U.S. State Department advises Americans to not travel to Lebanon

The U.S. State Department advised Americans against traveling to Lebanon, citing an unpredictable security situation due to kidnappings, unrest in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war and “rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges” between Israel and Hezbollah.

The department raised its travel advisory for Lebanon to level 4, the highest on its rating scale, and warned that the embassy in Beirut has limited capacity to support U.S. citizens there.

State currently has a level 4 travel advisory for Gaza, citing terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict. It has a level 3 advisory for Israel and the West Bank, recommending Americans reconsider traveling due to terrorism and civil unrest.

— Christine Wang

Biden plans to request $100 billion in funding that would include money for Israel, Ukraine

President Joe Biden is planning to submit a request for $100 billion in supplemental funding to Congress in the coming days that would include money for Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine and U.S. border security, two people familiar with the discussions told NBC News.

One source said the details of the package have not been finalized and could still change. The president is expected to send his request to lawmakers by the end of this week after he returns from his Middle East trip.

— NBC News

UN Security Council to vote Wednesday on Israel-Gaza conflict

State of Palestine Ambassador Riyad Mansour speaks to the press before the start of the closed doors Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East at UN Headquarters. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Pacific Press | Lightrocket | Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council will now vote on Wednesday on a Brazilian-drafted resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.

The council is then expected to discuss – at the request of the United Arab Emirates and Russia – a Gaza hospital blast that killed hundreds of people on Tuesday, diplomats said.

Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour blamed Israeli forces for the “massacre” at the hospital, calling for an immediate ceasefire. Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan issued a statement accusing the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group of responsibility.


Biden’s meeting with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority called off

US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US, on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. Biden will make a dangerous and politically risky trip to Israel intended to show solidarity with the US’s closest ally in the Middle East and prevent the conflict from engulfing the wider region. Photographer: Samuel Corum/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden will no longer visit Jordan as part of his Middle East trip this week, after a leaders summit on humanitarian aid for Palestinians was abruptly canceled Tuesday.

The decision was made as unrest across the region swelled, in response to the deadly bombing of a hospital in Gaza.

Biden had been scheduled to meet in with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority president Mahmound Abbas after first visiting Israel.

“There is no use in talking now about anything except stopping the war,” Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi said on state television.

The bombing of the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City Tuesday killed hundreds of people and escalated the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted, Biden said in statement Tuesday.

“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy,” he added.

Christina Wilkie

Biden departs for Israel and postpones trip to Jordan

US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One, leaving Westchester County Airport June 16, 2023, in White Plains, New York.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden departed for a 10-hour flight to Israel and did not take questions from reporters on the status of his scheduled trip to Amman, Jordan.

A White House official confirmed to NBC News that Biden will postpone his travel to Amman in consultation with King Abdullah II of Jordan following an announcement from President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority calling for days of morning.

The official added that Biden sent his condolences following the deadly attack on the hospital in Gaza.

— Amanda Macias

WHO describes strike on Gaza hospital ‘unprecedented in scale’

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A man carries a wounded child into at al-Shifa hospital following Israeli strikes in Gaza City on October 10, 2023.

Mohammed Abed | AFP | Getty Images

The World Health Organization, or WHO, called the strike on a hospital in Gaza “unprecedented in scale,” according to a Reuters report.

“This attack is unprecedented in scale,” said Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative for the West Bank and Gaza, according to Reuters.

He added that the WHO has observed “consistent attacks on healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Peeperkorn said there have been more than 50 attacks against healthcare facilities in Gaza and at least 15 health workers killed.

— Amanda Macias

‘Words fail me,’ UN human rights chief condemns attack on Gaza hospital

Injured Palestinians taken to Al-Shifa Hospital following Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on October 17, 2023.

Ali Jadallah | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The United Nations Human Rights chief Volker Turk condemned the deadly attack on the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza calling the strike “totally unacceptable.”

“Words fail me. Tonight, hundreds of people were killed – horrifically – in a massive strike at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, including patients, healthcare workers and families that had been seeking refuge in and around the hospital,” Turk said in a statement.

