to scale back war as Gaza death toll nears 20,000

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is today in Israel, where he said the U.S. remains steadfast in its belief that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas.

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What we know

  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is today in Tel Aviv, where he held a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
  • Austin said the U.S. remains steadfast in its belief that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas, but is also looking to ensure the future stability of the region for both Palestinians and Israelis.
  • CIA Director William Burns is also meeting with Israeli and Qatari officials today in the Polish capital, Warsaw, to discuss the hostage situation and a potential humanitarian pause, a U.S. official told NBC News.
  • There is mounting outrage inside Israel after it emerged that the country's military mistakenly killed three hostages in Gaza. The shooting deaths of two women taking refuge in a Catholic church after the Israeli military stormed the compound have also been widely condemned.
  • Close to 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, with 70% of them women and children, according to the territory's health officials. The vast majority of Gaza’s 2.2 million people are displaced, and an estimated half face starvation, according to human rights advocates and aid groups.
  • Israeli military officials say 118 soldiers have been killed during the country's ground invasion in Gaza, which came after 1,200 people were killed and about 240 hostages were seized by Hamas on Oct. 7.
  • NBC News’ Richard Engel, Raf Sanchez, Hala Gorani, Hallie Jackson, Ali Arouzi and Chantal Da Silva are reporting from the region.

Israel ‘murdered my son twice,’ says father of Israeli hostage mistakenly killed by IDF

NBC News Correspondent Hallie Jackson speaks with the families of two Israeli hostages who were mistakenly killed by the Israel Defense Forces during fighting in Gaza.

Avi Shamriz, the father of hostage Alon Shamriz, says the Israeli government is “only thinking of themselves” and “not thinking about the hostages.”

IDF vows to bring home hostages shown in Hamas video

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari described a new video showing three elderly Israel men in Hamas captivity as evidence of the group's cruelty in its treatment of innocent hostages.

Hamas' military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, released a video Monday showing the three men, one of whom identified himself as 79-year-old Chaim Peri. The other two men have been identified as Amiram Cooper, 85, and Yoram Metzger, 80.

It was not immediately clear when the video was filmed.

“Chaim, Yoram and Amiram — I hope you can hear me tonight," Hagari said in a statement. "You know, we are doing everything — everything — to get you back safely. Some of your family members are already at home, and we will not rest until you return as well.”

Kibbutz Nir Oz, the village where all three men reside, said in a statement that while any sign of life from the hostages is appreciated, "time is running out."

"The immediate release of all those abducted, through any potential negotiation avenue, is urgently required," the statement said. "Each passing day exacerbates their situation."

Fears mount for Gaza’s tiny Christian community after mother and daughter shot dead

Nahida Boulos Anton and her daughter Samar Antoun were shot dead by an Israeli sniper at the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Gaza on Dec. 16, 2023.
Nahida Boulos Anton and her daughter Samar Antoun were killed at the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Gaza on Dec. 16, 2023.Photo via X

TEL AVIV — The fatal shooting of a mother and daughter in Gaza’s only Catholic church over the weekend highlights the pressure Christians in the enclave are under, with fears mounting that their tiny population could be wiped out during the war. 

In the weeks since Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, many members of the enclave’s ancient Christian community of some 1,000 sought refuge in two church complexes in the north: the St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church and the nearby Catholic Holy Family Church.

On Saturday, a mother and her adult daughter were shot dead while walking inside the grounds of the Holy Family Church, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Catholic regional body whose territory formally includes Cyprus, Jordan, Israel and Palestinian territories, said in a statement.

“They were shot in cold blood,” the patriarchate said of Nahida Anton and her daughter, Samar Anton, blaming an Israel Defense Forces sniper. “One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety,” while at least seven others were shot and wounded as they tried to “protect others inside the church compound,” it said. 

Read the full story here.

White House continues to work on hostage negotiations, but nothing 'imminent

President Joe Biden's administration is hopeful that ongoing discussions toward another potential hostage deal will prove fruitful though matters appear to be at a standstill currently, according to White House spoksesperson John Kirby.

