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Biden ‘working through’ options after Iran-backed militants kill 3 U.S. troops

Negotiators from Israel, the U.S., Egypt and Qatar have agreed on a framework for a new hostage deal, and a draft is being presented to Hamas today, a source familiar with talks held in Paris over the weekend told NBC News.

What we know

  • President Joe Biden is still "working through options" after he vowed to retaliate for the drone attack that killed three Army Reserve soldiers, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told NBC's “TODAY” show. The deaths at a base in Jordan yesterday are the first in months of attacks by Iran-backed militants since the Israel-Hamas war began, though Iran sought to distance itself from the strike.
  • A source familiar with hostage talks held in Paris over the weekend has told NBC News that negotiators from Israel, the U.S., Egypt and Qatar have agreed on a framework for a new cease-fire deal and that a draft is being presented to Hamas today.
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency warned today that it will not be able to continue operations in Gaza and across the region beyond the end of February if funding is not resumed. A growing number of states have followed the U.S. in suspending funding for UNRWA following Israel's accusations that 12 of its workers participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.
  • More than 26,600 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. More than 65,000 have been injured, and thousands more are missing and presumed dead.
  • Israeli military officials said at least 220 soldiers have been killed during the ground invasion of Gaza. About 1,200 people were killed and about 240 hostages were taken after Hamas launched multipronged attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.
  • NBC News’ Keir Simmons, Hala Gorani, Raf Sanchez, Matt Bradley and Chantal Da Silva are reporting from the region.

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Follow live updates here.

Death toll climbs to 26,637 in Gaza since Oct. 7, Palestinian health officials say

More than 200 people have been killed in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll in Gaza to 26,637, the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said today.

More than 65,380 people have been wounded since the conflict began Oct. 7, with many missing under the rubble and on the roads, the ministry said in a statement on Telegram.

It added that about 2 million people were displaced.

Health officials called on international organizations to protect hospitals and health workers in the enclave and to provide more medicine, food and fuel to the city.

Hamas reiterates no hostages will be released without Israel's withdrawal

Hamas reiterated its position on hostage releases a statement after a source said the group would be approached with a framework deal agreed upon by representatives from the U.S., Egypt, Israel and Qatar in Paris.

The framework would include, according to the source, a 60-day pause in fighting, as well as an exchange of hostages for detained Palestinians. Netanyahu’s office said no final deal has been agreed upon.

Hamas said once again in a statement that it would not release the more than 100 hostages remaining in Gaza until Israel withdrew its forces from the Gaza Strip and agreed to a complete cease-fire. Netanyahu has called those terms unacceptable in recent weeks, saying the war needed to continue.

Kirby calls Gaza resettlement comments from ministers 'reckless' and 'incendiary'

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby denounced recent comments at an event in Israel where ministers promoted the idea of resettling Gaza by expelling Palestinians.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who have previously made public comments on the matter, were keynote speakers.

Kirby said the ministers “speak for themselves” and added that the White House has had open lines of communication with Israel’s war Cabinet.

"Some of this rhetoric in the language that that was attributed to some of these ministers at this event, irresponsible, reckless — incendiary, I go so far as to say — and certainly doesn’t comport with our strong policy statement," Kirby said at a White House briefing today.

"We have made clear that there can be no reduction in Gazan territory.” 

Germany's foreign office also condemned the statements, saying considering the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza is "unacceptable."

"It only makes things worse and violates international law," it said on X. "Anyone who thinks that expulsion fantasies can achieve security for Israel is simply wrong."

President Biden convened a meeting with his national security team over how the U.S. will respond to Iran-backed groups’ attacks in Jordan that left three American soldiers dead. The meeting included national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Department of Defense identifies 3 soldiers killed in Jordan

The Pentagon released the names of the three soldiers who were killed in Jordan yesterday after a drone struck a base near the border with Syria.

The service members were identified as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia.

President Biden said the troops were killed by “radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq" and an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Framework for a cease-fire deal reached in Paris, source says

Israeli, Qatari, Egyptian and American officials in Paris have reached a “unified position” on a framework for deal that would enact a 60-day pause of hostilities in Gaza, a source familiar with the talks tells NBC News. The framework is being presented today to Hamas in Egypt, the source added. Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that no final deal has been agreed upon. 

