US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he’s confident Egypt’s border with Gaza will be opened to allow humanitarian aid to come in. The top US diplomat returns to Israel on Monday following a round of talks across the region aimed at heading off a widening of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The US also said it has held talks with Iran through back-channels — warning Tehran against escalating the conflict.
(Bloomberg) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he’s confident Egypt’s border with Gaza will be opened to allow humanitarian aid to come in. The top US diplomat returns to Israel on Monday following a round of talks across the region aimed at heading off a widening of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The US also said it has held talks with Iran through back-channels — warning Tehran against escalating the conflict.
Rockets were fired at Tel Aviv and southern Israel overnight, and the Israel Defense Forces attacked targets in and around the northern part of Gaza. Exchange of fire grew more intense on Israel’s border with Lebanon, with Israeli army jets striking Hezbollah military infrastructure in response to rocket attacks. The army estimated that more than 600,000 people have left Gaza City and its surroundings for southern Gaza.
Moroccans took to the streets to demand the kingdom cut ties with Israel, which were restored in 2020.
(All timestamps are Israeli time)
Israel Criticizes Vatican For Comparing Israeli, Palestinian Victims (8:42pm)
Israel’s foreign minister said he expects a stronger condemnation from the Vatican following the Hamas massacre. In a conversation with his counterpart in the Holy See, Eli Cohen said “there’s no room for absurd comparisons” between Hamas’ attacks on civilians and Israel’s retaliation.
“It’s unacceptable that a statement will be released that primarily expresses worry for residents of Gaza while Israel buries 1,300 murder victims,” he said, according to a readout from his office, following the call with Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister.
Israel Says More Than 600,000 Gazans Have Moved South (8:30 pm)
More than 600,000 Gazans from Gaza City and its surroundings have relocated southward, following instructions from the Israeli Defense Forces, IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari says.
This is despite efforts by Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, to keep them in the north to serve as human shields, he said. Hagari urged those remaining in the north to evacuate for their safety.
EU Calls for Israel to Let Humanitarian Aid Through (7:45 p.m.)
The European Union asked Israel to open the borders to Gaza for humanitarian aid to civilians, calling out the “rapidly deteriorating” situation. “Supplies from outside urgently needed,” foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
US Senate Leader Vows Quick Israel Aid (7:25 p.m.)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’ll ensure the chamber passes a US aid package for Israel as soon as possible, while the Republican-led House deals with an impasse over its next speaker.
Schumer, who led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel that met with officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said his group urged them to minimize civilian casualties in the offensive against Hamas.
No Gaza Occupation Planned, Israeli Diplomat Says (7:15 p.m.)
Israel has “no desire” to occupy or reoccupy Gaza, Michael Herzog, its ambassador to the US, said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We want people to be able to go back to their homes,” he said. “Our enemy is Hamas, not the Palestinian people.”
Blinken Confident Egypt’s Gaza Border Will Be Opened for Aid (6:34 p.m.)
The US is confident Egypt’s border with Gaza will be opened to allow in crucial humanitarian aid, Blinken told reporters in Cairo.
“Rafah will be open,” the top US diplomat said after meeting President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. “We’re putting in place with the United Nations, with Egypt, with Israel a mechanism by which to get assistance in.” A US envoy, David Satterfield, will be in Israel on Monday to work out practical details.
Biden Says Not an Either/Or Choice on Israel, Ukraine (5:30 p.m.)
President Joe Biden said the US has the “capacity” and “obligation” to provide assistance to both Ukraine and Israel, as the White house prepares to roll out a supplemental funding package with aid for both nations in the coming week.
“We’re the United States of America for God’s sake,” Biden said in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes that will air in full later on Sunday. “We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defense.”
Israel Jets Strike Hezbollah in Lebanon (5:27pm)
The Israeli military launched airstrikes on Hezbollah military infrastructure in Lebanon, while Israeli soldiers fired shots near the borders with Lebanon in response to gunfire, the Israel Defense Forces said. Hezbollah, the Iran-funded group that operates from Lebanon, attacked five Israeli sites near Lebanese borders after it had launched missiles at Israeli army barracks in Hanita, the militant group’s Al Manar TV reported.
Minister Confirms Decision to Turn on Water in South Gaza (5:30 p.m.)
Israel has decided to open the water supply at a specific point in southern Gaza, said Israel Katz, minister of energy and infrastructure. The decision was agreed to by Netanyahu and Biden, he said.
Israel has been urging the population in northern Gaza to relocate to the south for their safety.
Israel’s Response Has Exceeded Self-Defense: Sisi (5:06 p.m.)
Israel’s response to Hamas’ attacks last weekend has “exceeded self defense” and reached the level of collective punishment, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Sunday as he met with Blinken in Cairo.
The Egyptian leader said that while Egypt condemns the violence over the past nine days, “we also need to understand this is the result of an accumulation of anger that’s built up” over the past four decades.
Israel Says It Can Weather Economic Impact of War (4:19 p.m.)
While there’s no target exchange rate for the Israeli central bank’s program to sell up to $30 billion in foreign exchange, the bank will aim to make sure there’s “no unnecessary fluctuations or overshooting,” said Governor Amir Yaron.
