Israel Latest: South Gaza Bombed Ahead of Biden’s Mideast Trip

Israel’s air force struck southern Gaza where they ordered Palestinians to seek refuge, the Associated Press reported. US President Joe Biden is set to travel to Israel on Wednesday in a show of solidarity for the US ally after deadly attacks by militant group Hamas.

(Bloomberg) — Israel’s air force struck southern Gaza where they ordered Palestinians to seek refuge, the Associated Press reported. US President Joe Biden is set to travel to Israel on Wednesday in a show of solidarity for the US ally after deadly attacks by militant group Hamas.

Biden is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of a likely Israeli ground offensive on Gaza. The US president will then travel to Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The US is also pressing ahead with a plan to get vital aid to civilians in besieged Gaza. That’s an important signal to Arab nations who’ve warned about the treatment of Palestinian civilians, as Biden seeks to keep the crisis from escalating further. 

For more on the Israel-Hamas war, click here.

(All timestamps are Israeli time)

Israel Strikes in South Gaza, AP Says (8:50 a.m.)

Palestinians said there’d been heavy Israeli bombing in southern Gaza, the part of the besieged territory where Israel had told civilians to seek refuge, the Associated Press reported.

Israeli bombs struck sites west and southeast of Khan Younis and west of Rafah, the border crossing with Egypt where thousands of people have massed to try and get out of Gaza, the agency said, citing local reports.

Israeli Army Kills 4 Attackers at Northern Border (8:40 a.m.)

Israel Defense Forces said the army killed four people who’d been attempting to infiltrate its security fence with Lebanon and plant explosives.

Egypt Aid Convoys Head Toward Gaza Border Crossing (8:30 a.m.)

More than 100 trucks loaded with food and medical supplies are arriving at Egypt’s Rafah border crossing, the only official non-Israeli-controlled entry point into Gaza, according to the Egyptian Food Bank.

Aid workers are hopeful the crossing will finally open at 9 a.m. to allow deliveries, the non-governmental organization said. Egypt on Monday said Israel’s stance didn’t permit the reopening, which would also let foreign-passport holders leave Gaza.

Israel Orders Freeze on Some Crypto Accounts, FT Says (7:23 a.m.)

Israeli authorities have ordered crypto-currency accounts to be closed and seized millions of dollars’ worth of crypto coins since the Hamas attacks, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the actions. 

More than 100 accounts on Binance had been closed after Oct. 7, with authorities also requesting information on as many as 200 other accounts, mostly with Binance, the FT said. Binance confirmed it had blocked a small number of accounts since the summer and that it “follows internationally recognized sanctions rules.”

US Commander Arrives in Israel (6:15 a.m.)

US Central Command head, General Michael Kurilla, has arrived in Tel Aviv to conduct high-level meetings with Israel’s military leadership, according to a statement from the command. 

Kurilla is looking to gain a clear understanding of Israel’s defense requirements and outline US efforts to avoid an expansion of the conflict, it said.

US and Israel to Develop Gaza Aid Plan (4:17 a.m)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered few details except to say that the US and Israel would work on a way to get aid to civilians and create areas where people could get out of harm’s way.

“If Hamas in any way blocks humanitarian assistance from reaching civilians, including by seizing the aid itself, we’ll be the first to condemn it,” Blinken said in a brief statement in Tel Aviv. “And we will work to prevent it from happening again.”

Read: US and Israel to Develop Plan to Get Aid to Gaza, Blinken Says

Biden Set to Visit Israel on Wednesday (3:17 a.m.)

Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday, in a visit designed to signal US solidarity with its closest Middle East ally and help prevent the conflict from engulfing the region. Blinken confirmed the trip in Tel Aviv, saying: “He’s coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region and for the world.”

Biden, who was invited by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to meet with the Israeli leader to discuss US assistance ahead of expected ground operations in Gaza. Spokespeople for the White House declined to comment.

Read: Biden Set to Visit Israel in Show of Support After Hamas Attack

Biden, Iraq PM Discussed Preventing Expansion (3:10 a.m.)

Biden and Iraq Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani held a call where they discussed ongoing efforts to prevent an expansion of the conflict, according to a readout from the White House. They also discussed the importance of addressing the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

Ambassador to US Says Gaza Reoccupation Is Not a Goal (2 a.m.)

Israel’s ambassador to the US declined to give a timetable for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, saying only that his country does not seek to reoccupy the territory in the wake of the deadly assault by Hamas.

“I’m not going to put a timetable on the ground operation,” Michael Herzog said on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power” Monday evening. “We are preparing it, everybody knows that it’s in the works. And when it comes, it comes.”

Biden Speaks with Scholz, Sisi (11:30 p.m.)

Biden held calls with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Egyptian President El-Sisi ahead of the German leader’s planned trip to Egypt and Israel.

Administration officials have pushed Egypt to help facilitate safe passage for Americans currently in Gaza, as well as food and medicine for civilians inside the territory.

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