Amid Israeli airstrikes, negotiations are underway for the release of at least 10 hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a humanitarian pause in 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. 8, 2023
4:08 pm: Pentagon threatens to strike IRGC personnel to halt attacks on US troops in Iraq, Syria
The United States isn’t ruling out military strikes against Iranian personnel to halt a flurry of militia rocket and drone attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, a senior Pentagon official told congressional lawmakers.
“The United States has taken — and as necessary, will continue to take — military action against the IRGC and its affiliates,” the Pentagon’s top Middle East policy official, Dana Stroul, told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“This includes the use of force against IRGC and IRGC-affiliated personnel and facilities” in the Middle East “with the intention to convince the Iranians to de-escalate threats against the United States, our interests and our people,” Stroul said.
3:00 pm: Arab American and Muslim communities decry censure of Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Arab and Muslim communities have condemned the censure of Rep. Rashida Tlaib — the only Palestinian American in Congress — by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday night, saying she was targeted for speaking up against the mounting death toll and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Tlaib, a Democrat representing Michigan’s 12th congressional district, was accused of “promoting false narratives” about Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. Adam Lucente reports.
1:26 pm: Mossad helps thwart Hezbollah-affiliated terror attack in Brazil
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad confirmed on Wednesday that it had helped Brazilian security agencies foil a Hezbollah terror attack against Israeli and Jewish targets. The statement added that the plot was directed and funded by Iran. Brazilian police said members of a Hezbollah cell were arrested.
11:20 am: Egyptian, Palestinian sources say negotiations advancing on release of at least 10 hostages in Gaza
Negotiations are underway for the release of 10-15 hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian and Palestinian sources told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. A source described ongoing negotiations as intense. Haaretz's headline suggests that Egypt is a leading mediator. Earlier today, Reuters reported that Qatar, in coordination with the United States, is negotiating the release of 10-15 hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a humanitarian pause of one or two days. Meanwhile, the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen channel reported that negotiations are being held for the release of 12 hostages, half of them US nationals, in exchange for a three-day cease-fire.
10:00 am: Boycotts in Turkey spread to Nescafe, Coca-Cola
Protests in Turkey against Israel are growing as the Turkish parliament, several universities and local municipalities joined the boycott against major multinational brands over their alleged support of Israel’s war in Gaza. Ezgi Akin reports from Ankara.
7:20 am: Israel prolongs humanitarian corridor for Gazans fleeing south
Israel maintained the humanitarian corridor along Gaza's Salah al-Din route for an extra hour, allowing more residents to travel to the southern part of the Gaza Strip as Israel expands its military operations in the north, IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee said in a statement.
Roughly 15,000 people fled northern Gaza on Tuesday, triple the number that left the day prior, the Associated Press reported, citing the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
6:20 am: At least 10,569 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip said at least 10,569 Palestinians have been killed, including 4,324 children, since Israel launched its offensive on Gaza in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel. Speaking to reporters in Gaza, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said 26,475 people have been wounded and 2,550 remain missing under the rubble. Israeli sources have reported that more than 1,400 people were killed in the Hamas attack.
6:00 am: France suspects Russian resident behind Star of David graffiti
French prosecutors suspect that the dozens of graffitied Stars of David discovered at the end of October in several Paris neighborhoods and suburbs were spray-painted by people receiving instructions and also payment from a person perhaps of Moldovan nationality and residing in Russia, reported a French newspaper. A couple from Moldova had been apprehended in connection with some of the graffiti and deported. Another identified couple left France before being apprehended.
4:10 am: Blinken calls for humanitarian pauses in Gaza
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said humanitarian pauses in the Gaza Strip are necessary to ensure the protection of Palestinian citizens amid the ongoing Hamas-Israel war. Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the G7 group of leading industrial democracies in Tokyo, Blinken said an immediate cease-fire will leave Hamas in place to attack Israel again. He stressed the need to set “the conditions for durable peace and security.”
“Gaza cannot be continued to be run by Hamas. That simply invites repetition of Oct. 7. . . . It’s also clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza,” Blinken told reporters in Tokyo.
“The reality is that there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict. . . . We don’t see a reoccupation and what I’ve heard from Israeli leaders is that they have no intent to reoccupy Gaza,” Blinken said.
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