Israel-Hamas war: IDF says six Hamas divers eliminated in southern Israel

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at least 33 Americans have been killed in the violence since the Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel. 

In remarks to the United Nations Security Council, Blinken called on the international community to recognize that Israel has a right to defend itself from Hamas’ “barbaric terrorist attack.” 

“Where is the outrage?” Blinken demanded after recounting the atrocities committed by Hamas. “Where is the revulsion? Where is the rejection? Where is the explicit condemnation of these horrors? We must affirm the right of any nation to defend itself and to prevent such horror from repeating itself. No member of this council, no nation in this entire body could or would tolerate the slaughter of its people.” 

Blinken addressed concerns from the Palestinians and other foreign officials over Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and the Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire. 

“Palestinian civilians must be protected. That means Hamas must cease using them as human shields,” Blinken said. “It’s hard to think of a greater act of cynicism.” 

He also called on Israel to restart the flow of food, water, medecine and other essential humanitarian assistance into Gaza and to ensure that civilians can “get out of harm’s way.” 

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

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Israeli Navy intercepts Hamas divers, kills six terrorists by Zekim beach, IDF says

Several Hamas terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel from the Gaza Strip by sea and were killed by Israeli Navy forces, the IDF said.

At least six Hamas terrorists were killed when Israeli fighter jets responded to a diver squad attempted to enter Israel by Zekim beach, sources tell Fox News. 

Israeli forces have struck more than 400 terrorist targets in the past 24 hours, the military said Tuesday.

As part of its “wide-scale operation” to dismantle Hamas’ capabilities, the IDF said the targets struck include: Hamas gunmen setting up to fire rockets in Israel’s direction, an operational tunnel shaft allowing Israel to be infiltrated through the sea, and Hamas command centers and staging armaments in Mosques.

The focus continues to be on eliminating Hamas operatives and “weapons storage sites, underground terrorist tunnels, command centers, observation posts and more,” the IDF said in its daily recap.

The force also said it will continue operating with the safety of innocent civilians in mind.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

White House: ‘A ceasefire right now really only benefits Hamas’

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that the White House believes a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war will only benefit the terrorists.

“We’re going to continue to make sure Israel has the tolls and the capabilities that they need to defend themselves,” Kirby told reporters. “We’re going to continue to try to get hostages and people out of Gaza appropriately. And I think you’ve heard us say, a ceasefire right now really only benefits Hamas.” 

The Biden administration has stood by Israel as the United Nations and other foreign leaders have called for the Jewish state to stop its bombardment of the Gaza Strip and allow humanitarian aid to reach the besieged Palestinians. Israel has said its airstrikes in Gaza are aimed at legitimate military targets and that Hamas terrorists are using civilians as human shields. 

On whether Israel will soon begin an anticipated ground invasion of Gaza to eradicate Hamas, Kirby said, “that is a question for the Israeli Defense Forces.” 

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Democratic lawmaker challenges Karine Jean-Pierre for ‘weak answer’ on rising antisemitism

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., called out White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over her “weak answer” to a rise in antisemitism in the United States amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

On Monday, Jean-Pierre said she had not seen any “credible threats” when asked about the Biden administration’s “level of concern” regarding potential attacks on Jewish Americans.

“Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks and certainly President Biden understands that many of our Muslim, Arab-American and Palestinian-American loved ones and neighbors are worried about the hate being directed at their communities,” she added.

Moskowitz would later criticize her comments on X.

“What a weak answer,” he said. “And why are you looking in the book? What’s the approved answer? The simple answer is yes, you are concerned about the rise of antisemitism. Of course, we are also worried about hatred against Muslim Americans. Must do better.”

After backlash, Jean-Pierre would later clarify her comments made during the White House press briefing.

“To be clear: the President and our team are very concerned about a rise in antisemitism, especially after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack in Israel,” she wrote.

Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this update.

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Pentagon spox says there is ‘direct connection’ between Iran and Hamas

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh acknowledged Tuesday there is a “direct connection” between Iran and the Islamist terror group Hamas.

During an interview on “America’s Newsroom,” Singh said the U.S. military is focused on “sending a clear message to Iran” by positioning forces near the Middle East to make sure that “Israel has what it needs in their fight right now.” 

