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Freed hostage says she was treated well by Hamas, taken through ‘spiderweb’ network of tunnels

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Freed hostage says she was treated well by Hamas, taken through ‘spiderweb’ network of tunnels

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U.S. issues warning to ships in the Red Sea

JERUSALEM — The U.S. is issuing a new warning to ships traveling through the Red Sea after a drone and missile attack launched from Yemen during the Israel-Hamas war.

Today’s U.S. Maritime Administration warning urged vessels to “exercise caution when transiting this region.”

The U.S. Navy says it shot down missiles and drones believed to have been launched by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in recent days amid wider tensions across the Middle East over the war.

Aid will end tomorrow night without new fuel supply, U.N. agency warns

Without new fuel arriving in Gaza, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency will be forced to end its aid operations there very soon.

The agency said that its fuel reserves are expected to run out entirely by tomorrow night and that fuel is not included in the current humanitarian aid convoys Israel has agreed to move into Gaza.

Juliette Touma, UNRWA director of communications, told MSNBC that fuel is used for hospitals, water desalination, bakeries and other essential functions.

“We are running out of time, I think Gaza is running out of time,” she said. “The people of Gaza who depend on organizations like UNRWA are also running out of time.

More than 20 ministers to attend U.N. Security Council meeting

In addition to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, more than 20 ministers from the Middle East, Europe and other regions are gathering in New York today for a high-level meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the Israel-Hamas war, several Western diplomatic sources confirmed to NBC News.

Among the most notable in attendance are the foreign ministers from Israel, Egypt and Jordan. The United Kingdom, France and Germany — or the E3 — will also be represented at the minister level.

The U.S. circulated a draft resolution Saturday condemning the Oct. 7 Hamas attack but did not call for a cease-fire, according to two Western diplomats. A vote on the resolution could come as soon as today, but the timing is still being determined. 

The U.S. vetoed a Brazilian resolution last week that called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting or cease-fire to deliver aid and supplies in Gaza.

Doctors in Gaza try to comfort scared, wounded children

As Gazan officials declared the health care system in total collapse, doctors continue to treat patients, paying special attention to the needs of children.

“The state of bombing and war affects child psychology,” and they need to be reassured constantly Dr. Mohammed Younis told NBC News crews in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.

At Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, third-grade student Rima Shakshak whimpered faintly while she bled from her head onto the hospital bed.

“There is a deep-cut wound,” said Dr. Younis, who then took the girl for an X-ray.

“Move slowly. Stay still … You are a hero,” he told the 8-year-old girl while lifting her for the scan.

In addition to physical injuries, the doctors say emotional wounds need care, too.

“One of the cases we received was a very sacred girl. Her wound was minor, but her physiological condition was terrible,” Dr. Akram Ala’auiny said. “I blow a balloon for her. And try to play with her. To assure her that she is in safe hands at the hospital as much as possible. And there is hope.”

Freed hostage says she was treated well by Hamas, taken through ‘spiderweb’ network of tunnels

One of the two Israeli hostages released yesterday said she was treated well by Hamas after going through “hell” when she and her husband were abducted from their kibbutz near Gaza.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, said she was brought into the enclave on a motorbike and beaten. She was then taken through a network of Hamas tunnels.

“It looked like lots and lots of spiderwebs,” Lifshitz said.

Once there, she said the militants promised not to harm them.

Lifshitz said she and four other people from kibbutz Nir Oz were given medical help and medications. They slept on mattresses, Lifshitz said, and Hamas cleaned their toilets and shared food with them.

There was always someone guarding them, and they were treated well, she said. “They took care of all our needs. To their credit, they were very kind.”

Lifshitz blamed Israeli authorities for not taking signs of an impending attack seriously, weeks before it happened.

Then, Hamas came on Oct. 7.

“They opened gates of the kibbutz and dozens of them entered,” she added. “It was a very, very sad and very difficult. And in my memory, I constantly have the pictures of what happened.”

