Ministers in the war cabinet on Thursday night were debating the terms of a possible deal that would see dozens of hostages released. Hamas had offered to release 50 hostages in exchange for a 5 day ceasefire. The ministers were concerned that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar would seperate parents from their children to add to the anguish of families. Military and Security officials push for fighting to continue.
Earlier the military said that the body of 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss, who was abducted by the Hamas terrorist on October was found by troops operating in Gaza city, from a building adjacent to Shifa Hospital. The military said weapons and military equipment was found at the location. Her husband was murdered by the terrorists in their massacre.
Her brother said all must be done to get the hostages out so that they do not meat the same fate she did in the hands of Hamas. "We had no information about her since her abduction and no sign of life," Avisahi Kaminer said.
The IDF spokesperson said in a briefing that a shaft leading to an underground tunnel was uncovered at the Shifa hospital where IDF troops have been operating for over 48 hours. RAdm. Daniel Hagari also said a vehicle that was to be used by the Hamas terrorists in their assault on Israel on October 7 was also found there with a large amount of weapons and munitions.
He said troops were searching the large complex of Shifa proceeding slowly to uncover whatever evidence was there indicating Hamas's use of the facility and revealing information about the hostages.
He said the troops attacked two underground tunnels where high ranking Hamas members were killed including the commander of the northern Gaza brigade and the chief of the long-range missile capability. In another tunnel, senior political leaders of the terror group were killed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel had strong indications that hostages were being held at Shifa hospital and that was one reason why troops entered the facility. Netanyahu spoke with CBS's Norah O'Donnell. "If they were there, they were taken out," he said.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that the military uncovered significant material in its operation at the Shifa hospital. "We've taken over and cleared the western part of Gaza City and are moving on to the next phase of the operation," Gallant said on a visit to troops operating in Gaza. "The deeper we go, the more pressure is put on Hamas," he said. "That will increase the chances of returning our hostages."
Troops from the Shaldag unit and other IDF forces continue to operate in the area of Al Shifa Hospital area in Gaza City. The forces go from building to building and scan all the floors, while there are still hundreds of patients and medical staff. According to the IDF, "the activity is conducted with discretion, patience and thoroughness, while carrying out an assessment of the situation in the field and an investigation that is conducted on the spot. So far, not a single medical staff member or IDF soldier has been injured in the activity.
The military said that a photo of Or Megidish, the IDF soldier freed from captivity by forces at the start of the ground incursion into Gaza, were found on a laptop in the Hamas command center at Shifa Hospital. The photos were posted online before October 7.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Israel on Thursday not to be consumed by rage in its response to last month's Hamas attack, declaring that "one horror does not justify another," conflating the IDF actions in Gaza with the Hamas massacre on October 7.
Borrell made his remarks on a visit to Israel, speaking alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen after the two men had visited Kibbutz Be'eri, a focal point of bloody Hamas attack. "I understand your rage but let me ask you not to be consumed by rage. I think that's what the best friends of Israel can tell you," he said. Borrell stressed the EU's solidarity with Israel and its support for the country's right to defend itself in line with international law. "But one thing is to defend Israel and another thing's to take care of the people in need," he added.
The IDF spokesman for foreign media, Jonathan Conricus, on Thursday told a BBC team that accompanied IDF forces raiding certain areas of Al Shifa hospital that photos of some of the hostages were found on the laptop computers at the hospital, taken after they were kidnapped to Gaza. "We uncovered a lot of equipment that can shed light on the current situation, hopefully also regarding the hostages," he said.
Also on Thursday afternoon, the IDF released the name of another IDF soldier killed in Gaza. Capt. Shlomo Ben Nun, 22, from Modiin, was killed in fighting overnight in northern Gaza. Ben Nun was a company deputy commander in the 202nd Battalion of the Paratroop Brigade. It is the third soldier announced killed for the
Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said early Thursday afternoon at the scene of an attack at the tunnel checkpoint near Jerusalem, that left six injured, one critically, that the terrorists intended to carry out a massacre. "They planned an attack on a completely different scale," he said, "Even the dates for the attacks found in their possession testify to that." Two M16 weapons were seized at the scene of the attack, two guns, hundreds of bullets, two axes, about 10 cartridges and clothing resembling an IDF uniform.
The IDF late on Thursday morning attacked targets in Lebanon with fighter jets in a proactive action and not a response to rocket fire.
Early Thursday morning, the IDF released the names of two more soldiers who have been killed in the fighting in Gaza, bringing to 50 the number of soldiers who have been killed since the start of the Gaza ground operation.
Cpt. Asaf Master, 22, from Kibbutz Bahan in central Israel, a platoon commander in the 401st Brigade’s 601 Battalion (part of the Combat Engineering Corps), and Cpt. Kfir Itzhak Franco, 22, from Jerusalem, a platoon commander in the 401st Brigade’s 52nd Battalion were killed in battles in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the IDF. In addition, a reserves officer with the Negev Brigade was seriously wounded during fighting in Gaza yesterday, and a reserves military member with the Gaza Division was seriously wounded during operational activity in the area of the Gaza border.
In Japan Thursday morning, a car crashed into a barrier near the Israeli embassy in Tokyo. A police officer was injured and according to reports from the state, an "extreme right-wing activist" was arrested. The investigation continues.
The United States on Wednesday night did not use its veto in the United Nations Security Council on a resolution calling for humanitarian pauses in Gaza along with the immediate release of the hostages. The resolution was submitted by Malta, and supported by Arab countries - including the United Arab Emirates, which is a member of the Council. A total of 12 countries voted in favor of it, and the U.S., U.K. and Russia abstained. The resolution calls for "urgent and extensive humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days to allow full, rapid, safe and unrestricted humanitarian access."
U.S. President Joe Biden late Wednesday after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping said that he was "relatively optimistic" about reaching a hostage deal, and clarified that he "doesn't know how long the war in Gaza will last. The Israeli operation will end when Hamas no longer has the ability to do horrific things to Israelis."
The US president added that Israel is taking risks in operating around Al Shifa hospital, and "people are being killed in Gaza", and clarified that “Israel has an obligation to use as much caution as they can in going after their targets. Hamas said they plan to attack Israelis again and this is terrible dilemma.” He also said that "Hamas committed war crimes when it placed command centers under hospitals."
Biden also said that he made it clear "to the Israelis that it would be a mistake to reoccupy the Gaza Strip" and that he told Benjamin Netanyahu that "the two-state solution is the only solution."
Six police officers were injured during violent clashes with pro-Palestinian Jewish demonstrators in Washington. About 150 people protested in front of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC, calling for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas. According to the Capitol Police, the demonstration was "illegal and violent." As the demonstration broke out, members of Congress were evacuated from the building. According to Brad Sherman, a Jewish member of the House of Representatives from the Democratic Party, he was evacuated by the police after "the protesters started spraying the police with pepper spray and trying to break into the building."
Videos posted on social media showed protesters pushing police officers and trying to grab the barriers set up on the spot. The police made arrests, and in some of the videos police officers were seen pushing protesters. The group "If Not Now," one of the organizers of the protest, published on the X social media platform that "the police are particularly violent" in the demonstration. The organization also wrote that "we are begging our politicians to support an end to the killing and suffering in Gaza. We are begging, in a non-violent way, for a cease-fire."