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The death toll in the Israel-Hamas conflict rose Monday to over 1,500 killed on both sides, officials said, after a stunning attack by Hamas on the country and airstrikes on Gaza in response by Israel.
At least 900 Israelis have been killed, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 687 people in Gaza and the West Bank have been killed.
Israel ordered a “full siege” of Gaza. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said no food, no gas and no power would be allowed into the densely populated area.
Israel has called up 300,000 reservists. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the offensive against Hamas was “just getting started.”
Hamas has threatened to execute hostages if Israel bombs civilians in Gaza in their homes without warning.
No Americans have confirmed to be hostages, but U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that a number of Americans are unaccounted for, and there is a concern that they could be among the hostages.
Eleven Americans have been killed in the conflict, President Joe Biden said.
White House lights send message of solidarity to Israel
People photograph the White House from Pennsylvania Avenue, lit in blue and white to underscore U.S. solidarity with Israel, in Washington on Monday.
Minor injuries reported after person faints at vigil for Israel on University of Florida campus
An unconfirmed number of people were injured, some needing stitches, after what witnesses called a “stampede” at a vigil for Israel after someone fainted, University of Florida police said.
There were calls in the crowd to call 911 after the person fainted at the candlelight vigil in Turlington Plaza at the Lubavitch Chabad Jewish Student & Community Center on the campus in Gainesville.
“That call was misunderstood by the crowd, which dispersed in a panic,” university police said in a statement.
Five people were treated on the scene and about 15 others were treated at area hospitals, a spokesperson for university police said.
“Everyone is safe with the exception of minor injuries,” the Chabad Center said in a statement on Facebook.
Rabbi Berl Goldman of the Chabad Center said the call may have partly been due to how scared some students are after the Hamas attacks in Israel. Goldman said there was a large turnout, with around 1,000 people.
How some Palestinian émigré communities in the U.S. reacted to the Israel-Hamas war
DEARBORN, Mich. — While the U.S. is lining up behind its ally Israel in the wake of the deadly Hamas attack, there was also a surge of support for the Palestinian cause on the streets of some of the country’s biggest cities.
In New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, small but passionate groups of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered Sunday and demanded that Israel end its decadeslong blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinian story was being drowned out by the unfolding tragedy in Israel.
But amid the cries of “Free Palestine,” some also condemned Hamas’ deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians.
“We are against killing civilians,” said Najeh Zahghlol, a Palestinian American in Chicago. “We’re against that.”
Israel's ambassador to the U.S. says Americans were at tragic festival
Michael Herzog, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., said today that Americans were among those at a tragic music festival near Gaza over the weekend.
An Israeli nongovernmental rescue organization, ZAKA, has estimated that 260 people were killed at the two-day Supernova festival as Hamas began its incursion and targeted festivalgoers trying to flee.
"There was a big party there, and they shot the revelers," he said on CNN tonight. "They shot MPGs on their cars. People are burning alive."
"Yes," he added, "there were Americans there."
Whether U.S. citizens were among the dead wasn't clear. Earlier today, President Joe Biden said that so far 11 Americans are known to have been killed in the Hamas attack on Israel.
Israel Defense Forces gearing up for potential all-out invasion of Gaza
Kirby: Some Americans are unaccounted-for
Some Americans in Israel are unaccounted-for, and their statuses are unknown, spokesman for the National Security Council said tonight.
Eleven Americans have been killed in the conflict, President Joe Biden has said.
“And we have some Americans that are unaccounted-for, and we are concerned that they could be among the hostages that Hamas is holding,” the NSC’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, said on MSNBC.
Kirby did not disclose a number of the Americans unaccounted-for. "We don't know if they're just lost or missing or even hurt. We certainly don't know if they're being held hostage, but that is a concern right now," he said.
The U.S. has been working "feverishly" with Israeli officials on the issue, Kirby said.
Israel's military said it killed militants entering from Lebanon. Kirby said the administration is concerned about the group Hezbollah. "Certainly, we don't want to see it expand or escalate at all," he said.
WhatsApp says claims of cyberattack on Jewish people are false
WhatsApp told NBC News in a statement that viral claims of a cyberattack targeting Jewish people on the app are false.
In a copied-and-pasted message that has quickly spread on social media and on messaging apps, users would be targeted by being asked to download a file named "Seismic Waves CARD,” which would enable phone hacking. The message claims the file will be disguised as "fighting in Jewish settlements."
The same claim was made weeks ago in relation to earthquakes in Morocco.
WhatsApp says there's no indication that is actually occurring.
The viral claim is the latest piece of misinformation pertaining to Israel that has flourished in a sea of content related to the quickly escalating war.
Ground attack into Gaza likely to have high casualties, retired U.S. military official says
If Israel launches a ground attack into Gaza in retaliation for Hamas' attacks that have killed hundreds, they could be facing a prepared enemy, a retired U.S. military official and think tank fellow said.
Hamas most likely “had a pretty good idea what Israel was going to do in response” because of past fighting, retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a senior fellow at Defense Priorities, said on NBC News Now.
Preparations for urban combat could involve traps, defensive positions, bunkers and tunnels, he said.
“All of those kinds of things is going to make it extraordinarily difficult for Israel to get in there and probably will make the casualties very high,” he said.
It is not clear whether Israel would attack from the ground into Gaza. Israel’s military has gone into Gaza in the past. In 2014, military ground forces advanced a few kilometers inside Gaza after rocket attacks before they withdrew, according to a Rand Corp. report of the conflict.
More than 100 dead at kibbutz near Gaza, group says
The emergency response group ZAKA says at least 100 people were killed at Kibbutz Be’eri, a small farming community in southern Israel near Gaza.
Be’eri is about 5 miles east of Gaza’s border. Israeli’s military said yesterday that Israeli aircraft killed “two terrorist squads” that tried to infiltrate the kibbutz as the military fought Hamas.
The Canadian-born peace activist Vivian Silver is missing after she texted about an attack by Hamas on the kibbutz.
ZAKA is an organization of voluntary community emergency response teams that is recognized by the Israeli government.
Kids are watching war on social media: Here’s what parents should know and do
In the wake of Hamas’ attack, videos of not only the deadly attacks but also of Hamas militants’ kidnapping men, women and children have circulated online, in addition to videos of bombings in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
The Israeli-Hamas conflict is not the first war children are likely to have been exposed to on social media. After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, many people, including children, were watching the war unfold on social media.
Experts say parents can and should help their kids make sense of the sometimes graphic, violent and upsetting images they may be seeing.
Revered peace activist is missing after sending harrowing text message during Hamas assault
As soon as she heard that Hamas militants were launching attacks in Israel, Avital Brown sent a WhatsApp message to her friend Vivian Silver, a Canadian-born peace activist who lived near the Gaza Strip.
In less than a minute, Silver, 74, responded from her home in Kibbutz Be’eri.
“It’s absolute chaos here,” she wrote in Hebrew at 7:54 a.m. Saturday, according to text messages shared with NBC News. “Terrorists have infiltrated Be’eri. There is shooting and screaming.”
Brown replied immediately but never heard back.
Gaza Strip experiencing internet outages and electricity cuts after bombings
Internet access in the Gaza Strip has been severely affected by power cuts and infrastructure damage since Hamas attacked, according to groups that track online connectivity.
Eight of the primary internet service providers serving the Gaza Strip had little to no connectivity today, according to NetBlocks, a company that tracks internet censorship.
“Some of them are connecting and disconnecting, but mostly they are not in a good shape,” said Isik Mater, the group’s director of research.
Drone video shows the scale of Hamas’ destruction at Israel music festival
Some sprinted through the desert and some hid in the bushes, while some tried to flee in their vehicles — only to be ambushed and kidnapped by Hamas militants who broke through Israel’s south border with the Gaza Strip.
