16m ago / 9:04 AM UTC

‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza’ — U.N. calls for protection of civilians

The U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian Territories, has declared that “Nowhere is safe in Gaza” and warned that Israel’s “advance warnings make no difference” to the safety of the enclave’s 2.3 million population.

Lynn Hastings said in a statement Thursday that evacuation routes to humanitarian sites are bombed, leaving people with nowhere to go.

“When the essentials for survival are lacking, and when there are no assurances for return, people are left with nothing but impossible choices. Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” she said, adding that civilians must be protected “wherever they are and whether they choose to move or stay.”

Hastings also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

35m ago / 8:46 AM UTC

Biden: Israel has ‘right’ to target Hamas, but must protect civilians

JERUSALEM — President Biden said that Israel must “do everything in its power” to protect civilians, but also said he has “no confidence” the Hamas-provided death toll of Palestinian civilians is accurate. NBC News’ Richard Engel reports.

40m ago / 8:41 AM UTC

Hamas calls for worldwide protests to ‘stop the war of extermination’

JERUSALEM — Hamas today called on Muslims and Arabs across the world to “escalate the mass movement” calling for an end to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, and to permanently open the Rafah crossing with Egypt to allow humanitarian aid to cross.

The group said in a statement it wanted supporters to “participate actively and intensively in the coming Friday and Sunday,” using the slogans “Open the Rafah crossing” and “Stop the war of extermination on Gaza.”

Pro-Palestinian rallies have already taken place across the world.

Israel says it is targeting terrorist targets in Gaza and that it does not control the Rafah crossing.

41m ago / 8:39 AM UTC

IDF disputes U.N. agency’s warning that fuel shortage will stop Gaza operations

UNRWA workers at a shelter for displaced Palestinians in Khan Younis, Gaza.
UNRWA workers at a shelter in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, yesterday.Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images

Israel’s military has questioned a warning from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that a fuel shortage will force it to end its operations in Gaza.

IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said in a briefing that the statement from UNRWA was not accurate and accused Hamas of stockpiling fuel for military purposes.

“Hamas prefers to have all of the fuel for its warfighting capabilities, leaving civilians without it, and then international organizations ask for help,” he said.

“I think that it’s very important that they point their questions … to the ones who can actually help them and actually govern the Gaza Strip, and that is Hamas, not Israel and not Egypt.”

42m ago / 8:38 AM UTC

Biden says he has ‘no confidence’ in Palestinian death toll

President Joe Biden said yesterday that he has “no confidence” in the death toll being provided by Palestinian officials, who say more than 6,500 people, including 2,700 children, have been killed by Israeli retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas.

“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden said at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war.” 

Biden said Israel should be “incredibly careful” to minimize civilian casualties, but that he had “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using,” without saying why.

People mourn the dead outside Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza.
People mourn the dead outside Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah.Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group based in Washington, condemned Biden’s remarks as “dehumanizing” and called on him to apologize.

“Journalists have confirmed the high number of casualties, and countless videos coming out of Gaza every day show mangled bodies of Palestinian women and children,” executive director Nihad Awad said in a statement.

He added that CAIR had received 774 complaints, including reported bias incidents, since the war began, a spike the group says is “driven at least in part by irresponsible rhetoric from government officials.” 

1h ago / 8:14 AM UTC

Israel conducts ‘targeted raid’ inside Gaza

Footage released by the Israeli army on Oct. 26, 2023, shows a "targeted raid" in northern Gaza with tanks and infantry.
Footage released by the Israeli army on Thursday shows a “targeted raid” in northern Gaza with tanks and infantry.Janine Haidar / Israeli Army via AFP – Getty Images

Israel’s military said it conducted a “targeted raid” in northern Gaza using tanks overnight.

“Soldiers struck numerous terrorists, terror infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

The forces then left the area, the statement added.

1h ago / 8:11 AM UTC

White House increases outreach to Muslim and Arab-Americans

WASHINGTON — Hours before President Joe Biden gave a rare primetime address last week, his head speechwriter sat down with a group of senior Arab and Muslim-American officials to go over the draft and take suggestions.

A pro-Palestinian march in Washington calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
A pro-Palestinian march in Washington calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.Andrew Harnik / AP

Dissent was sprouting even inside the White House, where some aides worried that Biden hadn’t shown enough empathy for Palestinian civilians and a Muslim community facing a torrent of anger, said a person familiar with the discussions who, like others, requested anonymity to talk freely.

The hour-long editing session reflects a vigorous outreach effort the White House is undertaking to reassure Arab-Americans who feel they’re being scapegoated for the atrocities that Hamas has committed a half-world away. Senior advisers have been calling Muslim officials throughout the country and inviting community advocates onto the White House campus for frank conversations. Cabinet secretaries are sounding out federal workers to see how they’re coping with an Israel-Hamas war that has sparked angry protests in the U.S.

Read the full story here.

1h ago / 8:11 AM UTC

FBI and DHS issue announcement about threats associated with the war

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a rare joint public service announcement tonight about threats associated with the Israel-Hamas conflict, both in the U.S. and overseas.

The announcement comes after a similar PSA issued Oct. 10 and an FBI/DHS Intelligence Bulletin that went out to law enforcement on Oct. 18. 

An NYPD officer patrols in front of the synagogue Congregation Bais Yaakov Nechamia Dsatmar in New York.
An NYPD officer patrols in front of the synagogue Congregation Bais Yaakov Nechamia Dsatmar in Brooklyn, N.Y.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images file

Since the Oct. 10 announcement, “the volume and frequency of threats to Americans, especially those in the Jewish, Arab American, and Muslim communities in the United States, have increased, raising our concern that violent extremists and lone offenders motivated by or reacting to ongoing events could target these communities,” the note reads.

The announcement noted the fatal stabbing of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy in Illinois on Oct. 14, hoax bomb threats against houses of worship and violent online rhetoric.

1h ago / 8:11 AM UTC

‘We’re losing an inner sense of humanity’: Aid agency director who has family sheltering in Gaza

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, a body that does humanitarian work in Gaza, has warned of the dire consequences of the war for people living there.

Its director of philanthropy, Hani Almadhoun, detailed the increasingly dire reality for thousands of Gazans on MSNBC.

1h ago / 8:11 AM UTC

Israel-Hamas war continues to roil American colleges, sparking walkouts

Dozens of U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly riven by tensions over the war between Israel and Hamas, offering a window into how a rising generation perceives the conflict in the Middle East and the U.S. government’s foreign policy in the region.

A pro-Palestinian protest at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
A pro-Palestinian protest at Harvard University on Oct. 14.Joseph Prezioso / AFP – Getty Images file

In recent days, protests and demonstrations have broken out on several campuses, in some cases drawing national attention and putting intense scrutiny on young people that some observers consider unfair. In some situations, student activism around the war has overlapped with volatile debates about free speech.

The conflict between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people has long been the subject of intense debate in the U.S., especially on college campuses, where political activism is common. But the new war has raised the temperature dramatically, giving rise to social environments on campus that mirror the country’s similarly polarized politics.

Read the full story here.


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