Israel-Hamas war live updates: Hezbollah refrains from call for regional war; Netanyahu rejects cease-fire before hostage release

Why Israel’s long war ahead will be nothing like what it’s faced before

Armoured vehicles of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are seen during their ground operations at a location given as Gaza, as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in this handout image released on November 1, 2023. 

Israel Defense Forces | Reuters

The IDF is now a week into its “second phase” of its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s forces are supplementing heavy aerial bombardment of the besieged territory with what’s been described as a ground incursion, the details of which have been kept closely guarded.

A ground offensive is necessary to achieve Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, the IDF says. A prolonged invasion, however — should it become that — will be bloody and costly not only for those living in Gaza but for the Israeli military as well, military veterans and analysts say.

Urban counter-insurgency, as the U.S. military learned in Iraq, brings deadly challenges to troops that do not apply in an aerial campaign.

“In urban combat, you take higher casualties. That’s just a historical fact,” Jim Webb, a former U.S. Marine infantryman who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told CNBC.

He explaining that the defending fighters — in this case Hamas — will have almost every advantage, as they are more proficient in guerilla warfare, know the territory, can carry out urban ambushes, and have access to an extensive network of underground tunnels undetectable from above ground.

“I do not envy the task the IDF may be asked to undertake,” Webb said. 

Read the full report here.

— Natasha Turak

Hamas attack on Israel was an ‘entirely Palestinian operation,’ Hezbollah leader says

The Hamas attack against Israel of Oct. 7 was an “entirely Palestinian operation” and “has no relation to any regional issue,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah told crowds of supporters in a speech Friday.

Nasrallah stressed that the attack by the Gaza-based militant group, which killed more than 1,400 people in southern Israel, was “kept secret” from the rest of the “resistance axis,” in what appeared to be an effort to distance Hezbollah and Lebanon from Hamas actions. The Oct. 7 terror offensive has triggered a devastating retaliation from Israel.

“We had no knowledge, honestly speaking” about the Hamas attack before it took place, Nasrallah reiterated again in his speech, according to an Al Jazeera translation.

The Hezbollah leader also said that “Iran does not exercise any kind of control over resistance movements in the region.” Iran is the main financial and military backer of both Hamas and Hezbollah, and repeatedly stresses its aim to resist and defeat Israel and the U.S. The Iranian government has previously claimed it had no prior knowledge of the Oct. 7 attack.

Nasrallah nonetheless heaped praise on Hamas for what it called its “glorious act of jihad” — an Arabic word that can also refer to “holy war” — against Israel and said that “the victory of Gaza is in the national patriotic interest of Lebanon.” He also warned Israel not to attack Lebanon, and said that “further escalation on the Lebanese front is a realistic probability.”

Analysts reacting to the speech described it as more moderate and restrained than many had expected, as it refrained from calling on Hezbollah’s fighters and supporters to escalate the fight against Israel. Hezbollah has masses of well-armed ranks in southern Lebanon along Israel’s northern border, and has exchanged shelling and rocket fire with the Israel Defense Forces in the weeks since Oct. 7.

— Natasha Turak

Search and rescue operations continue after an Israeli attack on the Maghazi refugee camp

EDITORS NOTE-Graphic Content: This post shows images of wounded Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Search and rescue operations continue after an Israeli attack on the Maghazi refugee camp in Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip.

Search and rescue operations continue after an Israeli attack on Maghazi Refugee Camp in Deir al Balah, Gaza on November 03, 2023. 

Ashraf Amra | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Search and rescue operations continue after an Israeli attack on Maghazi Refugee Camp in Deir al Balah, Gaza on November 03, 2023. 

Ashraf Amra | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

An aerial view of civil defense teams and residents launching a search and rescue operation after Israeli attacks hit settlements at the Maghazi Refugee Camp, in Gaza Strip, Gaza on November 02, 2023.

