1h ago / 5:15 AM UTC

Pete Davidson, the son of a 9/11 victim, opens SNL with heart

“Saturday Night Live” returned for its 49th season, delayed by the summer writers strike. And its guest host, alum Pete Davidson, addressed the ongoing tragedy in the Mideast head on.

“We saw horrible images and stories from Israel and Gaza and I know what you’re thinking: Who better to comment on it than Pete Davidson?” the usually-goofy-but-not-this-time comedian said.

“Well, in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it because when I was seven years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So I know something about what that’s like.

“I saw so many terrible pictures this week of children suffering, there Israeli children and Palestinian children. And it took me back to a really horrible, horrible place. And, you know, no one in this world serves to suffer. That you know, especially not kids.

“You know, after my dad died, my mom tried pretty much everything she could do to cheer me up. I remember one day when I was eight. She got me what she thought was a Disney movie. But it was actually the Eddie Murphy stand-up special “Delirious.” And we played it in the car on the way home and when she heard the things Eddie Murphy was saying, she tried to take it away.

“But then she noticed something for the first time in a long time, I was laughing again. I don’t understand that. I really don’t and I never will, but sometimes, comedy is really the only way forward through tragedy.

“You know, my heart is with everyone whose lives have been destroyed this week. But tonight, I’m gonna do what I’ve always done in the face of tragedy and that’s tried to be funny. Remember, I said try.”

2h ago / 4:31 AM UTC

Israeli-American CEO rushes home: “I have to come back. I have to be here. I’m Jewish. We have to protect Israel.”

Maayan Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Hello Heart, was on her way to a conference in Las Vegas when the flood of texts from home began. The horrors that her team witnessed made her know there was no question: She had to get to Israel.

Speaking from a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv, her children nearby, Cohen explained.

“Israelis are probably one of the only people that we have war, when we are at risk, everybody flies in. This is our country.

“I have to come back. I have to be here. I’m Jewish. We have to protect Israel.”

3h ago / 3:27 AM UTC

Ron DeSantis says U.S. shouldn’t take in refugees from Gaza 

CRESTON, Iowa — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said today the U.S. should not accept refugees from Gaza as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee from the north to the south, following Israeli government warnings to evacuate before an anticipated ground invasion.

Onstage before the crowd of about 50 people in this rural town southwest of Des Moines, DeSantis said other Arab states should absorb the refugees. But delving deeper into his reasoning, he offered up a sweeping characterization of the fleeing Palestinians. 

“If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic. None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist,” he baselessly claimed. 

Read the full story here.

4h ago / 2:27 AM UTC

Gaza evacuation: How residents are moving south to find shelter

Getting out of Gaza is harrowing, and the route is littered with deadly obstacles.

4h ago / 2:17 AM UTC

Finding hostage locations will be the priority for special forces, analyst says

Special forces are most likely heading into or are in Gaza to identify areas where hostages might be held, a retired admiral and MSNBC analyst said tonight.

“What is happening is special forces are flooding into Gaza City, They’re attempting above all to find and fix the location of these hostages,” James Stavridis, retired admiral and MSNBC chief international analyst, said on the network.

Stavridis said that Israel’s military, which has ground forces around Gaza, could also go in by the sea.

4h ago / 1:59 AM UTC

More than just another round of fighting in Gaza, Israel spokesperson says

Israeli’s military action against Hamas in Gaza aims to “dismantle” Hamas as both a military and a governing organization, a spokesperson for Israeli’s government said today.

“This is not another round of fighting in the Gaza Strip; this is not another round in which Israel is aiming to deter Hamas or degrade Hamas,” spokesperson Eylon Levy said on MSNBC. “This is a war in which Israel’s aim is to dismantle Hamas.”

Hamas controls Gaza. It was elected in Gaza in 2006, and there have not been elections since. It has a military arm and a political arm.

4h ago / 1:51 AM UTC

Tanks on the move on a clear morning near the border

NEAR THE ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER — At 4:40 a.m. along the northern section of the border, tanks roll along the street, clanking on the pavement as they move.

In the distance, artillery booms are heard and flashes of light are spotted overhead, creating an unusual contrast on a morning clear enough for stargazing and a perfect view of the Big Dipper.

5h ago / 1:41 AM UTC

U.K. flights leave Israel as government gets nationals out of region

Three United Kingdom-facilitated flights left Israel bound for the U.K. and Cyprus, the government said, “with more expected in the coming hours.”

“We are working with the Egyptian authorities to facilitate British and dual nationals, and their spouses and children, leaving Gaza via Rafah,” the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said on X.

Governments have been working to help their citizens leave Israel and Gaza as the conflict continues and could enter a new phase when a promised bombardment by Israel takes place.

Canada has been sending Canadian armed forces flights to get Canadians out of Israel. U.S. officials have said charter flights would go to Israel for Americans there.

5h ago / 1:22 AM UTC

Agreement to allow Americans out of Gaza through Rafah gate remains elusive

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The tentative agreement to allow Americans safe passage through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt from Gaza continues to face significant obstacles to implementation, U.S. officials say.

The issue will be a key item on Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s agenda when he lands in Cairo tomorrow, they said.

Earlier discussions with Egypt by the U.S., Qatar and Israel focused on a five-hour window during which U.S. citizens could pass through the Rafah crossing today, but the deadline came and went without any immediate sign of success. 

A U.S. official said that although the original window has passed, the parties continue to negotiate and obstacles remain. 

There’s still no guarantee that Hamas, which controls the Gaza side of the border and which has told residents not to evacuate, will allow for safe passage, three U.S. officials cautioned. A fourth source with knowledge of the situation pointed to another issue — Egypt’s outstanding concerns over aid guarantees tied to any opening of the border. Even if Egypt’s demands are met, Hamas remains a critical piece of the equation. 

Even so, the State Department continues to publicly urge the 500 to 600 Americans estimated to be in Gaza to move south, cautioning that ​if​ the crossing opens, the window could be brief.  

With a ground invasion of Gaza believed to be imminent, securing safe passage for Americans through the Rafah crossing remains an administration priority, according to multiple sources. 

Blinken is expected to make remarks from the tarmac in Cairo at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

5h ago / 12:54 AM UTC

Demonstrators descend on Israel’s L.A. consulate to support Palestinians


LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside Israel’s Consulate General today in support for the plight of Palestinians in Gaza. 

Despite a splinter group’s attempt to block the nearby 405 freeway, which was thwarted by Los Angeles police, and a single confrontation with a pro-Israel protester, the event was peaceful overall, authorities said.

Demonstrators blocked busy Wilshire Boulevard, which runs from the sea to downtown and passes UCLA and the Westwood Federal Building, for hours this afternoon. No arrests were reported.

Estee Chandler, a well-known actor who founded the Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, said it was important to note that Jewish Americans attended to support the Palestinian state and human rights for the people of Gaza.

“Dehumanization of Palestinians starts at the top from our government officials,” she said. “We need to remind people that Palestinians are human beings, our brothers, our sisters, our cousins, our dentists, our friends, our teachers, our neighbors, and we have to love each other and take care of each other.”

Critics of Hamas say its level of violence may have discarded any notion of human civility.

“This is about humanity,” Chandler said. “This is about not letting the worst things that we’ve seen in history, that we’ve learned about history, happen again before our eyes with the support of our government and the use of our tax dollars.”

6h ago / 12:45 AM UTC

At least 12 journalists killed in conflict, group says

At least 12 journalists have been killed in the conflict since Hamas attacked Israel and Israel launched strikes on Gaza, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Two others are missing and eight had been injured as of Saturday, the organization said in a statement.

Of the 12 confirmed dead, 10 are Palestinian and one is Israeli, according to the group, known as CPJ. A Beirut-based journalist was killed in Lebanon yesterday in shelling by Israel.

Reuters has said video journalist Issam Abdallah was killed while providing a live signal to broadcasters. Abdallah was killed in Lebanon close to the Israeli border where Hezbollah militants and Israel’s military had been trading fire, it reported.

Israel said it would investigate, Reuters reported.

“Journalists are making great sacrifices across the region covering this important conflict. Measures to ensure their safety must be taken by all parties to stop this deadly and heavy toll,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in the statement.

6h ago / 12:29 AM UTC

U.S. leaders face new challenges amid Israel-Hamas war

As the impact of the Israel-Hamas war is felt around the world, the conflict is presenting new challenges for U.S. leaders. 

6h ago / 12:15 AM UTC

In Gaza, ‘we’re dying, and everyone is watching’

GAZA CITY — A humanitarian crisis is gripping Gaza as hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians flee to the south amid the Israeli military’s aerial bombardment in retaliation for Hamas’ brutal terrorist attack one week ago.

