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Gaza hit by new outage; Jabalia refugee camp strike condemned

Gaza hit by new outage; Jabalia refugee camp strike condemned

Why the Israel-Hamas war has soared into the top issues for Iowa GOP voters

Jack Guez / AFP – Getty Images

Republican voters are keyed in on prices, government spending and other domestic issues in the 2024 presidential race — but there’s one foreign policy issue that is especially important to them, too.

The Israel-Hamas war could play a big role in how voters approach the Iowa Republican caucuses on Jan. 15. For evangelical Christians who dominate the Republican electorate in the state, the security of Israel is about more than foreign policy: It’s about God’s will. 

“Ever since God created the nation of Israel, Satan has tried to wipe her out,” bellowed Mike Augsburger, lead pastor at Soteria Baptist church in West Des Moines, Iowa, at a Sunday morning service in October. “The nation of Israel is critical for bringing Jesus back and putting him on that throne to Jerusalem,” he told congregants, which included GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats. 

Read the full story here.

More countries announce evacuations of citizens from Gaza

Multiple countries have announced the evacuation of the first group of their citizens from Gaza into Egypt through the Rafah crossing.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said 20 Australians, along with three people who were either permanent residents or immediate family members of a citizen, had been evacuated today through the crossing. But Australian Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts said 65 citizens, residents and close relatives have yet to be evacuated.

“We are continuing to push for them to be able to make that passage across the Rafah crossing as soon as possible,” Watts said.

Bulgaria’s government also announced 36 Bulgarian citizens and their family members had successfully left Gaza.

Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel said the evacuation through the Rafah crossing was implemented “in a complex and extremely dynamic situation” and all Bulgarian nationals in the first possible group allowed to leave the Gaza Strip “were in good condition.”

Earlier today, France, the U.K. and the U.S. announced the first of their citizens were able to evacuate Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

As he visited Minnesota, local Muslim leaders said they’ll ‘abandon Biden’

President Joe Biden at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport in St. Paul, on Nov. 1, 2022.Andrew Harnik / AP

MINNEAPOLIS — President Joe Biden was met with protests organized by local Muslim leaders when he arrived in Minneapolis on Wednesday for a series of events, the latest sign that Muslim American voters may turn against the president after having supported him in 2020.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim advocacy group, organized three separate protests at various locations Biden visited Wednesday, including the airport, a farm in rural Northfield and downtown Minneapolis.

It is pushing for a cease-fire in Gaza, where the Israeli military — with U.S. support — has been ramping up attacks against Hamas militants, causing a growing number of Palestinian civilian deaths in collateral damage. It says Biden is losing its support by not doing more to rein in Israel in Gaza or combat Islamophobia at home. 

“We are going to abandon Biden because he has abandoned us,” Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR Minnesota, told NBC News hours after he stood next to “Abandon Biden” signs at a news conference.

Read the full story here.

Reporters Without Borders files war crimes complaint over journalists’ deaths

Reporters Without Borders has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court alleging that war crimes have been committed against journalists covering the Israel-Hamas war.

The advocacy group’s complaint, which was filed yesterday, concerns eight Palestinian journalists who have been killed in Israeli bombings of civilian areas in the Gaza Strip and an Israeli journalist who was killed while covering an Oct. 7 Hamas attack on his kibbutz. At least 34 journalists have been killed since the conflict began, according to the group. Several died while working — 10 in Gaza, one in Israel and one in Lebanon.

“The scale, seriousness and recurring nature of international crimes targeting journalists, particularly in Gaza, calls for a priority investigation by the ICC prosecutor,” said Christophe Deloire, the group’s secretary-general.

It is the third time since 2018 that Reporters Without Borders has complained to the court about war crimes committed against Palestinian journalists in Gaza.

Secretary of State Blinken to travel to Tel Aviv in Mideast trip

Secretary of State Blinken’s trip to Israel and the Middle East will include visits to Tel Aviv and Amman, Jordan, the State Department said today.

The trip will be from Thursday until Nov. 10. It will also include stops in Tokyo, Seoul, South Korea, and New Delhi, it said.

“In Israel, Secretary Blinken will reiterate U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism consistent with international humanitarian law and discuss efforts to safeguard U.S. citizens in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza,” the State Department said.

Blinken will also discuss efforts to free hostages held by Hamas and to increase the pace of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, it said.

ACLU urges colleges to protect free speech after ADL calls for investigation of pro-Palestinian group

The American Civil Liberties Union today issued a letter encouraging colleges and universities in the U.S. to reject calls to stifle free speech, specifically rejecting “calls to investigate, disband, or penalize pro-Palestinian student groups for exercising their free speech rights.”

The letter was issued after the Anti-Defamation League called for college campuses to investigate Students for Justice in Palestine for “material support for terrorism.”

In response to the ACLU, the ADL says it is standing by its position.

“In our view, SJP on campus are echoing the position of Hamas so closely and with such intensity and in a manner that is tinged with threats of violence, that we believe an investigation is warranted,” the ADL said. 

“When the SJP says ‘Not just slogans and rallies, but armed confrontation with the oppressors,’ we should believe that is what they mean. When college students say ‘we are Hamas,’ there is serious cause for concern.”

The Gaza crisis is stoking antisemitism in the U.S.

