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IDF says hostage’s body found near Gaza’s main hospital

Israeli officials say they are opening an investigation into crimes committed during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, including a look at sexual violence allegations.

What we know

  • Israeli forces remained inside Al-Shifa, the Gaza Strip’s main hospital, after they stormed it for a second time in 24 hours, Israeli officials say. According to Palestinian reports, the Israel Defense Forces conducted a second raid on the hospital.
  • The IDF says it discovered AK-47s, hand grenades, military uniforms and a laptop that included a photo of a kidnapped Israeli soldier in the hospital.
  • Yehudit Weiss, a hostage abducted by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack, was found dead in a structure "adjacent" to Al-Shifa hospital, the IDF said in a statement.
  • Video shared after the IDF's initial raid doesn’t appear to show definitive evidence that a Hamas command center exists beneath the hospital, a claim that Israeli officials have repeatedly made and Hamas and doctors at the hospital have forcefully denied.
  • President Joe Biden has said that he doesn’t believe the Israel-Hamas war will end “until there’s a two-state solution.”
  • Three gunmen opened fire at a crossing in Jerusalem, injuring seven people, before they were shot dead by officers, police said. Israeli officials also said they were opening an investigation into crimes committed during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, including allegations of sexual violence.
  • More than 1.6 million people have been displaced in Gaza, and health officials there say more than 11,200 have been killed. Israel estimates 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas terrorist attack Oct. 7, with 239 people still held hostage in Gaza.
  • NBC News’ Keir Simmons, Raf Sanchez, Erin McLaughlin, Matt Bradley, Jay Gray and Chantal Da Silva are reporting from the region.

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‘We want our loved ones back’: Families of hostages speak out

Twelve relatives of Americans kidnapped by Hamas spoke to NBC News' Lester Holt about their collective hope to see their loved ones returned home safe.

"There's a huge amount of pressure on Israel to supply humanitarian support to the Gaza Strip, we understand," one of the family members said. "Where is the pressure to get our kids back home? Where is the pressure to get the Red Cross in? We don't feel that pressure."

Humanitarian chiefs will not take part Gaza in unilateral 'safe zones' proposals

A coalition of humanitarian leaders will not participate in so-called "safe zones" in Gaza without the agreement of all parties, according to a statement today from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.

"Without the right conditions, concentrating civilians in such zones in the context of active hostilities can raise the risk of attack and additional harm," the statement said. "No 'safe zone' is truly safe when it is declared unilaterally or enforced by the presence of armed forces."

The statement was signed by representatives from numerous organizations that include the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the director-general of the World Health Organization, and the chief executive of Save the Children.

"We also renew our call for a humanitarian ceasefire to ease the suffering and to help facilitate humanitarian operations, and the release of all hostages," the statement said.

Three of the signatories — Amy E. Pope of the International Organization for Migration; Cindy McCaine of the World Food Programme; and Catherine Russell of UNICFE — were Biden administration appointments. President Joe Biden has rejected calls for a cease-fire in favor of "humanitarian pauses."

IDF says it recovered body of soldier Noa Marciano, who had been taken hostage

Israel’s military said Friday local time that its forces recovered the body of Noa Marciano, a 19-year-old soldier taken hostage by Hamas.

The Israel Defense Forces said earlier this week that Marciano was dead. She had been shown in a video released by the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing.

The IDF said her body was recovered from a structure adjacent to Al-Shifa Hospital, in northern Gaza.

IDF officials informed her family Thursday that her body had been transferred to Israeli territory, the IDF said.

“The national task before our eyes is to locate the missing and return the abducted persons home,” the military said in a statement.

U.N. experts warns that no cease-fire risks 'spiralling towards a genocide'

The United Nations' independent body of experts warned that Israel's response to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack points to a "genocide in the making" against Palestinians.

In a statement issued today, the experts pointed to violent rhetoric from some Israeli politicians, as well as the large death toll and destruction of basic infrastructure, to emphasize the danger facing Palestinians. It also described hostilities in the West Bank as creating a "coercive environment" that has led to forced displacement.

"The failure to urgently implement a ceasefire risks this situation spiralling towards a genocide conducted with 21st century means and methods of warfare,” the statement said.

The U.N. experts also warned that "Israel remains the occupying power in the occupied Palestinian territory" and that it must respond to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack within the framework of international law. Hamas' use of tunnels in parts of Gaza still does not mean civilians and civilian infrastructure can disproportionately suffer.

U.S. warns Israel it can’t bar Palestinian Americans from entering West Bank

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is warning Israel that blocking Palestinian Americans in the West Bank from entering Israel is a violation of their visa waiver agreement, State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said today.

The Visa Waiver Program allows certain countries’ passport holders to enter the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining visas.

“We have expressed concerns about that to the government of Israel. I won’t get into full details of our private diplomatic conversations, but we expect Israel to address those concerns,” Miller said. “We expect them to be in full compliance with the Visa Waiver Program, and there are remedial measures that are available to us if they are not.”

