UN, WHO say lost contact with staff in Gaza after Israeli forces reported fighting inside Strip

IDF spokesperson says Israel is expanding its attacks on the Hamas terror group; Netanyahu spokesperson says its payback time for Hamas; Iran threatens Hezbollah ready to join fight


IDF strikes Gaza 
(Ido Erez)

The IDF confirmed to foreign press overnight that Israeli forces including tanks were operating in the Gaza Strip, without giving more details but adds that incursions had taken place previously. In an announcement in the early morning hours. the military said its jets struck 150 underground Hamas targets in the northern areas "including terror tunnels, underground combat spaces and additional underground infrastructure. The IDF also said it has killed Asem Abu Rakaba, head of the Hamas Aerial Array.
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Hamas says its forces are prepared to confront the Israeli troops after claiming firefights were taking place in Beit Hanoun in the north eastern part of the Strip and at the al Bureij refugee camp in the center, overnight.
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עשן מעל צפון רצועת עזה
עשן מעל צפון רצועת עזה
Smoke over Gaza city amid Israeli strikes
(Photo: Abed Khaled / AP)
The UN said on Saturday that it had lost contact with its staff, and members of aid organizations in Gaza after a communication and internet failure since late on Friday as Israel expanded its incursions into Gaza. World Health Organization (WHO) chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said contact with Gaza health facilities was also lost. "This siege makes me gravely concerned for their safety and the immediate health risks of vulnerable patients," he said.
Family members of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza demanded the government explain how a ground offensive would not endanger hostages, after meeting with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. She ensured the the administration was doing everything possible to secure hostages are released and told them they were not alone.

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U.S. Vice President Kamal Harris meets meets family members of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza
U.S. Vice President Kamal Harris meets meets family members of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza
U.S. Vice President Kamal Harris meets meets family members of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza
(Photo: X)
On Friday, the UN voted on call for an immediate truce in Gaza. the resolution drafted by Arab states passed with 120 votes in favor, while 45 abstained and 14 - including Israel and the United States - voted no.
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העצרת הכללית של ה או"ם
העצרת הכללית של ה או"ם
UN General Assembly passes resolution calling for Gaza truce
(Photo: Sarah Yensel / EPA)
UN ambassador Gilad Erdan slammed the international body for not even mentioning the Hamas terror group in the wording of its resolution and asked why the murderers of babies were being protected by members of the general assembly
Sounds of explosions were heard in the border communities as massive airstrikes targeted the Jabalia refugee camp in the north-eastern part of the Strip. Internet in the Strip was down. IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the military was increasing the scope of incursions into Gaza to "meet the objectives of the war." The spokesmen said reports that hostage release was imminent, were part of the Hamas psychological warfare.
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תקיפות צה"ל בעזה
תקיפות צה"ל בעזה
IDF strikes Gaza on Friday
(Photo: Abed Khaled / AP)
He earlier revealed what he described as intelligence showing a Hamas command center located under a the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. In a briefing to foreign journalists, the IDF revealed what it described as intelligence showing a Hamas command center located under a the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
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Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza City
Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza City
Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza City
(Photo: IDF)
"There are a number of areas, used by Hamas to direct its military operations. A tunnel that reaches the hospital can accesses the command center and a control room used by the terror group's internal police force, is located inside the hospital, and heavily staffed by armed forces," the spokesperson said.
Illustration of Hamas HQ at Shifa 
(IDF)

"Another command center is located in the hospital, used among other things, to direct rocket fire at Israeli communities, while the 4,000 medical and administrative staff of the 1,500 bed medical facility, are used as human shields.