Supporters of Israel sing at a protest at Columbia University in New York on Oct. 12.Yuki Iwamura / AP

There have been reports of demonstrators chanting Hamas slogans, of synagogues being defaced with swastikas and of anti-Jewish hatred being posted on the internet.

There also has been, across the U.S., a spike in antisemitic incidents since the war in Gaza erupted on Oct. 7 after Hamas launched its bloody surprise attack on Israel, experts said.

But for a New York City professor who experienced antisemitism firsthand as a 10-year-old girl in Poland, it was reports of Jewish students’ being harassed on campus that chilled her to the bone.

Maria Haberfeld, who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that in 1971 she was locked inside a school locker and then beaten up by classmates screaming “You dirty Jew” when a wave of antisemitism stoked by Poland’s then-communist government swept into her Warsaw grade school.

“I was not seriously hurt, but the visuals of this event come back to me when I witness overt displays of antisemitic behaviors,” Haberfeld said.

Read the full story here.

Biden, interrupted by protester calling for cease-fire, says he supports ‘pause’

At a campaign event in Minnesota today, Biden was interrupted by a protester calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Just as Biden was explaining how the deadly rally by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, inspired him to run for office again, he was interrupted.

“Mr. President, you care about Jewish people. As a rabbi, I need you to call for a cease-fire right now,” said a woman who later identified herself to NBC News as Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg. Rosenberg is part of the activist group Jewish Voice for Peace.

The crowd tried to drown her out, but Biden addressed Rosenberg: “I think we need a pause.”

When she pressed him to explain, he continued: “A pause means give time to get the prisoners out. Give time.” Biden acknowledged the emotional toll for both Israelis and Palestinians, mentioning his recent trip to Israel.

“This is incredibly complicated for the Israelis,” he said. “I can thoroughly understand the emotions on the Palestinian side of the argument and the Jewish side of the argument.”

Biden added that he not only persuaded Netanyahu to declare a cease-fire to extract civilians, but he also pressed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to let residents cross into Egypt.

Florida man charged with threatening call to Jewish World Congress

A 21-year-old Sarasota, Florida, man has been charged with leaving a threatening voicemail at the World Jewish Congress in New York City and saying he wanted to kill Israelis, federal prosecutors said.

Deep Alpesh Kumar Patel is charged with one count of transmitting an interstate threat to injure, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said.

Patel left the voicemail on Oct. 21, according to a criminal complaint. He said, “If I had a chance I would kill every single one of you Israelis,” an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit.

Law enforcement officers went to Patel’s home and “he explained that he had called Jewish centers to express his family’s anger with Israel for the genocide of the Palestinian people,” the affidavit says. An attorney listed as representing Patel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some members of Jewish community purchasing firearms amid Israel-Hamas war

In South Florida, some members of the Jewish community are arming themselves after Hamas’ attack on Israel and the rise of antisemitism. NBC News’ Sam Brock speaks with some Floridians about their responses to the war.

Saudi Arabia working with U.S. to de-escalate tensions, Saudi defense minister says

Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman said his country is working with the U.S. to try to de-escalate tensions in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

Bin Salman said today on X that he met with Blinken “to review our close and strategic relations, as well as the efforts to de-escalate tensions in the region.” 

“We also explored aspects of cooperation to achieve our shared vision of promoting security and stability, both in the region and the world,” he said.

IDF releases video of fighting inside Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces released several videos of combat activity in the Gaza Strip as the ground operation continues. The IDF said dozens of Hamas targets were destroyed, “including observation posts, anti-tank squads and launchers, vessels and military outposts.”

Israeli forces moved to the outskirts of Gaza, days after a new phase of the war began. Internet and phone services were cut for several hours today as a result of the move.

Holocaust survivors gather at Jewish heritage museum holding images of kidnapped hostages

Two hundred and forty Holocaust survivors gathered at New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, each holding an image of a different hostage kidnapped by Hamas, said the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation, which organized the event.

The AJCF said the gathering was intended to send a message of strength to the hostages and their families and express “deep gratitude to the United States Government and Armed Services for protecting Jewish Victims of Mass Atrocity.” The group posed for a portrait by photographer Gillan Laub.

Holocaust survivors, from left, Polina Roytman, Matty Katzman and Alexander Cherkis hold posters Wednesday of Israeli hostages being held by Hamas.Bebeto Matthews / AP

Pope Francis calls for two-state solution in response to violence in Israel and Gaza

“Every war is a defeat,” Pope Francis said in an interview with an Italian reporter when he was asked about his reaction to the graphic images emerging from Gaza and Israel.

“Nothing is solved by war,” he said. “Nothing. Everything is gained through peace, through dialogue.”

He spoke about the retaliatory nature of war and, in keeping with previous statements, called for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, an idea born out of the Oslo Accords in 1993.

“In war one slap provokes the other, one hard and the other harder, and so it goes on,” Francis said.

IDF shows weapons and cars they say were used in Hamas’ attack

ASHDOD, Israel — The IDF showed journalists dozens of weapons and three vehicle it said Hamas militants used during the Oct. 7 attack.

One of the vehicles the IDF says Hamas militants drove across the border into Israel in their Oct. 7 attack.Chantal Da Silva

The vehicles appeared to be heavily damaged.