They were among the thousands attending the Supernova Music Festival on Saturday morning when rockets were hurled toward Israel. A total of 260 people were killed, according to a spokesperson for ZAKA, an Israeli nongovernmental rescue and recovery organization.
Drone video released by the first responders sheds light on the aftermath of the attack, showing dozens of mangled vehicles strewn along the roads alongside the festival area. Some were upside down, and others were charred beyond recognition, giving a snapshot of the violence the concertgoers endured.
Many tried to escape to their vehicles parked in the Negev desert, but the road was soon blocked; videos taken later that morning and verified by NBC News showed the festival was directly ambushed by the militants.
More than 900 Israelis killed, more than 30 hostages taken, IDF says
The Israel Defense Forces says that over 900 Israelis have been killed and over 30 hostages have been taken in the Hamas attacks.
The IDF said in a post on X early Tuesday local time that 2,616 Israelis have been injured and 4,500 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel.
The Palestinian Health Ministry has said 687 people in Gaza and the West Bank have been killed.
4 children and their parents killed in Israeli strike in Gaza, group says
Four children, ages 1, 7, 10 and 11, and their parents were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, the group Defense for Children International — Palestine said.
NBC News has not confirmed the report of their deaths.
The group, which describes itself as a Palestinian child rights organization that documents human rights violations, said Israeli warplanes fired several missiles into the Al-Nasr neighborhood north of Gaza City at around 6:30 a.m. yesterday. The group says it has documentation the four children and the two adults were killed.
Festivalgoers describe harrowing escape through gunfire
Hai Cohen and Noam Kenner said on Sky News today that they were at the festival in the Israeli desert Saturday when the Hamas attack started.
The two ran to their Jeep and escaped by driving across fields, they said.
Hai Cohen told Sky News' Stuart Ramsay that he and Kenner heard gunfire and that bullets hit their car. During their escape, he said, they saw Hamas Jeeps and motorcycles driving into the area, their occupants killing young children.
Hamas "just butchered them," Cohen said.
Kenner said she initially wanted to take a different road out of the area but then saw Hamas shooting people on that road.
"The terrorists just [came] with the gun and shot everybody in those cars,'' she said.
Biden to deliver remarks about attack on Israel
President Joe Biden will deliver remarks from the White House tomorrow afternoon in connection with the attack on Israel, a White House official said.
'It's like she vanished,' mother says, as friend recounts fleeing festival
Shani Kupervaser was about to start a new job when she went to the SuperNova X festival with three of her friends. It was a prebirthday celebration, as she turns 28 on Oct. 17.
Her mother hasn’t heard from her since 8 a.m. Saturday, when Hamas attackers massacred 260 people at the desert locale.
"It’s like she vanished,” Diana Kupervaser, Shani’s mother, said in a telephone interview.
Eitan Halley, also 28, was with Kupervaser, and they and two other friends hurriedly drove away from the festival amid the mayhem. “We were hearing explosions and sirens,” Halley said by phone today. The road was chaotic, she said, and they decided to leave the car and run to a roadside bomb shelter, a concrete bunker with no door designed to withstand incoming rockets.
A man outside the bunker motioned for them to get inside. The friends and about a dozen other people crammed in.
Soon, Halley said, he realized they’d been lured inside as a trap.
The man who gathered them inside started yelling: “I’m a Christian! I’m a Christian!” At that moment, Halley said, a group of armed attackers descended upon the bunker shooting and throwing grenades.
“I think that was their signal to attack,” he said.
A young Israeli still in the army started throwing the grenades back at the attackers until one blew him up, Halley said.
Then Halley started throwing the grenades back, until he missed one and was thrown to the back of the bunker and hit his head.
“I passed out,” he said. Others inside were wounded. He decided to play dead as one of the attackers grabbed him by the hair.
He lost track of Kupervaser and one of their other friends. The fourth friend in their party was pulled out of the bunker. “She was almost kidnapped, but she said, ‘Please don’t take me,’ and he pushed her back inside,” Halley said.
The wounded tried to stay quiet, he said, but ultimately they cried out in pain until they fell silent, presumably dead.
“We were pretty much waiting in a pile of bodies for six or seven hours,” he said.
Finally, a resident of a local village came to the bunker and helped Halley out. Now, still in shock, he is dismayed that the Israeli authorities couldn’t come to the rescue.
“So many people injured who died because no one came. It was horrible,” he said.
Meanwhile Shani Kupervaser’s mother is waiting for word from authorities.
“We gave DNA samples, and we hope to get proof of life,” she said.
White House: 'There's no intention to put U.S. boots on the ground'
The U.S. is committed to backing Israel but has no plans to get directly involved in the Israel-Hamas conflict, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on a media call this evening.
"There's no intention to put U.S. boots on the ground," Kirby said. "That said, as evidenced by the changes in our force posture in the region, including the moving of the Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group into the Eastern Med, President Biden will always make sure we are that protecting and defending our national security interests, wherever those interests are."
He added he hoped Congress would not let support for Israel hold up the White House's proposal for aid to Ukraine. "We are a large enough, big enough, economically viable and vibrant enough country to be able to support both," Kirby said.
‘It is just worse and worse with every few hours here’: Ali Velshi reports from Tel Aviv
TEL AVIV, Israel — Eight rockets were intercepted over Tel Aviv Monday night local time, as the situation worsens every hour, NBC’s Ali Velshi reported.
Israel has called up 300,000 reservists, which is the largest number they’ve ever called up, he said.
“In fact, they don’t even have all those people in the country so El Al, the airline, has organized flights to bring reservists into Israel from other parts of the world that they might live in,” Velshi said on MSNBC.
Eight rockets were intercepted by the “Iron Dome” system over Tel Aviv, which is around 40 miles north of Gaza, he said.
Israel has imposed a “siege” on Gaza, which means no fuel, food or water will be shipped into Gaza from Israel, Velshi reported. Electricity generation in Gaza relies on diesel fuel, and it has three to four days of fuel remaining, he said.
Around 135,000 people in Gaza are without their homes, he said, and Hamas has threatened to kill hostages if Israel strikes homes of people not involved in the conflict.
"It is just worse and worse with every few hours here,” Velshi said.
France, Germany, Italy, U.K. and U.S. express unified support for Israel
France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States today expressed unified support for Israel and condemned Hamas’ attack and tactics.
The leaders of the five countries said in a joint statement: “We express our steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.”
Citing kidnappings and the killing of hundreds of Israelis, including an estimated 260 civilians at a music festival, the nations said they would back Israel.
“Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities,” they said.
They also said Hamas "does not represent" the aspirations of Palestinians and would only plunge them into more violence.
"All of us recognise the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike," the statement said. "But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed."
FBI says no credible threats in U.S. related to Hamas attacks
There have been no credible threats to the United States in connection with Hamas' attacks on Israel, the FBI said today, but noted it is prepared to adjust its stance in the face of any evolving perils.
"While the FBI does not have specific and credible intelligence indicating a threat to the United States stemming from the Hamas attacks in Israel, we are closely monitoring unfolding events," the FBI said in a statement.
The FBI added that it would not hesitate to change its posture "to protect the American people."
The agency said it's also working in Israel to help locate and identify missing, dead, injured and sheltering Americans affected by the war.
"Reports of deceased, injured, or missing Americans are being treated with the utmost urgency and aggressively investigated," it said.
Gaza church debunks fake claim that it was destroyed
An historic church in Gaza took to Facebook to debunk a claim that it had been destroyed by Israeli bombs.
On Monday, posts on X began to circulate claiming that Christian Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church had been destroyed by Israeli attacks.