The Israel Defense Forces warned residents to evacuate from Gaza’s north — home of its largest population center, Gaza City — on Friday, and the deadline has passed.

After the surprise assault Oct. 7, Israel placed the territory under siege, cutting off basic utilities. Today, Gaza is almost out of clean water, food, fuel and medical supplies. There hasn’t been electricity in days, and its largest hospital, Al-Shifa, is now a shelter for 35,000 people, with men sleeping in the parking lot and women inside.

There is little safety even for those fleeing. An airstrike hit a convoy of people trying to head south on a road that was supposed to provide safe passage. Among the dead were children and women, lying in pools of blood near vehicles. Ambulances were also struck.

“We’re dying, and everyone is watching. Shame on you, all the Arab countries. We were told to leave, but where? Where to go?” said Heba Al Attar, who is leaving a United Nations-operated school, which is supposed to be a safe place. “They’re shelling people on the roads, too. Where are we to go?” 

More than 1,900 people have been killed in Gaza, and more than 7,600 have been injured.

Read the full story here.

6h ago / 11:54 PM UTC

Reservists leave U.S. to answer call to fight in Israel


Americans have been saying goodbye to relatives who are answering the call to fight in Israel.

Reservist Nor Labe bought his ticket to Israel before the military called him up.

“There was no way that I was going to sit at home,” he said.

Andrew Silverman, who was visiting his family in Chicago, jumped on a flight to Israel upon being notified that his friend had been killed in the conflict. “From there, the rest of the day became about me trying to get on a flight back to Tel Aviv,” Silverman said. “I think people are really using this as an opportunity to come together and help each other.”

Zev Baryodin left his 1-year-old son and pregnant wife to serve in Israel. “He is doing his duty, and I am extremely proud of him,” his father said.

Most Israelis enter the military at 18. After serving for two to three years, soldiers are typically placed in the Israel Defense Forces reserves and can serve for decades.

Members of the IDF who live overseas are not required to return upon a call to fight.

But to some, including Josh Jacobson, “it just felt so weird to be in Boston when there is so much going on here. It is my duty as part of the collective nation of Israel to come back and help.”

7h ago / 11:48 PM UTC

2nd U.S. aircraft carrier group headed to eastern Mediterranean

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is headed from Norfolk, Virginia, to the Eastern Mediterranean, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today, part of an effort to deter a widening war.

Austin said the carrier strike group will join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which arrived earlier week.

The Eisenhower group includes a guided missile cruiser, two guided missile destroyers and nine aircraft squadrons, Austin said in a statement.

Biden this week issued a warning to other groups or countries about the conflict.

“Let me say again — to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t,” he said.

7h ago / 11:34 PM UTC

At the Human Rights Campaign dinner tonight, Biden said the Israel-Hamas war is “another reminder that hate never goes away.”

“A week ago we saw hate manifest in another way in the worst massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust. More than 1,300 innocent lives lost in Israel, including at least 27 Americans,” he said.  

“It’s yet another reminder that hate never goes away,” he told the crowd. “It hides. It hides under the rocks.”

7h ago / 11:22 PM UTC

Israel’s military vows to kill Hamas leader behind attack

ASHDOD, Israel — Israel’s military is conducting an all-out hunt for Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza and mastermind of the worst attack in Israel’s history.

The IDF says he’s its Osama bin Ladin.

“When they chose to go full front against Israel, they signed their own death warrants,” IDF Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.

7h ago / 11:14 PM UTC

An emotional goodbye after Florida family’s son goes to Israel to fight


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Nata Nagli was in the family’s South Florida home last week when she woke her 22-year-old son, David, and told him about the Hamas terrorist attack on her native Israel.

David was soon on his feet, she said, telling her, “Mom, I know you’re going to start crying now,” which she did.

“But there’s nothing that you can tell me that’s going to stop me from going. I need to join my unit,” he said, Nagli told NBC News.

David joined the Israel Defense Forces when he was 18 and is in the reserves. Israel has called up more than 300,000 reservists since Hamas launched its terrorist attacks. Israel’s prime minister declared war on Hamas and vowed to crush it.

David’s parents drove him to the airport last Saturday, the day he and the world learned of the Hamas attacks.

A long time ago, David gave his mother a box with a bug inside that says, “Love Bug.” Nagli gave her son the box back at the airport as they said goodbye.

“When he hugged me goodbye, he said, ‘Mom, I promise I’m going to bring the love bug back,’” she said. 

David Nagli in the Miami airport.
David Nagli in the Miami airport.Courtesy Nagli family

7h ago / 10:59 PM UTC

Border buzzing with drones and fighter jets

NEAR THE ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER — It’s a quarter to 2 a.m. in Israel. Along the northern section of the Israel-Gaza border, you can hear the buzz of drones and fighter jets overhead.

Tanks on flatbeds have driven along the road bedside us — headed in the direction of Gaza.

We haven’t seen rocket fire here in a few hours, but we are hearing artillery. In the last 45 minutes, we’ve heard the booms of artillery at least nine times.

7h ago / 10:53 PM UTC

An estimated 35,000 people find refuge at Gaza City hospital

An estimated 35,000 people have sought refuge at Gaza City’s main hospital, Al-Shifa, with men seen camping in its parking lot and women and children staying inside.

It’s one of three Gaza City hospitals under orders to evacuate.

Today, the World Health Organization condemned the evacuation orders, which it said would cover 22 hospitals and their more than 2,000 inpatients in northern Gaza.

It’s “tantamount to a death sentence” for patients, the WHO said in a statement.

8h ago / 10:46 PM UTC

‘I really have to go’: NYC man goes back to Israel to fight Hamas

NEAR THE GAZA BORDER, Israel — When the 40-year-old Israeli-American father of three, living in New York City, was called back by Israel’s military after Hamas’ terror attacks on the country, he could have avoided it.

“But I really have to go,” Capt. Shai, who asked that his first name not be used, told NBC News at an Israeli military training camp in southern Israel.

“They took hostages — women, children and grandparents, back to Gaza,” he said. “And at that moment, I knew I have to go back.”

Israel called up more than 300,000 reservists after Hamas’ unprecedented terror attack on the country, which killed more than 1,300 people in Israel. Israel’s military said it is preparing for a ground attack on Gaza.

Airstrikes in Gaza have killed more than 2,200 people in the densely populated enclave, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Capt. Shai said he feels bad for the plight of Palestinian civilians. “There are many Palestinians in Gaza that are innocent, that didn’t do these attacks necessarily,” he said. “But Hamas is holding them captive.”

“This is unprecedented. We’re at war,” he said. “And so, we always try to minimize civilian casualties. Always. That’s the way we operate. But at the same time, we have to understand that they’re not giving us another choice.”

8h ago / 10:39 PM UTC

Family of missing Israeli festivalgoer pleads for her safe return

Sharona Shmunis Harel was celebrating her 40th birthday at a music festival when Hamas militants began their violent attacks in south Israel.

Ohad Harel, her brother-in-law, says her family believes she is among the Israeli hostages, and they are desperately pleading for her return.

Read more about Hamas’ terrorist attack on an Israeli music festival.

8h ago / 10:31 PM UTC

‘Israel needs to protect its people,’ rabbi says


Joshua Davidson, a senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-el in New York City, today described Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip as a “necessary act of self-defense.”

“The message to the Jewish community and all who are friends in the Jewish community and supporters of Israel is the need for solidarity. Israel needs to be able to defend itself. It’s bombing of Gaza. It’s probable ground invasion of Gaza is not retaliation,” Davison said. “It’s not some cathartic act of vengeance. It’s a necessary act of self-defense. Nothing would make us happier than if Hamas laid down their weapons and marched out of Gaza with their hands in the air. But in all likelihood, that’s not going to happen. Israel needs to protect its people.”

Renat Lifshitz of New York says the war is affecting even the small details of daily life for Jews everywhere.

“There’s a lot of fear. There’s fear now more than ever since the Holocaust. I feel like this is the fear in New York, Israel, Florida and all over the world. It’s like everyone is afraid to walk around, people are afraid to wear their Jewish Star,” Lifshitz said. “The other day I was afraid to order an Uber because my name is Jewish and Israeli, and God forbid the Uber driver says ‘Are you Jewish?’ and ‘I’m going to kill you,’ so, yeah, it’s extremely terrifying. It’s extremely hurtful. Everyone makes us feel so hated nowadays.”

8h ago / 10:28 PM UTC

FBI director: Threats related to the war are on the rise in the U.S.


