Ambulances filed through Egypt's Rafah crossing Wednesday as foreign nationals and others with severe injuries were allowed to leave the Gaza Strip.
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):
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023
8:50 pm: Hezbollah says it downed Israeli drone over Lebanon border
Hezbollah claimed on Wednesday to have shot down an Israeli drone using a surface-to-air missile in southern Lebanon, Al-Manar reported.
8:30 pm: Power outage at Gaza’s Indonesian hospital
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza announced late on Wednesday that the generator at the Indonesian Hospital had ceased to function, endangering the lives of hundreds of patients. The ministry warned of a catastrophe if fuel is not provided to medical facilities.
3:38 pm: Pentagon chief vows 'US commitment' to defend Saudi Arabia
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “emphasized US commitment to the territorial defense” of Saudi Arabia during a meeting with the kingdom’s defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, at the Pentagon on Wednesday, according to a US readout of the call.
The meeting comes a day after the Saudi defense chief met with President Joe Biden’s top aide, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, at the White House amid fears that Iran and its proxies could launch an overwhelming array of cruise missiles and drones toward US- and Israel-aligned states in the region.
White House National Security Council strategic coordinator John Kirby told reporters following Prince Khalid’s meetings on Tuesday that Riyadh is still interested in normalizing ties with Israel.
2:45 pm: Iran’s Khamenei urges sanctions on Israel, FM says Hamas ready for more 'surprise' attacks
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, censured the West for supporting Israel while Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that more “surprise” attacks would be in the offing should Israel refuse to halt its bombardment of Gaza. Our correspondent in Tehran reports.
2:30 pm: Amphibious assault ship USS Bataan spotted in Red Sea
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan was spotted in the Red Sea on Nov. 1, stationing itself in waters south of Israel.
The Bataan and the USS Carter Hall are expected to remain in the Red Sea rather than head to the eastern Mediterranean, USNI News reported Monday, amid attempted long-range cruise missile attacks on Israel by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Israeli navy also said it bolstered its presence in the Red Sea on Wednesday amid the attacks from Yemen. Video released by the IDF showed Sa’ar-class corvettes patrolling off the port of Eilat.
The buildup follows the Pentagon's dispatch of two US aircraft carrier strike groups, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Gerald R. Ford, to Mediterranean waters. The United States also sent a pair of B-1B bombers to the Incirlik air base in Turkey on Tuesday for brief exercises that US European Command said had been “long-planned.”
2:20 pm: First group of US citizens leave Gaza
A small number of US citizens trapped in the Gaza Strip have escaped into Egypt, marking the first time that civilians have been able to flee the Palestinian territory since Israel began its bombing campaign more than three weeks ago, Elizabeth Hagedorn reports.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said a “number of Americans” crossed into Egypt via the Rafah crossing, and more departures from the Hamas-run territory are expected in the coming days. The State Department is in contact with some 400 US citizens who wish to depart Gaza with their family members, a total of roughly 1,000 people.
1:54 pm: Turkey, Iran FMs warn against Israel’s expansion of Gaza war
The top diplomats of Turkey and Iran on Wednesday aired a joint warning against the expansion of the Israel-Hamas war at a press conference in Ankara. “Now, as a region, we share concerns over the spread of the conflict,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.
Echoing a call by Iran’s supreme leader for Muslim countries to halt trade with Israel, including oil exports, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also called for cutting diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. Ezgi Akin reports.
12:15 pm: What is behind US deployment of B1 bombers to Turkey?
The United States deployed a pair of B-1B Lancer bombers to Turkey’s Incirlik air base this week as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to reshape the Middle East’s geopolitical landscape. Al-Monitor’s Jared Szuba explains the significance of the deployment.
12:00 pm: Chile, Colombia, Jordan recall Israel ambassadors over Gaza war
Chile, Colombia and Jordan announced Wednesday that they are recalling their respective ambassadors to Israel for consultations over Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip. This comes one day after Bolivia cut diplomatic ties with Israel over the war in Gaza. Rina Bassist reports.
10:40 am: Jordan recalls ambassador to Israel over Gaza war, humanitarian crisis
Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel due to Israel’s ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday. Amman said the diplomatic pause will remain in effect until both the war and humanitarian crisis end and told Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, who left the country in recent weeks amid security concerns, not to return.
8:00 am: Gaza deaths approach 8,800
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said 8,796 people have been killed in Israeli strikes, including 3,648 children. Another 22,219 have been wounded, the Hamas-affiliated Safa news agency reported.
The rising death toll comes as Israel steps up ground operations against Hamas in Gaza.
4:40 am: Rafah border crossing opens for severely injured, foreigners
The Rafah crossing linking Egypt to the Gaza Strip opened to allow foreign nationals and the severely injured to leave the Palestinian enclave. Dozens of foreign passport holders could be seen entering the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. AFP footage from the scene showed ambulances that were reportedly carrying wounded people out of the Gaza Strip.
2:44 am: Israel says that by cutting diplomatic ties, Bolivia is aligning with Iran, Hamas
"Bolivia's decision to cut diplomatic ties with Israel is a surrender to terrorism and to the ayatollahs' regime in Iran," said Israel’s Foreign Ministry, adding, "The Bolivian government is aligning itself with the Hamas terrorist organization."
1:16 am: 11 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza Tuesday, total now 13
The IDF said that 11 soldiers were killed Tuesday in different ground Gaza operations. Seven were killed when an anti-tank missile hit an armored vehicle, two when their vehicle went over an explosive device and two in other incidents. The IDF also said that since the beginning of the ground fighting, the combined forces of the army attacked more than 11,000 targets of Hamas and other Gaza organizations.
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