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Hamas delegation is visiting Moscow – Russian Foreign Ministry – Saved Web Pages


 

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MOSCOW, Oct 26 (Reuters) – A delegation from Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza, is currently visiting Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a weekly briefing on Thursday, without providing any further details.

Russia’s state-run RIA news agency, quoting a source from the Palestinian delegation, said senior Hamas member Abu Marzook was among those visiting Moscow.

Russia has ties to all key players in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Moscow has repeatedly blamed the current crisis on the failure of U.S. diplomacy, and called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the resumption of talks aimed at finding a peace settlement.

Separately, Zakharova also said that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baghiri Kani was also currently visiting Moscow and had held talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin. Baghiri Kani is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.

Reporting by Reutters Editing by Gareth Jones

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The case against the New Jersey senator has the potential to reshape how America deals with foreign agents.

A photo of Bob Menendez

Stephanie Scarbrough / AP

October 26, 2023, 7:30 AM ET

Even before Bob Menendez was charged earlier this month with conspiring to act as a foreign agent, dozens of his fellow Democrats were calling on him to resign. Prosecutors say Menendez used his political office to influence American policy at the behest of the Egyptian government. He remains a senator—for now—but the latest indictment, coming after corruption charges last month, further complicates his fate. Last week, Menendez, who has pleaded not guilty to all counts, missed an all-senators classified hearing on Israel—no small indignity for a former chair of the Foreign Relations Committee.

According to the indictment, the senator from New Jersey passed along sensitive information to Egypt, acted as a ghostwriter for its officials, and accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes.” While researching my next book, a history of the foreign-lobbying industry in the United States, I didn’t come across anything quite like these allegations. They appear to be the first time that an elected federal official has been formally accused of acting as an agent of a foreign government.

Menendez has repeatedly professed his innocence and his loyalty to America. After his arraignment earlier this week, he released a statement calling the foreign-agent charge “as outrageous as it is absurd.” His trial is set for May, when Menendez says he’ll be shown to have done nothing wrong.

Read: Why this time is different for Bob Menendez

Even if the allegations are disproved, however, they could reshape how America prosecutes and punishes the kind of misconduct that Menendez is charged with. Until recently, the U.S. has largely ignored its best tool for deterring covert foreign agents. The case against Menendez signals an overdue willingness to use it.

Menendez’s alleged behavior might be novel, but we were warned of its possibility centuries ago. The Founding Fathers recognized that, in some ways, America is particularly vulnerable to foreign influence. “One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption,” Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers. The danger may be greater today: Underpaid and overworked, U.S. officials are ripe for targeting by foreign powers eager to sway decisions in Washington. History, Hamilton noted, “furnishes us with so many mortifying examples of the prevalence of foreign corruption in republican governments.” Why would the U.S. be any different?

For years, these concerns appeared overblown. (Though not entirely: James Wilkinson, who served as the highest-ranking officer of the U.S. Army under each of the first four presidents, was revealed after his death to be an agent of the Spanish monarchy.) Then came the 19th century’s greatest foreign-corruption scandal.

In the late 1860s, Russia’s czarist regime was broke and desperate to sell Alaska, its easternmost province. So the Russian ambassador, Edouard de Stoeckl, secretly hired former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Walker to persuade Washington to buy it. Walker quickly obliged, publicly endorsing the purchase, planting articles in influential newspapers, and allegedly—no hard proof ever emerged—bribing legislators. Within a matter of months, Congress voted to back the purchase. When the details of Stoeckl’s gambit later spilled out, one critic described it as the “biggest lobby swindle ever put up in Washington.”

Walker’s offenses were shocking, but at least he had the decency to leave office before committing them. This sets him apart from the precedent that Menendez has now allegedly established. A more recent case, however, comes close.

In 1999, nearly 50 years after his death, Representative Samuel Dickstein of New York was revealed to have been a Soviet agent. KGB archives showed that Dickstein used his office to grant Soviets access to U.S. passports and, in one instance, to pass information about a Soviet defector who was later found dead in a hotel room.

Unlike other Americans recruited by the Soviet Union, Dickstein did not appear to have communist sympathies. Rather, Dickstein—whom Soviet officials nicknamed “Crook”—seemed interested only in money. “‘Crook’ is completely justifying his code name,” Soviet officials wrote. “This is an unscrupulous type, greedy for money … a very cunning swindler.” The Soviets eventually cut him loose, complaining that he wasn’t worth the price he demanded. Dickstein was never found out and spent the rest of his life in public office.

Read: How the Manafort indictment gave bite to a toothless law

The revelations were all the more surprising because Dickstein played an instrumental role in passing the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, America’s best safeguard against people like himself.

In the 1930s, he led a committee that found that Ivy Lee—sometimes called the “father of public relations,” whose clients included the Rockefellers, Woodrow Wilson, and Charles Schwab—covertly advised the Nazis, helping them launder their image in America. At one point, Lee encouraged Joseph Goebbels to cultivate foreign reporters; he told other Nazis to publicly insist that Hitler’s storm troopers were “not armed, not prepared for war.” (One unsigned memo I found in Lee’s archive described Hitler as “an industrious, honest and sincere hard-working individual.”)

Thanks to these and other revelations, Dickstein and the committee played a key role in persuading legislators to pass FARA in 1938, which required anyone representing foreign governments, especially lobbyists, to disclose what they were doing on behalf of their clients. Dickstein is the only known member of Congress to violate the law he helped enshrine.

According to prosecutors, Menendez largely followed Dickstein’s playbook—passing along sensitive information, steering American policy for the benefit of foreign patrons, and accepting staggering amounts of money for his efforts, including in the form of gold bars.

The fact that prosecutors employed FARA to charge Menendez is a welcome development. The legislation was underused for decades, as foreign-lobbying networks—including those targeting sitting officials—flourished. To cite one statistic: Only three FARA-related convictions were secured from 1966 to 2015.

That wasn’t for lack of rule-breaking. A decade ago, Azerbaijan’s dictatorship and its proxies recruited American lobbyists, scholars, nonprofits, and others to promote Azeri interests without disclosing any of their campaigns. Other dictatorships and budding autocracies followed suit. As one 1990 government report found, barely half of registered foreign agents disclosed all of their activities.

When Donald Trump emerged as a political force, FARA experienced something of a renaissance. Although the former president was never accused in court of acting as a foreign agent, some of his closest allies—including his campaign manager Paul Manafort and National Security Adviser Mike Flynn—were convicted on related charges. (Trump later pardoned them both.) But those prosecutions never targeted a sitting official. That honor belongs to Menendez alone.

The renewed interest in FARA has highlighted the ways in which the legislation can be improved. The legal definition of foreign lobbying needs clarifying, and the Department of Justice should be empowered to use civil fines (rather than just criminal penalties) to target covert networks. Effective reforms have been proposed, but they’ve stalled in Congress. As Bloomberg Law reported, one legislator in particular was responsible for thwarting them: Menendez.

If proven guilty, Menendez will come to represent the culmination of the Founders’ fears—perhaps the most “mortifying example” of foreign corruption in U.S. history. But whether or not he’s convicted, Congress could use the attention his case has drawn to strengthen FARA, keep foreign lobbying in check, and give would-be offenders more reason to fear concealing their activities. If the charges against Menendez are a black mark, they can be a turning point too.

  • At least 22 people were killed in two mass shootings at a restaurant and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday night, one of the city’s councilors told CNN. Another 50 to 60 people were injured, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
  • An intensive manhunt is underway for a suspect, officials said, and police are asking residents to shelter in place as the situation is ongoing. Lewiston is the state’s second-largest city which is about 36 miles north of Portland.
  • Police identified Robert Card, 40, as a person of interest in the shooting, adding he should be “considered armed and dangerous.”
7 min ago

A law enforcement officer carries a rifle outside Central Maine Medical Center during an active shooter situation, in Lewiston, Maine, on October 25.A law enforcement officer carries a rifle outside Central Maine Medical Center during an active shooter situation, in Lewiston, Maine, on October 25. Steven Senne/AP

An intensive manhunt is underway in Maine after two mass shootings left at least 22 people dead and dozens injured on Wednesday night.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • What happened: There were two active shooting incidents in the city of Lewiston — at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley on Mollison Way, and Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant on Lincoln Street, according to Lewiston police. State officials say the shootings began around 6:56 p.m. ET. Eyewitnesses described seeing people running away from the bowling alley. Lewiston is about 36 miles north of Portland and is the state’s second-largest city.
  • A “person of interest”: Lewiston police have identified 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin as a person of interest, saying he should be “considered armed and dangerous.” Law enforcement officials in Maine say Card is a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserve. Card had recently made threats to carry out a shooting at a National Guard facility in Saco, Maine, and also reported mental health issues, including hearing voices, the officials said.
  • Photo of the person of interest: The sheriff’s office released images of a “suspect for identification.” The person was seen in brown clothing, holding a high-powered assault-style rifle.
  • The car: Police also shared an image of the vehicle they’re looking for — a small white SUV with a front bumper believed to be painted black — which Maine State Police confirmed is the suspect’s car.
  • The manhunt: Maine officials say hundreds of police officers are now working across the state to locate Card, the public was urged to contact law enforcement if they have information about his whereabouts. Residents are being told to continue sheltering in place.

This post has been updated with more details on the “person of interest.”

1 min ago

A road sign reads 'Shelter in Place' after a man reportedly opened fire killing and injuring numerous people in downtown Lewiston, Maine, on October 25.A road sign reads ‘Shelter in Place’ after a man reportedly opened fire killing and injuring numerous people in downtown Lewiston, Maine, on October 25. CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Lewiston, Maine, is a small city — with a population of just 38,493 people as of last year, according to the US Census.

It’s home to Bates College, a private liberal arts school, and is regularly ranked as one of America’s safest cities.

“We know that these events have shocked and frightened our community. And we grieve for those whose lives were tragically lost in this heinous act of violence,” Bates College said in a statement late Wednesday, referring to the mass shooting.

Lewiston is the second biggest city in Maine, after Portland, and sits on the banks of the Androscoggin River.

And though Maine is the whitest state in the nation, according to the 2020 census, immigrant communities have grown in size recently, as well as in other states including Minnesota, Ohio, and Washington.

Between 2017 and 2021, more than 7% of Lewiston residents were foreign-born, according to the census — still lower than the national average of nearly 14%. And in those years, 19% of Lewiston residents spoke a language other than English at home.