She did not confirm reports that U.S. officials have pressured Israel to delay a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. “The IDF is one of the most capable militaries in the world. We are providing our support. We are providing our assistance. It’s really up to them to decide when they they move forward with any type of incursion,” said Singh.

Pressed on whether Iran is behind several drone and missile attacks on U.S. bases in the Middle East, Singh said there is “no question” that Iran is supporting proxy groups that have attacked American forces. 

“I will reiterate, we are one of the most lethal fighting forces the world has ever seen. Iran knows that. And while they continue to launch these attacks on our U.S. forces, it is our decision at our time when we choose to respond,” said Singh. 

And asked about Iran’s role in the Israel-Hamas war, she stated, “there is a direct connection between Israel and Hamas.” 

“How much Iran knew about the attack that Hamas was going to launch on October 7th, I think we’re still doing our own analysis of that,” Singh said. “But there is no question there is a clear thread between the two. We know that Iran continues to train, equip, financially support Hamas in its endeavors in Gaza. And so I think that’s certainly a clear link to draw there.” 

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

IDF: Precision airstrikes kill three Hamas deputy comanders

The Israeli military said Tuesday that three Hamas deputy commanders were killed by precision airstrikes inside the Gaza Strip. 

The strikes show Israel Defense Forces are prioritizing Hamas senior leadership as the military bombards Gaza ahead of an expected ground invasion to eradicate the terrorist group. 

“During the night, IDF aircraft also attacked operational headquarters used by operatives of the terrorist organization Hamas and assembly points of the terrorist organization located inside mosques,” IDF said in a post on X. 

The Hamas deputy commander of the Nusirat battalion, the deputy commander of the Shati battalion and the deputy commander of the Alfurkan battalion were killed in the strikes, the IDF said.

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said earlier that in the past day the IDF attacked over 400 military targets in the Gaza Strip, targeting dozens of Hamas operatives who were preparing to fire rockets at Israel. 

Hagari said IDF also attacked an operational tunnel shaft used by Hamas to get access to the Mediterranean coast. 

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

France’s Macron says Israeli campaign against Hamas in Gaza must be ‘without mercy’

French President Emmanuel Macron
met with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday and called for the international coalition initially built to fight against ISIS to now target Hamas.

The U.S.-led coalition has fought ISIS in the Middle East for years, and Macron did not offer details about how the coalition could be involved in Israel’s retaliatory war against Hamas. Israel has appeared poised for a ground invasion of Gaza for more than a week.

“France is ready for the international coalition against Daesh in which we are taking part for operations in Iraq and Syria to also fight against Hamas,” he told reporters, using another term used for ISIS.

He added that the fight against Hamas “must be without mercy but not without rules.”

Netanyahu has called for international support for the war against Hamas, but Israel has not requested any foreign boots on the ground. The U.S. has devoted two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Eastern Mediterranean as a deterrent for Iran, Hezbollah or other regional powers from joining the war against Israel.

Both Israeli and U.S. officials have suggested that U.S. forces would intervene should Iran or its proxy, Hezbollah, join the war.

Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Israel’s foreign minister denounces UN Secretary-General: ‘In what world do you live?’

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen
said children kidnapped by Hamas were “victims of evil” before denouncing U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres for criticizing Israel’s military campaign to eradicate Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

Cohen held up a composite picture of kidnapped children before delivering a forceful speech at the United Nations Security Council meeting. 

“As we meet here today, young babies, children are held in Gaza. This is beyond imagination. A living nightmare,” Cohen said. 

He showed the pictures of the children held captive by terrorists and recounted the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel on Oct. 7, a day he said will go down in history as a “brutal massacre.” 

“Mr. Secretary-General, in what world do you live?” Cohen said, directing his remarks at Guterres. “Definitely this is not our world.” 

“Hamas are the new Nazis,” Cohen said. “Just as the civilized world united to defeat the Nazis, just as the civilized world united to defeat ISIS, the civilized world has to stand united behind Israel to defeat Hamas.” 

Cohen spoke after Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Ryad al-Maliki on Tuesday demanded that the international community stop “massacres” in Gaza by Israel.