Chantal Da Silva

Among the weapons were rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and machine guns.

U.N. human rights office says strikes on refugee camp ‘could amount to war crimes’

The United Nations’ human rights office today expressed concern over Israeli strikes on the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, saying they could amount to war crimes.

Israel conducted a second strike at the Jabaliya refugee camp today. The first, carried out yesterday, killed a senior Hamas commander and other militants, the military said.

“Given the high number of civilian casualties & the scale of destruction following Israeli airstrikes on [Jabaliya] refugee camp, we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes,” the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said on social media.

The IDF has said that it is conducting strikes on Hamas military targets and that it seeks to minimize collateral damage. It alleges that Hamas takes position in civilian areas.

The Israeli military said that in yesterday’s strike, which it said killed a Hamas commander, nearby buildings collapsed because tunnels Hamas built underneath the facilities were struck.

Satellite images show before-and-after views of Jabaliya strike

Matthew Nighswander


Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp before yesterday’s Israeli strike and today, after the strike.

Biden thanks Egypt and Israel as evacuations of people trapped in Gaza begin

Biden thanked Israel and Egypt for their partnership as evacuations of wounded people and foreign nationals trapped in the Gaza Strip began.

70 U.N. relief workers killed in Gaza since start of conflict

Three United Nations Relief and Works Agency staff members have been killed in the last 24 hours, bringing the number of UNRWA workers killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 to 70, according to the agency. In addition, 22 workers have been injured.

“This is the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in such a short time,” UNRWA said.

State Department expects more Americans to leave Gaza in coming days

The State Department said it expects more U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing over the next several days. State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said the roughly 400 Americans in Gaza who have expressed a desire to leave with their family members will be assigned specific departure dates.

“We have asked them to continue to monitor their email regularly over the next 24 to 72 hours for specific instructions about how to exit,” Miller said. He added that the U.S. Embassy in Cairo is standing by to provide assistance to U.S. citizens as they enter Egypt.

President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken and the special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, David Satterfield, were all involved in negotiations to secure the departure of the initial group of foreign nationals who went through the Rafah crossing today, Miller said. The negotiations involved the prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, he said.

Miller also said Blinken will travel to Israel and Jordan on Friday. He said the secretary will meet in Israel with Prime Minister Netanyahu for an update on military objectives and to plan humanitarian assistance. In Jordan, Blinken will underscore a “shared commitment to facilitating the increased sustained delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza,” Miller said.

Democratic senators call on Biden for more information on the war’s long-term impact

Four senators sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling on the administration to provide Congress with more information about U.S. assessments of the Israel-Hamas war and its long-term plans.

The letter lays out a series of questions, including about humanitarian aid in Gaza, the war’s impact on hostages and the “desired end-state in Gaza.”

“We have serious concerns about what this invasion and potential occupation of Gaza will mean, both in terms of the long-term security of Israel and the well-being of the Palestinian residents of Gaza,” the letter says.

The letter was signed by Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Peter Welch and Jeff Merkley. They asked that the administration respond in writing and provide a briefing “in sufficient time for us to consider the President’s budget request with the necessary information.”

NBC News reached out to the Biden administration for comment.

IDF says 331 of its soldiers have been killed in combat

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said most terrorist cells have been eliminated in the north, with 331 IDF soldiers killed in combat so far.

“The fighting in Gaza is difficult, complex and exacts a price from us. The fighters who fell, even in the last day, made a decisive contribution to the security of Israel,” Hagari said.

Hagari added that the killing of the head of Hamas’ fighter jet antitank missile formation will affect the continuation of Hamas’ fighting. He also said 240 families of the hostages held in Gaza have been notified.

When asked about whether the IDF will attack hospitals in Gaza, even if they are not evacuated, Hagari said that the IDF is working with foreign intelligence to find a solution to the problem of Hamas using civilians as human shields. He also said that Hamas steals fuel from hospitals, which is supposed to be used to treat patients.

5 French nationals crossed Rafah border

Annemarie Bonner and Nancy Ing

Five French nationals were able to leave Gaza today through the Rafah passage point. A team from the French Embassy received them after they crossed the border into Egypt.

Efforts are continuing to get more French nationals out of Gaza as quickly as possible, the French Foreign Ministry said.

IDF says its fighter jets struck Hamas command complex in Jabaliya

Natalie Kainz and Yael Factor

The Israeli Defense Forces said its fighter jets eliminated members of Hamas during a strike today on a Hamas command and control complex in Jabaliya.

“Hamas deliberately builds its terror infrastructure under, around and within civilian buildings, intentionally endangering Gazan civilians,” said the IDF.

The IDF also said it continues to urge Gazans in Jabaliya, along with those in northern Gaza and Gaza City, to evacuate southward to mitigate harm to civilians.

Attorney General Merrick Garland addresses rise in hate crimes

Annemarie Bonner and Michael Kosnar

At a virtual forum hosted by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division this afternoon, Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the increase in threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities across the country and referred to the arrest at Cornell University.

“We also know that the time to build relationships and trust between law enforcement and community partners is before an incident or crisis occurs,” he said. “Although our work to combat hate crimes is always important, it can quickly become more urgent at any time. It is in those moments when we rely on our partnerships the most. That is exactly what we have seen over the past several weeks.”