"We continue to work really hard to try to get another deal in place, which would of course be accompanied by another humanitarian pause, and some hopefully some additional humanitarian assistance but we are I can't say that we are at a point where another deal is imminent," Kirby told reporters today.

Kirby also spoke about the three Israeli hostages who were killed by the IDF after being mistaken for combatants, calling it a "traumatic event" that requires review. Israel's military must conduct a review to see whether this was a systemic problem with its rules of engagement, a fog of war issue, or an individual misunderstanding, he added.

The White House has also expressed concern, Kirby said, about reports that a mother and daughter were killed in Gaza while sheltering at a Catholic church that was reportedly surrounded by IDF snipers.

“As I’ve said before, every civilian death is a tragedy," Kirby said. "We’ve been very clear that we believe every effort possible must be made to prevent civilian casualties."

WHO mission confirms girl killed in Nasser Hospital hit, 2 other children injured

A World Health Organization team confirmed the death of a young girl in a hit at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis last night, according Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"A WHO, @UNOCHA and @UNDSS team, on a mission to Nasser Hospital in south Gaza today, found deeply concerning conditions following attacks on Sunday which left a young female patient dead in the pediatric unit, and injured two more children," Tedros said in a post on X.

Gaza's Ministry of Health said that Dina Abu Mohsen, a child who was recovering from an amputation, was killed after an Israeli artillery shell hit the hospital's maternity ward. NBC News has not been able to independently verify the ministry's statement.

The IDF said that upon receiving reports about damage, an initial review was carried out. “At this stage, it is not possible to determine with certainty what was the source of the damage to the hospital,” it said in a statement.

Tedros said that the conditions at the hospital have drastically deteriorated since the organization's visit Dec. 7 with 1,000 patients and 4,000 internally displaced people sheltering there.

"Health workers told WHO colleagues they fear for their lives and are not sure how long they can remain safely at Nasser," Tedros said.

KIRYAT SHMONA, Israel — The IDF released new footage showing an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon aimed at Hezbollah.

Residents in northern Israel say they are already feeling the effects of the Israel-Hamas war and are fearful things could get worse.

One resident said he wants “peace, prosperity” and to “keep the Hezbollah away.”

Family of Red Crescent paramedic dies in Jabalia bombardment, organization says

The family of a volunteer paramedic in Gaza died in an Israeli bombardment on Jabalia, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said in a post on X today.

The organization called Ahmed Abu Foul, who has been volunteering for 17 years, an "icon of humanitarian work." His parents, wife, children, siblings, and uncles were killed in their home during the bombardment, according to PRCS.

Videos appear to show aftermath of hit on Khan Younis hospital that reportedly killed girl

Videos posted to social media last night appear to show the chaos following a shell hitting the Nasser Hospital's maternity ward in Khan Younis.

According to a statement from Gaza's Ministry of Health, an Israeli artillery shell hit the hospital but did not explode. Dina Abu Mohsen, a child recovering from an amputation, was killed in the strike, said Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, a ministry spokesperson.

NBC News is not able to verify the ministry's statement to confirm the source of the strike. The IDF said that upon receiving reports about damage, an initial review was carried out. "At this stage, it is not possible to determine with certainty what was the source of the damage to the hospital," it said in a statement.

NBC News was able to verify that two videos posted to Instagram were filmed in Nasser Hospital, though they appear to have been edited. Large groups of people can be heard screaming and crying as they run for safety in one video that was posted by Al Jazeera journalist Hamdan Dahdouh.

The video contains graphic images of bloodied Palestinians, including children and an elderly woman, a group of men kicking down a door to help injured people into another room, and a crowd gathering as medics wrap a child in a blanket before moving him out to get help.

A gaping hole in the hospital's wall can be seen in Dahdouh's video as well as the second video verified by NBC News, posted by Saleh Ajafarawi.

