The Israeli military has expanded its operations in the Gaza Strip, with reports of heavy clashes as the IDF advances to the outskirts of Gaza City.
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):
Monday, Oct. 30, 2023
5:00 pm: Israel-Russia ties unravel as Putin calls meeting over Dagestan mob incident
Tensions between Israel and Russia reached a new high as Russian President Vladimir Putin called a security meeting on Monday, the day after a mob stormed the airport in the southern region of Dagestan after a flight from Israel landed there and rioters gathered to lynch Israeli and Jewish passengers. Rina Bassist reports.
3:30 pm: 23 attacks against US forces in Iraq, Syria
US and coalition forces have come under attack 23 times (14 in Iraq, nine in Syria) by rockets and drones Oct. 17-30, a senior US defense official said on Monday.
The new number includes 10 new attacks since the Pentagon last released such data on Oct. 24. Most of them have been “unsuccessful,” the senior defense official said. “Iran’s objective for a long time has been to force a withdrawal of the US military from the region. What I would note is, we’re still there,” the official added.
1:35 pm: 4 Saudi soldiers killed in clashes with Yemen’s Houthis
Saudi Arabia’s military is on “high alert” Monday after clashes with Yemen’s Houthi rebels left four Saudi soldiers dead. Bloomberg reported that the soldiers were killed in the mountainous Jazan province on the Saudi-Yemeni border last week, as the Iran-backed group is raising tensions with missile launches amid the Israel-Gaza war.
The soldiers’ deaths “are the first known casualties for the country’s forces since a tentative truce was reached with the Houthis in April last year,” Bloomberg reported.
The Saudi government has been engaged in a war with the Houthis since 2015.
12:30 pm: IDF rescues female Israeli soldier held in Gaza
In a ground operation on Monday night, the IDF rescued Israeli soldier Ori Megedish, who was held captive in the Gaza Strip, according to a joint statement by the Israeli military and Shin Bet. Megedish was kidnapped by Hamas militants on Oct. 7. No further details were offered by the army on the circumstances of the rescue mission, though the IDF said she is healthy and has been reunited with her family. Rina Bassist reports.
11:30 am: Israel hands out gas concessions as Gaza war drags on
Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure said on Sunday that it has awarded 12 licenses to six companies, including BP, ENI and four others, for natural gas exploration off the country’s Mediterranean coast, as the Gaza war entered its fourth week with no cease-fire in sight. Jack Dutton reports.
9:06 am: UN aid chief to meet with Israeli officials
Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed to Al-Monitor that on Monday, its representatives will receive UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths.
The United States has pressured Israel to expand the entry of humanitarian aid, including during a Sunday evening phone conversation between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but for humanitarian aid to be received on the ground and distributed to Gazans, coordination must be set in place with the United Nations.
The Foreign Ministry said Monday morning that Griffiths' visa appeal was examined at the request of several countries to advance foreign nationals’ exit from the Gaza Strip.
Separately, International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan warned on Sunday that preventing access to humanitarian aid could constitute a war crime. Khan urged Israel to allow more aid trucks into the Strip via the Rafah crossing.
6:23 am: Russia blames ‘external interference’ for anti-Jewish airport riots
The Kremlin has blamed “external interference” for an attempt to hunt down Jews and Israelis disembarking from a flight from Tel Aviv to Russia’s Makhachkala Airport in the Muslim-majority region of Dagestan Sunday night. "It is well known and obvious that yesterday's events [at] Makhachkala Airport are largely the result of external interference," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.
Russian police said Monday they had arrested 60 people suspected of storming the airport. Scores of protesters shouting "Allahu akbar" broke into the airport looking to attack Jewish passengers coming from Israel.
5:30 am: Israeli police officer injured in Jerusalem stabbing, suspect shot dead
An Israeli police officer was stabbed and seriously wounded in east Jerusalem by a resident of the Palestinian a-Tour neighborhood at around 11 am local time, police said. The suspected assailant was shot and killed by soldiers at the scene, Jerusalem police said, as reported by i24 News. "A terrorist resident of east Jerusalem armed with a knife arrived at the Mandelbaum gas station in Jerusalem. The terrorist stabbed a police officer in his upper body. After grabbing his weapon and unsuccessfully trying to shoot, he fled the scene,” a police spokesperson said. The police added that they seized the knife allegedly used in the attack.
The officer was evacuated from the scene in serious condition and taken to Shaare Tzedek hospital, paramedics said. Jerusalem police said they and other Israeli security personnel are "conducting searches in the area to rule out any additional involvement."
1:39 am: Israeli army expands Gaza ground operations
Dozens of Hamas fighters who barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels and attempted to attack Israeli troops were eliminated overnight, said IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, adding that the Israeli army struck over 600 targets in the past 24 hours in the north of the Gaza Strip. They included weapons caches, hiding places of Hamas assailants and anti-tank missile sites.
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