US President Joe Biden offered strong support for Israel in an address to the nation, vowing that Washington will not lot Hamas win. American forces in the region came under drone attacks in both Syria and Iraq and a US destroyer in the region thwarted cruise missile attacks by Yemen's Houthis in the Red Sea.
Rina Bassist, Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, Elizabeth Hagedorn, Adam Lucente, Jack Dutton, Jared Szuba and Al-Monitor’s contributors on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel contributed to this blog.
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Live updates (all times EDT):
Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023
8:00 pm: Biden says 'we cannot' let Hamas win
US President Joe Biden expressed emphatic support for Israel and Ukraine in an address on Thursday, linking the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin as two sides who share a goal to "annihilate neighboring democracy."
Biden added that he is determined to make sure Hamas does not win the war against Israel. "We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win. I refuse to let that happen." Elizabeth Hagedorn reports.
5:45 pm: Oil prices rise after Iran embargo threat
The price of Brent crude oil, the benchmark for global prices, rose further on Thursday to more than $93 a barrel. The increase followed Iran calling for an oil embargo of Israel amid the war in Gaza, though OPEC will not necessarily go along with such an action. Adam Lucente reports.
Hundreds of aid trucks waited Thursday near the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, prepared to deliver much-needed humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip following a US-Egyptian agreement to open it. The death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 3,700 people. Al-Monitor's Beatrice Farhat reports.
11:45 am: US issues ‘worldwide’ alert for citizens amid Israel-Hamas war
US citizens abroad are advised “to exercise increased caution,” the US State Department said in a new bulletin Thursday. The US Embassy in Lebanon also urged Americans wishing to leave the country to make plans “as soon as possible.” Elizabeth Hagedorn reports.
7:05 am: Gaza death toll rises to more than 3,700
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said at least 3,785 people have been killed, including 1,524 children and 1,000 women, in the Israeli bombardment of the coastal enclave. More than 12,493 have been injured.
The ministry added that the health sector has been severely affected by the Israeli strikes since Oct. 7 that have left 44 health care workers dead. Four hospitals were forced to stop working, according to the ministry, in addition to 14 health centers across Gaza.
5:00 am: Anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon toward settlement in northern Israel
Two Kornet missiles were fired from Lebanese territory toward the Manara settlement in northern Israel, the Lebanese state-run National News Agency reported. Israel responded by shelling the border village of Meiss al-Jabal in Lebanon's south. The Israeli military reported earlier that an anti-tank missile had been launched toward Manara without casualties.
2:34 am: Israeli airstrikes destroy four residential towers in Gaza
Israeli airstrikes hit four residential towers in al-Zahra, in the central Gaza Strip, completely destroying them, the Wafa news agency said, citing local sources. There was no mention of casualties. According to Wafa, the Israeli military had ordered the residents of the towers, which included 270 apartments, to evacuate prior to the shelling.
2:18 am: Scotland’s first minister proposes to take in Gaza refugees
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said he is willing to take in Gaza refugees. Nadia El-Nakla, Yousaf’s British Palestinian wife, told the Guardian Wednesday that her parents were trapped in the Gaza Strip with little food.
1:54 am: Russia sends 27 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza
Russia will deliver 27 tons of humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip, said its Foreign Ministry. The assistance consists mainly of food supplies including flour, sugar, rice and pasta. An Il-76 transport aircraft is already en route to the El-Arish airport in Egypt, the ministry said.
1:37 am: IDF says it killed military head of Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees
Israeli military jets struck and killed Rafat Abu Hilal, head of the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, in an overnight operation, said IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari.
Hamas' radio station reported that Jamila al-Shanti, the widow of Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi and the first woman elected to Hamas’ political bureau, was also killed in an Israeli airstrike.
1:00 am: Israel bombs areas in southern Lebanon
Israeli warplanes struck several areas in the western part of Lebanon's southern border region, the Lebanese state-run National News Agency reported. No casualties or material damage was reported. According to the agency, Israeli warplanes were flying over the southern region after midnight, including over the city of Sidon, causing sonic booms.
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