“The ongoing massacres being deliberately and systematically and savagely perpetrated by Israel — the occupying power against the Palestinian civilian population under illegal occupation — must be stopped,” Maliki said.

Maliki warned the ongoing conflict will spill over into other regions in the Middle East unless Israel ceases its bombardment of Gaza.

“It must be clear that this can only be achieved by putting an immediate end to the Israeli war launched against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Stop the bloodshed. There is no amount of humanitarian aid that can address the situation, if more death, destruction and devastation are imposed.” Maliki said, demanding sympathy for the Palestinian victims of Israel’s airstrikes.

“If that reality does not change, there are so many fronts open for war and none for peace.”

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Israeli UN ambassador demands UN secretary-general resign after ‘shocking’ speech

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations ripped the “horrible views” of U.N. Secretary General António Guterres expressed at a meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday and called on him to resign.  

Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the secretary-general’s speech “shocking” for stating that the Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel by Hamas “did not happen in a vacuum.” 

“The shocking speech by the @UN Secretary-General at the Security Council meeting, while rockets are being fired at all of Israel, proved conclusively, beyond any doubt, that the Secretary-General is completely disconnected from the reality in our region and that he views the massacre committed by Nazi Hamas terrorists in a distorted and immoral manner,” Erdan posted on X, formerly Twitter. 

“His statement that, ‘the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,’ expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder. It’s really unfathomabale [sic]. It’s truly sad that the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust holds such horrible views. A tragedy!”

Erdan then demanded that Guterres resign.

“The @UN Secretary-General, who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN,” he wrote in a follow-up post.

“I call on him to resign immediately.

“There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people. There are simply no words.”

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Family fights back in response to anti-Israel protests: ‘You cannot appease evil’

New Yorker Guy Tsadik
decided to answer the protesters who have been tearing down posters of the hostages held by Hamas.

“There is good and evil, and you need to be on the side of good,” Tsadik told Fox News Digital. “The idea that there is even one counter-protester who is legitimizing these crimes should be alarming to every American. You can’t appease evil.”

The 46-year-old New York businessman decided to become a street activist. Along with his wife Tami, their 9-year-old son Eitan and 21- year-old daughter Maya, the family set out and canvassed local businesses to put up the posters of the missing in the shop windows along the commercial strip that encompasses several towns on New York’s Long Island
. He said that he was met with wide-ranging support from more than 100 merchants who readily displayed the poignant and heartbreaking posters in their front windows.

“This goes to the basis of humanity. I am thinking of my own children. I was seeing pictures of the hostages, kids who don’t have their parents, a 4-year-old child being held hostage, who doesn’t have his parents, babies in cages in Gaza. I was hoping to come up with something that I could do for them.”

Tsadik found the website of the two Israeli artists
from New York who have designed the posters, He downloaded the link at a local printer store and printed out a heavy stack of posters for his project. Mindful of the anti-Israel protesters who have gone around and torn down the hostage photos elsewhere, he prevailed on shop owners to tape his posters inside their windows.

 “I made sure that they were put inside of the stores, and not outside of the stores so that they couldn’t be torn down. These people who are tearing them down would be the very same people, if they were in Gaza, they would be executed in a dark alley,” he said.

“They are misinformed or completely evil. The fact that they do not have compassion for innocent civilians, is beyond the pale. They are justifying these crimes against humanity, while in Israeli hospitals the murderers and terrorists are being treated side by side. The perpetrators and the victims are in adjoining rooms.”

Fox News’ Eric Shawn contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Massive rocket barrage descends on Tel Aviv region

Rocket sirens blared in the Tel Aviv region
Saturday morning, including inside the capital city, sending more than a million Israelis scrambling for shelter, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Rocket fall was reported in the central Israeli city of Holon. Israel’s national rescue service said it was looking into the reports.

Hamas claimed responsibility for two earlier rocket barrages on Saturday just hours before the third and largest was reported.

Two people were lightly injured by rocket shrapnel, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said, according to the Times of Israel.

Rocket sirens also sounded in the northern towns of Elkosh and Netua, near the Lebanon border, the Times of Israel reported.

Hezbollah forces have repeatedly clashed with Israeli troops along the border as the Lebanese terrorist group has condemned the bombardment of Gaza and voiced support for the Palestinians against Israel. 