A combination of Egyptian and Qatari proposals would include no bombardment by Israel, no rocket fire from Hamas and the redeployment of Israeli forces away from the southern city Khan Younis. The details of the Israeli military redeployment still need to be negotiated, the source added.

If agreed, the deal would move in phases with a focus on what the source calls the "humanitarian phase" in the first 60 days: Each civilian hostage, women first, would be released in exchange for three Palestinian prisoners. Israel would allow two Qatari field hospitals waiting in Egypt to be set up inside Gaza – along with much more humanitarian aid. 

Any breach would be mediated via a mechanism that still needs to be discussed, but a definitive breach would temporarily end the other terms of the agreement, the source said.

During the last week of the cease-fire, other parties would begin discussing extending the pause and the release of military prisoners, beginning with military women and moving to military men and then the remains of those killed in exchange for all Palestinian prisoners taken since the start of the hostilities, which is close to 7,000. (The number of Palestinian prisoners is growing by the day.)  

Qatari official warns of 'catastrophic repercussions' in stopping UNRWA support

Lolwah Rashid Al-Khater, minister of international cooperation at Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reaffirmed the country's commitment to the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency and warned of the "catastrophic repercussions" of ending its relief efforts.

In a call today with UNRWA Commisioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, she said they discussed the importance of coordinating unhindered aid deliveries across Gaza as the agency faces increased scrutiny. The minister also pointed to UNRWA's work outside of Gaza, supporting Palestinian refugees in states such has Jordan and Lebanon.

"Her Excellency urged the international donors to continue providing the necessary support, especially in light of the international community's failure to reach a political solution that leads to stopping the ongoing war on civilians in the Strip for four months," according to a statement from the ministry.

Second intelligence briefing on UNRWA alleges around 10% of UNRWA employees tied to Hamas or PIJ

In a second Israeli intelligence briefing on UNRWA employees obtained by NBC News and shown to the governments of Western countries, Israel alleges that about 10% of the 12,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza are operatives of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad and about 50% are “first degree relatives with a Hamas operative,” allegations that NBC News has not verified.

The document says Israel has evidence of 13 UNRWA workers who supported the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, accusing them of actions from kidnapping Israelis to supplying logistical support for the attack. 

Of the 13, 10 are alleged to be Hamas operatives, two are allegedly members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and one is not identified with an affiliation, according to the dossier.

The dossier also makes the following allegations, which NBC News has not independently verified:

  • Six UNRWA employees infiltrated Israel in the attack (five Hamas-affiliated and one unidentified).
  • Four UNRWA employees were involved in kidnapping Israelis (two of whom infiltrated Israel territory).
  • Three additional UNRWA employees were invited by text to arrive at an assembly area the night before the attack and were directed to equip with weapons. Their arrival at the assembly area was not confirmed in practice (they are affiliated with Hamas.)
  • At least one UNRWA employee supplied logistical support to the infiltration attack, and an additional employee was directed to establish an "ops room" on Oct. 8.
  • Within UNRWA employees’ Telegram groups, many statements that express celebration and support of the massacre were seen during the onset of the war. An Israeli who was a hostage in the Gaza Strip testified that she was kidnapped by a UNRWA teacher.

At least nine countries, including the U.S., suspended funding to the UNRWA after the allegations came to light.

At a briefing today, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that there are scores of good people working at UNRWA and that the 13 are a tiny percentage of them.

UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement that an investigation into the "heinous allegations" had been launched and will "establish the facts."

He warned that suspending funding to the organization has dire consequences.

"The lives of people in Gaza depend on this support and so does regional stability," he said.

Civil rights complaint filed against Harvard over 'failure to protect' students in support of Palestinians

The Muslim Legal Fund has filed a civil rights complaint against Harvard University with the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students and others who support Palestinian rights, the organization announced today.

In the complaint, Harvard is accused of failing to protect students who have been subjected to "rampant harassment and racist attacks including doxxing, stalking, and assault," the fund said in a news release. The university's administration is also accused of threatening to limit the students' future academic opportunities when they asked for help.

One student, who was not identified, said in a statement that administrators repeatedly denied requests for protection "while a hostile, hateful environment ballooned on campus."

“We’re calling on the Department of Education to do what Harvard refused to do — truly investigate what happened to us, hear our voices, and bring accountability so that no other student has to experience the racism and harassment we did," the student said.

