Israel Warns Hezbollah and Steps Up Gaza Strikes

(Bloomberg) — Israel’s military warned Iran-backed Hezbollah risked dragging neighboring Lebanon into war, as the Lebanese militia kept firing rockets across the border. Israel stepped up airstrikes on Gaza in preparation for what it called the “next stage” of its operations, likely a ground invasion.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Limited food and medical supplies began crossing into Gaza from Egypt for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war erupted two weeks ago, addressing a key demand of US, European and Arab leaders as the humanitarian situation in the besieged territory worsens.

A group of US senators including Lindsey Graham and Cory Booker continue their regional tour after visiting Saudi Arabia. Their trip is aimed at preventing a regional war after Israel was attacked by Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist group by the US and European Union.

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

India Sends Humanitarian Aid for Gaza (8:07 a.m.)

An Indian Air Force flight carrying nearly 6.5 tons of medical aid and 32 tons of disaster relief material departed for Egypt, according to a spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi.

The supplies include life-saving medicines, surgical items, tents, sleeping bags, sanitary utilities, water purification tablets and other items, Bagchi said in a post on X.

Israel Attacks Syria’s Damascus, Aleppo Airports, Sana Says (7:57 a.m.)

Israel conducted simultaneous airstrikes at 5:25 am local time, targeting Damascus and Aleppo airports and putting them out of service, Syria’s state-run Sana news agency reported. Both facilities had been hit earlier in the Israel-Hamas war.

Al Jazeera reported Syria was diverting flights to the airport at its Mediterranean city of Latakia.

Israel to Evacuate 14 More Communities in the North (7:45 a.m.)

Israel will evacuate 14 additional communities that are close to its northern border following exchanges of fire with Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Israel already evacuated 50,000 residents from about 30 communities along the border last week, including Kiryat Shmona, the area’s largest city and service hub.

In southern Israel, 70,000 residents have already been evacuated from communities following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.

Israel Strike Targets Hamas in West Bank, Army Says (7:35 a.m.)

An Israeli airstrike hit a mosque in Jenin that the military said “was used as an underground terror compound and contained a cell of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror operatives, who were organizing an imminent terror attack.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry said two Palestinians were killed in the attack, while two others were killed in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank cities of Tubas and Nablus.

Israel Says Hezbollah Playing ‘Dangerous Game’ (7:29 a.m.)

Israel’s military accused Hezbollah of playing a “very, very dangerous game” that risked “dragging Lebanon into a war that it will gain nothing from, but stands to lose a lot,” as the Lebanese group continued to fire rockets at Israeli army posts near the border.

In a briefing on X, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Lebanese needed to ask themselves whether the price of supporting Hamas in Gaza was worth paying. Hezbollah, a militant group and political party, runs a vast network of schools, hospitals and social services in Lebanon.

US Strengthens Mideast Defense Posture (5:20 a.m.)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he had taken steps to strengthen the department’s posture in the Middle East after talks with President Joe Biden.

The government will add more Patriot battalions to locations in the region and activate a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery to increase protection for US forces. Additional staff have been placed on “prepare to deploy orders” to increase readiness, Austin said in a statement.

The US “will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary,” Austin said.

Biden Says He’s Talking to Israelis (11:54 p.m.)

Biden said Saturday he’s in touch with Israeli leaders when asked whether he’s encouraging Israel to delay a military move into Gaza. “I’m talking to the Israelis,” Biden told reporters in his home state of Delaware, where he’s spending the weekend. Biden’s national security team briefed him on latest developments in Israel and Gaza earlier Saturday, according to the White House.

Israeli Army to Step Up Air Strikes in Gaza (9:20 p.m.)

Israel said it will step up air strikes over Gaza in preparation for the “next stage” of its military operation.

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, in televised comments, didn’t specify the exact aims of the stepped-up strikes but suggested a ground invasion of Gaza is nearing.

“We need to enter under the best possible conditions and this is what we are doing now, as the next stage of war approaches,” he said. “We will narrow the risks to our forces over the next stages. This is why we have once again urged residents of Gaza to keep moving south.”

Qatar Optimistic Hostages to Be Freed ‘Very Soon,’ Welt Reports (7:17 p.m.)

Qatar, which was key to the release of two US citizens abducted by Hamas, is optimistic that talks with the group will “very soon” result in the release of all civilian hostages, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported. Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack on Israel captured more than 200 people.

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

Source link