Misinformation has flourished on X in the last few days, with verified accounts bringing in millions of views on their monetized content with some recycled and fake content.
Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church dates back hundreds of years, and social media users quickly latched onto the misinformation in an attempt to advocate for their own causes.
The misinformation was eventually republished on other website, which cited the false posts on X.
But later on Monday, a post appeared on the church's Facebook page, saying, "We would like to inform you that Saint Porphyrios Church in Gaza is untouched and operating in service of the community and our congregation. The news circulating about it being damaged are false. We appreciate your concern for the safety of our church and people and request your prayers for us."
Under Elon Musk's policies, few posts on X are taken down or moderated. Many false posts about the church remained up Monday afternoon, where they can still bring in ad dollars via the platform.
Man says he fears 75-year-old mother has been abducted by Hamas
The son of a 75-year-old woman living a few hundred feet from the Gaza border said on Sky News that he fears his mother has been abducted by Hamas, alongside many other elderly people in her community. Ada Sagi was hiding in a safe room in her home on Saturday morning when her son Noam said the phones went dark.
“She is 75 years old with a hip replacement,” Noam Sagi told Sky News. “She is not going to hide somewhere.’’
Sagi said that when he saw Palestinian media broadcasting from his mother's front lawn, his heart sank. Later that afternoon, he said the Israel Defense Forces went into her home and reported that she was missing.
''The only assumption, not just about her but so many of her neighbors and people around, is that if they've not been found, it's because they've been taken," Sagi said. ''There is over 90 people from [her] community of about 300 people that is now missing.''
Sagi said that many of people who live in his mother’s community are in their 80s.
Power outages take down internet in Gaza, data shows
Power outages have caused near-total internet blackouts in parts of the Gaza Strip, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, data from internet content delivery network Cloudflare shows.
The blackouts began Saturday morning local time, with two major internet providers — Fusion and DCC North — going offline, Cloudflare’s data shows. And while two other providers operated at half-capacity through the weekend, both are nearly completely dark as of Monday night local time.
In addition to the blackouts, internet infrastructure in the region has been the target of frequent cyberattacks since fighting broke out Saturday, as Cloudflare’s data shows a drastic increase in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks targeting Gaza and Israel. News and communication sites are the most frequent target of the attacks. Cloudflare said.
Jewish Voice for Peace: 'What must emerge from this horrifying time is a commitment to a future of peace'
What must emerge from ongoing turmoil in Israel and Gaza is "a commitment to a future of peace," said Stefanie Fox, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a grassroots progressive Jewish anti-Zionist organization.
"The pain and trauma of this moment is so raw and real for all sides, and we believe that what must emerge from this horrifying time is a commitment to a future of peace that's rooted in justice and freedom and equality for all people," Fox said.
But that cannot happen, Fox said, without acknowledging what she said is the root cause of the violence: "75 years of Israeli dispossession and discrimination and state violence on Palestinians."
"Reality is shaped by when you start the clock, you know, and while the Israeli government may have just declared war, its war on Palestinians started over 75 years ago," Fox said.
Jewish Voice for Peace is hopeful for a better future in the region.
"We believe in a future of a just peace that’s rooted in equality and dignity and freedom, where there is a society rooted in belonging not domination, in equality, rather than discrimination, in a shared actual multiracial democracy instead of apartheid and occupation," Fox said. "And we believe that that is possible if we are very focused in this moment."
Senior U.S. official accuses Hamas of 'ISIS-level savagery'
A senior U.S. defense official called the attack in Israel “unprecedented,” saying the conflict is different than past fights between Hamas and Israel because of the “ISIS-level savagery that we have seen committed against Israeli citizens,” and the “indiscriminate violence.”
The official said the Department of Defense has expressed its “unequivocal support for Israel’s right to defend itself.” The official said the U.S. has the ability to conduct long-range strikes but declined to say whether the U.S. military could use those capabilities to strike militants trying to enter Israel or in Syria if they are supporting Hamas. “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals,” the official said.
The official said the USS Ford carrier strike group will arrive “very soon,” but declined to provide specifics. The carrier strike group is deploying to minimize the risk of wider-spread conflict and as a deterrent signal to Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and others in the region who may be looking to expand the fighting in the region. The message is that they “should think twice and not take advantage of the instability.”
The official said the U.S. is surging support to Israel including air defense and munitions, which includes asking U.S. industry to expedite shipments of weapons already destined for Israel and looking at what other supplies and equipment are available in U.S. stockpiles. The U.S. is also talking to Israel about its air defense needs, said the official, and the U.S. could provide the Israelis with more air defense support.
European Union to review assistance to Palestinian authorities
The European Union's executive leadership today said it would review its assistance to Palestinian authorities in the wake of Hamas' attack on Israel.
The review, described as urgent, was announced after Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said earlier today all payments from the E.U.'s development program for Palestinians would be "immediately suspended."
The European Commission, which runs the E.U.’s day-to-day affairs, subsequently said in a statement there were no immediate payments to suspend. But it said any ongoing or future support of the Palestinian Authority and the broader Palestinian population may "need to be adjusted."
"The objective of this review is to ensure that no EU funding indirectly enables any terrorist organization to carry out attacks against Israel," the commission said in the statement.
Earlier in the day, Varhelyi, citing the Hamas attack as a "turning point," said the E.U. would halt its support, said to be worth about $730 million.
He said the E.U. was "the biggest donor of the Palestinians."
Natalia Casarotti, an Israeli mother whose 21-year-old son attended the music festival where Hamas launched its attacks Saturday, pleaded for the Israeli government to bring back her son.
Casarotti told MSNBC today that she has not heard from her son since before he left for the event, but he purportedly called a friend later on Saturday to say that he had badly injured his leg.
“I want my son. I want the government to bring back my son and I want my son to come back home alive. That’s the only thing I want,” Casarotti said.
Casarotti said she has given DNA to Israeli police, but has otherwise had no contact with the government or learned any further information. She said she has avoided photos and videos online and is trying to remain “positive.”
“I really try to stay positive. People say about different videos on the media, I am against even try to check them to watch them ... I won’t watch those videos or check pictures that [are] sent from terror groups,” Casarotti said.
At least 11 Americans dead and some may have been kidnapped, Biden says
President Joe Biden today said at least 11 Americans are known to have been killed in Hamas' attack on Israel.
"We are seeing the immense scale and reach of this tragedy," he said in a statement this afternoon. "Sadly, we now know that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed—many of whom made a second home in Israel."
He said there is an unknown number of United States citizens missing, and that diplomatic authorities are working with Israel to track them down.
Biden said the United States believes Americans may have been kidnapped.
"While we are still working to confirm, we believe it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas," he said. "I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts."
Hamas set on fire home with family inside, relative says
Russell Langer, from the Jewish Leadership Council, said on Sky News that on Saturday morning he received a text message from family members living near the Gaza border that said: ''We're stuck. They've come in and burned our house.''
Langer said that his aunt, her daughter and her husband, and their 10-day-old baby were inside the home in a safe room.
"When Hamas couldn't get them out [of the safe room], they set the house on fire with them inside,'' Langer told Sky News.
Langer said his aunt and her family were stuck inside the safe room for around nine hours with no access to food, water or a bathroom.
"[They were] stuck watching the fact that there were Hamas terrorists inside their house on the security footage, having to hold on to the handle to make sure that [Hamas] couldn't get in.''
Langer said that the room filled up with smoke and they had to lift the baby up to the window to breathe. After the harrowing nine hours, Langer said the Israeli army reached them, and they have been recovering in hospital for the past two days.
"They're not well, but they're recovering," said Langer.
