Hamas rejects Israeli evacuation call
Palestinian militant group Hamas rejected Israeli instructions for the people of northern Gaza to evacuate south of the Wadi Gaza river.
“Our Palestinian people, Al-Murabit, reject the threat of the occupation leaders and their calls on them in Gaza to leave their homes and move to the south or to Egypt,” Izzat Al-Rishq, member of the political bureau of Hamas, said in emailed comments translated by NBC News.
“We are fixed on our land, in our homes, and in our cities … and there is no displacement or deportation,” the group added.
Israeli military on Thursday night told the civilians of Gaza City to leave the premises and move southwards “for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields.” The U.N. says it was informed by Israeli forces that the evacuation should happen within 24 hours.
Since the start of the week, Israel has been conducting a complete siege of the Gaza Strip, following the bloody Hamas terrorist attacks of last weekend.
— Ruxandra Iordache
Israel has ‘no good option’ and pressure to enter Gaza is ‘very powerful,’ ex-CIA officer says
Despite the risks to Israeli hostages and civilians inside the Gaza Strip, the pressure for the Jewish state to launch a ground offensive in the Palestinian enclave is “almost irresistible,” Glenn Carle, a former intelligence officer at the CIA, told CNBC.
Israel doesn’t have many options right now, he added.
Ground offensive needed due to Hamas underground tunnels, says former Israeli major general
Yaakov Amidror, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, vowed that Israeli forces will ensure the destruction of Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Israel will continue to use its air force, while preparing a huge ground forces operation in the Gaza Strip, Amidror told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” Friday.
“After the operation, Hamas as an organization will not exist in the Gaza Strip, we will kill as many as possible of its members, and we will destroy every facility of the organization,” he said.
“We have to destroy Hamas on the ground to find Hamas members within the underground tunnels, in the holes, in their headquarters,” he added.
When asked if the operation would come at a cost to Palestinians in the territory, Amidror said that Israeli forces are giving them the time and the ability to move from the battlefield.
The United Nations on Thursday condemned Israel’s “indiscriminate military attacks against the already exhausted Palestinian people of Gaza” and warned that it could lead to a “severe humanitarian crisis.”
The organization has also strongly condemned the horrific crimes committed by Hamas, the deliberate and widespread killing and hostage-taking of innocent civilians.
Israel has told the United Nations to evacuate 1.1 million residents in north Gaza within 24 hours, in the strongest sign yet that a ground offensive is imminent. Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said such a move was “impossible.”
Israeli military says its ongoing goal is to ‘strip away’ Hamas’ military abilities
Israeli Army Spokesperson for International Media, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.
Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images
The aim of the Israeli campaign in the Gaza Strip is to “take all of Hamas’ military abilities and strip them away” to avoid further Israeli civilian casualties, Jonathan Conricus, spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces, said in a video update released early Friday.
“That is the purpose of what we are doing now inside the Gaza Strip. That is why the Israeli air force has been delivering significant amounts of ordinance of bombs on the Gaza Strip. And that is what we will continue to do as this war unfolds and as we will deal a decisive blow to Hamas,” he added.
Hours prior, the IDF told roughly 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to evacuate southwards of the Wadi Gaza wetlands.
“This evacuation is for your own safety. You will be able to return to Gaza City only when another announcement permitting it is made,” the IDF said in the message it distributed on Telegram, which it said it communicated to the civilians of Gaza City. The instruction to evacuate has bolstered concerns that Israel, which has amassed forces on the border with Gaza, is preparing a ground incursion.
The Telegram post did not reference a 24-hour deadline — a timeframe that the U.N. said the IDF supplied them for the operation.
“We understand that this will take time,” Conricus said in the video update. “It’s not an easy process.”
— Ruxandra Iordache
UN refugee agency relocates Gaza premises
The U.N. Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has relocated its central operations in Gaza to the south of the territory as it continues with its local humanitarian work.
In a post update on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter, it urged Israeli authorities to protect all civilians who take cover in its shelters, including schools.
Earlier in the week, the U.N. said that schools and premises of the UNRWA were among the sites hit in Israeli retaliatory air strikes that followed a terrorist attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas at the weekend. Twelve UNRWA staff members have been killed since the start of the conflict, the agency said Thursday.
