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Pause ends and fighting resumes

The Israel Defense Forces has accused Hamas of violating the terms of an agreement that has seen a pause in fighting in Gaza since Nov. 24 and of firing at Israeli territory.

What we know

  • Israel's military said Friday morning local time that it has resumed fighting in Gaza after accusing Hamas of violating the terms and firing toward Israeli territory.
  • Eight hostages were released Thursday following a last-minute agreement to extend the truce between Israel and Hamas. In exchange, 30 imprisoned Palestinians were released, officials said.
  • Three people were killed in a shooting attack at a bus stop in Jerusalem during rush hour Thursday morning, Israeli authorities said, as fears of spiraling violence beyond the Gaza Strip grew. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in the region in a renewed diplomatic push, meeting with Israeli leaders and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian health officials said two boys, one of them 8 years old, were killed in an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the area yesterday.
  • More than 1.7 million people have been displaced in Gaza, where health officials say the death toll has surpassed 14,500 after weeks of Israeli attacks. The Israel Defense Forces estimates 1,200 people were killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, with around 160 people still held captive in Gaza.
  • NBC News’ Richard Engel, Raf Sanchez, Ali Arouzi, Erin McLaughlin and David Noriega are reporting from the region.

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Please click here for the latest updates.

Israeli PM office says country committed to freeing hostages, eliminating Hamas

The office of Israel’s prime minister Friday accused Hamas of violating the terms of a cease-fire by firing at Israeli territory and said it was still committed to what it called its goals of the war. It said Hamas “has violated the outline.”

“It has not met its obligation to release all of the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens,” the statement said.

“Upon the resumption of fighting, we emphasize: The Government of Israel is committed to achieving the goals of the war: Releasing the hostages, eliminating Hamas and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to the residents of Israel,” it said.

IDF says it is launching airstrikes in Gaza

Israel’s military said Friday morning that its jets were launching strikes in Gaza, shortly after it announced that combat operations would resume there following a weeklong pause.

The Israel Defense Forces at around 7 a.m. local time (midnight ET) accused Hamas of firing at Israeli territory.

The IDF said that a “number of launches” were identified that “were not intercepted according to protocol.” It did not mention any casualties from the launches.

“IDF fighter jets are currently striking Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip,” it said.

Airstrikes heard in Gaza after resumption of combat is announced

NBC News’ team in Gaza reports airstrikes across north and south Gaza after Israel’s military announced it was resuming combat operations there following a pause in fighting.

The team also reported artillery shelling along the border east of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas-affiliated media said on Telegram that there were clashes in northern Gaza.

IDF says it has resumed fighting in Gaza

Israel’s military said that it “has resumed combat against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip” after a pause in fighting of about a week.

"Hamas violated the operational pause, and in addition, fired toward Israeli territory," the Israel Defense Forces said.

The pause took effect by agreement on Nov. 24. During that time 105 hostages have been released from Gaza, officials said. Israel has released 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Israel’s president visits UAE, asks for help to free hostages

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Israeli President Isaac Herzog today asked the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to use his “political weight” to help free all of the Israeli hostages the Palestinian militant group Hamas holds in Gaza.

Herzog made the request at a meeting with Sheikh Mohamed in Dubai, the Israeli president’s media office said in a statement.

“The President appealed to his friend Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to employ his full political weight to promote and speed up the return home of the hostages,” it said.

The UAE is a regional power, although fellow Gulf state Qatar and Egypt have been mediating between Israel and Hamas for the release of hostages, which has so far led to 99 Israelis’ and foreigners’ being freed. A UAE state news agency report said the two presidents discussed relations between their countries and issues of mutual interest.

ICC prosecutor to meet with survivors of Oct. 7 attack

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan is visiting Israel “at the request and invitation of survivors & the families of victims of the 7 October attacks,” the court said in a tweet.

It said Khan will also visit Ramallah to meet senior Palestinian officials.

“The visit, while not investigative in nature, represents an important opportunity to express sympathy for all victims and engage in dialogue,” the court said.

Israel 'attentive' to U.S. perspective as it prepares to resume military campaign, Israeli official says

Israel is "attentive" to the U.S. perspective on how to proceed with the military campaign against Hamas after the temporary cease-fire comes to an end, an Israeli official told NBC News today.

"Israel and the administration are in close dialogue on many fronts and issues, including the need to apply pressure on Hamas after the pause and give humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza," the official said.