Hamas terrorists have fired thousands of rockets towards Israel since Oct. 7, when terrorists infiltrated the country and indiscriminately slaughtered hundreds of Israeli men, women and children, killing as many as 1,400 people. 

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

WATCH LIVE: The United Nations Security Council meets to discuss the situation in Israel and Gaza

The United Nations Security Council is meeting Tuesday to vote on a U.S.-drafted resolution that backs Israel in its war against Hamas.

The resolution condemns the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7 and “the taking and killing of hostages, murder, torture, rape, sexual violence, and continues indiscriminate firing of rockets.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will speak at the Tuesday meeting and seek support to pressure Hamas to release the more than 200 hostages still held captive in Gaza.

Cohen will be accompanied by three Israelis representing the families of people being held hostage by Hamas terrorists, the Wall Street Journal reported.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said civilians on both sides of the conflict must be protected. 

“I have condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented Oct. 7 acts of terror by Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnaping of civilians or the launching of rockets against civilian targets,” Guterres said, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. 

“But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas, and those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” Guterres said. 

“We must demand that all parties uphold and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. They constant care in the conduct of military operations to spare civilians and respect and protect hospitals, and respect the inviolability of U.N. facilities, which today are sheltering more than 600,000 Palestinians,” he continued. 

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IDF Commander-in-Chief says Gaza invasion delayed by ‘strategic considerations’

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said Tuesday that Hamas “regrets” provoking a war with Israel and that a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip has been delayed by “strategic considerations.” 

“Israel is in the midst of a war that was launched by the Hamas terror group. It already regrets it,” Halevi  said at a press conference near the Gaza border, according to the Times of Israel.

“We’ve prepared for this. The IDF and the Southern Command have prepared quality offensive plans to achieve the goals of the war,” he said. “The IDF is ready for the [ground] maneuver, and we will make a decision with the political echelon regarding the shape and timing of the next stage,” Halevi says.

The IDF Commander-in-Chief admitted there are “tactical and even strategic considerations” that have delayed the ground offensive, but added the Israeli military is now better prepared for what would be a costly operation.

“We are making use of every minute to be even more prepared,” Halevi said. “And every minute that passes on the other side, we strike the enemy even more. Killing terrorists, destroying infrastructure, collecting more intelligence for the next stage.” 

Israel seeks to eradicate Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the terror group launched a surprise attack on Oct. 7 that claimed the lives of at least 1,400 Israeli civilians, the deadliest terror attack in the Jewish state’s history. Horrific details of the indiscriminate slaughter of Israeli men, women and children have emerged since soldiers and journalists have toured the communities ravaged by Hamas. Many reports are too graphic for television coverage.

“This war has one address: The Hamas leadership and all those who acted under its command. They will pay the price for what they did,” Halevi said.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

American officials urge Israelis to delay ground invasion of Gaza: reports

The Biden administration has urged Israel to delay a ground invasion of Gaza, so that hostage negotiations might continue and humanitarian aid be delivered to the Palestinians, the New York Times reported.

“American officials also want more time to prepare for attacks on U.S. interests in the region from Iran-backed groups, which officials said are likely to intensify once Israel moves its forces fully into Gaza,” the report said. 

U.S. officials that spoke to the Times reportedly said the U.S. government has made no demands of the Israelis and still supports a ground invasion to eradicate the terrorist group Hamas after the Oct. 7 surprise attack that killed more than 1,400 Israelis.

However, a ground invasion would involve costly urban warfare. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in his conversations with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant, has reportedly compared the situation to the campaign to destroy ISIS in the Iraqi city of Mosul between 2016 and 2017. At the time, Austin was head of U.S. Central Command and American troops were supporting Kurdish and Iraqi forces in the fight.

“The first thing everyone should know, and I think everyone does know, is that urban combat is extremely difficult,” Austin said on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday.

Civilian casualties have been heavy on both sides since the war started. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza claimed Tuesday Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have killed more than 700 people in the past 24 hours. 

The reported Palestinian death toll is 5,791, including 2,360 children, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement. At least 16,297 others were wounded, he said.

