US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are weighing trips to Israel amid a global diplomatic push to prevent the war from escalating. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed back in Tel Aviv Monday, after meeting Arab leaders to discuss the conflict and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.
(Bloomberg) — US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are weighing trips to Israel amid a global diplomatic push to prevent the war from escalating. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed back in Tel Aviv Monday, after meeting Arab leaders to discuss the conflict and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.
Israel Defense Forces said 199 people had been taken as hostages to Gaza, and that the army is evacuating residents close to the border with Lebanon to allow for potential military action. Israel says it’s keeping open a safe corridor for people to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip. More than 600,000 people have already left for the south.
Earlier, the US said it held talks with Iran through back-channels and warned Tehran against escalating the conflict. The Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas — designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union — have killed at least 1,300 Israelis. Palestinian officials say Israel airstrikes have killed more than 2,650 people in Gaza.
(All timestamps are Israeli time)
Israel Army Says Evacuation in North is for Possible Operation (11:34 a.m.)
Israel’s army said it’s evacuating residents close to the border with Lebanon to allow for potential military action. The evacuation of Israelis living within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the border aims to reduce the risks and allow bigger freedom for a potential operation against Hezbollah, said Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari.
““If Hezlbollah decides to test us, our response will be lethal,” he said.
The IDF said 199 people were confirmed to be taken hostages to Gaza.
Iran Says Multiple New Fronts Possible (11:28 a.m.)
The opening of new fronts in the war may not be limited to a single border and “could be as broad as Palestine’s geography,” Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a press conference. Iran doesn’t recognize Israel, which borders Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt as well as the Palestinian Territories.
“Resistance” fighters that Iran is in touch with can sustain their fight against Israel for a long time, Kanaani said. Iran calls Hamas, Hezbollah and other armed groups in the region that are fighting against Israel “the resistance axis.”
Scholz to Visit Israel, Meet Netanyahu (11 a.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is planning to visit Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a person familiar with the plan. Bild newspaper reported that he’ll make the trip as early as Tuesday.
Officials are still working out the details of the visit, which the two leaders discussed during a telephone call on Saturday, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information. In their call, Scholz and Netanyahu also agreed on the need to prevent a regional escalation, according to a German government spokesman.
Markets Steady (10:20 a.m.)
Oil and gas prices were little changed on Monday, taking a pause after significant rallies last week. Brent crude held just below $91 a barrel in London, with traders closely watching US efforts to prevent the war between Israel and Hamas turning into a wider regional conflict.
US equity futures edged higher, while Europe’s stock benchmark was little changed, Treasuries fell along with gold and the dollar. “I’m sure that the headlines will remain a very unpleasant for some time to come,” Mark Matthews, head of Asia research at Julius Baer, said on Bloomberg TV. “But I also think that markets can go up regardless.”
Egypt Aid Group Says over 100 Trucks Ready to Cross into Gaza (10 a.m.)
Convoys of humanitarian aid are lined up in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula Gaza Strip, waiting to cross into Gaza, according to the CEO of the Egyptian Food Bank. About 2,000 tons of supplies are loaded on 115 trucks that are waiting for the green light to enter Gaza via Rafah crossing. Six cargo planes worth of supplies from other countries are also waiting to enter when the crossing opens.
Italy’s Meloni to Meet Jordan’s King Abdullah in Rome (9:20 a.m.)
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Rome late Monday morning. The talks are part of a diplomatic effort by Italy to help ease tensions, protect civilians and prevent a regional escalation.
IDF Opens Safe Corridor out of North Gaza (7:58 a.m.)
The Israeli military said it will refrain from targeting a designated axis in Gaza from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. local time on Monday to allow safe evacuation from north Gaza to the area south of Wadi Gaza and Khan Yunis.
Israel Announces Another ‘Safe Passage’ For Gazans to Move South
The IDF has been urging residents of Gaza City and north Gaza to evacuate “for their own safely” and said last night that 600,000 people had left the area. Israel blames Hamas for trying to stop this mobilization and has repeatedly said it knows that the evacuation “will take time.”
Malaysia PM Plans to Discuss Palestinian Issue With Muslim Leaders (7:08 a.m.)
Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told Parliament he would hold talks with leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Turkey on their next course of action regarding Gaza.
“The West is hypocritical on what is happening in Palestine,” he said on Monday. “It was quick to take action when Russia invaded Ukraine but it is slow in its response to what is happening in Palestine now.”
Hamas Officials Killed, Israel Military Says (4:10 a.m.)
Several Hamas officials, including those in the military and financial sectors, have been killed, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus said in a session with journalists on the X social media platform.
Conricus said Hamas is trying to hide behind civilians as Israel hunts its commanders. “We are not trying to kill civilians. We are at war with Hamas,” he said.
One Israeli civilian was killed by anti-tank missiles fired across the border from Lebanon, he said.
Biden Is Considering Visit to Israel (3:01 a.m.)
US President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel after being invited by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to two people familiar with the internal discussions.
No decision’s yet been made, the people said. Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said in a statement the White House did not have travel to announce.
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