‘A horror movie in real time’: American describes life in Gaza
CAIRO — The situation in Gaza is like living “a horror movie in real time,” according to one American citizen who was freed yesterday.
Emilee Rauschenberger told NBC News she was visiting family, but was trapped in the enclave with her husband Mohammad Abuhamad and their five children Noora 15, Tariq, 12, Adam and Zaid both 10, and four-year-old Maryam after Hamas Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. She added that they rented an apartment away from the heavy fighting in northern Gaza but there were still airstrikes near them.
Before they left, Rauschenberger said her family lived off of pita bread and jam, with the occasional macaroni or rice for dinner. In their final days she added that her children became sick with inexplicable illnesses.
“It’s just, it is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions…it’s just so it’s just so isolating and barbaric really because it you’re just struggling so much,” Rauschenberger said.
Hezbollah will continue to attack Israel despite U.S. warplane threat, leader says
A further escalation along the Lebanese border between Hezbollah and Israel is contingent on Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip, the militant group’s leader said today.
Hassan Nasrallah told a crowd in Beirut that Hezbollah would “continue to infiltrate Israel,” even through it had “received a threat that U.S. warplanes will bombard Lebanon.”
“The future of this front, will evolve according to the development of the situation in Gaza,” he said. “All scenarios are open on the southern front. All options are laid out and we can adopt any at any point of time,” he added.
Palestinian president thanks Pope Francis for ‘peace-building efforts’
Pope Francis spoke on the phone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late Thursday afternoon, according to a statement from the Vatican.
Abbas thanked the pope for his efforts in rebuilding peace among Palestinians and Israelis, while also stressing the “vital importance” of the Vatican continuing efforts to advocate for a cease-fire.
Blinken stresses need to ‘prevent escalation’ of the Israel-Hamas war
Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the need to “prevent escalation” of the war between Israel and Hamas in a speech in Tel Aviv today.
He added that more needed to be done “to protect Palestinian civilians,” because it was “the right thing to do.”
Family of Scottish first minister evacuated out of Gaza
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said today that his in-laws left Gaza this morning through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
The last four weeks have been “a living nightmare for our family,” Yousaf said in a joint statement with his wife, Nadia El-Nakla.
“Although we feel a sense of deep personal relief, we are heartbroken at the continued suffering of the people of Gaza,” the statement posted on X said. “We will continue to raise our voices to stop the killing and suffering of the innocent people of Gaza.”
The statement did not say whether Yousaf’s brother-in-law, a doctor who was working at a Gaza hospital, has left the Palestinian enclave.
Israel attack was ‘100% Palestinian,’ Hezbollah leader says
The crowds were waving Palestinian, Lebanese, Hezbollah and, tellingly, Iranian flags — but Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has sought to distance Tehran and its allied forces from the Hamas attack against Israel on Oct. 7.
In a hotly anticipated speech, Nasrallah praised Hamas’ “glorious operation,” but he insisted that the surprise attack was “100% Palestinians in terms of execution” and that Hamas “kept it secret even from other factions in Gaza.”
Nasrallah urged an end to the war, blaming the U.S. for failing to secure a cease-fire.
U.N. estimates aid needs in Gaza and West Bank at $1.2 billion
The U.N. humanitarian office said today it would cost an estimated $1.2 billion to meet the needs of 2.3 million people in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip and the 500,000 people in the West Bank until the end of the year.
Aid supplies to Gaza have been choked since Israel began bombarding the densely populated enclave in the wake of attacks by Hamas gunmen in southern Israel on Oct. 7, with aid organizations saying it is nowhere near matching the needs of its residents.
“There’s been a high number of casualties reported, as well as the reported use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in some of the most densely populated areas in Gaza,” said Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“We have serious concerns that the principles of distinction and proportionality are not being respected by both sides.”
Hezbollah leader begins hotly anticipated speech
BEIRUT — At a massive Hezbollah rally in Dahiyeh, a neighborhood of south Beirut, thousands have gathered to listen to a hotly anticipated speech from Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backed militant group.
Nasrallah is speaking now in a televised address, breaking his silence for the first time since Hamas launched its Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The stage is set with a rousing martial video display blaring Hezbollah songs set to slick music videos showing Hezbollah soldiers chanting and marching. On either side of the stage are pictures of the “martyrs” that have died fighting against Israel.
The speech will be closely watched from Washington to Tel Aviv as Hezbollah and Israel continue to exchange fire over the border and concerns mount over whether the war might expand. The address has been previewed with a number of slick videos posted on social media to build anticipation.
Eneryone here and in the entire region is waiting for more — some kind of indication of where Nasrallah will lead his powerful army in the coming days and weeks. Until now, his silence has been deafening and whatever he says will be crucial to the next stage of this conflict.
Blinken returns to Israel to show support and push for a pause
JERUSALEM — President Biden’s top diplomat arrived in Israel this morning on a mission to slow this war down, pushing for humanitarian pauses to allow more aid into Gaza, buy time for more hostages to be released by Hamas and maybe for cooler heads to emerge.