Blinken met with Israel's war Cabinet earlier today in Tel Aviv, where, he said, he discussed humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza going forward. Blinken also said he made it clear to Israeli officials that there must be efforts to minimize casualties.

American lawmakers are in renewed discussions on aid for Ukraine and Israel as part of their upcoming government funding package. Some lawmakers, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are pushing to condition funding for Israel on its government's taking active steps to stop the fighting.

Blinken says he hopes to extend pauses and continue hostage releases

Blinken met with Israeli officials and the president of the Palestinian Authority today, saying one of his hopes for the visit is to work on an extension of the agreement to pause hostilities between Hamas and Israel.

At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Blinken said the U.S. "will not stop working until we get every hostage back home with their families and loved ones."

He also said that he understood Israel's intention to resume its military pressure on Hamas once the pause was over but that he told the war Cabinet that humanitarian protections for civilians must be put in place ahead of major operations.

"We discussed the details of Israel's ongoing planning, and I underscore the imperative by the United States that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement of the scale that we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the South," Blinken said. "As I told the prime minister, intent matters, but so does the result."

Truce extension ‘up in the air,’ former Ambassador Mark Regev says

Six more Israeli hostages have been released by Hamas today, the last day of a truce between Hamas and Israel.

Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s former ambassador to the U.K., joined Andrea Mitchell to discuss why the truce was extended for only one day, the possibility of freeing more hostages before midnight and the stakes of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Israel.

6 more hostages on their way to Israel, IDF says

Six more hostages are on their way to Israel hours after two women were returned today, the IDF said.

Israel's military said it had information from the Red Cross that the hostages were en route. Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al Ansari also said on X that two minors and six women of dual nationalities were released today in exchange for 30 imprisoned Palestinians, 23 of whom were minors.

According to the parameters of the deal framework, extensions to the temporary pause in hostilities required Hamas to release 10 hostages a day. Two Russian Israelis who were released yesterday outside of the agreement framework are considered to be included on today's list, Al Ansari said in a post.

169 Palestinian children released from Israeli prisons in hostage deal

There have been 169 Palestinian children released from Israeli detention over the past week as part of the deal to exchange Israeli hostages with imprisoned Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

A total of 240 Palestinians have been exchanged across six days as part of the temporary truce agreement between Hamas and Israel. The remaining 71 are adult women, the prisoners organization said.

Watch: Hamas releases two more hostages in Gaza

Video from Al Jazeera shows the release of two hostages, named as 21-year-old Mia Schem and Amit Soussana, 40, into the care of the Red Cross in Gaza.

Israeli operation in Jenin lasted more than 17 hours, U.N. says

A raid conducted by Israeli forces in Jenin, in the West Bank, lasted more than 17 hours, an operation in which four Palestinians were killed and another six were injured, the United Nations said in a situational report today.

According to the report, there were several exchanges of fire during the raid Tuesday night, and Israeli bulldozers destroyed infrastructure and houses in the Jenin refugee camp. The U.N. did not assign blame to any specific party for the deaths or identify those killed, but did note that two of the deaths were children.

NBC News previously reported that two young boys were shot and killed in Jenin, Adam Samer Al-Ghoul, 8, and Basil Suleiman Abu Al-Wafa, 15, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Video geolocated to Jenin by NBC News showed four boys running for cover, one falling limp to the ground before being dragged by another.

The Israel Defense Forces said yesterday that a commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Muhammad Zubeidi, was killed with another suspected terrorist in a joint raid with the Israel Security Agency. The military did not mention civilian deaths or injuries.

Members of the Israeli military take positions during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.
Members of the Israeli military take positions during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.Majdi Mohammed / AP

Palestinian children show the things they carried while fleeing northern Gaza

Palestinian children pose in the courtyard of a government-run school in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, holding something they took with them when they fled northern Gaza.
Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images

Palestinian children pose in the courtyard of a government-run school in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, holding something they took with them when they fled northern Gaza. The U.N. estimates that 1.7 million of Gaza’s 2.4 million people have been displaced by the fighting.

UC Berkeley disputes claim of 'unchecked' antisemitism in lawsuit, says censorship is unconstitutional

The University of California, Berkeley responded today to Jewish groups suing the school over "unchecked" antisemitism, saying the claims are not consistent with "the facts" of what is happening on campus.

UC Berkeley is a public university that does not have the "legal right" to censor constitutionally protected demonstrations, the statement said. It further focused on claims that the university believes have no grounds, saying that it has no record of hate emails calling for "gassing and murder" of Jewish students.

The school says it has only received a single report of alleged violence, involving a water bottle, that it is investigating.