“Hospitals are sacrosanct, and they must be protected at all costs,” he said, adding “Those found responsible must be held to account.”

“We don’t yet know the full scale of this carnage, but what is clear is that the violence and killings must stop at once,” he said.

Both Hamas and Israel have placed blame for the strike on each other.

— Amanda Macias

British Defense Secretary Shapps arrives in DC to discuss Israel-Hamas conflict with Secretary Austin and lawmakers

Grant Shapps, the U.K.’s new defense minister.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps arrived in Washington for his first visit since ascending to the role to meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The two will discuss the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis in the Middle East at the Pentagon.

Shapps will also meet with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill while in Washington. Last week, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ordered the deployment of British military assets to the eastern Mediterranean to provide support and deter malign actors for intensifying the ongoing conflict.

— Amanda Macias

Palestinian protesters flood West Bank cities after hundreds killed in Gaza hospital strike

The Associated Press is reporting that hundreds of Palestinians are taking to the streets in the West Bank, including the seat of the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah, to protest the strike on the Gaza City hospital that killed hundreds of people.

The AP reported that protesters threw stones at Palestinian security forces who responded with stun grenades.

Palestinians rally in solidarity with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 17, 2023. Israeli air strikes on a Gaza hospital compound on October 17 killed at least 200 people, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory said, while an Israeli military spokesman would not immediately confirm its forces bombed the hospital.

Jaafar Ashtiyeh | Afp | Getty Images

Palestinians rally in solidarity with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 17, 2023. Israeli air strikes on a Gaza hospital compound on October 17 killed at least 200 people, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory said, while an Israeli military spokesman would not immediately confirm its forces bombed the hospital. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP) (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Jaafar Ashtiyeh | Afp | Getty Images

Palestinians injured in an air strike await treatment at the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip, on October 17, 2023.

Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images

A Medic carries a Palestinian child injured during air strikes into a hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip, on October 16, 2023.

Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images

(EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) Injured Palestinian kid taken to Al-Shifa Hospital following Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on October 17, 2023. Over 500 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

(EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) Scores of injured people are being taken to Al-Shifa Hospital following Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on October 17, 2023. Over 500 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

UN says food ‘to feed about a quarter-million people for about a week’ is ready to enter Gaza

The United Nations said that humanitarian teams and supplies are ready to move into Gaza but have yet to be able to do so.

“The World Food Programme tells us they have more than 310 tonnes of ready-to-eat food either at the border or on their way to Rafah – enough to feed about a quarter-million people for about a week,” United Nations Secretary-General spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said during a press briefing.

Dujarric said more food supplies are arriving at an airport in northeastern Egypt in the coming days.

“Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency, or UNHCR, is supporting the overall U.N. efforts to provide much-needed support to Gaza through the Egyptian Red Crescent. UNHCR will be providing bottled water, blankets, mattresses, jerrycans, hygiene kits and clothing items,” he added.

— Amanda Macias

Palestinian leader Abbas cancels meeting with Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) in Bethlehem, West Bank on July 15, 2022.

Palestinian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine, has canceled a planned Wednesday meeting with Biden, according to a senior Palestinian official.

Abbas reportedly dropped out of a summit in Amman, Jordan to protest an alleged Israeli airstrike on a Gaza hospital, the Associated Press reported.

The Palestinian leader was scheduled to meet with Biden along with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the cancelation has not been formally announced.

— Chelsey Cox

Israel says it did not carry out a strike on a hospital in Gaza

A spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces said it did not carry out a strike on a hospital in central Gaza.

“A hospital is a highly sensitive building and not an IDF Target. The IDF is currently investigating and as always prioritizes accuracy,” the spokesperson said according to an NBC News report.

“We urge everyone to proceed with caution while reporting about a terror organization,” the spokesperson added.

— Amanda Macias

UN Secretary General will travel to Egypt this week to discuss humanitarian aid

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, on Oct. 11, 2023.

Xie E | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Cairo, Egypt on Thursday to discuss humanitarian aid with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

“In order to move humanitarian aid through Gaza, we need safe passage,” United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said during a press briefing announcing Guterres’ trip.