The Biden administration moved up Israel’s acceptance into the program to Oct. 14 after the Hamas attack; it had been scheduled for the end of this month. The State Department said the U.S. can pursue a variety of measures to push Israel into compliance, including suspension from the program.

Suspect arrested in death of Jewish protester who fell after clash at dueling rallies in California

A suspect has been arrested in connection with the death of Paul Kessler, a Jewish protester who fell after a confrontation at dueling rallies in California for Israel and Palestinians this month.

Loay Alnaji, 50, who was taken into custody this morning, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery causing serious bodily injury, officials said.

Kessler, 69, was at a pro-Israel gathering on Nov. 5 in Thousand Oaks when he got into a “physical altercation” with a pro-Palestinian protester, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said. He fell backward and hit his head on the ground and died the following day.

Alnaji, of Moorpark, was being held tonight with bail set at $1 million, according to online records.

Read the full story here.

Photos: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators fill Rotterdam train station

Pro-Palestinian protesters held a sit-in protest at Rotterdam Centraal Station, the Netherlands city's main transit hub, to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Protesters hold a sit-in at Rotterdam Centraal Station in Rotterdam.
Robin Utrecht / AFP - Getty Images
Pro-Palestinian protester fill Rotterdam Centraal Station in Rotterdam.
Robin Utrecht / AFP - Getty Images

Blinken: 'Hamas embeds itself in civilian infrastructure'

"Hamas embeds itself in civilian infrastructure," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, pointing to operations established under hospitals.

"This is something that's really monstrous in what Hamas has done to try to embed itself among civilians," Blinken told NBC News' Lester Holt.

Blinken also said that "far too many" Palestinian civilians have been killed and reiterated that the U.S. has been urging Israel to do everything possible to minimize civilian casualties.

Blinken said that he remains hopeful about the hostage situation, "but the less said, the better." U.S. officials have often declined to discuss the hostage situation in depth, fearing it could affect negotiations or a possible release.

Civilian deaths 'cannot be dismissed as collateral damage,' U.N. rights commissioner says

Civilian deaths in the Israel-Hamas war "cannot be dismissed as collateral damage," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said today in Geneva.

Türk described Israel's bombardment of the Palestinian enclave as one "rarely experienced in this century." He added that all conflict is a result of "failure" and urged everyone to remember that all lives have equal value.

"We must not let rage submerge our moral compass. We must not lose our grip on reality to the myth that pain can be eradicated by unleashing it on a scapegoat. We must insist on the truth," Türk said.

"And we must continue to insist on the humanity, and the value, of every life that is affected or destroyed in this fighting," he said.

Rally calling for cease-fire blocks San Francisco traffic as Biden, leaders meet

SAN FRANCISCO — At least 50 protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza were detained and arrested Thursday after shutting down all lanes of a major bridge into San Francisco.

The protest comes as Biden, world leaders and CEOs gathered in the city for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ conference.

At least 15 vehicles were towed after protesters parked on the bridge and threw their keys into the sea shortly before 8 a.m., disrupting the morning commute, said California Highway Patrol division chief Ezery Beauchamp at a news conference on Bay Bridge. He said more arrests were expected.

Protest organizers say 200 people took part. Photos provided by organizers showed demonstrators on the ground with white sheets over their bodies as part of a “die-in.” Aisha Nizar with the Palestinian Youth Movement said in the statement that Biden was “hosting cocktail parties in San Francisco” while thousands of people were being killed in Gaza.

University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine sues state over 'unconstitutional deactivation'

The University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine filed a lawsuit today against the state's university system, alleging that Gov. Ron DeSantis' order to deactivate the campus activist group violated the First Amendment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, seeks a preliminary injunction to block the order from going into effect, according to the ACLU, which is representing the SJP chapter. The suit argues that DeSantis and Ray Rodrigues, the chancellor of the State University System of Florida, effectively punished the campus chapter for its association with a national organization that goes by the same name — "a clear violation of the constitutional rights to free speech and association."

"We have every right to engage in human rights advocacy and promote public awareness and activism for a just and reasonable solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict," the members of the University of Florida's SJP chapter said in a statement.

DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on the lawsuit.

In recent days, three colleges have put restrictions on their chapters of SJP. Brandeis University banned the group; Columbia University and George Washington University moved to suspend their activities.

The national Students for Justice in Palestine has drawn scrutiny for statements that, in the eyes of Jewish and pro-Israel advocacy groups, appear to celebrate the Oct. 7 terror attack in Israel. However, the University of Florida chapter's lawsuit states that it is a separate and autonomous entity.

The national organization's "resources do not dictate the content or messaging of UF SJP’s independent advocacy," the suit says. "UF SJP makes its own independent decisions about its views and advocacy."

