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Oil and shipping giants suspend Red Sea operations after Houthi attacks

Discussions aimed at securing another hostage deal and a pause in fighting appear to be at a standstill, according to White House spokesperson John Kirby. 

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

Discussions aimed at securing another hostage deal and a pause in fighting appeared to be at a standstill on Tuesday, although the Biden administration was hopeful for a breakthrough, according to White House spokesperson John Kirby.

On Monday, CIA Director William Burns was in Warsaw, Poland, meeting with Israeli and Qatari officials in an effort to cobble together an agreement.

Meanwhile, attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on ships threatened global trade as major oil and shipping giants, including BP, MSC, Evergreen, OOCL and Maersk, suspend operations through the Red Sea.

The father of one of the hostages who was mistakenly killed by the Israeli military in Gaza has lashed out at the government, telling NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson that they are “thinking only of themselves” and “not thinking about the hostages.”

Almost 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war in Gaza, with 70% of them women and children, according to health officials in the enclave. The vast majority of the enclave’s 2.2 million people are displaced, and an estimated half face starvation, according to human rights advocates and aid groups.

Israeli military officials say 131 soldiers have been killed during the country’s ground invasion in Gaza, which came after 1,200 people were killed and about 240 hostages were seized by Hamas on Oct. 7.

In L.A., an office building becomes a 'bring them home' poster

Pro-Israel and humanitarian artists in Los Angeles have plastered an office building with "bring them home" posters and signage in an effort to increase support for freeing hostages still held by Hamas militants in Gaza.

The project in Culver City, a municipality on L.A. County's Westside, is the result of the building's occupant, television production company Ample Entertainment, teaming up with the nonprofit groups Artists for Israel and Combat Antisemitism Movement.

The display features massive banners that feature the words "#BRINGTHEMHOMENOW" and "KIDNAPPED" as well as oversize, vinyl missing persons posters featuring photos of 173 people abducted in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

"We dare you to try to take this down," Artists for Israel CEO Craig Dershowitz told NBC Los Angeles. He was referring to a spate of incidents in which people have been captured on video ripping down "bring them home" posters.

"You will not stop us, and you will not stop the message from being spread," Dershowitz said.

Street-level, oversize posters replace hostages' photos with mirrored material in an effort to get viewers to see themselves in the shoes of abductees.

The display is within viewing distance of the Saudi-funded King Fahad Mosque, site of mutual efforts in recent years to bring empathy and friendship to Jewish and Islamic neighbors.

IDF says troop activity doesn't match two deaths at Latin church in Gaza

The Israeli military is reviewing an incident from Sunday after accusations that its soldiers killed a woman and her daughter at a Latin church complex in Gaza.

According to a statement from the IDF, an initial review found that Hamas fired a rocket-propelled grenade aimed at troops in the church's vicinity and soldiers fired at three people "operating as spotters" for Hamas.

"While this incident occurred in the area where the two women were reportedly killed, the reports received do not match the conclusion of our initial review which found that the IDF troops were targeting spotters in enemy lookouts," the statement said.

The IDF said it is continuing to review the incident and that it takes strikes of "sensitive sites" seriously. The military also said that it makes an effort to protect civilian lives.

Democrats urge Biden to pressure Israel into changing Gaza approach

A group of Democratic lawmakers who served in the military or CIA are urging the Biden WH to pressure Israel into changing its approach in Gaza. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., joins Morning Joe to discuss.

Blinken affirms commitment to independent Palestinian state

Speaking with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry today, Secretary of State Blinken renewed U.S.- Egypt cooperation and commitment to the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Blinken also thanked Egypt for its essential role in increasing humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the release of hostages and the safe cross-border exit of U.S. and other foreign nationals via Rafah, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. 

Ed Department launches inquiries into MIT, other schools over reported discrimination

The U.S. Education Department has opened investigations into four universities and two local school districts over reports of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

The department, which previously launched probes into Stanford University, UCLA and other colleges over alleged ethnic discrimination, will look into whether MIT outside Boston, University of California at Davis, Drexel University in Philadelphia and the University of Illinois in Chicago violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin, including shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.

The department is also looking into Springfield Public Schools District 186 in Illinois and Chandler Unified District in Arizona.

A spokesperson for the department declined to comment on specific investigations. The schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. believes there needs to be 'more precision' in Israel's attacks on Hamas, VP Harris says

In a new interview with with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated the U.S.’s stance that, while Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas, "how it does so matters."