IDF says it intercepted suspicious activity in southern Israel's airspace

The IDF said it is reviewing an incident in which an "interceptor was launched" after it detected suspicious activity in southern Israel's airspace.

There were no additional details provided by the military as to what exactly the suspicious item was. Israel and Hamas agreed to a last-minute extension of their deal that expanded the pause of hostilities into today.

Earlier in the day, the IDF said it intercepted an aerial target in the north from the direction of Lebanon. It was the first exchange of fire at the border between Israel and Lebanon since the truce deal between Hamas and Israel went into effect last week.

Video shows newly released hostage Mia Schem reuniting with her mother in Israel

Mia Schem, 21, and Amit Soussana, 40, were released on Thursday to the Red Cross. Video shows Schem embracing her mother and brother at an air base in southern Israel.

111 U.N. staff members killed, refugee relief agency says

The U.N.'s Palestinian refugee agency says 111 of its staff members have been killed since Oct. 7, the largest number of staff deaths in any conflict in its history.

According to a release today from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the deaths occurred before the cease-fire and were only recently confirmed by the agency. There were no additional details provided.

More than 50 of the U.N.'s installations in Gaza have been subjected to collateral damage since the start of the war, the UNRWA said, with at least 30 of them confirmed to have been "directly hit."

Some family members of hostages express frustration at Red Cross

Some family members of American hostages being held in Gaza said today that they were disappointed at the Red Cross for not publicly providing more information about the status and treatment of the people being held. They also expressed frustration that the organization has not been able to gain access to hostages that are believed to need medical care.

“We cannot understand why that is not happening,” said Hagit Chen, whose 19-year-old son Itay is expected to be among the hostages.

The families have demanded they receive an update from Red Cross leadership within 48 hours.

“Their voice needs to be heard, specifically what is the status of the hostages, why they’re not being permitted to visit the hostages,” Itay’s father, Ruby Chen, said.

He said the Red Cross also needs “to get the international community behind them and be the conscience of the international community about the fact that there are 160 people that have been abducted and kidnapped and have not been visited once and no one has been able to provide them with any type of medical attention.”

“We don’t have time,” he said in a meeting with Red Cross representatives as he slammed an hourglass on a table.

Video shows mother of hostage crying tears of joy at news daughter is coming home

Mia Schem’s mother, Keren Schem, cried and ran in excitement upon getting the news that her daughter was returning home after more than 50 days in captivity.

In a video posted by the family, Keren Schem holds a phone to her ear as she cries, at one point cradling her head as she bends over toward her knees.

"Mia is coming back," she exclaimed in Hebrew. "OK, wow, wow!"

She then jumps up and runs to share the news hugging other family members.

Israeli man believed to have been kidnapped was killed on Oct. 7, kibbutz says

Aviv Atzili, an Israeli who was believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas, was killed on Oct. 7, according to a statement from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Atzili's wife, Liat, was one of the hostages released from Hamas captivity yesterday. She is an American-Israeli dual citizen and a guide at Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to victims of the Holocaust.

Aviv and Liat had three children: Ofri, Netta and Aya, according to Nir Oz.

"Aviv was a pillar of the Nir Oz community and managed the agricultural machinery repair shop in the kibbutz. Aviv loved painting, cycling, and spending time outdoors," Kibbutz Nir Oz said in a statement. "Respectful of all humans. May his memory be a blessing."

The kibbutz did not specify the exact circumstances of Atzili’s death on Oct. 7, the day of the Hamas terror attack in Israel.

Israeli prisoner release shines light on system of detaining Palestinians without charge

Red Cross prisoner swap occupied West Bank
A Red Cross vehicle leaves the Ofer military prison yesterday between Ramallah and Beitunia in the occupied West Bank.Ahmad Gharabli / AFP via Getty Images

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The occasional volley of tear gas did little to dampen the celebratory mood outside Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank today, as crowds gathered to greet the first group of Palestinian prisoners to be released in the ongoing truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Among them was Abed Khatib, whose 17-year-old son, Iyas, was set to be released Friday. He says Israeli security forces raided his home one night in February and took his son away with no explanation. Khatib says his son was held under administrative detention.

According to an NBC News analysis of the list imprisoned Palestinians eligible for release, only about 20% were convicted of crimes, the most serious of which is attempted murder. The list indicates that others were detained for offenses such as supporting terrorism, trespassing, belonging to an illegal organization, throwing incendiary devices and stones and carrying, possessing and manufacturing weapons, among others.