FBI Director Christopher Wray told a gathering of police chiefs today that threats related to the Middle East’s latest warring factions are on the rise in the U.S.

In prepared remarks to the 2023 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in San Diego, Wray said the Hamas attacks and the subsequent war may be inspiring threats and hatred.

NBC News has not immediately determined whether the remarks were delivered as planned.

“In this heightened environment, there’s no question we’re seeing an increase in reported threats, and we have to be on the lookout, especially for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own,” Wray said in the prepared version of his words.

He asked for vigilance among the chiefs and the departments they lead.

“As the first line of defense in protecting our communities, you’re often the first to see the signs that someone may be mobilizing to violence.”

NBC affiliate WGAL of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, reported that a demonstration in the state capital, Harrisburg, to bring attention to the plight of the residents of Gaza and the occupied territories was interrupted by a man in a vehicle who allegedly brandished a firearm and yelled racial slurs.

The station said Pennsylvania Capitol Police are investigating the incident at the Harrisburg Rally for Palestine as a possible hate crime. The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged authorities to prosecute the man in the vehicle for alleged hate crimes.

Pennsylvania Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

8h ago / 10:18 PM UTC

Mother desperate for information after daughters’ kidnapping was livestreamed

For a week now, Maayan Zin has been desperate for information about her daughters who were taken hostage from the kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Hamas attackers livestreamed the kidnapping of 8-year-old Ela Elyakim and 15-year-old Dafna Elyakim from the kibbutz Oct. 7.

Hamas later posted a photo of Dafna online.

Ela and Dafna were supposed to have spent the weekend at their mother’s home in Tel Aviv, but they went to their father’s in Nahal Oz to take part in a ceremony celebrating the 70th anniversary of the kibbutz’s founding.

Maayan Zin, 50, learned his daughters had been kidnapped when her sister called and shared the image of Dafna several hours after the kidnapping.

“I thought it must be Photoshopped,” Zin said.

Only when she saw the video of the kidnapping did the reality start to sink in for Zin.

The video shows the family seated and scared as men armed with semi-automatic weapons walk around their house and, speaking in English, ask the adults for their IDs.

In addition to the girls, their father, Noam Elyakim, 48; his girlfriend, Dikla Arava Eliaz, 50; and Eliaz’ 17-year-old son, Tomer, were kidnapped. 

The video appears to show Noam Elyakim was shot in the leg.

9h ago / 9:47 PM UTC

Israeli strikes slowing as Saturday turns to Sunday near Gaza border

SDEROT, Israel — It’s just past midnight on the border with Gaza, and the streets remain quiet, save the constant hum of an Israeli drone hovering above.

The tempo of outgoing Israeli strikes has slowed in the last several hours.

In the darkness of night, the skyline of Gaza City is black; only a few lights can be seen flickering in the distance.

9h ago / 9:45 PM UTC

Iran foreign minister meets Hamas political leader, state news says

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, and Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh met for talks in Qatar, the Iranian state news agency IRNA said.

It was the first meeting between Iranian and Hamas officials since Hamas attacked Israel last Saturday, the state-run news agency said.

Iran has had a long relationship with Hamas and supports it, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, but he said this week the U.S. had no “direct evidence” that Iran was involved in the Hamas terrorist attacks.

9h ago / 9:28 PM UTC

U.S. intelligence had reported increased threat from Hamas but not details of imminent assault, sources say

U.S. intelligence agencies reported a heightened risk of violence from Hamas in the weeks before the group’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel but did not pick up detailed information about an imminent large-scale assault, according to two sources familiar with the intelligence. 

The U.S. assessments, based partly on Israeli intelligence, included information that Hamas appeared ready to ratchet up its rocket attacks on Israel and a broader threat of more violence by the Palestinian militants, the sources said. 

However, the U.S. intelligence reporting did not have specific information about a pending massive attack like the one carried out a week ago, which took Israel by surprise, the sources said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters Thursday that the U.S. did not have intelligence in advance of an imminent attack and that if it had, the administration would have shared the information with Israel.

CNN first reported on intelligence assessments about the threat of a potential increase in violence from Hamas.

At an event at Georgetown University in February, CIA Director William Burns expressed concern about the climate in the Middle East and the potential for an eruption of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants. 

Burns said that “in the conversations I had with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, … it left me quite concerned about the prospects for even greater fragility and even greater violence between Israelis and Palestinians, as well.”

9h ago / 9:20 PM UTC

President Biden speaks to Palestinian Authority President Abbas on two-state solution


Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas discussed implementing a two-state solution to achieve peace in the region, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

In a phone call this evening, Abbas talked about allowing humanitarian corridors in the Gaza Strip to provide vital supplies to people in the area.

Abbas thanked Biden for the administration’s efforts and said he is ready to engage in peace talks if Palestinian people are given their rights.

9h ago / 9:01 PM UTC

29 Americans killed in Israel-Hamas conflict, State Department says

Twenty-nine U.S. citizens were confirmed dead in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, a State Department spokesperson said Saturday afternoon.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected,” the spokesperson said, adding the department would not comment further on the identities of those killed or the circumstances of their deaths.

The spokesperson said the department was also aware of 15 U.S. citizens who are unaccounted for, as well as one lawful permanent resident. 

“The U.S. government is working around the clock to determine their whereabouts and is working with the Israeli government on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to advise the Israeli government on hostage recovery efforts.”

9h ago / 8:58 PM UTC

Mother of son assumed kidnapped by Hamas: ‘He’s my universe’

Rachel Goldberg, whose 23-year-old son is assumed to have been kidnapped by Hamas after he attend a music festival, told NBC News, “We feel like we’re in a parallel universe.”

Goldberg said she last saw her son Friday of last week. He then left with his best friend to go to the Supernova music festival near the Gaza border, where 260 people were killed.

Goldberg said that the next morning, when she heard sirens and knew something was going on, she checked her phone and saw two texts from her son, one reading “I love you” and another saying “I’m sorry.”

“I immediately knew something horrible was in the process of happening or about to happen,” she said.

Goldberg said that she did receive confirmation that her son is assumed to have been kidnapped and that the last signal from his cellphone was picked up on the border of Gaza. She said eyewitnesses said that her son and others ended up in a bomb shelter, that it appeared her son’s arm may have been blown off with a tourniquet around it and that he was taken away with a few other young men.

“He’s my universe. He’s my whole life. He’s the most important thing to me,” she said, adding that she was also aware that her family’s suffering is “one small part” of a much larger, terrible event.

10h ago / 8:35 PM UTC

Israeli Iron Dome air defense systems intercept a rocket in Ashkelon

Israeli Iron Dome air defense systems intercept a rocket, in Ashkelon, Israel
Tsafrir Abayov / AP

10h ago / 8:29 PM UTC

President Biden addresses families of missing Americans following Hamas attacks in Israel

“The families of unaccounted for Americans following the terrorist attack on Israel are going through the unthinkable. I gave them my word: We are not walking away from them,” President Biden posted on X today, together with a video from the Oval Office.

“I know from experience there’s not a single thing more and more worrisome than to have someone you love, someone you adore, adores you, and not knowing their fate,” Biden said in the video.

10h ago / 8:23 PM UTC

Pro-Palestinian protests continue around U.S.

Pro-Palestinian protesters held rallies across the U.S. and in Europe today.

The protesters held demonstrations in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, multiple cities in California and elsewhere.

In Houston, there were well over 1,000 protesters about an hour into a demonstration this afternoon. Some held posters saying “Stand With Gaza,” “Occupation is a Crime” and “Free Palestine.” 

In Chicago, protesters chanted “Palestine will be free” and “Free Free Palestine, Ethnic cleansing is a crime.”

In Washington, several thousand rallied at a hourslong protest, some holding pro-Palestinian posters, flags and umbrellas in the rain, chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the occupation’s got to go” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

10h ago / 8:21 PM UTC

World Health Organization: Evacuation orders ‘are a death sentence for the sick and injured ‘

The World Health Organization condemned Israel’s orders to evacuate “22 hospitals treating more than 2,000 inpatients in northern Gaza” in a statement today.

“The forced evacuation of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe,” the statement read, adding that “the lives of many critically ill and fragile patients hang in the balance,” including those of patients who rely on life support, newborns in incubators and pregnant women with complications.

The organization said health facilities in northern Gaza are receiving an influx of patients and “are struggling to operate beyond maximum capacity.”

“Forcing more than 2000 patients to relocate to southern Gaza, where health facilities are already running at maximum capacity and unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number patients, could be tantamount to a death sentence,” the WHO said.

Israel’s evacuation order has put hospital directors and health care workers in a position to choose between abandoning sick patients amid airstrikes or putting their own lives in danger while remaining on site to treat them, according to the WHO.

