Israel Defense Forces said the country’s political leadership hasn’t yet decided on a ground invasion of Gaza, though the army is preparing for one. Earlier Thursday, Israeli jets hit key targets in Gaza after the nation vowed to wipe Hamas “off the face of the Earth” and the new unity government signaled a major land offensive.
(Bloomberg) — Israel Defense Forces said the country’s political leadership hasn’t yet decided on a ground invasion of Gaza, though the army is preparing for one. Earlier Thursday, Israeli jets hit key targets in Gaza after the nation vowed to wipe Hamas “off the face of the Earth” and the new unity government signaled a major land offensive.
“I say here, to everyone — we will wipe out this thing called Hamas,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The address came hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken headed to Israel to show US support.
The conflict has killed at least 2,400 people in total on both sides so far. The US has cautioned its citizens against traveling to Israel.
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(All time stamps are Israeli time)
Germany to Send Drones to Israel (9:04 a.m.)
Germany received an Israeli request for Heron drones and on Wednesday decided to make two of the unmanned aerial vehicles available, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters in Brussels before a meeting of NATO defense ministers. Israel also asked for ammunition and medical equipment, Pistorius added. “We’re standing by Israel’s side,” Pistorius said, adding “We should all do everything and anything to avoid and escalation in the region.”
Iran’s Push to Rally Support for Palestinians (8:40 a.m.)
Iran’s president and foreign minister spoke with counterparts in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Syria, calling for unity among Muslim countries in supporting Palestinians.
“Iran will try to establish coordination by contacting the heads of Muslim countries as fast as possible” President Ebrahim Raisi told Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad Thursday. Iran backs Hamas with funds and training but has denied involvement in the group’s latest operation.
Israeli Envoy Urges China to Talk With Iran (8:07 a.m.)
Israel’s ambassador to China called on Beijing to leverage its close relationship with Iran to rein in Hamas, saying Beijing needed to be engaged in talks around the conflict.
“We really hope China can be much more involved in talking to its close partners in the Middle East and particularly Iran,” Irit Ben-Abba told Bloomberg TV in an interview. “Iran is definitely very much involved in what has happened.” The remarks come as China’s willingness to entangle itself in some of the region’s most intractable conflicts has come under scrutiny.
US Urges Citizens to ‘Reconsider’ Israel Trips (7:57 a.m.)
The US raised its travel advisory for visitors to Israel and West Bank to Level 3 on a four-point scale, warning citizens to “reconsider travel” to the area.
The Department of State said “terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks” in the region. Advice for Gaza remains “Level 4 – Do not Travel.”
Israel Hits Hamas Elite Forces (7:44 a.m.)
Fighter jets hit command centers used by operatives who infiltrated the Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza strip over the weekend.
“The Nukbah elite forces consist of terrorists selected by senior Hamas operatives and were one of the leading forces that infiltrated the State of Israel in order to carry out murderous acts of terror,” Israel Defence Forces said in a statement.
An IDF aircraft also struck a senior Hamas naval operative, Muhamad Abu Shamla — whose home, the army says, was used to store naval weapons.
Gaza Displacement Accelerates (6:50 a.m.)
About 1,200 people have died in Gaza and 5,600 others wounded, a health ministry spokesperson said, while mass displacement continues.
The total number of displaced people increased by 30% over the past 24 hours, now totaling 338,934. Of this, over two thirds are taking shelter in UNRWA schools, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
DeSantis Lashes Out at Trump (6:47 a.m.)
Donald Trump is drawing criticism from Ron DeSantis, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination, over comments on Israel.
Trump at a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday night said Hamas would never have carried out the assault under his watch and condemned the violence that was mostly inflicted on Israeli civilians.
Abbas to Meet Blinken, Jordan’s King (6:30 a.m.)
Palestinian President Abbas will meet King Abdullah in Jordan Thursday and Blinken on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza, Palestinian authorities said.
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