Terrorists killed in exchange of fire at Erez crossing; Jake Sullivan says Washington candid with Israel

In interview National Security Advisor says Israel should use all means possible to distinguish between Palestinian civilians and Hamas; says U.S. making clear its views on the sanctity of life

Yaron Drukman, Adam Kutub, Meir Turgeman, Adi Hadar, Itamar Eichner|Updated:
A terror squad opened fire on troops at the Erez border crossing to Gaza on Sunday afternoon, some were killed as the battle continues.
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U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Israel should take every means possible to distinguish between Palestinian civilians and Hamas in its military operation in Gaza. He said the administration is speaking candidly with its ally and making its principles clear about the sanctity of life and humanitarian assistance. Sullivan also said he was concerned over the actions of extreme settlers on the West Bank.
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ג'ייק סאליבן
ג'ייק סאליבן
Jake Sullivan
(Photo: AFP)
The security cabinet will meet on Sunday evening in the wake of a decision to allow water to be supplied to Gaza after it cut the strip off at the start of the war. earlier, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel would allow more humanitarian aid to be delivered to civilians in the Strip.
The IDF said on Sunday released images of its forces driving along a Gaza beach after they entered the Strip on Friday. According to a spokesperson, forces encountered a terror squad there engaged and eliminated it while the Air Force struck military installations of the Hamas terror group and other militant factions in the Strip.
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פעילות קרקעית בצפון הרצועה
פעילות קרקעית בצפון הרצועה
Heavy IDF armor on the beach in northern Gaza
(Photo: IDF)
IDF footage of attacks in Gaza
(IDF)
Earlier the military said it can now confirm there are 230 hostages held in Gaza and 311 IDF soldiers confirmed killed in the October 7 terror attack. The military spokesperson says the military expanded its forces in Gaza that were advancing according to plan. In the past day, 450 Hamas targets including mortar launching terror squads and subterranean objectives were struck, he said while two members of the force were injured, one seriously. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip would be increased under the auspices of Egypt and the United States. He repeated calls to Gazans to evacuate out of the battle area, to the south.
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הרס ברצועה
הרס ברצועה
Buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes on Gaza
(צילום: Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa / Reuters)
In the north, IDF engaged with Hezbollah terror squads, the military said, as they were attempting to launch mortars into Israel. Mortar fire continued through the morning hours and the IDF responded by shelling South Lebanon.
The Hamas terror group on Sunday, said Netanyahu showed how fractured the leadership in Israel was at times of war. The terror group referred to social media posts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, first blaming Israel's military and Shin Bet for the delayed response to the Hamas massacre on October 7 and after harsh criticism, apologizing in a later post.
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מסיבת עיתונאים
מסיבת עיתונאים
Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)
Netanyahu posted his apology after national Unity Party leader Benny Gantz who joined Netanyahu's war cabinet at the start of the war, slammed him for for shifting blame for the surprise in the Hamas attack to the security agencies and the IDF on X in a late night post.
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גנץ בכנס אלי הורוביץ
גנץ בכנס אלי הורוביץ
Benny Gantz
(Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Thousands of Gazans stormed stores of the UN refugee agency UNRWA on Sunday grabbing flour and other supplies, the UN said on Sunday. "This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza," UNRWA said in a statement.
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Gaza residents take supplies from breached UNRWA stores
Gaza residents take supplies from breached UNRWA stores
Gaza residents take supplies from breached UNRWA stores
(Photo: Mohammed Abed / AFP))
Shrapnel fell on a school in Israel, while students were sheltering from a Hamas rocket attack earlier. Israel's center came under a rocket bombardment mid-day, targeting the Central Plains, Metropolitan areas around Tel Aviv and the Sharon Plains. No damage or injuries were reported.
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רסיסים ברמת השרון
רסיסים ברמת השרון
Shrapnel falls in a school yard in a rocket attack on Ramat Hasharon
IDF troops clash with terrorists in the Asqar refugee camp near Nablus when they entered to demolish the home of the terrorist who murdered three members of the Dee family earlier this year. One Palestinian was reported killed and 10 others injured.