In his address, Garland reassured members of targeted communities that the DOJ is working to combat hate crimes as they occur.  “No person and no community in this country should have to live in fear of hate fueled violence. You are not alone,” he said.

59 humanitarian aid trucks entered Gaza yesterday — the largest delivery so far

A driver waves Egyptian and Palestinian flags atop an aid truck bound for Gaza in Egypt yesterday.Khaled Desouki / AFP – Getty Images

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said 59 trucks delivering international humanitarian aid entered Gaza via the Rafah crossing yesterday.

He said the delivery was the “highest number of trucks in a single day to enter Gaza since the humanitarian corridor began on Oct. 21, and bringing the total number through yesterday to 217.”

He said trucks continue to enter Gaza today, as the U.S. focuses on aiding civilians in the sieged Palestinian territory.

Tulane president says 3 students were assaulted at rally

Three Tulane students were assaulted at a rally on a public sidewalk near the university last Thursday, according to a statement by the university’s President Michael Fitts. The rally was not approved or sanctioned by Tulane and several arrests were made, he said.

“At today’s rally, the actions of some of the protestors, many of whom were not affiliated with Tulane, were violent, deplorable, deliberately provocative and exploitative of the profound sorrow and anger so many of us have been experiencing over the last few weeks,” said Fitts.

According to Tulane’s campus newspaper, the Tulane Hullabaloo, over 100 Palestine supporters gathered that day on Freret Street. Between 70-100 people supporting Israel gathered across the street. Violence erupted when a truck drove down the street waving a Palestinian flag, leading to an altercation between a Palestine supporter and a man draped in an Israeli flag.

“We will be encouraging students to avoid participating in any further demonstrations off campus given the involvement of outside disruptors and the possibility of escalation,” said Fitts.

Fitts said the university is enhancing its security measures by increasing the number and visibility of officers on campus.

Some Americans have exited Gaza through Rafah crossing, State Department says

An initial group of U.S. citizens has departed Gaza through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a briefing today.

He did not disclose a number of just how many had exited, noting that this is a process that will continue for several days.

He said that the U.S. government has been in contact with approximately 400 Americans who have expressed a desire to leave Gaza.

“They have family members as well who have expressed a desire to leave, the total number is around 1,000 when you count American citizens and their family members,” he said, stressing it’s a top priority to get those citizens and their loved ones out.

Miller said that in the past 24 hours, the department has informed U.S. citizens and their family members in Gaza that they will be assigned specific departure dates and will be sent further instructions regarding when and how to leave.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo is providing assistance to those citizens exiting into Egypt.

NYC law firm considering suing Harvard, Cornell and other colleges amid rise in antisemitism

New York City law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres is considering taking legal action against at least six elite universities amid a reported rise in antisemitism on college campuses nationwide, according to one of the firm’s partners.

Mark P. Ressler said the firm is exploring filing lawsuits against Berkeley, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Stanford and potentially other schools under Title XI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination by any institution that receives federal funds. Ressler said his firm has been “flooded with calls and emails” from Jewish students who are “extremely concerned and, indeed, fearful for their safety.”

The prospective suits would argue that the universities in question have acted with “deliberate indifference towards rectifying and addressing the problem” of campus antisemitism, which has been on the rise since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7.

28 attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17

Since Oct. 17, U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 28 times in Iraq and Syria, the Defense Department said.

That includes a one-way attack drone launched against al-Tanf Garrison in Syria. The department said there was “one minor partner force casualty” and “minor damage” to partner force infrastructure. 

In total, there have been 16 separate attacks in Iraq and 12 in Syria by a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets. 

“Most of these attacks were successfully disrupted by our military. Most failed to reach their targets, thanks to our robust defenses,” the department said. 

Some of the attacks come after the U.S. launched retaliatory strikes on two Iranian-linked target in Syria on Oct. 26. 

Critics renew calls for a TikTok ban, claiming platform has an anti-Israel bias

Members of Congress, conservative activists and wealthy tech investors are renewing calls to ban TikTok in the U.S., arguing that the most popular content related to the Israel-Hamas war on the app has a pro-Palestinian slant that is undercutting support for Israel among young Americans

TikTok has been the target of criticism for years because of its Chinese ownership and concerns about government control over the app, a relationship that both Democrats and Republicans say is a threat to the personal data of U.S. users. 

Now, critics allege that TikTok is using its influence to push content that is pro-Palestinian and contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests. The claims about TikTok’s promotion of pro-Palestinian content are anecdotal, and they have been bubbling up on the social media platform X, in statements to the media and on conservative media outlets such as Fox News

For the full story read here

IDF says it responded to incoming fire from southern Lebanon

The IDF said it responded to fire from terrorist organizations in Lebanon toward Zar’it and Yiftah, two areas of northern Israel occupied by small settlements of 250 and 600 people respectively. No injuries were reported.

“A short while ago, a terrorist cell attempted to launch anti-tank missiles from Lebanon toward Israeli territory in the Zar’it area,” said a statement by the IDF on Telegram. “An IDF tank struck the cell.”

The IDF said it is also responding with fire toward the origins of a shooting from Lebanon toward Yiftah.

