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Israel and Hamas blame each other for deadly hospital blast

Biden will head to Tel Aviv tomorrow in a show of support as efforts continue to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and allow foreign nationals to leave.

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Follow the latest updates from NBC News here

President Joe Biden was set to arrive in Israel Wednesday, but an explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip sparked condemnation, competing accusations and the scuttling of a planned meeting with Arab leaders.

Palestinian health officials and Hamas accused Israel, while Israeli officials repeatedly denied that Israel was to blame and said the blast was caused by a misfired militant rocket.

Protests were held outside Israel’s embassies in Turkey and Jordan and near the U.S. embassy in Lebanon, where security forces fired tear gas at crowds, the news agency Reuters reported.

Biden said he was “outraged and deeply saddened” by the explosion and resulting lost lives.

Steven Romo

How does Hamas — a group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the E.U. — receive funding?

The militant organization is able to receive funding through taxes on Gaza’s commerce, money from Iran and crypto. 



Blinken's 'marathon diplomacy' aims to limit the scope of the war

Antony Blinken, the low-key secretary of state who built his career as a Washington foreign policy hand with aggressive advocacy for intervention in defense of liberal democracy and human rights, has engaged in “marathon diplomacy” these past few days in an effort to limit the scope of the war in the Middle East.

For nearly a week, President Biden’s top emissary and longtime confidant has lived at the brink of an unfolding conflict, shuttling among seven countries over the past 137 hours as he articulates why America is supporting Israel’s counteroffensive against Hamas while seeking to keep other nations on the sidelines and limit the loss of civilian life on both sides of the Gaza border.

Read the full story here.

Republicans want to keep Palestinian refugees from coming to the U.S., but it’s already tough for them to get in

Amid the Gaza conflict, Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail are advocating for a ban on any Palestinian refugees’ coming to the U.S. — but already very few Palestinians are admitted, and the Biden administration has no plans to change the status quo.

Out of more than 60,000 total refugees resettled in the U.S. in fiscal year 2023, 56 Palestinians were admitted. In the past 10 years, fewer than 600 Palestinians in all have come to the U.S. as refugees, according to the State Department.

The numbers are so low in large part because Palestinians cannot follow the same pathway into the U.S. as other nationalities. The 1951 Refugee Convention that established the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and defined the criteria for refugees around the world explicitly left out Palestinians living in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The U.S. uses the refugee agency to identify potential refugees.

Read the full story here.

Istanbul police use water cannon, pepper spray to disperse consulate protesters after hospital blast

Thousands of protesters who gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul were met with a water cannon and pepper spray from Turkish security forces after some of the crowd forced their way into the compound.

Israeli troops prepare for possible two-front war

Josh Lederman

NEAR THE ISRAEL-LEBANON BORDER — While Israel and Hamas fight near Gaza in the south, Israel's north has also been under daily attack.

From Lebanon, the militant group Hezbollah has been launching missiles, mortars and armed drones along Israel's northern border.

Israel is striking back with artillery shells and fighter jets.

Israeli military officials are urging residents to stay away from the border for their own safety and have restricted GPS in what the military calls “active combat zones.”

At least 17 journalists killed in Israel-Hamas conflict, group says

At least 17 journalists, most of whom were Palestinian, have been killed since Hamas attacked Israel this month and after Israel launched airstrikes in Gaza, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

One was killed in an airstrike in Lebanon. Israel’s military has told Reuters that it was investigating that incident, which occurred in a border region where Hezbollah and Israel had traded fire.

Out of the 17 confirmed journalists killed in the conflict, 13 were Palestinian, three were Israeli and one was Lebanese, according to the committee, known as CPJ for short.

Three journalists have been reported missing or detained, and eight have been injured, it said.

The group had put the number of confirmed journalists killed at 15. It called on all parties to ensure the safety of journalists, who it said are making extreme sacrifices to cover the crisis around the region.

State Department urges Americans not to travel to Lebanon

The U.S. State Department today urged Americans not to travel to Lebanon because of rocket, missile and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah. The new warning also cited kidnappings and new protests over the deadly blast at a Gaza hospital in advising Americans to stay away.

The State Department raised its travel advisory to the highest level, 4, to reflect "terrorism, civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, kidnapping and Embassy Beirut’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens," the notice says.

Protests erupted in Beirut after the hospital blast, and skirmishes between Israel and militant groups in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, continued to threaten to bring a new, northern front to Israel's wartime stance.

The State Department emphasized the possibility of terrorist attacks, kidnappings and "large protests" that could be unsafe.

It said family members of government personnel and some nonemergency government workers will be authorized to leave Lebanon case by case. The same "authorized departure" status was implemented for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Friday.

Israel and the West Bank were under a level 3 advisory, and Gaza was at level 4. Level 3 asks Americans to reconsider travel to those areas.

The advisory warns of unpredictable violence.


Jewish, Palestinian shopkeepers in Jerusalem say they want peace

Tom Llamas

JERUSALEM — In the sparsely patronized Old City, home to some of the world's most revered religious sites, a Jewish shopkeeper and a Palestinian vendor today expressed the reasons they support their sides in the war.

Esther Weiss, the owner of a jewelry store in the Jewish Quarter, said Gaza militants who attacked Israel on Oct. 7 were fair game for warfare.

"They’re getting back what they sent us," she said. "Who doesn't feel for a family that the house was bombed? Of course we feel for them. But we feel for us first."

In the Muslim Quarter a short walk away, retail stand owner Hani Imam refused to characterize militants who kidnapped and shot civilians in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack as terrorists.

"You cannot control people and treat them like caged animals," Imam said. "You treat them like animals, that’s why they became animals."

Imam didn't want to speak directly to a Jewish counterpart, saying: "The tensions are too high. Way too hot."

Weiss said Israel treats Palestinians well, a claim she said is proven by Palestinians' lining up for work in Israel. "They are not in a cage," she said.

Both said the only way forward is for the two sides to come to terms. "We are a people who want peace," Weiss said.


Band of brothers: 5 American Israeli siblings are fighting for Israel

Raf Sanchez

Raf Sanchez and Chantal Da Silva
Photo illustration of five Israeli brothers, all soldiers fighting on the front lines.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

KFAR AZA, Israel — They’re a band of brothers: Five American Israeli siblings are joining the front lines to fight for Israel.

Naftali, Bentzi, Chaim, Yochanan and Shuey are dual citizens of the U.S. and Israel; they asked that their last name be withheld for security reasons. The youngest, Shuey, is 21 and still completing his mandatory service with an infantry regiment in the Israel Defense Forces. The four others are reservists, so they are putting their daily lives on hold to take up arms.

One brother, Yochanan, traveled from New York, where he was staying with family, to Israel to fight as a tank platoon commander.