“There are intense discussions going on which we’re involved with a number of parties in order to try to get the most basic humanitarian aid in as quickly as possible, and that’s food, water, medicine,” Dujarric added.

Dujarric declined to comment when asked by reporters at the United Nations if Guterres would travel to Israel.

— Amanda Macias

Turkey’s Erdogan slams airstrike on Gaza hospital, places blame on Israel

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kenzo Tribouillard | Afp | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the airstrike on a hospital in Gaza, placing the blame squarely on Israel.

“Hitting a hospital containing women, children and innocent civilians is the latest example of Israel’s attacks devoid of the most basic human values,” Erdogan wrote in a social media post on X, according to a Google translation.

“I invite all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented brutality in Gaza,” he added.

An Israeli Defense Forces spokesman said the airstrike was under investigation but added that the explosion could be from a Hamas rocket.

— Amanda Macias

Hamas says it will release civilian hostages in an hour if Israeli strikes on Gaza stop

Young boys look at posters depicting missing people and stating that they were kidnapped by Hamas militants outside a Synagogue in Larnaca, Cyprus October 17, 2023.

Yiannis Kourtoglou | Reuters

A Hamas official told NBC News that the group is prepared to release all civilian hostages in an hour if Israel halts airstrikes in Gaza.

It was not immediately clear how many civilian hostages the militant group has kidnapped since the war began on Oct. 7.

— Amanda Macias

Biden speaks to bipartisan delegation returning from Israel

U.S. President Joe Biden speaking to Vladimir Putin from the White House on Dec. 30, 2021.

Source: White House Photo

The White House said President Joe Biden spoke with the bipartisan congressional delegation led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck (D-N.Y.) that went to Israel over the weekend.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisana, Democrat Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, Democrat Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah were forced to shelter in place during their trip due to air raid sirens.

— Amanda Macias

At least 500 people killed in hospital bombing, Gaza Health Ministry says

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Relatives mourn over the bodies of Palestinians killed in a strike on the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza after they were transported to Al-Shifa hospital, on October 17, 2023. A strike on a hospital compound in the Gaza Strip killed at least was blamed by officials in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory on October 17, sparking widespread condemnation and fury. But Israel’s army blamed a rocket misfired by militants in Gaza. (Photo by Dawood NEMER / AFP) (Photo by DAWOOD NEMER/AFP via Getty Images)

Dawood Nemer | Afp | Getty Images

The Gaza Health Ministry said an Israeli airstrike hit a hospital in central Gaza and has killed at least 500 people, according to an AP report.

If confirmed, the Israeli airstrike would be by far the deadliest since 2008, according to the AP.

Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said there were about 500 victims in the attack, NBC reported. He estimated that between 200 to 300 were killed. It is unclear when Al Qudra made his statement.

Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that the reports of an Israeli airstrike against a hospital in Gaza are still under investigation.

“There are a lot of airstrikes, a lot of failed rockets, and a lot of fake reports by Hamas,” Hagari said according to a Times of Israel report.

— Amanda Macias

First lady of Ukraine calls the first lady of Israel to offer condolences

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska speaks to members of the US Congress about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the US Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium on July 20, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, spoke to Israeli First Lady Michal Herzog to express condolences to the victims of the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7.

“We feel your pain, the pain of every family in Israel. Ukrainians in all corners of our country express support for the people of Israel, and I want to convey this to you. These and many other manifestations of solidarity confirm how close our peoples are in both joy and sorrow,” Zelenska said, according to a readout of the call provided by the Ukrainian government.

Zelenska said that at least 13 Ukrainian citizens were confirmed dead since the start of the Isael-Hamas conflict.

— Amanda Macias

French foreign affairs denounces ‘ignoble’ Hamas hostage video

The French ministry of foreign affairs has condemned the “ignoble” first video posted by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which appears to depict a hostage.

It is not immediately clear when the footage was shot.

The footage, released on Tuesday, features 21-year-old French-Israeli Mia Schem, who was abducted during the terror attacks of Oct. 7. She is shown receiving care for an arm injury, before she addresses the camera, requesting to be released.