IDF offers Gazans rewards for hostage info

In a post on X today, the IDF shared a flyer asking Palestinians in Gaza to reach out with verified information on hostages in their area if their “will is to live in peace.”

“The Israeli military assures you that it will invest maximum effort in providing security for you and your home, and you will receive a financial reward,” the post said. “We guarantee you complete confidentiality.”

More than 200 people were taken hostage in Oct. 7 attacks, and so far, four have been freed.

People taking refuge from Israeli airstrikes at a hospital in Khan Younis in Gaza collected the flyers dropped from Israeli planes and tore them up, Reuters reported.

Gazan health officials announce ‘complete collapse of health system’

Injured people arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza.
Injured people arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital in Khan Younis today.Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

JERUSALEM — Gaza’s health care system has completely collapsed, the spokesman for the Health Ministry said today.

“We announce the complete collapse of the health system in the hospitals of the Gaza Strip,” Ashraf al-Qudra said in a news conference.

Humanitarian and aid organizations have been sounding the alarm for days that Gaza’s health care system was on the brink of collapse.

Freed hostage’s grandson fears for grandfather’s condition

Yocheved Lifshitz’s grandson said that while he was thrilled to see her after her release, her fragile state renewed concerns for his grandfather, who remains a captive, Daniel Lifshitz told NBC News’ “TODAY.”

“But I saw her, and also I felt such a huge, huge, huge sting in my heart to see her in that situation knowing that she’s been through so much,” he said.

His grandparents were taken into Gaza on motorbikes, and then separated, Lifshitz said. He said his grandfather was injured before he was captured while trying to hide from Hamas.

Lifshitz called his grandmother the strongest person he knew, but that her fragile state also worried him.

“To see my grandmother come back in that situation, because she was released in the humanitarian situation, which means her situation was not good,” he said. “Thinking about my grandfather and what he’s going through, I’m really afraid.”

Gaza residents endure sleepless nights amid airstrikes and no power

People inspect the damage of a destroyed house in Khan Younis, Gaza.
A destroyed home in Khan Younis today.Mohammed Dahman / AP

In Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, airstrikes have become a way of life.

“I don’t know how to sleep,” Mohammed Abuakar, 22, told NBC News. “The situation is not good. There is very heavy bombing.”

“There is no electricity or water. The internet is very weak too,” he said in messages via WhatsApp.

Death toll in Gaza spikes to almost 5,800

Friends and relatives pray by the bodies of the dead at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza.
Friends and relatives pray by bodies at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, today.Hatem Moussa / AP

JERUSALEM — Health officials in Gaza said today the death toll has risen to 5,791 people, just a day after it had surpassed 5,000.

More than 2,300 of dead were children, the officials said.

The enclave that’s home to more than 2 million people has been facing devastating Israeli airstrikes and a complete blockade for more than two weeks, with humanitarian organizations warning its health care system is on the brink of collapse.

Israeli president says ‘Lebanon will pay the price’ if Hezbollah drags country into war

Hezbollah fighters stand guard on a building roof top to protect their supporters during a pro-Palestinian protest in Beirut.
Hezbollah fighters stand guard on a rooftop to protect their supporters during a pro-Palestinian protest in Beirut on Oct. 13.Hussein Malla / AP file

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said that the country does not want to expand the war by fighting with Hezbollah, but warned it was Lebanon that would suffer if fighting in the north escalates.

“But if Hezbollah will drag us into all, it should be clear that Lebanon will pay the price,” he said. “Lebanon cannot be a sovereign member of the international community, its citizens carrying a Lebanese passport but when it comes to attacking Israel, they are not responsible.”

The remarks were made in a sit-down with the visiting French president, who has a strong diplomatic relationship with Lebanon. Macron expressed solidarity with Israel, describing the Oct. 7 ambush by Hamas as an awful attack.

Macron said he has sent “very clear messages” to Hezbollah warning the group not to join the war.

UNRWA ‘struggling to comprehend’ the loss of 35 colleagues in Gaza

The director of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), Thomas White, said the group is struggling to comprehend the loss of 35 staff members in Gaza since Oct. 7.

