The US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on Saturday that it intercepted an Iranian drone in Gulf waters.
An “aircraft from Dwight D Eisenhower Carrier Air Wing intercepts an Iranian UAV operating in an unsafe and unprofessional manner during aircraft carrier flight operations in the Arabian Gulf,” Centcom said.
The news came as Israeli bombardment intensified in southern Gaza, hitting the city of Khan Younis. Videos confirmed by Al-Monitor’s journalist in Gaza showed Israeli airstrikes hitting Hamad residential towers in Khan Younis. The death toll among Palestinians climbed above 15,200 on Saturday, the Hamas-run health ministry said.
Meanwhile, after a team from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency traveled to Qatar to try and revive a truce that collapsed Friday between Israel and Hamas, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office released a statement Saturday saying the talks had broken down.
"Following the impasse in the negotiations and under the guidance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad head David Barnea ordered his team in Doha to return to Israel," the statement read.
Fighting on Israel's northern border with Hezbollah also intensified after a recent lull coinciding with the truce in Gaza. The IDF said Saturday it had targeted a terror cell in southern Lebanon, while Lebanon's state news agency said that three people were killed by Israeli shelling on Friday in southern Lebanon. Two of the dead were Hezbollah fighters, the group claimed.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday from Dubai that he will travel to Qatar to try and mediate a revival of the truce between Israel and Hamas that could lead to a permanent cease-fire. Paris has so far not played a role in mediation efforts that have been led by the US, Qatar and Egypt.
On Friday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at COP28, the UN climate conference in Dubai, shaking hands for the first time.
A photo from the climate summit of the two men marks the first time the Qatar emir has been seen shaking hands with an Israeli official, as their two countries don’t officially have diplomatic relations.
Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, Rina Bassist, 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.
Live updates (all times EDT):
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023
4:00 pm: US defense chief says Israel must shield civilians to win in Gaza
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday urged Israel to protect civilians as it battles Hamas in Gaza, saying that shielding noncombatants is necessary for victory in the urban fight against the Palestinian militant group.
3:45 pm: Turkey's Erdogan rejects US pressure to cut Hamas ties
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Saturday pushed back against mounting US pressure to cut Ankara's historic ties with Hamas in the wake of the militants' unprecedented attacks on Israel.
3:20 pm: US intercepted Iranian drone in Gulf waters
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on Saturday that it intercepted an Iranian drone in Gulf waters. An “aircraft from Dwight D Eisenhower Carrier Air Wing intercepts an Iranian UAV operating in an unsafe and unprofessional manner during aircraft carrier flight operations in the Arabian Gulf," Centcom posted on X with a photo appearing to show the Iranian drone. “The US Navy will continue to fly and sail where international law allows,” it said.
12:00 pm: Gaza death toll reaches 15,200
As Israel ramps up its military campaign in southern Gaza, the death toll has passed 15,200, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Saturday. The ministry said 240 people had been killed in the enclave since fighting resumed after a seven-day truce lapsed on Friday morning.
11:00 am: Israel recalls Mossad negotiators from Qatar
A team of Mossad agents left Qatar on Saturday as efforts to revive a truce between Israel and Hamas, and facilitate the release of more hostages in Gaza, hit a roadblock. "Following the impasse in the negotiations and under the guidance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad head David Barnea ordered his team in Doha to return to Israel," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
7:00 am: Israel conducts strikes on 400 targets inside Gaza
The Israeli military said it conducted strikes against 400 targets in Gaza overnight Friday and into Saturday, including 50 strikes in the Khan Younis area in southern Gaza. On a visit to the Gaza border on Saturday, Israel's defense chief Yoav Gallant said, "In the last two days, we have also operated in areas where we did not operate in the last month, and this will increase."
Friday, Dec. 1, 2023
12:47 pm: Blinken says Israel taking steps to protect civilians
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel is taking steps to protect civilians as it resumes military operations in the Gaza Strip following the collapse of a week-long truce.