He said they have received 1,550 reports of missing people, including 870 children, suggesting that those missing could still be under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Israeli officials have said an additional 1,500 bodies of Palestinian terrorists were recovered inside Israel after the Oct. 7 attack. 

Fox News’ Trey Yingst and the Associated Press contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Fox’s Yingst: What Hamas terrorist told Israeli interrogators, what he did to victims ‘too graphic’

Fox News
foreign correspondent Trey Yingst offered a harrowing report about what a detained Hamas terrorist told Israeli interrogators regarding the heinous acts committed against his victims. 

On Saturday, Yingst detailed a video Fox News had obtained of an interrogation of a terrorist who participated in the Oct. 7 attack, warning viewers, “What I’m about to describe is incredibly graphic, but it gives new details on what took place two weeks ago.”

“In the video, he [the Hamas terrorist] describes the preparation and coordination for this assault on southern Israel,” Yingst said. “He talks about a Telegram group that Hamas fighters had, and they were communicating as the massacre took place, sending videos as they got them, as they were killing civilians in their homes.”

“And this interrogator asks him about Islam and [the terrorist] acknowledges that in the religion, you are told not to kill women, children and elderly people, but he describes what Hamas commanders told them to do. He says that commanders said they could do whatever they felt like doing and that this was a suicide mission, telling them they should not plan on coming back.”

According to the interrogation exchange, the Hamas terrorist said commanders told them to “step on the heads of civilians, to behead them and do whatever they felt like.”

Yingst reported how the terrorist “agreed” with the comparisons that were made between Hamas and ISIS, telling the Israeli interrogator, “We burned, we slaughtered and beheaded people.”

“He said, ‘We became animals, things that humans do not do,’” Yingst said quoting the terrorist.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Democratic Socialists of America founding member leaves over ‘morally bankrupt’ response to Hamas

Democratic Socialists of America founding member Maurice Isserman announced Monday he is leaving the organization for its response to Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israeli civilians.

Isserman, who is still described on the socialists’ website as a founding member of DSA penned a piece for The Nation headlined, “Why I Just Quit DSA.”

“I left to protest the DSA leadership’s politically and morally bankrupt response to the horrific Hamas October 7 anti-Jewish pogrom that took the lives of 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and saw over 200 hostages carried off to Gaza, both groups of victims including children and infants,” he wrote.

“Its statement on October 7 made no mention—let alone offering any criticism—of Hamas, declaring instead, ‘Today’s events are a direct result of Israel’s apartheid regime—a regime that receives billions in funding from the United States,’” he continued.

NYC-DSA also co-sponsored a pro-Palestinian rally in New York City the day after the massacre where demonstrators burned and stomped on an Israeli flag and taunted Israel supporters with an image of a swastika. Several progressives, including lawmakers, subsequently condemned or renounced their membership with DSA.

Fox News’ Alexander Hall contributed to this update.

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Obama says any Israeli military strategy that ignores human costs ‘could ultimately backfire’

Former President Obama is warning that any strategy the Israeli military takes in its war against Hamas that ignores the danger to civilians “could ultimately backfire.” 

Obama made the remark in a lengthy statement posted on Medium, where he said “Israel has a right to defend its citizens against such wanton violence” perpetrated by the Palestinian terrorist group and that he fully supports “President Biden’s call for the United States to support our long-time ally in going after Hamas, dismantling its military capabilities, and facilitating the safe return of hundreds of hostages to their families.” 

“Still, the world is watching closely as events in the region unfold, and any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately backfire,” Obama said. “Already, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the bombing of Gaza, many of them children. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes.  

“The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region,” he added. 

The comments come as Israel has built up its military presence along the Gaza border ahead of a possible ground invasion into the territory. 

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this update.

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House lawmakers to receive classified briefing on Iran after attacks on US troops in Middle East

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will host a classified briefing on Iran Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. ET after senior defense officials reported a “significant escalation” of attacks against U.S. troops in the Middle East.

These attacks have “Iranian fingerprints all over” them, according to a senior U.S. defense official and senior U.S. military official who spoke on a background briefing with reporters on Monday. Both officials suggested attacks will likely increase on U.S. troops over the coming days.

The defense official reiterated that Iran is funding, equipping, guiding and directing partners and proxies across the Middle East, including Lebanese Hezbollah militia groups in Iran, Syria and Yemen.