‘They looked me in the eyes’: Festival organizer describes coming face to face with Hamas gunmen
Noa Beer had been anticipating the SuperNova X music and arts festival for months, helping organize the party in the Israeli desert. But when the day finally came, what was supposed to be a celebration of peace turned into a bloodbath. She barely escaped alive.
In the midst of Hamas’ brutal attack Saturday that killed 260 festivalgoers, Beer fled by car. At one point, she was surrounded by gunmen opening fire.
“They looked in my eyes and they saw terror,” she told NBC News by phone.
Gaza and West Bank death toll hits 687
In Gaza and the West Bank, 687 people have been killed, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Monday night, local time.
John Kirby says U.S. will continue to back Israel in its counterattack on Hamas
John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications on the National Security Council, said on MSNBC this afternoon that the United States will continue to back Israel in its counterattack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
"We know that Israel has to work to defend itself, and they're doing that aggressively right now," Kirby said. "But Israel is a great democracy, a very vibrant democracy, and we share a lot of the same values, democratic institutions and and values about innocent life. And we're going to continue to obviously, stay lashed up closely with Israeli officials as they continue to prosecute this war," he added.
Kirby also said that the U.S. is not officially aware of any Americans being taken hostage in Gaza, but that "we have to assume, sadly, that there's a strong possibility that some could be."
Photo: Missile and lightning strikes in Gaza
Father of missing IDF soldier and U.S. citizen says America should do more to locate its missing citizens
Ruby Chen, the father of missing IDF soldier and U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Itay Chen, said on CNN today that he does not think the United States is doing enough to locate its missing citizens.
Chen said he was notified by an IDF commander that his son was missing in action Saturday morning. He said he reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv but said he believes that the U.S. is taking a "back seat" in investigating what happened to his son.
"I think that the U.S., at a minimum, needs to demand that any prisoner of war be treated according to international law,'' Chen told CNN. "They should be doing much more in order to find these citizens who are missing.''
Chen said his son was hoping to come home to celebrate his brother's bar mitzvah Saturday.
"We are all praying and hoping that we will be able to celebrate this together with our family and with Itay.''
Students in Israel gap-year program are safe, focused on volunteering
The co-founder of the largest gap-year program in Israel said tonight that the more than 150 students participating this semester are safe and focused on helping out as the violence continues.
Debbie Goldsmith, who is the executive director and co-founder of Aardvark Israel, said the 160 students in the program this semester have had to take cover in shelters as air raid sirens have sounded around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The group includes students from about a dozen countries and 110 are from the United States, Goldsmith said.
She said the students, who are between the ages of 18 and 21, have tried to help through volunteering, donating blood at a center collecting donations for families that were evacuated from the southern Gaza border, as well as collecting and sending supplies and food to soldiers on the frontlines.
“Those kinds of activities not only are so important and useful, but also really empowering and engaging and help the students feel a part of something positive,” Goldsmith said. “Instead of sitting on their hands and feeling helpless, they’re able to use their hands to contribute.”
“I think that this is an unprecedented time in Israel’s history. It’s really heart-wrenching,” she said.
Netanyahu calls Hamas' decision to attack Israel a 'terrible mistake'
TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Hamas' decision to attack Israel “a terrible mistake,” and warned that images of "devastation and destruction" from militant strongholds were "just the beginning."
"This bitter enemy wanted war and he will get war," Netanyahu said at a news conference today not long after a spokesperson for the military wing of Hamas threatened that militants would kill one civilian every time Israel targeted civilians in their homes in the Gaza Strip "without warning."
Netanyahu did not appear to address the threat directly, but said Hamas would come to regret launching its surprise attack Saturday.
"We have begun and I emphasize, we have only begun to hit Hamas," he said. "The images of the devastation and destruction from the Hamas strongholds in Gaza are just the beginning. We have eliminated many hundreds of terrorists and we will not stop there."
U.S. military presence near Israel is a blunt message to Iran and Hezbollah, officials say
The U.S. warships and fighter jets deploying near Israel this week in support of Israel are also intended to send an explicit message to Iran, according to current and former senior U.S. officials.
That message, one of the officials said, is “stand down” — specifically when it comes to any considerations by Tehran of unleashing the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
“This is all about deterring Iran,” the official said.
The Biden administration is sending the ships of the Navy’s USS Gerald Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and officials are planning to keep in place for the foreseeable future some F-16 and A-10 fighter jets that were scheduled to rotate out of the region, according to a U.S. official.
Abbey Onn, an American living in Israel, told MSNBC five members of her family were kidnapped by Hamas and she saw one of them, a 12-year-old boy, being captured in a video online.
“We all woke up Saturday, like all Israelis, to sirens at 6:30 a.m. in the morning. And we went to the bomb shelter. It’s something we’ve been through. But we came back and in the early morning hours started getting videos of Hamas infiltrating the country from land and air and sea and sky,” she said today on "Andrea Mitchell Reports."
Then she got WhatsApp messages from her family near Nir Oz near the Gaza Strip, that Hamas was in the house and shooting.
“They burned majority of the kibbutz and really slaughtered almost everyone. Those that weren’t slaughtered many were taken hostage and kidnapped into Gaza, which is what we believe happened to five members of our family,” she said.
She said her family has not heard from the government about her relatives.
“This feels like a complete violation of everything. This is absolute terror,” Onn said.
Safety of Palestinian civilians is 'up to Hamas leadership', Israeli Embassy’s chief of mission says
Eliav Benjamin, the chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., said on MSNBC today that the safety of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza strip is not Israel's responsibility.
“We are at war, that we did not start,” he said.
Benjamin said Hamas "chose this battle" and the safety of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip is "up to them and the Hamas leadership."
"This is war and we will do everything that we need to do to make sure the Hamas itself suffers," he said.
Racism and devaluation of Palestinian lives are at the root of the conflict, human rights attorney says
Racism and a devaluation of Palestinian lives are at the root of the conflict that has plagued the region for around 75 years, human rights attorney and activist Noura Erakat says.
Palestinians have been the target for settler colonial removal since the establishment of Israel in 1948, placed in areas mostly limited to Gaza and the West Bank and subjected to what many human rights reports recognize as apartheid at the hands of the Israeli government, Erakat said.
“The fact that anybody can say this attack was unprovoked is expecting Palestinians to die under those conditions,” she told NBC News. “There’s a devaluation of Palestinian life. They, like all people, desire freedom.”
“Palestinians have been racialized as an ‘inferior other’ that not only doesn’t have a right to a homeland, but barely has a right to survive,” she said. She added that this was evident when an Israeli official said “We are fighting human animals” when he announced that Israel would cut electricity, food and water to Gaza.
“That is racial work, the work of racism,” she said. “Palestinians have to justify that they, too, fight for freedom.”
This framework has led to violence and unrest that have claimed both Israeli and Palestinian lives, and specifically led to the oppression of Palestinians, according to Erakat. A full siege of the already blockaded Gaza Strip has been ordered and 576 people have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank so far.
“Generations of families are being killed in one fell swoop, and rather than calling this out, there’s global support for it and funding,” Erakat said. “What is so painful is it would be condemned anywhere else, but here, it’s receiving financial and military support.”
IDF: Over 700 Israelis murdered, Israeli attacks have killed 'dozens of terrorists'
Airstrikes have been ongoing for the past 24 hours, with 60 fighter jets currently attacking “the heart of Gaza City,” an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said Monday evening local time.
The onslaught has killed “many dozens of terrorists,” and led to the capture of “dozens of prisoners,” Daniel Hagari said.
He said the military chief of staff to the Gaza Division was on the ground today, adding: “We purified the area.”
Hagari said as of Monday evening, Hamas militants are no longer crossing the fence from Gaza into Israel. The area has been fortified with tanks and planes.
