Israeli military forces are inside Gaza, IDF spokesman confirms

In this undated image taken from video released by Israeli Defense Forces, a line of Israeli tanks are shown during an incursion into the Gaza Strip.

IDF | AP

Israeli forces are still in Gaza and expanding their offensive on the besieged territory, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari told press in an update. He said troops are “still in the field and continue the war,” and that there have been no IDF casualties so far.

Hagari confirmed that IDF forces had entered the northern Gaza Strip and said that Hamas commanders had been killed, including one he said had been a “major participant” in the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

He added that more humanitarian supplies would be allowed into Gaza today, including food, water, and medicine. 

— Natasha Turak

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expresses ‘importance of protecting civilians’ in call with Israeli counterpart

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a call with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant Friday night, during which he reiterated “the importance of protecting civilians during the Israel Defense Forces’ operations,” according to a Pentagon readout. 

Austin also stressed the need for “humanitarian aid delivery for civilians in Gaza” and the release of all the hostages held by Hamas, the Pentagon said.

— Natasha Turak

IDF says it struck ‘150 underground targets’ in northern Gaza

Israel Defense Forces said their fighter jets “struck 150 underground targets” in northern Gaza overnight.

The targets included “terror tunnels, underground combat spaces and additional underground infrastructure,” the military said, adding that “several Hamas terrorists were killed.”

In its daily update, the IDF said that in the last 24 hours, “ground forces, accompanied by fighter jets and UAVs, conducted limited operations in the territory of the Gaza Strip.” Videos showed plumes of smoke as it struck buildings and sites it said were associated with Hamas.

In addition, the IDF said it “executed a targeted operation from the sea in the southern Gaza Strip,” targeting Hamas military facilities that were utilized by the militant group’s naval commando forces.

Israeli naval vessels and aircraft were involved in the operation and soldiers left the area after the mission was completed, the IDF said.

Joanna Tan

Hamas vows to fight back in ‘full force’

The Hamas militant group vowed to fight back with “full force,” in response to Israel’s escalated ground and air attacks inside Gaza overnight

“Al-Qassam Brigades and all Palestinian resistance forces are fully prepared to confront the aggression with full force and thwart the incursions,” the group said on Telegram.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said its forces were “expanding the ground activity” and had “increased attacks in Gaza.”

Joanna Tan

‘Heaviest and most sustained bombardment into Gaza to date,’ NBC says

Smoke rises and billows in different regions of Gaza as the Israeli army conducts the most intense air attacks on the 21st day in Gaza Strip, Gaza on October 27, 2023. 

Ali Jadallah | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Relentless bombardments on Gaza continued for hours overnight in what NBC News correspondent Ellison Barber said was “by far the heaviest and most sustained bombardment into Gaza to date.”

The Israel Defense Forces announced Friday night that the military was expanding ground operations into Gaza.

Inside Gaza, a crew member of NBC News told colleagues in a text message: “The situation we’re in is difficult, so difficult and very dangerous,” he wrote. “We’re being extensively shelled by artillery and by air.” 

He said “every street” was affected and people were “carrying their dead and injured in the most basic methods … on trollies and in tuk-tuks.”

“It’s very dangerous everywhere — they are bombing us from the sky above and the ground,” he added.

Joanna Tan

Israel’s foreign minister says UN’s call for truce is ‘despicable’

Israel’s foreign minister has rejected the United Nations’ call for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza, calling it “despicable.”

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Eli Cohen said: “We reject outright the UN General Assembly’s despicable call for a ceasefire. Israel intends to eliminate Hamas just as the world dealt with the Nazis and ISIS.”

The UN General Assembly on Friday voted to adopt a resolution calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.

The non-binding resolution saw an overwhelming 120 nations vote in favor of the ceasefire. Fourteen countries, including the U.S. and Israel, voted against the resolution while 45 others abstained.

— Joanna Tan

Israel claims to have killed the leader of Hamas’ aerial array in overnight strikes

Israel claims to have killed the head of Hamas’ aerial array, Asem Abu Rakaba, in overnight strikes.

“Abu Rakaba was responsible for Hamas’ UAVs, drones, paragliders, aerial detection and aerial defense,” said the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli Security Agency in a joint statement.

Abu Rakaba was said to have taken part in planning the killings and kidnappings that took place in communities in southern Israel on Oct. 7. “He directed the terrorists who infiltrated Israel on paragliders and was responsible for the drone attacks on IDF posts,” the statement said.

CNBC was not able to verify those claims.

Joanna Tan

Biden says military strikes in Syria aimed to ‘deter Iran and Iran-backed militia groups’

President Joe Biden said he ordered the military strikes against facilities in eastern Syria to stop Iran and its affiliates from further attacking U.S. personnel and facilities.

“I directed the strikes in order to protect and defend our personnel,” Biden said in a letter to the House Speaker.

The strikes were in response to a series of attacks by militia groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) since Oct. 17, he added.

The precision strikes targeted facilities used by the IRGC and its affiliated groups for command and control, munitions storage, and other purposes, the president said.

The goal was to “degrade and disrupt the ongoing series of attacks against the United States and our partners,” and to “deter Iran and Iran-backed militia groups from conducting or supporting further attacks on United States personnel and facilities,” he added.

Joanna Tan

U.S. State Department calls for Americans in Lebanon to ‘leave now’

The U.S. State Department has urged American citizens in Lebanon to “leave now while commercial flights remain available due to the unpredictable security situation.”