Harris said that "far too many" innocent Palestinians have been killed in the conflict and that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin have made that clear in recent visits to Israel.

"And it is important, then, that — and we have made clear our perspective on this — that there be a lessening of the intensity and more precision around how Israel goes after Hamas and the leadership of Hamas," Harris said.

Tune in to "The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell" at 10 E.T. tonight.

White House launches initiative to counter growing Houthi threat to U.S. ships in Red Sea

The White House addressed a new initiative to ensure Red Sea safety amid increasing attacks on commercial vessels by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“We will do what we have to do to counter these threats,” said the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby. 

Palestinian Islamic Jihad releases new hostage video

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has released a new video showing two residents of kibbutz Nir Oz who are being held hostage: Gadi Moses, 79, and Elad Katzir, 47.

The two men identify themselves and one of them says they are being held by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They both say they want to be released. NBC News cannot verify the context of the men's statements as the video has been edited, and it is likely they are speaking under duress.

Yesterday, Hamas released video of three other men who were taken from Nir Oz on Oct. 7: Amiram Cooper, 85; Chaim Peri, 79; and Yoram Metzger, 80.

U.N. resolution vote pushed again as U.S. seeks more time to talk

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Security Council members were in intense negotiations today on an Arab-sponsored resolution to spur desperately needed humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza during some kind of a halt in the fighting, trying to avoid another veto by the United States. A vote on the resolution, first postponed from yesterday, was pushed back again until tomorrow.

“We’re still working through the modalities of the resolution,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said this afternoon when the vote was still set for 5 p.m. “It’s important for us that the rest of the world understand what’s at stake here and what Hamas did on the 7th of October and how Israel has a right to defend itself against those threats.”

The vote was later canceled as the United States asked for more time. Talks were continuing in an effort to get the Biden administration to abstain or vote in favor of the resolution.

U.S. is 'defending the indefensible,' U.N. official says

The United States is "defending the indefensible" as the humanitarian crisis deepens in Gaza, Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, told Sky News.

“This operation has already caused almost 20,000 deaths, 8,000 are still missing and 1.9 million people in Gaza have been displaced,” Albanese told the British broadcaster.

“What are the U.S. waiting for to declare a cease-fire? This is unfathomable for me,” Albanese said, adding that “the situation is beyond despair.”

The United Nations Security Council is expected to consider another resolution aimed at a “sustainable cessation,” but vote has been delayed in an attempt to avoid another U.S. veto.

A draft today “calls for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access,” according to the AP.

Netanyahu and wife meet with hostage families in Tel Aviv

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife met with the families of those being held by Hamas, vowing to “spare no effort” to rescue the remaining hostages.

The prime minister, who is under increased criticism for his bombardment of Gaza, said he has twice dispatched the head of Israel’s intelligence agency to Europe to promote the release of hostages.

In response to a question from an attendee at this evening's meeting, Netanyahu said: “Will I succeed? I can give you one guarantee — we don’t stop.”

"I will spare no effort on the subject and the demand is to bring everyone," he added.

FBI investigating hoax threats to synagogues across U.S.

The FBI is investigating what officials describe as “a significant number of email hoax bomb threats to Jewish institutions and synagogues across the United States,” in recent days, according to an email sent to outside advisers and obtained by NBC News.

“More than 30 of the 56 FBI field offices are investigating these threats and pursuing those responsible for violations of multiple federal laws,” the email said.

Based on similar language and specific email tradecraft, the FBI has concluded the perpetrators of these threats are connected, the email said, and the threats appear to be originating from outside the United States. So far, none of the threats was connected to an explosive device or credible risk of harm to congregants.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that on Saturday and Sunday, 199 threats had been tracked, with half happening in California and 62 in Arizona, according to the Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for Jewish institutions nationwide. The threats happened in at least 17 states.

U.N. Security Council in intense negotiations on Gaza humanitarian resolution, trying to avoid U.S. veto

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Security Council members were in intense negotiations today on an Arab-sponsored resolution to spur desperately needed humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza during some kind of a halt in the fighting, trying to avoid another veto by the United States.

The vote, initially scheduled for yesterday afternoon, was postponed until today to try to get the U.S. to support the resolution or abstain. The vote had been expected to take place by early afternoon, but diplomats said it was pushed back because the U.S. asked for more time. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations have been private.

State Department spokesman Matt Miller said the U.S. is still “engaging constructively” with other members of the council on the text, without giving any details.