"Over 700 Israelis were murdered," Hagari said. "We updated over 30 families of abductees. We notified 85 families of fallen soldiers."
“We have only begun with our intention to fight. We have no time limit, we have no space limit, we have no capacity limit, we have one compass. Security and victory,” he added.
'Civilians must be protected': U.N. calls for humanitarian aid to Gaza
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said today he is "deeply distressed" by Israel's order for a full siege of Gaza by cutting off electricity, food and fuel to the densely populated region.
He also condemned the shelling of hospitals and shelters in the Gaza Strip, asking for the U.N. to be allowed in to offer humanitarian aid.
He spoke to the media after meeting with senior leaders, condemning Hamas' capture of hostages, civilians and military alike, and also expressed concern over reports of more than 500 Palestinians killed in Gaza. He warned Israel that military operations “must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law.”
He said there are some 137,000 people sheltered in U.N. shelters in Gaza — a number sure to surge.
“It’s time to end this vicious circle of bloodshed, hatred and polarization,” he said. “Only a negotiated peace that fulfills the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis, together with their security alike — the long-held vision of a two-state solution ... can bring long-term stability to the people of this land and the wider Middle East region.”
Hamas threatens to kill 1 civilian hostage every time Israel hits civilian areas without warning
TEL AVIV — A spokesperson for the military wing of Hamas has said militants will kill one civilian hostage every time Israel targets civilians in their homes in Gaza “without warning.”
In an audio statement released today, Abu Obeida, spokesman of the Qassam Brigades, said intense strikes had been seen in civilian areas in Gaza.
He said the statement was a "warning" after Israel issued a "full siege" of Gaza and pounded the area with airstrikes after Hamas attacked Israel, killing at least 700 people and taking some 100 hostage.
Hezbollah says member died near Lebanon border
Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group said that one of its members died in the conflict with Israel near the Lebanon border on Monday.
Hezbollah said in a statement the member “sacrificed his life” due to the “Zionist enemy’s aggression.”
Meanwhile, Al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, took responsibility for the operation in southern Lebanon at the border.
Earlier on Monday, Israel Defense Forces said combat helicopters were attacking Lebanese territory. Footage of shelling smoke coming from the border area surfaced around that same time.
Former Biden ambassador to Israel: 'The goal of Hamas is to create a regional war against the state of Israel'
Tom Nides, Biden’s former ambassador to Israel, said that “the goal of Hamas is to create a regional war against the state of Israel” in an interview with NBC News.
“And they don’t care what the costs will be for that to be created, including the death and destruction of innocent Palestinians,” he said.
Nides said Biden has made clear that Israel “has every right to defend itself from what is the worst terrorist attack probably” in its history, which described as “the equivalent of 40,000 or 50,000 Americans dying.”
“Hamas is a terrorist organization that has one objective, which is to destroy the state of Israel,” he said. “And given that they have taken more than 100 hostages, including some Americans, Israel has every right to do what they need to do to get those bodies back.”
He also demanded the Senate to confirm his successor, Jack Lew, “immediately" upon returning from recess: “They need to confirm Jack Lew the day they get back into session. They need to get the committee hearing done. He needs to be on the ground. He’ll be a phenomenal ambassador, and he needs to be there.”
“Ambassadors are always important,” he added. “In crises, they’re even more important.”
Congressional committees to get classified briefings on Israel amid speaker uncertainty
The House Intelligence Committee will receive a classified briefing on Israel tomorrow, two sources familiar told NBC News.
The staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee will also receive a classified briefing on Israel tomorrow. A full classified briefing for senators has not been scheduled yet because the Senate remains on recess this week.
The briefing comes as the House grapples with how to respond to the ongoing crisis without a permanent speaker since Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted last week.
As an unelected speaker pro tempore, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., cannot attend the classified intelligence briefings with the "Gang of Eight," the leaders of each of the two parties from the Senate and the House and the top lawmakers on both chambers’ Intelligence committees.
Israeli mother tells MSNBC she has 'no sympathy' for Gaza after her sons were kidnapped by Hamas
An Israeli mother spoke on MSNBC today, sharing that her two sons were kidnapped by Hamas on Saturday.
She said she was on the phone with her sons, 16 and 12, while they were in a safe room Saturday, eventually hearing people she believes kidnapped the two boys.
"I could hear there were people speaking in Arabic outside their door, and they broke in and the last thing I heard was the youngest, who’s 12, saying to them, 'I’m too young, don’t take me,' ... That was the last time I heard from them," she told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.
She said the Hamas attack has diminished her sympathy for the people of Gaza.
"I used to say to my children, that they should be sympathetic towards the children of Gaza because they suffer a lot more than they do. I'm not sure I still believe in it now," she said.
Mexico to send planes to evacuate about 300 citizens, as 3 Mexican nationals are missing
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said today that about 300 Mexican nationals have signed up to leave Israel.
He noted at a news conference that many were in Israel for tourism and religious reasons.
In light of commercial flight cancellations because of the conflict, Obrador said Mexico will send a plane today and another tomorrow to evacuate its citizens.
There are also reports of three missing Mexican nationals, he noted, adding the government is in communication with their families.
In general, the president said, there are around 5,000 Mexicans in Israel.
Ex-CIA Director says Hamas attack shows an intelligence failure of 'epic proportions'
Former CIA Director John Brennan told MSNBC today that the Hamas attack shows an intelligence failure of "epic proportions."
"Clearly the Israelis didn't have the either human or technical sources that gave them insight into this. And also, I think it's increasingly apparent now that they misread a lot of the signals that were coming out of Gaza in terms of activities that the Hamas members were engaged in," Brennan said.
Brennan said he believes plans for the attack have been "brewing for many, many years" and there have been "tactical missteps" over several months that led to Israeli officials not seeing that "such a large, multidimensional, multipronged attack" was going to happen.
"This clearly was a failure of epic proportions," Brennan said.
Israeli survivor: ‘It really does not seem real.’
An Israel resident and survivor of the Hamas attacks spoke out about what he experienced early Saturday, saying he initially thought videos of the attacks were a joke because "it really does not seem real."
In an interview with "Morning Joe," Barak Shmuel, who is originally from Colorado, said he first heard rockets while he and his friends were on their way to work out.
“And then it just kept on coming and I understood that the situation is legit,” he said. “And in that exact moment. I completely like shut down. I went into a safety mode. I locked my house completely. And just since, it’s just been a feeling of uncertainty of how it’s going to continue.”
Schmuel said that his friend, a surfer, was killed in the attacks.
“When I got home on that same morning, I saw the messages that he was missing. And then later that night, we heard that he was killed,” he said.
Thousands of targets hit by Israeli aircraft, IDF says
Israel Defense Forces said that from Saturday into this morning, more than 1,200 “targets were hit by Israeli aircraft.”
“Today we doubled that number,” the IDF tweeted this evening local time.
Among the targets were weapons storage, manufacturing sites, command and control centers and rocket launchers, the IDF said.
The violence continues between Hamas and Israel, as the death toll has mounted to over 1,000.
Israeli dad is missing after rushing to save daughter from festival attack
Gilad Peretz last heard from his father at 8:48 a.m. Saturday.
His father had driven to southern Israel to try to rescue his daughter — Peretz's sister — from the music festival that was targeted by Hamas gunmen.
Peretz stayed on the phone with his father during his trip south. He heard gunshots, and then the line went dead.
His sister survived the Hamas attack after hiding in some bushes. She has since returned home, Peretz told NBC News's Joe Fryer today.
"She's traumatized now," Peretz said. "But we try to keep her strong and think about my father." Peretz believes his father was kidnapped and taken to Gaza.