Ajafarawi can be seen filming in the same room as Dahdouh from a different vantage point, identifying the location as Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. At one point in the video, a small boy is held back by adults as he cries, "My grandmother is inside, my grandmother is inside!"

NBC News was able to geolocate another video Ajafarawi posted to his Instagram story, which showed the exterior of Nasser Hospital after it was allegedly struck.

Neither Ajafarawi nor Dahdouh was immediately available for comment to NBC News.

Dina Abu Mohsen had previously survived a strike that killed her father, mother and two siblings but lost her leg in the incident, according to Al-Qudra's statement. She dreamed of being a doctor, the statement said, a wish her parents had for her.

Alec Baldwin in verbal altercation with pro-Palestinian demonstrators

Actor Alec Baldwin was seen being escorted by New York City police officers after he appeared to be involved in a verbal altercation with a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had initially gathered at Manhattan's Grand Central Station and were marching downtown.

Footage captured by NBC New York showed Baldwin approaching an NYPD officer and shaking his hand before someone asks, "Are you pro-Israel?" It's unclear if Baldwin said something to prompt the question, but one person states he's at a Palestinian event, to which Baldwin responds, "But I'm talking privately."

Baldwin is then asked by someone whether he condemns Israel for its assault on civilians and children.

"You've already made up your mind ... every question you've got, right?" Baldwin responds. "You ask stupid questions. Ask me a smart question."

The protester yells for Baldwin to "go f--- yourself" and someone, it's unclear who, yells "shut the f--- up" as Baldwin is escorted away by police.

A representative for Baldwin did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the NYPD did not immediately have a statement.

Father of 26-year-old hostage killed by Israeli forces rebukes Netanyahu

Friend and family mourn during Alon Shamriz' funeral.
Avi Shamriz, second right, at his son Alon's funeral near Tel Aviv on Dec. 17, 2023.Oren Ziv / AFP - Getty Images

The father of one of the three Israeli hostages mistakenly killed by Israeli forces has an unambiguous message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

“I’m going to say this [to] the government. You murdered my son twice,” Avi Shamriz said Monday. “You let Hamas take my son on Oct. 7, and you killed my son on Dec. 14.”

Israeli military forces accidentally shot and killed Shamriz’s 26-year-old son, Alon, during intense fighting with Hamas militants on Friday, nearly 70 days after he was kidnapped.

The troops also mistakenly killed two other hostages, identified by the military as Yotam Haim and Samer Talalka.

Read the full story here.

Celebrities Scooter Braun and actor Michael Rapaport visit Israel

TEL AVIV — Actor Michael Rapaport was visiting Israeli soldiers at the Sheba Medical Center when he connected with a fellow New Yorker who has been serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

Aaron, a 33-year-old Israeli American from Long Island, was recovering from being shot in the leg by Hamas and ran into Rapaport in the hall, where the two men bonded over their love of the New York Knicks. Rapaport, who is known for his political social media commentary, told NBC News he’s "learned a lot" from his trip.

“You know, I think there should be way more famous people here besides myself,” he said.

Talent manager Scooter Braun was also in Israel with his father and brother, according to his verified Instagram account. Braun posted photos and videos from a tour he took at kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the hardest hit by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

“There are no words for today’s experience and the pain of this region,” Braun captioned one photo in his Instagram story.

Here’s how the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea threaten the global supply chain

A vessel travels on Egypt's Suez Canal in 2022.
A vessel travels on Egypt's Suez Canal in 2022. Ahmed Gomaa / Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images file

Attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militants on ships in the Red Sea have already rocked global trade. And there could be more disruptions, and price increases, in store for shipments of goods and fuel.

Several major shipping lines and oil transporters have suspended their services through the Red Sea as more than a dozen vessels have come under attack since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in early October.

Now the shipping industry — and the world — are waiting to see how the United States will respond. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to weigh in Tuesday with more specifics on the American strategy, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Monday.

MSC, Maersk, Hapag Lloyd, CMA CGM, Yang Ming Marine Transport and Evergreen have all said they will be diverting all scheduled journeys immediately to secure the safety of their seafarers and vessels. Collectively, these ocean carriers represent around 60% of global trade.