Photos: Mourning the dead in Gaza and Israel

Matthew Nighswander

Fatima Shbair / AP

A Palestinian man embraces the body of a relative at the morgue in Deir al Balah, Gaza, today.

Amir Levy / Getty Images

Friends and family mourn during the funeral today of soldier Adi Leon, killed in a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, in Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut, Israel.

Israel’s defense minister praises IDF troops for effective ground operations

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant heard reports from IDF troops at the Gaza border and commended them for exposing Hamas tunnels and dealing heavy blows to the militant group.

“Our ground operations are effective. Our forces are reaching their targets and striking terrorists of all ranks,” said Gallant.

Jordan recalls ambassador in Tel Aviv in protest to war on Gaza

Natalie Kainz and Khalid Razak

Ayman Al-Safadi, Jordan’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, has recalled the Jordanian ambassador to Israel as a “expression of Jordan’s position rejecting and condemning the raging Israeli war on Gaza,” according to a post by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry on Facebook.

Al-Safadi also informed the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to return its ambassador to Jordan. He said the return of ambassadors will be linked to Israel stopping its war on Gaza and the “humanitarian catastrophe” in the region. In the meantime, he said Jordan will work to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, protect civilians and protect peace on the basis of a two-state solution.

A boy waves a Jordanian national flag as people in Amman, Jordan, rally in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27.Khalil Mazraawi / AFP – Getty Images

Deal struck to allow hundreds of foreigners and injured civilians to leave Gaza

A mediated deal has been struck to allow for the evacuation of up to 500 foreign and dual nationals a day, according to a source briefed on the talks. The deal covers “several days” of transfers, including of critically injured civilians.

The deal, by the U.S., Hamas, Israel and Egypt, was mediated by Qatar. Egypt will control who gets to cross and when, using an agreed-upon list of foreign nationals.

As of today, 76 injured civilians have been taken by ambulance into Egypt and 335 foreign nationals been driven on buses through the crossing, Wael Abu Mohsen, head of communications for the Palestinian side of the crossing, told NBC News.

This morning, a diplomat briefed on the deal who is not authorized to speak publicly, told NBC News that foreign passportholders and some critically injured civilians would be allowed to leave the enclave. The diplomat stressed that there was “no link between the agreement of Gaza opening and other items under negotiation, including the release of hostages, cease-fires or pauses in the fighting, or the import of humanitarian goods.”

House GOP’s Israel aid bill adds $26.8 billion to the deficit, budget office says

WASHINGTON — The House Republican bill to provide aid to Israel will add $26.8 billion to the U.S. budget deficit, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The bill championed by Speaker Mike Johnson pairs $14.3 billion in aid to Israel with $14.3 billion in cuts to IRS funding that was enacted under the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration initiative passed last year by Democrats.

But the CBO found that the IRS cuts, coupled with the Israel aid, would lead to a $26.8 billion decline in revenue, contradicting the stated goal of offsetting the aid. CBO and the Treasury Department have said that the funds, if left intact, will lead to tougher IRS enforcement and collect more tax revenues.

Read here for the full story.

Why can’t Facebook stop Hamas from posting grisly videos

On the night of Oct. 6th, 24-year-old Yoav Shimoni stayed up late in Toronto to pack his bags for an early morning flight. When he checked his phone around midnight, Shimoni saw a WhatsApp message from his sister directing him to the Facebook page of his 74-year-old grandmother who lived in southern Israel. 

When he opened the page, he found a video of his grandmother, Bracha Levinson, lying on the floor of her home in the Nir Oz kibbutz. A Hamas gunman was standing over her, pointing a rifle and shouting as she bled to death. “I was in shock,” Shimoni recalled in a telephone interview. “I was confused about what I’m seeing.”

Shimoni said he learned of the massive terror attack from the video on his grandmother’s Facebook page before Israeli news alerts popped up on his phone.

“She was one of the first people to be murdered on Oct. 7” he said. “The video was the men pointing guns at her and her covered in blood.”

Read the full story here.

WHO says Gaza crisis is having a devastating impact on patients with long-term needs

The crisis in Gaza is having a devastating impact on access to health care for patients with long-term needs, including those with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, the World Health Organization office in the occupied territory said on X.

Thousands of seriously injured civilians, many of them children, are among those in “serious need,” the agency said, adding that people who need kidney dialysis, cancer therapy and cardiovascular diseases required treatment.

“Just a third of primary care facilities are functioning, while the 66% of hospitals remaining open have substantially reduced services to cope with massive casualties,” WHO added.

Five Americans among foreign passport-holders expected to pass through Rafah crossing today

Natalie Kainz and Mithil Aggarwal

Five names with “USA” listed next to them are among those on a list of 500 foreign passport-holders expected to travel through the Rafah crossing to Egypt today.

Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Gaza Crossings and Borders Authority, confirmed to NBC News that the list is authentic.

One of the Americans is Barbara Preston, also known as Barbara Zind, who said she was “at the gate” in a text to NBC this morning.

E.U.’s top diplomat ‘appalled’ by Jabaliya refugee camp casualty numbers

The European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, said today that he was “appalled” by the Israeli bombing of the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza that left dozens dead and hundreds injured.