Video shows Hamas militants kidnapping 12-year-old boy
SDEROT, Israel — A video clip circulating online shows Hamas fighters kidnapping a 12-year-old Israeli boy named Erez Kalderon.
Erez's sister, 21-year-old Gaya Kalderon, confirmed to NBC News that the boy in the video is her brother. She said he was kidnapped with other members of their family from their kibbutz in Nir Oz on Saturday morning.
In the video, a person off-camera can be heard saying in part: "These are young settlers. Keep them with you, don’t hurt them. A hundred percent we should deal with them with wisdom, you guys."
Israel has not yet said exactly how many people were taken hostage by Hamas fighters after the early morning incursion Saturday. In interviews, family members of the kidnapping victims have described their anguish and terror.
Israel strikes Lebanese territory
Israel's air force said that it was striking Lebanese territory around 5 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) today using combat helicopters.
The Lebanese Army Command said the outskirts of the towns of Dhahira and Aita al-Shaab and other border areas were being hit with air and artillery attacks by Israel.
The Lebanese army called for people to take precaution and avoid areas adjacent to the Israeli border.
Earlier, the IDF Homefront Command warned Israeli civilians in towns near the Lebanese border to remain in their homes and said the Israeli military had “neutralized a number of terrorist infiltrators who crossed from Lebanon into Israel.”
The only hospital in the city of Beit Hanoun disabled by bombings, Palestinian Health Ministry says
The only hospital in Beit Hanoun, a city on the northeast of the Gaza Strip, is out of service because of “repeated targeting” by Israel, the Palestinian Health Ministry said around 4:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET).
It said crews are unable to enter and exit the hospital and large parts of the hospital have been damaged, resulting in disabled services.
No major cyberattacks on Israel yet, NSA official says
There are no signs yet of a major cyberattack on Israel as part of the Hamas assault on the country, according to Rob Joyce, a National Security Agency official.
"One of the big worries, of course: Is there a cyber component at this point? I'd say not yet," Joyce, a senior adviser for cybersecurity strategy to the director of the NSA, said today at a security conference in Sea Island, Georgia.
He added that the U.S. has seen some "small denial-of-service" attacks, referring to attacks that attempt to make a computer or other device inaccessible.
Joyce said Israel would likely come under cyberattack as it has in the past, adding that he expected “significant events” in the future. But he did not elaborate on those remarks.
Brandeis professor tells MSNBC his daughter was killed in Israel while shielding her son
Brandeis professor Ilan Troen told MSNBC in an interview today that his daughter was killed in Israel while shielding her teenage son who was shot and survived.
Troen said he was on the phone with his daughter and his grandson when his daughter said, "They’re speaking in Arabic and I hear shots."
"That’s the last words we heard from her," Troen said.
Troen said his grandson told him he had been shot and had blood on him, and was told not to speak.
"The rest of the day was texting. He had to be quiet, because these terrorists came back several times to the house. And at the final time, they threw on a grenade and they tried to burn it down," Troen said.
Hamas military wing says it launched a missile strike on Sderot
Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said today that it had launched 90 missiles into the Israeli city of Sderot, near the Gaza Strip.
Earlier today, NBC News’ Richard Engel reported in Sderot while taking cover from what appeared to be mortar fire and rockets in the area.
Second French national killed in Israel-Hamas conflict
The French Foreign Ministry said today that a second French national had died in the Hamas attacks.
The French government is in contact with the man’s family and Israeli authorities, it said in a statement.
Lufthansa Group cancels flights to and from Israel through Saturday
Lufthansa Group, the German aviation company, has suspended flights from its network of passenger airlines to and from Israel through Saturday, a spokesperson told NBC News. Those airlines include Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines.
European Commission suspends aid to Palestinians
The European Commission will halt all aid to Palestinians in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, said on the platform X today.
He said all payments will be "immediately suspended," all projects are placed under review, and new budget proposals will be postponed until further notice. The E.U. had been committed to supporting an independent and sovereign Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.
Varhelyi said the European Commission — the European Union's executive arm — is the biggest donor to Palestinians and is putting its full development portfolio, worth 691 million euros, under review.
“The foundations for peace, tolerance and co-existence must now be addressed," he tweeted. "Incitement to hatred, violence and glorification of terror have poisoned the minds of too many. We need action and we need it now.”
Peter Stano, lead spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, explained the situation to Sky News on Monday. He said the suspended funding will be "reviewed to make sure that none of the EU funding is going to people linked to Hamas.”
Rep. Meeks says Congress has to 'find a way' to support Israel
Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said this morning that Congress has "got to do something and we've got to do it collectively" to support Israel.
Republicans have not yet elected a speaker of the House, and he said on MSNBC that if a speaker is not elected by the end of the week, Congress will have to find another way to ensure support for Israel.
"Though we don't have the power to put something on the floor, we wrote a resolution collectively together to condemn this heinous criminal and inhumane act of Hamas," Meeks said.
He said he believes the White House currently has what it needs to support Israel and "give it what it needs," but Congress will need to move to ensure that support can last in the weeks to come.
Meeks said U.S. support is necessary, as Hamas does not seek peace with Israel, saying "you can't negotiate, you can't expect peace if one side is saying you should not exist."
Inside the desperate search for hostages captured in Hamas attack
TEL AVIV — About 130 people, including children, have been taken hostage by Hamas fighters and family members are desperate for answers, pleading for information about their missing loved ones.
"We don't have any proof of their state, if they got fed, if the baby got food, if my aunt is okay," Yifat Zailer told the "TODAY" show about her cousin Shiri Silberman-Bibas, who was captured by Hamas gunmen.
Jessica Elter has been searching for information about her boyfriend, who she said helped rescue people before he vanished.
"We were talking, he said, 'Everything is OK, I'm going out,'" she said. "Suddenly, I heard screaming."
Yoni Asher recounted his wife calling him for help before she and his two young daughters were abducted.
"The last thing she said to me was that there are terrorists in the house," Asher said, adding that all he could do was track her phone to Gaza.
Netanyahu says counteroffensive against Hamas 'just getting started'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told local officials today that his government's counteroffensive against Hamas was "just getting started."
"We are in the midst of a campaign. I know that you have undergone a difficult and terrible ordeal," Netanyahu said in remarks to a group of local and regional officials in southern Israel. "What Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible."
"We are all with you and we will defeat them forcefully," he said.
Israeli military gathers east and north of Gaza Strip
IDF says it killed militants crossing from Lebanon
TEL AVIV — Israeli forces killed "a number of militants" who crossed into Israel from its northern neighbor Lebanon today, according to a military spokesperson.
"Helicopter gunships are now attacking in space," according to the statement, which followed reports of sirens sounding in Israeli communities on the border.
A little while later, the IDF said "two launches of mortar shells toward Israeli territory were identified. One of the launches fell in Lebanese territory."
No injuries were reported, it said.
Tel Aviv woman searches for her family
Gaia Calderon was on the phone with her mother as Hamas fighters were inside their house near Gaza.
The phone died, and now Calderon is searching for her father, sister, brother, a cousin with special needs and her 80-year-old grandmother who has dementia. Calderon said she found a video in which her brother, 12, is seen being taken hostage by Hamas militants.
"I'm trying to be strong but it's so hard," she said while tearing up. "I'm just hoping they are alive because I can't deal with something like this."
‘Incoming fire’ as Richard Engel reports from near Gaza Strip
SDEROT, Israel — NBC News’ Richard Engel reported from Sderot, Israel, near the Gaza Strip on Monday, as "incoming fire" from what appeared to be mortar fire and rockets landed nearby.
"There has been a lot of incoming fire here," he said, reporting while taking cover down on the ground.