Photo: Medical staff work by the light of a cellphone in Gaza

Palestinians wounded in Israeli strikes are assisted at the Indonesian hospital
Fadi Alwhidi / Reuters

Medical personnel use cellphone flashlights as they treat a wounded man today at the Indonesian hospital in the northern Gaza Strip.

Russian foreign minister condemns 'bloodshed' in Gaza even as the war against Ukraine continues

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for an end to bloodshed against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the state news agency Tass, even as Russia's own war against Ukraine still rages.

Russia "categorically" condemns terrorism, he noted in his remarks, but also went on to say that it is against fighting terrorism in ways that "flagrantly violate international humanitarian law."

”We insist on an immediate end to the bloodshed and an immediate solution to the humanitarian problems that are literally crying out in the Gaza Strip and, now, in the West Bank," Lavrov said.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Ukrainian soldiers were working to push back Russian forces at the bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region.

The Russian-installed governor of the area of Kherson that Moscow controls said the Russian military were raining “hell fire” on Ukrainian troops who crossed the river. NBC News could not independently verify his assertions.

Palestinians mourn while collecting bodies on Nov. 16, 2023 in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.
Palestinians mourn while collecting bodies today in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Egypt denies rumors about a Palestinian land deal for debt forgiveness

CAIRO — Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry denied rumors that there was potential for a deal to give Palestinians land during a press conference today.

A reporter asked him directly whether the U.S. and Israel were pressuring Egypt into offering up land in exchange for writing off some of the country's debt. Shoukry said there was absolutely "no truth whatsoever" to any discussions about Egypt's financial situation and Gaza.

"I think that all our declarations have been very, very, clear in that there is absolutely no truth of the possibility of any form of displacement of Palestinians outside of their homeland, outside of their current location," he told reporters.

Shoukry added that such a conversation would imply "a departure from principle that would be somewhat shameful."

Jewish lawmaker from Vermont demands cease-fire in Gaza

In an article in the Vermont Digger, Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt., became one of the first Jewish lawmakers in Congress to demand a cease-fire in Gaza. On her social media, she wrote "What is needed right now is an immediate break in violence to allow for a true negotiated ceasefire." In her article, she explained her reasoning for demanding such action, which includes critical access to humanitarian aid and the pause of deaths of innocent Gazans.

"I’m one generation removed from the horrific trauma of the Holocaust, which impacted my family and reshaped the world," she wrote. "Like me, there are thousands of American Jews that share a deep emotional connection to Israel because of what it meant for the survival of the Jewish people in the face of extermination."

Balint continued, "As a longstanding critic of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s extremist government, I know that his strategy does not make Israel safer. Israel’s continued bombing in Gaza is killing innocent people and fuels recruitment for terrorist groups like Hamas. This pattern further undermines the security of both Palestinians and Israelis. The aerial bombing must end. Israel must take every measure to protect Palestinian civilians."

This is a shift in Balint's previous position, in which she only had called for a humanitarian pause after the war started. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is also Jewish, has rejected calls for a cease-fire.

More than 100 Russian citizens evacuated from Gaza being flown to Moscow

Russia has arranged for more than 100 passport holders who have left the Gaza Strip to fly home in a flight departing from Cairo today, according to its Foreign Ministry.

A total of 120 people are expected to be on the flight, including 107 Russian nationals who made their way through the Rafah crossing yesterday. The ministry said that another 12 citizens, as well as members of their families, crossed the border into Egypt today.

Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said it "will continue to operate until the very last Russian is evacuated."

IDF soldier killed, 6 others injured in checkpoint attack

TEL AVIV — One IDF soldier was killed and at least six others have been injured in attacks at checkpoints in Jerusalem, according to Israeli police and military.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for attacking multiple checkpoints, including one in Bethlehem and Hebron. The IDF confirmed a soldier died in an attack on a tunnel checkpoint in Jerusalem.

Cpl. Avraham Fetena, 20, was identified by the IDF as the soldier killed following permission from his family.

An Israeli police spokesperson said that six people were injured in an attack at the same checkpoint, including two who are in critical condition. Three "terrorists" were killed, according to the spokesperson.

Israeli police secure the scene after an attack by gunmen at a checkpoint between the West Bank and Jerusalem on Nov. 16, 2023.
Israeli police secure the scene after an attack today by gunmen at a checkpoint between the West Bank and Jerusalem.Amir Levy / Getty Images

Palestine Red Crescent say Al-Ahli Hospital under attack

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said that Israeli tanks are at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza in what it described as a "violent attack" in a statement on X today.

The aid organization said in another post hours later that its teams were still trapped in the hospital while hearing explosions and gunfire in the area.

"There are several casualties in the hospital courtyard about 30 meters away from our teams but they are unable to reach," the Red Crescent Society said.

NBC News was unable to verify the report and the IDF did not immediately respond to a request for information.