The draft resolution on the table yesterday called for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities,” but this language is expected to be watered down in a final draft, possibly to a “suspension” of hostilities or something weaker to get U.S. support, diplomats said. A new draft circulated early today “calls for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

The longer war rages, 'the further we’re getting from peace for the children,' UNICEF spokesperson tells NBC News

People are living in a ubiquitous, inescapable state of conflict as unrelenting bombardments are met with starvation, thirst and disease, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told NBC News of his visit to Gaza.

"If we just were dealing with food, water, medicine, sanitation, you'd have the highest-level humanitarian emergency the U.N. could classify," said Elder, who noted people are dying of starvation. "You've got that and this unrelenting bombardment, that's what makes Gaza so stressful and difficult."

Elder entered the Palestinian enclave just days before last month's temporary truce deal and left just days after it fell apart, telling NBC News that he will never forget the day bombardments resumed.

"The longer this goes on, the more polarized people are getting, the angrier they're getting, the more frustrated they're getting and the further we're getting from peace for the children of Gaza, Israel, the West Bank, the region," Elder said.

Palestinian children walk through the rubble after an Israeli strike on residential buildings in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Dec. 14, 2023.
Children walk through the rubble after an Israeli strike on residential buildings in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Thursday.Hatem Ali / AP

During his visit, Elder said that he spoked to families whose children are suffering from disease but either cannot access medical treatment or simply have not sought it due to the knowledge that hospitals are overstretched. UNICEF estimates that more than 100,000 children are suffering from diarrhea cases, but Elder warned that the number is likely larger, as cases go unreported.

Safe zones in Gaza are anything but, Elder said, as Gazans being evacuated are being moved to areas with no food, water and "no toilet for 700 people." As concerns about starvation and food deprivation continue to grow, the U.N. is expected to publish a report about the dire hunger situation in Gaza due to the ongoing blockade and bombardment, according to Action Against Hunger.

"So that spread of disease — and I don't think it ever captures the public's or politicians' imagination in the way the bombardment does — but it's every bit as lethal," he added.

Often when visiting conflict zones, Elder attempts to find one story that captures the tragedy conflict that he can convey to people after he leaves. But in Gaza, heartbreaking personal situations are far from unique.

“The only hope I ever got was quite frequently someone would seek me out in a camp, usually a young person wanting to tell their story. And I would just be so taken on and enamored because they were so articulate,” Elder said.

“You could see this big brain and a beautiful heart. Their story was so utterly heartbreaking, but you could see this immense potential.”

When Gaza aid resumes, backlog will prevent it from reaching people for months, UNRWA head in Gaza says

TEL AVIV — The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza today told us that even when the flow of aid picks back up to prewar levels, the backlog means it will take months to get much-needed assistance to those in need in Gaza.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people living under pieces of plastic right now. To bring in the supplies required to get them into shelter is a mammoth task. We’ve lost thousands and thousands of trucks that should have come in, haven’t come in,” Tom White, head of UNRWA in Gaza, said from inside Gaza.

White also pointed a finger of blame at Israel, stating that it has “deliberately used food, water, fuel as a weapon of war,” adding that he’s never seen “as a humanitarian in a conflict zone in a situation where there is so little I available to deliver to people.” Israel has consistently denied that it is using the Gaza blockade as a means of collective punishment.

An Israeli soldier walks past a truck carrying humanitarian aid at the Israeli side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing with the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 19, 2023.
An Israeli soldier walks past a truck carrying humanitarian aid today at the border crossing with the southern Gaza Strip.Menahem Kahana / AFP - Getty Images

It’s not just the lack of food, fuel and water, according to White, but the overtaxed infrastructure that is having a deleterious effect on the health of the civilian population.

He described conditions in a U.N.-run school in Nuseirat designed to accommodate 1,000 people currently providing shelter for over 11,000 displaced Gazans.

“There are 11,000 people trying to use those toilets,” White told me, “and there was literally feces and urine flowing out of the bathrooms into the schoolyard, because the sewage system just cannot cope, flowing into the schoolyard where people have built their makeshift shelters. And the stench was such that it was not just that you could smell the sewage, you could taste the sewerage.”

Israel's president says country is 'ready for another humanitarian pause'

Speaking to foreign diplomats at an annual New Year reception, Israeli President Isaac Herzog indicated that the country was willing to engage with another humanitarian pause but laid responsibility with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

"I can reiterate the fact that Israel is ready for another humanitarian pause and additional humanitarian aid in order to enable the release of hostages," Herzog said, according to a statement from his office. "And the responsibility lies fully with Sinwar and the leadership of Hamas."