A spokesperson for Harvard University did not comment on the complaint but directed NBC News to a list of resources it has provided students, including a presidential task force on combating Islamophobia and anti-Arab bias announced earlier this month.

The list also included a link to a statement made by Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana on Oct. 12, denouncing antisemitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and discrimination.

U.S. lawmakers push Biden administration on move bypassing congressional review of arms sale to Israel

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and a group of lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate are seeking more information about the Biden administration's decision last month to bypass Congress for the second time to proceed with an emergency arms sale to Israel amid its war with Hamas.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, they noted the State Department’s “longstanding practice” to inform the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees about prospective arms sales.

“Both informal and formal notifications are essential for congressional oversight and the State Department ‘generally will not formally notify an arms transfer if a member of Congress raises significant concerns by placing a hold during the informal notification stage,’” they wrote. “This review process may only be waived if Congress receives notification that ‘an emergency exists’ for the sale or export license to be approved immediately.”

They said the president’s decision to bypass congressional oversight through an emergency declaration for the arms sale to Israel is a “highly unusual” move, citing the Arms Export Control Act that requires the State Department to notify Congress of major arms sales.

“In fact, since the AECA was passed into law, an emergency declaration authority has only been used 18 times in nearly 50 years,” they wrote. “Yet in a single month this administration used the authority twice: first to approve the sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of 120mm tank ammunition worth more than $106 million and then to approve the sale of fuzes, primers, and charges worth $147.5 million that allow for the use of 155mm shells.”

They expressed concerns over the “civilian harm risks inherent to the nature of these weapons” as well as the weapons the U.S. provides to Israel being “used in a manner that violates U.S. policy and international law.”

“We are concerned that these transfers and the administration’s evasion of congressional oversight may be inconsistent with broader U.S. foreign policy goals,” they wrote.

The U.S. lawmakers gave a Feb. 9 deadline for the State Department to respond.

Israeli security dossier accuses UNRWA staff of entering Israel, and one allegedly kidnapped a woman

TEL AVIV — An Israeli security dossier obtained by NBC News sheds new light on allegations that 12 staff members from the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees took part in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and its aftermath. 

The allegations have led the U.S. and at least 10 other countries to suspend funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), just as the organization is struggling to provide humanitarian support to more than a million Palestinians in Gaza. 

The six-page dossier names 12 members of UNRWA staff but does not provide evidence for the allegations made against them. It claims that around 190 UNWRA staff are members of either Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad. NBC News has not been able to independently verify the claims made in the dossier. 

A counselor at a UNRWA school is alleged to have taken part in the kidnapping of a female hostage on Oct. 7. A social worker is accused of transporting an Israeli soldier’s body into Gaza. Ten of the 12 men named in the dossier are said to be members of Hamas. Another is alleged to be an Islamic Jihad activist, while the final man has no known affiliation. At least two of them have been killed since Oct. 7, the dossier states.

UNRWA announced on Friday that Israeli authorities had passed on the allegations. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said yesterday that nine of the surviving staff members were terminated, and the identities of two others needed confirmation. The U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services launched an investigation. 

Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA's commissioner-general, said the organization's work and the lifeline it provides to more than 2 million people in Gaza is collapsing.

"I am shocked such decisions are taken based on alleged behavior of a few individuals and as the war continues, needs are deepening and famine looms,” he said in a post on X yesterday. “Palestinians in Gaza did not need this additional collective punishment. This stains all of us.”

Dozens of people, ‘mostly women and children,’ killed, Palestinian Information Ministry says 

Dozens of Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed and many others wounded in Israeli attacks in Gaza over the last 48 hours, the Palestinian Information Ministry said today.

It said that at least 350 people were killed in Gaza, with at least 24 of them in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, as heavy fighting continued in the area.

Medical sources also told the Information Ministry that journalist Issam Al-lulu and his wife and two sons were killed in the central area of Al-Zawaida. A total of 121 journalists have been killed since Oct. 7 when Hamas launched attacks on Israel, the ministry said.

NBC News was not able to independently verify the killing of Al-lulu.

Ex-Obama envoy: Jordan attack holds 'significant' escalation risk

The attack in Jordan that killed three American soldiers presents the biggest risk for regional escalation since the Hamas attacks and Israel's war, a former senior American diplomat says.