“The best time to leave a country is before a crisis if at all possible,” the U.S. embassy in Lebanon said in a security alert.

The State Department updated its travel advisory for Lebanon to Level 4, “do not travel” on Oct. 17.

It citied “the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hizballah or other armed militant factions.”

“There is no guarantee the U.S. government will evacuate private U.S. citizens and their family members in a crisis situation,” the U.S. embassy in Beirut warned.

— Joanna Tan

Pope Francis prays for a world in ‘a dark hour’ and danger from ‘folly’ of war

Pope Francis waves to the crowd during the Sunday Angelus prayer in St.Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Oct. 15, 2023, calling for humanitarian corridors to allow the delivery of essentials to the Gaza Strip, which is under heavy Israeli bombardment following a bloody attack by Hamas.

Alberto Pizzoli | Afp | Getty Images

Amid the latest bloodshed in the Middle East, Pope Francis led special Friday evening prayers in St. Peter’s Basilica for a world “in a dark hour” and in “great danger” from what he described as the folly of war.

Francis delivered his remarks in the form of a prayer to the Virgin Mary and didn’t mention by name the conflict that exploded when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel retaliated by sealing off the Gaza Strip and battering the Palestinian territory with airstrikes.

He said he was praying for “especially those countries and regions at war,” and he pleaded with Mary to “take the initiative for us, in these times rent by conflicts and laid waste by the fire of arms.”

“This is a dark hour,″ Francis said in a subdued voice, in his remarks in the basilica.

Associated Press

Videos of Hamas attack suggest that jihadism has evolved in chilling new ways

The brutality and elation of Hamas militants as they killed Israeli civilians — including babies, young children and the elderly — is evident in an Israeli government compilation of videos shown to about two dozen journalists in New York on Friday.

The videos, which were aired for the first time outside of Israel, consist mostly of GoPro, cell phone and dash cam footage recorded by the attackers themselves. The atrocities and war crimes shown suggest that jihadism has evolved in chilling and perverse new ways.

Hamas appears to have combined the tactics of the Islamic State militant group, the Taliban and other organizations by mounting large-scale attacks that included an estimated 2,000 fighters, mass hostage-taking, rape, beheadings and livestreaming.

Palestinian members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, take part in a gathering on Jan. 31, 2016, in Gaza City to pay tribute to their fellow militants who died after a tunnel collapsed in the Gaza Strip.

Mahmud Hams | Afp | Getty Images

On October 7th, Hamas killed over 1,000 Israeli civilians in the worst terrorist attack in the country’s 75 year history. The militants appear at ease in the videos, slowly searching houses filled with signs of everyday life — a freshly-made breakfast, an iPad, a pair of shoes — as Israelis civilians hid in nearby safe rooms. Hamas members appear amazed and elated by the success of their operation and the slow response of Israeli security forces. 

Israeli officials who attended the screening told reporters that Hamas attacked more than 30 locations and that it took hours for Israeli forces to dislodge them. “In some places, it took 8 to 12 hours,” said retired Maj. General Mickey Edelstein, currently serving as a reservist. “In some places, it took over a day.”

Read the full NBC News report here.

— NBC News

Palestinian data provider says internet service has been cut off in Gaza Strip

Rescuers look for survivors in the rubble of a building hit in an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 24, 2023.

Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images

The Palestinian telecommunications provider Paltel says internet service in Gaza Strip has been cut off by Israeli bombardment. Services were cut Friday evening, following a heavy round of Israeli airstrikes that lit up the night sky over the darkened territory.

Rights groups and journalists also say they lost contact with colleagues in the enclave. The Associated Press’s attempts to contact people in Gaza did not go through.

— The Associated Press

About 85 trucks carrying humanitarian aid arrive in Gaza

The second convoy of aid trucks cross the Rafah border from the Egyptian side on October 22, 2023 in North Sinai, Egypt.

Mahmoud Khaled | Getty Images

The White House confirmed that about 85 trucks carrying humanitarian aid have arrived in Gaza but added that the region desperately needs fuel.

“No fuel has yet been allowed in,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a conference call.

“The U.N. Relief Agency was able to get hold of a little bit over a day’s worth of fuel from a commercial facility in Gaza,” he said, adding that the fuel in Gaza is expected to run out soon.

— Amanda Macias

Fifty hostages killed in bombings, Hamas says

Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip has killed 50 of the hostages abducted by Hamas during its terror attacks of Oct. 7, a representative of the Palestinian militant group told Russian news outlet Kommersant, according to a Google translation.

A member of the public looks at a wall displaying pictures of people still held hostage in Gaza, on October 26, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. 

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

Captives will not be released until a ceasefire is agreed with Israel, Hamas representative Abu Hamid said, as a delegation of the group visited Moscow.

Al-Qassem, the armed wing of Hamas, also posted on its Telegram account that it estimates 50 “prisoners” have been killed in Israeli bombardment.

CNBC could not independently verify the figures, and the Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The IDF has previously said that Hamas captured roughly 224 people, of which only four have been released to date.

Some questions have risen over the accuracy of numbers reported by Hamas and Hamas-controlled facilities, such as the death toll supplied by the Gaza Health Ministry.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Oct. 25 said he has “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using” for the death toll reported in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, according to Reuters, without disclosing why.

Ruxandra Iordache

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