“WHO calls for Israel to immediately reverse evacuation orders to hospitals in northern Gaza, and calls for the protection of health facilities, health workers, patients, and civilians,” it said.

10h ago / 8:20 PM UTC

10h ago / 8:18 PM UTC

President Biden speaks with Israeli PM Netanyahu for the fifth time


Netanyahu spoke with Biden and thanked him for the “deep and unconditional American support,” the prime minister’s office said today on X.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Israel this week and reaffirmed U.S. support for its right to defend itself.

In the call, Netanyahu discussed his visit today to the Israeli-Gaza border, where he met with IDF troops and saw the aftermath of the Hamas attack.

10h ago / 8:07 PM UTC

Barrages of artillery rounds pierce night sky in Gaza’s north

NEAR THE ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER — Three barrages of artillery rounds just pierced the skyline from Israel into Gaza’s north. The bombardments lasted over five minutes and followed a barrage about 90 minutes ago.

10h ago / 8:04 PM UTC

IDF launches broad attack against thousands of targets in Gaza: ‘Whoever reaches the fence to enter Israel will die’

The Israel Defense Forces have launched a “broad attack against thousands of targets in Gaza,” killing Hamas militants, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on X.

Hagari said the destruction of anyone who was part of the attack on Israel “is a top priority” and continued to urge Gaza City residents to evacuate to the south.

“The IDF has a very large presence in the north. Whoever reaches the fence to enter Israel will die,” Hagari continued. “Every incident is the full responsibility of the state of Lebanon and it will bear the cost. We are in a broad logistical operation aimed at ensuring the readiness of the forces and responding with protective equipment to those fighting in all sectors, according to the prioritization of combat — Gaza first.”

10h ago / 8:03 PM UTC

Israeli troops include U.S. citizens

NORTHERN ISRAEL — Among the Israeli forces defending the northern border with Lebanon are a number of troops originally from the U.S.

At an encampment in northern Israel, NBC News met troops born in Florida, New York and Pennsylvania who had joined the Israel Defense Forces. 

Harrison Schwartz, 24, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, joined Israel’s military six years ago. After having completed his service he returned to Pennsylvania to study business while remaining in the reserves. He got an email after the terrorist attack calling him back to service and booked a flight to Israel.

“These are all my friends. These are my family,” Schwartz said, gesturing to his fellow troops. “I probably couldn’t forgive myself if I just stayed home, if I just went to work, if I was doing something else rather than being here.”

10h ago / 7:58 PM UTC

Concert survivor on how life has changed since the Hamas attacks

Millet Ben Haim reflected on how life has changed for her since Hamas militants attacked the Nova music festival, which she attended.

“It’s really hard, honestly,” Ben Haim told MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian.

“I think everybody who went to this party lost friends,” she said.

10h ago / 7:53 PM UTC

18-year-old in Gaza: ‘No place is safe’

An 18-year-old Palestinian in Gaza described to NBC News what life was like after being displaced from his home and fleeing to a UNRWA school with his family as the combat rages on.

“It’s a difficult place, not safe as we thought at first,” ​​Hasan al Attar said of living at the school. “We live here without water, electricity and internet.”

“We have a lot of rockets above us and no place is safe in Gaza right now,” he said, adding, “There is a lot of people still here like us because there is no safe ground. They kill a lot of people.”

The young man said he had been studying German so that one day he could reunite with his brother in Germany and attend university there.

“But because of the war, I can’t leave Gaza,” he said, adding that he thinks his education and “my life too” will be destroyed “because I can’t do anything.”

10h ago / 7:52 PM UTC

12 American relatives, including four children, stuck in Gaza

Twelve American citizens, including four children, who are members of the same family are stuck in Gaza.

Brothers Hesham Kaoud, Jamal Kaoud, Esam Kaoud, Nezam Kaoud, Mohammad Kaoud, along with Esam’s son 20-year-old son, Ameer Kaoud, were in north Gaza visiting from California and Texas since September. They were meant to return home on Oct. 21.

From left: Hesham Kaoud, Jamal Kaoud, Ameer Kaoud, Esam Kaoud and Nezam Kaoud.
From left: Hesham Kaoud, Jamal Kaoud, Ameer Kaoud, Esam Kaoud and Nezam Kaoud.Courtesy Helal Kaoud

A cousin of the Kaoud family, Sarah Elnajjar, is also in northern Gaza with her husband and their four children, the youngest of which is two years old.

Then the war started.

“The minute the war began on Saturday morning we began trying to contact the U.S. embassy here as well as in Jerusalem,” Shamiss Kaoud, Jamal’s daughter, told NBC News, adding that her family members have filled out contact forms, gotten in touch with U.S. representatives and the U.S. Consulate, as well as the State Department.

Shamiss says her father, his brothers and Ameer were told by the State Department yesterday to head to the Rafah Crossing ahead of its potential opening for a few hours only to be turned away when they got there.

“They quickly rushed to the border to be there on time and were turned away because the agents at the border never received the OK to open it,” Shamiss said.

Al Najjar and her family were advised by the U.S. Embassy to go south, but don’t feel safe leaving their home.

Now, Shamiss’ family members are waiting for additional updates from the U.S. Consulate as the Israel Defense Forces have announced a plan to implement “a wide range of offensive operative plans,” which will include “an integrated and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land.”

Esam Kaoud with his wife, some of his children, and grandson.
Esam Kaoud with his wife, some of his children, and grandson.Courtesy Helal Kaoud

11h ago / 7:45 PM UTC

Israel says foreign nationals from 43 countries are murdered or missing

The Israeli government said Saturday evening there were murdered and missing people from 43 different countries following the Hamas attacks. Israel said there were a total of 152 foreign nationals killed and 141 still missing as of Saturday evening.

That included 19 Americans killed and 18 missing.

11h ago / 6:56 PM UTC

A fireball erupts during Israeli bombardment in northern Gaza

A fireball erupts during Israeli bombardment in the northern Gaza Strip
Aris Messinis / AFP via Getty Images

11h ago / 6:55 PM UTC

IDF attacks several Hezbollah targets in Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces attacked several Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.

“Aircraft, artillery and tanks of the IDF attacked earlier today several military infrastructures of the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanese territory,” Hagari wrote on his X account.

The attack was in response “to launches towards the territory of the State of Israel earlier today,” he said.

11h ago / 6:50 PM UTC

Biden consistently briefed on Israel-Hamas war

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Two White House officials tell NBC News that President Joe Biden was consistently updated throughout the day yesterday on the situation in the Middle East and is continuing to be briefed throughout the day today.

12h ago / 6:27 PM UTC

Rockets fired in Gaza’s direction


NEAR THE ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER — A volley of rockets fired in the direction of Gaza just streaked across the sky to the north of Gaza here.

The streaks almost sound like a storm moving in, with a steady flow of thunder-like booms followed by a siren and more booms in the sky.

There is notably increased activity in this region compared to yesterday, including more checkpoints on the roads. Many roads are now blocked off.

The Israeli military said all other roads in this area toward Gaza are fully closed to nonmilitary. There are no civilians in this area, just IDF troops.

There are a number of military tanks and vehicles in this area — stopping for fuel and then heading out in the direction of Gaza.

12h ago / 6:23 PM UTC

Israeli soldier directs armored vehicle near the Gaza border

An Israeli soldier directs an approaching Puma APC moving near the Gaza border in southern Israel on Saturday.
An Israeli soldier directs an approaching Puma APC moving near the Gaza border in southern Israel on Saturday.Aris Messinis / AFP via Getty Images

12h ago / 6:18 PM UTC

Hamas leader says people of Gaza ‘are committed to their homeland’

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the people of Gaza “are committed to their homeland.”

Haniyeh said the Israeli military has “resorted to massacres, genocide and burning land attempts to displace our people and families in Gaza.” 

“The Gaza people are rooted in their land. They are committed to their homeland,” he said, speaking on the Lebanese station Al Manar TV.

“No migration from Gaza, no migration from the West Bank. No migration from Gaza to Egypt,” he said.

12h ago / 6:11 PM UTC

Gaza journalist says ‘ongoing bombardment is unprecedented’

A Gaza journalist said the Gaza Strip is in “an unprecedented crisis” as he reported from outside the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, which has also seen an “unprecedented” influx of the injured and the dead.

“The level and magnitude of the ongoing bombardment is unprecedented. Whole blocks were wiped out,” he said.

The journalist said people in Gaza do not have food and energy supplies and “are facing a real risk of starvation” if the blockade continues.