Naftali, 34, the eldest, works as a doctor at a Jerusalem hospital, so he would be in medical scrubs on a normal day. Now, he wears a military uniform.

“I called up my commander and I knew right away I have to tell my wife that I have to go,” Naftali said.

“I can’t even describe what my mom is feeling right now, that she had to send in five sons, whether in the reserves or mandatory service, who are currently serving in the IDF,” he added.

Naftali said that if there is a ground invasion of Gaza, he and his brothers would be prepared “to go inside.”

“The horrific attacks that happen here cannot be answered in silence or in a weak response,” he said. “This has to be fierce response, fighting the evil that you see here today.”

Meanwhile, Bentzi, 32, and Chaim, 26, are stationed in the north, where Israel is exchanging fire with Hezbollah. Bentzi said it’s hard to process that his brothers are all in uniform at once.

“It’s unbelievable how all of us are just gathered all around,” he said, “if it’s the north or south, leaving families, doing whatever it needs to keep everyone safe.”

Speaking from deep in Israel’s Negev desert, Shuey described his sense of duty: “I feel like it’s the most important thing I ever did in my life.”

The five brothers are drawing strength from one another, Shuey said.

“I see my brothers standing in the north, in the south, everywhere,” he said, adding that he tells himself, “Look, you’re not alone.”

The aftermath of Gaza hospital blast explosion

NBC News

Photos showed the devastation and grief in Gaza after an explosion at al-Ahli Hospital that the Palestinian Health Ministry says has killed more than 200 people.

The explosion was met with condemnation and outrage, even as the source of the blast remained unclear.

The bodies of the dead in a bombing on Al-Ahli hospital are gathered outside Al-Shifa hopsital, in Gaza.
The bodies of the dead from al-Ahli hospital are gathered outside Al-Shifa hopsital in Gaza on Tuesday.Dawood Nemer / AFP - Getty Images

Hamas accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike, which Israel’s military has denied. The Israel Defense Forces says that its analysis and intelligence information shows that a failed rocket fired by Islamic Jihad struck the hospital.

Wounded Palestinians lay at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023.
Wounded Palestinians at Al-Shifa hospital after having arrived from al-Ahli hospital after an explosion there in Gaza City on Tuesday.Abed Khaled / AP

The explosion comes as Biden is on the way to Israel to show U.S. support for the U.S. ally in the wake of terrorist attacks by Hamas.

Biden said that he was “outraged and deeply saddened” by the explosion and the loss of life and that he had directed his national security team to continue gathering information about what happened.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said initial estimates were between 200 and 300 killed.

Biden said to seek $100B funding that would include Israel, others

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Biden plans to submit a roughly $100 billion supplemental funding request to Congress in the coming days that would include money for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and U.S. border security, according to two people familiar with the discussions. 

The contours of the final package have not been defined, and they could still change, one of the people said.

The expectation is that it will be sent to lawmakers at the end of this week, after Biden is back from his trip to Tel Aviv. 

Doctor describes hundreds of 'severely wounded and dead' at hospital

ASHDOD, Israel — Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, ​a Doctors Without Borders physician in Gaza, has described surviving the deadly blast at al-Ahli hospital.

He said in a social media post that he had gone to the hospital in the morning, as it was "full of patients and needed a Plastic Surgeon to help out." He said the medical facility had been full of displaced families seeking refuge.

Abu-Sittah said that he and his colleagues decided to sleep at the hospital overnight so they could continue operating but that at some point, he heard screeching sounds and a loud explosion before the ceiling began to fall.

Not long after, he realized that "the hospital itself was on fire" and appeared to have been "directly hit" as the wounded "started stumbling towards us." He said he ran to the emergency room, where he found "hundreds of very severely wounded and dead."

"I am unharmed, but this was a massacre against a hospital," he said.

World Food Program says it has food for 244K in Egypt, calls for access to Gaza

The World Food Program, a U.N. aid organization, said today it has food for 244,000 people in Egypt close to the Gaza border and called for humanitarian access to the area.

Samer Abdeljaber, the WFP’s country director in the state of Palestine, said that it needs “sustained access” and that supplies within Gaza are running out.

“The situation is dire. It is unlike anything we have seen before here,” Abdeljaber said in a statement. The WFP said more supplies are arriving in Egypt.

Biden wants to know 'what exactly happened' at hospital

Biden said in a statement that he was “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.”

Biden said he immediately contacted and spoke with Netanyahu and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Biden also said he “directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened.”

“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy,” Biden said.

Gaza’s main desalination plant has fuel for only a week, U.N. official says

Five trucks of fuel that have made it into Gaza will power its main seawater desalination plant for maybe a week, a United Nations official said today.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza “can only be described as an utter catastrophe,” Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya said.

An estimated 1 million people have fled their homes in the north, but Gaza is a densely populated area and small, Msuya said.

“In reality, civilians have nowhere to go — nowhere to escape the bombs and missiles and nowhere to find water or food or to escape the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe,” Msuya said.

Packed into a smaller and smaller area, civilians are faced with the fact that supplies they need to live “have all but run out,” Msuya said.

Deadly strike on Gaza hospital leads to angry clashes in West Bank

Large crowds protested and confronted security forces in the West Bank city of Ramallah after a deadly attack at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City.

WHO condemns deadly hospital hit

The World Health Organization has called for the "immediate active protection of civilians and health care" and for evacuation orders to be "reversed" after a deadly blast at al-Ahli hospital in Gaza killed hundreds of people.

Condemning the incident, WHO said the hospital was "operational, with patients, health and care givers, and internally displaced people sheltering there."

It said the hospital was one of 20 in the area of the Gaza Strip under evacuation orders from Israel — orders it said were "impossible to carry out given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients, and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and alternative shelter for those displaced."

"International humanitarian law must be abided by, which means health care must be actively protected and never targeted," it said.

Russia, UAE call for U.N. Security Council meeting on hospital bombing

Russia and the United Arab Emirates today called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on the Gaza hospital bombing, a Russian official said.

The meeting of the world's most powerful nations — permanent council members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States — was expected tomorrow afternoon, Russia's U.N. deputy, Dmitry Polyansky, said on Telegram.

United Arab Emirates is one of 10 nonpermanent members of the council. The meeting will commence "in connection with the attack on a hospital in Gaza," he said.

Yesterday, Russia drafted an unsuccessful U.N. Security Council resolution it said was focused on reaching a humanitarian cease-fire. Western nations, including the United States, condemned it for failing to mention Hamas, the militant group that sparked the war with its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Biden's meeting in Jordan is called off

NBC News

A planned meeting between President Biden and the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority will not happen tomorrow.

Biden had been scheduled to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman during his trip to the region.