Hostage found dead in a structure adjacent to Al-Shifa Hospital, IDF says

TEL AVIV — Yehudit Weiss, a hostage abducted from her home by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack, was found dead in a structure "adjacent" to Al-Shifa Hospital, the IDF said in a statement today.

Weiss’ body was identified in a process by the medical personnel and institute of forensic medicine and the Israel Police. Her family was informed today that she has been declared dead.

Yehudit Weiss.
Yehudit Weiss.State of Israel via X

"The IDF sends its heartfelt condolences to the family," the statement said. "The national task before our eyes is to locate the missing and return the abducted persons home."

The IDF added that in the structure where Weiss was found, the military found equipment including Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Internet, phone networks collapse in Gaza, threatening to worsen humanitarian crisis

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The general manager of the Palestine Telecommunications Co., or Paltel, said he has urged international organizations to persuade Israel to allow fuel to enter Gaza in order to restore phone and internet to the besieged enclave.

“We asked all international bodies to intervene with Israel in order to allow the entry of fuel,” Abdulmajeed Melhem told The Associated Press.

Earlier today, Paltel announced that all communications services — landlines, mobile phones and internet connections — were down because of a lack of fuel.

“Since the outbreak of the war, there has been no electricity, therefore we have relied on alternative sources to operate the generators,” Melhem said. “If they (Israel) allow the entry of fuel, this problem will be solved.”

Until this week, Israel had completely prohibited fuel from going in to Gaza, fearing it could be commandeered by Hamas. But yesterday, the Israeli government allowed the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees to receive 6,076 gallons of fuel, but under the restriction that it be used only for vehicles delivering aid.

Jordan holds Israel 'fully responsible' for endangering medical personnel

The Jordanian government says it is holding Israel "fully responsible for endangering the lives" of its medical personnel after an attack on the staff near its field hospital in Gaza, according to a statement from the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.

Seven medical staff members were injured while trying to rescue Palestinian civilians who were wounded during what Jordan described as an Israeli bombardment.

Spokesperson Sufyan Al-Qudah said the government was waiting on results of an investigation by Arab armed forces into the attack so that Jordan can take "necessary legal and political measures against the heinous crimes."

The statement went on to describe attacks on hospitals as a "flagrant violation of humanitarian and international law" and stressed the importance of protecting medical personnel.

White House says it's likely impossible for Israel to totally eliminate Hamas

WASHINGTON — The White House said it believes Israel can dramatically reduce the threat from Hamas, but that eliminating the group and its ideology are likely impossible.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby pointed to the U.S. efforts to disrupt Al Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist group, a day after Biden said Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza would only end once the militant group was no longer a threat.

“What we have learned through our own experiences, that military and other means you can absolutely have a significant impact on terrorist groups' ability to resource itself, to train fighters, to recruit fighters, to plan to execute attacks,” Kirby told reporters. “And look at the shadow of itself that ISIS is right now, look at the shadow of itself Al Qaeda is right now.”

Israeli troops during a military operation in the northern Gaza Strip in a photo released on Nov. 16, 2023.
Israeli troops during a military operation in the northern Gaza Strip in a photo released today. Israel Defense Forces via AFP - Getty Images

“It doesn’t mean that the ideology withers away and die,” he added.

Kirby 'still convinced' about intel that says Hamas uses Al-Shifa

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the administration is "still confident" in its intelligence assessment on how Hamas has used Al-Shifa Hospital as a "command and control node" in northern Gaza.

"And most likely, as well as a storage facility and that they were sheltering themselves in a hospital, using the hospital as a shield against military action and placing the patients and medical staff at a greater risk," he said this morning.

The IDF released video yesterday alleging that it found some "grab bags" with gear and weapons stored in one of Al-Shifa's buildings. Hamas has denied assertions from the White House and the IDF that it uses Al-Shifa and other hospitals, as well as calling the claims made in the video a lie.

The IDF's operation inside Al-Shifa's complex has drawn criticism and concern from international humanitarian organizations, who have expressed concern for the safety of medical staff and civilians. The World Health Organization, among other news and charity groups, said communication with staff inside has become very difficult.

Israeli troops storm Gaza's main hospital for second time, doctor says

JERUSALEM — Israeli troops stormed Gaza's main hospital for a second time overnight, a senior medic at the Al-Shifa medical complex told NBC News today.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Makhalati, the head of the hospital's burns unit, said Israeli forces had entered the hospital from the southern entrance.

In a later statement, a spokesperson for the IDF said soldiers were searching building to building as hundreds of patients and medical remained inside.

The mission is “shaped by our understanding that there is well-hidden terrorist infrastructure in the complex,” the spokesperson said.

Gazans face starvation as food system in war zone collapses

Palestinians still trapped in Gaza are in danger of dying from hunger, as well as bullets, after the food distribution system collapsed under the weight of the Israeli onslaught, the United Nations warned.