Read the full story here.

IDF says it's 'closer today to war' with Hezbollah as attacks increase at border

Israel's military has been directed to "enhance readiness" to defend citizens as it says that Hezbollah is increasing its attacks at the country's border with Lebanon, according to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.

He described both Hezbollah’s attacks and the attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Seas as an “Iranian aggression” using regional proxies to escalate attacks on Israel.

There are also concerns, Conricus said, that Hezbollah might be planning a "full out war against Israel." Conricus did not provide evidence for the claim, citing concerns over intelligence assessments, but noted Hezbollah's weaponry and other military capabilities.

"We are closer today to war than we were yesterday," Conricus said during a briefing.

Democratic lawmakers who served in uniform and in the CIA urge Biden to push Israel to change course in Gaza

A number of Democratic lawmakers who served in the military and in the CIA say Israel’s tactics in the Gaza Strip are endangering efforts to defeat Hamas militants and called on President Joe Biden to use “all our leverage” to secure an immediate shift in Israel’s approach.

In a letter sent Monday to Biden, the House members said they were “deeply concerned” by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current military strategy in Gaza.

Residents search the rubble following an Israeli strike on the house belonging to Kistan family at the Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, on Dec. 18, 2023.
Residents search the rubble following an Israeli strike on the house belonging to Kistan family at the Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, on Dec. 18.Ashraf Amra / Anadolu via Getty Images

“The mounting civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis are unacceptable and not in line with American interests; nor do they advance the cause of security for our ally, Israel,” the group wrote.

“We also believe it jeopardizes efforts to destroy the terrorist organization Hamas and secure the release of all hostages,” the letter said.

Read the full story here.

French Foreign Ministry staffer killed in Rafah bombing

PARIS — An employee for France's Foreign Ministry died after being injured in an Israeli bombing of a home in Rafah, southern Gaza, that killed 10 others last week, according to a statement from the ministry.

"He had taken refuge in the house of one of his colleagues from the French Consulate General, together with two other colleagues and many members of their families, among others," the statement said.

The employee was not identified by name, but the statement said he had been working for the country since 2022. The ministry extended its condolences to the family, adding, "We all mourn their loss." His family members were able to leave Gaza during evacuations under arrangements made by the ministry.

"France condemns this bombing of a residential building which killed many other civilians," the ministry said. "We demand that the Israeli authorities shed full light on the circumstances of this bombing as quickly as possible."

Hamas says Gaza attacks must stop before any hostage negotiations

Hamas leaders said today during a news conference in Beirut that they will not negotiate hostage releases until Israel stops its attacks on Gaza.

But Hamas official Osama Hamdan also said the group was "open" to initiatives that come from Qatar and Egypt that are aimed at ending the war.

He accused Israel of wanting to make Gaza uninhabitable, but that Israel has failed because people remain, saying "an illusion of displacement is derived from the culture built by the occupying state."

The United Nations estimates 80% of the civilian population has been internally displaced and that at least half are starving.

Men warm up around a fire outside one of the tents housing displaced Palestinians in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Dec. 18, 2023.
Men warm up around a fire Monday outside one of the tents housing displaced Palestinians in Rafah, southern Gaza.Mahmud Hams / AFP - Getty Images

'We need to learn our lessons': IDF on mistakenly killing 3 hostages

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said on MSNBC that the Israel Defense Forces have “a lot to learn” after becoming known that soldiers mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages who were reportedly screaming and holding a white flag.

"We do not shoot people with white flags … Even if they are people from Gaza," he said. "Even if they are Hamas terrorists that would have laid down their weapons and surrendered.”

Austin discusses pathways for both Israelis and Palestinians following war

The U.S. remains steadfast in its belief that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas, Austin said today, but it is also looking to ensure the future stability for both Palestinians and Israelis in the region.