Ashraf Amra | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

DEIR AL BALAH, GAZA – NOVEMBER 03: Search and rescue operations continue after an Israeli attack on Maghazi Refugee Camp in Deir al Balah, Gaza on November 03, 2023. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

(EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) An injured man is brought to the Al Aqsa Hospital after the Israeli attack on Maghazi Refugee Camp in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on November 03, 2023.

Ashraf Amra | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

EU’s Borrell commits to Israel’s security in call with foreign minister

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday said that he had spoken to Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen and expressed “EU solidarity and commitment to Israel’s security.”

In a post on social media, Borrell also said that he had reiterated the EU’s support for Israel in freeing hostages, as well as calling for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting to ensure safe delivery of aid to the people of the Gaza Strip.

— Karen Gilchrist

Netanyahu dismisses cease-fire calls until hostage are freed

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said that he will not agree to any temporary cease-fire with Hamas until the more than 240 hostages seized by the Palestinian militant group during its Oct. 7 attack are released, Reuters reported .

“Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire that does not include the return of our hostages,” he said during a televised address.

A Hamas official previously said that a cease-fire would be required before captives can be returned.

— Karen Gilchrist

Hezbollah leader praises Oct. 7 attack, ‘wise’ decision of Islamic resistance in Iraq to attack U.S. bases

Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appears on a screen as he addresses his supporters during a ceremony to honour fighters killed in the recent escalation with Israel, in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Lebanon November 3, 2023. 

Mohamed Azakir | Reuters

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah praised Palestinian militants and other forces in the region attacking Israeli and U.S. interests in the wake of a Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

In a widely anticipated televised speech, he called the offensive by Hamas militants, which killed more than 1,400 people in Israel and took more than 240 hostages “glorious,” according to an Al Jazeera translation. He further said the attack was an entirely Palestinian operation, planned and carried out with no knowledge of other parties in what he called the “resistance axis.”

He also praised allies in Yemeni and Iraqi militant groups for attacking U.S. bases in the region and said that the decision of Islamic resistance groups in Iraq to target U.S. bases was “wise.”

The comments were part of the influential Hezbollah leader’s first speech since the war between Israel and Hamas began on Oct. 7. Based in Lebanon and funded primarily by Iran, Hezbollah is the Middle East’s most powerful paramilitary group and regularly calls for the destruction of Israel.

— Natasha Turak

Thirteen U.S. Democratic senators call for ‘short term cessation of hostilities’ in Gaza

Thirteen U.S. senators have called for a temporary “cessation of hostilities” in Gaza amid the dramatically worsening humanitarian situation. The senators, all part of the Democratic party, said that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas, but stressed the need to protect civilian life.

“As Senators, we have been closely monitoring the war in Gaza and believe that much more must be done to protect civilian life,” the lawmakers said in the statement from the office of Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey.

The statement included three aims that the senators want achieved during the proposed short-term cessation in fighting:

  1. Successful delivery of needed humanitarian aid to civilians under strict and necessary oversight. 
  2. Increased focus on the release of all hostages kidnapped on Oct. 7.
  3. Opportunity for broader discussion amongst Israeli and Palestinian leadership, together with regional and global partners, about long-term strategies to reduce decades-long conflict in the region.

International aid organizations, including the World Health Organization and the U.N., have been pleading for a humanitarian cease-fire, as they describe catastrophic human suffering in the besieged Gaza Strip, where local health authorities say more than 9,000 people have been killed and hospitals and schools have been bombed, among other infrastructure.

Israel maintains it is targeting Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs Gaza and carried out the Oct. 7 terror attack in Israel that killed more than 1,400 people.

— Natasha Turak

‘Some progress’ has been made getting fuel into Gaza, UN aid chief says

KHAN YUNIS, GAZA – OCTOBER 31: An aid truck full of shrouds from Egypt arrives at Nasser Hospital under the auspices of the United Nations in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 31, 2023. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

“Some progress” has been made in getting fuel into Gaza, the United Nations aid chief said Friday, adding that confirmation of a deal for such supplies could come by the end of the day, according to Reuters.