Roughly 80% of those on the list were not convicted of any crimes. They were either charged with crimes that had not yet been prosecuted, or were detained under a practice known as administrative detention, whereby Israel holds Palestinians in the occupied territories with no formal charges or evidence presented against them.

Read the full story here.

China calls for a 'concrete' road map to a two-state solution

China released a position paper on the war today, with President Xi Jinping calling for an immediate cease-fire and a "concrete timetable and roadmap" to implement a two-state solution.

The paper released by the Foreign Ministry provides five suggestions, including implementing a comprehensive cease-fire, effectively protecting civilians, ensuring humanitarian assistance, enhancing diplomatic mediation and seeking a political settlement.

Yesterday, China chaired a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York with Foreign Minister Wang Yi telling reporters, "The two-state solution is the bottom line for international justice."

"Independent statehood is an inalienable national right of the Palestinian people, a right that cannot be traded away," he said.

Netanyahu orders demolition of homes belonging to Jerusalem bus stop attack suspects

TEL AVIV — Netanyahu ordered the demolition of homes belonging to two named suspects in a shooting attack at a Jerusalem bus stop today.

The Israel Security Agency, also known as Shin Bet, identified brothers Murad and Ibrahim Nemer as suspects in the shooting. According to the ISA, Murad Nemer was in prison from 2010 to 2020 for alleged intentions to carry out terrorist activity. His younger brother was also in prison in 2014 "for terrorist activities."

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack and the ISA identified both brothers as being "with Hamas."

Netanyahu ordered their homes to be "sealed and demolished," according to a statement from his office. He also ordered extensive arrests for anyone who may have supported or assisted in the attack.

An Israeli team inspects the scene of a shooting attack near a bus stop in Jerusalem on Nov. 30, 2023.
An Israeli team works at the scene of a shooting attack today near a bus stop in Jerusalem.Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP - Getty Images

British actors and artists decry 'censorship' of pro-Palestinian voices

LONDON — British actors and artists, including Academy Award winner Olivia Colman and "Derry Girls" star Nicola Coughlan, have signed an open letter decrying the “repressing, silencing and stigmatising" of pro-Palestinian voices.

The letter, which has been signed by more than 1,000 people so far, accuses cultural institutions across the West of "targeting and threatening the livelihoods of artists and arts workers who express solidarity with Palestinians, as well as cancelling performances, screenings, talks, exhibitions and book launches," the letter says, according to a news statement from Artists for Palestine U.K.

The open letter cites the firing of Melissa Barrero from the "Scream" franchise following pro-Palestinian posts on Instagram, and the cancellation of an Ai WeiWei exhibition at London's Lisson Gallery.

A market surrounded by ruins in Gaza

Palestinians shop at a local bazaar during a truce in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, today.

Daily life during humanitarian pause in Gaza
Ashraf Amra / Anadolu via Getty Images

Freed Israeli hostage says she was initially fed well until the 'the economic situation' changed

TEL AVIV — An Israeli hostage freed by Hamas said in an interview that she was initially fed well in captivity until conditions worsened and people became hungry. She was kept in a “suffocating” room and slept on plastic chairs with a sheet for almost 50 days.

In one of the first interviews with a freed hostage, 78-year-old Ruti Munder told Israel’s Channel 13 television that she spent the entirety of her time with her daughter, Keren, and grandson, Ohad Munder-Zichri, who celebrated his ninth birthday in captivity. Her account, broadcast Monday, adds to the trickle of information about the experience of captives held in Gaza.

Ruth Munder walks with an Israeli soldier shortly after her arrival in Israel on Nov. 24, 2023.
Ruti Munder walks with an Israeli soldier after her arrival in Israel on Nov. 24.IDF via AP

Initially, they ate “chicken with rice, all sorts of canned food and cheese,” Munder told Channel 13, in an audio interview. “We were OK.” They were given tea in the morning and evening, and the children were given sweets. But the menu changed when “the economic situation was not good, and people were hungry.”

She said she would wake up late to help pass the time. The room where she was held was “suffocating,” and the captives were prevented from opening the blinds, but she managed to crack open a window.

“It was very difficult,” she said.

Blinken and Abbas discuss need to improve security in West Bank, humanitarian aid for Gaza

Blinken met with the Palestinian Authority president in Ramallah today, where they discussed the need for greater humanitarian aid to Gaza and security measures for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Reiterating comments he made to Netanyahu in an earlier meeting, Blinken told Abbas that he "condemned extremist violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank" and insisted on "full accountability" for those responsible, Miller said.


