The Pentagon said it’s experiencing an increase in drone attacks on US military bases in Iraq and Syria, while an American destroyer shot down cruise missiles and drones launched by Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen that were fired toward Israel.
(Bloomberg) — The Pentagon said it’s experiencing an increase in drone attacks on US military bases in Iraq and Syria, while an American destroyer shot down cruise missiles and drones launched by Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen that were fired toward Israel.
It’s prompted fresh concerns that Israel’s war with Hamas may spark a bigger conflict in the Middle East. The Iraq and Syria attacks resulted in minor injuries to people on the ground.
Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since Israel began air strikes on the territory in response to an incursion by Hamas on Oct. 7, which killed some 1,400 Israelis. Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the US and European Union, has again called for a ‘Day of Rage’ on Friday, the most important day of prayer for Muslims. Oil rose in early trading as fears of a wider conflict grow.
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.
US Estimates 100-300 killed in Hospital Blast: AFP (5 a.m.)
US intelligence estimates 100 to 300 people were killed in an explosion at the Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday, AFP reported, citing excerpts of a document its reporters say. That’s fewer than the nearly 500 deaths Palestinian health authorities in the Hamas-ruled enclave originally said had died.
Hospital Blast Kills Hundreds as Israel, Hamas Trade Blame
Biden Casts Hamas, Russia as Parallel Threats to Democracy (4 a.m.)
Joe Biden appealed directly to the American people to support funding for Israel and Ukraine’s war efforts, warning that Hamas and Russia’s Vladimir Putin present parallel threats to American democracy.
Biden’s prime-time speech on Thursday night from the Oval Office preceded a formal White House request that Congress provide roughly $100 billion in resources for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and the US southern border.
“I know these conflicts can seem far away, and it’s natural to ask why does this matter to America?” he said. “Hamas and Putin represent different threats. They share this in common: they both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy completely.”
Oil Gains as Geopolitical Tensions Ratchet Higher (4 a.m.)
Oil advanced as tensions ratcheted higher in Israel and Gaza and the wider Middle East, with prices poised for a second straight weekly gain. Brent rose above $93 a barrel.
Israel’s A1 Credit Rating Placed Under Review (12:25 a.m.)
Moody’s placed Israel’s A1 credit rating on review. Previously, the outlook for the nation was stable.
Israel’s A1 Credit Rating at Risk of Downgrade at Moody’s
Israel has never been downgraded by any of the major ratings companies, even during conflicts and global economic crises. But its rating was already under pressure before the war with Hamas, with credit assessors taking an increasingly dim view of the government’s efforts to weaken the power of the judiciary. The Moody’s warning follows a similar move by Fitch, which placed the nation’s credit score on a negative watch earlier this week.
Drones Target US Bases in Syria, Iraq (11:30 p.m.)
There’s been uptick in drone attacks targeting US bases in Syria and Iraq. So far, they have resulted in minor injuries, but prompted fresh concerns that Israel’s war with Hamas may spark a bigger conflict and pull in the US. The Pentagon is also sending more forces to the region, including fighter jets.
“We’re taking them seriously and responding appropriately,” Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Thursday. “Our focus is on deterring a broader regional conflict, and right now this conflict is contained between Israel and Hamas.”
Israel Plans Stimulus Program Bigger Than for Covid (7:25 p.m.)
Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said the government is planning a wartime stimulus program “larger and wider” than that during the coronavirus pandemic, with the budget deficit possibly widening this year to 3.5% of gross domestic product.
Israel Plans Stimulus Program to Support Economy During War
Egypt Calls for Uninterrupted Distribution of Aid to Gaza (7:06 p.m.)
Distribution of aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip should be “uninterrupted” and continuous, Egypt’s foreign minister said Thursday, adding that there’s no alternative to a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Egypt’s Leader Says Israel Should Take In People Fleeing Gaza
The idea of relocating Palestinians to other countries is “not an option,” Sameh Shoukry said, speaking alongside United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres in Cairo. The UN chief said both Israel and Hamas must halt fighting and that Hamas should immediately and unconditionally release the hostages it’s taken.
Defense Minister Says Troops to See Gaza ‘From the Inside’ Soon (6:40 pm)
“You see Gaza from far away now, but soon you will see it from the inside,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops gathering in southern Israel, close to the border with Gaza.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.