1 hr 2 min ago

From CNN’s Chris Boyette and Joe Sutton

As police continue to search for a person of interest involved in the Lewiston shootings, which left at least 22 dead Wednesday night, local schools have announced they will cancel classes on Thursday. 

“There remains a lot of unknowns at this time. Information moves quickly but not always accurately. Please continue to shelter in place or get to safety. We will continue to update you with information and next steps as appropriate,” Lewiston Public Schools said in a post.

“Stay close to your loved ones. Embrace them. Our prayers go out to those who lost someone tonight. Our prayers go out to all those working to stop further loss of life.” 

A number of other nearby schools and districts also announced they would be closed or have classes canceled on Thursday:

1 hr 16 min ago

From CNN’s Sharif Paget

Police respond to an active shooter situation in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday, October 25.Police respond to an active shooter situation in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday, October 25. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Town offices in Lisbon, which neighbors Lewiston, Maine, where the shootings took place Wednesday night, will be closed on Thursday as a manhunt continues for the suspect in two mass shootings.

“Law enforcement in Androscoggin County are investigating two active shooter events. All town offices will be closed on October 26th. Please prioritize safety and continue to shelter in place,” the town website said.

The vehicle connected to Robert Card, identified by police as a person of interest, was located in Lisbon Wednesday night, according to Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck.

1 hr 11 min ago

From CNN’s Sara Smart

Jason Levesque speaks during an interview.Jason Levesque speaks during an interview. WGME

Witnesses of the shootings in Lewiston were of all ages, including teenagers, said Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, adding that the community was in shock.

Auburn is a city less than 2 miles west of Lewiston.

Speaking to media outside a reunification center, Levesque said there was a lot of fear, panic and worry among residents there.

“You can train for this but you can never be completely prepared,” Levesque said. “It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation.”

Speaking to CNN later that night, Levesque said he wasn’t aware of any children among those killed — but knows one high school student who was wounded.

“Auburn and Lewiston are side by side … a river separates us. Combined, our population is around 60,000. You cannot help but know people who know someone, so this will impact every corner of our community,” he said.

He described hearing more about what unfolded Wednesday night from eyewitnesses at the reunification center, including one man who was playing the lawn game cornhole when he heard “a couple pops … but didn’t think anything of it, it is Halloween. Then he started seeing everybody scream and move.”

Authorities across Maine are involved in the ongoing manhunt, with 40-year-old Robert Card identified as a person of interest.

This post has been updated with more comments from the mayor

1 hr 55 min ago

From CNN’s Sara Smart

Mike Sauschuck, Commissioner of the Department of Safety, speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, October 25.Mike Sauschuck, Commissioner of the Department of Safety, speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, October 25.  WMUR

A vehicle of interest was located in Lisbon, Maine, Mike Sauschuck, state commissioner for the Department of Public Safety, said during a news briefing Wednesday night.

Lisbon is about 8 miles southeast of the city of Lewiston, where the shooting unfolded earlier Wednesday.

Residents in Lisbon and Lewiston are being told to shelter in place as the manhunt for a person of interest, Robert Card, continues, he said.

Hundreds of officers continue to search for Card as he remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous, Sauschuck said.

Sauschuck noted the shootings began around 6:56 p.m. ET on Wednesday evening and there were multiple locations involved.

2 hr 15 min ago

This picture shows a victim on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance by first responders in Lewiston, Maine.This picture shows a victim on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance by first responders in Lewiston, Maine. Nichoel Wyman Arel

An eyewitness said that she saw “definitely more than a dozen” people leaving the bowling alley where one of the shootings in Lewiston, Maine, happened Wednesday evening.

Nichoel Wyman Arel described a large police and ambulance presence outside of Sparetime Recreation following the deadly incident. Arel said she saw officers patting people down as they came out of the bowling alley.

Arel was driving home with a friend from Girl Scouts when they came across the tragic scene. Arel captured footage of people being patted down and leaving the bowling alley.

She saw a person who looked like they “had blood all over them” but couldn’t tell if they were injured themselves. “It’s all kind of a blur. I wasn’t really taking in a lot of the details,” Arel said.

Arel also said that she saw children on the scene with their families.

“Yeah, there were kids, that’s — Like, looking back, like that was probably the hardest part, seeing — just families, families pouring out of there and knowing that that happened in there while they were probably just trying to have a family night,” Arel told CNN.

Arel’s young daughter was with her when she witnessed the aftermath of the shooting.

“She was definitely scared. She’s like — she started crying and said, ‘This is a scary world we live in mom.’ I’m like, ‘I know.'”

When she got home, Arel said that she locked up the house, including windows. She owns a firearm which she said made her daughter “feel better to know that I was carrying it around.”

Arel said that her daughter “was scared somebody was going to come into our home.”

Lewiston residents are being told to continue to shelter in place.

3 hr 6 min ago

From CNN’s Sara Smart

Lewiston Police Department identified Robert Card as a person of interest involved in the Lewiston shooting.Lewiston Police Department identified Robert Card as a person of interest involved in the Lewiston shooting. Lewiston Police Department

The Lewiston Police Department has identified Robert Card as a person of interest in the two shootings in Lewiston.

Card is 40 years old and should be “considered armed and dangerous,” according a Facebook post from the Lewiston Police Department.

Law enforcement officials in Maine describe Card as a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserves.

Here’s the full statement from Lewiston Police:

“Law Enforcement is attempting to locate Robert Card 4/4/1983, as a person of interest regarding the mass shooting at Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation this evening. CARD should be considered armed and dangerous. Please contact law enforcement if you are aware of his whereabouts.”

The New Hampshire State Police is assisting in the search for Card, including the use of its helicopter, state police spokesperson Amber Lagace said.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed reporting to this post.

3 hr 46 min ago

From CNN’s Donald Judd

Joe Biden attends a conference at the White House in Washington D.C., on October 25.Joe Biden attends a conference at the White House in Washington D.C., on October 25. Celal Gunes/Anadolu/Getty Images

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with a number of Maine lawmakers in the wake of the mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, the White House press office told pool Wednesday.

“The President spoke by phone individually to Maine Governor Janet Mills, Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, and Congressman Jared Golden about the shooting in Lewiston, Maine and offered full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack,” the White House said in a statement.

By Jordan Freiman

Updated on: October 26, 2023 / 12:39 AM / CBS News

At least 16 people were killed in shootings in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday night, multiple law enforcement officials told CBS News, but they indicated the death toll could be higher than 20.

Multiple sources said at least 50 people were injured, but it was unclear how many had been shot. A suspect was still at large, police said.

Maine public safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck said at a news conference late Wednesday night, “I don’t have firm numbers” on the number of people killed.

Authorities are attempting to locate 40-year-old Robert Card as a person of interest in the shootings, the Lewiston Police Department said in a Facebook post late Wednesday night. He is considered armed and dangerous. 

According to a Maine law enforcement bulletin seen by CBS News, Card is a trained firearms instructor believed to be in the Army reserve stationed out of Saco, Maine.

He recently reported mental health issues, including hearing voices, according to the bulletin. He had also threatened to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco, Maine, the bulletin said, and he was reported to have been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this summer.

A vehicle belonging to Card was recovered by police in Lisbon, Maine, which was then placed on lockdown Sauschuck said. Lisbon is about seven miles southeast of Lewiston. 

The shootings began shortly before 7 p.m., Sauschuck said. Maine State Police said shortly after 8 p.m. ET it was investigating “multiple locations” and asked people to shelter in place.

“Please stay inside your home with the doors locked,” Maine State Police wrote on social media.

Lewiston police said it responded to two locations, a restaurant called Schemengee and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley. The two locations appear to be about a 10-minute drive from each other.

Police shared images of a suspect and asked people to contact them “if you recognize this individual.”

Law enforcement officials released a photo of a man with a semiautomatic rifle suspected in a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine Law enforcement officials released a photo of a man with a semiautomatic rifle suspected in a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office via REUTERS

Police also shared a photo of a white vehicle and asked anybody who recognized it to contact Lewiston police. It was not immediately clear if this was the same vehicle that had been recovered in Lisbon, but it did match a description from the law enforcement bulleting of a vehicle Card was known to have been driving.

Lewiston shooting suspect vehicle Police in Lewiston, Maine, have released a photo of this car wanted in connection with an active shooting situation on Oct. 25, 2023.  Lewiston Police Department

The Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston said in a statement that it was “reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event,” but did not have further details on the number of patients or severity of their injuries.

The Maine Medical Center in Portland said it was receiving “one patient transport” from the Central Maine Medical Center in connection with the shootings. The Portland hospital said it had “alerted on-call staff and created critical care and operating room capacity in anticipation of potential patient transports.”

The city of Auburn, Maine, which borders Lewiston to the west, advised residents of both Auburn and Lewiston to shelter in place. Lewiston is located about 45 minutes north of Portland. 

A White House official confirmed to CBS News that President Biden had been briefed on “what’s known so far about the mass shooting in Lewiston.”

The FBI is also responding, an agency official told CBS News. 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has also been briefed. 

“The entire Department of Homeland Security grieves with the loved ones of those killed and injured, and stands with the brave law enforcement officers and first responders who are currently working to secure and safeguard the people of Lewiston,” Mayorkas said in a statement.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills released a statement saying she was briefed on the situation. “I urge all people in the area to follow the direction of State and local enforcement,” Mills said. “I will continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with public safety officials.”

The office of Sen. Angus King on Maine said in a statement that he was “deeply sad for the city of Lewiston and all those worried about their family, friends and neighbors.” In a later statement, King’s office said Mr. Biden had reached out to the senator and “offered any federal assistance he can provide to help the people of Maine.

Sen. Susan Collins said on social media she had also spoken with Mr. Biden. 

“As our state mourns this horrific mass shooting, we appreciate the support we’ve received from across the country, including the call I received from President Biden offering assistance,” she wrote.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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While Twitter has always struggled with combating misinformation about major news events, it was still the go-to place to find out what’s happening in the world. But the Israel-Hamas war has underscored how the platform now transformed into X has become not only unreliable but is actively promoting falsehoods.

Experts say that under Elon Musk the platform has deteriorated to the point that it’s not just failing to clamp down on misinformation but is favoring posts by accounts that pay for its blue-check subscription service, regardless of who runs them.

If such posts go viral, their blue-checked creators can be eligible for payments from X, creating a financial incentive to post whatever gets the most reaction — including misinformation.

