The European Union on Sunday condemned Hamas's use of "hospitals and civilians as human shields" in the Gaza Strip while calling on Israel for "maximum restraint" in order to protect civilians in the ongoing war.
“The European Union is seriously concerned by the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s head of diplomacy, in a statement.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based opposition war monitor, reported that U.S. airstrikes on targets belonging to Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria killed one and injured three.
The airstrikes came in response to a series of attacks on U.S. bases and personnel in Syria and Iraq since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
The IDF has "action plans to change the security situation" on Israel’s northern frontier, IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in his daily briefing in reference to the frequent exchanges of fire on the border with Lebanon.
He added that the military will not allow a security situation where residents of the area are afraid to return to their homes. "We will not leave the northern border in a state where the citizens of the north do not feel safe to return," he said.
Hagari reported that the IDF struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in retaliation for Hamas's rocket attacks toward the Krayot region. He also confirmed that the cell responsible for launching an anti-tank missile at Moshav Dovev, an attack that seriously and critically injured several Electric Company workers, was eliminated.
"We are in a very high state of readiness in the north. Hezbollah and the Lebanese government are responsible for all fire coming from Lebanon. The citizens of Lebanon will pay the price for Hezbollah's decision to act as a shield for ISIS," he said.
This marks the second time in less than a week, and overall since the war began, that the densely populated coastal region has been targeted by rocket fire.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that fifteen rocket launches from Lebanon toward Israeli territory were detected, four of which were intercepted by air defense systems and the rest fell in unpopulated areas. The IDF responded with artillery fire toward the sources of the rockets on Lebanese soil.
Hagari also added that IDF forces from Brigade 36, along with naval fighters, raided the marina in Gaza City as part of the encirclement of the city.
Some 80 foreigners and several injured Palestinians crossed into Egypt on Sunday, in the first evacuations since Friday, four Egyptian security sources said. Poland said 18 of them were Polish citizens.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Sunday received his Danish counterpart Lars Rasmussen, who expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself. Cohen emphasized to his colleague the need for international cooperation in order to put pressure on Hamas and bring about the speedy release of the hostages in Gaza. Cohen and the Danish foreign minister met with representatives of the families of the hostages, who requested that the minister and his government assist in the release of all those being held in Gaza. Cohen said: "Among the many hostages in Gaza is a Danish citizen, and the concern for the fate of our citizens is shared by all."
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in an interview with the CBS network that the United States "does not want to see battles in the hospitals" in Gaza, against the backdrop of the IDF's activity around the medical centers in the Strip, where the leaders of Hamas are hiding. Sullivan added that Washington is involved in the negotiations over a compromise between Israel and Qatar regarding the hostages and that the administration in Gaza after the war "will not look like it did on October 6." According to him, "it is up to the Palestinian people to decide what their future administration will look like."
A man used black spray paint to deface posters bearing the photos of women who are being held hostage in Gaza hung in the predominately haredi city of Bnei Brak. Residents said: "This is an extremist person who does not represent any of the city's residents." Israel Police said they are searching for the vandal.
Terrorists launched anti-tank missiles at Moshav Dovev in the Upper Galilee early Sunday afternoon. One person was critically hurt and 5 seriously injured in the anti-tank missile attack earlier on Metula on the Israel-Lebanon border. IDF forces attacked the sources of the shooting with artillery.
Earlier, IDF forces attacked a launch squad that planned to fire from a civilian area in Lebanese territory. During the night, an IDF remotely piloted aircraft attacked a terrorist squad that was trying to launch anti-tank missiles toward Israeli territory near Metula.
President Isaac Herzog revealed in an interview with the British BBC network Sunday that IDF forces found Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" in a children's room in a civilian home that served as a terrorist base for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Inside the home, the troops found weapons and explosives laboratories. Herzog presented this finding as further proof of the activity of Hamas from the heart of the civilian population in Gaza. "The terrorist wrote notes, marked the sections, and studied again and again Adolf Hitler's ideology of hating the Jews, killing the Jews, burning and slaughtering Jews wherever they are. This is the real war we are facing," Herzog said.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported Sunday that the military has opened a road to allow civilians in Gaza inside the Shifa, Rantisi and Nasser hospitals to evacuate safely to the southern part of the Strip. In addition, IDF announces that the humanitarian corridor will be available for residents of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, wishing to evacuate south between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Israeli Air Force fighter jets attacked terrorist infrastructures in Syria overnight Sunday in response to Saturday night's launches toward the Golan Heights. Before that, the IDF spokesman reported that two launches from Syrian territory toward Israel were detected, which fell in an open area in the Golan area. In response to this, the IDF also attacked the sources of the shooting earlier.