The UNations General Assembly on Friday overwhelmingly called for an immediate humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas and demanded aid access to the besieged Gaza Strip and protection of civilians. The resolution drafted by Arab states passed with 120 votes in favor, while 45 abstained and 14 - including Israel and the United States - voted no.
A rocket struck a Tel Aviv residential block in a heavy barrage targeting the metropolitan area and the central plains on Friday afternoon. At least four people were hurt, one suffering moderate wounds. A rocket also landed in Jaffa, while the southern cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod also came under attack.
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נפילה בתל אביב
נפילה בתל אביב
A building struck by a rocket in Tel Aviv
Building hit by rocket 
(Fire & Rescue)

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תופסים מחסה בזמן אזעקה בתל אביב
תופסים מחסה בזמן אזעקה בתל אביב
Mother protects son during rocket attack on Tel Aviv
(צילום: Jack Guez / AFP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Friday that troops loyal to Iran in Lebanon are ready to "pull the trigger" if the IDF begins its ground offensive on Gaza.
Earlier the military revealed images showing elite naval commando Unit, Flotilla 13 in their incursion into the Strip overnight to destroy Hamas infrastructure used to launch attacks on Israel .
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תיעוד: לוחמי שייטת 13 פשטו מהים והשמידו תשתיות טרור בדרום רצועת עזה
תיעוד: לוחמי שייטת 13 פשטו מהים והשמידו תשתיות טרור בדרום רצועת עזה
IDF footage of commando raid on Gaza
(Photo: IDF)
Egypt's army spokesperson said on Friday that an unidentified drone crashed on Friday morning near a hospital building in the Red Sea town of Taba, near the Sinai Peninsula border with Israel, injuring six people. The statement came after the Israeli military said that an "aerial threat" had been spotted in the Red Sea region
Over the last day, IDF ground forces, accompanied by IDF fighter jets and UAVs, conducted a targeted raid in the central Gaza Strip, according to the IDF Spokesman's Unit. As part of the activity, IDF aircraft and artillery struck terror targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Shuja'iyya area and throughout the Gaza Strip. During the activity, the IDF identified and struck numerous terror targets, including anti-tank missile launch sites, military command and control centers, as well as Hamas terrorists. The troops exited the area at the end of the raid. No IDF injuries were reported.
Another eight trucks carrying food, medicine and water are expected to cross into the Gaza Strip on Friday, a senior United Nations official said Friday. "We have gotten in approximately 74 trucks. We're expecting another eight or so today," Lynn Hastings, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told reporters in Geneva. In addition, a medical delegation of 10 foreign doctors crossed the border into the Gaza Strip, as well as 10 aid trucks containing water, food and medicine.
Newly elected U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson said on Thursday that funding to support Ukraine and Israel should be handled separately, suggesting he will not back President Joe Biden's $106 billion aid package for both countries.
Johnson, speaking in an interview on Fox News, has concerns about Ukraine funding in general, and believes any money for Israel will need to be funded by cuts elsewhere.
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ארה"ב מייק ג'ונסון נבחר ל יו"ר יושב ראש בית הנבחרים האמריקני
ארה"ב מייק ג'ונסון נבחר ל יו"ר יושב ראש בית הנבחרים האמריקני
Newly elected US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson
(Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
He met Biden on Thursday and said he told White House staff "our consensus among House Republicans is we need to bifurcate those issues."
Biden wants Congress to provide $106 billion in supplemental funding, with the bulk of the money going to bolster Ukraine's defenses and the remainder split among Israel, Indo-Pacific and border enforcement.
Johnson said of Ukraine funding: "We want to know what the object is there, what is the end game in Ukraine. The White House has not provided that."
The U.S. military on Thursday carried out strikes against two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and groups it backs, the Pentagon said, in response to a spate of attacks against U.S. forces in both Iraq and Syria.
As tensions soar over the Israel-Hamas conflict, U.S. and coalition troops have been attacked at least 12 times in Iraq and four times in Syria by Iran-backed forces.
A total of 21 U.S. forces have suffered minor injuries, the vast majority of them traumatic brain injuries.
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שר הביטחון יואב גלנט עם מזכיר ההגנה האמריקני לויד אוסטין
שר הביטחון יואב גלנט עם מזכיר ההגנה האמריקני לויד אוסטין
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv
(Photo: Defense Ministry)