IDF tanks wait at the border during 7th day of truce

Israeli troops stand atop a tank on the border with the Gaza Strip today, during the 7th day of a truce between Israel and Hamas militants.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend by one more day a truce under which hostages are exchanged for Palestinian prisoners and aid flows into the war-devastated Gaza Strip.
Gil Cohen-Magen / AFP - Getty Images

Blinken admonishes Israel over attacks by settlers, stresses need to protect Gaza civilians

Blinken reaffirmed U.S. commitment to "Israel's right to protect itself" during his meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem today — but also offered admonishments of Israel's conduct.

In a rare rebuke of Israeli policy in the West Bank, Blinken urged that settler extremists be held accountable for escalating attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, reiterating U.S. support for a two-state solution, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Blinken also told Israel to "take every possible measure to avoid civilian harm" during its bombardment of Gaza, and the need to account for "humanitarian and civilian protection" in southern Gaza before any military operations there, Miller said.

Israeli soldiers restrain Jewish settlers after they stormed the Palestinian West Bank village of Dayr Sharaf, about four miles from the Einav settlement following the fatal shooting of an Israeli man on Nov. 2, 2023.
Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP via Getty Images

Two more hostages released and handed over, Israel says

Two more hostages are now in Israeli custody after being transferred to the Red Cross by Hamas, the Israeli military has said.

The two hostages released are Amit Soussana, 40, and Mia Schem, 21, according to press releases from the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum and the prime minister's office. Several more hostages are expected to be released, an IDF spokesperson said.

Amit Soussana.
Amit Soussana.Courtesy Hostages and Missing Families Forum via AP

In an interview with NBC News last week, Keren Schem, mother of Mia, spoke of the hope and anxiety after the truce deal was struck. She said her plans upon seeing her daughter again for the first time were simple: “I will just hold her and hug her and I won’t ask questions — that’s for sure. I just want to hold her.”

Israel and Hamas extended their truce into its seventh day early this morning, after Hamas provided Israel with a list of women and children it would release today in exchange for 30 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails.

Schem, an Israeli and French citizen, was abducted by Hamas militants from the Nova Music Festival near Kibbutz Re'im, Israel, and was taken into Gaza during the group's unprecedented attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that resulted in the killing of 1,400 people and abduction of over 220.
Keren Schem holds up a portrait of her daughter, 21-year-old Mia Schem.Ohad Zwigenberg / AP

Israel summons Spanish ambassador after PM questions whether it is following 'humanitarian law'

Israel's foreign minister has summoned the Spanish ambassador to Israel for a meeting after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he "doubted" that Israel was following international humanitarian law in Gaza.

In a post on X, Netanyahu's office said Foreign Minister Eli Cohen had summoned the ambassador for a "reprimand," adding that the comments made by Sanchez on Spanish state-owned television channel TVE were "shameful."

In his remarks, Sanchez said he had "serious doubts" as to whether international law was being followed in Gaza, and condemned the indiscriminate killings of civilians.

Sanchez's comments follow ambivalence from other European countries toward Israel's war in Gaza. Earlier this month, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter also called for investigations into Israel's targeting of hospitals and refugee camps in Gaza and called for European Union sanctions on the country.

U.S. Navy ship shoots down drone launched by Houthis

A U.S. Navy warship sailing near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait shot down a drone launched from Yemen yesterday, the U.S. military said, in the latest in a string of threats from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

U.S. Central Command said the USS Carney, a Navy destroyer, downed the drone — an Iranian-made KAS-04 — which was launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen and was heading toward the warship.

The Carney had been escorting a naval ship, a military sealift command fast combat supply ship, as well as another U.S.-flagged and crewed ship carrying military equipment to the region. 

There were no injuries to U.S. personnel and no damage to the ships, the command said in a statement.

Moscow thanks Hamas for releasing Russian nationals

The Russian Foreign Ministry thanked Hamas' leadership this morning for their "positive response" to its pleas to release Russian citizens who are being held in Gaza.

It came after two women with Russian citizenship were released outside of the framework of the cease-fire deal under which Israeli and foreign hostages have been released by Hamas since Friday.

“We will continue to strive for the speedy release of the remaining Russians held in the Gaza Strip,” the ministry said.

Hamas said earlier yesterday that it released Roni Krivoy, an Israeli man who is also a Russian citizen, as a way to thank Russian President Vladimir Putin for his stance on the Palestinian cause, and promised the release of more Russian-Israeli citizens.