“Supplies of food and water are practically nonexistent in Gaza and only a fraction of what is needed is arriving through the borders,” said Cindy McCain, executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Programme. “With winter fast approaching, unsafe and overcrowded shelters, and the lack of clean water, civilians are facing the immediate possibility of starvation.”

While supply trucks are getting into Gaza via the Rafah crossing, she said “there is no way to meet current hunger needs with one operational border crossing. The only hope is opening another, safe passage for humanitarian access to bring lifesaving food into Gaza.”

Only a quarter of the remaining food stores in Gaza are open and the shelves are mostly bare, McCain said. And the last of the 130 bakeries in Gaza shut down operations because there is no fuel.

The available food is being sold at inflated prices and most people are surviving on one meal a day, the U.N. said. And often that meal consists of raw onions or eggplants.

“The collapse of food supply chains is a catastrophic turning point in an already dire situation, where people have been stripped of basic necessities,” said Samer AbdelJaber, representative and country director in Palestine. “Without access to fuel, our ability to provide bread or transport food to those in need has been severely compromised, essentially bringing life in Gaza to a standstill. People are going hungry.”

Palestinians line up for food in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Monday, November 13, 2023.
Palestinians line up for food Monday in Rafah, southern Gaza.Hatem Ali / AP


Sewage is flowing through the streets of Gaza, U.N. agency warns

Sewage is now flowing through the streets of Gaza, Thomas White, a director at the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, said on X today.

An acute shortage of fuel was responsible for stopping 15 sewage pumps, he said.

In separate posts, he added that a lack of fuel had stopped two main water plants, causing a lack of drinking water that has led to a 40% increase in diarrhea among those sheltering at UNRWA schools.

Dialysis patient dies as Israeli troops storm Gaza's main hospital

A dialysis patient died while Israeli forces were storming Al-Shifa, the Gaza Strip's main hospital, a spokesperson for the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The patient perished when the power was cut off, the spokesperson, Ashraf Al-Qudra, said. And a number of premature babies at the hospital complex are also in mortal danger because there's no electricity to power their incubators, he said.

There is no food or water for the remaining 650 patients at Al-Shifa or for the 7,000 displaced people who took shelter from the fighting in the hospital complex, he said.

Calling the situation at the complex "very dangerous," Al-Qudra once again called for "urgent intervention." He said the Israeli troops have made it impossible for many doctors and patients to escape by destroying their cars.

"The Israeli story about the presence of weapons in the Al-Shifa Complex is false and does not deceive anyone," Al-Qudra said. "The Shifa Complex and Gaza’s hospitals are humanitarian institutions and we will not allow them to be used as a theater for military operations."

Israel has repeatedly claimed that Hamas built a command center in tunnels below the hospital and said it discovered AK-47s, hand grenades, military uniforms and a laptop with a photo of a kidnapped Israeli soldier on it in the complex.

But video shared after the Israeli raid on the complex yesterday did not appear to show definitive evidence to back up the claims.

Kuwait sends aid bound for Gaza

Ambulances and humanitarian aid bound for the Gaza Strip through Egypt are loaded in a military aircraft at the International Airport in Kuwait City, in an image made available by the Kuwaiti News Agency today.

Kuwait Gaza Aid
KUNA / AFP - Getty Images

White House 'deeply concerned' about wounded Jordanian medics

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan says he is "deeply concerned" about Jordanian medical staff being hurt near a field hospital in Gaza.

"Jordan is a critical ally, and we thank King Abdullah II and Jordanians for providing support," he said.

According to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, seven members of the Jordanian Field Hospital in Gaza were injured at the entrance of the hospital’s emergency department while trying to treat Palestinians injured in an Israeli bombing.

Phone, internet blackout in Gaza as telecom provider runs out of fuel

Gaza is under another near-complete telecommunications blackout, analysts and the area’s largest phone and internet provider say.

The telecom Paltel wrote on its Facebook page that the cause of its disruption was Israel cutting its electricity and its backup generators finally running out of fuel.

“We regret to announce a complete disruption of communication services (landline, cellular, and Internet) in the Gaza Strip, after fuel entry has been banned and all backup power sources have been exhausted to operate the main elements of the network,” it said.

NetBlocks, a British company that tracks internet censorship, said that most residents of Gaza appear to be cut off from the outside world. Doug Madory, an analyst at Kentik, which tracks connectivity, told NBC News it appears all internet connections from Gaza are currently down, not just Paltel.

Smoke billows following an Israeli strike on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza strip on Novembr 16, 2023.
Smoke billows following an Israeli strike today on Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.Said Khatib / AFP - Getty Images

IDF raid at Al-Shifa Hospital goes on as hundreds of patients remain inside

Soldiers are searching building to building at the Al-Shifa Hospital complex, as hundreds of patients and medical remain inside, a spokesperson for the Israeli military said in a statement today.

