Communications are down across the Gaza Strip as the Israeli army gains control of Gaza City’s port and continues to search Al-Shifa hospital for information on Hamas and its hostages.
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.
Click here for our most recent updates.
Live updates (all times EDT):
Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023
6:00 pm: Sen. Warren calls on Israel to 'stop the bombing NOW'
Liberal firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on Israel to cease striking Gaza in its war with Hamas due to the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave.
“The crisis in Gaza is growing. Israeli airstrikes are destroying residential buildings and public infrastructure. Restrictions on humanitarian aid make life even harder. Stop the bombing NOW,” wrote Warren on X.
The majority of senators in both US parties have expressed support for Israel in the war, but more voices are calling for a cease-fire. Earlier this month, Sen. Chris Murphy said Israel’s actions are “causing an unacceptable level of civilian harm,” while Sen. Dick Durbin called for a cease-fire. Twenty-four members of the House sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday calling for a cease-fire.
5:50 pm: Bin Laden’s 2002 letter trending on social media
A controversial 2002 letter that explains the al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind’s reasons for attacking the United States has resurfaced on social media, with commentary related to the Gaza war. Adam Lucente reports.
5:44 pm: US, French, Irish diplomats flock to Middle East with focus on Gaza aid
EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu are visiting Israel and the region along with the Irish, Greek and Cypriot foreign ministers and senior American officials, in a bid to advance humanitarian aid for Gaza. Rina Bassist reports.
1:35 pm: Jordan says no energy-for-water deal with Israel
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Al Jazeera that the water and energy deal with Israel “will not proceed” due to the Hamas-Israel war, Reuters reported.
Israel and Jordan had been discussing a deal in which Israel would provide Jordan with desalinated water in exchange for solar energy. The two countries plus the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding on the project in November 2022.
Safadi added that Jordan is focused on ending the war and referred to Israel’s military actions against Hamas as “retaliatory barbarism,” according to Reuters.
1:20 pm: Israeli army says body of hostage recovered near Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital
The body of Yehudit Weiss, a 65-year-old Israeli from Kibbutz Be’eri who was one of nearly 240 hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7, was recovered Wednesday by Israeli troops in a building near Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on Thursday. The family was notified after verification by medical officials and military rabbis together with the Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Israeli police, Hagari added.
Haaretz newspaper reported that the soldiers arrived at the building following intelligence received earlier. They also discovered weapons and other military equipment in the building. The IDF assessed that the kidnappers had escaped the site before the arrival of the troops.
1:13 pm: France condemns West Bank settler violence as 'policy of terror'
France called the growing violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank a “policy of terror” aimed at displacing Palestinians.
The daily settler attacks have more than doubled since Hamas’ attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed around 1,200 people. Since that date, at least 190 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, according to data from the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry.
French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre condemned the escalating violence at a press conference Thursday, noting that it “has the clear objective of forced displacement of the Palestinians and a policy of terror.”
12:06 pm: Israeli president calls on Latin America to pressure Iran on hostages
Israeli President Isaac Herzog called on Latin American leaders to pressure Iran for the release of over 200 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas. Interviewed by the Spanish-language news agency EFE Thursday, Herzog said, “I think that all these leaders, from Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia — who criticize us — Chile, should show a certain amount of decency and respect and get the plight of the hostages to the top of the world stage, putting the heat on Iran and its allies, of course Hamas being a major ally of Iran.”
10:29 am: California man arrested in death of Jewish pro-Israel protester
The Ventura County sheriff’s office in the US state of California said it had arrested Loay Alnaji on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death of 69-year-old Jewish protester Paul Kessler.
Kessler died following an altercation at dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protests on Nov. 5 in Thousand Oaks, northwest of Los Angeles. Kessler was at the event to support Israel and was involved in an altercation with a protester on the pro-Palestine side. Kessler fell at the protest and later died from his injuries, the sheriff’s office said at the time.
The sheriff encouraged members of the public to come forward with any information or documentation of the incident.
9:38 am: All communications down across Gaza due to lack of fuel
Palestinian telecoms provider Paltel said on Thursday that all communications services across the Gaza Strip are down due to a lack of fuel to run equipment sustaining the network.
Internet watchdog NetBlocks confirmed Gaza is in the midst of a “major internet outage” on X, posting, “Telecom services including landline, cellular and wifi are likely to be unavailable to most residents at the present time.”
Israel previously cut Gaza’s communications on Oct. 27 amid the war with Hamas. Communications were restored two days later. The United States called on Israel to restore the enclave’s connectivity at the time.
9:12 am: Israeli military says it found hostage data in Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital
The Israeli army has reported finding data including pictures at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital it linked to soldier Ori Megidish, the only hostage rescued so far from the hands of Hamas. The army said it is now processing extensive other data that could offer information on the remaining hostages.
2:22 am: At least 5 Israelis injured in attack south of Jerusalem
At least five Israelis were injured, including one critically, in a shooting at a West Bank checkpoint south of Jerusalem, police said Thursday morning. Haaretz reported that assailants opened fire while cars were lined up at the checkpoint and that the assailants were shot by troops at the scene.
1:55 am: Germany launches large-scale raids against Hezbollah-linked group
German police launched a nationwide raid against the properties of an Islamic center suspected of links to the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, the German Interior Ministry said in a statement. “At a time when numerous Jews feel particularly threatened” Germany will “not tolerate neither Islamist propaganda nor anti-Semitist incitement hostile to Israel,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser was quoted as saying. The massive raid coincided with the ongoing Hamas-Israel war and regional tensions, including between Hezbollah and Israel on the southern Lebanese border. Beatrice Farhat reports.
1:33 am: Israeli army strikes Gaza home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Israeli army jets overnight struck the Gaza home of Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, said IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, adding that the house served as a meeting place for Hamas seniors. Haniyeh himself has been residing in Qatar for several years. Hagari also said that Israeli troops found and destroyed weapons and equipment belonging to Hamas’ naval forces in al-Shati camp in Gaza City.
Click here for our most recent updates.