“I heard just this morning as I came in, there has been some progress on allowing some more fuel in through these negotiations,” Martin Griffiths told a meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York. “I hope to see that confirmed during today.”

The global body, alongside Israel, Egypt and the U.S., have been in ongoing talks to get fuel into Gaza for the first time since hostilities began on 0ct. 7.

Aid agencies have said that the lack of critical fuel supplies have made their efforts to assist civilians in the besieged enclave nearly impossible. Israel, for its part, claims that Hamas is rerouting fuel supplies toward its war efforts.

Griffiths also reiterated calls for “humanitarian pauses” to the fighting between Israel and Hamas to enable aid deliveries into Gaza.

— Karen Gilchrist

Blinken stresses need to protect civilians after meeting with Israel leadership

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a press conference, during his visit to Israel, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel November 3, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the need to safeguard civilians throughout the Israel-Hamas conflict, following a Friday meeting with Israeli leadership.

Speaking in a press briefing alongside Israeli President Isaac Herzog, he said: “It is very important that, when it comes to the protection of civilians, who are caught in a crossfire of Hamas’ making, that everything be done to protect them, and to bring assistance to those who so desperately need it.”

He stressed that Washington is “here, as we’ve been, as we’ll remain, in solidarity with Israel” and stressed that the White House stands “strongly for the proposition that Israel has not only the right but the obligation to defend itself and to do everything possible to ensure that this Oct. 7 can never happen again.”

The U.S. has firmly backed Israel, which is carrying out retaliatory hostilities in the Gaza Strip following the terror attacks of Palestinian militant group Hamas. Human rights groups have decried the harm to civilians in the embattled and besieged Gaza enclosure, as Israeli airstrikes have bombarded the enclave, and hit a refugee camp. U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this week called for a humanitarian pause to the conflict.

Israel insists it only targets Hamas positions.

“Israel has been making phone calls and distributing pamphlets giving forewarning to civilians in the Gaza Strip to evacuate before striking, which it believes to be in accordance with international law,” Herzog said Friday.

Ruxandra Iordache

Palestinian workers, stuck in Israel since the Oct. 7 attacks, return to Gaza

Palestinian workers, who were stuck in Israel since the Oct. 7 attacks, react after crossing back into the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Israel in the south of the Palestinian enclave on Nov. 3, 2023. 

Palestinian workers, who were stranded in Israel since the October 7 attacks, cross back into the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Israel in the south of the Palestinian enclave on November 3, 2023.

Said Khatib | AFP | Getty Images

Palestinian workers, who were stranded in Israel since the October 7 attacks, react after crossing back into the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Israel in the south of the Palestinian enclave on November 3, 2023.

Said Khatib | AFP | Getty Images

A journalist and paramedic assist one of the Palestinian workers who were stranded in Israel since the October 7 attacks after he collapsed upon arriving at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt after crossing into the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Israel in the south of the Palestinian enclave on November 3, 2023.

Said Khatib | Afp | Getty Images

One of the Palestinian workers who were stranded in Israel since the October 7 attacks is assisted after he collapsed upon arriving at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt after crossing into the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Israel in the south of the Palestinian enclave on November 3, 2023.

Said Khatib | Afp | Getty Images

Erdogan urges cease-fire, says crimes against humanity have been committed in the Gaza Strip

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers remarks during the Turkiye Youth Foundation’s Branches Gathering at Bestepe Nation’s Convention and Culture Center in Ankara, Turkiye on October 12, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once more called for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, saying crimes against humanity have been taking place in the Gaza Strip.

Under the U.N.’s definition, crimes against humanity are one of four types of offences that can be investigated by the International Criminal Court, which is governed by the Rome Statute treaty. Israel is a signatory but has yet to ratify the Rome Statute, meaning it does not give the ICC purview to judge crimes on its territory.

Erdogan accused Israel of a disproportionate response in its bombardment and blockade of the Gaza Strip since the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7.