But the summit has been called off. The cancellation comes after an explosion at a hospital in Gaza that killed an estimated 200 to 300 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

After consulting with King Abdullah and in light of the days of mourning announced by Abbas, Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan, the White House said just as the president departed for the region.

"The President sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded. He looks forward to consulting in person with these leaders soon, and agreed to remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days," the White House said.

A Jordanian official said that all parties agreed to the cancellation — "under the current circumstances the summit would not achieve any of the goals it set out to."

Palestinian U.N. ambassador Riyad Mansour said at a U.N. news conference today that “our Jordanian brothers said that we cannot have a summit with these conditions.”

Abbas previously said that he was cutting short his trip to Jordan and returning home immediately because of the hospital blast, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Map: The location of the hospital

Al-Ahli Hospital is in the section of Gaza that the IDF warned civilians to evacuate. Israel and Hamas are blaming each other for the blast.

Israel denies bombing hospital, blames failed rocket launch from militants within Gaza; Hamas calls blast ‘genocide’ 

+3

Lawahez Jabari

Mahalia Dobson

Lawahez Jabari, Mahalia Dobson, Antonio Planas and Chantal Da Silva
The bodies of the dead in a bombing on Al-Ahli hospital are gathered outside Al-Shifa hopsital, in Gaza.
The bodies of the dead in a bombing on al-Ahli Hospital are gathered outside al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City.Dawood Nemer / AFP - Getty Images

Israel and officials in Gaza are blaming each other for the blast that left hundreds dead today at a hospital in Gaza City.

According to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces, a failed rocket launch from militants aiming at Israel hit the hospital in central Gaza.

“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” the IDF said in a statement today. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement “the entire world should know” it was “barbaric terrorists” that attacked the hospital “and not the IDF.” 

On social media, Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, blamed an "an Islamic Jihad missile" for the deaths at the hospital.

"Shame on the vile terrorists in Gaza who wilfully spill the blood of the innocent," Herzog wrote on X.

And officials in Gaza issued a statement blaming “the Zionist occupation” for the “crime of genocide” after earlier saying the hospital was targeted.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, laid the blame for the attack that has claimed 200 to 300 lives on Israel and its allies during a speech.

“The enemy is responsible for this massacre, who struck a hospital, a mosque, and the Americans, who gave unlimited cover to this enemy,” he said. “These war crimes, this genocide, are borne by those who provided cover in the Security Council and refused to condemn this occupation and this aggression.”

Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group backed by the Iranian regime, declared that tomorrow should be a “day of unprecedented anger” against Israel, which it described as “the enemy” and “the Zionist entity.”

Doctors Without Borders calls bombing of Gaza hospital a 'massacre'

The bodies of the dead from a bombing at the Al-Ahli hospital in central Gaza lie at Al-Shifa hospital.
The bodies of the dead from a bombing at al-Ahli hospital in central Gaza lie at al-Shifa hospital today.Dawood Nemer / AFP - Getty Images

Doctors Without Borders said the bombing of al-Ahli Hospital is "absolutely unacceptable" and called the incident a "massacre."

"Nothing justifies this shocking attack on a hospital and its many patients and health workers, as well as the people who sought shelter there," the organization said in a press release. "Hospitals are not a target. This bloodshed must stop."

Earlier today, the Palestinian Health Ministry estimated that there were 200 to 300 deaths at the hospital. Doctors Without Borders said the hospital was hosting displaced Gazans and treating injured patients when the bombing occurred.

“We were operating in the hospital, there was a strong explosion, and the ceiling fell on the operating room,” said Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah, with Doctors Without Borders in Gaza.

Palestinian doctor learns son was killed when family arrives at Gaza hospital

NBC News

Video shows the moment Dr. Ahmed Abo Mosa learned his son had died after his family was brought to Nasser Hospita in Gaza.

'Shock and disbelief': News of 'hospital massacre' stuns Gaza

TEL AVIV — If the Al-Ahli Hospital bombing death toll of 200 to 300 is anywhere near correct, it would be the deadliest incident during the current round of violence on the Gaza Strip. Immediately, news of the blast reverberated around the enclave, seen as a landmark event even amid the 10 days of ceaseless bombardment.

"We heard about the hospital massacre an hour ago, and at the time we huddled around a phone broadcasting live Al Jazeera coverage," said Mohammad Ghalayini, 44, an air quality scientist who returned to his homeland of Gaza from Manchester, England, in September for a career break.

The bodies of the dead, killed by an explosion at the al-Ahli hospital, are gathered in the front yard of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
The bodies of some of the hundreds killed by an explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital are gathered in the front yard of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.Abed Khaled / AP

Now, "we're sitting in a room lit by an LED torch and we're all in silence, shock and disbelief — silence apart from the deafening sound of Israeli drones above," Ghalayini said.

It has not been confirmed what caused the explosion at the hospital. Israel has been bombing Gaza since Hamas, the militant group that governs the Strip, launched its attack 10 days ago. The Israeli military, which says it is only targeting Hamas positions, said Tuesday the hospital was not one of its targets.

"The main phrase people say in events like this is to say that we put our faith in God as our best ally," Ghalayini said, also giving the saying's Arabic translation. "It's a form of fatalism, that God's got your back. In light of what's going on, it's the only solace people have."

Hospital hit in central Gaza was not IDF target, spokesperson says

+2

Lina Dandees

Lawahez Jabari

Lina Dandees, Lawahez Jabari and Antonio Planas

The hospital hit today by an airstrike in central Gaza was not a target of the Israel Defense Forces, an Israeli spokesperson said.

“A hospital is a highly sensitive building and not an IDF target. The IDF is currently investigating and as always prioritizes accuracy," the spokesperson said. "We urge everyone to proceed with caution while reporting about a terror organization."

There were about 500 casualties in today's bombing at Al-Ahli Hospital, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said. He estimated that between 200 to 300 of those were killed.


NBC News

Video from the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza shows the frantic efforts of Palestinians to help those stuck under the rubble after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

More U.S. military personnel and equipment headed to waters near Israel

More U.S. military personnel and equipment are headed to the waters near Israel, according to two defense officials. But the U.S. Navy ships and about 2,000 Marines have not yet been assigned to a mission to support Israel.

The Marines are with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a Special Operations Capable Unit that was in Kuwait last week for an exercise. The Pentagon ended the exercise early and embarked the Marines aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

A spokesperson said last week the decision to embark the Marines was “a prudent measure to remain ready and alert considering the recent events in Israel.”

The unit was deployed earlier this year to deter an Iranian aggression and is made up of more than 2,400 Marines and sailors across three ships.

The Bataan, an amphibious assault ship that has been in the Middle East, is now heading to the Red Sea, according to the defense officials.

The Bataan, an amphibious assault ship that has been in the Red Sea, is now heading to the Mediterranean, according to the defense officials.