"I discussed pathways today toward a future for Gaza after Hamas based upon the clear principles laid down last month by my friend, Secretary Blinken, Israelis and Palestinians both deserve a horizon of hope," Austin said during a a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The four-star general said that he reiterated the need to protect innocent Palestinian lives in both Gaza and the occupied West Bank, noting the uptick in settler violence against Palestinians. Austin said that the "ongoing instability and insecurity" only help Hamas, which it said committed an act of "pure evil" on Oct. 7.

"Hamas does not speak for the Palestinian people," Austin said. "And Hamas is determined to doom both Israelis and Palestinians to an unending cycle of suffering and strife."

201 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza yesterday, Israel says

More than 200 trucks of humanitarian aid were inspected and entered the Gaza Strip yesterday, Israel’s government spokesperson Tal Heinrich said.

Heinrich said in a daily briefing today that 122 trucks entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing and 79 trucks through the Kerem Shalom crossing that began operating yesterday.

He added that Israel could inspect more trucks in a day and it is international aid organizations and the U.N. “who should keep up with the pace.”

Yemen's Houthi rebels claim attacks on 2 ships in Red Sea

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for attacks on two ships, the Swan Atlantic and the MSC Clara, in the Red Sea, saying in a statement on Telegram that the vessels were targeted by seaplanes.

The owner of Swan Atlantic had told NBC News earlier that the ship had sustained “limited damage,” but that no injuries were reported and that the U.S. Navy had assisted the vessel.

The Iran-backed militia said it will “continue to prevent all ships heading to Israeli ports of any nationality from navigating in the Arabian and Red Seas until they bring in the food and medicine that our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip need.”

IDF announces deaths of five soldiers

Four soldiers were killed in combat in southern Gaza today, the IDF said in a statement on X. It later released the name of another soldier killed yesterday in northern Gaza.

Sgt. Maj. Lidor Yosef Karavani, 23, was among the dead, along with Urija Bayer, 20; Liav Aloush, 21; Etan Naeh, 26; Tal Filiba, 23, the post said.

“The IDF expresses its deepest condolences to the families and will continue to stand by them,” it added.

Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a photo released Dec. 18, 2023.
Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip in a photo released today.Israeli army via AFP - Getty Images

More than 100 people killed in the Jabalia refugee camp, Palestinian officials say

More than 100 people have been killed and dozens more were injured by strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp, the Palestinian Information Ministry said in a Telegram post today, citing medical sources.

“Dozens of citizens, including children and women were martyred and injured since dawn on Monday” the statement said, adding that the war had killed about 19,000 people.

The ministry added that Israeli forces bombed a building at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, killing 26.

NBC News was not able to verify the information.

Palestinians survey the damage in Jabalia Camp in Gaza on Dec. 17, 2023.
Palestinians survey the damage yesterday in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza.Abdulqader Sabbah / Anadolu via Getty Images

Egyptian president wins third term in office

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has secured a third six-year term, sweeping up 89.6% of the votes, the National Election Authority said today.

He faced little opposition, winning more than 39 million of the 44.3 million votes available.

His re-election comes as Egypt is facing an economic crisis at home and neighboring Gaza is in crisis following the Israeli invasion.

Evergreen suspends Israeli imports and exports due to 'safety considerations'

Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen will temporarily suspend its import and export service with Israel “due to rising risk and safety considerations,” a spokesperson told NBC News today.

The decision comes after several ships have been attacked by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, which the militants say they have carried out to support to the people of Gaza.

Protesters in Tel Aviv demand government action on Hamas hostages

Protesters took to the streets in Tel Aviv today, to demand Israel's government do more to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Many wanted negotiations for the hostages’ release to restart.

U.S. Navy assists ship in Red Sea after it was hit by 'unidentified object'

A ship carrying biofuel feedstock was hit by an "unidentified object" today before it was assisted by U.S. Navy, the vessel's owner, Inventor Chemical Tankers, said in a statement today.

The crew aboard the MT Swan Atlantic was "assisted by the U.S. navy and will be brought to safety under protection by naval forces," the company said.

