Israel’s military said it struck Hamas targets in Gaza overnight and hit Hezbollah assets in response to fire from Lebanon, where the Iran-backed group is based.
(Bloomberg) — Israel’s military said it struck Hamas targets in Gaza overnight and hit Hezbollah assets in response to fire from Lebanon, where the Iran-backed group is based.
There are fresh concerns that Israel’s war with Hamas will spark a bigger conflict in the energy-producing Middle East, after the US said its military bases in Iraq and Syria are increasingly under attack. An American destroyer also shot down cruise missiles and drones launched by Yemen-based Houthi militants toward Israel. Global stocks retreated and oil rose.
The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt remains closed, even as the US and Europe push for it to open to allow humanitarian aid into the territory. Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the US, has again called for a ‘Day of Rage’ on Friday, the most important day of prayer for Muslims.
(All timestamps are Israeli time)
Israel Moves To Shut Down Al Jazeera (11:50 a.m.)
The Israeli cabinet approved emergency regulations that will allow the government to shut down foreign broadcasters that harm the security of the state during the war, including confiscating equipment and revoking journalist credentials.
The proposal to close Al Jazeera is expected to be approved at the next cabinet meeting, the Communications Ministry said. Qatar-based Al Jazeera broadcasts propaganda in the service of Hamas in Arabic and English to viewers all over the world and also passes sensitive information to the enemy, the ministry said.
Stocks Retreat and Oil Rises on Conflict Risk (11:36 a.m.)
Equities fell as investors responded to the threat of a weekend escalation, driving oil and gold higher. Treasuries rose as yields at multi-year highs drew buyers.
Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index slumped 0.6% to a seven-month low, while Asian stocks headed for their biggest weekly drop in two months. US equity futures steadied.
Israel Dollar Bonds Rise, Shekel Falls (11:35 a.m.)
Some of Israel’s dollar bonds rose for the first time in more than a week, shrugging off the risk of a rating downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service.
The securities recently slumped to record lows, trading like Israel’s debt rating has been cut already as investors factor in the cost of a protracted war. The yield on the note due 2048 declined 9 basis points to 6.7%, while the 2043 security fell 8 basis points to 6.6%.
In the currency market, the shekel weakened for a 10th day, its worst streak since March 2020. The currency fell 0.2% to 4.05 against the dollar.
Germany Discusses Hostages and War Spillover (11:00)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Israel for a second time since the beginning of the war with Hamas and discussed possible ways to bring about the release of an estimated 200 hostages.
In talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, she also discussed how to manage the spillover of the war on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. Israel is not interested in another military operation in the north, but knows how to manage any front in order to protect its citizens, Cohen said.
EU, South Africa to Attend Cairo Summit (10:20 a.m.)
European Union Council President Charles Michel and the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, are expected to take part in a “Summit for Peace” hosted by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Saturday, according to a person familiar with the planning.
Several leaders from the Middle East, as well as the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the UK, are also likely to attend, the person said.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa will also go, his office said, and the country is “ready to join the global effort that will bring about lasting peace to the Middle East.”
Saudi Crown Prince Meets UAE President, Says Al Ekhbariya (10 a.m.)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the United Arab Emirates President Mohammed bin Zayed in Riyadh, ahead of a GCC-ASEAN summit, state-run Al Ekhbariya TV reported.
Saudi, UAE Leaders Hold Rare Talks as Israel-Hamas War Escalates
It’s their first public encounter in over three years, in what appeared an attempt by the two regional heavyweights to overcome their disagreements to ensure Israel’s war with Hamas doesn’t morph into a wider conflict.
Israel Strikes Over 100 Hamas Targets Overnight and Hezbollah Assets (9:35 a.m.)
Israel’s military said it struck over 100 Hamas targets overnight and killed a naval operative from the militant group who took part in the Oct. 7 attacks. The targets included an underground tunnel, weapon warehouses and command centers, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
The IDF also said it struck several Hezbollah military assets in response to fire from Lebanon, where the Iran-backed group is based. An Israeli drone strike killed one militant in Lebanese territory.
UK’s PM Rishi Sunak Visits Egypt (8:05 a.m.)
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will travel to Egypt on Friday as he urges leaders in the Middle East to avoid regional escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Sunak will have further meetings with counterparts from the region, his office said in an emailed statement Friday, without specifying. On Thursday, he visited Israel where he told premier Benjamin Netanyahu: “We want you to win.” He then went to Saudi Arabia, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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