Hamas leadership said yesterday that it was unwilling to engage in hostage release negotiations while the organization and Israel are in active hostilities.

There was a brief truce deal negotiated in November, which led to the release of more than 100 hostages in Gaza in exchange for the release of 240 imprisoned Palestinians, all of whom were women or children. The deal lasted roughly a week and specified that Israeli women and children would be released, but Hamas also released foreign nationals in individual agreements with other countries.

Only Christian hospital in Gaza is 'out of service,' Palestinian official says

Al-Ahli Arab Hospital near central Gaza was “out of service” after Israeli attacks, a spokesperson for the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health said today.

Dr. Ashraf Al Qudra said in a statement on Telegram that it came as a result of "targeting, siege, and the arrest of a number of medical personnel, the wounded and the displaced."

Al-Ahli Arab Hospital is the oldest and the only Christian hospital in the Gaza Strip, according to American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

Member of Parliament with family trapped in Gaza church asks if U.K. will demand a cease-fire

British member of Parliament Layla Moran, who says her family members have been trapped in a church in Gaza, asked in Parliament today whether it would demand an "immediate bilateral cease-fire" and recognize Palestine as a step to a two-state solution.

Moran has been vocal on social media regarding the situation at Holy Family Church, where a mother and daughter were fatally shot after she said tanks and snipers surrounded the church complex. Blame has been laid on the IDF, which has denied responsibility.

"The people in this church, Mr. Speaker, are civilians," Moran said in her address. "They have nothing to do with Hamas. They are nuns, orphans, disabled people. They are small Christian community, and they know everyone."

In a post on X today, Moran shared a voice memo she said she had received from the daughter of a cousin who's been inside the church and who said civilians were still unable to leave their rooms for fear of coming under fire. NBC News is not able to verify the voice memo, and Moran did not respond to a previous request for comment.

Performers provide momentary diversion for Palestinian children

A man performs for children in Rafah, southern Gaza, on 
De. 18, 2023.
Said Khatib / AFP - Getty Images
A man dressed as a clown performs for children participating in an activity aimed to support their mental health, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 18, 2023.
Said Khatib / AFP - Getty Images

Performers entertain children yesterday in Rafah, southern Gaza.

WHO observes 'major disruption' of disease surveillance system and labratory capacities in Gaza Strip

A representative with the World Health Organization warned that it was seeing a “major disruption of the disease surveillance system and the laboratory capacities” in Gaza as more people are displaced and without food and water.

Richard Peeperkorn, the organization's Palestinian representative, also warned that if the vaccination program failed to continue, infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella will spread. Currently, doctors are seeing increasing respiratory and skin infections, such as scabies and head lice.

Israel says head of Gaza hospital has admitted it was used by Hamas

Israel’s domestic security agency and the Israel Defense Forces have released a video of the director of Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza in which he appears to admit that Hamas used medical facilities for military purposes.

The IDF and Shin Bett said Dr. Ahmed Al-Kahlout was arrested at the hospital, adding that he told investigators that employees at the facility, including doctors, paramedics, clerks and other staff members, were part of Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades.

NBC News could not independently verify the claims and Al-Kahlout’s whereabouts are currently unknown. It was unclear whether he was speaking under duress.

The IDF and Shin Bet added that Al-Kahlout told investigators that Hamas had offices inside hospitals for senior officials. It also quoted Al-Kahlout as saying that Hamas had designated a place for investigations and private phone lines inside the hospital.

Gaza war is world’s ‘moral failure’, Red Cross chief says

GENEVA — The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today deplored the conflict in Gaza as a “moral failure” of the international community and urged Israel and Hamas to reach a new deal to halt the fighting.

“I have been speaking of moral failure because every day this continues is a day more where the international community hasn’t proven capable of ending such high levels of suffering and this will have an impact on generations not only in Gaza,” ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric told journalists in Geneva following trips to the Gaza Strip and Israel.

A truce mediated by Qatar and Egypt held for a week at the end of November and brought about the release of 110 hostages in Gaza in exchange for 240 Palestinian women and teenagers from Israeli jails.

Heavy fighting resumed Dec. 1 and some of the remaining hostages have been declared dead in absentia by Israeli authorities.

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors in the rubble of a dest
royed residential building in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023.
Palestinians search for bodies and survivors today in the rubble of a destroyed residential building in Rafah, southern Gaza.Fatima Shbair / AP

More than 60% of the infrastructure in Gaza destroyed, UNRWA says

“Over 60% of the infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed or damaged,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said today.