The mission is “shaped by our understanding that there is well-hidden terrorist infrastructure in the complex,” they said, adding that soldiers were “proceeding one building at a time, searching each floor, all while hundreds of patients and medical staff remain in the complex.”

The IDF started its military operation at the hospital yesterday, in search of what it called a “terrorist cell.”

A photo released Wednesday by the Israeli army shows soldiers carrying out operations inside Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
A photo released yesterday by the Israeli army shows soldiers carrying out operations inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.Israel Defense Forces via AFP - Getty Images

Hamas and doctors at the hospital have both denied Israeli claims that the militant group is using the hospital as a base.

The IDF spokesperson added that it had already found weapons and intelligence materials at the hospital, including information relating to the more than 200 hostages taken from Israel to Gaza on Oct. 7.

Erdogan greets Gaza cancer patients in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, speaks with a Palestinian cancer patient, who had crossed from Gaza into Egypt and was brought to Turkey for treatment, at Bilkent City Hospital in Ankara today.

Two planes carrying more than two dozen Palestinian cancer patients, many of them children, arrived in Turkey for treatment in the early hours of November 16.
Turkish Presidency Press Office / AFP - Getty Images

Ruling ANC backs motion to close Israeli Embassy in South Africa

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said today that it would support a parliamentary motion calling for the Israeli Embassy to be closed and diplomatic relations to be suspended.

The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) proposed the motion in solidarity with the Palestinian people over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

South Africa’s strong support for Palestinians dates back to former President Nelson Mandela’s days, with the country likening their plight to its own before the end of apartheid in 1994. Israel rejects the comparison.

The ANC said in a statement it would support the motion “to close the Israel Embassy in South Africa and suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel until Israel agrees to a ceasefire and commits to binding United Nations facilitated negotiations whose outcome must be a just, sustainable and lasting peace.”

Israeli military says it has 'gained operational control' over Gaza harbor

The Israeli military said today that it had "gained operational control," over Gaza Harbor.

In a statement posted to X, the IDF said the harbor, which is home to the enclave's fishing fleet, had been "disguised as a civilian area."

Hamas, it said, had been using the harbor "as a training facility for their naval commando forces to plan and execute terrorist attacks."

NBC News could not independently verify these claims.

An Israeli soldier looks out at Gaza harbor on Nov. 16, 2023.
An Israeli soldier looks out at Gaza harbor today. Israel Defense Forces via AFP - Getty Images

U.N. negotiating with Israel about medical evacuation from Al-Shifa Hospital

The United Nations is negotiating with Israel about a medical evacuation from Al-Shifa Hospital, where the Israeli army has been conducting raids in recent days.

Options for a full medical evacuation of the hospital are being looked at, the World Health Organization’s emergency director for the Eastern Mediterranean region, Dr. Rick Brennan, told Reuters today.

He added that the U.N. was seeking security guarantees and safe passage for convoys from the IDF.

“Health conditions at Al-Shifa Hospital remain critical,” Brennan said. “We do not have an update as of this morning, but we still have grave concerns for the patients and the staff in the hospital.”

Huge smoke plumes as Israel continues to bombard Gaza

Clouds of smoke and ash rise from an Israeli strike at an unspecified location in Gaza today.

Smoke rises from targets in Gaza after Israeli bombardment
Leo Correa / AP

Eyewitness video shows shooting at Jerusalem crossing

Eyewitness video captured the moment suspected Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint in southern Jerusalem.

Police spokesperson Dean Elsdunne said extensive security measures were deployed after the attack.

'One horror does not justify another,' E.U. foreign policy chief tells Israel

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Israel today not to be consumed by rage in its response to last month’s Hamas attack, declaring that “one horror does not justify another.”

Speaking alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen after they visited kibbutz Be’eri, a focal point of the Oct. 7 assault, Borrel said: “I understand your rage but let me ask you not to be consumed by rage. I think that’s what the best friends of Israel can tell you.”

Borrell also stressed the E.U.’s solidarity with Israel and its support for the country’s right to defend itself in line with international law.

“But one thing is to defend Israel and another thing’s to take care of the people in need,” he added.

Five-day march to Jerusalem goes into third day

Hundreds of people, led by the families of hostages, gather at the beginning of the third day of the five-day March to Jerusalem in Beit Hashmonai, Israel, today.

Families and supporters of the hostages taken by Hamas in its Oct 7 attack commenced a multiday march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where they will demonstrate in front of the Prime Minister's office. According to Israeli officials, over 240 hostages are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Alexi J. Rosenfeld / Getty Images

Trickle of information from Gaza's largest hospital appears to dry up

Virtually no information has emerged from Gaza's Al-Shifa today after an Israeli raid of the hospital that has become a worldwide symbol of the plight of Palestinian civilians during the war.