“I think it’s fair to say when you see this uptick in activity in attacks by many of these groups, there’s Iranian fingerprints all over it,” the defense official said. 

The senior defense official also reflected on the objectives set forth when the Department of Defense got involved. First, it was supporting Israel with expediting security assistance, then to help contain the conflict to Gaza while deterring groups from stepping onto the stage and expanding the conflict beyond Gaza.

The third reason was to protect U.S. forces and personnel and focus on hostage recovery.

But Iran and other forces have sought ways to escalate the conflict by targeting U.S. forces with drones and rockets.

U.S. troops are in Iraq and Syria to support local partners to achieve the defeat of ISIS, the senior defense official said. So, when the efforts continue to increase, Iran is giving space for ISIS to “reconstitute” and destabilize the region, the official added.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Greg Wehner contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

IDF makes direct appeal to Palestinians for information on hostages

The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday it has dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip making a direct appeal to Palestinians to provide Israel with information on captives held by Hamas.

“If you want a better future for you and your children, take action and provide us with solid and useful information as soon as possible regarding the hostages in your area,” the leaflet reads.

The Israelis are offering protection and even a monetary award to any Palestinian who comes forward with verifiable information leading to the rescue of an Israeli hostage.

“The Israeli army assures you that it will put forth maximum effort to provide you and your home with security, as well as a financial reward,” the leaflet says, guaranteeing “complete confidentiality.” 

The message contains a QR code, phone number and contact info on Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal for those with information to confidentially share it with the Israelis. 

Fox News’ Trey Yingst contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Senior Hamas leader lies, says there are no hostages, then gives conditions for release

A senior Hamas leader denied that the more than 200 Israelis and foreigners
currently held captive in Gaza are hostages and gave the conditions for their release in a television interview.

Khaled Mashaal, formerly the chief of the terrorist group’s politburo, told Sky News in an interview that the civilians being held by Hamas will only be freed if Israel stops its bombardment of Gaza — all the while denying that the captives are hostages. 

“They are not hostages,” Mashaal said, adding that the Israelis are being held in different locations in Gaza. He claimed Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 22 of the captives and said the bombardment must cease for the hostages to be released. 

“Let them stop this aggression and you will find the mediators like Qatar and Egypt and some Arab countries and others will find a way to have them released and we’ll send them to their homes,” Meshaal said.

He claimed the hostage releases cannot happen while Israel continues to hit Gaza with airstrikes.

“We want to stop the random bombardments, the total destruction, the genocide so that the al Qassam soldiers can take them from their places and hand them to the Red Cross or whoever,” he told Sky News. 

“We need the right conditions to allow them to be released.”

Fox News’ Trey Yingst contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Artificial intelligence a new frontier in war: ‘harder to prove what is real’

JERUSALEM – Over the past two weeks, since Palestinian terrorist group Hamas carried out its deadly attack in southern Israel killing some 1,400 Israelis, there is a fear that a new front in the old war between Israelis and Palestinians could open up – in the digital realm. 

While doctored images and fake news have long been part of the Middle East wartime arsenal, with the arrival less than a year ago of easy-to-use artificial intelligence (AI) generative tools it seems highly probable that deepfake visuals will soon be making an appearance on the war front too. 

“Hamas and other Palestinian factions have already passed off gruesome images from other conflicts as though they were Palestinian victims of Israeli assaults, so this is not something unique to this theater of operations,” David May, a research manager at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital. 

He described how in the past, Hamas has been known to intimidate journalists into not reporting about its use of human shields in the Palestinian enclave, as well as staging images of toddlers and teddy bears buried in the rubble. 

“Hamas controls the narrative in the Gaza Strip,” said May, who follows Hamas’ activities closely, adding that “AI-generated images will complicate an Israeli-Palestinian conflict already rife with disinformation.”

There have already been some reports of images reupped from different conflicts, and last week, a heartbreaking photograph of a crying baby crawling through the rubble in Gaza was revealed as an AI creation. 

“I call it upgraded fake news,” Dr. Tal Pavel, founder and director of CyBureau, an Israeli-based institute for the study of cyber policy, told Fox News Digital. “We already know the term fake news, which in most cases is visual or written content that is manipulated or placed in a false context. AI, or deepfake, is when we take those images and bring them to life in video clips.”