The agency has previously said that many of the staffers who were killed were teachers in UNRWA schools.

Macron proposes ‘international coalition’ against Hamas

France’s leader has proposed creating an international against Hamas and the larger existential threat of terrorism.

“This fight against terrorism is obviously a matter of existence for Israel but it’s a matter of existence for all of us,” Macron said at a news conference with Netanyahu. “This is why we discussed together. … I consider this is an international coalition to fight against terrorist groups that we have to build.”

French President Emmanuel Macron in Jerusalem.
Macron in Jerusalem today.Christophe Ena / AP

Macron’s remark is an echo to the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, a federation of 86 member states that was formed in 2014 to fight the Islamic State terrorist group. Netanyahu responded to Macron by describing Hamas as a part of the “axis of evil,” which then-President George W. Bush used to describe North Korea, Iran and Iraq in his 2002 State of the Union speech.

Netanyahu is using the term to describe Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthis, an Islamist group based in Yemen.

Gaza’s health chief says aid ‘throws dust in the eyes’

The aid coming into Gaza is “throwing dust in the eyes” of residents and falls short of meeting the needs of the 2 million people who have been under Israel’s blockade for more than two weeks, the director-general of Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

People unload boxes of medicine at Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, Gaza.
People unload boxes of medicine at Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis yesterday.Mohammed Dahman / AP

“Until now, we have not received a single piece of the aid that is being talked about entering the Gaza Strip,” Munir Al-Bursh said.

His comments come after the first convoys of aid trucks crossed into Gaza from Egypt over the weekend.

NBC News reached out to the United Nations, which has been coordinating the distribution of aid, for comment.

‘I went through hell’: Released hostage says she was beaten with sticks

One of the two Hamas hostages released yesterday has told reporters at a hospital in Tel Aviv that she went through “hell” when she was seized by militants who attacked her kibbutz.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, described the ordeal of being taken hostage but also her time in captivity, where she said she was treated well. 

She spoke at the hospital, sat in a wheelchair alongside her daughter and surrounded by members of the media.

Yocheved Lifshitz at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
Yocheved Lifshitz at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv today.Ariel Schalit / AP

“I went through hell,” said Lifshitz, who was released along with Nurit Cooper, 79. “We never thought and never knew that we could reach a situation like this.”

She detailed how she was put on a motorcycle to be taken into Gaza, beaten with sticks, and then taken through a network of tunnels. 

But Lifshitz said she received medical care in captivity and was treated well. 

Chinese foreign minister speaks with Israeli and Palestinian counterparts

and

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged Israel not to neglect civilian safety in the process of defending itself, while telling his Palestinian counterpart that China “deeply sympathizes” with his people.

“All countries have the right to self-defense, but they should abide by international humanitarian law and protect the safety of civilians,” he said yesterday in a call with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, according to a readout from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing today.Ken Ishi / Pool via Getty Images

Separately, Wang told Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki that China “deeply sympathizes with the difficult situation of Palestine, especially the people of Gaza” and that China would continue to provide humanitarian aid. China, like Russia, has not explicitly condemned Hamas over the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, driving a further wedge between the two countries and the United States.

The Israel-Hamas war is likely to be a topic of discussion as Wang visits Washington from Thursday to Saturday. He will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in what could be a prelude to a meeting next month between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which would be their first in a year.

4 Palestinians killed in arrest raids in the West Bank, U.N. agency says

In an escalation of violence, at least 95 Palestinians, including 28 children, have been killed by military activity or settler violence in the West Bank since Oct. 7, according to the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The last few weeks have been the deadliest period for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2008.

Mourners carry the bodies two Palestinian men killed in the Israeli occupied West Bank.
Mourners carry the bodies of two Palestinian men killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank yesterday.Zain Jaafar / AFP – Getty Images

Four people were killed between Sunday and yesterday, OCHA said, during two search-and-arrest operations in Ramallah and Nablus. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified two of the dead as Muhammad Nidal Yaqoub Alyan, 22, and Mahmoud Saif Ahmed Nakhla, 20.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Authority said 85 were arrested in a targeted campaign in the West Bank by dawn yesterday. There have been 1,215 arrests in the West Bank since the Oct. 7 attack.