Frank Lowenstein, former special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under President Barack Obama, outlined the delicate task ahead for the Biden administration.

“Whatever we do in response to this will be carefully calibrated to send as strong a message as we can to Iran — without tripping the wire and getting Iran more directly involved in this conflict,” he said.

He called the deadly attack on U.S. troops claimed by Iran-backed militias “a significant step on the path of escalation,” which “brings the risk of a broader regional conflict of greater intensity than we’ve seen so far, right to the forefront of our calculations.”

What worries experts the most, he added, “is a big war between Israel and Hezbollah,” the Lebanese militant group also backed by Iran that has been exchanging daily missile fire with Israel since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

What this “highlights for the Biden administration,” he added, “is the importance of getting this cease-fire in place as soon as possible. That’s really the best chance for de-escalation in the region.”

Oxygen runs out at key hospital in southern Gaza, Red Crescent says

Oxygen has run out at the Al Amal hospital in Khan Younis, forcing the surgical department to cease operations, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said today on X, as Israel intensifies its campaign in southern Gaza.

"The situation inside Al-Amal Hospital is tragic," it said.

At least three displaced people sheltering there have been killed, it said, including a nurse's brother. The PRCS said its ambulances are also unable to reach the wounded because of the continued gunfire.

Families have been evacuating to the PRCS headquarters and the hospital due to the "morning threats by the occupation to clear residents" in the area, it added.

European Commission to review UNRWA funding

The European Commission said in a statement today that it will review whether to continue funding the U.N. Palestinian aid agency in light of allegations that some of its employees were involved in Hamas Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

“The Commission will review the matter in light of the outcome of the investigation announced by the U.N. and the actions it will take,” the statement said, adding that it welcomed the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's offer to provide information and launch investigations.

Calling for a full investigation, the E.U.’s executive branch added that no additional funding would be given to the aid agency until the end of February.

Several countries in the European Union, including Finland and Austria, have already announced they will suspend UNRWA funding because of the allegations.

Right-wing ministers among thousands calling for Israeli settlement of Gaza

Several ministers within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government were among thousands of people who flocked to a conference in Jerusalem last night, calling on Israel to rebuild settlements in both Gaza and the northern parts of the occupied West Bank.

Rocket sirens sound in central Israel after weeks of silence

TEL AVIV — Rocket sirens blared over central Israel and Tel Aviv for the first time in weeks today.

In a statement, Hamas military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said it had launched a “missile barrage” toward the city.

It was unclear if there were any casualties.

Missile attacks from Gaza have dropped significantly in the past few weeks with Israeli forces deepening their campaign in the enclave and moving through the south.

Residents living in some northern neighborhoods should move to southern Gaza, IDF says

Residents living in a number of neighborhoods in northern Gaza were urged to head south by the Israel Defense Forces this morning.

Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arab media spokesman, posted a map of areas to be evacuated on X today, including the Al-Shati refugee camp in the northwest of the enclave.

The Israeli military has previously ordered residents in the north to move south, but in recent weeks it has intensified operations around the southern city of Khan Younis.

Iran executes four convicted of working for Israeli spy agency

Four people who were convicted of working for Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, were executed today in Iran, the state-run IRNA news agency reported, citing the Islamic Republic’s judiciary.

All four were arrested in July 2022 by Iranian security forces and accused of planning to target a factory in the central city of Isfahan affiliated with the Defense Ministry, IRNA reported.

They were sentenced to death last September after their actions were considered espionage cooperation for Israel, the agency said.

IRNA identified them as Iranian nationals: Mohammad Faramarzi, Mohsen Mazloum, Vafa Azarbar and Pejman Fatehi.

The four were also charged with managing “terrorist” groups to undermine national security, IRNA said, adding that an appeal court upheld the death sentence after re-examining the verdict.

Iran denies it was behind drone strike on U.S. base in Jordan

Iran was not behind a drone strike on a U.S. military base in Jordan that left three soldiers dead, state media in the Islamic Republic reported today.

The conflict between the U.S. and resistance groups in the region triggered the “retaliatory attacks,” an unnamed representative told the IRNA news agency last night. The person added that Tehran had no link or connection to the attack on facility near Jordan's border with Syria.

