Israel Latest: More Aid Trickles into Gaza as Death Toll Rises

The timing of any ground invasion into Gaza remained uncertain on Sunday. Israel’s support for diplomatic efforts to release hostages may delay or alter the plans, people familiar said, even as the Israeli military steps up air raids in preparation for the “next phase” of the war.

(Bloomberg) — The timing of any ground invasion into Gaza remained uncertain on Sunday. Israel’s support for diplomatic efforts to release hostages may delay or alter the plans, people familiar said, even as the Israeli military steps up air raids in preparation for the “next phase” of the war. 

A second convoy of trucks carrying aid to Gaza crossed through the Rafah border point with Egypt on Sunday. One aid group called it “a drop in the ocean.” A hospital in Gaza said it received 170 bodies of Palestinians killed in the latest strikes. 

Israel warned that Iran-backed Hezbollah risks dragging neighboring Lebanon into war and said it responded after anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon. An airbase in Iraq that hosts US and international forces was targeted overnight by rockets in an ongoing escalation of hostilities drawing in regional militia. 

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

Biden, Netanyahu Pledge More Aid (11:07 p.m.)

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged a “continued flow” of “critical assistance into Gaza” to needy Palestinians after the first two convoys crossed from Egypt. In a phone call Sunday, the leaders also discussed securing the release of Hamas-held hostages and safe passage for civilians who want to leave Gaza, the White House said in a statement.

The aid that’s arrived so far is “a drop in the ocean,” said Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. A problem is not just quickly dwindling supplies of food but the fear of going out to find it amid the bombing, he said. 

“If you lack a safe place to go how can you find food? How can you find water?” he said by phone from Geneva.

French, Dutch Leaders to Visit Israel (9:50 p.m.)

French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will arrive in Israel in the next two days to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu held a series of talks with Western leaders on Sunday, repeating Israel’s determination to eliminate Hamas.

Hostage Talks May Delay Gaza Invasion (9:15 p.m.)

Israel supports diplomatic efforts to get Hamas to release hostages from Gaza quickly and in large numbers, a move that may delay and possibly alter its ground war, according to people familiar with the negotiations. 

The role of hostage releases in Israel’s military planning took on concrete meaning on Friday, when an American mother and her 19-year-old daughter from Chicago were set free through the mediation of Qatar. 

US Senators Visit Israel (8:53 p.m.)

A bipartisan group of 10 US senators visited Tel Aviv on Sunday. “We’re here today to tell Iran, we’re watching you,” said Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican. “If this war grows, it’s coming to your backyard. There won’t be two fronts, there will be three.”  

Egypt Reports Minor Injuries From Israeli Tank Misfire (6:39 p.m.)

Egypt said some of its personnel received minor injuries after being hit by shell fragments when an Israeli tank accidentally fired at a border post in the area of Kerem Shalom on Sunday. 

The incident is under review by Israeli’s military, which expressed “immediate” regret. 

US Orders Non-Emergency Staff to Leave Baghdad Embassy (7 p.m.)

The State Department ordered non-emergency staff and eligible family members to leave the US embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil in the Kurdistan region “due to increased security threats against US personnel and interests.” 

A Level 4, do-not-travel advisory remains in effect for US citizens in Iraq due to the risk of terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.  

Israeli Jets Strike Hezbollah Infrastructure (6:43 pm)

Israeli jets hit Hezbollah infrastructure in Lebanon late on Sunday, the Israeli defense forces said, in response to an attempt by Hezbollah to launch an anti-tank missile into Israeli territory.

Gaza Hospital Says It Received 170 Bodies on Sunday (6:30 p.m.)

The main hospital in the central Gaza Strip said it had received the bodies about 170 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes since Sunday morning on areas where refugees had been sheltering. Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah also reported treating more than 300 people wounded from Israeli shelling. 

Central Gaza Strip is located beyond the stream that separates Gaza City and the northern areas of the coastal enclave, from which the Israeli military has instructed Gazans to evacuate. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said the overall death toll has risen to more than 4,650 Palestinians, including 1,873 children and 1,101 women.

Hezbollah Fires Rockets After Five Members Killed (5:55 p.m.)

Hezbollah said it fired guided missiles and artillery shells at four Israeli sites after it announced that five members were killed while carrying out “jihadist duty,” the militant group’s Al Manar TV reported. Hezbollah also launched missiles at another Israeli site, claiming “direct hits” from its operation.  

The skirmishes come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to strike the Iranian-backed group “with a force it cannot even imagine.”  

Blinken Warns Iran’s Proxies (5 p.m.)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would “respond decisively” if Iran-backed groups attacked American forces. “We are concerned at the possibility of Iranian proxies escalating their attacks against our own personnel,” Blinken said on CBS News on Sunday. 