If there is an ordered departure of Americans or if the U.S. Embassy is evacuated, the soldiers could be brought ashore to provide support, because that is a contingency operation it trains for, one of the defense officials said.

DeSantis opposes giving Gaza a ‘single dollar’ of humanitarian aid

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Nevada in June.Andy Barron / AP file

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came out today with his most severe remarks on Gaza yet, saying he opposed sending in even “a single dollar” of humanitarian aid.

He appeared to go further than other Republican presidential primary candidates on the issue, after initially drawing a red line on not allowing Gaza refugees into the United States. 

“Palestinian leadership is already bankrolling Hamas’ atrocities against Israel and Biden wants to send aid into Gaza that will further support terrorist activity,” DeSantis wrote on X today. 

“As President, I wouldn’t send a single dollar into Gaza.”

DeSantis also discussed the issue with an Iowa broadcaster, criticizing Biden for trying to draw up aid for those in Gaza, accusing him of being more concerned with that aid than freeing hostages. Biden and his administration have said the hostages are of the utmost concern. 

Biden is preparing to travel to Israel this week as the Israeli military prepares a ground offensive against Hamas. Israeli airstrikes in Gaza are having a crippling effect on parts of Gaza, where food, water and shelter are scarce.    

Hamas says it's willing to release all civilian hostages immediately if Gaza bombing stops

Richard EngelNBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, Host of MSNBC's "On Assignment with Richard Engel"

A senior Hamas official told NBC News' Richard Engel that the group is willing to immediately release all civilian hostages — foreign and Israeli — if Israel stops its airstrikes on Gaza.

The Hamas official said the hostages could be released within the hour as long as Israel meets its terms. He claimed that there is no safe place to release the hostages now.

In exchange for the release of Israeli soldiers held hostage, the Hamas official said Israel must release all Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

The Hamas official also claimed that the U.S. and Israel are already aware of its terms for the release of civilian hostages, because the militant group revealed them in its conversations with the leaders of several Arab countries.

At least 6 die when U.N. school in Gaza is hit in Israeli airstrike

Jamie Gray

Antonio Planas and Jamie Gray

At least six people were killed this afternoon when a United Nations school was hit during an Israeli airstrike in a refugee camp in Gaza, according to a U.N. relief agency.  

A bombardment hit the al-Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza’s middle area, according to a statement from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, also known as UNRWA.

Dozens more were also hurt when the UNRWA school was struck, Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in the statement.

Damage from the Israeli bombardment at the U.N. school in Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza.
Damage from the Israeli bombardment at the U.N. school in al-Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza today.Hatem Moussa / AP

The number of victims was expected to climb, he said.

“This is outrageous, and it again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians. No place is safe in Gaza anymore, not even UNRWA facilities,” Lazzarini said.

Since the war began, UNRWA said, it has been providing coordinates of its facilities to relevant parties every day.

At least 4,000 people have taken refuge in the UNRWA school that turned into a shelter, he said.

200 to 300 killed in bombing of Gaza hospital, Palestinian Health Ministry says

Lawahez Jabari

Lawahez Jabari and Natalie Kainz

There were 500 victims in a bombing at Al-Ahli Hospital in central Gaza, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said, estimating that 200 to 300 of those people were killed.

Qudra said the hospital was "targeted" for bombing by Israeli forces, a claim that Israel has not commented on.

At a press briefing, an Israeli military spokesperson said they are investigating the incident and do not have all the details.

Southern Gaza is not 'off limits' for bombardment, Israeli government official says

Moira Donohue

Moira Donohue and David K. Li

Southern Gaza is not "off limits" from Israeli shelling, even as Israel urges civilians in the besieged territory to move from north to south, a government spokesperson said today.

While a bulk of Hamas military targets are in the north, an Israeli government spokesperson said there are no guarantees of safety for all refugees headed south.

"First of all, Israel is not saying that the south of the Gaza Strip is totally off limits to Israeli retaliation against Hamas, or Hamas military targets aren’t legitimate targets," government representative Eylon Levy told MSNBC during special coverage with José Díaz-Balart and Ana Cabrera.

"We are saying, however, that the most intense fighting is going to be in the north. That’s why we’re encouraging people to get away from the north, we’re working together with our international partners to create safe zones in the south where people will be able to get more safety than in the north," Levy said.

"But that absolutely does not mean that Israel is giving blanket immunity to the Hamas terrorists’ infrastructure that exists in the south of the Gaza Strip."


Life in Gaza: A daily search for water and bread

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Jake Lubbehusen

Jackie Zhou

Jake Lubbehusen, Jackie Zhou and David K. Li

An American trapped in Gaza said his days in the besieged territory are filled with nonstop hunts for bread, water and other dwindling supplies.

“We just ran out of bread right now and we’re trying to get it. The thing is, the lines, the queues outside of bakeries are simply unbelievable,” 55-year-old Seattle native Jason Shawa, an Arabic-English translator, told NBC News in a voice note today.

Even with spotty internet coverage and virtually no access to TV, Shawa said, they know there's a war underway because they hear Israeli airstrikes "a hundred meters from us" and see "smoke from behind the wall of the premises."

He and his wife are holed up in a cottage just south of Gaza City with about 50 other people, 22 of them children.

"Basically, that’s our daily routine: trying to secure drinking water and water for the bathrooms and washing and dishwashing and what not; hygiene and food of course."

NBC News

A group of bipartisan congressional leaders strongly reaffirmed their support for Israel after multiple bills codifying the position and promising supplemental funding to the country currently at war with Hamas.

"We must condemn barbaric terrorists, their evil sponsors, and the legacy of hatred toward Jews that has stained the world history for millennia," said Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell.

“The United States Senate will do everything possible to help Israel win and totally eliminate the threat Hamas prevents,” Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer added.

'No one's talking to us': American aid worker waits at Rafah gate

Jake Lubbehusen

Maha Elbanna, a 49-year-old American aid worker, is staying in a home with 47 other people in Khan Younis in the hopes that the Rafah crossing will open soon so that she can evacuate Gaza.

She is the only American in the house, which is sheltering her five nephews and nieces, about 24 of her cousins, their children and numerous family friends. Elbanna told NBC News that she feels that the stress of the situation has begun to affect her physical health.

"My heart palpitations also were really fast earlier," she said. "There was a bombing and all of the sudden, my hearts started racing ... There’s no update, no news about the crossing. No one knows if we’re ever going to be able to leave, and no one’s talking to us."

Her sister, Summer, is desperately waiting for her return.

The U.S. first alerted its citizens Saturday to go to the Rafah crossing, which connects Gaza and Egypt, but the border remains closed days later.

'Once night comes, bombs start,' says terrified Gaza resident who endures daily raids

People inspect a damaged building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza.
People inspect a damaged building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp today.Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images

Under the pitch black sky of Gaza, Dunia Aburahma huddles with her family at night. The quiet is regularly broken with a loud pounding and a bright flash of Israeli bombs hitting targets nearby.