Its operational relocation south takes place as the U.N. said Israel has supplied a 24-hour deadline for the roughly 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to evacuate south.
— Ruxandra Iordache
Israel’s use of white phosphorus in Gaza and Lebanon endangers civilians, says HRW
Smoke rises as the Palestinian Foreign Ministry claimed that Israel used phosphorus bombs in its attacks on populated areas in Gaza City, Gaza on October 11, 2023.
Ali Jadallah | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Israel’s use of white phosphorus in military operations in Gaza and Lebanon puts civilians in danger as it exposes them to severe and long-lasting injuries, Human Rights Watch warned.
“White phosphorus, which can be used either for marking, signaling, and obscuring, or as a weapon to set fires that burn people and objects, has a significant incendiary effect,” the non-governmental organization said, noting it can burn people and objects, as well as set on fire structures and fields in the vicinity.
Human Rights Watch said the rights group witnessed videos taken in Lebanon and Gaza this week that showed a number of airbursts of artillery-fired white phosphorous over the Gaza City port and two rural locations along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Using the substance violates international humanitarian law which prohibits putting civilians at unnecessary risk, HRW said.
“Any time that white phosphorus is used in crowded civilian areas, it poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering,” said Lama Fakih, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
— Charmaine Jacob
IDF confirms it has ordered civilians in Gaza to move south ‘for their own safety’
Israel Defense Forces confirmed it has ordered civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate south “for their own safety.”
“Gaza City is an area where military operations are taking place,” IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“This evacuation is for your own safety,” he said, adding that residents will only be able to return when another announcement permitting them to do so is made.
He repeatedly warned that they should not approach the border with Israel.
“Hamas terrorists are hiding in Gaza City, inside tunnels, underneath houses and inside buildings populated with innocent Gaza civilians,” Conricus said, calling on Palestinians to distance themselves from the militants who are using them as human shields.
— Joanna Tan
Death toll mounts
The latest figures show further increases in the total number of people killed following Palestinian militant group Hamas’ multi-pronged attack last Saturday and Israel’s retaliatory strikes.
At least 1,300 people have been killed in Israel since the hostilities, according to official figures, with another 3,300 wounded.
A combined 1,568 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank over the same period, official figures show.
It should be noted that there can be discrepancies between the figures reported by various official sources, as events continue to develop on the ground.
— Ruxandra Iordache
UN says Israel wants 1.1 million people in Gaza to move south in the next 24 hours
Israel has called for the evacuation of 1.1 million residents in north Gaza to move south in the next 24 hours, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, confirmed with NBC News.
“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” the statement said.
The move suggests that Israel could be moving to proceed with its ground offensive into the Palestinian enclave to pursue Hamas militants that the Jewish nation has pledged to wipe out.
The entire population of Gaza north of Wadi Gaza was ordered to relocate to southern Gaza “within the next 24 hours,” the Israeli military informed the UN and the Department of Safety and Security in Gaza before midnight local time.
That’s 1.1 million people — about half the size of Gaza Strip’s population.
The same order was given to all of UN’s staff and those taking refuge in UN facilities, such as schools, medical centers and clinics.
— Joanna Tan
No ‘direct evidence’ Iran participated in Hamas terror attacks, White House says
White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby joins White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 12, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The White House said there was no “direct evidence” that Iran was a participant in the surprise terror attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel.
“We’re still looking into this but again, no direct evidence that Iran was a participant in these attacks,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House.
“But again, we’re still we’re still monitoring it,” Kirby added.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden warned Iran to “be careful” as tensions in the region soar.
— Amanda Macias
No plans to put U.S. forces on the ground in Israel, White House says
Israeli tanks move near Gaza border as Israeli army deploys military vehicles around the Gaza Strip, Israel on October 12, 2023.
Mostafa Alkharouf | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that while the U.S. will continue to evolve its strategic planning around the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, there are no plans to put American servicemembers on the ground in Israel.
“There are no intentions, no plans to put American troops on the ground in combat,” Kirby told reporters at the White House during a press briefing. “There is no interest from the Israelis,” he added.
A senior Defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity per ground rules established by the Pentagon, echoed Kirby’s remarks in a separate briefing with reporters.
“We are consistently and continuously consulting with them on their needs. What they have asked of us is to expedite security systems so that they are able to defend themselves,” the official said.
— Amanda Macias
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