The deadly drone strike, which also wounded dozens of U.S. troops, was the first to kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Negotiators agreed on new hostage deal framework to put to Hamas, source tells NBC News

Negotiators from Israel, the U.S., Egypt and Qatar agreed in Paris on a framework for a new hostage deal, a source familiar with the talks tells NBC News.

The deal would see the release of the remaining American and Israeli hostages in phases starting with the women and children, accompanied by phased pauses in the fighting and aid deliveries to Gaza, along with the exchange of Palestinian prisoners, the source said.

A draft is being presented to Hamas today, they added. In the past, the militant group has been insisting on an immediate permanent cease-fire first, which would be a deal-breaker.

The negotiators were the prime minister of Qatar and the leaders of the other countries' intelligence agencies. The Qatari leader will be interviewed by Andrea Mitchell and The Washington Post’s David Ignatius at noon today, his first interview since arriving in Washington from the Paris talks.

Austria joins growing list of countries suspending UNRWA donations

Austria suspended funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency today, over “deeply shocking and extremely disturbing” allegations that some of its staff were involved in Hamas Oct. 7 attacks.

“We call on UNRWA and the United Nations to conduct a comprehensive, rapid and complete investigation into the allegations,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that possible participants in the attacks “must be held accountable.”

“Until all of these allegations have been fully clarified and the consequences drawn from them are clear, Austria, in coordination with international partners, will temporarily suspend all further payments to UNRWA,” the statement said.

The U.S., Canada, the U.K. and other countries have also paused donations to UNRWA.

Israel strikes area in southern Damascus where Iranian fighters based, state media and war monitor report

Two people were killed by an apparent Israeli airstrike on a southern suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus, when Iran-backed fighters have a presence, Syrian media and an opposition war monitor reported today.

The Al-Sayidah Zeinab area “is considered one of the headquarters of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard,” the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Separately a military source told Syrian state media that civilians were killed.

NBC News could not independently verify these claims.

Earlier, Syria’s national news agency SANA quoted a military source as saying that Israel launched “an air aggression” on a number of targets to the south of Damascus resulting in “a number of martyrs and wounded civilians, in addition to some material losses.”

Separately, Iran's semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported that Israeli forces launched an attack on an advisory center belonging to Iran in Syria.

Biden is working through retaliation options after attack on U.S. base in Jordan, Kirby says

Biden is working through his options after he vowed to retaliate for the deaths of three U.S. troops who were killed in a drone attack on a U.S. base in Jordan, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, told "TODAY" this morning.

“We’ve got to do what we have to do to protect our troops in our facilities. What the options are available to the president — we’re still working through that, he’s still working his way through that,” Kirby said. “And I don’t want to close down any decisions based on it on his behalf

Stressing that the administration doesn’t “want a wider war with Iran,” he added that the U.S. knew Tehran was backing militant groups in the region.

“We know that they are resourcing, they’re supplying in some cases, they’re providing information that allows these groups to do this,” he said. 

“We’re taking that very seriously. We don’t want a wider war with Iran. We don’t want a wider war in the region, but we got to do what we have to do,” he added.

Protesters try to block Gaza aid at Kerem Shalom border

Israeli protesters, including relatives of the hostages held in Gaza, wave national flags and hold placards during a demonstration aimed at blocking aid trucks from entering the Palestinian territory through the Kerem Shalom border crossing with southern Gaza today.

Israeli Demonstration At Kerem Shalom Border
Menahem Kahana / AFP - Getty Images

Vital services have 'collapsed' at Khan Younis' Nasser Hospital, Doctors Without Borders says

Vital medical services at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis have “collapsed,” Doctors Without Borders said today on X.

“Hospitals need to remain protected spaces,” the international aid organization said. “People and medical workers must be allowed to access and provide healthcare.”

No hospital in Gaza is currently fully functioning, according to the World Health Organization.

Palestinians evacuate the area of Nasser Hospital and the adjacent schools in Khan Younis on Jan. 29, 2024.
Palestinians evacuate the area near Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis today.Mohammed Talatene / dpa / Getty Images

Gaza operations will cease after February if funding does not resume, UNRWA says

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency warned today that its humanitarian operations in Gaza and across the region will have to cease beyond the end of February if its funding is not resumed.