"This is still considered a very active combat zone, even though we are inside Israeli territory," Engel said, adding that there were also reports from Israeli officials of Hamas sending more fighters through breaches in the border fence.
"There are still rockets and mortars coming out of Gaza. The Israelis are bombing inside Gaza. We've seen and heard Israeli jets and drones flying overhead and the infiltrations are still are still underway."
U.S. ramps up security around synagogues and mosques
Major U.S. cities, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., have bolstered security measures around Jewish communities and synagogues, as well as Islamic mosques, in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
In Salt Lake City, police ramped up security following bomb threats at synagogues yesterday, NBC affiliate KSL of Salt Lake City reported.
A historic high of almost 3,700 antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2022, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Israeli troops work to secure Sderot
SDEROT, Israel — As Israel continues to launch retaliatory missile attacks on Hamas targets, troops on the ground here said they are waiting to clear out the bodies of Hamas fighters in the rubble of a bombed police station.
Hamas fighters had penetrated the town and taken over a police station, witnesses and officials told NBC News. They drove to the city in pickup trucks with machine guns mounted on the backs of the vehicles. Witnesses said the militants were firing at people.
Israeli forces collapsed the station with a bomb and are now slowly waiting to clear out what they believe are about bodies of 10 Hamas fighters, which they said are booby trapped.
Israeli troops told NBC News they believe the area is now secure, but that some Hamas members may have escaped and could be hiding in Sderot or other towns.
Israeli airline El Al to fly reservists to fight
Israel's El Al announced today that the airline will launch flights to take reservists back to the area to fight Hamas after Saturday's unprecedented attack, Reuters reported.
A spokesperson for the airline said that several of El Al's planes in and out of Israel were full, and no flights had been canceled.
Man says wife, two young daughters and mother-in-law were taken to Gaza as hostages
Yoni Asher says his wife, Doron, and two young daughters, Raz and Aviv, ages 3 and 5, and his mother-in-law were taken hostage by Hamas militants, who took them to Gaza on Saturday.
Asher said on NBC’s “TODAY” show today that his family members had been staying at his mother-in-law’s house near the Gaza Strip since Thursday, when they were taken Saturday morning.
That morning, he received a terrifying phone call from his wife saying there were terrorists inside the house. He said he recognized his wife and kids in video circulating online showing Hamas taking hostages.
“They’re just little babies,” he said pleading for their safe return. “Babies, women, families are off limits. You can’t just taken them and hold them in captivity … That’s what I want to tell [Hamas]. To not hurt them and show some decency. Show some respect.”
He said that, in the past 48 hours, he’s been unable to sleep or eat and has been talking to local media and social media to raise awareness about the crisis at hand so "people can see that they should be home, they shouldn’t be kept as prisoners by Hamas."
At least 700 dead in Israel, 560 dead in Gaza
At least 700 people have been killed in Israel, including 73 soldiers, according to Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari, and some 560 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
More than 2,000 people have been injured in Israel and roughly 2,900 have been injured in Gaza.
Nine Americans killed in Israel conflict, State Department says
Nine Americans have been killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict and more may be missing, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on "Morning Joe" this morning.
“There are reports of Americans who are unaccounted for. We continue to work to confirm that number and try to locate those who are missing," he added. "We don’t have solid information about either the number or where they might be and we’ll continue to work through that with the government of Israel."
Nations across the globe have been scrambling to assess the safety of their citizens caught in the Israel-Hamas crossfire that erupted Saturday.
N.Y. congressman recalls 'traumatic' escape from 'unfathomable' Hamas attack
Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., described his terrifying experience waking up to sirens wailing and sheltering in a stairwell with his family Saturday during a family trip to Tel Aviv.
“I had never heard [the sirens] before. My kids had no idea what was going on. We woke up and sort of scrambled and ran to the stairwell on the Saturday morning. That happened several more times as rocket fire was coming towards Tel Aviv. It happened again in the evening,” he recalled on NBC’s “TODAY” show this morning.
His family was able to get a flight out of Israel yesterday.
“It was unfathomable. Our experience was traumatic, but of course it is nothing compared to so many Israelis down in the south just massacred with barbarism that we have not seen."
He called for the U.S. to provide support to Israel and denounced Hamas’ actions of “indiscriminately massacring people.”
Russia says it's 'very concerned' by situation in Israel
The Kremlin said today it was "extremely concerned" by the violence in Israel and Gaza, calling it a "great danger for the region" amid its own invasion of Ukraine.
“We believe that it’s necessary to bring this situation into a peaceful direction as soon as possible, because the continuation of such a round of violence, of course, is fraught with further escalation and expansion of this conflict," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a daily news call.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has condemned Hamas' invasion and expressed solidarity with Israel, saying Monday that Kyiv's position is that anyone who brings terror and death must be held accountable. He has regularly referred to Russia as a terrorist state.
Hamas breaks new ground in recent attack, former senior CIA official says
Jeremy Bash, who served as chief of staff at both the Defense Department and the CIA, said on NBC's “TODAY” show this morning that Israel has never faced a ground invasion like Hamas' attack Saturday.
“The terrorists came in by boat, they came in by paraglider, they’ve done both of those things before, but never before have they been able to blow 15 holes in a fortified border fence and enter Israel on vehicles and go on a killing spree throughout all of those villages and towns there along the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Hamas' offensive came 50 years almost to the day after the start of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, when Arab neighbors launched a surprise attack during Yom Kippur and crossed into Israeli-held territory.
While sirens blaring and people entering bomb shelters are nothing new, Israelis are used to the Iron Dome intercepting assault rockets.
“But never before had they have to contend with a ground invasion and military assault from terrorists in their homes, in their community centers, in their villages," he said.
He said that the capture of hostages poses a major complication for the Israeli Defense Force, and that if Israel goes after Hezbollah in northern Israel, which is sponsored by Iran, it could signal “a wider regional war between Israel and Iran.”
Israeli kidnapping victim's cousin frustrated by lack of official information
Yifat Zailer feels like she has been forced to become an amateur investigator in the almost 48 hours since Hamas militants kidnapped six of her relatives.
Zailer has not heard anything from Israeli government, military or law enforcement officials — "no one from the army, no one from the police, no one from mental health [services]," she said in an interview with NBC News late yesterday. She has been scouring for information.
Hamas gunmen captured Zailer's cousin Shiri Silberman-Bibas; Shiri’s husband, Yarden Bibas, 37; their 9-month-old and 3-year-old boys; and Shiri’s parents, Yosi and Margit Silberman, who are in their late 60s. The kidnapping of Shiri Silberman-Bibas and her children was recorded and the clip has circulated online.
Zailer, who lives in Tel Aviv, said she understands that Israeli authorities are likely consumed by the "magnitude of the event" and are struggling to keep civilians informed. But she remains desperate for news.
"Families are crying for help," Zailer said, breaking down in sobs. "Families are looking for their loved ones."
Several European countries evacuating citizens from Israel
Several European countries were evacuating their citizens from Israel today.
The Polish government said today that 120 of its citizens arrived in Warsaw on evacuation flights from Israel.
Romania has evacuated some 245 citizens, including two groups of pilgrims, from Israel aboard four planes, the Foreign Ministry wrote.
Hungary evacuated 215 people from Israel overnight, the country’s foreign minister said in a Facebook post this morning, adding that the group had safely landed in Budapest.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian diplomats were working to learn about the status of Russian nationals in Israel, including whether any Russians were injured or endangered. Peskov added that Russian envoys were in contact with Palestinian officials.
'Like watching a horror movie': Returning travelers describe unfolding conflict
A traveler returning from Israel to Los Angeles International Airport described scenes unfolding on the ground, saying it’s “like watching a horror movie.”