Putin has been critical of Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip and its toll on Palestinian civilians. He has urged a political solution to the conflict and has backed the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Yesterday, Israel's ambassador to Russia, Alexander Ben Zvi, met with relatives of hostages held by Hamas as they were speaking with the media in Moscow.

Evgeniya Kozlova, mother of 27-year-old Andrey Kozlov who is being held in Gaza, told NBC News after the meeting that she is "placing great hopes on Russia" to get her son back after Krivoi’s release, despite not receiving any solid promises yet of his release. "We understand that Russia, among all countries, is playing a huge role," she said.


Blinken meeting with Palestinian Authority president in West Bank

Blinken will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank today, following earlier meetings with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv.

Image: Mahmoud Abbas
Antony Blinken
Blinken meeting with Abbas in Ramallah today.Nasser Nasser / AP

Blinken, who arrived in Israel overnight, met with Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog earlier today, and sat in a meeting of Israel's war Cabinet where he was briefed on the next phase of Israel's war on Gaza.

Blinken's whistle-stop tour of the region, which will include a stop in the United Arab Emirates, will focus on Washington's hopes for Gaza's future if Israel manages to eliminate the organization, a State Department official told Reuters.

Netanyahu meets with Blinken, vows 'nothing will stop us' from eliminating Hamas

Netanyahu has said that he told Blinken that his military would continue its war efforts to eliminate Hamas as a force in Gaza.

Speaking to the press following the pair's meeting in Jerusalem this morning, he said that he told Blinken that the attackers behind the deadly shooting this morning were the “same Hamas” who attacked Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7.

“I told him: We swore and I swore to eliminate Hamas,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel would continue its war on Gaza until it had eradicated the organization entirely and released its hostages.

“Nothing will stop us,” he added.



Father and son reunited as more hostages released by Hamas

Israeli hostage Liam Or reunites with his father upon arrival at Hatzerim military base in Israel last night, after his release from Hamas captivity.

Israeli Hostages Released
Israel Defense Forces / AP

Netanyahu says Israel will pursue Hamas in Gaza, Jerusalem, 'everywhere'

Israel will continue to distribute weapons to Israeli citizens in the West Bank, targeting “Hamas terrorists” in “Jerusalem, Gaza, Judea and Samaria — everywhere,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a post on X, referring to the occupied West Bank.

Reacting to the deadly shooting in Jerusalem this morning, he praised “the quick reaction of two fighters and a civilian who eliminated the terrorists prevented an even more serious attack" and added that it showed the distribution of weapons to settlers was a policy that “proves itself time and time again in the war against the murderous terrorism.”

Others in his Cabinet, such as far-right coalition partner Itamar Ben-Gvir, have also called for an increase in weapons distribution among settlers in the wake of the attack.

Car-ramming attack at IDF checkpoint injures 2

A car-ramming attack at an IDF checkpoint near Moshav Beka’ot, an Israeli settlement in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank, injured two IDF soldiers, according to a statement from the Israeli military.

The statement did not identify the attackers, who it said had been "neutralized." The military was searching the area for additional suspects, it added.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law. The Beka’ot checkpoint has been the site of numerous fatal confrontations between Palestinians and the Israeli military. In 2016, two Palestinian men were shot dead after attempts to stab IDF soldiers.

Relative of freed hostages says 3-year-old speaks in a whisper after Hamas captivity

JERUSALEM — Yahel Shoham is a bubbly, curly-haired 3-year-old, but a family member says she now speaks in a whisper after being told by Hamas to stay quiet for 50 days.

Yahel was released alongside her brother, Naveh, mother, Adi Shoham, and grandmother Saturday. Her father is still being held in Gaza.

Adi's cousin, Shira Hebron, told NBC News yesterday that it was a “nightmare” and “hell on earth” waiting to learn if her loved ones would be exchanged as part of the cease-fire deal with Hamas.

“It was just unbearable,” she said. But they finally have "some air in our lungs," she added, after six members of the Haran-Shoham-Avigdori family have been freed over the weekend.

But even though there is partial relief, she said, they can’t celebrate their return until all the hostages are back.

Hamas claims responsibility for Jerusalem shooting

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the shooting at a Jerusalem bus stop, which killed at least three people today and injured several more.

In a statement, the Gaza-based militant group said the shooting was carried out by brothers Murad and Ibrahim al-Nimr in a “commando operation.”