Ian Bremmer, a prominent foreign policy expert, posted on X that the level of disinformation on the Israel-Hamas war “being algorithmically promoted” on the platform “is unlike anything I’ve ever been exposed to in my career as a political scientist.”

And the European Union’s digital enforcer wrote to Musk about misinformation and “potentially illegal content” on X, in what’s shaping up to be one of the first major tests for the 27-nation bloc’s new digital rules aimed at cleaning up social media platforms. He later sent a similar, though toned-down, version of the letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.

While Musk’s social media site is awash in chaos, rivals such as TikTokYouTube and Facebook are also coping with a flood of unsubstantiated rumors and falsehoods about the conflict, playing the usual whack-a-mole that emerges every time a news event captivates the world’s attention.

“People are desperate for information and social media context may actively interfere with people’s ability to distinguish fact from fiction,” said Gordon Pennycook, an associate professor of psychology at Cornell University who studies misinformation.

For instance, instead of asking whether something is true, people might focus on whether something is surprising, interesting or even likely to make people angry — the sorts of posts more likely to elicit strong reactions and go viral.

The liberal advocacy group Media Matters found that since Saturday, subscribers to X’s premium service shared at least six misleading videos about the war. This included out-of-context videos and old ones purporting to be recent — that earned millions of views.

TikTok, meanwhile, is “almost as bad” as X, said Kolina Koltai, a researcher at the investigative collective Bellingcat. She previously worked at Twitter on Community Notes, its crowd-sourced fact-checking service.

But unlike X, TikTok has never been known as the No. 1 source for real-time information about current events.

“I think everyone knows to take TikTok with a grain of salt,” Koltai said. But on X “you see people actively profiteering off of misinformation because of the incentives they have to spread the content that goes viral — and misinformation tends to go viral.”

Emerging platforms, meanwhile, are still finding their footing in the global information ecosystem, so while they might not yet be targets for large-scale disinformation campaigns, they also don’t have the sway of larger, more established rivals.

Meta’s Threads, for instance, is gaining traction among users fleeing X, but the company has so far tried to de-emphasize news and politics in favor of more “friendly” topics.

“One of the reasons why you’re not hearing a lot about Facebook is because they have something called demotions,” said Alexis Crews, a resident fellow at the Integrity Institute who worked at Meta until this spring. If something is labeled as misinformation, the system will demote it and send it to independent fact-checkers for assessment. Crews cautioned that if Meta — which has been cutting costs and laid off thousands of workers — deprioritizes its fact-checking program, misinformation could flood its platforms once again. The Associated Press is part of Meta’s fact-checking program.

Meta and X did not immediately respond to AP requests for comment. TikTok said in a statement that it has dedicated resources to help prevent violent, hateful or misleading content, “including increased moderation resources in Hebrew and Arabic.” The company said it also works with independent fact-checkers to help assess the accuracy of material posted to its platform.

A post late Monday from X’s safety team said: “In the past couple of days, we’ve seen an increase in daily active users on @X in the conflict area, plus there have been more than 50 million posts globally focusing on the weekend’s terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas. As the events continue to unfold rapidly, a cross-company leadership group has assessed this moment as a crisis requiring the highest level of response.”

While plenty of real imagery and accounts of the carnage have emerged, they have been intermingled with social media users pushing false claims and misrepresenting videos from other events.

Among the fabrications are false claims that a top Israeli commander was kidnapped, a doctored White House memo purporting to show U.S. President Joe Biden announcing billions in aid for Israel, and old unrelated videos of Russian President Vladimir Putin with inaccurate English captions. Even a clip from a video game was passed on as footage from the conflict.

“Every time there is some major event and information is at a premium, we see misinformation spread like wildfire,” Pennycook said. “There is now a very consistent pattern, but every time it happens there’s a sudden surge of concern about misinformation that tends to fade away once the moment passes.”

“We need tools that help build resistance toward misinformation prior to events such as this,” he said.

For now, those looking for a central hub to find reliable, real time information online might be out of luck. Imperfect as Twitter was, there’s no clear replacement for it. This means anyone looking for accurate information online needs to exercise vigilance.

In times of big breaking news such as the current conflict, Koltai recommended, “going to your traditional name brands and news media outlets like AP, Reuters, who are doing things like fact checking” and active reporting on the ground.

Meanwhile, in Europe, major social media platforms are facing stricter scrutiny over the war.

Britain’s Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan summoned the U.K. bosses of X, TikTok, Snapchat Google and Meta for a meeting Wednesday to discuss “the proliferation of antisemitism and extremely violent content” following the Hamas attack.

She demanded they outline the actions they’re taking to quickly remove content that breaches the U.K.’s online safety law or their terms and conditions.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton warned in his letter to Musk of penalties for not complying with the EU’s new Digital Services Act, which puts the biggest online platforms like X, under extra scrutiny and requires them to make it easier for users to flag illegal content and take steps to reduce disinformation — or face fines up to 6% of annual global revenue.

Musk responded by touting the platform’s approach using crowdsourced factchecking labels, an apparent reference to Community Notes.

“Our policy is that everything is open source and transparent, an approach that I know the EU supports,” Musk wrote on X. “Please list the violations you allude to on X, so that the public can see them.”

Breton replied that Musk is “well aware” of the reports on “fake content and glorification of violence.”

“Up to you to demonstrate that you walk the talk,” he said.

___

Kelvin Chan in London contributed to this report.

Social media apps on a smartphone. File photoReuters

Social media has been awash with false claims, conspiracy theories and hateful content surrounding what’s happening in Israel and Gaza – and questions over whether inauthentic accounts are being used to manipulate the conversation.

As violence unfolds on the ground, I’ve been looking into who is behind this.

When I opened up my TikTok For You Page earlier this week, I was met with a video showing a young Israeli woman being taken hostage by Hamas fighters on 7 October. The footage was shocking.

When I scrolled through the comments, the reaction was not what I expected.

While some were distressed by the post, other users falsely suggested this footage was not what it seemed.

They said the woman in it is “not a civilian” but a soldier, or that the clips had been staged to frame Hamas.

Some claimed there’s no evidence the group have acted violently towards hostages.

The clip, which has been verified by the BBC, shows a young woman covered in blood being pushed into a car by armed men. It was filmed on the outskirts of Gaza City in Sheijia.

I scrolled through several more videos and posts about hostages on other social media sites and spotted similar comments.

Israeli people are subject to compulsory national service – but evidence suggests many of those taken hostage by Hamas are civilians, like the people featured in these videos. The hostages include festival-goers and children.

Disinformation is not limited to accounts seeking to undermine violence against hostages, either. Profiles supporting the actions of the Israeli government have also shared misleading and hateful content.

Israeli soldiers patrol the area of an attack that killed more than 260 people at a music festival

One account I came across this weekend shared a video falsely suggesting Palestinian people were faking their injuries in Gaza. The footage was actually from a 2017 report about a makeup artist working on Palestinian films and with charities.

All of these claims were not just shocking to me – they affect the wider understanding of what’s happening.

Successful attempts to distort and confuse the online conversation make it a lot harder to get to the truth of what’s unfolding on the ground if you’re relying on social media for updates.

That can have serious implications for the international community when it comes to investigating allegations of war crimes, providing aid and figuring out what’s happening where.

Sometimes, the source of these misleading posts is easier to identify.

Take, for example, celebrities, like popstar Justin Bieber, who inadvertently shared a post on Instagram asking people to “pray for Israel’ – but used images showing the destruction of Gaza by Israeli forces.

Several accounts on X (formerly known as Twitter) with a track record of pushing conspiracy theories about crises have amplified misleading posts in what seems to be a bid to either downplay or exaggerate what’s happening on the ground.

That includes sharing old videos from different wars and footage from video games, which the accounts claim is from the current situation in Israel and Gaza.

Some very active accounts on X sharing pro-Israel content and anti-Muslim posts appear to be based in India and express support for the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

I want to try to get to the bottom of the profiles whose identities and locations are less obvious.

Several of the accounts suggesting that hostages were soldiers rather than civilians seem to belong to real, younger people. They have otherwise shared funny memes or football clips to their profiles.

Some have posted pictures with slogans like “Free Palestine”. When I message them they tell me they are based in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

For some profiles, whether they’re real people is less obvious.

A handful have posted about an eclectic mix of political topics; in support of Russian President Putin and the war in Ukraine, as well as about former US President Donald Trump. Several of these accounts are newly set up or have recently become active.

In the past, both the Israeli government and Hamas militants have faced accusations of trying to distort online narratives with “bot” networks – inauthentic accounts used to repeatedly push divisive or misleading ideas.

According to Cyabra, a company based in Israel that analyses social media, one in five accounts taking part in conversations about the attacks committed by Hamas since 7 October are fake.

“Fake” in this context can mean they are automatically operated – but others could also be run by real people posing under false identities.

The company says they’ve found approximately 40,000 fake accounts, including on X and TikTok.

It says some of these profiles have been spreading misleading claims in support of Hamas and suggesting – for example – that militants were compassionate to hostages in situations where evidence suggests otherwise. That does not rule out the existence of inauthentic pro-Israel accounts, too.

There are clues we can use to identify an account as inauthentic. For example, if a profile is newly set up and is suddenly sharing a large amount of divisive, misleading and at times conflicting content.

Ultimately, though, determining whether a profile is actually fake and who exactly is behind it is a very difficult task. It requires information from the social media companies that journalists don’t often have access to.

Ray Serrato, who tackled state-sanctioned campaigns at the social media company, told me how his former team was “decimated” after the takeover.

According to him, that means a number of key experts who “covered special regions” – including in the Middle East – and whose job it was to deal with specific co-ordinated disinformation operations, are no longer at the company.

X has not responded to the BBC’s request for comment. The social media site this week said it had removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts from the platform.

In TikTok’s Community Guidelines, the company says it has “increased dedicated resources to help prevent violent, hateful, or misleading content on TikTok” in relation to the current situation.

The way that disinformation spreads on X, TikTok and other platforms can shape the general public’s view of the situation in both Gaza and Israel.

That in turn could also put pressure on the politicians making big decisions about what’s unfolding.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh, in Tehran

Palestinian group Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniyeh meets with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (not pictured), in Tehran, Iran June 21, 2023. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Oct 7 (Reuters) – Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, told fellow Arab countries on Saturday that Israel cannot provide them with any protection despite recent diplomatic rapprochements.

Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israelin years on Saturday, killing dozens of people and taking hostages in a surprise assault that combined gunmen crossing into Israel with a barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

Israel said the Iran-backed group had declared war as its army confirmed fighting with militants in several Israeli towns and military bases near Gaza, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to retaliate.

In a televised speech, Haniyeh addressed the Arab countries that have normalised ties with Israel in recent years.

“We say to all countries, including our Arab brothers, that this entity, which cannot protect itself in the face of resistors, cannot provide you with any protection,” he said.

“All the normalization agreements that you signed with that entity cannot resolve this (Palestinian) conflict.”

In 2020, Israel reached normalisation with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and upgraded ties with Morocco and Sudan, despite talks with the Palestinians being frozen for years.

Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Israel are also engaged in U.S.-mediated talks to normalise relations, a prospect that drew condemnation from some Palestinian factions.

Haniyeh also said armed Palestinian factions intend to expand the ongoing battle in Gaza to the West Bank and Jerusalem. “The battle moved into the heart of the ‘zionist entity'” he said.

Reporting by Hatem Maher and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

20231025T0715-POPE-AUDIENCE-INCULTURATIO

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told members of the synod on synodality that they should respect and honor the faith of all baptized Catholics, including the women, trusting “the holy, faithful people of God” who continue to believe even when their pastors act like dictators.

“I like to think of the church as the simple and humble people who walk in the presence of the Lord — the faithful people of God,” he told participants at the assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 25.

In a rare intervention as the assembly was nearing its conclusion, Pope Francis told members to trust the fidelity of the people they listened to in preparation for the synod over the past two years.

“One of the characteristics of this faithful people is its infallibility — yes, it is infallible in ‘credendo,’” in belief, as the Second Vatican Council taught, he said.

“I explain it this way: ‘When you want to know ‘what’ Holy Mother Church believes, go to the magisterium, because it is in charge of teaching it to you, but when you want to know ‘how’ the Church believes, go to the faithful people,” the pope said.

“And here I would like to emphasize that, among God’s holy and faithful people, faith is transmitted in dialect, and generally in a feminine dialect,” he said.

To illustrate his point, Pope Francis shared the “story or legend” of the fifth-century Council of Ephesus when, the story goes, crowds lined the streets shouting to the bishops “Mother of God,” demanding that they declare as dogma “that truth which they already possessed as the people of God.”

“Some say that they had sticks in their hands and showed them to the bishops,” the pope added. “I do not know if it is history or legend, but the image is valid.”

“The faithful people, the holy faithful people of God” have a soul, a conscience and a way of seeing reality, he said.

All of the cardinals and bishops at the synod, he said, come from that people and have received the faith from them — usually from their mothers and grandmothers.

“And here I would like to emphasize that, among God’s holy and faithful people, faith is transmitted in dialect, and generally in a feminine dialect,” he said.

“This is not only because the Church is mother and it is precisely women who best reflect her,” he said, but also because “it is women who know how to hope, know how to discover the resources of the church and of the faithful people, who take risks beyond the limit, perhaps with fear but courageously.”

It was the women disciples, after all, who at dawn “approach a tomb with the intuition — not yet hope — that there may be some life,” he said.

“Clericalism is a whip, it is a scourge, it is a form of worldliness that defiles and damages the face of the Lord’s bride,” the church, the pope said. “It enslaves God’s holy and faithful people.”

“When ministers overstep in their service and mistreat the people of God, they disfigure the face of the church with chauvanistic and dictatorial attitudes,” the pope said.

He reminded synod members of a speech at the assembly by Sister Liliana Franco Echeverri, a member of the Company of Mary and president of the Confederation of Latin American and Caribbean Religious, who spoke about the ongoing service, commitment and fidelity of Catholic women despite often facing exclusion, rejection and mistreatment.

“Clericalism is a whip, it is a scourge, it is a form of worldliness that defiles and damages the face of the Lord’s bride,” the church, the pope said. “It enslaves God’s holy and faithful people.”

Pope Francis described as “a scandal” the scene of young priests going in to ecclesiastical tailor shops in Rome “trying on cassocks and hats or albs with lace.”

Nevertheless, he said, “the people of God, the holy faithful people of God, go forward with patience and humility enduring the scorn, mistreatment and marginalization on the part of institutionalized clericalism.

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However, senior Azerbaijani diplomats once again say that these claims are unfounded: on the contrary, Baku believes that it is more realistic that a peace treaty with Yerevan will be signed soon.

Following the meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Tehran yesterday, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov said that “there are real chances for the conclusion of a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia within a short period of time.”

In this context, the major US publication Politico notes that the proposed peace agreement would end more than 30 years of conflict that has dragged in the United States, the European Union and Russia.

Speaking to Politico, Hikmet Hajiyev, the foreign policy aide to the President of Azerbaijan, said Baku had no plans to seize Zangezur. The project, he said, “has lost its attractiveness for us — we can do this with Iran instead. Our agenda was only about building transport linkages and connectivity through the framework of bilateral engagement. If this is the case, yes, but if not then OK. It’s still on the table but it will require from the Armenian side to show they’re really interested in that.”

Politico recalls that earlier this month, as part of an agreement with Tehran, Azerbaijan broke ground on a new road link via the neighboring country. However, there are hopes that a transport link could be revived as part of progress on the peace treaty, but without “extraterritorial” concessions that would allow Azerbaijan to bypass Armenian border control.

The EU’s role as a mediator in the conflict now appears to be under threat, the publication points out. The Azerbaijan-Armenia talks in Brussels that had been scheduled for the end of this month were postponed indefinitely after the meeting of foreign ministers in the 3+3 format in Tehran. A senior EU official who was granted anonymity insisted, however, that the EU is not losing its influence, but that “things are simply taking longer to organize”.

Israel Agrees To US Request To Delay Invasion Of Gaza: Report

Israel is preparing for a full siege of Gaza.

Israel has agreed to delay an expected invasion of Gaza for now so that the United States can rush missile defences to the region to protect its troops there, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. and Israeli officials.

Israel is also taking into account in its planning the effort to supply humanitarian aid to civilians inside Gaza, as well as diplomatic efforts to free hostages held by Hamas militants, the report said.

Threats to U.S. troops were of paramount concern, it said.

The U.S. military and other officials believe their forces will be targeted by militant groups once the invasion of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory starts.

The United States is hurrying to deploy nearly a dozen air-defence systems to the region, according to the Journal.

Reuters reported on Monday that Washington advised Israel to hold off on a ground assault in the Gaza Strip and is keeping Qatar – a broker with the Palestinian militants – apprised of those talks as its tries to free more hostages and prepare for a possible wider regional war.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Israeli soldiers drive in a tank by Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel

Israeli soldiers drive in a tank by Israel’s border with Gaza in southern Israel, October 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Israel has agreed to delay an expected invasion of Gaza for now so that the United States can rush missile defences to the region to protect U.S. troops there, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. and Israeli officials.

U.S. officials have so far persuaded Israel to hold off until U.S. air-defence systems can be placed in the region, as early as later this week, the WSJ said.

Israel is also taking into account in its planning the effort to supply humanitarian aid inside Gaza, as well as diplomatic efforts to free hostages held by Hamas militants, the news report said.

Threats to the U.S. troops were of paramount concern, it said.

Washington was scrambling to deploy nearly a dozen air defence systems, including for its troops serving in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, the Journal said.

The U.S. military and other officials believe their forces will be targeted by militant groups once Israel launches its ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory, according to the report.

Reuters reported on Monday that Washington advised Israel to hold off on a ground assault in the Gaza Strip and is keeping Qatar – a broker with the Palestinian militants – apprised of those talks as its tries to free more hostages and prepare for a possible wider regional war.

Last week Reuters reported the Pentagon planned to send two Iron Dome missile defence systems to Israel to help it defend itself against inbound missiles, and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and additional Patriot air defense missile system battalions to the Middle East.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Haaretz | Israel NewsOct 25, 2023LIVE

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French President Emmanuel Macron, left, listens to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023 in Ramallah, West Bank. French President Emmanuel Macron said the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas was “a tragedy” for the Israeli people and “also a catastrophe” for the Palestinians on Tuesday at a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)Credit: Christophe Ena /AP
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Israeli forces near the country’s northern border on Tuesday.Credit: Rami Shllush
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Israeli soldiers stand next to a burning field near the border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg /AP

Israeli army says Iran helping Hamas with intel-sharing ■ Senior Hamas commander killed in Gaza Strip ■ Hezbollah’s Nasrallah meets with Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders in Lebanon ■ Red Crescent reports two deaths from Israeli airstrike in Jenin ■ Rocket fire from Gaza renews ■ Eight Syrian military personnel killed in Israeli airstrike on military positions, Syrian state media reports ■ Israel confirms it attacked in Syria ■At least 1,300 killed by Hamas since October 7 ■ Hamas-run health ministry: 5,300 Palestinians killed, 18,000 wounded

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (left) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wednesday.Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO

The leaders of the Czech Republic and Austria met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog at Israeli military headquarters on Wednesday in a show of solidarity following the devastating Hamas attacks of October 7.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who met with Netanyahu, described Hamas as a “common enemy” of Israel and Europe. He pledged to work toward isolating the organization in its participation in European Union institutions. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer called for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas during his meeting with Herzog.

Rocket sirens were activated in Rishon Letzion, a large city located south of Tel Aviv.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that following the October 7 Hamas massacre, the chant “from the [Meditteranean] sea to the [Jordan] river” will be banned in Austria and will be considered a criminal offense, opposition leader Yair Lapid said.

According to Lapid, Nehammer informed him of the decision during a meeting between the two on Wednesday.

Rocket sirens were activated in Ashkelon, Nir Oz, Magen and Nirim.

Israel is reportedly agreeing to hold off on a Gaza ground invasion amid U.S. pressure until Americans can better bolster its defenses across the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Iran-proxy fighters have launched more than a dozen strikes toward U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria over the past week, causing U.S. officials deep concern that the Gaza war could rapidly expand.

Beyond the already bolstered U.S. defense posture, the Biden administration hopes to further deploy defenses in Iraq and Syria, as well as countries with a U.S. military presence such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. officials have also previously pushed Israel to hold off on a ground invasion in order to preserve diplomatic efforts toward releasing hostages held captive in Gaza, as well as so the international community can further address the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

U.S. officials have stressed they are not pushing Israel on its strategy or timing, but rather asking questions and offering advice behind the scenes.