After civilians in the northern Gaza Strip were ordered to evacuate south by Israeli forces yesterday, he said, the south of Gaza is now full of “people who are sleeping in the streets” and people sleeping in open areas.

12h ago / 6:03 PM UTC

IDF: Hamas is obstructing safe routes, blocking Gaza residents from fleeing

Hamas militants are obstructing safe routes, preventing residents of the Gaza Strip from moving south following Israel’s evacuation order, the Israel Defense Forces said.

NBC News did not independently verify the IDF’s statement.

The IDF warned over 1 million people living in northern Gaza to evacuate to the south ahead of “an integrated and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land” in the area.

13h ago / 5:35 PM UTC

Israeli American was days away from getting married when attacks began

Israeli American Alec Burkin was days away from getting married when Hamas attacked.

Burkin and his fiancée canceled their wedding, scrambled to get 50 of their guests out of the country and are now raising thousands of dollars for Israeli reservists sent to the front lines. 

“We have many friends that have been called up,” he said. “They have been taken away from their children, from their loved ones and called up in order to defend us. This is a way that I can play my small role.”

13h ago / 5:29 PM UTC

Blinken visits Arab nations to ensure cooperation

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Arab nations in an effort to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from expanding.

Blinken met with Foreign Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman Al Saud in Saudi Arabia and headed to the United Arab Emirates where he sat down with President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Blinken also intends to preserve a previous deal to stabilize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which was recently put on hold by Saudi Arabia.

13h ago / 5:14 PM UTC

Palestinian health minister: 15 medical centers damaged, 2 hospitals stopped providing service and 28 health staff killed

Fifteen medical centers have been damaged, two hospitals have stopped providing service, and 28 health staff have been killed and dozens more injured, according to Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila.

The two hospitals that stopped providing service are Beit Hanoun Hospital and Al-Durrah Children’s Hospital, Al-Kaila said.

“The Israeli occupation forces daily threaten to evacuate hospitals in the Gaza Strip, which is a clear threat to the lives of hundreds of sick and wounded people, including Al-Durrah Hospital for Children, which was evacuated yesterday after being bombed with internationally banned white phosphorus bombs, and before that, Beit Hanoun Hospital, which also stopped working as a result of the Israeli bombing,” Al-Kaila said. He added that 23 ambulances were also damaged and out of service.

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces has denied claims that the country is using white phosphorus munitions in Gaza.

13h ago / 5:00 PM UTC

IDF preparing to expand attack in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday evening it was preparing to implement “a wide range of offensive operative plans,” which will include “an integrated and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land.”

The IDF said that in recent days soldiers have been fighting to regain control of towns and outposts, capturing “many weapons that were in the possession of the terrorists, while evacuating the wounded who were hit.”

Now, those forces “backed by an extensive logistical effort and by completing the reserve mobilization of hundreds of thousands of servicemen,” were preparing to expand their attack, the IDF said.

13h ago / 4:55 PM UTC

Israel’s national security adviser: ‘Hamas will not rule Gaza’

Israel’s national security adviser said Saturday that it needs to “eliminate” Hamas and its “military and governmental capabilities” so that “there is no way for them to resurrect from it.”

“It will take months before we can say how this will happen, but Hamas will not rule Gaza,” Tzachi Hanegbi said.

Speaking of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza, he said, “We won’t stop until we know what happened to them and do whatever we can to bring them back.”

Hanegbi also said that when it came to its intelligence failure ahead of the attacks and protecting its citizens, “We failed and no one thinks differently, and it will be investigated, but all efforts now are for war.”

13h ago / 4:53 PM UTC

Drones readied at the Israeli border with Gaza

Israeli soldiers prepare armed drones stationed close to the Gaza Strip, from a field near the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Saturday.

Thousands of Palestinians fled on Oct. 14, to southern Gaza seeking refuge after Israel warned them to evacuate before an expected ground offensive against Hamas in retaliation for the deadliest attack in Israel's history.
Thomas Coex / AFP – Getty Images

14h ago / 4:47 PM UTC

Hezbollah says it attacked Israeli outpost in Shebaa Farms

Hezbollah’s military media in Lebanon said that on Saturday afternoon it attacked a “surveillance and monitoring center belonging to the occupation forces” in the disputed area of Shebaa Farms along the border with Israel.

Hezbollah said that the “center was hit and a large part of its technical equipment was destroyed.”

NBC News could not immediately independently verify the claim.Shebaa Farms was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, but Lebanon claims the area as Lebanese.

14h ago / 4:33 PM UTC

Head of Gaza’s largest hospital says 35,000 people taking shelter inside ahead of expected Israeli ground operation

There are 35,000 people taking shelter inside of Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital ahead of Israel’s expected ground operation, according to Mohammed Abu Selmeia, the head of the hospital.

Al-Shifa is Gaza’s largest hospital.

Families who fled their homes take refuge in Al-Shifa Hospital
Families who fled their homes take refuge in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, on Friday.Boaa Albaz / Anadolu via Getty Images

14h ago / 4:32 PM UTC

Israeli troops recover civilian bodies from Gaza

TEL AVIV — Israeli troops have recovered the bodies of a number of civilians that were strewn in open areas of Gaza, an Israeli military spokesman said.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told NBC News that Israeli units operating inside Gaza have retrieved the bodies of a number of civilians. “These were people they killed on the way and dropped.” The bodies were lying in fields on the Gaza side of the border.

While dead bodies are not as valuable to Hamas as live hostages, the group has been known to use dead Israelis as bargaining chips. Before Saturday’s attack, Hamas was holding the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in 2014.

14h ago / 4:15 PM UTC

Saudi Foreign Minister and Blinken discuss need to protect civilians

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the two countries should work together to “continue their cooperation towards regional security” amid concerns about the number of civilians at risk from the war.

“It’s a disturbing situation. It’s a very difficult situation. And, you know, the primary suffer of this situation are civilians and civilian populations on both sides are being affected,” the foreign minister said Saturday. “It’s important, I think, that we all condemn the targeting of civilians in any form at any time, by anyone.”

Israeli soldiers walk near houses that were destroyed during a Hamas attack on the kibbutz
Israeli soldiers walk near houses that were destroyed during a Hamas attack on the kibbutz in Be’eri, Israel, on Saturday.Amir Levy / Getty Images

The foreign minister said priority needs to be placed on stopping “further civilian suffering.”

“We need to find a way to quickly de-escalate the situation to quickly bring back peace,” he said.

Blinken agreed that civilians need to be protected. “We’re working together to do exactly that,” he said. “In particular, working on establishing safe areas in Gaza, working on establishing a corridor so that humanitarian assistance can reach people who need it.”

“None of us want to see suffering by civilians on any side, whether it’s in Israel, whether it’s in Gaza, whether it’s anywhere else, and we’re working together to do our best to protect them,” he continued.

Blinken also called Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss the ramifications of the war.

Smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Rafah
Smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on Saturday.Said Khatib / AFP via Getty Images

“Wang reiterated that China opposes all acts that harm civilians and condemns all practices that violate international law,” Chinese Embassy Spokesperson Liu Pengyu posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that “safeguarding one’s security cannot be realized at the expense of harming innocent civilians.”

14h ago / 4:13 PM UTC

Israeli military shoring up defenses on Lebanon border 

NEAR ISRAEL-LEBANON BORDER — The Israeli military is preparing for a potential second front in the war on the Israel-Lebanon border — this one with Hezbollah.

The buildup includes Merkava battle tanks and armored personnel carriers just a few miles from Lebanon in northern Israel, shown to NBC News on Saturday by the Israeli military.

As soldiers conducted maintenance on their vehicles, the sounds of small-arms fire could be heard in the distance. Smoke rose from the mountaintops from what Israel’s military says were roughly 30 mortar shells fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory. Israeli forces responded by shelling the site from which the mortars were fired.

In the afternoon sun, a group of religious troops observing the Sabbath took a break from conducting maintenance on their vehicles to pray under a tent with a Torah scroll brought to their encampment.

Israeli tanks are stationed near the border with Lebanon
Israeli tanks are stationed near the border with Lebanon, on SaturdayPetros Giannakouris / AP

14h ago / 3:57 PM UTC

22 hostages, including foreigners, killed in Israeli bombing of Gaza, according to Hamas military wing

The Al-Qassam Brigades announced the deaths of 22 hostages, including foreigners, as a result of the Israeli airstrikes in places where they were being held.

The group announced nine deaths today that occurred during the past 24 hours following Israeli airstrikes. Yesterday, 13 hostages were killed, mostly in Gaza, following airstrikes, according to the Qassam Brigades. This includes at least four foreigners.

Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip
Smoke and fire rise following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, on Saturday.Ariel Schalit / AP

15h ago / 3:43 PM UTC

Mood in Jerusalem somber as conflict escalates

JERUSALEM- Jerusalem this afternoon seems quieter than usual. Few places are open. Even fewer people are walking the streets in the golden light. The mood is somber. 

Like everywhere across the country, everyone here knows someone who was kidnapped, killed or otherwise affected.

Three young men sit in “The Sira,” one of the only few bars in town open on a Saturday. They say they are “depressed, scared, anxious, all of the above.”

“You need to understand,” one of the men says, “We have a friend whose been kidnapped and many who are dead. We’ve been holding it together all week. Now, we just want to let go. We want to try and relax. “

Up the road, a young woman is bathing in the fading light. She’s a USAID worker. She arrived here a month ago, but her work changed overnight. “I’m here to stay,” she says. She adds that the mood in Jerusalem has changed. The morale is low. The streets, she says, are empty. She only walks the 200 meters road up from the hotel every day to her sunny spot. More than that, doesn’t feel safe. 

65-years-old Miami resident Ingrid Fremin—Rodriguez came to Jerusalem as a tourist. This is not the vacation she and her husband had in mind, but they are trying to make the most of it. Yesterday, they visited the Mahneh Yehuda food market. Today they ventured out to the old city. Shops were open she said, but the tourists are nowhere to be seen.

15h ago / 3:17 PM UTC

Prime Minister Netanyahu visits Israeli infantrymen

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Israeli infantrymen during a tour Saturday of Kibbutz Bari and Kibbutz Kfar Gaza.

He met with several fighters, including Col. Ami Biton, a commander of the Parachute Brigade (35th Battalion). Biton told Netanyahu that he was among the hundreds of fighters who arrived within the first hours to fight.

15h ago / 3:11 PM UTC

Gov. DeSantis says U.S. shouldn’t accept refugees from Gaza

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that the U.S. should not accept refugees from Gaza.

“If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all anti-Semitic. None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist,” he said during opening remarks at a meet-and-greet event in Creston, Iowa.

The governor said “Arab states” should be taking them in instead.

“You don’t fly people and import them into the United States of America, so we’re going to be very strong on that,” he continued. “And I think about our country, you see these demonstrations supporting Hamas in the United States of America. … My view is very simple, if you don’t like this country, if you hate America, you should not come to this country.”

When NBC News later asked DeSantis about his comments, the governor defended his remarks.

“There’s a lot of toxicity. I mean, they elected Hamas,” he said. “Let’s just be clear, it’s not like Hamas is some junta that came in and just seized power. They elected Hamas. There is definitely hatred of Israel. There’s definitely anti-Semitism.”

15h ago / 2:55 PM UTC

16h ago / 2:42 PM UTC

Hezbollah TV reports exchange of fire with Israeli troops

Hezbollah’s TV station has reported an intense exchange of fire along Lebanon’s border with Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Al-Manar TV reported that Hezbollah fighters pounded Israeli positions in the Chebaa Farms and Kfar Chouba hills area on Saturday.

It was the latest exchange of shelling between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters since last Saturday following Hamas’ attack on southern Israel.

Israel’s military said that it was striking Lebanon after coming under fire from Hezbollah. Chebaa Farms was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war, but Lebanon considers it and the nearby Kfar Chouba hills as Lebanese territories.

The Golan Heights were annexed by Israel in 1981.

16h ago / 2:30 PM UTC

Rescuers look for survivors among the rubble of a collapsed building following an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip

Palestinians look for survivors among the rubble of a collapsed building
Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images

16h ago / 2:16 PM UTC

Blinken encourages the Chinese Foreign Minister to help prevent the conflict in Israel and Gaza from spreading

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a “productive” discussion with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Saturday, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, who said he initiated the call before his meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister this morning. 

The call lasted about an hour with consecutive translation. 

The Secretary called Wang Yi to tell him the purpose of his trip is to prevent the conflict from widening, and Blinken knows China has relations with countries in the region and thinks it could be important if it could use its influence to achieve that same goal, according to Miller.

Blinken told Wang Yi that it is in their shared interests to keep the conflict from spreading, according to Miller, who stressed that the U.S. has been concerned about others entering the conflict from day one. 

16h ago / 2:08 PM UTC

Reporting from Israel, near the border of Gaza, NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel says many in Gaza there are reluctant to leave, while those who do still face danger from the continuing bombing.

16h ago / 1:53 PM UTC

Congregants at a synagogue in Tel Aviv talk about life on hold

TEL AVIV — About 10 to 12 congregants attended Shabbat morning service at the Beit Daniel Synagogue on Saturday. They sang, chanted and read from the Torah.

Rabbi Meir Azari said that he was supposed to be officiating four bar mitzvahs on Saturday, three weddings this week and four next week — but all of them have been canceled given that so many young people have been mobilized to join the war.

“People have had to stop everything in their life,” said Azari, who has led the congregation for 33 years. “We saw grief and an anger through the years, but this is something very different. That reminded me of my youth as a young teenager, during Yom Kippur War.”

Lauren Freedman, 62, has lived in Israel for 31 years and said that both Israeli and Palestinians just want to live normal lives.

“I think about the store where I buy fruits and vegetables — most of the workers there are Palestinians,” she said. “So when I went in this week, all of the Palestinians were gone. And it was just the Israeli Jews. And I think about these people who are coming to work every day simply to earn a living. And there’s good partnership and cooperation between them and the Israeli employees. And [what’s happening] is just so sad.”

16h ago / 1:53 PM UTC

Louvre Museum closes doors for security reasons

Home to the Mona Lisa and a world-renowned tourist destination, Paris’ Louvre Museum of art remained shuttered today, citing security concerns.

“For security reasons, the Musée du Louvre is closing its doors today, Saturday, October 14. Those who have booked a visit during the day will be reimbursed,” the gallery posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Police officers stand guard outside the Louvre Museum
Police officers stand guard outside the Louvre Museum as visitors are evacuated in Paris, on Saturday. Thomas Padilla / AP

The closure comes after Macron called for the mobilization of 7,000 soldiers for increased security patrols after a teacher was fatally stabbed and two more people injured in an Islamist attack on a school in Arras, northern France.

France, which has the largest Muslim and Jewish communities in Europe, banned pro-Palestinian protests earlier this week over concerns that they would generate “disturbances to the public order,” according to Reuters.

17h ago / 1:47 PM UTC

U.S. government working to secure safe exit for U.S. citizens trying to leave Gaza

The U.S. is working to secure a safe border exit for U.S. citizens trying to leave Gaza, a Department of State spokesperson said.

“We have informed U.S. citizens in Gaza with whom we are in contact that if they assess it to be safe, they may wish to move closer to the Rafah border crossing,” the spokesperson said, adding that “there may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time.”

17h ago / 1:24 PM UTC

State department authorizes evacuation of non-emergency embassy personnel

The State Department has updated its travel advisory for Israel to authorize the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel working at the embassy in Jerusalem and U.S. branch office in Tel Aviv, along with their family members.

The departure authorization was given on the grounds of the “unpredictable security situation” across Israel, the update said.

The department has advised Americans not to travel to Gaza, due to the threats of armed conflict, civil unrest and terrorism, and has also advised citizens to “reconsider travel” to Israel and the West Bank.

17h ago / 1:13 PM UTC

Thousands of people turn out at pro-Palestinian rally in London

Thousands of people have turned out to a protest in central London over the Israeli siege of Gaza.

The mood as crowds gathered outside the BBC’s Broadcasting House was sombre and determined, attendees said. Many carried homemade signs with slogans such as “Stop the war” and “Free Palestine, shame on the U.K” as they walked through London’s crowded shopping district of Oxford Circus.

“I don’t normally come to protests, but I was moved by the horror unfolding in Gaza,” said Ben Stoll, 26, a doctoral student at London’s Royal Holloway University, who has family living in Israel.

People gather for the "March For Palestine" protest in London
People gather for the “March For Palestine” protest in London, on Saturday.Adrian Dennis / AFP via Getty Images

“The declaration of a total siege on Gaza is a war crime, and needs to be called out as such by our political leaders,” Stoll added.

Ahead of protests, the facade of the BBC’s building was splattered with red paint overnight. London’s police force warned on X last night that deviation from the planned route, towards the Israeli embassy in Kensington, West London, could result in arrest. Thousands of officers have been stationed across the capital to oversee the event, they added in a separate post.