Jerusalem Hamas shooting
A man reacts at the scene of a deadly shooting in Jerusalem today.Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP - Getty Images

The attack was a response to Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip and the killing of two Palestinian children in a raid on Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, Hamas said in the statement.

Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, also confirmed identities of the perpetrators, adding that the brothers had links to Hamas and had previously been imprisoned in Israel, separately for “terrorist activity” and “intention to carry out terrorist activity”

21 aid trucks arrive in Gaza City, northern areas

A total of 21 aid trucks have been received in Gaza City and northern areas of the strip today, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, containing essentials such as food, water, baby formula and blankets.

No humanitarian aid had been received in northern Gaza prior to the humanitarian pause, which began last Friday, according to the organization. Since the start of the truce, 254 trucks have been received. More than 1,000 aid trucks have entered the strip overall since the beginning of the truce, although U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that significantly more is needed.

Gaza needs an “immediate and sustained” increase in humanitarian aid including food, water and fuel, he told the Security Council in New York yesterday, adding that the Rafah crossing does not have the capacity for the amount of aid needed.

In his speech, Guterres urged the opening of other crossings such as Kerem Shalom, on Gaza’s border with Israel, as well as the streamlining of inspection and security processes.

Humanitarian aid alone “will not be sufficient” to satisfy Gaza’s need, he added, calling on the private sector to “bring in critical basic commodities to replenish completely depleted shops in Gaza.”

Israel cut off energy, fuel and water supplies as part of its “total siege” on Gaza following the Hamas attacks Oct. 7, in measures it lifted with restrictions earlier this month. Gaza has faced chronic shortages of food, water and fuel for years, following an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007.

'We cried and we hugged each other,' says father of released Palestinian teenager

Mohammad Salima returned home Tuesday to his worried father and siblings who broke down in tears and hugged him.

The 16-year-old was imprisoned by Israeli forces earlier this year for "throwing stones," his father, Khalil al-Sleimah, told NBC News in text messages, and is among the Palestinian children released as part of the prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel.

Palestinian Prisoner Release
Mohammad Salima with his father after his release Tuesday.Courtesy of Khalil al-Sleimah

"I told him now he’s safe and calm. Parting for four months was tough," he said, adding that the family had no clue about the teen's condition since Hamas launched its attacks Oct 7.

Even though Salima had returned home, "he is terrified," Khalil al-Sleimah said.

Salima was first under three months of house arrest, he said, but a court order later forced his transfer to an Israeli prison. "It was the hardest day of my life," the father said.

Surveillance footage shows how deadly Jerusalem shooting unfolded

Surveillance video shared on social media revealed how the shooting during Jerusalem's rush hour today left three dead in just more than 30 seconds.

The footage shows two people get out of a car next to a bus stop and begin firing on passengers, who run for cover.

Seconds later, it appears like two uniformed soldiers arrive in another vehicle and begin shooting at the attackers, who take cover by their own car.

Meanwhile, two other people run over to the scene from different sides of the road and also begin shooting at the attackers.

By the end of the video, just 39 seconds after the shooting began, the attackers are lying motionless by their car.

"This morning at around 07:40 there were reports of a shooting that took place at the Givat Shaul intersection on the way out of Jerusalem. Two terrorists who arrived at the scene in a vehicle armed with weapons, fired at civilians at the bus stop and were neutralized by security forces and a civilian who was nearby," an Israeli police spokesperson said in a statement.

Blinken returns to Israel, says truce is ‘producing results’ and should continue

Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to Israel today and is meeting with Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem.

"This process is producing results," Blinken said of the truce that has seen the release of dozens of hostages taken from Israel, as well as imprisoned Palestinian women and children.

"It’s important and we hope that it can continue," he said, adding he was looking forward to conversations "about the way ahead in Gaza."

17 Thai hostages arrive in Bangkok

A group of 17 Thai nationals who were held hostage by Hamas in Gaza arrived in Bangkok today to overjoyed families and a crowd of photographers.

Thai Hostages Land In Bangkok
Thai nationals, who had been kidnapped and taken hostage by Palestinian Hamas militants, arrive back in Bangkok today.Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP - Getty Images

The Thai Foreign Ministry said earlier 23 hostages have been released in Gaza in total, with 9 remaining in captivity.

Cross-border fire between Lebanon, Israel for first time since Hamas truce began

The Israeli military said it intercepted an “aerial target” that crossed from Lebanon today, in the first instance of cross-border violence in Lebanon and southern Israel since the country brokered a series of temporary truce deals with Hamas on Friday.