"They mean it to bomb harder in the night, to feel more scared and terrified," the 22-year-old architecture student in Az Zawaida in central Gaza, told NBC News.

The lack of electricity only makes it worse.

"Whenever we hear bombs, we immediately put our hands on the back of our necks, then this voice come inside ourselves say that we might die in the next moment," she said. "We don't know if we are going to live in the next day or not."

Senate Republicans introduce bill to freeze $6B in Iranian funds

Senate Republicans introduced a bill today that would once again freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been released this year in a hostage deal.

It wasn't immediately clear if the proposed "Revoke Iranian Funds Act" would pick up any of the necessary backing across the aisle — but two moderate Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, have expressed support for permanently refreezing those funds. 

Iran has been a long-time supporter of Hamas, but U.S. authorities have stopped short of linking Tehran to the terror attack on Israel.



'We will not allow for a second Nakba,' Palestinian diplomat to U.K. says

Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.K., marches to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, in London.
Husam Zomlot marches to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba in London in May.Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images file

Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom, told reporters today that there must be an "immediate cease-fire" and an end to "crimes against humanity" occurring against Palestinians.

Detailing the tragedies unfolding for civilians living in Gaza, he said there cannot be a mass expulsion of Palestinians toward Egypt. He referred to what Palestinians call the Nakba, the displacement of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

"We will not allow another round of mass ethnic cleansing in Palestine," Zomlot said. "We will not allow for a second Nakba. We need a serious and enforced commitment to international law."

Hezbollah says it attacked Israeli post near Lebanon

Ziad Jaber

Ziad Jaber and David K. Li

Hezbollah says it launched a missile attack today on an Israeli military post near the border with Lebanon.

The militant group said that guided missiles hit an Israeli military target in the village of Ramya and that the attack “inflicted a number of confirmed injuries between the dead and wounded.”

The IDF reported that “two rockets were launched from Lebanon toward Israeli territory,” and one was “successfully intercepted” by aerial defense, while the other fell in an open area.

3,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza and West Bank

Bodies of people killed during Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis, Gaza.
Bodies of people killed during Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis today.Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

The Palestinian death toll since the war began Oct. 7 has reached 3,000 people killed in Gaza, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Another 61 people were killed in the West Bank.

More than 12,500 others have been injured in Gaza, in addition to more than 1,500 in the West Bank.

Bipartisan duo of lawmakers urge Biden to hold Iran accountable after Hamas attack

Ali Vitali

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan duo of lawmakers is pressuring the Biden administration to take a more hard-line stance against Iran in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel.

“The world watched in horror as Iranian-backed terrorists in Gaza launched an attack against Israel…The broader international context in which these attacks occurred cannot be ignored. This war would not have been possible without Iranian weapons, funding, and support,” Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz and Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney write to Biden, in a letter obtained first by NBC News.

Among the lawmakers’ demands: halting negotiations about re-entering the Iran nuclear deal; stopping sanctions relief and halting the release of frozen funds; as well as pressing allies to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.

But they also urge the administration to press ahead with efforts toward peace, especially regarding the ongoing work it is doing between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“Terrorists cannot be allowed to hijack this critical peace process,” the lawmakers wrote “There would be no clearer repudiation of this brutal Iran-backed onslaught than for Israel and Saudi Arabia to establish diplomatic relations as quickly as possible. We urge you to work to insulate Saudi-Israel diplomacy and to expedite efforts to bring about Israeli-Saudi normalization with as few extraneous demands as possible.”

Political and policy mobilization against Iran has become a rare, bipartisan flashpoint in this divided Congress and government.

Hamas military commander killed in Israeli strike

Ayman Nofal, a prominent member of Hamas' military wing Al-Qassam, waves to his supporters in Gaza.
Ayman Nofal waves to his supporters in Gaza in 2011.Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images file

One of Hamas' top military commanders has been killed in a Israeli airstrike in central Gaza, according to a statement from Hamas.

Ayman Nofal was a member of Hamas' General Military Council and the commander of a brigade, the group said. He is the highest-ranking Hamas death since the war began.

The Israel Defense Forces and Israel Securities Authority confirmed the strike in a statement, calling Nofel "one of the most dominant figures" in Hamas and a close associate of Mohammed Deif, the head of Hamas’ military wing.

"In the past, Nofal was responsible for overseeing the manufacturing and developing of weapons, promoted and took part in many terrorist attacks, and was also involved in planning the abduction of Gilad Shalit," the statement said.

Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was taken hostage by Hamas in 2006 and held for five years. He was released in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

WHO: Hospital evacuations are a 'death certificate' to Gaza’s sickest patients

Palestinian paramedics cry outside Al-Shifa hopsital in Gaza City.
Paramedics cry outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City yesterday.Dawood Nemer / AFP - Getty Images

The Israeli military's orders to evacuate northern Gaza are “tantamount to issuing a death certificate to patients” at hospitals, the World Health Organization’s Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, regional director for the eastern Mediterranean, said during a media briefing today.

The risks are especially dire for the sickest patients in intensive care units and people who need immediate, lifesaving surgeries, Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO’s representative for the occupied Palestinian territory, said during the briefing.

“The forced evacuation puts lives in immediate risk,” he said, “and would amount to violation of international humanitarian law.”

Medical workers treated a child, wounded in an Israeli airstrike, in a hospital in Deir al-Balah, southern Gaza.
Medical workers treated a child, wounded in an Israeli airstrike, in a hospital in Deir al-Balah, southern Gaza, today.Hatem Moussa / AP

The evacuation orders affect more than 2,000 patients in 23 hospitals across Gaza, according to the WHO.

The hospitals that remain open are quickly running out of fuel, water, food, medical supplies and disinfectants to control infectious diseases, Peeperkorn said.

The WHO said it has sent supplies to Gaza, but they have been waiting on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing for more than 72 hours.

Gaza health officials issue 'urgent distress call' for diesel to save lives

Lawahez Jabari

Lawahez Jabari and Yuliya Talmazan
Medical workers treat a child, wounded from Israel's bombardment, at a hospital in Deir al-Balah, southern Gaza.
A Gaza child wounded in Israeli bombardment is treated at a hospital in Deir al-Balah, southern Gaza, today.Hatem Moussa / AP

Health officials in Gaza have issued an "urgent distress call" to all owners of gas stations and "everyone who has any diesel" to save the lives of the "wounded and the sick."

Israel cut all fuel supplies, along with water, food and electricity to Gaza as part of its complete blockade more than a week ago, leaving the enclave’s health system on the brink of collapse.

Some organizations have called the situation a humanitarian catastrophe, and the U.S. and Israel have agreed to discuss how to get aid to Gaza.