“We saw Israel take steps immediately today to start to get information to people about where safe areas are, how they can get out of harm’s way,” Blinken told reporters in Dubai.
“I saw the plans that Israel has in a multiplicity of ways to do everything possible to protect civilians, including making sure that they have the information they need and there are ways to accommodate them,” he added.
Israel published an interactive map on Friday advising civilians of safe areas in the Palestinian enclave. A day earlier, Blinken said Israel needed a “clear plan” to minimize casualties and avoid a mass displacement in southern Gaza.
12:00 pm: First Israeli-Qatari handshake at COP28
Israeli President Isaac Herzog met Friday with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the COP28 UN climate conference in Dubai, shaking hands for the first time. Jack Dutton reports from Dubai.
11:00 am: US draws red lines for Israel as truce collapses
With the Gaza cease-fire collapsing, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken drew red lines for Israel on the next steps, and three names are emerging as main contenders to revitalize the Palestinian Authority. Ben Caspit offers analysis from Tel Aviv.
9:10 am: Israeli military strikes 200 targets in Gaza
Starting at 7:00 a.m. local time, Israel carried out over 200 strikes in the Gaza Strip, both in the north and in the south, saying it destroyed booby-trapped sites, tunnel shafts, rocket-launching positions and military headquarters used by Hamas as the truce collapsed. Five IDF soldiers were injured by a mortar shell fired at kibbutz Nirim in the south of Israel as sirens warned several villages in the area of rocket fire from Gaza.
9:00 am: Four Israeli hostages confirmed dead
Three civilians taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7 were reported killed in Hamas captivity, the kibbutz announced on Friday. The bodies of Maya Goren, 56, Ronen Engel, 54, and Aryeh Zalmanovich, 85, the oldest of the roughly 240 hostages taken by Hamas, are believed to still be in Gaza. The Israeli army also found in Gaza on Thursday the body of 27-year-old Ofir Tzarfati, who was kidnapped from the Nova music festival, bringing it back to Israel.
3:54 am: Qatar expresses regret over renewed Gaza fighting, says truce talks ongoing
Qatar expressed “deep regret” at the resumption of fighting in the Hamas-Israel war after the expiration of a temporary truce. In a statement, the Qatari Foreign Ministry stressed, “The continued bombing of the Gaza Strip in the first hours after the end of the pause complicates mediation efforts and exacerbates the humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip.” It added that negotiations to restore calm are ongoing.
3:07 am: Hamas’ armed wing says it targeted southern Israeli towns
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said in a statement posted on its Telegram channel that it had launched rockets at Israeli towns and cities in response to the Israeli “crimes” against Gaza Friday morning. Rocket sirens blared in southern Israel Friday morning after a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel expired. Israel soon resumed its airstrikes across the Gaza Strip.
2:54 am: Death toll in Gaza renewed fighting rises to 32
The death toll in renewed Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip has risen to 32 Palestinians, according to medical reports cited by WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency. Israel resumed its campaign in Gaza following the end of a seven-day truce. Heavy airstrikes were reported across the enclave, in Khan Yunis in the south, in the Bureij refugee camp in the center and in Gaza City in the north.
2:15 am: Dozens killed in renewed Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip
At least 14 people have been killed since Israel resumed its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip earlier on Friday, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The Israeli army has launched heavy airstrikes in the north, center and south of the enclave. In Rafah, two babies were killed when a house was struck, according to WAFA. The renewed fighting comes after a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel expired on Friday with no announcement of an extension.
12:00 am: Israel resumes Gaza fighting, putting an end to week-long truce
The Israeli military resumed fighting in the Gaza Strip after Hamas “violated the framework, did not meet its obligation to release all female hostages and fired rockets at Israel,” read a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It went on, “Amid the return to combat, we stress the government of Israel is committed to achieving the goals of the war — releasing our hostages, eliminating Hamas and ensuring that Gaza can never again threaten the people of Israel.” The Israeli army issued instructions across Israel ordering residents to avoid crowded events and to remain close to shelters.