Two released hostages recovering at Tel Aviv hospital

The two elderly hostages who were released by Hamas yesterday have been recovering at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

The hospital said in a video statement that the medical condition of the two women was “fine” and they had a reunion with their family members.

“Right now, for them and for the family members, it’s a very, very exciting situation. We are happy that they are here with us,” the hospital’s spokesperson said.

Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, were released by Hamas for what the militants said were humanitarian reasons. Their elderly husbands remain in captivity, according to Israeli officials.

France’s Macron arrives in Israel in show of solidarity

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Israel today in a show of support, following visits by Biden and several European leaders in recent days.

His office said Macron’s objectives for the visit include de-escalating violence, pleading for a humanitarian truce and the release of hostages.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets French President Emmanuel Macron in Jerusalem.
Christophe Ena / AFP – Getty Images

In a post on X, Marcon said he met with the families of the French Israeli victims, killed or kidnapped by Hamas, adding that France is “linked to Israel” by mourning.

Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported yesterday that France saw 588 incidents of antisemitism since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, as he vowed to fight the spike with “total determination.”


Israel should not have ‘unconditional green light’ to kill, Qatari emir says

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Jacquelyn Martin / Pool via AP file

DOHA — Qatar’s ruling emir has urged the international community not to grant Israel “unrestricted authorization to kill” Palestinians in its fight against Hamas, in what he called a dangerous escalation that threatens global security.

“We say enough. Israel shouldn’t be granted an unconditional green light and unrestricted authorization to kill,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said in an annual speech to open the Gulf Arab state’s advisory Shura Council, his first public comments since Qatar began its most recent efforts to mediate between Israel and Hamas.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the Gaza death toll had topped 5,000 in two weeks of Israeli airstrikes in response to Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, in which the Islamist militant group killed more than 1,400 people and captured more than 200 hostages.

“We do not accept double standards and acting like the lives of Palestinian children aren’t accounted for, as if they don’t have faces or names,” Tamim said.

Horrors of war hitting Israel, Gaza as war continues

ISRAEL/GAZA BORDER — In Israel, workers are trying to identify hundreds of unrecognizable bodies two weeks after the massacre by Hamas, while in Gaza the death toll is increasing rapidly, making it difficult to name the dead. 

More than 400 targets hit in Gaza overnight, IDF says, as Gaza death toll rises

A destroyed building in Gaza.
A destroyed building in Gaza today.Hatem Ali / AP

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said it struck more than 400 targets in Gaza in the last 24 hours, and killed several Hamas commanders and numerous operatives preparing attacks on Israel.

“In a wide-scale operation to dismantle Hamas’ terrorist capabilities, the IDF struck dozens of Hamas gunmen setting up to fire rockets and carry out terror attacks against the Israeli home front,” the IDF said in a release today.

It added that its fighter jets struck “dozens of terror infrastructure and Hamas staging grounds,” and a tunnel that gave the militants quick access to the coastline.

Amid the intensified bombardment, the death toll in Gaza continues to rise. According to Gaza health authorities, more than 5,500 people have been killed and about 17,000 injured.

Biden spoke with Netanyahu after Hamas released 2 hostages

Biden spoke with Netanyahu last night and reaffirmed efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, the White House said.

Biden “reaffirmed his commitment to ongoing efforts to secure the release of all the remaining hostages taken by Hamas — including Americans — and to provide for safe passage for U.S. citizens and other civilians in Gaza,” the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders spoke on the day Hamas released two additional hostages, bringing the total freed to four. Israel’s military says Hamas is still holding more than 200 other people hostage.

Biden “also underscored the need to sustain a continuous flow of urgently needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza” and informed Netanyahu of new U.S. military deployments, the White House said.

Catch up with NBC News’ latest coverage of the Israel-Hamas war




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