An Egyptian source told the Qatari television network Al-Araby that an Israeli security delegation will arrive in Cairo to discuss the details of the agreement for the release of the hostages held by Hamas. Earlier, a political official detailed the outline for a possible deal for the release of hostages, which is still under discussion. According to the source, there is an agreement on the table under which dozens of children and civilians will be released out of the 239 abductees held by Hamas. In return, there will be a few days of respite, fuel will be introduced into the Strip for civilians and Palestinian prisoners – youths and women - will be released.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued a statement late on Saturday, condemning French President Emmanuel Macron for his criticism of Israel's actions in Gaza. "The President’s comments lent credence to an anti-Israel narrative of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” promoted by Hamas’ ideological kin around the world, and in France in particular, many of whom have a history of targeting and even murdering Jews," the statement read adding a call for Macron to reconsider his comments.
The World Health Organization said it has lost communication with its contacts in Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, and expressed "grave concerns" for the safety of everyone trapped there by the fighting while calling for an immediate cease-fire.
After an alert was raised about a fear of aircraft infiltration from the northern Gaza Strip, a UAV was intercepted in the surrounding area. "A suspicious aerial target was identified that crossed into Israel, and the Iron Dome system successfully intercepted it," said an IDF spokesman.
In response to the attack toward the Golan Heights on Saturday, IDF fighter jets struck terror infrastructure sites in Syria. Earlier in the day the IDF said two launches were identified from Syria toward Israeli territory that fell in open areas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the progress of the war in the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening in a nationally broadcast news conference, saying "The war against Hamas-Islamic State is advancing at full force, with one goal: victory. There is no substitute for winning.
Appearing before reporters alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Knesset Member and part of the war cabinet Benny Gantz, all three criticized French President Emmanuel Macron's criticism of Israel in which he said that Israel must stop killing “these babies, these ladies, these old people.”
Netanyahu also spoke about the day after the war saying "Gaza will be demilitarized, and there will be no more threat from the Gaza Strip to Israel. To ensure such a threat is eradicated, whenever necessary, the IDF will maintain security-wise control in the Gaza Strip to prevent terrorism from emanating. The tragedy on October 7 finally proved that wherever there is no Israeli security control, terrorism returns and takes root, ultimately striking us. This has been evident in West Bank as well, and therefore, I will not compromise on security control under any circumstances."
"Security control includes the ability to enter whenever needed to eliminate terrorists who may resurface," clarified Netanyahu later. "There will be no Hamas; there will be no civil authority there indoctrinating their children to hate Israel, to kill civilians, and to destroy the State of Israel."
Netanyahu addressed allegations of international pressure for a cease-fire: "Occasionally, there are voices seeking concessions because, in some countries, there are individuals exerting pressure on leaders. I say to them, 'Do not yield to pressure. Our war is your war as well. We must win for our sake and yours.' No international pressure, no false accusations against IDF soldiers and our state will change our belief in the justice of our cause and our duty to defend ourselves."
The IDF announced on Saturday the death of five soldiers who died during the battles in the Gaza Strip a day earlier.
The soldiers are: Maj. (res.) Moshe Yedidyah Leiter, 39, a company commander in the 551st Brigade’s 697th Battalion, from Ein Tzurim, Sgt. Maj. (res.) Yossi Hershkovitz, 44, a soldier in the 551st Brigade’s 697th Battalion, from Gevaot, Master Sgt. (res.) Matan Meir, 38, a soldier in the 551st Brigade’s 697th Battalion, from Odem, Master Sgt. (res.) Sergey Shmerkin, 32, a soldier in the 551st Brigade’s 697th Battalion, from Kiryat Shmona, Master Sgt. (res.) Netanel (Nati) Harush, 34, a soldier in the Givati Brigade’s logistics unit, from Jerusalem.
The soldiers from the 697th Battalion were killed by a blast originating from a booby-trapped tunnel shaft in the Beit Hanoun area. The troops were not inside the tunnel at the time of the incident.
First published: 08:02, 11.12.23