Pavel called the emergence of AI-generated deepfake visuals “one of the biggest threats to democracy.”

Fox News’ Ruth Marks Eglash contributed to this update.

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Hezbollah-allied politician says Lebanon won’t start war with Israel

A prominent Lebanese Christian politician allied with Hezbollah said Tuesday that Lebanon would only enter a war with Israel in self-defense after an attack.

The comments by Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement of former President Michel Aoun, came as sporadic clashes continue on the Lebanese border with Israel between Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups in Lebanon on one side and Israeli forces on the other.

“No one can drag us into war unless the Israeli enemy attacks us, and then we will be forced to defend ourselves,” Bassil said after a meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, another Hezbollah ally. Bassil also spoke by phone to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday. “All the Lebanese agree that they do not want war, but that does not mean that we should allow ourselves to be attacked without a response.”

International leaders fear the war between Israel and Hamas could expand into a larger, regional conflict should Hezbollah and its arsenal of an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles intervene on the side of Hamas. The flare ups on the border between Israel’s military and Hezbollah fighters have internally displaced 19,646 people in Lebanon, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Last week, Israel evacuated a town on the border with Lebanon amid the escalating violence. 

The Associated Press contributed to this update.

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New York Times torched for editor’s note about coverage of Gaza hospital blast

The New York Times drew heavy criticism last week for amplifying the Hamas-run Health Ministry’s claims that an Israeli airstrike struck a hospital in Gaza without informing its readers that the information couldn’t immediately be verified.  

The Times released an editor’s note on Monday saying its initial accounts “attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials, and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast.” 

“However, the early versions of the coverage — and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert and social media channels — relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified. The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was,” the statement read in part. 

The Israeli Defense Forces denied striking the hospital, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, that a “failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization hit the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza City.” 

An Associated Press visual analysis released on Saturday found the most likely cause of the explosion was the result of a rocket “fired from within Palestinian territory” that broke up in the air and fell to the ground. 

President Biden also said he had seen data from the Defense Department that showed Israel was not to blame for the explosion at the Gaza hospital. 

FOX News’ Pete Hegseth slammed the New York Times for relying “only on Hamas.” 

“They relied only on Hamas in this scenario. They were the only ones making this claim. They threw a number out there. They threw a hospital out there and the New York Times ran with it,” Hegseth said Monday on “Outnumbered.”  

Fox News’ Ashley Carnahan contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Released Hamas hostage speaks out about terror inflicted on her

An 85-year-old woman who was held captive by Hamas and released Monday is speaking out about the terror inflicted on her and her husband, who is still held hostage. 

Yocheved Lifshitz is one of the first hostages to speak out about her experience in the Gaza Strip since she was taken captive by terrorists on Oct. 7. Lifshitz said she was taken to Gaza on the back of a motorcycle and beaten with sticks by people inside the territory. She said her captives fed her only once a day, adding that Hamas did provide hostages with some medicine and hygiene supplies. 

Lifshitz described the tunnel system beneath Gaza as a “spider’s web” which terrorists use to hide from the Israeli military’s airstrikes and infiltrate Israel. 

She said the people assigned to guard her “told us they are people who believe in the Quran and wouldn’t hurt us.”

Her daughter, Sharone Lifschitz, told reporters the family hopes that all the hostages who were held captive with her mother will come back and that “the story is not over” until they are freed. 

Fox News’ Trey Yingst and the Associated Press contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Sen. Peter Welch says Israel ground invasion would ‘exacerbate’ conditions in Gaza: ‘Grave concerns’

Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said Monday he has “grave concerns” about Israel’s potential ground invasion into Gaza amid an ongoing war prompted by Hamas’ terror attack on the Jewish State.

In a statement released Monday, Welch said he has “grave concerns about the wisdom and military efficacy” of an Israeli ground invasion in Gaza and that there is “no doubt” an imminent ground invasion would be “catastrophic for innocent Palestinians in Gaza and jeopardize urgent efforts to save hostages.”