It said in a statement on X that more than 90% of the population has been displaced.

“This is a staggering and unprecedented level of destruction and forced displacement, taking place in front of our eyes,” the statement added.

China urges U.S. to stop 'blocking' Gaza cease-fire resolutions

HONG KONG — China urged the U.S. to “stop single-handedly blocking" United Nations Security resolutions calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said today.

Speaking at a daily press briefing, Wang Wenbin said China was “ready to work with Arab-Islamic countries to firmly support the Palestinian people’s just cause of restoring their lawful national rights.”

The U.S. has vetoed similar votes in the past and another one is set to be held today.

“I want to stress that China does not have selfish interests in the Middle East and does not seek to form exclusive blocs in the region,” Wang said. “China always supports the people in Middle East countries in keeping the region’s future in their own hands.”

Injured father bids farewell to young son in Rafah

A father grieves after he was presented with the body of his young son at a hospital in Rafah today.

An injured man bids farewell to the body of his son in a hospital in Rafah in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on Dec. 19, 2023.
Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images

Security Council to vote on cease-fire again

As international pressure mounts on Israel to end hostilities, the United Nations Security Council will meet again today and is expected to vote on whether to call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

A similar resolution was vetoed by the U.S. earlier this month.

Seinfeld meets with hostage families

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld met with hostages freed by Hamas and the families of those who remain in captivity, an advocacy group said today.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his family came to the families' headquarters for an emotional meeting with representatives of the families of the hostages as well as hostages who returned from Hamas captivity after landing in Israel on Dec.18, 2023.
Jerry Seinfeld in Tel Aviv last night.The Families Headquarters

“Seinfeld told families that he feels a deep commitment to raising awareness around the world about the issue of the hostages,” the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum Headquarters said about last night's event.

The multiple Emmy Award-winning comedian and his family were “deeply affected by the experiences they heard from the family members and released hostages,” the statement added.

Austin arrives in Qatar, launches initiative to ensure Red Sea safety

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Qatar today, hours after he announced the launch of Operation Prosperity Guardian to ensure the safe passage of ships through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Amid increasing attacks on vessels by Houthi rebels in Yemen, he said the aim of the initiative was to ensure “freedom of navigation for all countries and bolstering regional security and prosperity.”

The United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain are also taking part.

Some ships would get an escort under the initiative, a senior U.S. military official said today. “Think of I-95 from D.C. all the way to Boston. That’s about the size of the southern third of the Red Sea. There’s probably about 400 ships in that area,” the official said.

Israeli ground operations go on in southern Gaza

An image released by the Israeli military shows soldiers conducting ground operations at an undisclosed location in southern Gaza yesterday.

IDF Ground Operations in Gaza
Israeli Army / AFP - Getty Images

Noa Argamani became the face of the Nova music festival hostages

BE’ER SHEVA, Israel — The video of her kidnapping has been seen around the world. 

A hand outstretched, terror etched on her face, screaming as she is carried away on the back of a motorcycle, the roughly 10-second clip became an instant symbol of Israel’s hostage crisis. 

Noa Argamani.
Noa Argamani.via Facebook

But more than two months after Noa Argamani was abducted from the Supernova, or Novamusic festival during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, she remains a captive in Gaza. Even as other young civilian women were released during a weeklong truce in November, there has been no sign of her. 

NBC News has uncovered information indicating she may not have been kidnapped by Hamas, but was instead most likely abducted by a mob of Gazans who swept into Israel hours after the initial attack. That may explain why she was not released during the November truce: Hamas may not be holding her, or even know where she is.  

Read the full story here.

Israeli officials say prominent Hamas financier has been killed

A prominent Hamas financier who was involved in “transferring tens of millions of dollars” to the militant group’s military wing has been killed, the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Securities Authority said in a statement today.

Subhi Ferwana was killed by an Israeli fighter jet, the statement said. “Hamas’ military wing depends on these funds transferred to them via financiers and its capabilities are consequently diminished without them,” it added.

NBC News has not indepedently verified Ferwana’s death.

Maersk reroutes ships bound for Red Sea over 'security situation'

Shipping giant Maersk said in a statement today that it was stopping its vessels from entering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden “over the highly escalated security situation in the area.”

Ships will now be rerouted around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope, the statement said.

The decision comes after one of its ships was attacked by Houthi rebels in Yemen last week.

The Iran-backed militant group has ramped up strikes on ships in the Red Sea in recent weeks, which it says are in support of the people of Gaza.

