Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Saturday that the Irab-backed Hezbollah terror group had decided to enter the war and is paying dearly for that decision. "We must be alert to any eventuality," he said on a visit to the northern border, where he met with troops and leaders of local communities. "We will face even greater challenges."
The IDF said it had confirmed the abduction of 210 Israelis by Hamas terrorists to Gaza and had notified their families. "It is our mission to return them home," a military spokesperson said on Saturday.
In Cairo, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said a solution to the Palestinian problem cannot come at the expense of his country.
The president spoke at the start of a peace summit. Leaders from the region, Europe and beyond were in attendance. Israel the U.S. Iran and Hamas are not represented, casting doubt on the chances of a successful resolution to the war in Gaza and the Hamas-held hostages.
The Rafah border crossing from Egypt to the Gaza Strip opened on Saturday. According to a statement from the Hamas terror group, a convoy of 20 aid trucks carrying medicine and food supplies was expected to enter the territory.
Egyptian television broadcast live coverage showing trucks driving through the crossing into the besieged Gaza Strip. The Rafah border crossing from Egyp to the Gaza Strip opened on Saturday. According to a statement from the Hamas terror group, A convoy including 20 aid trucks carrying medicine and food supplies, was expected.
Egyptian television broadcast live coverage showing trucks driving through the crossing into the besieged Gaza Strip.
Joe Biden said early on Saturday, that the Hamas terror attack on Israel was meant to thwart a Saudi-Israel peace deal. “One of the reasons ... why Hamas moved on Israel, is because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” Biden said in a fundraiser for his re-election campaign in 2024. The Pentagon said a Navy warship operating in the Middle East intercepted missiles and drones launched by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“This action was a demonstration of the integrated air and missile defense architecture that we built in the Middle East and that we are prepared to utilize whenever necessary to protect our partners and our interest in this important region,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a news briefing. “There were no casualties to US forces and none that we know of to any civilians on the ground.”
The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden misheard a question on whether the U.S. wanted Israel to delay its ground offensive in Gaza. The president said 'yes' when the question was posed by reporters as he was boarding his plane. "The president was far away. He didn't hear the full question. The question sounded like 'Would you like to see more hostages released?' He wasn't commenting on anything else," White House spokesperson Ben LaBolt said."
Hamas terror group officials say some 5,500 buildings have been destroyed in airstrikes since the war began. In an attack on a home in Rafah early on Saturday, the Palestinians said at least 10 people were killed and dozens more were dead in other strikes on the Strip.
Earlier on Friday Biden thanked Qatar and Israel for their role in the release of Americans Judith and Natalie Ra'anan from captivity in the hands of their Hamas abductors. They arrived in Israel after the Hamas terror group freed them and handed them to the Red Cross. A Hamas spokesperson said an American mother and her daughter would be freed - "for humanitarian reasons" in response to Qatari mediation efforts.
"Today, we have secured the release of two Americans taken hostage by Hamas during the horrific terrorist assault against Israel on October 7. Our fellow citizens have endured a terrible ordeal these past 14 days, and I am overjoyed that they will soon be reunited with their family, who has been wracked with fear," Biden said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a team from the Jerusalem embassy will meet with the freed hostages soon but added that all other hostages must also be freed and all efforts are being made toward that end.
The Mother and daughter had recently moved to Israel from Chicago and had been staying in a guest apartment at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, close to their relatives. But then, Hamas terrorists struck.
The officials said the timing of the release was meant to put pressure on Israel to avoid its expected ground maneuver so as to avoid harm to the hostages held by Hamas in the Strip. Israel confirmed the identity of 203 hostages among them 30 children.
The military said Hamas was a terrorist organization, despite its effort to claim it is acting with humanity. "Hamas presents itself to the world as having returned the women they took hostage on humanitarian grounds, while Hamas is in fact a murderous terrorist organization that right now is holding infants, children, women and elderly people hostage in the Gaza Strip, and continuing to commit crimes against humanity,״ the IDF spokesperson said.
Earlier a group of family members of Israelis held captive in Gaza, urged the Red Cross to work to have access to the hostages to observe their condition and to work toward their release.
The BBC on Friday committed to the Board of Deputies of British Jews that it would no longer refer to Hamas as militants and will from now on describe them as "a proscribed terrorist organization by the UK government and others."
Rockets landed in Ashkelon in the evening hours causing fires but no injuries. The IDF said it was continuing its attacks on Hamas targets in Gaza.