Gaza’s size and huge population density visualized

At 139 square miles, the Gaza Strip is approximately equal in size to the city of Philadelphia. But it has about one-third more people than Philadelphia, and the densest part of Gaza — the municipality that contains part of Gaza City — has roughly 10 times as many people as Philadelphia’s most populous ZIP code.

Israel this week told people living in the northern part of the strip to move south, as it continues to conduct airstrikes on what it calls terrorist targets.

Ben Gurion University's campus hit hard by the war

Kelly Cobiella

TEL AVIV — The campus at Ben Gurion University is eerily desolate without its usual buzz, now that thousands of students have gone to fight in the war, prompting the indefinite suspension of classes.

The student center, once a den of youthful energy, is now a logistical hub and donation depot for families in need — those evacuated, or staying close to the injured at the university hospital.

More than 50 students and staff were killed in the horrific Hamas rampage, and more than 10 others kidnapped. Daniel Chamovitz, the university's president, learned just this morning of another staff member’s son and daughter-in-law who have been held captive by Hamas.

A different university employee and her family were killed last Saturday, Chamovitz said. This staff member, her husband and their two children were camping on the beach when sirens indicating incoming fire began to roar. They tried to flee but were killed on the road, and one of the children is still missing.

Chamovitz will attend a shiva for them later today.

At least 15 journalists killed covering the war

At least 15 journalists have been killed covering the Israel-Hamas war, according to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization based in New York.

As of today, 11 Palestinian, three Israeli and one Lebanese journalists are among the war's casualties, the report said. But the organization is also investigating more than 100 reports of other journalists being killed, missing, detained or threatened.

"Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heartbreaking conflict. All parties must take steps to ensure their safety," said Sherif Mansour, the organization's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

The Palestinian government media office later reported that 16 journalists have been killed while working in Gaza.

Supply shortage putting Gaza hospital patients at risk of death

NBC News

Patients at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, the second biggest hospital in south Gaza, are seeking medical care knowing they could die anyway because of supplies shortages.

Doctors at Nasser Hospital are taking supplies from private medical practices where possible in an effort to keep the hospital running. Gaza has been entirely cut off from shipments and humanitarian aid, though trucks stand ready in Egypt in the hopes that the Rafah border crossing may open.

Petraeus on Israel-Hamas war: ‘Vengeance is not enough’

Retired Gen. David Petraeus described the Israel-Hamas war as “fiendishly difficult” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.

Petraeus, who led the U.S. during its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that not only is the mission to eradicate Hamas difficult tactically, but also raises the question of, “Then what?”

“It’s the issue of vengeance is not enough,” he said. “It’s also, what are the other components of a comprehensive approach.”

Israeli army spokesman says next phase of war may be different from expectations

Reuters

Israeli army spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht at the Ramla army base.
Israeli army spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht at the Ramla army base on Oct. 13.Thomas Coex / AFP - Getty Images

The Israeli military is getting ready for the next phase of its campaign against the Gaza Strip but plans may not conform to widespread expectations of an imminent ground offensive, an army spokesperson said today.

“We are preparing for the next stages of war. We haven’t said what they will be. Everybody’s talking about the ground offensive. It might be something different,” Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told a regular briefing with reporters.

Appropriate security precautions to be taken for Biden's visit to Israel, Kirby says

Appropriate security precautions will be taken for Biden's visit to Israel tomorrow to make sure that he can conduct the trip safely, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told Savannah Guthrie on the "TODAY" show this morning.

The visit into an active war zone is to allow Biden to get "more of a fingertip feel" on the Israeli plans and how things are going on the ground, he said.

Commenting on the first hostage video released by Hamas, Kirby called it "deplorable" that the militants would "advertise how well they are treating them when they are the ones who hurt them in the first place."

Gaza has only 4 or 5 days of food left, World Food Program warns

The Associated Press

Image: Gaza Comes Under Sustained Bombardment By Israel After Hamas Attacks
Palestinians line up to buy bread in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Sunday.Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

In addition to dire water shortages, Gaza is running out of food stocks with only a few days worth of supplies remaining in shops, the World Food Program says.

Shops only have four or five days’ worth of essential food stocks available, spokeswoman Abeer Etefa said. There is enough food in warehouses to last about two weeks, but these are difficult to access because they are in Gaza City, where Israel has ordered residents to evacuate.

Out of five mills in Gaza, only one is operating because of security concerns and the unavailability of fuel and electricity. Etefa said the primary challenge for the WFP is being able to get food to shops amid the constant Israeli bombardment. Long lines have formed outside the few bakeries that are still able to operate.

Biden will aim to show support, contain the war and prevent a humanitarian crisis

Richard EngelNBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, Host of MSNBC's "On Assignment with Richard Engel"

ISRAEL/GAZA BORDER — This will not be the first time Biden travels to a war zone. But it is arguably the most unpredictable and physically dangerous trip of his presidency.

His visit tomorrow will aim to show support for Israel and also try to contain the war with Hamas and prevent a humanitarian crisis.

News of his trip comes as Israel continues to pound the Gaza Strip and ring the area with hundreds of thousands of troops ready for a ground invasion. The threat inside Israel has not dissipated, with Hamas firing rockets and clashes on the country's northern border with Lebanon raising fears of a new escalation.

Hostage video part of 'psychological terror' by Hamas, IDF says as Macron calls it 'odious'

+2

Lawahez Jabari

Nancy Ing

Lawahez Jabari, Nancy Ing and Yuliya Talmazan

SDEROT, Israel — The release of the first video of a hostage held by Hamas late yesterday is part of a campaign of "psychological terror" by the militants, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman said today.

The video of 21-year-old Franco Israeli hostage, Mia Schem, was the first one that Hamas has released since its violent incursion into Israel on Oct. 7.

"Hamas engages in psychological terror against the citizens of Israel," IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a briefing yesterday. "There will be more videos like this."

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Hamas yesterday for using hostages "for blackmail" after Schem's video was released.

"It is absolutely odious and unacceptable," he said, adding that France is doing "everything in our power" to secure the release of Mia and other hostages.

Jordan to host Biden at summit with Palestinian, Egyptian leaders

Doha Madani and Reuters

Biden will join a summit in Amman, Jordan, tomorrow with leaders of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, the Jordanian government said in a post on X.

King Abdullah II is hosting the four-way summit, which will also include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "to discuss dangerous developments in Gaza, its regional impact, & ensuring provision of aid into the Strip," the post said.

Jordan's King Abdullah II in Berlin on Oct. 17, 2023.
Jordan's King Abdullah II in Berlin on Tuesday.Markus Schreiber / AP

The king warned today during a press conference in Berlin that the humanitarian crisis must be dealt with from within Gaza.