The timing is critical: The Israeli military says its forces are finished encircling Gaza City and are in street battles. A push into the city could be extraordinary violent. Israel is already losing troops and has outlined no long-term exit plan. Hamas seems happy to pull Israel into a long-term guerilla war, while the people of Gaza face the brunt of the consequences.
Hospital forced to ration power as generator runs out of fuel
WEST BANK — The Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City has had to turn off power to some departments in order to conserve electricity for those in need of critical care, like babies in the neonatal unit.
The main power generator has run out of fuel, Dr. Marwan Abu Saadah told NBC News last night. “We are reducing the consumption of electricity so we can keep the hospital running for another few days and so,” he said.
He said that it was too dangerous to try to transport any fuel from south Gaza to the north of the of Palestinian enclave, adding that the Israeli army cut off access to the main road this week.
“We bid on the international community to act on Israel,” Saadah said. “First of all, to stop its aggression on Gaza. Second, to allow humanitarian corridor and especially the fuel to enter Gaza.”
Hostages’ families say any cease-fire deal must include release of their loved ones
ASHDOD, Israel — As Blinken met with Netanyahu and his war Cabinet today, some families of those taken hostage by Hamas gathered outside the country’s military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Their message was simple: No cease-fire without the return of their relatives.
In a news release, they said they would stand at the entrance to the Israeli parliament, or HaKirya, for “as much time as needed to cry out: ENOUGH!”
They planned to demonstrate “until it is assured to us that the cease-fire without the return of the hostages is not on the table,” the release added.
Blinken emphasizes protection of civilians after meeting with Israeli leaders
Blinken emphasized the need to protect civilians while Israel wages war against Hamas following a private meeting with Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv today.
“It is very important that when it comes to the protection of civilians who are caught in the crossfire of Hamas’ making, that everything be done to protect them and bring assistance to those who so desperately need it — and who are not in any way responsible for what happened on Oct. 7,” Blinken told reporters while standing next to Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
Blinken’s remarks were made over the shouts from hostages’ families just outside the building.
More than 100 aid trucks entered Gaza yesterday, Red Crescent says
TEL AVIV — The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said it received 102 trucks carrying aid yesterday from the organization’s Egyptian counterpart at the Rafah crossing, including supplies of water.
The convoy included 46 trucks carrying food, 11 water trucks, 15 trucks carrying medicine and medical supplies, it said in a statement. Fuel, crucial to hospitals in enclave after Israel cut off power, was not delivered
“As of now, a total of 374 trucks have been received,” the organization said of its total aid deliveries. “But there hasn’t been permission to bring in fuel yet.”
Gaza death toll reaches 9,227, Health Ministry says
At least 9,227 have been killed in Gaza since the war began last month, the Gaza Health Ministry reported today.
Of those killed, 3,826 are children, it said in a statement. More than 23,500 people have also been reported injured, it said.
NBC News has not been able to independently verify these numbers.
Iran-backed Iraqi militias announce expanded attacks on U.S. bases
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iran-backed Iraqi militias, announced today that it will launch a more “intense and expansive” phase of operations against U.S. bases in the region starting next week.
It said the escalation is “in support of our people in Palestine and to avenge the martyrs” in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The group has launched a string of attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks, some of which have injured U.S. personnel. As of Tuesday, the Pentagon said, there had been 27 rocket and drone attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria and that the U.S. was deploying an additional 300 troops to the Middle East to bolster those already there.
Israeli military says it killed Hamas battalion commander
A senior Hamas battalion commander was killed in fighting overnight, the Israeli military said on X this morning.
The Israel Defense Forces said Mustafa Dalul “directed combat,” against its forces “and held key positions in Hamas’ Gaza City Brigade.”
Separately, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in his daily briefing that Israeli troops discovered grenades, explosives, protective equipment, communication equipment and maps in Hamas strongholds today.
More than 360 Americans on list of foreign nationals allowed to leave Gaza today
More than 360 Americans will be allowed to leave Gaza today, according to a new list released today by the Gaza Crossings and Borders Authority.
The names of more than 550 foreign nationals are on the list, including 367 under the “USA” section. Citizens from Mexico, Italy, France, Indonesia, Germany and the United Kingdom are also down to leave.
NBC News has not verified the names on the list, and yesterday’s contained the names of some people who had already been allowed to leave the enclave.
Palestinian workers return to Gaza as Israel severs ‘all contact’ with the enclave
WEST BANK — Palestinian laborers from Gaza were pictured walking into the enclave through the Kerem Shalom border with Israel today, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said it was “severing all contact” with the enclave.
“There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza,” his office said in a statement.
Kerem Shalom, the commercial crossing between Gaza, Israel and Egypt has been closed for weeks, meaning the workers were stranded in Israel.
Blinken meets with Netanyahu
Blinken met with Netanyahu for a private discussion today.
He flew into Israel as the U.S. called for a “pause” in the war with Hamas. Blinken will meet later with Israel’s war Cabinet.
Ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu told Blinken that it was always good to see him “even on the hard days.”
Palestinian journalist Mohammad Abu Hatab killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza
Palestinian TV correspondent Mohammad Abu Hatab was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his home in Khan Younis last night, according to the official Palestinian news agency.