“Israel has the absolute right to attack Hamas for the brutal, heinous slaughter of more than 1,400 Israelis and the taking of more than 200 hostages,” Welch wrote. “But, Israel also has a responsibility to protect Palestinian civilians living in Gaza, including one million children. Already, more than 5,000 Palestinians have died.”

“The humanitarian conditions in Gaza are terrible and getting worse every day,” Welch continued. “One million Palestinians, including women and children, have been displaced. Most are living in the open—without food, without shelter, fuel, water, or access to medicine. United Nations relief efforts have begun but are unable to meet the extreme needs of the moment.”

The senator concluded, “A ground invasion would further exacerbate the dire conditions in Gaza.”

Fox News’ Landon Mion contributed to this update.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

ADL leader says ‘Squad’ ‘marginalized themselves,’ lost influence with radical positions on Israel

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said members of the far-left “Squad” of Democrats should be kept “on the fringe where they belong” and suggested their “influence has waned and weakened” because of extreme ideology related to the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have irked supporters of Israel on both sides of the political aisle since Hamas’ devastating terror attacks on Oct. 7 that killed hundreds of civilians, including women, children and babies. Tlaib accused the Biden administration of funding a “genocide” against Palestinians and has spread the debunked claim that Israel bombed a Gaza hospital, Ocasio-Cortez has accused Israel of war crimes and Omar seemed to equate the Israeli victims killed by Hamas terrorists and Palestinians killed in the ongoing Israeli response.

“I think Rashida Tlaib has been so marginalized in her own district. And like, AOC, I don’t even see her in the media anymore. I think these individuals with their radical ideas have marginalized themselves,” Greenblatt told Fox News Digital.

Greenblatt was in Washington, D.C. last week and attended a meeting of Jewish communal leaders, the Jewish community and congressional leadership. He was pleased to see influential people from all sides standing with Israel, and believes the “Squad” should be disregarded on the topic.

“Hakeem Jeffries and Chuck Schumer and Steve Scalise and Mitch McConnell all said exactly the same thing. So, I just think AOC doesn’t matter that much. She’s one of 430-something people, or Tlaib or Ilhan Omar, and we don’t need to assign them any more influence because already you see that their influence has waned and weakened in the last few years as their positions have become more radical, and they’ve reduced their ability, I think, to reach a wider audience,” Greenblatt continued. “There are extreme voices on all sides. Let’s leave them on the fringe where they belong.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.

Posted by Chris Pandolfo

Israel-Hamas war: Who are the two Israeli hostages released today?

Two Israeli hostages named Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, were released by Hamas terrorists on Monday, officials say.

The two women were kidnapped from their houses in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7. Both of the women’s husbands are still being held as hostages – Amiram Cooper, 85, and Oded Lifshitz, 83.

According to a statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) acted “in all channels” to “overcome the many obstacles Hamas has laid” and secure the women’s release.

“After they were transferred to the hands of the IDF, they are making their way to a medical center in Israel who is prepared for them and where their family members await them,” the statement read. “We thank Egypt for the assistance and the Red Cross for their important role as life savers.”

“The government of Israel, IDF and the security establishment, will continue to act to the best of their abilities to trace all missing and return all hostages back home,” Netanyahu’s press release added.

Fox News’s Yael Rotem-Kuriel contributed to this report.

Posted by Andrea Vacchiano

Israeli forces strike more than 400 terrorist targets in 24-hour period: IDF

The Israel Defense Forces announced it has struck more than 400 terrorist targets in the past 24 hours, according to a post made on X, formerly Twitter, Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. local time.

As part of its “wide-scale operation” to dismantle Hamas’ capabilities, the IDF said the targets struck include: Hamas gunmen setting up to fire rockets in Israel’s direction, an operational tunnel shaft allowing Israel to be infiltrated through the sea, and Hamas command centers and staging armaments in Mosques.

The focus continues to be on eliminating Hamas operatives and “weapons storage sites, underground terrorist tunnels, command centers, observation posts and more,” the IDF said in its daily recap.

The force also said it will continue operating with the safety of innocent civilians in mind.

Tuesday marked the 18th day of Israel’s counteroffensive against Hamas since the terrorist group launched its unprecedented attack against the Jewish State on Oct. 7.

Posted by Elizabeth Pritchett

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