U.S. officials, however, have expressed relatively significant concerns about Israel’s exit strategy from Gaza, its vision for post-war Gaza should it succeed in eliminating Hamas as an entity, as well as warning about the length and bloody nature such a ground invasion would cost Israel.

The U.S., however, confirmed it is not imposing any red lines on Israel while encouraging it to abide by international laws of war.

Rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel, near Netiv Ha’asara – a small community located near the border with Gaza.

The Nazareth District Court ordered Arab Israeli actress Maisa Abd Elhadi, who was suspected of incitement to terrorism and supporting Hamas, to be placed under house arrest.

Elhadi was arrested following her posts on social media about Hamas’ massacre in southern Israel on October 7.

Judge Arafat Taha stated that the postings are indeed “blatant and harsh, and even evoke feelings of anger and disappointment,” but added that “it is highly doubtful that there is any criminal offense in publishing the posts.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir attacked the decision, calling Taha a “domestic enemy”.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel nominee and former Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, last month.Credit: ALEX WONG – Getty Images via AFP

Jack Lew, the Biden administration’s nominee to serve as next U.S. ambassador to Israel, advanced from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — one week after a contentious confirmation hearing where Republicans sharply criticized him (and the Obama and Biden administrations, in turn) for empowering Iran’s backing of Hamas.

The vote passed 12-9, with Sen. Rand Paul serving as the only Republican to vote in favor of Lew.

Lew’s nomination now need approval of the full Senate before he is confirmed. A vote on the matter is expected to take place next week.

Both the White House and U.S. lawmakers have flagged Lew’s swift confirmation as an essential step in the U.S. response to the Hamas attack on Israel.

Israel said it “wholeheartedly rejects” Turkish President’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “harsh words” about Hamas.

“Hamas is a despicable terrorist organization worse than ISIS that brutally and intentionally murders babies, children, women and the elderly, takes civilians hostage and uses its own people as human shields,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat.

“Even the Turkish president’s attempt to defend the terrorist organization and his inciting words will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen and the unequivocal fact: Hamas = ISIS,” he added.

Hamas gunmen celebrate by an Israeli tank at the border fence of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, October 7, during the deadly terrorist attack in southern Israel.Credit: Hatem Ali /AP

Hamas carried out a series of cyberattacks on October 7 in an attempt to take down Israeli news sites, according to a report by Cloudflare, which specializes in protecting against such attacks.

According to the company, the first attack took place 12 minutes after the terrorist attack on the communities bordering the Gaza Strip began. Attacks of this type were detected the following week as well.

The company reported that 56 percent of the attacks targeted news sites, a tactic used in the war in Ukraine, where most cyberattacks targeted media outlets.

Additionally, 34 percent of the attacks were aimed at software companies, 4 percent at the finance sector, and the rest at government offices, telecommunications and retail companies.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023.Credit: Seth Wenig /AP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday rejected accusations that he had justified Hamas attacks on Israel in his statement to the Security Council on Tuesday.

“I am shocked by the misrepresentations by some of my statement… as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite,” he told reporters. “I believe it’s necessary to set the record straight – especially out of respect for the victims and their families.”

Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system along the northern border.Credit: Fadi Amun

The U.S. is planning on sending its entire Iron Dome stockpile – including two batteries and more than 300 interceptors owned by the U.S. Army – to Israel as part of its efforts to lend military assistance following the Hamas attack.

A U.S. official confirmed the plans to Haaretz, which were first reported by Bloomberg and later by the Washington Post, are in the works. The Pentagon has yet to officially confirm the plans.

Congress has pressed the Biden administration to deliver its stockpile to Israel, after months of efforts to press Israel to OK sending the batteries to Ukraine.

The consensus to date within America has been that Iron Dome in itself would be a stopgap measure until the U.S. military could procure or develop a better defense system against cruise missiles, though there has been an appetite to incorporate parts of Israeli tech into its indirect fire protection capabilities. Israel has also been unwilling to send America proprietary source code, discouraging the U.S. from procuring additional batteries.

The acquisition of the Israeli system was largely the result of pressure from lawmakers who obligated the army by law to acquire the weapon system.

U.S. defense officials have long stressed the need to develop medium-range air-defense capabilities, though these efforts have increased over the past several years following conflicts in Syria and the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a potential U.S. strategic shift to the Indo-Pacific has only made efforts more pressing.

Jordan’s King Abdullah and Queen Rania walk outside Westminster Abbey, in London, earlier this year.Credit: DYLAN MARTINEZ/ REUTERS

Jordan’s Queen Rania sharply criticized U.S. President Joe Biden and the media for “confirmation bias” and a “glaring double standard” when it comes to the deaths of Israeli and Palestinian civilians in the conflict that has raged since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

Both journalists and western leaders like Biden, she charged, were consistently “quick to adopt the Israeli narratives,” said the wife of Jordanian monarch King Abdullah, contrasting condemnations of the Hamas atrocities to what she perceived as “silence” from the world regarding Palestinian civilian deaths resulting from Israeli reprisals.

Read the full article

The spokesman for the Israeli military said four rockets had been fired from Lebanon towards the Kiryat Shmona area and its surroundings, all of which fell in open areas. Alarms were activated in the city as well as in Kfar Giladi and Tel Hai.

Due to the rocket fire, surrounding roads were closed to traffic.

The Biden administration is pressing Middle Eastern allies to crack down on Hamas fundraising in the region — paying particular attention to its ability to fundraise via cryptocurrency and third-party donations via regional charities and shell companies.

A top U.S. Treasury official visited Saudi Arabia earlier this week in an expedited meeting for the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, followed by a trip to Qatar — the U.S. ally that has both empowered Hamas over the years while playing a key role in diplomatic efforts to release hostages.

“This moment is critical,” U.S. Under Secretary Brian Nelson said, “to come together to assess our own exposure to the risk of terrorist financing, and to ensure appropriate controls are in place to protect not only our financial jurisdictions, but also human life.”

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, left, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Oct. 18, 2022.Credit: Lukas Coch/Pool via AP

Australia called for a humanitarian pause in Gaza, shortly before Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington.

“We call for humanitarian pauses on hostilities so food, water, medicine and other essential assistance can reach people in desperate need, and so civilians can get to safety,” said Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

“The way Israel exercises its right to defend itself matters. It matters to civilians throughout the region, and it matters to Israel’s ongoing security,” she added.

UNRWA workers agency in the playground of an UNRWA-run school that has been converted into a shelter for displaced Palestinians in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday.Credit: Mahmud Hams – AFP

The UN agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees said it will be forced to “make some very tough decisions” if fuel doesn’t enter Gaza via Rafah on Wednesday. UNRWA previously warned that it would be forced to cease operations by Wednesday night if fuel wasn’t delivered as part of a convoy of aid.

UNRWA further warned it would have to be more selective about where to deliver aid and how often depending on the next “critical” 24 hours, adding that fuel is needed for vehicles to distribute supplies to other UN agencies working in Gaza.

As companies around the world celebrate International Opera Day, the Israeli Opera has chosen to highlight the plight of its country’s hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on October 7, particularly the hostages who are children.

The opera company has released a specially dedicated version of the song “Bring Him Home” from the musical Les Miserables on YouTube.

As the company’s performers sing the lyrics “He is young; He’s afraid; him rest; Heaven blessed: bring him peace, bring him joy, he is young, he is only a boy” photographs of the more than 20 under the age of 18 who are believed to be held in the Gaza Strip.

With the plea “Bring Them Home” the Israeli Opera said it was asking “each and every opera house across the globe to join the efforts towards the safe return of all Israelis who are held hostage in Gaza.”

Student groups on campuses across the United States are organizing walkouts on Wednesday afternoon demanding an end to what they describe as Israel’s “siege on Gaza” and the “Gaza Genocide.”

The national event is being organized by Students for Justice in Palestine – a driving force in the nationwide university campaigns against Israel since Hamas’s bloody incursion into Israel on October 7.

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“I encourage the release of the hostages and the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” Pope Francis said, adding that he “continue[s] to pray for those suffering and hope for paths of peace in the Middle East and other regions wounded by war.”

“I am always thinking of the serious situation in Palestine and Israel,” the Pope said.

Palestinians look for survivors trapped under the rubble of a building destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip on October 16, 2023.Credit: Mahmud HAMS / AFP

UNICEF, the UN children’s rights agency, called the situation in Gaza “a growing stain on our collective conscience.”

“The rate of death and injuries of children is simply staggering,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. More than 2,360 children have reportedly been killed in Gaza, with more than 5,360 wounded, the UN said, adding that over 30 Israeli children were killed during the Hamas attack, and dozens are currently held hostage in Gaza.

“Even more frightening is the fact that unless tensions are eased, and unless humanitarian aid is allowed, including food, water, medical supplies and fuel, the daily death toll will continue to rise,” she added.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee announced that it would hold a press conference on Thursday in the northern city of Nazareth following a police ban on a scheduled Jewish-Arab meeting that was supposed to be held in Haifa on the subject of the war and its consequences.

According to the committee, which is considered the umbrella organization of Arab society in Israel, the police threatened the owners of the hall where the event was slated to take place with closure if it went ahead as planned.

“This step is extremely dangerous and reveals a worsening of the fascist and anti-democratic attack. It is part of a political blockade against [Israel’s] Arab citizens, which includes preventing dialogue with progressive and democratic elements in Jewish society,” said committee chairman Mohammad Barakeh.

The police have yet to comment on the issue.

The prosecutor’s office submitted on Wednesday indictments to the Haifa Magistrate’s Court against two Arab citizens of Israel for inciting terrorism and identifying with a terrorist organization.

The first indictment was filed against a resident of Nahaf in northern Israel, who wrote in her WhatsApp status “Pride that will not be forgotten, 7.10.23, God let them win and keep them.”

A second indictment was filed against a resident of Rameh in northern Israel who posted a photo depicting armed Hamas operatives with the caption “Among the believers there are men who are true to what they promised God,” as well as a video of operatives next to rocket launchers captioned: “We did not come here to be martyrs, we came here to fight; we did not come here to kill men; we came here to defend our flag; we came to live and exist.”

According to the attorney’s office, the indictments were filed quickly following the state attorney’s directive to investigate and prosecute anyone who publishes words of support for the massacre committed by Hamas.

Since the beginning of the war, 18 additional indictments have been filed.

Britain would consider discussing a humanitarian pause in Gaza to facilitate aid coming into the territory, but does not want a wholesale ceasefire as that would only benefit Hamas militants, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said.