He shared his experience of seeing both soldiers and civilians killed, adding that he has close friends who are missing.
“It’s a very complicated situation, but I’m sure we’re going to handle it,” he said. “Israel is a very strong country.”
Another traveler described hearing sirens and “thousands and thousands of missiles.”
He said the conflict forced him and his family to cut their trip short. “My kids are not used to it. My wife was used to it. I’ve been through a few of these, but I didn’t want my kids to go through this," he said.
Hamas fighters still trying to infiltrate Israel, IDF says
Although Israel says it has regained control over all of its communities, there is still active fighting with Hamas militants “constantly trying to cross over” from Gaza, IDF spokesman Doron Spielman told NBC News.
“They keep stringing to the border and we expect this to continue because there’s a massive number of jihadis that have been trained to do this,” he said.
The fighters who have crossed over have “embedded themselves” Spielman said, and “there are potentially serious numbers of terrorists that are in hiding.” Today, “one of those terrorist cells came out of hiding and began shooting on one of the southern communities.”
Spielman said Israel was faced with an “entirely new paradigm” compared with conflicts of recent years. “We are battling an enemy that is more similar to ISIS than any other type of enemy that the world has encountered in many, many years.”
Asked whether Israel was preparing a ground offensive, he said, “I can tell you that we’re weighing the situation very carefully” and that “we’re going to need to take a deep breath, because this is going to take a significant period of time.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry releases 'horrific' images of dead bodies
Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry released a series of disturbing pictures on its Facebook page this morning, showing a room full of dead bodies and a kidnapping in progress.
The victims' faces were blurred but still convey the shocking scenes of the last 48 hours.
"We debated whether or not to share these horrific images, but the world needs to know what we are up against," the ministry said in its post, comparing Hamas to the Islamist group ISIS.
British prime minister's residence emblazoned with Israeli flag
Hamas claims 4 Israeli captives killed by Israeli bombing of Gaza
The Al-Qassam Brigades. the military wing of Hamas, said that four Israeli citizens taken captive by the militants were killed as the result of Israel's retaliatory bombing of Gaza.
There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli officials to the claim and NBC News has not verified this claim.
IDF spokesman Doron Spielman told NBC News the force does not have any information on the claim at this time. "Nor would I trust reports from Hamas," Spielman said.
The Hamas militants are believed to have taken dozens of people, both Israeli civilians and military, hostage during the unprecedented incursion over the weekend.
Iran denies involvement in Hamas attack
In a briefing today, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry denied that the country was involved in the Hamas attack on Israel. The spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, dismissed such accusations as "politicized."
In a separate statement, Iran’s mission to the United Nations nonetheless celebrated Hamas' incursion.
The denial comes after The Wall Street Journal reported that Iranian security officials helped Hamas plan the surprise assault and approved it during a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Two U.S. officials told NBC News that they did not have information to corroborate the Journal account. However, the scale and complex tactics Hamas used indicate Iran most likely played a significant role in the assault, former U.S. intelligence and military officers say.
Israeli defense minister orders 'full siege' of the Gaza Strip
Israel has begun what Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called a "full siege" of the Gaza Strip in the wake of the unprecedented attacks by Hamas.
"I ordered a full siege on the Gaza Strip. No power, no food, no gas, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly," said Gallant, a former IDF commander who now serves in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-line nationalist government.
Gallant was speaking after conducting a situation assessment with the IDF Southern Command.
Gaza is a tiny coastal enclave that is home to more than 2 million residents and has been blockaded for years since Hamas took power there.
'Most lethal assault against Jews since the Holocaust': U.S. antisemitism envoy
The special U.S. envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism said the Hamas attacks on Israel over the weekend were the most lethal assault against Jews "since the Holocaust."
"There is no justification whatsoever for this mass murder. None," she said in a post on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.
"No one has the right to tell Israel how to defend itself and prevent and deter future attacks," she said.
Israel resident watched as his family was apparently kidnapped online
Israel resident Yoni Asher said he watched on social media as a disturbing video emerged appearing to show his wife, two young daughters and mother-in-law being taken by Hamas and crammed onto the back of a vehicle.
He had last spoken with his wife when she called to say terrorists had descended on a home in which she and her relatives were hiding, Asher told NBC News.
The last thing he remembered her saying was that the militants were armed and that she feared talking too loudly on the phone. “It was a very terrifying moment,” Asher said, adding that he believed his father-in-law had also been abducted. “The worst has happened — they discovered them and took them.”
Israeli and Palestinian supporters stage rival protests in Times Square, New York
300,000 reservists mobilized in Israel, IDF says
The IDF has called up at least 300,000 reservists since the Hamas incursion, it said this morning, amid speculation that Israel is on the verge of launching a ground operation in Gaza.
"We have managed to mobilize 300,000 reservists — everybody has come to join," IDF spokesperson Richard Hecht told Sky News.
Hecht would not comment on any plans for a ground invasion, but said the military will bring "disruptive solutions" to resolve the situation.
Israeli forces regain control following clashes with Hamas, IDF says
The Israeli military has regained control of multiple areas from Hamas fighters, a spokesman for the IDF said, after reports that fighting was going on at up to eight locations inside Israel.
"I think we have actually managed to gain control right now," Richard Hecht told Sky News, adding that there has been a shift in the recent hours in southern Israel.
"We can’t deny that there are terrorists still inside Israel," Hecht added. "There are still small pockets of exchange, but in general right now, we have more or less gained control of the communities."
Another IDF spokesman, Daniel Hagari, said at a news conference that Israeli troops have regained control of all towns on the Gaza border, according to the Times of Israel.
Smoke rises above Gaza City this morning
More than 123,000 people in Gaza internally displaced, United Nations says
More than 123,000 people have been internally displaced in Gaza since Israeli forces retaliated for an unprecedented incursion by Hamas over the weekend, the United Nations humanitarian agency said.
That includes more than 17,500 families displaced "mostly due to fear, protection concerns and the destruction of their homes," according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The U.N. estimates more than 73,000 people are sheltering in 64 schools, some of which are designated emergency shelters.
Schumer ‘disappointed’ by China’s lack of sympathy for Israel
On Sunday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged “relevant parties” to immediately cease hostilities to protect civilians.
“The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine,” the ministry said in a statement that did not mention Hamas.
In remarks Monday before a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Schumer described the events in Israel as “horrific.”
“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn these cowardly and vicious attacks,” he told Wang.
“I was very disappointed, to be honest, by the foreign ministry’s statement that showed no sympathy or support for Israel during these troubled times,” Schumer added.
Israel pounds more than 500 targets in Gaza overnight
Israel Defense Forces said that more than 500 targets were struck overnight following Hamas’ surprise attack.
These included seven command centers used by Hamas and one used by Islamic Jihad, a paramilitary group in Gaza, the IDF said in a statement in Hebrew translated by NBC News.
One of the command centers was a multistory building that also included the residence of Ruhi Mashtaa, secretary of the Hamas, the IDF said. In one case, an “asset” inside a mosque was targeted, it added.
Fighting going on inside Israel as Hamas incursions continue
Battles were ongoing between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters inside Israel this morning, more than 48 hours after the militants launched a huge surprise attack.
Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, told reporters there were still multiple breaches in the country's border, meaning it was taking longer than expected to stop the attacks. The IDF said there was fighting ongoing at seven or eight locations.
"We thought this morning we’d be in a better place," Hecht said, according to The Associated Press.
Gaza death toll jumps to 493
The number of people killed in Gaza since the surprise Hamas attack and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on the enclave has risen to 493, the Palestinian Health Ministry said this morning.
Another 2,751 people have been injured, it said.