Yesterday, the IDF said it had launched a "targeted" operation inside the hospital, and doctors in the facility spoke of seeing Israeli tanks inside. The Israeli army has since released a video purporting to show weaponry and equipment that it says belongs to Hamas militants inside the hospital. NBC News is unable to independently verify that claim.

Since then, the IDF has not released new footage or information about what is happening in the hospital, other than to say that its operation is ongoing. Hamas also has not released a statement on Al-Shifa or what the conditions are for the civilians, medical staff and displaced people inside.

Dr. Nahed Abu Taaema, director of Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, told Reuters that contact had been lost with medical staff inside Al-Shifa. "The situation at Al-Shifa Hospital is very dangerous and catastrophic," he said. "We are unable to ascertain the events inside the al-Shifa complex, including violations against the medics and patients by the Zionist enemy."

NBC News has tried calling three doctors at the hospital, but the calls were not answered. Officials in Gaza warned yesterday that they expected a telecommunications blackout as electricity and power completely ran out.

50 Israeli soldiers killed so far in Gaza, IDF says

TEL AVIV — The Israeli military says 50 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza since launching its ground operation in the enclave three weeks ago.

The death toll, confirmed to NBC News in a message from the IDF, brings the total number of the country's personnel killed since Oct. 7 to 371.

During Israel’s last major ground assault into Gaza in 2014, 67 Israeli soldiers were killed in just over six weeks.

Mourners gather around the grave of Israeli reserve soldier captain Omri Yosef David during his funeral in Carmiel, northern Israel, on Nov. 15, 2023. David, 27, was killed during a military ground operation in the Gaza Strip.
Mourners gather around the grave of Israeli reserve soldier Capt. Omri Yosef David, killed in the ground operation in Gaza, during his funeral yesterday in Carmiel, northern Israel.Ariel Schalit / AP

At least 85 people arrested in the occupied West Bank, prisoners' society says

Israeli forces have arrested at least 85 people from the occupied West Bank in less than 24 hours, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement today. A young graduate student was detained at her university residence as part of the crackdown, the statement added.

“The arrest campaign was accompanied by widespread harassment, severe beatings, and threats against detainees and their families,” the statement said, adding that Israeli forces had also destroyed and sabotaged some of their homes.

A group of detainees were later released, it said. Arrests in West Bank have sharply risen in the past few weeks with the group saying today the total number of arrests has risen to 2,735 since the Oct 7. attacks.

NBC News was unable to independently verify these claims.

Gunmen killed after opening fire at Jerusalem crossing, police say

TEL AVIV — Three gunmen opened fire at a crossing in Jerusalem, injuring seven people before they were shot dead by officers, a police spokesperson told NBC News via WhatsApp today.

The gunmen “arrived in a suspicious vehicle, and opened fire towards our forces,” near the Tunnels Crossing, the spokesperson said, adding that “seven individuals sustained injuries of varying degrees” and they were “evacuated for medical treatment.”

“Jerusalem district bomb disposal units are operating in the area,” they said.

Military operation is ongoing at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital, IDF says

TEL AVIV — The Israeli military operation inside the Al-Shifa Hospital complex is still ongoing, an IDF spokesperson told NBC News today.

The IDF began the raid on the hospital — which Israeli authorities say was being used to store weapons — yesterday. Hamas said that the accusation that the hospital was being used for military purposes was "lies and cheap propaganda."

Dr. Adnan Al-Barsh, head of Al-Shifa's orthopedic department, said last night that Israeli soldiers had "vandalized" medical equipment inside the hospital.

NBC News cannot confirm the IDF's claims that weapons were being stored weapons under the hospital nor that it was being used as a command and control center. It also cannot confirm Hamas' claims that medical equipment had been vandalized by Israeli forces.

Chaotic scenes at DNC HQ as pro-Palestinian protesters clash with police

There were chaotic scenes at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., last night, as pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police.

U.S. Capitol Police said in a short statement on X shortly after 10 p.m. that what it called a “large group of illegal protesters” had been cleared out, adding that officers were staying at DNC offices out of an “abundance of caution.”

Ceasefire protest outside the DNC in Washington
Demonstrators outside the DNC headquarters in Washington last night. Nathan Howard / AP

Numerous lawmakers were in the DNC headquarters when the protest erupted. One person was arrested and accused of assaulting an officer; six officers in total were treated for injuries, the force said.

Protesters, however, accused the police of heavy-handed treatment. The Jewish group IfNotNow posted on X that police were being “extremely violent,” alongside video showing officers pushing protesters.

Read the full story here

IDF says it hit residence of top Hamas leader

The Israeli military said it struck the residence of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh overnight. The building was "terrorist infrastructure," the IDF added.

During its takeover of Shati camp in northern Gaza, it found and destroyed "a Hamas naval forces weapons cache, containing diving gear, explosive devices, and weapons," it added.

NBC News has not verified the claims.