A law under consideration by the German parliament would mean that people who have committed anti-Semitic acts can never be granted citizenship, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Wednesday.

“Our draft for the new citizenship law, which we will now discuss in the Bundestag, provides a clear exclusion of anti-Semites,” Faeser said in a statement issued after she met with Israeli ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor.

She added that German authorities were “extremely vigilant” in regard to supporters of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Germany, saying that any such person would be “prosecuted with the full force of the law.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah meets with France’s President Emmanuel Macron, at Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday.Credit: Alaa Al Sukhni/Reuters

Jordan’s King Abdullah on Wednesday told French President Emmanuel Macron that ending the war in Gaza was an urgent necessity and warned that there could otherwise be an “explosion” in the region.

In a royal court statement, the monarch told Macron Israel should be pressured by global powers to stop its bombing campaign against civilians in the enclave and end its siege of its over two million residents.

Palestinians search for casualties following an Israeli strike on a house, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Wednesday.Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

At least 6,546 Palestinians, including 2,704 children, were killed and 17,439 wounded in Gaza since October 7, the spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza, Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, said on Wednesday. He added that 704 of them were children and 1584 were women.

According to al-Qudra, in the last 24 hours, 756 people were killed in attacks, of which 344 were minors. According to the ministry’s data, 65 percent of those killed since the beginning of the week were in the southern Gaza Strip, where Israel is urging residents to evacuate, claiming that these are safe areas.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for firing a rocket to Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat. The IDF has confirmed the report, adding that the rocket fell in an open area.

Hamas’ military wing, the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, took responsibility for the shooting into Haifa and said that it launched an R-160 rocket in response to the killing of civilians in Gaza.

Matteo Salvini, Italian infrastructure minister and deputy PM, attends a news conference for the government’s first budget in Rome, Italy in 2022.Credit: Remo Casilli/Reuters

Italy’s deputy prime minister condemned the words said by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Palestinian militant group Hamas, defining them “grave and disgusting”.

Matteo Salvini would suggest to Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani to formally summon the Turkish ambassador to Italy, the deputy PM’s office said in a note.

Earlier on Wednesday Erdogan said that Palestinian militant group Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a liberation group waging a battle to protect its land, in a speech to his party’s lawmakers in parliament

The head of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial has criticized UN Secretary General António Guterres for his remarks on the Gaza war.

Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, said on Wednesday of the controversy: “The slaughter of Jews by Hamas on October 7 was genocidal in its intents and immeasurably brutal in its form. Part of why it differs from the Holocaust is because Jews have today a state and an army. We are not defenceless and at the mercy of others.

“However, it puts to test the sincerity of world leaders, intellectuals and influencers that come to Yad Vashem and pledge ‘Never Again.’ Those who seek to ‘understand,’ look for a justifying context, do not categorically condemn the perpetrators, and do not call for the unconditional and immediate release of the abducted – fail the test. UN Secretary General António Guterres failed the test,” Dayan said in a statement.

The IDF and Shin Bet announced that since the beginning of the war, their forces have arrested more than 930 wanted persons in the West Bank, 608 of them Hamas operatives.

According to the army, an extensive arrest operation took place overnight in the West Bank, in which 68 wanted persons were arrested, 58 of them Hamas operatives.

In Jenin, a drone attacked the terrorists attacking Israeli forces. The Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank reported earlier that since last night six Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II addresses a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, earlier this month.Credit: TOBIAS SCHWARZ – AFP

Jordan’s King Abdullah on Wednesday told French President Emmanuel Macron that ending the war in Gaza was an urgent necessity and warned that there could otherwise be an “explosion” in the region.

In a royal court statement, the monarch told Macron Israel should be pressured by global powers to stop its bombing campaign against civilians in the enclave and end its siege of its over two million residents.

An Israeli tank is positioned near Israel’s border with Lebanon, northern Israel, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Ammar AwadCredit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

The IDF announced that terrorists launched an anti-tank missile from Lebanese territory at an army tank in the Moshav Avivim area. There are no casualties.

IDF tanks and artillery forces are now attacking the source of the fire.

The IDF spokesman announced that the siren in northern Israel was activated due to a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip. According to the army, the rocket exploded in the air. No casualties are known.

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, last year.Credit: Alex Kolomoisky

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett harshly criticized National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi’s statement praising Qatar’s efforts to return the abductees from the Gaza Strip.

“The Israeli government is making a grave moral and practical error,” said Bennett. “Qatar is not an ‘essential partner for humanitarian operations and diplomatic operations.’ Qatar is the enemy itself. Qatar finances, assists and strengthens the terrorist organization Hamas-Daesh [ISIS]. Israel’s stated goal is the destruction of Hamas. Qatar’s goal is exactly the opposite: saving Hamas.”

According to Bennett, Qatar “creates manipulations as if it were humanitarian and will wave in front of us limited deals of prisoners every few days, in order to confuse Israel and stop its efforts to destroy Hamas.”

The IDF announced that both navy and air forces and the Gaza Division killed two terrorists last night who tried to enter Israeli territory in the Zikim area through a tunnel.

According to the army, warplanes and navy forces attacked the pit from which the terrorists came out and the warehouse of weapons they used.

IDF aircraft and artillery units targeted a terrorist cell that attempted to carry out a cross-border shooting from Lebanon into Israeli territory near the Israeli border town of Zar’it.

Israel entered its 19th day of war with Hamas since the massacre in southern Israel on October 7 that killed at least 1,300 Israelis and wounded more than 3,300. The IDF’s Spokesperson Daniel Hagari maintained that there are currently 222 hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli police announced that they have identified the bodies of 798 civilians who were murdered in the war so far. The police statement said that this constitutes 84 percent of the civilians who were murdered. The IDF spokesman informed that so far the army has notified the families of 308 soldiers who were killed in the war.

  • Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi on Wednesday described on X the diplomatic intervention by Qatar in humanitarian aspects of the war with Hamas in Gaza as “crucial at this time,” adding “I’m pleased to say that Qatar is becoming an essential party and stakeholder in the facilitation of humanitarian solutions.” Soon after, Qatar’s prime minister said that he hopes there will be a breakthrough on hostage release ‘soon.’
  • The IDF and the Shin Bet announced that they killed the commander of Hamas’ northern Khan Yunis battalion, who carried out attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, according to the army. In the announcement, it was stated that Tisir Mbasher was close to senior Hamas officials including the head of the military arm, Muhammad Deif, and held several positions in the production of weapons and served as the commander of the organization’s naval force.
  • The IDF also announced that in the past day the Air Force attacked hundreds of military and government targets belonging to Hamas and killed Hamas operatives. According to the army, terrorist infrastructures of the organization were destroyed in the attacks, including tunnel shafts, military headquarters, weapons depots and launching positions for mortar shells and anti-tank missiles.
  • Hezbollah chief Hassan Nassrallah met with the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziad Nahleh and deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau Saleh al-Arouri. According to a Hezbollah statement, the three discussed the latest events in the Gaza Strip including the ongoing clashes on Lebanon’s border with Israel. It was agreed to continue coordination and regular monitoring of developments on a daily and regular basis, the statement added. The IDF continued to strike targets in Lebanon including terrorist cells that fired anti-tank missiles towards Israel.
  • The Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank reported six deaths from Israeli fire. The IDF spokesperson stated that a drone targeted terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp after they shot and threw explosives at the security forces.
  • The IDF’s West Bank commander, Brig. Gen. Avi Bluth met with the Israeli security officers and the heads of the settlements in the West Bank, and told them: “We took the gloves off in our war with Hamas in Judea and Samaria as well.”
  • The army’s statement said that Bluth told those present that since the beginning of the war, more than 930 wanted persons and about 600 Hamas operatives have been arrested in the West Bank. “We are going to see more offensive operations to cleanse terrorist nests like what was done in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp,” he said.
  • In Gaza, a fourth convoy of 20 aid trucks passed through the Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza. The UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) release a statement saying their shelters are four times above their capacity and that many people are sleeping in the streets. They added that at least 40 UNRWA installations have been impacted and that nearly 600,000 Palestinians are internally displaced sheltering in 150 UNRWA facilities.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan addresses lawmakers from his ruling AK Party at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkey October 11, 2023.Credit: PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/ REUTERS

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Palestinian militant group Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a liberation group waging a battle to protect its land.

In a speech to his party’s lawmakers in parliament, Erdogan said Israel had taken advantage of Turkey’s good intentions and that he will not go to Israel as previously planned.

The note found instructs Hamas operatives to carry out ‘merciless slaughter’ of residents of Gaza border communities. The note included an order to kill as many Jews as possible, and an encouragement that they would go down in Muslim history and become a symbol of Jihad. According to the IDF spokesman, the note instructed Hamas members to decapitate, dismember, and disembowel whoever they encountered.

Qatar’s prime minister said on Wednesday that the only way to reach a peaceful solution in Gaza is to keep communication channels open, and he hopes there will be a breakthrough on hostage release ‘soon.’

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who is also the minister of foreign affairs, added in a press conference with the Turkish foreign minister in Doha that Qatar will continue coordinating with Turkey and regional partners to de-escalate the crisis.

He added: “Qatar condemns the collective punishment policy” on Gaza.

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi on Wednesday described diplomatic intervention by Qatar in humanitarian aspects of the war with Hamas in Gaza as “crucial at this time.”

“I’m pleased to say that Qatar is becoming an essential party and stakeholder in the facilitation of humanitarian solutions,” Hanegbi said in an English-language post on the social-media platform X.

The Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen news reported that the IDF recently struck the village of Ayta al Shaab in southern Lebanon.

The Knesset approved a first reading a bill banning the consumption of content defined as “terrorist publications” by Hamas and ISIS.

This is a temporary order that should, if it passes its second and third readings, allow for a limited period of two years to prosecute those consuming publications “which include words of praise, sympathy or encouragement for acts of terrorism.”

In the bill’s explanation, it states that if consumption is determined that consumption of such publication is done randomly or in good faith then it will not be considered prohibited and will not result in prosecution.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said while inspecting military units in Suez on Wednesday that Cairo is playing a very positive role in de-escalating Gaza crisis.

Sisi also said that in light of current events it is important to “use capabilities wisely.”, adding that the army’s role is to secure Egyptian borders.

He added that it is very important to rely on a diplomatic solution for the Palestinian cause.