“The right to self-defense should always be balanced by the obligation to spare civilians to the greatest extent possible,” he wrote on X, adding that the protection of civilians was a “legal obligation.”

A man sits on the rubble as others wander among debris of buildings in the Jabaliya refugee camp today.Abed Khaled / AP

Americans will be assigned ‘specific departure dates’ out of Gaza, State Department says

Mithil Aggarwal and Amita Kelly

Only five Americans are on a list of foreign nationals expected to cross from Gaza into Egypt today, according to a list compiled by the Gaza border control authority and obtained by NBC News.

In a separate advisory, the State Department said U.S. citizens would be “assigned specific departure dates to ensure an orderly crossing.”

Abood Okal, an American citizen from Massachusetts, told NBC News that he had been waiting with his wife and 1-year-old son to cross into Egypt.

“It’s the wounded, then some foreign nationals that are supposed to leave today,” he said via a WhatsApp message.

Jordan recalls its ambassador to Israel

Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel as its expression of condemnation over the ongoing war in Gaza, its Foreign Ministry announced today on X.

Ayman Safadi, who serves as Jordan’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said in a statement that the return of the ambassador was contingent on Israel halting the war and ending “the humanitarian crises it had caused.”

The statement added that Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, who has been away from the country, would only be allowed to return on the same terms.

A salvo of rockets is fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel

Max Butterworth

Smoke trails followed multiple rockets as they were shot from northern Gaza today.

Bashar Taleb / AFP – Getty Images

Dozens trapped in rubble after second strike on Jabaliya refugee camp

Dozens are trapped under the rubble after a second strike today hit the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, where dozens were killed and hundreds injured in a similar attack yesterday.

A NBC camera crew saw about 20 collapsed homes, with dozens dead and wounded and some bodies still stuck under the rubble.

Hamas blamed Israel for the “second new massacre” in a post on its Telegram.

NBC News has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment.

Gaza health system has ‘completely collapsed,’ official says

The health system in Gaza has “completely collapsed,” a spokesman for the enclave’s Health Ministry said today.

Ashraf al-Qedra added that around 1,000 people need to be “urgently evacuated” to Egypt.

Even before Hamas launched its multipronged attack on Israel on Oct. 7, almost 100 patients needed care outside Gaza daily, the World Health Organization said today on X.

“Just a third of primary care facilities are functioning,” the WHO said, adding that the crisis in Gaza is having a “devastating impact” on patients with long-term needs.

Muslim countries should end oil and food exports to Israel, Iran’s Khamenei says

Iran’s supreme leader called on Muslim countries to cut off exports of food and oil to Israel, Iranian state media reported today.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with a group of students in Tehran for National Student Day and told them that Israel was in a “state of shock and desperation,” the IRNA news agency reported

“What Islamic governments must insist on is the immediate cessation of crimes in Gaza,” he said, according to IRNA. “They must immediately stop the [Israeli] bombing of Gaza and block the export of oil and food to the Zionist regime.”

Hamas says 7 hostages killed in Israel’s strike on Jabaliya refugee camp

Seven civilian hostages were killed by an Israeli strike on the Jabaliya refugee camp, Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, said today.

At least three of the hostages held foreign passports, the group said in a post on Telegram.

The Israeli military told NBC News it did not have any comment on Hamas’ claims.

Separately, it has said that it was targeting a Hamas leader at the refugee camp and blamed Hamas for using civilian buildings as cover for its “underground infrastructure.”

Scenes at the Rafah border crossing

Max Butterworth

People wait as their documents are processed at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt today.

Mohammed Talatene / picture-alliance via AP

A group of men read signs posted on a door at the Rafah crossing, as injured Palestinians and foreign nationals are being helped to evacuate.

Mohammed Talatene / Mohammed Talatene/picture-allian

First foreign nationals cross into Egypt from Gaza

The first foreign nationals have crossed into Egypt via the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, a spokesperson for the the Egyptian Health Ministry told NBC News.

Hossam Abdul Gafar said that some people had already cleared the crossing, while others were still being processed.

Around 500 people are expected to cross today, according to a list compiled by the Gaza Crossings and Borders Authority that was obtained by NBC News. This includes five American aid workers.

Earlier today, the first batch of ambulances carrying injured people also entered Egypt. It was the first time civilians have been allowed to cross into Egypt since Hamas launched its Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

Section of Jewish cemetery in Austria set on fire, vandalized with swastikas

Austria’s main Jewish leader said today that a fire was set during the night in the Jewish section of Vienna’s Central Cemetery and swastikas were spray-painted on external walls.

Jewish Community of Vienna President Oskar Deutsch wrote on X that the fire burned the entrance lobby to a ceremonial hall but did not cause any injuries. The fire service and police were investigating, he said.

Swastikas spray-painted on an external wall at the Jewish part of the Central Cemetery in Vienna today.Georg Hochmuth / AFP – Getty Images

Fire service spokesperson Gerald Schimpf told the Austria Press Agency that the fire appeared to have broken out during the night and had largely extinguished itself by the time firefighters were alerted shortly after 8 a.m.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he condemned “the attack on the Jewish cemetery in the strongest terms.” He wrote on X that “antisemitism has no place in our society” and added that he hoped the perpetrators would be found quickly.