His wife, son and brother were also among the 11 family members killed, the WAFA news agency reported today.
Reporting on his colleague’s death shortly afterward, Salman al-Bashir discarded his press vest and helmet and fought back the tears as he explained Hatab was just on air about a half-hour before he was killed.
Will the Israeli-Hamas conflict spark a wider regional war, pulling in the U.S.?
The conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza has set off a chain reaction in the Middle East, and Western officials are increasingly concerned that it could trigger a wider war that draws in more nations.
Growing outrage in Middle Eastern capitals and much of the world over the plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza is adding more fuel to an already volatile mixture that has seen violence spread to the West Bank, Israel’s northern border, the Red Sea and to Iraq and Syria, where U.S. forces have come under repeated drone and rocket fire from Iran’s proxies.
Whether the conflict in Gaza expands will hinge in large part on Iran and the militant groups it has armed across the region, with Western officials watching to see how far Tehran is willing to go in using its proxies against Israel and the U.S. So far, U.S. and Western intelligence officials say Iran does not appear to be gunning for a direct war with the U.S., and instead is using its partners to undermine Israel and pressure the West.
Israel should not discuss cease-fire, senior lawmaker tells NBC News
TEL AVIV — Danny Danon, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and a senior lawmaker, told NBC News yesterday that Israel should not even discuss a cease-fire.
“We appreciate the support we received from the U.S., but I don’t understand why we need a cease-fire or pause right now,” Danon said. He spoke ahead of Blinken’s visit to Israel today and after President Joe Biden called for a “pause” in hostilities.
Danon, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said Israel respects its allies but is “fighting for our lives” and knows that “we have to go all the way.”
As Hassan Nasrallah prepares to give a speech at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m.ET) today, Danon issued a start warning to the Hezbollah leader “not to gamble, because we will bury Hezbollah under the rubble of Lebanon if he will attack us.”
Sisters reunite on TV after ‘unbearable’ situation in Gaza
Hours after American citizen aid worker Maha Elbanna passed through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt from her “unbearable” situation in Gaza, she saw her sister in New Jersey for the first time on “Hallie Jackson NOW.”
“Hi, honey!” sister Summer Elbanna said, blowing a kiss to Maha. “I just want to give her a big hug and I cannot wait for her to take a nice long hot shower,” Summer told Jackson. Maha laughed onscreen, nodding her head.
A long pause followed Jackson’s introduction, when Summer could be seen welling up with the emotion of seeing her sister, with whom she had primarily communicated with via WhatsApp because of poor internet service.
“It was definitely that roller coaster of emotions, you know all day, I couldn’t really sleep, I couldn’t eat. It felt selfish to enjoy life here knowing that they’re all suffering there,” Summer added.
What will Hezbollah’s leader say?
TEL AVIV — While Israel presses ahead with its military campaign in Gaza, many here are nervously eyeing the country’s northern border today.
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed militia group Hezbollah, is making a much-anticipated speech at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) — which some fear could mark a dramatic escalation in the war.
The address has been previewed with a number of slick videos posted on social media, featuring foreboding electronic music and graphics, interspersed with shots of Nasrallah penning his address.
Hezbollah and Israel have already traded dozens of rockets since the Hamas attacks Oct. 7, but this represents just a fraction of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal, the largest of any non-state entity in the world. U.S. officials have said they haven’t seen evidence of a planned escalation.
U.S. citizen details crossing Rafah border into Egypt
Hours after crossing the Rafah border from Gaza into Egypt, American citizen aid worker Maha Elbanna spoke to “Top Story” anchor Tom Llamas about her 12-hour journey to Cairo, and the uncertainty waiting at the border for her name to be on a piece of paper allowing her to leave.
She woke up at 5 a.m. to see if she was among the list of names, she said. She shared a picture of it with her daughter back in the U.S. and confirmed she was on the list. “I didn’t go back to sleep afterwards,” she said.
For Elbanna, the decision to leave Gaza wasn’t easy. To pass into Egypt meant she would be leaving behind 12 immediate family members.
“But I don’t think I could have handled anymore time there,” Elbanna said. She believes that Gaza, with no electricity and poor sources of “salty water,” has been pushed back “hundreds of years,” and without support from other countries, will remain that way.
Videos appear to show Israeli soldiers abusing detained Palestinian men
Several videos have emerged on social media appearing to show Israeli troops abusing bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainees.
Blinken arrives in Israel amid mounting U.S. concerns over the war
TEL AVIV — Secretary of State Antony Blinken has just landed for his second trip to Israel during its almost monthlong war in the Gaza Strip.
Blinken arrives amid growing White House concern about Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, where Israel says it is targeting the militant group Hamas but has also killed thousands of civilians, many of them children, according to Palestinian health officials.
During his trip, Blinken will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, posting on X before he left the United States that the administration was “focused on two states and broader peace and security in the region.”
After arriving in Tel Aviv at 8:15 a.m. local time (2:15 a.m. ET), he stepped out into the already warm November day and shook hands with the U.S.’ newly sworn-in ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, as well as other American and Israeli officials on the tarmac.