Referencing the capture of hostages, the French ministry of foreign affairs said on Tuesday in a CNBC-translated social media post that “France denounces the ignoble video staging of Hamas.”

The ministry added that 21 French nationals were killed, with another 11 still missing.

Ruxandra Iordache

Egypt condemns attempts to ‘misrepresent’ its position over Rafah crossing

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has denounced attempts to “misrepresent” Cairo’s position on opening the Rafah crossing that borders the north African country with the Gaza Strip.

“Attempts to misrepresent Egypt’s position about Rafah Crossing are unacceptable … the crossing has been subject to 4 aerial bombing by the Israeli side and hence its not functioning normally… the crossing has never been officially closed by [Egypt],” Shoukry said in a BBC interview, according to a foreign ministry spokesperson on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is welcomed by Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Al-Safadi on May 1, 2023 in Amman, Jordan.

Jordan Pix | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“We are in constant contact with all UN agencies to extract a safe passage for the relief aid.. There is no yet any sort of authorisation for a safe passage from the other side of the Crossing,” Shoukry added.

U.N. and human rights agencies have called for the Rafah crossing to be opened to allow for the evacuation of residents of the Gaza Strip and foreign nationals as the local humanitarian crisis deepened. Cairo has said that Israel has failed to take a position that would facilitate opening the crossing, amid ongoing attacks.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israeli air force says it killed a senior Hamas commander

The Israeli air force said on Tuesday that it has killed a senior Hamas commander.

In a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, it said the air strike attack on Ayman Nofal was conducted in collaboration with Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence agency.

“Air Force fighter jets, under joint intelligence guidance with the Shin Bet, killed one of the senior members of the Hamas terrorist organization, Ayman Nofal, who served as the commander of the Hamas central camps brigade in the Gaza Strip, and as the former head of Hamas’s military intelligence,” it said, according to a Google translation.

Hamas’ armed wing Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades announced Nofal’s death earlier Tuesday in a post on Telegram.

— Karen Gilchrist

Hamas says senior commander killed in Israeli airstrike

A senior Hamas armed commander was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, Hamas’ armed wing Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades said Tuesday on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

Nofal was a member of the General Military Council and commander of the Central Brigade in the al-Qassam Brigades, the Palestinian militant group said.

CNBC was unable to independently verify the reports.

Israel has been targeting the strategic positions of Hamas in a bid to strip away its military capabilities, following the group’s terrorist attacks of Oct. 7.

— Karen Gilchrist

Jordan to host Biden, el-Sisi and Abbas for summit

Jordan’s King Abdullah II will host a four-way summit in Amman, reuniting U.S. President Joe Biden, his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Jordanian royal house said on social media.

The meeting will “discuss dangerous developments in Gaza, its regional impact, & ensuring provision of aid into the Strip.”

Biden will head to Jordan on Wednesday, after a first stop in Tel Aviv and an anticipated meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A spate of high-profile U.S. officials have visited Israel to express solidarity since the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken making the voyage on two occasions. Blinken has also met with Abbas.

The bolstered U.S. diplomatic foray into the Middle East comes amid humanitarian concerns over Israel’s retaliatory siege of the Gaza Strip and broader fears that the Israeli-Hamas war will ripple into the region.

Ruxandra Iordache

UN relief agency no longer able to assist Gaza Strip

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is no longer able to provide aid to the civilians of the besieged Gaza Strip, amid a deepening dearth of fuel, clean water and medical supplies, spokesperson Tamara Alrifai told CNBC.

“As we speak, UNRWA, the largest aid agency in Gaza, is no longer able to assist and protect civilians, especially those who have taken shelter in our schools and in our buildings. We do not have the supplies, we do not have water, clean drinking water, we do not have food, we do not have hygiene kits,” she said, noting that UNWRA staff have lost the ability to move freely on Gaza territories without fear of being targeted.

The 140-square-mile enclave has been under siege by Israel since the start of last week, following a terror attack perpetuated by Palestinian militant group Hamas. Fifteen UNRWA staff members have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of hostilities, Alrifai said.

Residents have lost access to Israeli supplies of food, electricity, fuel and water — and the only operating power plant of the Gaza Strip has also exhausted its fuel. The local health system is collapsing, lacking the necessary electricity resources and medical equipment.