Addressing the G-30 forum in Marrakech, Yaron said that while every war “has a considerable economic dimension,” with appropriate budget adjustments, “there should be no major changes to Israel’s fundamental fiscal position,” Yaron added.
Read more: Israel Hopes It Will Avoid Rating Cut on War, At Least for Now
US Held Back-Channel Talks With Iran: Sullivan (3:55 p.m.)
The US has held back-channel talks with Iran to warn against escalating the conflict in Israel, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.
“We have means of communicating privately with Iran, and we have availed ourselves of those means over the past few days,” Sullivan said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Iran’s Raisi Warns Macron on Widening Conflict (3:53 p.m.)
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi discussed the Israel-Hamas conflict with French President Emmanuel Macron in a call on Sunday.
Raisi was quoted by Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency as warning that “the scene will expand” if Israel’s siege of Gaza doesn’t stop.
Blinken Will Return to Israel on Monday (2:45 p.m.)
Blinken will return to Israel on Monday for further consultations with senior officials there, his spokesman said.
The top US diplomat was previously in Israel on Thursday as part of a frenetic tour of the region that included stops in Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia, as the Biden administration tries to limit the threat of a spreading conflict in the Middle East.
Blinken Meets With Saudi Crown Prince (2 p.m.)
Blinken traveled to Riyadh on Sunday for an hour-long talk with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the top US diplomat deemed “very productive.”
MBS highlighted Riyadh’s diplomatic outreach “to calm the situation,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Saudi Arabia has called for respect to international humanitarian law in the conflict. including lifting the siege on Gaza.
Egypt Looks to Host Regional Summit on Palestine Issue (1:40 p.m.)
Egypt has sent invitations for a proposed regional summit to address the Palestinian issue, its presidency said Sunday. The statement provided no details on who was invited or potential dates.
Egypt’s government is intensifying communications with regional and international relief organizations in order to deliver the aid needed in the Gaza Strip, according to the statement.
Moroccans Push to Sever Israel Ties in Mass Protest (1:30 p.m.)
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Rabat, Morocco’s capital, demanding King Mohammed VI to severe ties with Israel which were restored in 2020.
The marchers denounced as “barbaric” ongoing military intervention by Israel in Gaza and demanded the closing of its liaison office in the Moroccan capital.
UK Foreign Minister Urges Israel to Show Restraint (11:30 a.m.)
James Cleverly called on Israel to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza and respect international law in any military operations against Hamas, saying his “strong advice” was being offered from a position of friendship.” It’s in Israel’s interest to avoid civilian casualties because Hamas wants to turn the conflict “into a wider Arab-Israeli war, or indeed a war between the Muslim world and and the wider world,” the UK foreign minister said on Sky News.
His comments came hours after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK stood unequivocally with Israel, making no mention of the plight facing Palestinian civilians.
Gaza Death Toll Reaches 2,300 (9:00 a.m.)
The number of people killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza has reached more than 2,300, local authorities said, with thousands more wounded in the past eight days.
This now outnumbers the death toll of the 51-day Israel-Hamas war of 2014, according to Ashraf Al-Qedra, a spokesperson for the Gaza health ministry.
The 2014 war killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, according to UN figures. At the time it was the deadliest and most destructive violence since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.
IDF Announces Evacuation Window in Gaza (8:48 a.m.)
The Israel Defense Forces said it wouldn’t hit targets in parts of Gaza between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm to allow residents of Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip to leave the area and head to Khan Yunis and areas located south of the Gaza Valley.
The IDF provided two evacuation corridors yesterday and said that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had left northern areas.
US to Ship Out Some Citizens From Israel (8:14 a.m.)
The US government is assisting US nationals and their immediate family members with a valid travel document to depart Haifa via sea for Cyprus on Oct. 16, according to a statement on the US Embassy in Israel website.
Israel Says it Killed Hamas Military Leader (7:36 a.m.)
The Israeli military said on Sunday its fighter jets killed the Hamas military leader responsible for the attack on one of Israel’s communities last Saturday, Kibbutz Nirim. In a statement, the military said this occurred Saturday night during operations that also took out Hamas rocket launchers.
It said the man was commander of the Nukhba forces in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Nukhba are the elite Hamas military unit that Israel says trained and led the Oct. 7 attack. Hamas has been designated as a terrorist group by the US and the European Union.
Rockets Fired at Tel Aviv, Southern Israel (7:00 a.m.)
Rockets were fired at Tel Aviv and southern Israel overnight, Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said in a briefing on X. The IDF is still attacking Hamas targets in and around the northern part of the Gaza Strip, he said.
Israeli forces are deployed along the Gaza Strip and preparing for the next stage of operations, the spokesman said. There will be “significant military activity” in the northern part of the strip, he said, reiterating a call for civilians to move to the south.
“The next stage of operations will be enhanced operations against Hamas,” Conricus said.
Israel Acknowledges Reports of Gaza Activity (8:18 p.m.)
Israel confirmed for the first time that there were intelligence indications of something happening in Gaza two hours before the attacks last week. The head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, spoke with military personnel about the reports, said Tzachi Hanegbi, head of Israel’s National Security Council.
“Both sides assessed that this is something other than it turned out to be,” he said.
(An earlier version was corrected after US official clarified the location of US envoy David Satterfield)
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