“There is no concept that can excuse what we have witnessed since October 7 or explain this brutality. Crimes against humanity have been committed in Gaza for exactly 28 days,” he said, according to Google-translated comments reported by Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

Israel has said its campaign in the Gaza Strip is focused on demilitarizing Hamas and that it is exercising its right to self-defense.

The Turkish leader said that Ankara’s priority is the “rapid” establishment of a humanitarian cease-fire and that it is “also working on new mechanisms that will guarantee the security of everyone.”

Turkey has so far sent 10 planes carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip. Typically, such aircraft land in Egypt, and the assistance is then transported by truck to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.

Ruxandra Iordache

Over 9,200 people killed in Gaza Strip and at least 1,400 in Israel since the start of the war

At least 9,227 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 start of the Israel-Hamas war, with 32,000 injured and 2,060 missing, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

Around 16 hospitals have been put out of service, a spokesperson for the ministry said Thursday. The outages follow extensive fuel and electricity shortages and heavy bombardment in the Gaza Strip.

Over 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, with 5,431 injured since the early-October start of the conflict, according to the latest figures from the Israeli prime minister’s office. The Israeli Defense Forces most recently said 335 of its soldiers have been killed in hostilities.

 CNBC could not independently verify either set of figures.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israeli military to stay at ‘high level of vigilance’ over northern border

An Israeli tank is positioned in the western Galilee area, near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon on October 30, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images

The Israel Defense Forces remain at a “high level of readiness, both defensive and offensive, with a high level of vigilance” over hostilities on the northern border with Lebanon, according to officially translated remarks from spokesperson Daniel Hagari.

The IDF and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have been exchanging fire since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas. Hezbollah claims to be acting out of solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli army soldier stands with an assault rifle hanging across his chest by an Israeli flag at a position in the upper Galilee region of northern Israel near the border with Lebanon on October 28, 2023 amid increasing cross-border tensions between Hezbollah and Israel as fighting continues in the south with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. 

Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images

Hamas, Hezbollah and Yemeni militants Houthi are supported by Iran, which Israel says has orchestrated multiple attacks against it in recent weeks.

“Iran continues to carry out subversive, negative activities and pushes its proxies – in its name – with Iranian weaponry which it sends them, exactly like in Ukraine, Yemen and Iraq against American troops, that’s what they’re trying to do against the State of Israel. They are trying to distract us from our war in Gaza,” Hagari said Friday.

Iran has celebrated the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7, but repeatedly denied involvement.

Ruxandra Iordache

UN human affairs office said $1.2 billion needed for the people of the Gaza Strip, West Bank

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs office on Friday estimated that a total of $1.2 billion in funding was needed to meet the needs of the people of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, according to Reuters.

Civilians wait in front of a partially collapsed, still operational bakehouse in Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al Balah, Gaza on November 02, 2023.

Mustafa Hassona | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The office said this funding would serve 2.7 million people — which OCHA believes to be the entire population of the Gaza Strip enclave — and 500,00 people in the occupied West Bank.

On Oct. 12, OCHA launched an emergency appeal for $294 million to support the needs of 1.26 million people in the two regions.

A young man carries aid parcels on his bicycle as other reload fallen boxes onto a truck carrying humanitarian aid that entered the southern Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on November 2, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement continue. (Photo by Mohammed ABED / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)

Mohammed Abed | Afp | Getty Images

Deprived of supplies from Israel and under siege from its military, the civilians of the Gaza Strip, many of whom have been internally displaced to the south of the territory, have received some assistance by way of humanitarian aid packages trucked in through the Rafah crossing bordering Egypt. Human rights groups warn this inflow represents just a “trickle” of what the Palestinian people need.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israel releases recording it says proves Hamas is holding fuel reserves at hospital

The Israel Defense Forces has released an audio recording of an alleged conversation with a “source in the Gaza healthcare system” who says that Hamas is holding over half a million liters of fuel under the al-Shifa hospital.

CNBC could not authenticate that the audio recording is legitimate. The quality of the sound is also distorted.

Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of possessing and withholding critical fuel reserves in the blockaded and heavily bombarded Gaza Strip, which has been cut off from Israel’s own fuel, food, water and electricity supplies since the early days of the conflict.

The IDF claims that militant group Hamas is rerouting fuel reserves toward its war efforts, rather than allowing them to be used for the treatment of civilians.

The Gaza health ministry and human rights groups, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, have meanwhile repeatedly called for further deliveries of fuel so that medical facilities in the Palestinian territories can continue to power their machines and provide care.

Ruxandra Iordache

Netanyahu meets with Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu (R) in Tel Aviv, Israel on November 03, 2023. 

Amos Ben-Gershom | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently in a private meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, the Israeli prime minister’s office said in a social media update Friday morning.

The two will also meet with members of the Israeli war cabinet.

Blinken, U.S. President Joe Biden and a spate of other top-level White House officials have visited Israel to reassure Netanyahu’s administration of Washington’s solidarity and coordinate efforts against Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The top U.S. envoy is widely expected to ask for a pause in the fighting in the Gaza Strip and measures to protect the civilian population in the enclosure.

Ruxandra Iordache

IDF says ‘terrorists were killed’ in ‘heroic’ overnight battle in Gaza

The IDF in a statement said that one of its brigades “clashed with a number of terror squads inside the Gaza Strip” on Thursday night.

It described a “lengthy battle” during which it said that “terrorists fired anti-tank missiles at them and activated a number of IEDs.”

“The forces on the ground directed aircraft and artillery airstrikes. The terrorists were killed and the danger to the troops was removed,” the statement read.

IDF ground troops are expanding into Gaza, intensifying their operations in the densely urban Gaza City, which is said to be a Hamas stronghold.

Hamas has governed Gaza since 2007, the same year Israel imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the territory of now 2.3 million people. The IDF says ground operations are necessary to eliminate Hamas, which carried out the deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel that killed more than 1,300 people.

Israel’s heavy retaliatory airstrike campaign and recently launched ground offensive has killed more than 9,000 people in Gaza, Palestinian health authorities said Thursday.

— Natasha Turak

IDF says four more Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza fighting

The Israeli Defense Forces announced the names of four soldiers killed in fighting in Gaza on Thursday, the Times of Israel reported. An additional two soldiers were severely wounded, the IDF said.

Friends from the army unit carry the coffin of soldier, Adi Leon, killed in a ground opreation in the Gaza Strip, on November 1, 2023 in Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut, Israel.

Amir Levy | Getty Images

That brings the death toll of Israeli soldiers since the start of its ground operations against Hamas to 23.

Israeli troops are expanding their combat operations in Gaza City, a heavily urban environment in the northern part of the Gaza Strip described by the IDF as a Hamas stronghold. Fighting there is expected to be difficult, with urban combat known for its high risks to invading forces.

— Natasha Turak

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei posts in Hebrew, says Israel is ‘lying to you’

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaks on the death anniversary of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini during a live broadcast on state television in Tehran, Iran on June 03, 2020.

Anadolu Agency

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called Israel “helpless and confused” and accused it of lying to its people, in a post on social media.

“The Zionist entity is lying to you, and it is also lying when it expressed concern about its prisoners with the Palestinians,” Khamenei wrote in Hebrew, according to a Google translation.

“But she also destroys them with the shelling she does. The occupying entity is helpless and confused now, and without American support will be silenced within days,” he added.

Iran — a top adversary of Israel — is the primary financial and military backer of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip.

Hamas launched the terror attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,300 people and is currently holding more than 240 hostages.

— Natasha Turak

Blinken lands in Israel for talks with Netanyahu

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken disembarks from an aircraft for the start of his visit to Israel, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on November 3, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Israel Friday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials in the country. The visit was a part of Blinken’s second trip to the Middle East since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out on Oct. 7.

With Blinken is U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew, who was only confirmed to the position on Tuesday. Lew, 68, served as treasury secretary in the Obama administration.