Funeral for five members of an Israeli family that was killed in the deadly Hamas attack last week.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The police announced that they have identified the bodies of 798 civilians who were murdered in the war so far. The police statement said that this constitutes 84 percent of the civilians who were murdered. The IDF spokesman informed that so far the army has notified the families of 308 soldiers who were killed in the war.

Brig. Gen. Avi Bluth met with the Israeli security officers and the heads of the settlements in the West Bank on Wednesday.Credit: IDF Spokesperson

The IDF’s West Bank commander, Brig. Gen. Avi Bluth met with the Israeli security officers and the heads of the settlements in the West Bank, and told them: “We took the gloves off in our war with Hamas in Judea and Samaria as well.”

The army’s statement said that Bluth told those present that since the beginning of the war, more than 930 wanted persons and about 600 Hamas operatives have been arrested in the West Bank. “We are going to see more offensive operations to cleanse terrorist nests like what was done in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp,” he said.

Bluth added that the IDF “will do everything to maintain the resident’s security, especially in these difficult days… We are aggressive, we do not contain incidents but eliminate them, and beyond defense, we act in a significant way to thwart terrorism.”

Qatari mediators on Tuesday are urging Hamas to quicken the pace of hostage releases to include women and children held in Gaza and to do so without expecting Israeli concessions, according to three diplomats and a source in the region familiar with the talks, as Israel readies a ground assault on the enclave.

The Gulf state, in coordination with the U.S., is leading mediation talks with Hamas and Israeli officials over the release of more than 200 hostages captured in the Palestinian terror group’s cross-border onslaught on October 7.

Hamas on Monday freed two Israeli civilian women captives from the besieged enclave following the release of two hostages with dual U.S.-Israeli nationality on Friday. Qatar is now discussing a larger release of civilians with Hamas and Israel, a fifth source told Reuters on Tuesday after being briefed on the negotiations. The source said the talks were progressing.

The talks are not about any of the Israeli soldiers held by Hamas, the diplomats and regional source familiar with the talks said. Hamas says such captive soldiers are strategic assets the group can eventually exchange for major concessions from Israel.

Some 222 people aged from 9 months to 85 years were seized on Oct. 7 when Hamas and other militants went on a killing spree through southern Israel, shooting motorists, hunting down civilians including children in their own homes, and burning and stabbing people to death, according to survivors’ accounts.

A village in Lebanon on the border with Israel.Credit: Fadi Amun
Khan Yunis on Wednesday.Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

The UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) release a statement saying their shelters are four times above their capacity and that many people are sleeping in the streets.

They added that at least 40 UNRWA installations have been impacted and that nearly 600,000 Palestinians are internally displaced sheltering in 150 UNRWA facilities.

The IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said during a press conference that Iran is currently assisting Hamas with intelligence-sharing and with anti-Israel messaging online.

Hagari also said that when Iranian proxies in Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon take action, it’s under orders from Tehran. He said that the IDF struck 5 Lebanese terror cells in the past day.

He further warned the residents of northern Gaza to move south before the ground invasion begins adding they should not listen to Hamas telling them to remain in place. He continued saying that they will be able to return to northern Gaza after the war ends.

Hagari updated the death toll of IDF soldiers to 308, and maintained the reported number of 222 hostages in Gaza.

The IDF and the Shin Bet killed the commander of Hamas’ northern Khan Yunis battalion, who carried out attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, according to the army.

In the announcement, it was stated that Tisir Mbasher was close to senior Hamas officials including the head of the military arm, Muhammad Deif, and held several positions in the production of weapons and served as the commander of the organization’s naval force.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nassrallah with the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziad Nahleh and Deputy Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau Saleh al-Arouri on Wednesday.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nassrallah met with the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziad Nahleh and deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau Saleh al-Arouri.

According to a Hezbollah statement, the three discussed the latest events in the Gaza Strip including the ongoing clashes on Lebanon’s border with Israel. It was agreed to continue coordination and regular monitoring of developments on a daily and regular basis, the statement added.

It was also reported that they discussed the manner in which the “axis of resistance” should act in order to achieve a “real victory” in Gaza. In a photograph circulated from the meeting, the three are seen sitting while on the wall hang the pictures of the supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, and of the spiritual father of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.

An Israeli attack on military positions in southwest Syria on Wednesday killed eight soldiers and wounded seven more, the Syrian state news agency (SANA) reported.

Citing a military source, SANA said Israel’s “aerial aggression” targeted a number of military positions near the southwestern city of Deraa. The strike also caused material damage, it reported.

The attack took place at around 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday (2245 GMT on Tuesday), SANA reported.

Israel’s military said earlier that its jets had struck Syrian army infrastructure and mortar launchers early on Wednesday in what it described as a response to rocket launches from Syria toward Israel.

The IDF announced that in the past day the Air Force attacked hundreds of military and government targets belonging to Hamas and killed Hamas operatives. According to the army, terrorist infrastructures of the organization were destroyed in the attacks, including tunnel shafts, military headquarters, weapons depots and launching positions for mortar shells and anti-tank missiles.

We can cautiously predict that in the end, there will be an Israeli ground operation in the Gaza Strip. It apparently won’t be everything that gung-ho pundits are envisioning in their television studios, but Israeli troops will enter at least parts of Gaza.

But the extent, time and nature of these maneuvers will be determined by the triangle comprised of the U.S. administration, the Israeli war cabinet and the IDF brass. And they may well be postponed for several more days, or even longer.

Read the full analysis.

A CNN report disclosed that a small group of Hamas operatives planned the massacre against Israel on October 7 by communicating over a network of hardwired phones inserted into their tunnel system to avoid detection and tapping by Israeli intelligence.

According to the report, over the span of two years, Hamas avoided using cellphone and computers, and met in person to plan the attack through “old-fashioned counterintelligence measures.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres posted on X in attempt to make a balanced statement after causing widespread condemnation from Israeli officials for his controversial assertion Tuesday that the Hamas attack on October 7 “did not happen in a vacuum,” suggesting that Israeli shared responsibility for the deadliest assault on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank reported that four people were killed by Israeli fire. IDF spokesperson stated that Israeli forces arrested two terror suspects and that it fired on four armed terrorists.

The IDF spokesman also added that a drone targeted terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp after they shot and threw explosives at the security forces.

Florida’s university system, working with Governor Ron DeSantis, ordered colleges on Tuesday to shut down a pro-Palestinian student organization, marking the first U.S. state to outlaw the group whose national leadership backed Hamas’ attack on Israel.

The State University System of Florida said chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had to be dismantled as part of a “crack down” in the Republican-led state on campus demonstrations that provide “harmful support for terrorist groups.”

“Based on the National SJP’s support of terrorism, in consultation with Governor DeSantis, the student chapters must be deactivated,” the system’s Chancellor Ray Rodrigues wrote in a memo to university leaders.

SJP is active in at least two Florida universities, Rodrigues said.

The University of North Florida in Jacksonville and Florida State University in Tallahassee have SJP chapters, based on Instagram sites. The National SJP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The commander of the IDF’s 13th Golani Brigade, Lt. Col. Tomer Greenbaum, said Tuesday that his troops are preparing for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. “This time,” he added, “we will have the element of surprise. We will come with a concentrated force, with all of the advanced capabilities and high standard of the Brigade – and we will be victorious.”

U.S. intelligence officials have “high confidence” that an explosion at a Gaza hospital last week was caused by a Palestinian rocket that broke up mid-flight, and not by Israel, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said 471 people were killed in the blast at Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital last week. Palestinians and Arab states said an Israeli air strike hit the hospital.

Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by Islamic Jihad, which has denied responsibility.

U.S. President Biden said a day after the incident, while visiting Tel Aviv, that the explosion appeared to be the result of an errant rocket fired by a “terrorist group”, echoing Israel’s view.

U.S. media reported the U.S. intelligence assessment on Tuesday, citing a briefing with reporters. The U.S. official declined to be named as the information remained confidential.

The officials said there was still uncertainty around the death toll and the number of injuries, the New York Times reported. The officials said there was little damage to the hospital and the structure did not collapse, it reported.

The intelligence assessment was based on Israeli intercepts of Palestinian groups, publicly available video, communications intercepts provided by the Israelis and images of the blast and the aftermath, the officials told the newspaper.

An unclassified U.S. intelligence report seen by Reuters two days after the blast estimated the death toll was “probably at the low end of the 100 to 300 spectrum” but added that the assessment may evolve.

Israeli PM Netanyahu visiting the IDF Commando Brigade in northern Israel on Sunday.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi convened a press conference on Monday, the third since the war began. Not a pompous proclamation on prime time, and not a meticulously edited video clip. He was asked questions and gave answers.

That is what is expected of a democratic country’s military commander, even one who failed horribly. That is what is expected of the political leadership. But even on the 18th day of the war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have not mustered the courage to face the media.

Read fully story.

Foreign Affairs Minister Eli Cohen at Emergency UN summit on Tuesday.Credit: Lev Radin for Israeli Consulate in New York

Families of the Israelis taken hostage by Hamas were subjected to pressure by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Tuesday to cancel their scheduled meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over controversial remarks he delivered earlier in the day.

Several of the families met with Guterres nonetheless, unwilling to squander the opportunity for a personal meeting with the world’s top diplomat.

See full story.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that “the Israelis are making their own decisions” when asked by reporters whether the United States was pressuring Israel to postpone a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The IDF said early Wednesday that it carried out a drone strike against armed Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp during an arrest operation.

According to a statement, Palestinians opened fire and threw explosive devices at Israeli forces who had arrested two terror suspects in area. The military said a drone was called in to neutralize the threat. The IDF added that there were no Israeli causalities.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said two Palestinians were killed, with others injured, some of them critically. Islamic Jihad said that one of its members, Mahmoud al-Fayad, 20, was killed in the drone strike.

The Israeli military said early Wednesday that its fighter jets have attacked military infrastructure and mortar launchers belonging to the Syrian army in response to rocket fire at Israel on Tuesday.

S&P Global revised Israel’s outlook to “negative” from “stable” on Tuesday, citing risks that the Israel-Hamas war could spread more widely with a more pronounced impact on the economy and security situation in the country.

Last week, peer Fitch placed Israel’s sovereign debt rating of “A+” on rating watch negative and warned that a major escalation of the ongoing conflict with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas could result in a negative rating action.

“We currently assume the conflict will remain centered in Gaza and last no more than three to six months,” S&P said in a statement.

S&P could revise the outlook to “stable” if the conflict is resolved, resulting in a “reduction in regional and domestic security risks without a material longer-term toll on Israel’s economy and public finances.”