In a separate interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Blinken referenced a “likelihood of escalation.”

40 Aid Trucks Proposed for Monday, Says WFP Chief (4:30 p.m.)

Forty more trucks carrying aid to Gaza could cross Egypt’s Rafah border with Israel on Monday, said Cindy McCain, executive director of the UN’s World Food Program.    

UN officials have said that Gaza needs closer to 100 trucks a day in humanitarian aid for its roughly 2.3 million residents. The 20 trucks that crossed the border on Saturday with food and medical supplies were the first since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. 

“We were able to get 17 more trucks in just now,” McCain said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And there is a proposed 40 more tomorrow. But this dribbling of the system is not going to work.” 


Touring North, Netanyahu Warns Hezbollah Not to Enter War (3:15pm)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran-backed Hezbollah not to join the war during a meeting with military officials in northern Israel. 

“We will strike it with force it cannot even imagine and the ramifications for it and for Lebanon would be devastating,” Netanyahu said. 

Israel Says Hezbollah Dragging Lebanon Toward War (2:48 p.m.)

Israel said Hezbollah risks dragging Lebanon into a wider regional war after another night of intense cross-border fire with the Iran-backed militant group.

In one of its most serious warnings yet, the military said Hezbollah was “playing a very, very dangerous game” and “dragging Lebanon into a war that it will gain nothing from but stands to lose a lot.” 

More than 60,000 people in Israel have been evacuated along the border with Lebanon, and residents of an additional 14 communities are set to leave, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense. 

Read more: Israel Says Hezbollah Dragging Lebanon Toward War as Towns Empty

Israeli Stocks Fall Again Amid Fears of Widening Conflict (1:25 p.m.)

Israel’s benchmark TA-35 Index fell again on Sunday as increasing attacks from Iran-backed Hezbollah militants prompted a warning from Israeli authorities that neighboring Lebanon could be pulled into the war. The decline was broad-based and led by Nova Ltd, a maker of measurement systems for the chip manufacturing industry. The gauge has fallen more than 10% since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas and is down almost 9% for the year to date. 

Russia’s Lavrov Will Visit Iran on Monday (12:30 p.m.)

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Iran on Monday, ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova told reporters. The main purpose of the trip will be the Armenian-Azerbaijani “normalization process,” with ministers from Turkey and Georgia also on hand. 

Israel Army Says Intercepts Unmanned Aircraft From Lebanon (11:56 a.m.)

The Israeli military said that anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon and that it intercepted a drone from its northern neighbor. Israel Defense Forces responded with fire to an attempted missile launch. Israel said its aircraft struck earlier in the day a cell planning to launch anti-tank missiles from Lebanon.

Army Says Next Steps in Gaza Await Government Guidance (11:30 a.m.)

Israel’s defense force awaits guidance from the government before embarking on the next phase of the military campaign in Gaza, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a briefing. 

In the meantime, the army has stepped up its aerial strikes over the Gaza Strip in what it describes as “part of the preparations for the next phase,” which is widely expected to include a ground invasion. 

“Overnight, dozens of terrorists were killed, including the deputy commander of the Hamas rocket fire array,” Hagari said in a televised statement.  

Cathay Pacific Suspends Flights to Tel Aviv for Rest of 2023 (11:16 a.m.)

Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said it has canceled all flights between the Asian financial hub and Tel Aviv for the rest of this year, citing “the ongoing situation in Israel.” 

The company first stopped flights there earlier this month, along with many other airlines, after Hamas launched its attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Cathay Pacific until then offered three flights a week to Hong Kong, according to the flight data company Cirium. 

Rockets Target Iraq’s Ain Al-Asad Air Base, Reuters Says (10:24 a.m.) 

Katyusha rockets targeted the base, which hosts US and international forces, and one blast was heard inside the base, Reuters reported, citing army officials it didn’t identify. 

On Saturday, defense systems at the base in the western Anbar province intercepted and shot down two drones. 

Syria Says Israel Attacks Airports (7:57 a.m.)

Israel conducted simultaneous airstrikes at 5:25 am local time, targeting Damascus and Aleppo airports and putting them out of service, Syria’s state-run Sana news agency reported. Both facilities had been hit earlier in the Israel-Hamas war.

Al Jazeera reported Syria was diverting flights to the airport at its Mediterranean city of Latakia.

Israel to Evacuate More Communities in the North (7:45 a.m.)

Israel will evacuate 14 additional communities that are close to its northern border following exchanges of fire with Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Israel already evacuated 50,000 residents from about 30 communities along the border last week, including Kiryat Shmona, the area’s largest city and service hub.

In southern Israel, 70,000 residents have already been evacuated from communities following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.

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