Blinken told press before his departure Thursday said he would speak with Israeli leaders about “the ongoing campaign against the Hamas terrorist organization” and “steps that need to be taken to protect civilians.” 

He said he would also discuss the hostages taken captive by Hamas, the flow of humanitarian aid, the passage of civilians from Gaza and preventing a broader regional conflict.

— Natasha Turak

Bahrain says envoy to Israel returned home; Israel says ties stable

Bahrain said on Thursday that the Gulf state’s ambassador to Israel had returned home and the Israeli ambassador in Manama had left the kingdom “a while ago,” confirming an earlier statement by parliament linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in its war with Hamas which has killed thousands of people has angered Arab states who are concerned with sharply rising civilian casualties and Israel’s blockade of the densely populated coastal enclave.

The government statement did not confirm that economic ties had been severed, as the parliament had earlier stated, but said that flights between the two countries had been suspended for several weeks.

The statement did not clarify whether that meant the Israeli ambassador had been expelled.

Israel had earlier said it received no word of any such actions, saying its relations with Bahrain were “stable.”

In its statement, the parliament — a consultative body with no powers in the area of foreign policy — said the moves “confirmed Bahrain’s historic position in support of the Palestinian cause.”

“The Council of Representatives affirms that the Israeli ambassador in the kingdom of Bahrain has left Bahrain and the kingdom of Bahrain has decided on the return of the Bahrain ambassador to Israel,” the parliament said in a statement.

“The cessation of economic relations was also decided,” it said, without making clear who had made the decision.

Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “We would like to clarify that no notification or decision has been received from the government of Bahrain and the government of Israel to return the countries’ ambassadors. Relations between Israel and Bahrain are stable.”

Any suspension of diplomatic and economic ties, if confirmed, would mark a significant setback for Israel.

— Reuters

House passes Republican Israel-only aid, Democrats say dead on arrival in Senate

The Republican-led House on Thursday passed a bill that would provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel as it wages war against Hamas, but Democrats say it’s dead on arrival in the Senate and President Joe Biden has vowed to veto the measure.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting to the House Republican Conference on Thursday, November 2, 2023. 

Alex Wong | Getty Images

The Republican proposal would also rescind funds for the IRS in the same amount, from funding approved in last year’s climate, health and tax law.

Democrats said the IRS cuts amounted to a a poison pill, as the money was intended to amp up enforcement and catch tax cheats. A new Congressional Budget Office report says that the overall measure would add nearly $27 billion to the deficit.

President Biden and Senate Democrats are backing a broader approach, pushing for $106 billion for both Israel and Ukraine aid, humanitarian aid for Gaza, as well as funding for U.S. border operations in one package.

Read the full story here.

NBC News

Israeli military says it has surrounded Gaza City

People check buildings destroyed in an Israeli strike on the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement continue. 

Majdi Fathi | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Israeli troops fought with Hamas militants and encircled Gaza City on Thursday, the military said, as the Palestinian death toll rose above 9,000. U.S. and Arab leaders raised pressure on Israel to ease its siege of Gaza and at least briefly halt its attacks in order to aid civilians.

The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevy, said his forces were encircling Gaza City from several directions and “fighting in a built-up, dense, complex area.”

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces were in “face to face” battles with militants, calling in airstrikes and shelling when needed. He said they were inflicting heavy losses on Hamas fighters and destroying their infrastructure with engineering equipment.

Nearly four weeks after Hamas’ deadly rampage in Israel sparked the war, U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken was heading to the region for talks Friday in Israel and Jordan following President Joe Biden’s suggestion for a humanitarian “pause” in the fighting. The aim would be to let in aid for Palestinians and let out more foreign nationals and wounded. Around 800 people left over the past two days.

Israel did not immediately respond to Biden’s suggestion. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has previously ruled out a cease-fire, said Thursday: “We are advancing … Nothing will stop us.” He vowed to destroy Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.

Associated Press

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