This deficit threatens to be compounded by a potential ground incursion from Israel into the region, humanitarian agencies say.

“We have to get aid in,” Alrifai said. “The safest way is to establish what we call in the humanitarian world a humanitarian cessation of hostilities. This is an agreed window where all parties agree that convoys of aid will be going into Gaza and that whoever receives them … will not be targeted while they’re organizing a distribution of water and food.”

She said that the urgent priorities were to procure fuel to generate electricity and subsequently purify water supplies.

The international community has yet to be able to broker a corridor to receive such supplies, or to allow the evacuation of stranded Gaza residents or foreign nationals into Egypt, through the shuttered Rafah crossing.

Ruxandra Iordache

Next phase of Israeli campaign could be ‘something different’ from ground incursion: IDF

The Israel Defense Forces is advancing its campaign to eliminate the military abilities of Palestinian militant group Hamas, a spokesperson said, but the next step may not be a long-anticipated ground incursion.

“We are preparing for the next stages of war. We haven’t said what they will be. Everybody’s talking about the ground offensive. It might be something different,” the IDF’s Lt Colonel Richard Hecht told reporters, according to Reuters.

Expectations have mounted that Israel will launch a ground offensive into the besieged Gaza Strip, which it has sealed off from its electricity, fuel, food and water supplies. Israeli troops have amassed at the border, with the IDF on Friday last week instructing the residents of Gaza City to evacuate south of the Wadi Gaza wetlands.

But there has been no ground offensive as yet amid widespread warnings from human rights groups that a potential Israeli incursion could dramatically exacerbate the humanitarian crisis taking place in the Gaza Strip.

“The bottom line is that we will commence the enhanced military activities when the timing suits the goal,” IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said in an overnight press update.

U.S. President Joe Biden will follow in the footsteps of Secretary of State Antony Blinken with a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel on Wednesday.

Ruxandra Iordache

Iran’s supreme leader urges trial for Israel over actions in Gaza Strip

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Tuesday said the Israeli government “must be tried” for its actions against the Palestinian people, in Google-translated comments reported by Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

“If the crimes of [Israel] continue, the Muslims and the resistance forces will become impatient and no one will be able to stop them,” he said. Iran refers to groups that oppose Israel — including Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which it sponsors — as participants in a resistance movement.

Israel last week launched a complete siege of the Gaza Strip and instructed those in the northern half of the region to evacuate south, following bloody terrorist attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7. Iran has repeatedly called for aid and relief for the Palestinian people, while celebrating but denying involvement in the Hamas offensive.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a graduation ceremony for armed forces officers at the Imam Ali academy in Tehran, Iran October 10, 2023. 

WANA News Agency | Via Reuters

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has stressed that the so-called resistance groups are independent in their decision-making, but Tehran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Monday warned that this resistance front could proceed with “pre-emptive action” in the “coming hours.”

Fears have mounted over the possibility of the contagion of the Israeli-Hamas conflict within the Middle East.

“It is in everyone’s interest to prevent a regional spillover. Urged Iran to use its influence to avoid regional escalation,” EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said on social media on Monday, after speaking with Amirabdollahian.

Ruxandra Iordache

U.N. human rights office says Israel’s Gaza evacuation is ‘forcible transfer’

Israel’s Gaza evacuation order could amount to a crime of “forcible transfer” in breach of international law, according to a spokesperson for the U.N. human rights office.

“We are concerned that this order, combined with the imposition of a complete siege of Gaza, may not be considered as lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians in breach of international law,” Ravina Shamdasani said, according to Reuters.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court lists the “deportation or forcible transfer of population” as a type of crime against humanity, which it punishes. The Palestinian Authority accepted the Rome Statute in 2015, “thereby accepting the jurisdiction of the Court over alleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014,” the ICC says.

Israel has signed but not ratified the Rome Statute and contests the ICC’s authority to carry out such an investigation.