Father of 26-year-old hostage killed by Israeli forces rebukes Netanyahu

The father of one of the three Israeli hostages mistakenly killed by Israeli forces has an unambiguous message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

“I’m going to say this [to] the government. You murdered my son twice,” Avi Shamriz told NBC News’ Hallie Jackson on Monday. “You let Hamas take my son on Oct. 7, and you killed my son on Dec. 14.”

father of killed hostage Alon Shamriz
Avi Shamriz.NBC News

Israeli military forces mistakenly shot and killed Shamriz’s 26-year-old son, Alon, during intense fighting with Hamas militants Friday, almost 70 days after he was kidnapped.

The troops also mistakenly killed two other hostages, identified by the military as Yotam Haim and Samer Talalka.

Avi Shamriz, who spoke to NBC News from the Shefayim kibbutz, expressed contempt for Netanyahu’s government, which has come under fierce scrutiny for appearing to be caught off guard by the Hamas assault Oct. 7. The attack killed more than 1,200 people, per Israeli officials.

Read the full story here.

Palestinians claim the bodies of relatives in Khan Younis

A grieving man is held up as he grieves over the body of a loved one in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza this morning.

Image: Israel Resists Growing Calls For Ceasefire In Gaza
Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

At least 13 dead in Jabalia, Gaza Health Ministry says

At least 13 people were killed today in the Jabalia refugee camp, the director of Gaza’s Health Ministry said on X today.

“A large number of injured and martyrs are still under the rubble,” Dr. Munir Al-Bursh wrote, adding that at least 75 people had been injured. They were being treated at the Jabalia Martyrs Medical Center.

In a separate statement, Ashraf Al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, said Israeli forces had targeted an area near the medical center.

He added that two journalists were injured.

Displaced Palestinian civilians keep warm at Rafah camp

A man tries to stay warm with two young children around a fire outside tents housing civilians displaced by the conflict in Rafah, southern Gaza, last night.

Israel Gaza Displaced Civilians
Mahmud Hams / AFP - Getty Images

Mother and daughter shot dead while sheltering at a church, raising fears for Gaza’s tiny Christian community

Nahida Boulos Anton and her daughter Samar Antoun were shot dead by an Israeli sniper at the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Gaza on Dec. 16, 2023.
Nahida Anton and her daughter, Samar Anton, were killed in the Catholic Holy Family Church in Gaza.Photo via X

TEL AVIV — The fatal shooting of a mother and daughter in Gaza’s only Catholic church over the weekend highlights the pressure Christians in the enclave are under, with fears mounting that their tiny population could be wiped out during the war. 

In the weeks since Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, many members of the enclave’s ancient Christian community of some 1,000 sought refuge in two church complexes in the north: the St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church and the nearby Catholic Holy Family Church.

On Saturday, a mother and her adult daughter were shot dead while walking inside the grounds of the Holy Family Church, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Catholic regional body whose territory formally includes Cyprus, Jordan, Israel and Palestinian territories, said in a statement.

“They were shot in cold blood,” the patriarchate said of Nahida Anton and her daughter, Samar Anton, blaming an Israel Defense Forces sniper. “One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety,” while at least seven others were shot and wounded as they tried to “protect others inside the church compound,” it said. 

Read the full story here.

Israel ‘murdered my son twice,’ says father of Israeli hostage mistakenly killed by IDF

NBC News Correspondent Hallie Jackson speaks with the families of two Israeli hostages who were mistakenly killed by the Israel Defense Forces during fighting in Gaza.

Avi Shamriz, the father of hostage Alon Shamriz, says the Israeli government is “only thinking of themselves” and “not thinking about the hostages.”

IDF vows to bring home hostages shown in Hamas video

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari described a new video showing three elderly Israel men in Hamas captivity as evidence of the group’s cruelty in its treatment of hostages.

Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, released a video Monday showing the three men, one of whom identified himself as 79-year-old Chaim Peri. The other two men have been identified as Amiram Cooper, 85, and Yoram Metzger, 80.

It was not immediately clear when the video was filmed.

“Chaim, Yoram and Amiram — I hope you can hear me tonight,” Hagari said in a statement. “You know, we are doing everything — everything — to get you back safely. Some of your family members are already at home, and we will not rest until you return as well.”

Kibbutz Nir Oz, the village where all three men reside, said in a statement that while any sign of life from the hostages is appreciated, “time is running out.”

“The immediate release of all those abducted, through any potential negotiation avenue, is urgently required,” the statement said. “Each passing day exacerbates their situation.”

Catch up with NBC News’ latest coverage of the war