A column of Israeli tanks moves toward Gaza border

Max Butterworth

Israeli tanks move toward the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel today. Ground forces have been expanding their operations in Gaza in recent days as Israel presses ahead with its war against Hamas militants.

Ariel Schalit / AP

First Americans leaving Gaza, with more expected to cross tomorrow

The first American citizens are leaving Gaza today after weeks trapped in the besieged enclave, a U.S. official confirmed to NBC News. They are evacuating through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt but are still in transit and in process, the official said.

It’s unclear how many were able to leave but the official said it was fewer than 10, with more Americans expected to exit through Rafah tomorrow.

The official said it was “encouraging” that a deal was finally reached to allow some Gazans and foreigners to leave after days of round-the-clock diplomatic efforts.

NBC News has confirmed with a Palestinian border official a list of around 500 foreign passport holders allowed to cross into Egypt, which included five American aid workers.

Cancer patients in ‘critical situation’ as hospital runs out of fuel, Gaza Health Ministry says

Dozens of cancer patients are in a “critical situation” after the Turkish Friendship Hospital was forced to shut down because a lack of fuel, the Gaza Health Ministry said in a Facebook post today.

It is the only hospital dedicated to cancer patients in Gaza, the ministry said, adding that 60 of the 2,000 cancer patients living in the enclave were being treated at the hospital in northern Gaza.

Global leaders condemn Israeli strike on Jabaliya refugee camp

Leaders of several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Kuwait, have condemned Israeli’s deadly strike on the Jabaliya refugee camp.

Israel said it killed a Hamas leader. Palestinian health officials said it left dozens dead and hundred injured.

Saudi Arabia, in a statement from its Foreign Ministry, said the strike was “inhumane targeting.” It added that “preventing bloodshed, protecting civilians and stopping military operations” were urgent priorities. 

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry described the attack as “barbaric.”

Injured civilians enter Egypt from Gaza for first time since war started

Injured civilians have entered Egypt through the Rafah border crossing for the first time since Oct. 7. It was unclear exactly how many people were allowed to leave.

Hundreds of people had gathered near the crossing today and ambulances were stationed on the Egyptian side preparing to receive the sick and injured.

Until this morning, only aid trucks have been allowed through the crossing to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. However, the United Nations and aid agencies have said the aid is not enough for Gaza’s population of around 2.3 million people, half of whom are children.

Palestinian ambulance enters Rafah border crossing

Max Butterworth

A Palestinian Health Ministry ambulance passes the gate to enter the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt earlier today.

Mohammed Abed / AFP – Getty Images

List of more than 500 people approved to leave through Rafah crossing

ISRAEL/GAZA BORDER — A list of more than 500 foreign nationals has been approved to cross from Gaza into Egypt, Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Gaza side of the Rafah border, confirmed to NBC News today.

The list includes people from Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan and Japan, as well as a group of aid workers from various countries.

Five American aid workers are also on the list.

Two hospitals will run out fuel within hours, Palestinian health official says

Two hospitals in northern Gaza will completely run out of generator fuel within hours, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry said today.

“We send an urgent distress call to all our brothers from oil-producing countries to intervene urgently to supply the Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the Indonesian Hospital with fuel to save the lives of the wounded and sick,” Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra told a news conference.

There are 42 children on life support, including incubators, 62 on artificial respiration, and 650 patients with kidney failure among the hundreds of wounded patients, he said.

IDF blames Gaza tunnels for Jabaliya refugee camp deaths

The Israeli military has blamed Hamas for using civilian buildings as a cover following a strike on the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, in which dozens were killed and hundreds were injured.

IDF troops had “close encounters” with Hamas militants who shot from inside the buildings, spokesperson Daniel Hagari said today.

A military aircraft then attacked from the air, killing a top Hamas commander “in an area that has a headquarters and an underground within a civilian area,” he said.

The “underground infrastructure of tunnels collapsed and brought down other buildings,” he added.

Injured people await care at Rafah border crossing

Max Butterworth

An injured man lies inside an ambulance waiting at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip this morning.

Mohammed Abed / AFP – Getty Images

As sirens sound in Ashdod, a frantic mother searches for her children

ASHDOD, Israel — As a quick succession of booms rang out in Ashdod, a mother frantically searched for her children.

Clutching a small dog, she ran breathlessly into the shelter to find them there. Eventually her panic subsided.

Israel’s Iron Dome intercepts missiles over Ashdod today. Chantal Da Silva / NBC News

But her dog, still in her arms, was shaking as the booms from above sounded.

Several puffs of smoke could be seen hanging in the air in the aftermath, with Israel’s Iron Dome appearing to have intercepted the attempted strikes.

First batch of foreign nationals enter Rafah border crossing

The first foreign passport holders have crossed into the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, the secretary general of the Red Crescent in North Sinai told NBC News today.

Dr. Raed Abdel Nasser said they were “waiting for the completion of entry procedures for them.”

They had “entered in groups consisting of several foreign and Arab nationalities,” he said, adding “more than 500 foreigners will enter.”

Ambulances were also seen entering the border crossing.

Border opening a Qatar-brokered deal separate from hostage talks, diplomat says

LONDON — For weeks, diplomats in multiple countries have been hoping to facilitate the kind of scenes we’re seeing at Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt today.