Workmen clean off red paint from the windows at the entrance to the BBC
Workmen clean off red paint from the windows at the entrance to the BBC in London, on Saturday.Justin Tallis / AFP via Getty Images

17h ago / 12:53 PM UTC

Hamas’ military arm says it killed nine hostages

The military arm of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said in a post on Telegram that it killed nine hostages, including four foreigners, in retaliation for the continued bombing of Gaza.

NBC News could not independently verify the claim.

18h ago / 12:28 PM UTC

Border crossing with Egypt appears to still be closed

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Egyptians and Israelis reached a tentative agreement to allow U.S. citizens to leave Gaza via the Rafah border crossing in northern Egypt.

The State Department told Americans that the crossing might only be open for a short period of time and with very little notice.

“We have informed U.S. citizens in Gaza with whom we are in contact that if they assess it to be safe, they may wish to move closer to the Rafah border crossing — there may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time,” a State Department spokesperson told NBC News.

But Haneen Okal, a Palestinian-American from New Jersey, said that the crossing is still closed and that about 600 people were waiting near the border where Egyptian authorities erected “temporary” blast walls on its side of the crossing, according to The Associated Press.

It has previous been reported that there are 500 to 600 Americans in Gaza.

18h ago / 12:25 PM UTC

‘The truth is not coming out as it should be here,’ says student in Gaza

Israel says its offering Palestinians safe passage from northern Gaza to the South for the next several hours — but it’s hardly safe as airstrikes continue.

“There’s no shelters. They cut off the water. All the bathrooms are closed,” said Salma Shurrah, a 22-year-old dental student. “They cut off the Internet. They bombed all the Internet places in Gaza. So the Internet connection is very poor and it’s very bad. That means the truth is not coming out as it should be here.”

He continued: “We’re living times that have never existed and any humanity possible. This aggression needs to be over. Palestinian live matter, Gaza, life matter. We’re not numbers.”

18h ago / 11:54 AM UTC

A veteran war photographer documents his own crisis in Gaza

Ali Hassan Jadallah, a Palestinian photojournalist who has covered years of war and tragedy in his native Gaza City, told his own story of loss this week. On Tuesday, he was pictured salvaging superhero costumes from the rubble of his home after it was hit by an Israeli air strike. His wife and young children survived the attack. 

Israeli airstrikes demolish Anadolu Agency's photojournalist Ali Jadallah's house
Ali gathers his children’s belongings from the rubble of his family home on Tuesday.Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu via Getty Images

“The fact that God saved me and my family from the blast is enough for me” he shared in an emotional post on Instagram. Yet the following day, his parent’s residence was hit by a missile in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City. Ali later posted a video of himself while driving his father’s lifeless body in the back of a car to bury him, alone.

Israeli airstrike in Gaza City kills Anadolu Agency photojournalist Ali Jadallah's family members
Ali Jadallah, right, at the scene of a missile attack on his parent’s home in Gaza City on Wednesday. Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu via Getty Images

Jadallah confirmed to NBC News on Saturday that his twin brothers Khaled and Salah, sister Dua, father Hassan and numerous other family members all died in the strike.

“Everyone was killed, only my mother survived,” he said via WhatsApp. Images from the scene show him kissing her hand as she was pulled from the wreckage alive. 

19h ago / 11:50 AM UTC

Graphic video shows children and women who died in airstrike

Sirens and shouting can be heard in a very graphic video posted online showing a group of people who died while fleeing northern Gaza on Friday. Among the dead in the convoy were children and women, lying in pools of blood near vehicles.

The body of a small child was shown beside a woman and nearby a young boy lay dead in the street.

Seventy were killed after Israeli airstrikes hit convoys of Palestinian evacuees heading south in Gaza. Airstrikes continued on Saturday, hitting areas that included the south, where the Israeli military has told people to evacuate to from the north.

19h ago / 11:44 AM UTC

Hamas leader is ‘a dead man walking,’ IDF says

TEL AVIV — The Israeli military is vowing to hunt down the man it says was responsible for the attack: Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. “He’s a dead man walking. We will get to that to man,” Lt Col Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said Saturday. 

Long before Hamas terrorists burst through the Gaza border fence on Saturday, Sinwar, a Hebrew speaker, was seen by Israeli security officials as one of their most ruthless enemies.  

Born in a Gaza refugee camp in the early 1960s to parents displaced from their homes in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, he rose through the ranks of Hamas as an internal enforcer with a reputation for brutality.

Although he was captured by Israel in 1989 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in killing Israeli troops and Palestinian collaborators, he was freed in 2011 along with hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas five years earlier.

19h ago / 11:10 AM UTC

Hundreds waiting at Rafah crossing as it remains closed, says woman trapped in Gaza


After getting a call from U.S. officials late Saturday to be at the Rafah crossing the next day at 12 p.m., Haneen Okal, a Palestinian-American from New Jersey debated with family for 12 hours over whether they would make the treacherous journey from north Gaza to the southern tip, where the strip borders Egypt.

“Lots of people are waiting here, outside the Palestinian gate. They are all waiting to get out of here, but the Palestinians are not here to open the gate, and the Egyptians are not there on their side too. Nobody has any information, any update,” she said.

Around 600 people were waiting outside the crossing, she added, though many had turned around, unsure if the news that they would be allowed to leave was real or not.

Haneen Okal, an American with 3 children who is trying to leave Gaza via the southern Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Oct. 14, 2023.
Haneen Okal at the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza on Saturday. Courtesy of Haneen Okal

“Some family refused to leave our home. It was 12 hours of negotiating, going out from north to south, the streets were full of families, they were rushing and backing into cars with their bags,” Okal said. People without cars walked along roadsides to reach the south, she added, following Israeli evacuation orders for more than 1 million residents to leave the northern part of the strip.

Okal, a mother of three who returned to Gaza for the first time in nine years to visit family, said that she was scared that officials would not let her newborn son, Elias, pass into Egypt as he does not yet have a passport. She delivered him unexpectedly early in Gaza due to a medical emergency and was in the process of booking passport appointments in Tel Aviv when the war broke out, she said.

19h ago / 11:03 AM UTC

A normal Saturday in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Life appeared to continue as normal in Jerusalem, on the border of the West Bank, even as Gaza remained under siege further west.

19h ago / 11:02 AM UTC

Children injured after airstrikes hit southern Gaza

Injured children were rushed to the hospital in Khan Younis after airstrikes hit the city in southern Gaza. The area outside a hospital appeared to be chaotic as ambulances arrived and medics carried crying kids inside.

19h ago / 10:54 AM UTC

Egypt, Israel and the U.S. agree to allow foreign nationals leave Gaza

Egyptian officials said Egypt, Israel and the United States have agreed to allow foreigners in Gaza to pass through the Rafah crossing point later Saturday. One official said both Israel and Palestinian militant groups had agreed to facilitate their exit, and that talks were still underway about bringing in aid.

The officials were not authorized to brief journalists and so spoke on condition of anonymity.

20h ago / 10:39 AM UTC

Water shortage in Gaza ‘a matter of life and death’, U.N. agency says

Water has begun to run out in the Gaza strip, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine has said in a statement, putting 2 million people at risk of dehydration and contracting water-borne diseases from consuming contaminated fluids.

Gaza’s treatment plant and public water networks have stopped working due to the lack of fuel after Israel placed the coastal enclave under a “total siege” on Oct. 9, the statement said. Drinking water has also begun to run out at the U.N. base in the south of the strip, where people have been told to evacuate.

Palestinian water crisis in Gaza
Palestinians line up to fill containers with water in Khan Younis on Saturday.Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images

“It has become a matter of life and death. It is a must; fuel needs to be delivered now into Gaza to make water available for 2 million people,” said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General.

“We need to truck fuel into Gaza now. Fuel is the only way for people to have safe drinking water. If not, people will start dying of severe dehydration, among them young children, the elderly and women. Water is now the last remaining lifeline,” he added.

20h ago / 10:25 AM UTC

Empty streets and rocket strikes in Israel, near northern Gaza

SDEROT, Israel — In the small Israeli city of Sderot, on the border with northern Gaza, the steady booms of outgoing Israeli artillery can be heard. Small arms are firing in the distance. And with drones and jets overhead, Israel is continuing to strike northern Gaza as many civilians there stream south.

The streets of Sderot are empty apart from police and military, as many of the city’s some 30,000 residents have left. Located inside the IDF’s declared military zone, Sderot remains in Hamas’ crosshairs.

Despite Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza, Hamas is still managing to launch rockets into Israeli territory — evidenced this morning, with a warning siren sounding in Sderot followed 15 seconds later by a barrage of rockets striking the city.

20h ago / 9:55 AM UTC

Biden ‘very emotional’ as he spoke with hostage families

TEL AVIV — President Joe Biden “was very emotional” in a Zoom call with American families of people taken hostage in Israel on Friday, one of the people who attended told NBC News.