Human rights organizations have decried the humanitarian impact of the siege and resource deprivation inflicted by Israel against the Gaza Strip since last week in its retaliatory strikes against Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Ruxandra Iordache

Hamas says crossings official killed in Israeli airstrike

Palestinian militant group Hamas said its official appointed to oversee crossings out of the Gaza Strip has been killed in an Israeli air strike.

General Fouad Abu Butihan died in a strike on Nuseirat in central Gaza, Hamas said on Telegram, according to a Google translation. CNBC could not independently verify the report.

The besieged Gaza Strip is bordered by Israel, the sea and the Rafah crossing leading into Egypt.

Israeli military has said it is targeting Hamas’ armed positions in the Gaza Strip with the aim of stripping away all of the group’s military capabilities.

Ruxandra Iordache

Germany’s Scholz warns Iran, Hezbollah not to intervene in conflict

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday warned Iran and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah not to become involved in the ongoing Israel-Hamas hostilities.

“I expressly warn Hezbollah and Iran not to intervene in the conflict,” Scholz said Tuesday, in commented reported by Reuters. He spoke after a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah in Berlin.

Scholz is expected to visit Israel in an expression of solidarity on Tuesday, according to domestic and international media reports — a day before the scheduled arrival of U.S. President Joe Biden.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Jordanian King Abdullah II (not pictured) speak to the media on Oct. 17, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The international community has largely condemned the Oct.7 terrorist attacks perpetrated by Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas, with fear now mounting over a potential spill-over of the conflict into the wider Middle East following repeated fire exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah.

Iran’s foreign minister on Monday evening warned that so-called resistance groups could take “pre-emptive action” against Israel in “the coming hours,” without supplying details.

Ruxandra Iordache

Nearly half a million Israeli people displaced, military says

Roughly half a million Israeli people have been internally displaced, largely “at their own merit and at their own initiative” to avoid civilian damage in the ongoing conflict with Palestinian militant group Hamas, Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said during an overnight press update.

“We’ve evacuated all of southern Israel close to the border, close to Gaza. Most of Sderot has been evacuated, parts of Ashkelon has been evacuated, and those are cities with tens of thousands of people,” he said, noting that official evacuation instructions have now been sent to Sderot and other communities near the Gaza Strip , while the residents of more than 20 Israeli settlements in the north have been displaced.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense on Monday said it would evacuate civilians from 28 communities near northern Israel up to 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from the Lebanese border to state-funded guesthouses.

The internal Israeli displacements come amid an anticipated Israeli ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, along with ongoing fire exchanges with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah since last week.

They also come around the same time as evacuations in the embattled Gaza Strip, where more than 1 million people — or nearly half the local population — were internally displaced, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees said in its latest report on Monday.

The U.N. expressed alarm at the Israeli military’s evacuation directive to the 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza and warned it was “impossible” for such a human movement to take place without “devastating humanitarian consequences.”

Ruxandra Iordache

Iran warns of potential ‘pre-emptive action’ from resistance groups

Iran’s foreign minister on Monday evening warned that “pre-emptive action” from so-called resistance forces could be imminent against Israel in the short term.

“The resistance front is capable of waging a long-term war with the enemy [Israel] … in the coming hours, we can expect a pre-emptive action by the resistance front,” Hossein Amirabdollahian said on state TV without supplying further details, in comments reported by Reuters.

“All options are open and we cannot be indifferent to the war crimes committed against the people of Gaza,” he added.

Striking a discordant note, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi earlier on Monday said that the alleged resistance group active against Israel are independent and make their own decisions, in Google-translated comments reported by Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran has historically backed Hamas and has celebrated but denied involvement in the Palestinian militant group’s terrorist attacks of Oct. 7. Like many Arab countries in the Middle East region, Tehran has supported the cause of the Palestinian people, and it has repeatedly called for aid and relief for the civilians of the besieged Gaza Strip enclosure.

Iranian officials have repeatedly warned of the possibility that the Israeli-Hamas hostilities could spill over into the Middle East, amid increasing fire exchanges between Israel and the Tehran-supported Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon. Like close ally Russia, Iran has attributed the current conflict between Israel and Hamas to a failure of Western — and particularly U.S. — diplomacy.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israel’s Gaza operation to happen ‘when the timing suits the goal’

Israeli Army Spokesperson for International Media, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.

Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images

Israel’s military continues to prepare for an “enhanced military operation in Gaza” and is monitoring the evacuation of civilians from the northern part of the Gaza Strip south of the Wadi Gaza wetlands, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said in a press update.

Israel declared full siege of the Gaza Strip at the start of last week, depriving it of Israel’s water, electricity, food and fuel supplies within two days of a multi-pronged terrorist attack delivered on Oct. 7 by Palestinian militant group Hamas. The timing of Israel’s anticipated ground incursion remains under question.

“As always military activity is timed according to many variables, some of them physical, some of them related to humanitarian constraints, some of them related to the state of your enemy and the state of your own readiness. But the bottom line is that we will commence the enhanced military activities when the timing suits the goal,” Conricus said, stressing that the “aim of this war is to completely dismantle Hamas and their military capabilities.”

Several human rights organizations have decried the imminent offensive and Israel’s ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip, citing concerns over a worsening humanitarian crisis.

In addition to combating Hamas, Conricus said that the IDF has been carrying out military responses “in kind” to attacks coming from Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, with which it has been exchanging fire since last week. Hezbollah has expressed its readiness to get involved in the Israeli-Hamas hostilities, amid growing fears that the conflict will engulf the broader Middle East.

“Our message to Hezbollah is that any aggression, any escalation to the situation would not serve the purposes neither of Hezbollah and definitely not those of Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” Conricus said.

Ruxandra Iordache

Biden says he will travel to Israel to ‘stand in solidarity in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack’

President Joe Biden said he will travel to Israel on Wednesday to “stand in solidarity in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack.”

“I’ll then travel to Jordan to address dire humanitarian needs, meet with leaders, and make clear that Hamas does not stand for Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” Biden wrote on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

— Amanda Macias

Arab leaders urge the U.S. to do something about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Every Arab leader who met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the last few days highlighted the importance of dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, a senior State Department official told NBC News.

The official said President Joe Biden told Blinken to return to Tel Aviv, Israel following his whirlwind trip through the six Arab countries: Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

After nine hours of negotiations with Israel, Blinken announced that both sides “agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multi-lateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza — and them alone.”

The new U.S. envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, David Satterfield, is set to meet Israeli officials on Tuesday to see if they can get the plan worked out, the official added.

Joanna Tan

Senior U.S. general flies into Israel as its war with Hamas deepens

The top U.S. general overseeing American forces in the Middle East made an unannounced trip to Israel on Tuesday, saying he hoped to ensure its military has what it needs as it fights a deepening war against Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The trip by Army General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, is the latest by a senior U.S. official to Israel ahead of an expected ground assault by Israel’s military in Gaza. It comes a day before a planned visit by U.S. President Joe Biden to the country.

The U.S. military is increasing its firepower in the region, aiming to prevent Iran and other Iran-backed groups from getting involved in the conflict as international fears of a wider, regional war grow.

The Pentagon is also rushing weaponry, including air defenses and munitions, to Israel.

“I’m here to ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself, particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” Kurilla told Reuters, which is traveling with him, in brief remarks before landing.

A U.S. official told Reuters Kurilla was scheduled to hold high-level meetings with Israel’s military leadership, ensuring a clear understanding of the close U.S. ally’s defense requirements.


Israel hits back at Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in retaliation for Monday’s strikes

The Israel Defense Forces claims to have struck unspecified Hezbollah military infrastructure in Lebanon early Tuesday local time, in response to earlier strikes by the Iran-backed militia group, the IDF said in an update on its official Telegram channel.

Hezbollah reportedly targeted five Israeli outposts in its Monday strikes, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported, citing a Hezbollah statement.

— Clement Tan

Satellite images show crowds on Gaza side of border crossing into Egypt

New satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies show crowds of people and vehicles gathering on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

Crowds of people and vehicles form on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing into Egypt in this Maxar satellite image taken on Oct. 16, 2023.

Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies

A Maxar satellite image focuses on the southern border of Gaza and the Rafah border crossing into Egypt on Oct. 15, 2023.

Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here