"These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17," U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. The strikes were ordered by President Joe Biden.
"These Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces are unacceptable and must stop," Austin said in the statement.
"If attacks by Iran's proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people."
An explosion was heard and heavy smoke and dust were seen rising early on Friday in an Egyptian Red Sea resort town near the Israeli border, a witness told Reuters.
The Israeli military said it was aware of a security incident around the town of Taba, saying it unfolded "outside of our border".
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יואב גלנט, יואל סטריק, ליאור לוטן, תמיר הימן, איציק קרייס, גיורא איילנד, אלי קמיר
יואב גלנט, יואל סטריק, ליאור לוטן, תמיר הימן, איציק קרייס, גיורא איילנד, אלי קמיר
(Photo: Military spending on high interest in Moti Kimchi, Gadi Kabalo, Oz Moalem, Kobi Koankes, Elad Malka and during asks pirate plan already exposed) )
Egypt's Al Qahera News TV said five people were wounded in the blast and that a residential building was damaged. It broadcast images of the blast on live television.
Citing sources, Al Qahera reported the blast was related to ongoing fighting between Israel and Gaza terrorists.
It was not immediately clear what caused the blast. Reuters was not immediately able to confirm reports of injuries.
Taba is a resort town on the Red Sea that is popular with tourists. It sits just opposite Israel's Red Sea port city of Eilat, over 350 kilometers (220 miles) from Gaza.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s nighttime war Cabinet decision will hopefully allow prisoner negotiation to fulfill its mission can avoid individual’s. Officials refer to this group as a "strategic thinking team." However, not everyone in the military is pleased with the involvement of these former officers in Gallant's circle, seeing it as a bypass of the chain of command's authority.
A massive barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv and several central Israel cities, just minutes after the limited war cabinet, which includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and National Unity party head Benny Gantz, begins meeting in the Kirya defense headquarters in Tel Aviv.
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יואב גלנט בסקירה בטחונית ביום ה-20 למלחמה בקריה, תל אביב
יואב גלנט בסקירה בטחונית ביום ה-20 למלחמה בקריה, תל אביב
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant gives a nationally televised security review on the 20th day of the war at the Kirya in Tel Aviv
(Photo: Moti Kimchi)
An hour earlier, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in a nationally televised statement said that the security establishment is preparing for the next steps in the war against Hamas.
"We will carry the (next steps) out," he said. "This is a war for our home, it's either us or them, and we will win. Twenty-four hours after the start of the war, we switched to an aerial attack with unusual intensity. It is our duty to win this war. This is the unwritten contract between the state and the citizens," he said. Gallant added that "we have 1,400 civilians and soldiers killed in battle and also 224 kidnapped. I am determined to make every effort to return the kidnapped to their families."
The head of the National Emergency Authority (NAEA), Brig. Gen. Yoram Laredo, said in a briefing Thursday afternoon that since the beginning of the war approximately 125,000 residents of the north and south have been evacuated to state-funded hotels and guest rooms, and emphasized that the authority recommends that the evacuees stay there until the end of the year. "We will work to promote a government decision and the required resources," noted Laredo.
Also on Thursday afternoon, seven residents of Ma'alot-Tarshiha arrived at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya after their balcony was damaged by an IDF drone. Five adults between the ages of 34 and 66, and two children ages 5 and 11 were slightly injured. All seven received treatment in the emergency room and six were released. A 66-year-old man was hospitalized in an internal medicine ward.
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שריפה בבניין מפתח תקווה מנפילת יירוט
שריפה בבניין מפתח תקווה מנפילת יירוט
Fire caused in rocket attack on Petach Tikva
(Photo: Fire & Rescue )
The IDF said on Thursday that they killed a commander of the rocket force in Khan Yunis, in a targeted strike, facilitated by military intelligence and the Shin Bet. In a statement the military said other Hamas terrorists were killed and launch pads used for rocket fire at Israeli communities, were destroyed.
Earlier, Hamas fired rockets at central Israel including Tel Aviv and the Sharon planes on Thursday after rocket barrages to the Gaza border area continued through the morning hours. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted the incoming rockets over Tel Aviv. Fire broke out in a building in Petach Tikva after it a direct hit from a rocket.