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צה"ל הרס את ביתו של המחבל חסן קטנאני
צה"ל הרס את ביתו של המחבל חסן קטנאני
IDF demolishes the home of the terrorist who murdered three members of the Dee family
(Photo: Alaa Badarneh / EPA)
Telephone and internet communications are returning gradually to the Gaza Strip, several Palestinian media outlets said early on Sunday. The report comes hours after billionaire Elon Musk said he will allow the United Nations and the recognized aid organizations in the Gaza Strip to connect to the Internet through his Starlink service.
Egyptian officials said al-Sisi's government warned Israel of military actions along the Gaza border with Egypt, in a ground offensive there, according to a report in the UK based Arabic language Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. The report said Egypt sees Israeli fire at an Egyptian observation post there last week – which Israel apologized for – was to provoke Cairo's disruptions on the Rafah border which would result in the need to confront Palestinian anger.
Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said Saturday evening that "Israel will use all means at its disposal to fight" the decision, adding "Hamas will use it for terrorist activities."
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תיעוד:  צה"ל תוקף תשתיות, מטרות ומנהרות טרור של ארגון חמאס ברצועת עזה
תיעוד:  צה"ל תוקף תשתיות, מטרות ומנהרות טרור של ארגון חמאס ברצועת עזה
IDF strikes Hamas tunnels in Gaza
(Photo: IDF)
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council said it will meet on Monday against the backdrop of the expansion of Israel's ground operation in the Gaza Strip. Last week, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly called for an "immediate, lasting and sustainable humanitarian cease-fire" between Israel and Hamas, and demanded unrestricted access for aid to enter the Gaza Strip.
The "Voice of the Capital" news website, which is affiliated with the Syrian opposition, reported that "the Israeli army bombarded with heavy artillery positions of the Syrian regime and of pro-Iranian militias in the Quneitra area." According to the report, the attack was carried out "in response to the firing of a shell toward the Golan a few hours ago."
The IDF said late Saturday that Israeli fighter jets struck a number of Hezbollah military targets, "including a military compound and observation posts", in response to the rocket and missile fire from Lebanon earlier. Meanwhile, IDF forces identified several suspects near Manara in the Ramim Ridge and conducted searches in the area.
A Hamas delegation, headed by Salah Al-Arouri, the deputy chief of its politburo and leader of its military branch in the West Bank, visited Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at his Ein el-Tineh office.
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תקיפות בגבול לבנון
תקיפות בגבול לבנון
IDF strikes in Southern Lebanon
(Photo: FADEL SENNA / AFP)
Al-Arouri claimed that the battle of Al-Aqsa Flood, the terrorist group’s name for its October 7 surprise attack on Israeli communities, "broke the myth of the invincible army". He called on the world's nations to "halt Zionist aggression, end the crimes of the occupation and take action to establish humanitarian corridors for the Gaza Strip."
Parliament Speaker Berri praised the Palestinian people, "and its heroic resistance, which inflicted a historic defeat on the occupation army". He condemned the war crimes, which he claimed Israel commits in Gaza, and urged the international community to "act to stop the massacres."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday underscored the significance of the ongoing war against Hamas, calling it a "second Independence War" and his "life's mission."
"This is our second War of Independence; we are fighting to defend our homeland, and we will eradicate the enemy from above and below the ground. It will be a triumph of good over evil, life over death. This is our life's mission - my life's mission," he said during a joint press conference alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz.
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בנימין נתניהו
בנימין נתניהו
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Dana Kopel)
"We will be victorious. In the first weeks of the war, we have dealt a severe blow to the enemy to ensure the safest possible entry for our forces on the ground, and we are only at the beginning of the path. The battle within the Gaza Strip will be tough and protracted."
He also addressed the launch of Israel's ground offensive in Gaza, which he said received unanimous support from members of the emergency wartime Cabinet.