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023
4:07 pm: Hamas hands over six Israeli hostages to Red Cross
The Red Cross received six Israelis from Hamas who had been held in Gaza, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari confirmed, noting that the freed hostages are now being transported to Egypt's Rafah crossing. Two other Israeli women were freed earlier in the day.
Thirty Palestinian prisoners, including 22 teenagers, are expected to be released by Israel tonight, AP reports.
10:30 am: Israel recalls ambassador to Spain
Israel recalled its ambassador to Spain for consultations after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he has “serious doubt” that Israel is complying with international humanitarian law during its campaign in Gaza, Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a post on X.
“Israel is acting and will continue to act in accordance with international law and we will continue with the war until the release of the hostages and elimination of Hamas in Gaza,” Cohen said. Earlier in the day, the Israeli Foreign Ministry had summoned the Spanish ambassador for a reprimand.
10:20 am: Two Israeli hostages reach Israel, more to be released
Two Israeli hostages held in Gaza — 21-year-old Israeli-French national Mia Shem and 40-year-old Amit Sosna — were handed over to the Red Cross Thursday and have reached Israeli territory, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari posted on X.
Earlier reports claimed that eight more Israelis will be freed today, including two who hold Russian citizenship. Israel is set to free 30 Palestinian prisoners today in exchange, including some who hold Israeli citizenship.
7:00 am: Hamas to release 10 Israelis during 1-day truce extension, source says
A Hamas source told AFP that 10 Israeli hostages will be released from the Gaza Strip on Thursday as part of the one-day truce extension. The source said two of those set to be released also hold Russian citizenship. Hamas and Israel agreed to a last-minute extension of the temporary truce, during which 102 Israeli hostages and 210 Palestinian prisoners have been freed.
6:08 am: Egypt says negotiations ongoing for 2-day truce extension
Egyptian and Qatari mediators are currently discussing the possibility of extending the current truce by an additional two days, according to Egypt’s State Information Service. Its head Diaa Rashwan said the mediators are hoping to see the release of more prisoners and hostages, reach a long-term cease-fire and allow more aid into Gaza. “Egypt will continue to exert its utmost efforts to ensure the continued flow of humanitarian aid to the north and south of the Gaza Strip,” he added. The talks follow a last-minute one-day extension of the temporary truce in Gaza.
6:00 am: Blinken meets with Netanyahu, Israeli war cabinet
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met privately with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem before meeting with the Israeli war cabinet and later on Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Blinken is on his fourth visit to Israel since Oct. 7 as the Biden administration works to prolong the cease-fire, secure the release of more hostages and further boost humanitarian assistance to Gaza.
4:37 am: UNIFIL says Israel responds to cross-border fire from Lebanon
Israeli forces have responded to cross-border fire from southern Lebanon, the UN peacekeeping mission told Reuters. Earlier, the Israeli army said it had downed a drone launched from Lebanon toward northern Israel. Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel have been engaged in intense cross-border fire since the Hamas-Israel war erupted. The exchange of fire has almost ceased after a temporary truce began in Gaza last Friday, with only sporadic incidents.
1:00 am: Three Israelis killed, six injured in shooting attack in Jerusalem
Three Israelis — a 73-year-old man, a 24-year-old woman and a third unidentified person — died after being shot by two Palestinians at a bus station in Jerusalem. Six other people were injured. Jerusalem's police commander said the two assailants, both residents of east Jerusalem, were killed at the scene. US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew posted on X, "Abhorrent terrorist attack in Jerusalem this morning. We unequivocally condemn such brutal violence. My thoughts are with the families of the victims and I offer my sincere condolences to all those affected."
12:02 am: Israel, Hamas agree to one-day extension
The Qatari Foreign Ministry announced early Thursday that Israel and Hamas had agreed to a one-day extension to the pause in fighting in Gaza, just minutes before the truce was set to end. The extension will follow the terms of the previous agreement, whereby Hamas releases 10 Israeli hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.