“A short while ago, following the sirens that sounded in the areas of Dovev, Mattat, and Sasa in northern Israel, the IDF Aerial Defense Array successfully intercepted a suspicious aerial target that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory,” the IDF said in a statement.

UNIFIL, the U.N.'s peacekeeping force in northern Lebanon, added to Reuters that Israel retaliated against the launch.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility within Lebanon. The Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah has been trading fire with Israel for several weeks. Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas have also targeted Israel from within Lebanon since the start of the most recent conflict.

Activist Ahed Tamimi among Palestinians freed by Israel

Prominent Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi was one of those freed by Israel last night.

Tamimi was one of hundreds arrested in the West Bank in November on charges of inciting terror. Tamimi’s mother has denied the charges against her daughter, saying they were based on fake social media posts.

Tamimi, 22, has been a prominent activist for Palestinian land rights since childhood. In 2017, she was arrested and imprisoned for eight months for slapping an IDF soldier during a raid of her home village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank.

NBC News visited Nabi Saleh in 2014 and interviewed Tamimi, then 14, who had recently become famous for biting and hitting an IDF soldier as he restrained her 12-year-old brother after a protest against the illegal expansion of the Jewish Halamish settlement near Ramallah, captured in viral images celebrated in the occupied territories and around the world as depicting the spirit of the Palestinian resistance.

“We the Palestinians are not going to wait for Saladin to liberate us,” Tamimi said in an interview with NBC News at that time, referring to a 12th-century leader who united Middle Eastern armies to fight European crusaders. “We are going to make our own Saladin and liberate ourselves.”

Palestinians released from Israeli jail
Activist Ahed Tamimi is greeted following the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails last night.John MacDougall / AFP via Getty Images

The latest on today's hostage deal

After a last-minute agreement saw the truce being extended by another day today, up to 10 hostages are expected to be released in exchange for 30 Palestinian women and children.

The Israeli prime minister's office said today the families of those slated to be released today have been notified.

Qatar, which has played a key role in mediation between Hamas and Israel, said the extension was under existing conditions "which are a cessation of all military activities and the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza."

Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said "efforts were ongoing with the aim of reaching a permanent cease-fire."

Israeli president: Kissinger a 'giant who shaped world politics'

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has paid tribute to Henry Kissinger as one of the “greatest diplomats” and a “giant who shaped world politics with his own hands and mind.”

In a post on X, Herzog hailed Kissinger’s rise to prominence from fleeing the Nazis as a teenager to “laying the foundations for Israel’s peace agreement with Egypt.”

Kissinger in Middle East
Kissinger, center, watches as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin reads a diplomatic agreement signed by Egypt and Israel in Jerusalem on Sept. 2, 1975. IPPA/AFP via Getty Images

Kissinger had told Herzog that he “always loved and supported Israel, and always will,” during their final meeting, he added.

Read the full obituary here.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather in NYC amid Rockefeller tree lighting

Multiple pro-Palestinian demonstrators were seen gathering in Manhattan not far from the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting, waving flags and holding signs to protest against the Israel-Hamas war.

At least 3 killed and 13 injured in Jerusalem shooting attack, Israeli authorities say

At least three people were killed and 13 others injured in a shooting attack at a bus stop during rush hour in Jerusalem this morning, Israeli authorities said.

“The initial investigation indicates that the terrorists arrived to the scene by car in the morning, armed with an M-16 rifle and a handgun. At a certain point, the terrorists began shooting at civilians before subsequently being killed at the scene,” the police said, adding ammunition was found in their car.

A 24-year-old woman was declared dead on the scene, and a 73-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman were declared dead at the hospital, emergency services said, with some of the injured in serious condition.

The two attackers "were neutralized" by a pair of off-duty IDF soldiers and a civilian, police said.

Joy for released hostages

Newly released Israeli hostages sit among soldiers as they arrive inside a van at Ofakim army base in southern Israel early this morning.

Image: Newly released Israeli hostages sit among soldiers as they arrive inside a van at Ofakim army base
Menahem Kahana / AFP - Getty Images

Israel confirms truce extension, says new list of hostages delivered

The office of Israel’s prime minister said that “Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement” and that the pause in fighting would therefore continue.

“The War Cabinet unanimously decided last night that if a list is not delivered by seven o’clock this morning as agreed upon in the outline — fighting will be resumed immediately,” the prime minister’s office said.

In a statement a short time after 7 a.m., the office said a list had been given.

Hamas and the Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry also said the truce would continue for a seventh day, meaning today.

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