Driver arrested in Tokyo after car strikes barricade near Israeli Embassy

TOKYO — Police in Tokyo arrested a driver today after a vehicle rammed into a barricade near the Israeli Embassy, injuring a police officer.

Japanese police arrested a man on Nov. 16 after a car crashed through a barrier near the Israeli embassy in Tokyo, local media reported.
Police at scene where a car crashed through a barrier near the Israeli Embassy in Toyko today.Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP - Getty Images

A man in his 50s who is believed to be a member of a right-wing group was arrested on the spot, local media reported, citing a police source. The police officer suffered a hand injury and was taken to a hospital.

It was not clear what the motive might have been or whether the embassy was being targeted.

Aid organization ‘extremely worried’ for civilians at Al-Shifa

Doctors Without Borders is “extremely worried” for the lives of people who are at Al-Shifa Hospital.

“As Israeli forces enter Al Shifa hospital, we call once again for the protection of medical staff, patients and displaced civilians sheltered inside the hospital,” Médecins Sans Frontières said in a post on X today.

We are extremely worried for their lives.”

Cancer patients transported from Gaza to Turkey

Two planes carrying more than two dozen Palestinian cancer patients, many of them children, arrived in Turkey for treatment early today.

A Palestinian cancer patient, who had crossed from Gaza into Egypt, disembarks the plane on a wheelchair after arriving at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara on November 16, 2023.
Adem Altan / AFP - Getty Images
Two planes carrying more than two dozen Palestinian cancer patients, many of them children, arrived in Turkey for treatment in the early hours of November 16.
Adem Altan / AFP - Getty Images

Patients who had crossed from Gaza into Egypt are carried on stretchers after arriving at the Esenboğa Airport in Ankara.

WATCH: Biden committed to bringing Hamas hostages home, will not be sending ground forces into Gaza

During a press conference discussing his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said he is doing everything in his power to bring home hostages being held in Gaza. 

2 arrested in ‘spontaneous’ protest outside restaurant where Trudeau was eating dinner

At least two people were arrested last night after around 250 people gathered in what the Vancouver Police Department described as “spontaneous” protest outside a restaurant where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was having dinner.

Sgt. Steve Addison told reporters today that police did not receive advance notice of a demonstration but approximately 100 officers were sent to the Chinatown location to disperse the crowd so that Trudeau could be escorted out.

Video posted on social media appeared to show a group of people chanting “cease-fire now” at Trudeau who was inside a restaurant before he got up and left. The incident occurred an hour before the Chinatown protest and police did require significant response, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Trudeau’s office confirmed in a statement the prime minister was approached by demonstrators in Vancouver and said it does not comment on his security detail or process with regard to specific interactions.

Palestinian officials say harder to update death toll as health system buckles

RAMALLAH — Palestinian health authorities said yesterday it was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain accurate casualty figures from Gaza because of the collapse of the hospital and health system in parts of the Israeli-besieged enclave.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has been issuing a constantly updated total of the casualties from the devastating Israeli bombardment of Gaza, launched in the wake of the deadly attack on Israel by Hamas gunmen Oct. 7.

But as Israeli forces have pushed deep into the Gaza Strip and communications infrastructure has been degraded, contact with hospitals has buckled and systematic data collection has become more problematic, the ministry said.

“For the fourth consecutive day, the ministry faces challenges in updating the number of casualties because of services and communications collapsing in hospitals in the north,” it said in a statement.

Israel calls it a humanitarian corridor, but for fleeing Palestinians, it’s forced displacement

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — On the eastern edge of Gaza City, hundreds of families marched down Salah al-Din road as the sun began to set yesterday afternoon. Many were carrying babies and young children, while others pushed the elderly in wheelchairs. Some waved large white flags, while all carried what few possessions they could on a journey with no clear end in sight.

“There’s tens of thousands of people leaving their neighborhoods in Gaza coming through here going south,” Maj. Shraga of the Jerusalem Brigade told NBC News, whose last name the IDF asked to be withheld for security reasons. 

An Israeli soldier watches as Palestinian families flee south on the edge of Gaza City on Nov. 15, 2023.
An Israeli soldier watches as Palestinian families flee south on the edge of Gaza City.NBC News

Israel has said its evacuation routes from northern Gaza are designed to get Palestinian civilians to safety, which it says is proof of its commitment to protecting innocents even as it targets Hamas. More than 11,200 Palestinians have been killed during Israel’s offensive on Gaza in the weeks since Hamas’ attack on Israel, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

But for many of the more than 1.6 million people who, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says have already been displaced in Gaza since the conflict began, the route feels like a forced exodus.

Read the full story here.

WATCH: Biden says Hamas committed war crime with headquarters under hospital

Biden focused on the hostages in Gaza and said he is doing everything in his power to bring them home. 

Speaking at a news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said he was doing everything in his power to bring them home but he would not send American forces to Gaza.

NBC News’ latest coverage of the Israel-Hamas war