Almost a dozen countries including the U. S., the U.K. and Germany, have paused their funding to the aid agency in the wake of allegations that 12 UNRWA staff were involved in Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

“If the funding is not resumed, UNRWA will not be able to continue its services and operations across the region, including in Gaza, beyond the end of February,” a spokesperson for the agency told Reuters.

UNRWA distributed flour to Palestinians in Rafah
Displaced Palestinians who took refuge in Rafah receive flour yesterday from UNRWA.Ahmed Zaqout / Anadolu via Getty Images

Man seriously injured in car ramming attack near Haifa naval base, paramedics say

A man was seriously injured in a car ramming attack in the city of Haifa today, Israel's Magen David Adom paramedic service said in a statement on Facebook today.

“When we arrived on scene we found the casualty conscious, lying by wall, with serious lower limb injuries,” Hanan Zohar, a paramedic, said in the statement.

The statement said the incident happened near a naval base in the northern port-city. It added that the man was in serious condition and was taken to the city's Rambam Hospital for treatement.

Anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian incidents in the U.S. rose 180% after Oct. 7, advocacy group says

Complaints of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian discrimination and hate in the U.S. rose by about 180% in the three months after Hamas Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent war on Gaza, an advocacy group said today.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it had received 3,578 complaints during the last three months of 2023.

The figure is a 178% rise from complaints in the same period from a year earlier and came amid what CAIR called “an ongoing wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate.”

Earlier this month, the Anti-Defamation League said that in the three months after Oct. 7, U.S. antisemitic incidents rose by 360% compared to the prior year.  However, the group also said that the data since Oct. 7 includes 1,317 rallies that were marked by “antisemitic rhetoric, expressions of support for terrorism against the state of Israel and/or anti-Zionism.” The group said such rallies held before Oct. 7 were “not necessarily included” in its earlier data.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they launched missile at U.S. warship

Yemen's Houthi militant group said today that they fired a missile targeting a U.S. Navy ship when it was sailing in the Gulf of Aden near the Red Sea.

The decision to attack the ship USS Lewis B. Puller last night came in defense of Yemen and in support of the Palestinian people, a spokesperson for the group said in a statement.

Houthi supporters in Yemen
Houthi supporters at a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, on Friday.Osamah Abdulrahman / AP

The spokesperson added that the group would carry on targeting Israeli ships and vessels bound for Israel until the war with Hamas in Gaza ended.

NBC News has reached out to the U.S. Navy for comment, but a defense official, speaking to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said there had been no reported attack.

War Cabinet member condemns ministers who went to event about Gaza resettlement

TEL AVIV — Gadi Eisenkot, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war Cabinet and a former military chief of staff, has condemned right-wing ministers for attending a conference that called for the establishment of Israeli settlements throughout Gaza.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who delivered keynote speeches at the event, gathered with thousands of attendees at a conference hall in Jerusalem yesterday.

Calling on Netanyahu to be “courageous,” Ben-Gvir said it was time to resettle Gaza and to “encourage” Palestinians to leave the enclave. Smotrich said Israel was at a crossroads and that “without settlement, there’s no security.”

Ariel Kellner, left, Shlomo Karhi, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Yossi Dagan, Amichai Eliyahu are among Israeli government members and ministers dancing at the settlement conference in Jerusalem last night.
Ariel Kellner, left, Shlomo Karhi, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Yossi Dagan, Amichai Eliyahu are among Israeli government members and ministers dancing at the settlement conference in Jerusalem last night.Kobi Wolf for NBC News

But in a post on X this morning, Eisenkot said: “Everyone who participated yesterday in the event in the International Convention Center and especially elected officials — learned nothing and a half from the events of the past year, about the importance of actions with a broad national consensus and solidarity in Israeli society,”

“‏Even while putting fundamental differences aside for the sake of the common goals — the return of the hostages and the defeat of Hamas, others find time for an event that divides Israeli society, increases the existing lack of trust in the government and its elected officials and, above all, sharpens the divisive over the unity,” he added.

Biden vows to retaliate after deaths of U.S. soldiers in Jordan

Biden took a moment of silence yesterday for the three U.S. service members who were killed in a drone attack in Jordan. The president, speaking at an impromptu stop at Brookland Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, said the U.S. “shall respond.”

Early morning bombardment in Rafah

Smoke and flames rise from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip during an Israeli bombardment early today.

Israeli Bombardment Rafah
AFP - Getty Images

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