The vessel had departed from France and was moving to Reunion Island, and had reported only "limited damage," it said, adding no injuries were reported.

Ultranationalist Israeli minister vows 'to distribute as many weapons as possible'

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir “will continue to distribute as many weapons as possible” to eligible Israelis, he said in a post on X today.

“No political campaign will deter me,” the ultranationalist minister said, citing the example of Yaron Maor, a resident of kibbutz Nir Oz.

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, flanked by Israeli police officers, greets people gathered in front of Damascus Gate leading to the Old City of Jerusalem, during the annual 'flags march' to mark "Jerusalem Day", on May 18, 2023.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir earlier this year. Ahmad Gharabli / AFP - Getty Images

Ben-Gvir said as Hamas attacked the kibbutz Oct. 7, Maor was able to protect his family with his personal weapon before security forces rescued them.

“Please, do not turn the granting of gun licenses into a political issue, he saved me, and hundreds more like me,” Ben-Gvir added.

BP halts all transits through Red Sea because of 'deteriorating security situation'

British energy giant BP has suspended all transits through the Red Sea “in light of the deteriorating security situation for shipping,” a spokesperson told NBC News today in an emailed statement.

“We will keep this precautionary pause under ongoing review, subject to circumstances as they evolve in the region,” the spokesperson added.

The decision comes after several vessels in the Red Sea were attacked by Yemen's Houthi rebels in recent weeks.

The Iran-backed militia has said it carried out the attacks to support the people of Gaza.

CIA director meets with Israeli and Qatari officials in Warsaw

WASHINGTON — CIA Director William Burns is meeting with Israeli and Qatari officials in the Polish capital today, a U.S. official told NBC News.

The aim is to restart talks about hostages and a humanitarian pause, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Outrage over mistaken hostage killing makes front page news in Israel

TEL AVIV — The mistaken killing of three escaped hostages over the weekend dominated the news in Israel today, with newspapers and websites showing images of the trio.

The popular news site Ynet ran the headline "Help, 3 hostages" with the photo of the pictures of the signs that Samer Talalka, Alon Shamriz and Yotam Haim made from scraps of food in hopes of being saved.

The newspaper Haaretz also reported that Shamriz’s father, Avi, demanded to see documentation about the incident.

“They did everything right — took their shirts off, hung a white flag and marched in broad daylight in the middle of the street and shouted for help, but in our army they don’t know how to follow the rules of engagement,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

“Even if it’s a terrorist, why shoot him like that? He was naked, unarmed, and even if it’s a terrorist — why not shoot him in the legs? This is against all the rules taught by the IDF.”

Image: Funeral Held For Alon Shamriz, Hostage Accidentally Killed By IDF
Mourners at the funeral Sunday of Alon Shamriz. On Friday, the Israel Defense Forces admitted to accidentally killing Shamriz and two other Israeli hostages who had been held captive by Hamas following the Oct. 7 attacks. Amir Levy / Getty Images

WHO 'appalled by the effective destruction' of hospital

The World Health Organization is “appalled by the effective destruction” of Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, its director-general said in a post on X yesterday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at least eight patients had died, including “a 9-year-old child.” He added that “several died due to lack of adequate health care.”

Kamal Adwan Hospital after Israeli attacks on Gaza
The Kamal Adwan Hospital after Israeli attacks on Beit Lahia, Gaza, on Saturday.Mahmoud Sabbah / Anadolu via Getty Images

"Many health workers were reportedly detained, and WHO and partners are urgently seeking information on their status," he said.

The Israel Defense Forces pulled out of the hospital after an operation lasting several days. The IDF said it had been used as a command and control center by Hamas.

Health officials and Hamas have denied those claims. NBC News has not independently verified the IDF's claims.

Woman wounded in West Bank shooting

A woman was shot in the West Bank today, according to the Magen David Adom paramedic service.

In a post on X, the service said that the woman was in a “moderate condition with a gunshot wound” and was being taken to a hospital in Jerusalem.

The post added that a man and an infant in the car were not hurt.