"That is a red line, because I think that is the plan by certain of the usual suspects to try and create de facto issues on the ground," he said. "No refugees in Jordan, no refugees in Egypt."

More than 2 million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan already, the largest of any United Nation member state, according to the U.N. High Commissioner For Refugees.

'This is not the normal Tel Aviv'

TEL AVIV — The streets of Tel Aviv are still eerily quiet as the nation reels from the mass killing and kidnap of its citizens just over a week ago.

Shabazi Street, in the antique, fashionable neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, would normally be thronging with locals and tourists on this 80-degree day. Today, it’s empty, many of the boutique stores and eateries along its narrow, cobbled streets shuttered.

“This is not the normal Tel Aviv,” said Margarita Spector, 23, who works at Épicerie Fine, a deli and café, whose ornate building, like many in this area, dates to 1887. “Usually this area would be very busy — but as you can see today it is so quiet.”

Image: Israel Poised To Invade Gaza As Worries Of Regional Escalation Grow
Graffiti is seen on a wall today in Tel Aviv, Israel. Leon Neal / Getty Images

Though this scene is far removed from the carnage visited on communities in southern Israel last weekend, and the relentless bombardment on the Gaza Strip, there are constant reminders that violence rages some 40 miles away.

Military helicopters shuttle up and down the coast daily. And, as happens several times a day, just before 2 p.m. (7 a.m. ET), an air raid siren just south of Tel Aviv was followed by a distant boom, likely an intercept by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.

Mother tells NBC News of fears for her daughter, who appeared in Hamas' first hostage video

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly and Yuliya Talmazan

TEL AVIV — Keren Schem said she started to scream and fell on the floor when she saw her daughter alive in a video shared by Hamas late yesterday.

Before that moment, she said she knew nothing about what happened to her daughter Mia, 21, missing since the Hamas attack on the open-air Tribe of Nova festival Oct. 7. Then just days ago, the family was told that she may have been kidnapped by Hamas.

Schem told NBC's Lester Holt after a press conference in Tel Aviv today that she started to "scream from happiness" when she saw "my baby alive," but she is worried for her well-being, because she is injured and looked "in physical pain" and "alone" in the video distributed by Hamas.

"This is the worst nightmare for every mother in the world," Schem said.

She showed Holt an arm band from the festival that she said she won't take off until her daughter and other Israeli hostages come home.

Israel's evacuation order in Gaza could be international crime, U.N. spokesperson says

Reuters

People evacuate those wounded following the Israeli bombardment of Rafah, southern Gaza.
People evacuate those wounded following the Israeli bombardment of Rafah, southern Gaza, on Tuesday.Hatem Ali / AP

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the U.N. human rights office, said Israel seemed to have made no effort to ensure the civilians temporarily evacuated in Gaza were provided with proper accommodation, as well as satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition.

“We are concerned that this order, combined with the imposition of a complete siege of Gaza, may not be considered as lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians in breach of international law,” she said.

The term “forcible transfer” describes the forced relocation of civilian populations and it is a crime against humanity punishable by the International Criminal Court.

Missile attacks continue in southern Gaza

Max Butterworth

A Palestinian youth sits amid the wreckage of his destroyed home following missile strikes in Khan Younis, Gaza, today.

Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza Deepens As Israel-Hamas Conflict Enters Second Week
Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Iran's Supreme Leader says Israel should stand trial; resistance will continue

Israel's government "must stand trial" for its crimes against Palestinians in Gaza, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today, according to Iranian state media.

He also said that nothing would stop resistance forces "if these crimes continue."

Iran Khamenei Tehran
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking in Tehran today.AFP - Getty Images

Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with a group of Iranian elites, state media said, during which he also accused the U.S. government of holding responsibility for the war.

"What is in front of the eyes of the whole world is the Zionist regime’s crime of genocide," he remarked.

Turkey discussing release of foreigners, civilians and children with Hamas

Reuters

Turkey is in talks with Hamas on the release of foreigners, civilians and children held hostage by the group, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said today.

Speaking alongside his Lebanese counterpart in Beirut, Fidan said: “Many countries” had sent requests to Turkey to secure the release of their citizens held by Hamas.

CENTCOM leader arrives in Israel as IDF prepares for invasion

Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla during his nomination hearing for CENTCOM commander in Washington.
Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla during his nomination hearing for CENTCOM commander in Washington on Feb. 8, 2022.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file

Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, arrived in Israel as the country's military prepares for a potential invasion into Gaza.

He will be in meetings with Israeli military officials to "gain a clear understanding of Israel’s defense requirements" and outline U.S. support efforts, according to a press release.

“I’m here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and am particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” Kurilla said.

Bread rationed at Rafah refugee camp in Gaza.

Max Butterworth

A bakery prepares bread to pass out to internally displaced Palestinians in the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip today.

Relief convoys which have been waiting for days in Egypt were on October 17, headed towards the Rafah border crossing with the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza, aid officials said.
Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images

Interior Ministry says 23 dead, 50 injured in Israeli attacks on Khan Younis in Gaza

Lawahez Jabari

SDEROT, Israel — The Gaza Interior Ministry said this morning that 23 people died and 50 were injured in Israeli airstrikes on the Khan Younis neighborhood in southern Gaza overnight, where many Palestinians evacuated after a warning from the Israeli armed forces last week.

Meanwhile, the IDF said its jets truck Hamas military headquarters and neutralized a Hamas military operative in Gaza overnight. A bank utilized to fund Hamas terrorist activity in Gaza was also hit, according to the IDF.

Sister of killed Israeli festivalgoer speaks out on ‘very difficult’ aftermath

NBC News

Adar Eylon reflects on the memory of her sister, Shira, who was killed at the Israeli music festival during the Hamas terror attack.

Director in charge of Rafah crossing killed, Palestinian officials say

Major Gen. Fouad Abu Butihan, the head of border crossings in Gaza, has been killed, the governing administration in Gaza said.

Arab media reports have said that Butihan was killed in Israeli strikes at his home. NBC News has not verified those reports. Israel previously said it was conducting military strikes against Hamas militant activists in Rafah.

Butihan is the head of borders and crossings in Gaza, which includes the Rafah crossing. Hundreds of foreign nationals have been waiting to exit the strip through Rafah for days, but the gate remains closed.

Gaza's only oncology hospital to shut down in 48 hours

Lawahez Jabari

SDEROT, Israel — Health officials in Gaza said the enclave's only oncology hospital will shut down in 48 hours at the latest.

A statement from its director general, Dr. Sobhi Skik, said fuel shortages were affecting the hospital's operations and that it only has enough resources to run for another two days.

Skik said the closure will leave all oncology patients in the Gaza Strip with nowhere to get specialized treatment.