"On Friday evening, additional ground forces entered the Gaza Strip. This marks the second phase of the war. We have decided to expand the ground offensive." Netanyahu added, "We are determined to settle the score with the murderers as they deserve for the heinous acts they have committed. We've always said to the world, 'Never again - Never again is now.'"
During the press conference, a barrage of rockets was fired toward the central cities of Ness Ziona, Yavne and other neighboring communities, as well as toward the southern city of Ashkelon, which bore the brunt of rocket fire since hostilities began earlier this month.
In an earlier rocket attack toward central Israel, three people sustained light injuries. First responders reported providing medical treatment to a man in his 50s in Holon who suffered from smoke inhalation, two people who were injured while heading to a shelter in Tel Aviv and Yehud and six people who suffered shock in Kiryat Ono and Ramat Gan.
Meanwhile, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that three rocket launches from Lebanon were detected, triggering rocket sirens in the border community of Margaliot near Mount Hermon. All three rockets landed in unpopulated areas. The army said that it was striking Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in response.
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נפילת רקטה בקריית אונו
נפילת רקטה בקריית אונו
Aftermath of Gaza rocket impact in Kiryat Ono
One rocket struck a parking lot in the central city of Kiryat Ono, igniting a fire and causing several cars to explode. Fire and rescue services reported that "the rocket fell near a residential building. The teams are engaged in extinguishing the fire and searching for casualties near the vehicles and the adjacent building."
Abu Obaida, the spokesperson of Hamas's military wing, said Saturday evening that the Gaza-ruling terrorist group would be willing to release all the Israeli hostages it holds in exchange for “emptying Israeli prisons” of all Palestinian prisoners.
"If Israel wants to address the issue of the captives all at once, we are ready, and if it wishes to break down the matter, we are prepared for that as well," he said in a statement. "The price for the large number of captives we have is emptying Israeli prisons of all the detainees."
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צה״ל מציג: תמונה עדכנית של דובר הזרוע הצבאית של חמאס, אבו עוביידה
צה״ל מציג: תמונה עדכנית של דובר הזרוע הצבאית של חמאס, אבו עוביידה
Hamas military wing spokesperson Hudhayfah Kahlot, AKA Abu Obaida
The IDF said Saturday evening that it identified several rocket launches from Lebanese territory toward the Zar'it area in northern Israel. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused. Israeli forces were responding with artillery fire toward the source of the rockets.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the families of hostages or missing persons at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. Dozens of protesters gathered outside the base, holding pictures of the abductees and distributing yellow ribbons to drivers as a symbol of solidarity with the captives.
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תיעוד מהבית שספג פגיעה ישירה מרקטה בבאר שבע
תיעוד מהבית שספג פגיעה ישירה מרקטה בבאר שבע
Be'er Sheva takes direct hit from Gaza rocket
(Photo: Herzl Yosef)
Earlier, after hours of intensive rocket fire into southern Israel, including the border area and the city of Ashkelon, Hamas targeted Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva in the early afternoon. A rocket landed in the southern city, causing property damage but no injuries.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Saturday that Israel began a new stage in the war late on Friday when forces entered Gaza. "The ground in Gaza shook," Gallant said "We attacked above and below ground, struck terrorists of all ranks and in all places. The orders are clear. the fight continues until otherwise ordered.
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יואב גלנט בהערכת המצב היומית במלחמת חרבות ברזל
יואב גלנט בהערכת המצב היומית במלחמת חרבות ברזל
Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
(Photo: Defense Ministry)
Hamas said it was trying to locate eight Russian-Israeli dual citizens who were taken hostage during the terrorist attack on Israel in order to free them on Moscow's request, Russian news agencies reported Saturday. "From the Russian side, via the foreign ministry, we received a list of citizens that have dual citizenship," senior Hamas representative Moussa Abu Marzook was cited as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency. "We are looking for those people... It is hard but we are looking. And when we find them, we will let them go."
First published: 18:17, 10.28.23
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