Hezbollah has been increasing attacks against Israel, IDF says

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has been “increasing its attacks against Israel,” since Hamas launched its attacks Oct. 7, a spokesperson for the Israeli military said in a statement today.

Hezbollah has been “firing rockets, missiles and drones; killing Israeli civilians and soldiers; and displacing over 80,000 Israelis from their homes in the north,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said, adding that the IDF would continue to fulfill its duty until an effective solution is in place.

Hagari added that the Iran-backed militant group was dragging Lebanon into an unnecessary war.

“Until and unless a diplomatic solution is found and implemented: We will continue making the necessary preparations to remove the threat from our border,” he said.

Man carries injured child into Khan Younis hospital

A Palestinian man was surrounded by reporters as he carried an injured child into Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.

Gazans arrive at hospital after bombing in Khan Younis.
AFP - Getty Images

Former British defense secretary warns Israel over Gaza 'killing rage'

By using disproportionate force, Israel risks losing its legal and moral authority for its war in Gaza, according to Britain's former defense secretary.

“Going after Hamas is legitimate; obliterating vast swathes of Gaza is not,” Ben Wallace wrote in the British newspaper The Telegraph yesterday. Collective punishment and forced movement of civilians is not legal, he added.

While he did not call for a cease-fire, Wallace, a senior lawmaker with the United Kingdom's ruling Conservative Party, said that Israel should “stop this crude and indiscriminate method of attack.”

The tactics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would “fuel the conflict for another 50 years,” he said, and that “his actions are radicalizing Muslim youth across the globe.”

Starvation being used as a weapon of war in Gaza, Human Rights Watch says

The starvation of civilians in Gaza is being used by Israel as a weapon of war, Human Rights Watch said in a statement today.

Israeli forces have deliberately blocked water, food, and fuel from entering the Gaza Strip and made it more difficult for humanitarian assistance to be accessed by civilians, the statement said.

“For over two months, Israel has been depriving Gaza’s population of food and water, a policy spurred on or endorsed by high-ranking Israeli officials and reflecting an intent to starve civilians as a method of warfare,” Omar Shakir, HRW's Israel and Palestine director, said in the statement.

NBC News has approached the Israel Defense Forces for comment.

A woman carries bread in her destroyed house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 18, 2023.
A woman carries bread in her destroyed house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip today.Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin touches down in Israel for talks

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has touched down in Tel Aviv, he said today on X.

He added that he would reiterate the U.S.’ commitment to Israel while underscoring the need to "protect civilians from harm" in Gaza, while ensuring that humanitarian aid is allowed into the Gaza Strip.

IDF shares image of hostage white flag

The Israel Defense Forces released an image of a white sheet found near the scene of a deadly shooting which reads “help! 3 hostages” written using food products in this handout image provided yesterday.

Image: IDF finds a sign that reads "help! 3 hostages" written using food in this handout image.
IDF Handout

Bomb threat made to New Jersey school, law enforcement official says

Educational facilities operated by New Jersey’s Barnert Temple were the subject of a threat today, a law enforcement official said.

“I can confirm that there was a hoax bomb threat there, but I don’t have any additional information to provide,” Elizabeth Rebein, spokesperson for the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, said by email.

It was one of several Jewish institutions targeted by email threats this weekend, authorities said. So far, none of threats, which mostly involved claims of bomb placement, have been considered credible.

Leaders of the Franklin Lakes temple, established in 1847 and now dedicated to Reform Judaism, say its congregation is the oldest in the state. It has a preschool, hosts classes for students in grades K-12, and produces online courses for adults.

Catch up with NBC News’ latest coverage of the war

IDF mistakenly killed 3 Israeli hostages in Gaza. This is what we know so far.

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An Israeli teen lost his father and brother in the Hamas attacks; an American boy was inspired to take action

Her parents were told to seek safety in Rafah. A piece of shrapnel killed the 7-year-old in her sleep.

U.S. urges Israel to move to a new phase of its war against Hamas