Israel Latest: Biden Discusses ‘Urgent’ Efforts on Hostages

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(Bloomberg) -- Senior officials in Israel and the US suggested that talks on securing the release of Hamas-held hostages are intensifying. President Joe Biden spoke with Qatar’s leader about “the urgent ongoing efforts to secure additional releases.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there “could” be a deal in the offing. Israeli President Isaac Herzog expressed caution.

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Israel’s military pressed on with its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, engaging in ground battles in a northern refugee camp. On Israel’s northern border, six civilians were injured after anti-tank missiles were fired by the militant group Hezbollah from within Lebanon. Israel struck back with fighter jets.

The United Nations said Israeli ground attacks and shelling increased around hospitals, with several being directly hit. Israel, which accuses Hamas of using the hospitals as command centers, said there was safe passage for anyone who wanted to leave. Hamas is designated a terrorist group by the US and EU.

For more stories on the Israel-Hamas war, click here.

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

CNN Says Hundreds of Foreign Nationals Left Gaza on Sunday (5:25 a.m.)

CNN reported that over 800 foreign nationals passed through the Rafah crossing into Egypt on Sunday, citing an unidentified Egyptian border official. It said this marked the largest number that has passed through the crossing in a single day since evacuations began.

Also on Sunday, Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on social media platform X: “We are relieved that 234 Canadians and their families were able to leave Gaza today.”

It’s unclear if they were part of the same group reported on by CNN.

US Launches Strikes on Iran-Linked Sites in Syria (1:22 a.m.)

The US struck a training facility and a safe house in eastern Syria in its latest airstrikes on Iran-linked targets since the Israel-Hamas war began, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. The Pentagon said last week that there have been at least 41 attacks on American military personnel in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17.

Biden Speaks With Qatar About Hostage Releases (10:59 p.m.)

President Joe Biden spoke with Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani about “the urgent ongoing efforts to secure additional releases.”

Biden “condemned unequivocally the holding of hostages by Hamas, including many young children, one of whom is a 3-year old American citizen toddler, whose parents were killed by Hamas on October 7th,” the White House said.

They also talked about efforts to increase the continuous flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

Israeli President Cautious on Hostages (9:40 p.m.)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog expressed caution about a possible release of hostages held by Hamas, saying “there is nothing substantial right now on the table” though “we are using all tools possible” to bring it about. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said what’s at stake “is the recovery of a significant number” of hostages through negotiations, with Qatar acting as a channel to Hamas. He said the talks were “delicate” and “high stakes.” Both spoke on CBS’s Face the Nation.

US Military Plane Crash Kills Five (8:01 p.m.)

Five US military members were killed when their helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean during routine training of air refueling, US military officials said. A statement from the US European Command gave no further details.

Israel’s Central Bank Requires Banks to Review Dividend Policy (7:25 pm)

Israel’s central bank is asking all banks to review their dividend and stock buyback policy as economic circumstances are changing because of the war with Hamas.

“There has been an increase in credit risks, and credit losses are expected to increase significantly in the coming period,” the central bank’s inspector wrote in a letter.

Bank of Israel is asking all banks to make sure they have sufficient capital cushions to deal with the various risks. They are requested to submit the results of their review by Nov. 15.

Thousands Protest Against Antisemitism in France (5:05 p.m.)

Tens of thousands gathered across large French cities on Sunday to protest against the rise of antisemitism. The largest protest was in Paris, with the participation of ministers, politicians from the left to the right, and celebrities.

President Emmanuel Macron said he would join the demonstrations “in [his] heart and in thoughts.” In a letter to the nation Macron condemned the “unbearable resurgence of unbridled antisemitism” and called for national unity.

Israel Says 15 Launches Identified From Lebanon Within an Hour (4:48 p.m.)

Israel says 15 launches were identified from Lebanon within an hour Sunday afternoon as cross-border skirmishes continue unabated. Four were intercepted and the remainder fell into open areas, the Israel Defense Forces said. Al Jazeera reported two rockets fired from south Lebanon toward upper Galilee in Israel.

Israel has responded with artillery fire toward the origins of the launches. Seven Israeli soldiers were lightly injured in the area of Manara as a result of mortar shell fire.