The military struck targets in South Lebanon after Earlier, dozens of rockets were launched at the Galilee. The Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group claimed responsibility for the attack claiming it was targeting IDF military installations. No injuries were reported.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres came to the Rafah crossing on Friday to push for the delivery of aid into Gaza. "These trucks are not just trucks - they are a lifeline, they are the difference between life and death to many people in Gaza," he said, speaking on the Egyptian side of the crossing.
Guterres will attend the peace summit hosted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday. Leaders and senior officials from the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain Greece, Cyprus, Norway, France, Bahrain and Kuwait have all confirmed their arrival as has Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will also attend as will EU President Charles Michel and Foreign Minister Josep Borrell.
On Friday, tens of thousands took to the streets in Cairo to express their support for the Hamas terror organization.
Clashes erupted between IDF forces and terrorists early Friday afternoon in the northern Israeli town of Margaliot, situated near the Lebanon border. The military alerted residents of the town and local communities close by to remain locked inside their homes.
Meanwhile, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem said that a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza which was sheltering hundreds of displaced Palestinians was hit overnight in an Israeli air strike. The IDF said a part of the church was damaged in a strike on a terrorist command center and it was reviewing the incident.
Protesters in Jordan began marching to the border with Israel, calling to "open the border."
California Gov. Gavin Newsom arrived Friday on a solidarity visit to Israel and met with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. Since the terrorist attack by Hamas, Newsom has spoken out emphatically about Israel's right to defend itself and its citizens: "To the citizens of Israel and to Jews around the world, we say: we stand by you, we stand by Israel - be strong and embrace it," he said.
The Health Ministry confirmed on Friday that some 1,400 Israeli residents and soldiers have been killed and 5,000 suffered various injuries in Hamas' offensive against Israel. In addition,301 injured in the war with Hamas remain hospitalized in hospitals across the country as of Friday morning. Some 48 are in serious condition, and the rest are in moderate and light condition.
The Ministry of Defense’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and the Israel Defense Forces on Friday morning announce the evacuation of the northern city of Kiryat Shemona’s residents to state-subsidized guesthouses due to rising tensions on the Lebanese border. This comes a day after 30 rockets were fired from Lebanese territory at northern Israeli communities in attacks claimed by the armed wing of Hamas.
President Joe Biden on Thursday asked Americans to spend billions more dollars to help Israel fight Hamas while Israel's defense chief told his troops to be ready to go into the Gaza Strip to destroy the Palestinian terrorist group.
In a televised White House speech late on Thursday, Biden sought to link Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip who attacked Israel to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
"Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to annihilate a neighboring democracy," he said.
Biden requested emergency spending that U.S. officials say will total roughly $100 billion over the next year for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan and security along the porous U.S. border with Mexico.
It may include $60 billion for Ukraine and $10 billion for Israel, sources said beforehand, as well as billions for Asia and U.S. border security.
Earlier Thursday, a U.S. Navy warship intercepted three cruise missiles and several drones launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement from Yemen potentially toward Israel, the Pentagon said. The missiles, one of which was reportedly intercepted by Saudi Arabia, are believed to have been meant for Israel. The interceptions come amid fear that Iran will use the Gaza war to cause a regional escalation and fighting on several fronts.
The IDF said Thursday evening that 30 children are among the hostages in Gaza, and there are still 100-200 missing people whose fate is unknown. Meanwhile, 26 members of Knesset from the coalition and opposition parties, led by lawmaker Naama Lazimi of the Labor Party, sent a letter to the government ministers in which they called for declaring the 30th day from the massacre in the Gaza Strip on October 7 a day of national mourning.
Former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said on Thursday that the group has a number of Israeli soldiers, held as hostages, which are enough to negotiate the release of all the Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Meshaal, who heads Hamas' diaspora office, made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya TV. Earlier, Mashaal said Hamas's Israeli captives include high-ranking officers from the Gaza Division.
Medical equipment truck cleared, enters Gaza via Egypt
According to media reports from the Gaza Strip, the first shipment of humanitarian aid entered Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah crossing. However, there are also reports indicating that the truck contains a significant quantity of drugs.
With the Americans eager to avoid a complete and utter collapse of humanitarian needs inside the enclave, and Israel equally invested in keeping the Biden administration happy to retain political cover as they plan their ground offensive, this presents a step in that direction.
First published: 04:55, 10.20.23