National Unity leader Benny Gantz said on Thursday that Israel was working tirelessly to achieve its moral and national duty to bring the hostages held in Gaza, home. "We are using all means at our disposal," he said.
The former defense minister said Israel was facing a greater challenge than ever before. He said this was an extensive battle that demands measured decisions taken in a responsible manner to plan and execute what is needed.
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בני גנץ, מתן כהנא ואלון שוסטר בסיור ביישובי עוטף ישראל שעברו טבח רצחני במלחמת חרבות ברזל
בני גנץ, מתן כהנא ואלון שוסטר בסיור ביישובי עוטף ישראל שעברו טבח רצחני במלחמת חרבות ברזל
Benny Gantz
(Photo: Raanan Cohen )
"The battle against Gazan terror will continue within the strip's territory - going deep, anywhere and at any time required to ensure security for the communities that will be restored and will rebuild the region," he said "The (ground) maneuver will be but one stage of a long process that will include defensive, diplomatic and social aspects that will take years."
The military released a recording of a resident of Gaza telling an IDF officer that Hamas was preventing civilians from traveling to the south of the Strip to avoid being hurt in Israeli attacks. The military said dozens of calls urging Gazans to move south, were being made.
Hear a conversation between a resident of Gaza and an IDF officer
The IDF said on Thursday that it had identified 224 hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. In a briefing Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said 309 members of the military had died. Israel police said thus far 808 bodies of Israelis slaughtered in the murderous Hamas attack have been identified.
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חאן יונס
חאן יונס
An Israeli strike on Khan Yunis
European Union leaders will call for the establishment of "humanitarian corridors and pauses" to get urgent aid into Gaza, according to the final draft of a text to be approved at a summit in Brussels. "The European Council expresses its gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses," the text says.
IDF forces carried out an incursion into Gaza overnight, described as the largest since the war began, to attack Hamas military targets in the northern part of the Strip, while forces were set to launch a ground offensive when the green light is given.
The IDF said the incursion was carried out "in preparation for the next stages of combat", a possible reference to the large-scale invasion that Israeli leaders have threatened as part of the war to destroy Hamas. "The soldiers have since exited the area and returned to Israeli territory," the military statement added.
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IDF forces incursion into Gaza overnight Oct. 25
IDF forces incursion into Gaza overnight Oct. 25
IDF forces incursion into Gaza overnight Oct. 25
Japan urged Israel to suspend its assault on the besieged Gaza Strip to allow humanitarian assistance in. Japan's Foreign Minister made the request in a meeting with Israel's ambassador to Japan late on Wednesday, according to a statement by the ministry on Thursday.
The U.S. Congress on Wednesday passed a resolution supporting Israel by a majority of 412 to 10, after the House voted in Mike Johnson as the new speaker, ending a three-week-long crisis after the ousting of Kevin McCarthy. Johnson called up the resolution in his first action as leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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War day 20
War day 20
Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson
(.)
The non-binding measure reaffirms U.S. commitment to Israel and calls on Hamas to immediately cease attacks and release every hostage.
"The first bill I'm going to bring to this floor in a little while will be in support of our dear friend Israel and we are overdue in getting that done," Johnson said as he accepted the speakership.
Satellite images show the destruction in the northern Gaza Strip after the weeks-long bombing campaign prompted by the murderous Hamas attack on the south, and the murder of some 1,400 Israelis and the capture of over 200 hostages to Gaza.
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בית חנון עזה מלחמת חרבות ברזל הרס נזק לחימה חמאס ישראל
בית חנון עזה מלחמת חרבות ברזל הרס נזק לחימה חמאס ישראל
Destruction in Gaza in Israeli bombing campaign
(Photo: Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies / AFP)
The Israeli bombing continued overnight after rockets were launched to central Israel on Wednesday.
Russia and China vetoed a U.S.-drafted Security Council resolution at the UN, calling for pauses in hostilities to allow food, water and medicine to be delivered to Palestinian civilians. The United Arab Emirates also voted no, while 10 members voted in favor and two abstained.
First published: 08:03, 10.26.23
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