US Official Says Israel-Hamas Hostage Swap Possible: NBC (4:28 p.m.)

A Biden administration official told NBC of a possible deal in which Hamas would release about 80 Israeli women and children hostages in exchange for a similar gesture by Israel.

There’s no certainty that current talks will yield a result, NBC reported, without identifying the official, who added that the US is also exploring other options.

Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the US network that there “could” be a deal in the offing. “The less I say about it, the more I’ll increase the chances that it materializes,” he said on Meet the Press.

Jets Strike Hezbollah Targets in Lebanon in Response to Fire (3:38 p.m.)

Israeli jets hit a number of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, including military infrastructure, in response to earlier fire, the Israel Defense Forces said.

In addition, Israeli soldiers struck militants that had opened fire toward the area of Dovev in northern Israel, injuring a number of civilians.

In another incident, a militant cell in Lebanon launched a number of mortar shells toward northern Israel. The IDF attacked the unit, as well as an additional group of militants in southern Lebanon.

White House Says US Citizens Gradually Getting Out of Gaza, (3:30 p.m.)

Some of the roughly 400 US citizens still in Gaza are leaving the enclave on Sunday, said White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

“The gate has been opened and closed. The lists have included Americans some days and not other days,” Sullivan said on CBS’s Face The Nation. “But the bottom line is today the gate is open. We are moving American citizens and their family members out.”

Sullivan Backs Israel on Hamas Command Center Claims (3 p.m.)

Sullivan didn’t dispute claims by Israel that Hamas has a command center underneath the Al Shifa medical center — something the group, designated as a terrorist operation by the US, has denied.

Sullivan said Hamas “in this conflict” is using hospitals and other civilian facilities as shields.

US officials are having “an active conversation” with Israeli Defense Forces about the matter, Sullivan said on CBS. “The bottom line is, we don’t want to see firefights in hospitals.”

Tel Aviv Stocks Fall As Missiles Fired From Lebanon Hit Civilians (1:30 p.m.)

Israel’s TA-35 benchmark stock index fell by the most in three weeks after anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon injured six Israeli civilians, leaving one in critical condition. Some of the civilians were electric company workers who had come to repair power lines damaged in previous fire.

The TA-35, which had shown moderate gains earlier, reversed direction to fall by as much as 2%. The index is down almost 7% for the year but is holding above the lows set in late October, with shifting perceptions on the potential for a broader regional conflict accounting for much of the day-to-day volatility.

Palestine Red Crescent Says Al-Quds Hospital No Longer Operational (12 p.m.)

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City is out of service and no longer operational.

The hospital ceased operations “due to the depletion of available fuel and power outage,” the medical organization said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel Says It’s Fighting in Shati Refugee Camp (9:12 a.m.)

Israeli troops have been fighting in the northern Gaza camp in the past day, according to the military, which said it “uncovered terrorist infrastructures and eliminated terrorists.” It wasn’t possible to independently verify the claims.

Shati is the third largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight camps, with more than 90,000 refugees registered as of earlier in 2023, according to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees.

Fighting Intensifies Around Gaza Hospitals (8:15 a.m.)

Several hospitals in Gaza City and northern Gaza were directly hit after Israel intensified its military assault, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in an update.

Power at the Indonesia and Shifa hospitals reportedly cut off after fuel ran out, it said. Two babies died at Shifa after life support ceased working while 37 babies in incubators are at imminent risk of death, OCHA said, citing the Health Ministry in Ramallah in the West Bank.

OCHA official Martin Griffiths has said “there can be no justification for acts of war in health care facilities, leaving them with no power, food or water, and shooting at patients and civilians trying to flee.”

WHO Loses Communication with Al-Shifa Hospital (4 a.m.)

The World Health Organization said it has lost communication with its contacts at Al-Shifa Hospital, a major facility in northern Gaza that’s said to be encircled by Israeli troops.

“As horrifying reports of the hospital facing repeated attacks continue to emerge, we assume our contacts joined tens of thousands of displaced people who had sought shelter on the hospital grounds and are fleeing the area,” the WHO said in a statement. “There are reports that some people who fled the hospital have been shot at, wounded and even killed.”

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