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):
Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023
5:15 pm: Biden outlines humanitarian pause agreement
In a series of posts on X, President Joe Biden provided details on the agreement reached with Israel to implement four-hour daily humanitarian pauses in military operations in northern Gaza.
“We’re doing everything in our power to increase humanitarian supplies and assistance,” Biden wrote.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that the pauses in Israel’s battle against Hamas, to be announced three hours in advance, were the "direct result" of talks between US and Israeli officials.
While Biden’s post noted that “Israel makes its own decisions,” he added, “I will continue to advocate for civilian safety and focus on increasing aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza.”
Earlier in the day, Biden told reporters that he had asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a three-day pause in Gaza to allow for the release of hostages.
2:43 pm: Yemen’s Houthis claim missile attack on Israel
The Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen said in a statement that they had fired ballistic missiles at unspecified military targets in Eilat, in southern Israel, and that they had caused injuries. Earlier, the IDF said that it had intercepted a missile over the Red Sea and that a drone had hit a school in Eilat.
1:59 pm: US confirms four additional attacks in Iraq, Syria after airstrikes fail to deter
US troops at the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq and three bases in Syria came under four separate rocket and drone attacks in the hours after the United States attempted to halt them by launching airstrikes on an IRGC-linked facility in eastern Syria on Wednesday night.
A US military official confirmed one-way attack drones targeted the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s Anbar province on Thursday. A drone also targeted the Mission Support Site (MSS) Euphrates in Syria on Wednesday, and multiple rockets targeted both MSS Euphrates and the US Green Village base at Omar oil field in eastern Syria, the official said.
Three US personnel reported “minor injuries” following the attack on Green Village but returned to duty. No damage was reported from the strikes.
1:00 pm: Israel intercepts missile over Red Sea
A missile launched toward Israel was detected and intercepted in the Red Sea area by the Arrow long-range air defense system, said IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, who stressed that the missile did not enter Israel’s airspace. Earlier in the day, a drone hit a school in the southern Red Sea coastal city of Eilat. Hagari said the incident was being investigated.
11:30 am: Iraq struggles to thwart Iran proxies' attacks as US ups rhetoric
As Iran-backed militias in Iraq are continuing to claim attacks on US forces in the country, Washington is upping pressure on Baghdad to thwart Iran’s operations. The continuing attacks demonstrate the difficulties the Iraqi government faces as it seeks to avoid becoming a battleground in the Israel-Hamas war. Adam Lucente reports.
11:09 am: Nearly 9,500 rockets, missiles launched toward Israel since Oct. 7
Nearly 9,500 rockets and missiles have been launched at Israel since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, including dozens of drones, said IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari. He noted that they came from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Israel's air defense systems intercepted thousands of the projectiles, said Hagari, without offering specific numbers.
10:38 am: No chance of Gaza cease-fire, Biden says
President Joe Biden reiterated his opposition to a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which US and Israeli officials say would allow the Palestinian militants to regroup. Asked by reporters about prospects for a cease-fire, Biden replied, “None. No possibility.”
Biden added that he remained “optimistic” about getting the hostages seized on Oct. 7 out of Gaza. The White House said Thursday that Hamas is holding fewer than 10 Americans.
10:30 am: Israel agrees to 4-hour pauses in northern Gaza
Israel will implement four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza starting Thursday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.
“We’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause,” Kirby told reporters in an online briefing.
The pauses, which will be announced three hours beforehand, will help facilitate humanitarian aid delivery and potentially the safe evaluation of hostages held by Hamas, Kirby said. Read Elizabeth Hagedorn's report here.
10:06 am: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Egypt for Gaza talks
Hamas’ political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, traveled to Egypt on Thursday and met with the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel, to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh’s delegation included Hamas’ head of Arab relations Khalil al-Hayya as well as Khaled Meshaal, another senior official, the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency reported.
The Egyptian government did not immediately comment.
9:00 am: CIA, Mossad chiefs meet with Qatari PM on Gaza hostage deal
The heads of the CIA and Mossad met in Doha Thursday with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani to further a potential hostage deal and humanitarian pause in Gaza, according to Reuters.
“The talks also included a discussion over allowing humanitarian imports of fuel into Gaza,” Reuters reports.
7:15 am: Labor shortage caused by Gaza conflict cost Israel $600M/week
Israel’s worker shortage amid its war in the Gaza Strip is estimated to have cost the economy up to 2.3 billion shekels ($597 million) a week, the country’s central bank said.
Temporary school closures have meant parents are unable to work as much, accounting for more than half of the total losses, a report by the Bank of Israel’s research department said.
The mobilization of thousands of reservists has also left companies short-staffed and underproductive, the central bank said. The evacuation of residents from high-risk areas in the north and south as well as fewer foreign and Palestinian workers working in Israel since the conflict began have all contributed to Israel’s labor shortage.
6:40 am: Israeli military says it has taken key Hamas military stronghold in western Jabalia
The Israel Defense Forces says it has taken a Hamas outpost in western Jabalia, the Palestinian group’s military stronghold north of Gaza City. The IDF announced on X, formerly Twitter, that operations had discovered extensive Hamas tunnel shafts, including one next to a kindergarten.
“The soldiers completed the takeover after 10 hours of fighting, during which they eliminated terrorists, captured weapons, and collected significant operative materials about the enemy’s operational plans,” the IDF tweeted. Earlier, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said around 50,000 Palestinians were evacuated to the south of the Gaza Strip through a humanitarian corridor opened by the IDF Wednesday.
5:48 am: Israeli raid on Jenin refugee camp leaves eight dead
At least eight Palestinians have been killed and 14 others wounded in heavy clashes with Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, according to the official WAFA news agency.
The Israeli army launched a wide-scale raid on the Jenin camp early Thursday. Israeli forces took up sniper positions on buildings surrounding the camp while tanks destroyed infrastructure inside and around the camp. At least 173 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the Hamas-Israel war erupted Oct. 7.
4:40 am: France’s Macron calls for cease-fire in Gaza
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
“In the immediate term, we need to work on protecting civilians. To do that, we need a humanitarian pause very quickly and we must work toward a cease-fire,” Macron said in a speech opening an aid conference for the Palestinians.
Delegations from more than 80 countries and organizations gathered for the event in Paris to discuss aid and ways to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in the Gaza Strip. More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched an offensive on Gaza in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, leaving more than 1,400 people dead.
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