Abbey Onn said it had been confirmed to her by Israeli officials that her cousins Carmela Dan, 80, and Noya Dan, 13, were being held hostage in Gaza. Three more of her cousins were missing, she added.

Biden assured her that “they consider the hostages missing as U.S. citizens, as their own, and that they will do everything they can — but that this is unchartered territory,” she said.

Onn, who lives in the Israeli city of Herzliya, said that the president stayed on the call for and hour and spoke of “ his own loss of his wife and daughter, and later on his son.” He said that he could “deeply identify” with their sense of loss and grief, Onn added.

21h ago / 9:30 AM UTC

Missiles strike southern Gaza early on Saturday

There were reports of bombings overnight near Khan Younis in southern Gaza — the area where people were told to flee for safety. On Saturday, intense airstrikes also continued east of Gaza City.

The Israeli military has continued to warn those in the north to evacuate south. Hospital administrators at Al Awda Hospital in northern Gaza, have however insisted that it would be impossible to evacuate hundreds of sick and injured people there.

Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip, entered southern Israel in a surprise attack leading Israel to declare war on Hamas in Gaza on Oct. 8.
A Palestinian man shouts following an Israeli strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday.Yasser Qudih / AFP – Getty Images

21h ago / 9:27 AM UTC

‘Temporary’ blast walls in place at border crossing

Egyptian authorities have erected “temporary” blast walls on Egypt’s side of the Rafah crossing point with Gaza, two Egyptian officials say.

The crossing point has been closed since earlier this week after Israeli airstrikes hit close to its Palestinian side.

The officials said the blast walls were erected as part of “precautionary measures” Egypt has taken in recent days over growing concerns about a mass exodus of Palestinians.

One of the officials said the walls will be removed once a deal is reached with Israel to spare the crossing from its airstrikes.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.

Palestinians were fleeing in a mass exodus after Israel’s military told people to evacuate to the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an expected ground invasion.

21h ago / 9:20 AM UTC

How Arabs living in Israel’s Negev desert are sitting ducks for Hamas

The shirtless man drops to one knee and begs for his life in Arabic, but he receives no mercy. A Hamas terrorist lifts his boot and lands two blows to the man’s bare torso. Then a second gunman kicks him in the side, followed by a third, propelling him to the ground. 

The grim scene unfolded at the kibbutz Re’im on the morning of Oct. 7 and was recorded by a dashboard camera.

The victim was Osama Abu Asa, a security guard who watched over stores in the Jewish community 5 miles from the Gaza border. He was pleading in Arabic to the terrorists, for he was an Arab himself — one of thousands of minority tribespeople living in shantytowns in Israel’s Negev desert, essentially trapped between two worlds.

Abu Asa’s body was later found with bullet wounds to the head and chest, his brother said.

“Osama was a good man,” the brother, Jawad Abu Asa, said in an interview, crying as he spoke. “He cared for his family, prayed on time and helped everyone, even the people of Gaza.”

Hamas’ surprise assault killed more than 1,300 people in Israel. The vast majority were Israeli Jews, but the dead also included Abu Asa and at least 14 other Bedouins, some of whom were killed in rocket attacks on their villages.

Read the full story here.

22h ago / 8:30 AM UTC

IDF conducting small raids into Gaza near the fence

Israeli troops are continuing to conduct small contained raids near the fence in Gaza, according to spokesperson Richard Hecht. Hecht also told journalists that he wasn’t aware of reports that bodies of hostages had been recovered from Gaza.

He reiterated that Israeli military was offering safe passage to the south of Gaza via a second route and blamed Hamas for preventing people from leaving the northern area.

Hecht added that he was “aware of talk of a humanitarian exit” for Americans in Gaza and said there would be more details to come.

22h ago / 8:26 AM UTC

WHO medical supplies arrive in Egypt

A plane carrying WHO medical supplies has landed near the Rafah crossing in Egypt, according to the organization’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“We’re ready to deploy the supplies as soon as humanitarian access through the crossing is established,” Ghebreyesus said on X.

“We continue our plea to Israel to reconsider the decision to evacuate 1.1 million people. It will be a human tragedy,” he added.

The Rafah crossing is the border between Gaza and Egypt. It has been closed since last week, after sustaining multiple air strikes on the Palestinian side by the Israeli military. Though Egypt has said it is willing to assist in the distribution of humanitarian supplies into the strip along the corridor, it has long restricted the outward flow of Palestinian refugees.

23h ago / 7:47 AM UTC

France mobilizes 7,000 troops after teacher stabbed in Islamist attack

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered 7,000 soldiers to be mobilized for increased security patrols, his office said on Saturday, a day after a teacher was stabbed to death in an Islamist attack.

France was put on its highest security alert on Friday after a 20-year-old man fatally stabbed a teacher and gravely wounded two other people in an attack at a school in the city of Arras in northern France.

Macron’s office said that the soldiers would be mobilized by Monday evening until further notice as part of an ongoing operation that regularly conducts patrols in major city centers and tourist sites.

The security alert comes as France hosts the Rugby World Cup and prepares to face South Africa on Saturday evening in their quarter-final.

23h ago / 7:35 AM UTC

‘A lot of people criticize us,’ Israeli special police officer says

ASHDOD, Israel — “I’ve got a feeling we are all alone,” an Israeli officer who identifies himself as a “fighter in a special police unit,” said late Friday night. “A lot of people criticize us.”

Noting criticism of Israel’s order for the entire population of northern Gaza to evacuate south, as well as scrutiny of some of the country’s response to Hamas’ unprecedented attack one week ago, the officer said: “Seeing the people hating us, they’re just … using their strength for nothing.”

The officer walked into the room in Ashdod carrying an Israeli flag on Friday.
The officer walked into the room in Ashdod carrying an Israeli flag on Friday. Chantal Da Silva / NBC News

The officer, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said he did not want to see “Palestinian people killed” but felt Israel had to “strike back” at Hamas — even if it results in the death of civilians.

“We will never erase Gaza from the map. We will never kill 2.8 million people because that’s not us. We won’t do that,” he said.

23h ago / 7:17 AM UTC

IDF says it struck dozens of ‘terror targets’ and killed the head of Hamas’ aerial system

The IDF said fighter jets conducted “wide-scale strikes throughout the Gaza Strip” last night, including against dozens of Hamas terror targets and “Nukhba” operatives, referring to a special forces unit within Hamas that it said helped lead last week’s unprecedented attack.

It said fighter jets also struck an operational headquarters from which Hamas managed its aerial activity.

“During the strike, IDF fighter jets killed Merad Abu Merad who was the head of the Hamas Aerial System in Gaza City, and was largely responsible for directing terrorists during the massacre on Saturday,” the IDF said. NBC News was not immediately able to independently verify the developments.

23h ago / 7:17 AM UTC

Bombing continued overnight in Gaza

Explosions intermittently flashed in the darkness overnight in Gaza, with the booming sounds of shelling interrupting the silence. Hours earlier, a window of safety for residents to evacuate, as announced by the IDF, had expired.

23h ago / 7:09 AM UTC

IDF says it will allow movement on 2 Gaza streets for civilians to go south

The IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee said the Israeli military would allow movement on two streets in Gaza “without any harm between the hours of 10:00-16:00″ local time.

“For your safety, take advantage of the short time to move south — from Beit Hanoun to Khan Yunis,” he said. “If you care about yourselves and your loved ones, go south according to our instructions.”

“Residents of the beach, sand, and west of Olive will also be allowed to move on Daldul and Al-Sana Streets towards Salah Al-Din and Al-Bahr Streets,” he said.


23h ago / 7:07 AM UTC

The left faces a reckoning as Israel divides Democrats

Joel Simonds, a Los Angeles-based rabbi involved in progressive causes, has always known that many of his ideological allies did not agree with him on Israel.  

But after this weekend’s terror attack, the worst killing of Jews since the Holocaust, Simonds said many liberal Jews feel abandoned by people they thought were friends, some of whom have expressed little sympathy for the Israelis killed while focusing instead on the plight of Palestinians.

American Jews, who are overwhelmingly liberal, have often supported social justice movements. Simonds said while most progressive leaders have offered support, he feels betrayed by others on the left who have not.

Israel has been so fraught in some progressive circles that many preferred not to talk about it, enforcing a sort of strategic silence to avoid dividing the movement and distracting it from common ground issues.

That long-stifled debate is now spilling into public view in heated and sometimes ugly ways, dividing Democrats and exposing what some say is antisemitism that has been allowed to fester on the left for years. 

Read the full story here.


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