Israeli military video shows what it says are strikes on named targets in Gaza and Lebanon

NBC News

Videos released by Israel Defense Forces show strikes on what it claims are specific targets in the Gaza Strip and on Israel’s border with Lebanon.

100,000 Palestinians remain in Gaza City, IDF say

An estimated 100,000 Palestinians are still in Gaza City as the IDF prepares for its "enhanced military operations," Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said in an briefing early this morning.

To date, roughly 600,000 people have fled south since Israel warned civilians to leave, according to Conricus, who blamed Hamas for the reluctance among some to leave the northern part of the strip.

'Bring my baby back home', says mother of hostage whose video was released by Hamas

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly and Yuliya Talmazan

TEL AVIV, Israel — The family of a young Israeli woman taken hostage by Hamas, whose video was released by the militants late yesterday, said her daughter needs to come home and receive medical care.

The video purporting to show 21-year-old French Israeli woman, Mia Schem, was released by Hamas, in which she said she was injured but is receiving medical care. It's not clear when the video was shot and whether she spoke under duress.

"I did not know if she is dead or alive until yesterday," her mother, Keren Schem, said in a press conference in Tel Aviv this morning, holding a portrait of her daughter while surrounded by other family members.

"I am begging the world to bring my baby back home," she said.

She said her daughter was a fighter and was confident that the Israeli government "will do all they can to bring everyone home."

Red Cross convoy loaded with medical equipment stuck in Egypt

An aid convoy carrying critical equipment is stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, the International Committee for Red Cross said this morning.

The 12 trucks are loaded with medical equipment, basic mattresses, blankets, essential aid for families and chlorine for cleaning water. "We have additional teams, including surgical and health staff on standby," a spokesperson for Red Cross told NBC News.

Hospitals in southern Gaza are overwhelmed and the truce conditions that would allow the border to open and for the aid to flow still haven't been reached.

"The situation is nearly catastrophic," the spokesperson added.

Search for survivors after airstrikes in Khan Younis

Max Butterworth

Palestinians search through the rubble of a shattered building, after an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip today.

The death toll from Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip has risen to around 2,750 since Hamas's deadly attack on southern Israel last week, the Gaza health ministry said October 16.
Mahmud Hams / AFP - Getty Images

Israeli American soldier leaves U.S. to fight Hamas

NBC News

An Israeli American soldier explains why he left the U.S. to take up arms for Israel after hearing about the Hamas attacks. “This is our country and we have to defend it,” he said. 

Uncertainty over Gaza-Egypt crossing at Rafah lingers

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip remained closed today as there was a growing confusion around when and where the crossing could reopen to allow for a flow of refugees and much-needed humanitarian aid.

Trucks carrying aid for the Gaza Strip arrived today at Rafah, Reuters reported, but there was no confirmation about when the convoy will be allowed into Gaza. Yesterday, crowds of Palestinians were also seen gathering around the crossing’s gates, hoping for an escape.

Rafah border crossing Gaza Egypt
A satellite image shows the Rafah border crossing between Gaza, and Egypt on Sunday.Maxar Technologies / AP

The Rafah crossing is the only border crossing into besieged Gaza not controlled by Israel, and the world's attention has been fixed on it in recent days amid a growing humanitarian crisis in the densely populated enclave.

Egyptian officials said yesterday that Israel was not cooperating to make the crossing operational. It was expected Sunday that the crossing would reopen to allow foreign national Palestinians out and aid in, but no truce conditions were established to allow that to happen.

Gaza City's Al-Shifa Hospital 'crowded beyond imagination'

Jake Lubbehusen

Jake Lubbehusen and Mithil Aggarwal

One of the major hospitals in the Gaza Strip, Al-Shifa Hospital, has now turned into a shelter for many seeking refuge after their homes were leveled from Israeli bombings.

"It is so crowded — beyond imagination. We can't even move because of people blocking everywhere," plastic surgeon Dr. Mohamed Ziara said in a series of video messages sent to NBC News.

Israel embarked on a withering air campaign against Hamas militants in Gaza after they carried out a brutal attack on Israel on October 7 that left more than 1,400 people killed in Israel.
Ambulances crowd the entrance to the emergency ward of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Sunday night.Dawood Nemer / AFP - Getty Images

Every corridor or department is blocked, he said. "They don't have food, they don't have water and they're trying just to stay alive."

"The team is so exhausted, we have only three doctors instead of nine. Actually, one of them was killed two days ago while he was going home after a full day’s shift. And he was bombed with his whole family in the whole building," he said.

Trump calls to bar potential refugees from Gaza

NBC News

Former President Donald Trump called for potential refugees from Gaza to be barred from entering the U.S. “We aren’t bringing in anyone from Gaza, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya or anywhere else that threatens our security,” he said at his campaign event in Clive, Iowa, yesterday.

Read more here.

Biden to travel to Israel Wednesday amid war with Hamas

President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced, saying one of the president’s goals is to reaffirm U.S. “solidarity with Israel and our ironclad commitment to its security.” We have details from NBC News’ Peter Alexander.

How the U.S.- Israel agreement on aid came together

Abigail Williams

Secretary of State Antony Blinken before boarding his plane in Cairo en route to Jordan on Oct. 15, 2023.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken before boarding a plane in Cairo en route to Jordan on Sunday.Jacquelyn Martin / Pool via AFP - Getty Images

In every stop he made after his trip to Israel last week, Arab leaders told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the U.S. must do something to solve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, a senior State Department official said.

When Blinken called Biden after his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to relay their message, Biden asked his top diplomat to go back to Tel Aviv to work out a plan, the official said.

What followed was nine hours of negotiations between the U.S. and Israel, the senior State Department official said, as the two sides hashed out the details of the plan.

On Monday Blinken announced that the U.S. and Israel “have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza — and them alone.” The plan could also include creating areas to keep civilians safe, he said.

During the discussions about the agreement, Blinken and the U.S. delegation set up next to the Israel prime minister’s Cabinet meeting. Every so often Netanyahu would go over, and the two sides would exchange papers, the senior State Department official said.

Blinken also reiterated to Israel’s president today that every Arab leader he met with in the region expressed the importance of dealing with the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the official said.

Israel says it killed four people trying to infiltrate fence bordering Lebanon

Lawahez Jabari

Chantal Da Silva and Lawahez Jabari

ASHDOD, Israel — The Israeli Defense Forces said this morning it killed four people who were trying to infiltrate a security fence bordering Lebanon.

Israel says it killed four people trying to infiltrate fence bordering Lebanon.
Aerial footage released by the IDF shows individuals close to the border fence, before an explosion. IDF

“A short while ago, IDF observation troops spotted a terrorist squad attempting to infiltrate the security fence with Lebanon and plant an explosive device,” a spokesperson for the IDF said.

It shared video appearing to show people moving near a fence before a blast dominates the screen.