A diplomat briefed on the deal, who is not authorized to speak publicly, told NBC News that foreign passport holders and some critically injured civilians will be allowed to leave the enclave.

This agreement among Egypt, Hamas and Israel was mediated by Qatar in co-ordination with U.S. officials. Negotiations to open the crossing have gone on since the start of the war.

However, the diplomat stressed that there was “no link between the agreement of Gaza opening and other items under negotiation, including the release of hostages, cease-fires or pauses in the fighting, or the import of humanitarian goods.”

Women in Hamas hostage video ‘look rattled,’ kibbutz resident says

EILAT, Israel — At a hotel in Eilat, many residents evacuated from the Nir Oz kibbutz suffered a sleepless night after a massive explosion woke them up in the early hours of the day.

But sleep has been hard to come by for many, since Hamas took around 80 people hostage from their community of around 440 people Oct. 7. Among those kidnapped were Danielle Aloni and Yelena Tropanov, who appeared in a video released by Hamas on Monday, alongside Rimon Kirscht. 

Jonathan Dekel-Chen, whose son Sagui Dekel-Chen was also kidnapped, told NBC News today that the video was “a little piece of good news,” but that the women “look rattled.”

The community was relieved to see a sign of life but at the same time, he said, the video was “Hamas’ vicious, brutal attempt at psychological warfare.” What they needed now, he said, was “as much information as can possibly be gained about the welfare of the hostages and everything be done to guard their safety and bring them back home.”

Netanyahu warns of ‘long war’ as forces ramp up ground assault

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today warned of a “long war” ahead as his forces ramped up the ground assault on Gaza.

“We have so many important achievements but also painful losses,” he said in a video released by his office. “I promise the citizens of Israel: We will complete the work — we will continue until victory.”

Field hospital set up on Egypt border with Gaza

A field hospital, pictured yesterday, has been constructed for injured Palestinians close to the border with Gaza in the Sheikh Zuweid area of Rafah, Egypt.

Anadolu via Getty Images

Senior U.N. official resigns in protest against ‘genocide’ by Israel

The United Nations is failing to prevent a “text-book case of genocide,” a senior U.N. official said as he resigned from the world body.

In an Oct. 28 letter to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, Craig Mokhiber wrote: “We are seeing a genocide unfolding before our eyes.”

Mokhiber, director of the New York office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, added: “The organization that we serve appears powerless to stop it.”  

He also accused Western governments of being “wholly complicit” and “giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.”

Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza Strip, IDF says

Nine Israeli soldiers were killed in battle in northern Gaza, the country’s military said today on its website.

Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister, later wrote on X that “fighting in the depths of the Gaza Strip unfortunately comes with a heavy price.”

He added that Israel was “prepared for a long and complex campaign that requires courage, determination and perseverance.”

The deaths of two other soldiers were announced last night.

People enter Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Max Butterworth

People walk from southern Gaza into the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Mohammed Abed / AFP – Getty Images

How Israelis in southern kibbutzim are dealing with war trauma

Josh Lederman and Ed Flanagan

KIBBUTZ RE’IM, Israel — Three weeks after Hamas launched its terror attacks against towns in a kibbutz in southern Israel, people there are still trying to clean up and piece together their lives.

Much of the areas remains evacuated, with activity confined to troops and armored vehicles, but some have returned after the Oct. 7 attacks.

Waiting at the Rafah border crossing

Max Butterworth

Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip this morning.

Mohammed Abed / AFP – Getty Images

Gaza faces another communications ‘blackout’

Chantal Da Silva and Lawahez Jabari

ASHDOD, Israel — Residents of Gaza appear to have been plunged into another communications “blackout” this morning, with internet and phone services reported down.

“Live metrics show that the #Gaza Strip is in the midst of a new internet blackout with high impact to the last remaining major operator, Paltel,” NetBlocks, a U.K. company that tracks global internet connectivity, said in a post on X this morning. “The incident will be experienced as a total loss of telecommunications by most residents,” it said.

Paltel confirmed the incident, saying there was a “complete interruption” of all telecommunications and internet services in the Gaza Strip “due to the international Lines being disconnected again.”

It comes after people across Gaza lost access to electricity and communication services over the weekend as Israel ramped up its bombardment of the enclave, as well as its ground operations across the border. The incident stoked fears over what would happen if Gazans lost their primary way of communicating with the outside world and sharing what was happening on the ground.

South American countries recall ambassadors, cut ties with Israel

Bolivia said it was breaking diplomatic ties with Israel, citing airstrikes in Gaza, while Chile and Colombia said they were recalling their ambassadors.

Bolivia’s announcement is a step further than the actions announced by Chile and Colombia.

“Bolivia demands an end to the attacks in the Gaza Strip, which have so far caused thousands of civilian deaths and the forced displacement of Palestinians; as well as the cessation of the blockade that prevents the entry of food, water and other essential elements for life,” Bolivia’s minister of the presidency, María Nela Prada, said in a statement.

Israel’s military has said it seeks to minimize civilian casualties and that it is striking Hamas in Gaza. The country’s foreign ministry responded furiously to the news this morning, accusing Bolivia of a “surrender to terrorism.”

Gazans search through the rubble at Jabaliya refugee camp

Ahmed Zakot / SOPA / LightRocket via Getty Images

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