It added that international support could mitigate some of the negative macroeconomic effects on Israel.

The agency affirmed the country’s “AA-/A-1+” long-term and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings.

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Haaretz | Opinion

Opinion |

Nehemia Shtrasler

Oct 17, 2023

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Oct 17, 2023

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unfit. He cannot remain in his position for even one more day. We saw this on Saturday night, when, pale and wan despite a ton of makeup, he stood in front of the microphone and delivered a weird, empty speech. His face revealed the shock he was experiencing. It is clear he is incapable of leading the nation in war.

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Published on Oct 25, 2023 08:41 PM IST

Nearly 3 weeks after the horrific massacre perpetrated by Hamas in Israel, and days after more a dozen attacks took place on US troops in Iraq and Syria, the Joe Biden administration is reportedly stepping up surveillance measures in the Middle East. From increasing intelligence-gathering via drones, to boosting patrolling at military camps which host its soldiers, America is implementing a host of measures even as it sends a huge armada of warships and arsenal of weapons to the region to deter widening of the conflict. Watch the full video for more. #Israel #Hamas #Gaza #Palestine #IsraelDefenseForces #IsraeliHostages #BenjaminNetanyahu #IDF #IsraelMilitary #IsraeliForces #Mossad #GazaStrip #WestBank #Egypt #Syria #Lebanon #Hezbollah #IslamicJihad #MahmoudAbbas #PalestinianAuthority #Iran #IRGC #IslamicRevolutionaryGuardCorps #AyatollahAliKhamenei #Tehran #EbrahimRaisi #Russia #VladimirPutin #SergeyLavrov #MiddleEast #USA #America #JoeBiden #USMilitary #Iraq #Syria #Houthi Hindustan Times Videos brings all the News for the Global Indian under one umbrella. We break down news from across the globe from the unique lens of a Rising India. Tune in for Explainers, Opinions, Analysis and a 360 degree view of big events in India and the World which impact your present and future. Follow the Hindustan Times Channel on WhatsApp for News Alerts, Top Stories and Editor picks. Join Us Today – https://www.bit.ly/3PQ4kSv Subscribe to the Hindustan Times YT channel and press the bell icon to get notified when we go live. Visit our website https://www.hindustantimes.com/ Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/htTweets Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hindustantimes

How the Gaza Crisis Will Change the War in Ukraine

posted on Oct 25 2023 14:07:51 UTC via youtube.com

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As the crisis in Gaza unfolded, a critical question for European security was how it would affect Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The initial discussions were pessimistic about its implications for Kyiv: that the West would be distracted by another war and divert some of its military aid to Israel. This video explores that problem but also dives deeper into the issue. Not all of the implications are bad for Ukraine.

0:00 When Wars Collide
1:19 A New Cold War?
4:56 The Bad News for Ukraine
11:49 Solving Shell Hunger
13:18 Congressional Vote Linkages
15:04 Distracting the Media
20:47 Iran’s Limited Capacity
21:54 George W. Bush’s Makeshift Desk
22:49 Outtake

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Media licensed under CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/):

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https://flickr.com/photos/usembassyjlm/albums/72177720307950092

By U.S. Secretary of Defense:
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Media licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/):

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On RT, Amir Weitmann, the head of the libertarian caucus in Israel’s ruling Likud Party, promised that the Russians would pay for the complacency in shedding Israeli blood by working with Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
In this exclusive Kyiv Post interview, Weitmann explains why Israel has not previously been an advocate for Ukraine, discusses what “payback” for Russia will look like, and what the next steps are of combatting terrorists attacking Israel today.

More stories on our site: https://www.kyivpost.com
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MOSCOW, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin was on Friday shown meeting one of the most senior former commanders of the Wagner mercenary group, Andrei Troshev, and discussing how best to use “volunteer units” in the Ukraine war.

Is Wagner back, who controls it and are its fighters returning to the Ukraine war?

WHAT IS WAGNER?

Wagner, one of the world’s most battle-hardened mercenary groups, was founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, a former special forces officer in Russia’s GRU military intelligence.

Cast as a private army, Wagner enabled Russia to dabble in wars in countries including Syria, Libya and Mali with deniability. Opponents such as the United States cast Wagner as a brutal crime group which plundered African states and meted out sledehammer deaths to those who challenged it.

Wagner also fought in Ukraine and took the city of Bakhmut in May after the bloodiest battle of the war. After the fall of Bakhmut, Wagner fighters were withdrawn from the front.

At its peak, Wagner had tens of thousands of men – at least 50,000 convicts were offered their freedom if they survived the battles in Ukraine – and tens of thousands of Russian volunteers, including many former special forces troops.

Salaries were high and Prigozhin said the command structure was responsible and lacked the bureaucracy of the Russian army.

But Prigozhin, angered by what he said was the stupidity and incompetence of Russia’s top military brass, took control of the military headquarters of the southern city of Rostov and then marched on Moscow in a June 23-24 mutiny.

Putin initially said he would crush the mutiny, comparing it to the wartime turmoil that ushered in the revolutions of 1917, but hours later a deal was clinched to defuse the situation. The full details of the deal are still unclear.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE?

After Putin cast the mutineers as traitors, Wagner and Prigozhin came under attack by the Russian state. Police raided Wagner properties and state television said Prigozhin’s operations had received nearly $20 billion from the state.

The Kremlin looked for a way to bring the group’s fighters under control without losing the fighting capability of Wagner, which itself was riven by disputes over its future and who should lead it.

On Aug. 23, the private jet on which Prigozhin and Utkin were travelling to St Petersburg crashed north of Moscow killing all 10 people on board.

After Prigozhin’s death, Putin ordered Wagner fighters to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state – a step that Prigozhin had opposed due to his anger at the defence ministry that he said risked losing the Ukraine war.

Russian sources told Reuters that some of the group’s fighters have signed contracts with the defence ministry, though many more have joined a variety of different Russian private military groups.

Unconfirmed Russian reports said that Anton Yelizarov, known by the call sign “Lotus”, had been appointed commander of Wagner. Yelizarov, a former deputy of Utkin, commanded the storming of Bakhmut.

Besides Ukraine, Yelizarov saw action in Syria, Central African Republic and Mali. While Prigozhin criticised Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Yelizarov said Shoigu was “out of control” and seeking to destroy Wagner.

But it is unclear who within the Russian state is directing Wagner – and how far Wagner can keep operating abroad in places such as Syria, Libya, Central African Republic and Mali.

BACK IN THE WAR?

Putin’s Kremlin meeting with Wagner’s Troshev, who now works for the defence ministry, is a major hint that Wagner fighters – if not the group itself – are returning to the war.

Addressing Troshev, Putin said: “You know what it is, how it is done, you know about the issues that need to be resolved in advance so that the combat work goes in the best and most successful way.”

The meeting is also an indicator that Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, who attended, and Troshev will coordinate the work of Wagner fighters.

Russian, Ukrainian and Western sources have indicated that Wagner fighters are returning to the front.

British military intelligence said that up to hundreds of fighters formerly associated with Wagner have likely started to redeploy to Ukraine as part of a variety of different units.

“The exact status of the redeploying personnel is unclear, but it is likely individuals have transferred to parts of the official Russian Ministry of Defence forces and other PMCs,” British military intelligence said.

Russian war blog Rybar, which has over 1.2 million subscribers, said that Wagner fighters would return to Bakhmut.

“The first units of the PMC began to return to Bakhmut to conduct a counteroffensive against previously lost positions,” Rybar said.

  • Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends a meeting at the parliament in Ankara

  • A member of the National police special demining unit works with mine fuses during a demining operation near Izum

  • Black Lives Matter protest in Berlin

  • Members of Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament attend a plenary session in Moscow

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Published: 02:42 BST, 12 October 2023 | Updated: 04:24 BST, 12 October 2023

A top ranking Hamas official said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is pleased with the conflict in Israel, which was planned by terrorists for two years, because it distracts America from the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Senior Hamas official Ali Baraka said during an interview with an Arab news channel that prior to the terrorist organization’s massacre of Israelis last Saturday, fewer than five Hamas leaders knew about the attack.

Baraka said that for the last few years, Hamas projected a ‘rational’ image to the outside world by claiming to focus on governing in Gaza as opposed to planning terror attacks.

That image, however, was part of the organization’s plan to covertly plan the massive attack on Israel that has launched the region back into war.

‘It (Hamas) did not go into any war. It did not join the Islamic Jihad in its recent battle,’ said Baraka.

‘But all this was part of Hamas’s strategy in preparing for this attack,’ the interviewer jumped in to say.

Senior Hamas member says Russia appreciates their attack on Israel because it divides America’s attention and thus helps Russia in Ukraine.

He also says the attack has been planned for 2 years and that less than 5 Hamas leaders knew exactly what and when it would happen pic.twitter.com/GEvbaM8ubb

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 11, 2023

Palestinians in Gaza endure the fallout of Israeli airstrikes that began following Saturday’s massive terror attack on Israel

‘Of course. We made them think that Hamas was busy with governing Gaza, and that it wanted to focus on the 2.5million Palestinians (in Gaza), and has abandoned the resistance all together. All while under the table, Hamas was preparing for this big attack,’ Baraka readily admitted.

‘We have been preparing for this attack for two years,’ he said. 

His comments confirm, among other things, that Hamas’ view of the Palestinian people is merely utilitarian. The terrorist organization infamously places headquarters in hospitals, near schools, and in residential neighborhoods to ensure that any retaliatory attacks will cost as many civilian lives as possible.

As the Israeli military began its onslaught against Hamas this week, the IDF and Israeli government repeatedly sent messages to civilians in Gaza to get out before the attacks begin. Hamas reportedly sent messages to those same civilians telling them to stay in place.

Baraka discussed the attitude toward human life taken by Hamas and Palestinian extremists when it comes to war with Israel.

‘The Israelis are known to love life,’ he said. ‘We, on the other hand, sacrifice ourselves. We consider our dead to be martyrs.’

‘The thing any Palestinian desires most is to be martyred for the sake of Allah, defending his land.’

He went on to say repeatedly that Russia is a country that ‘sympathizes with us.’ He said that following the attacks, the Russians sent Hamas leaders messages.

‘Russia is happy that America is getting embroiled in Palestine. It alleviates the pressure on Russians in Ukraine,’ he explained. ‘One war eases the pressure in another war.’

Ali Baraka said Russia is pleased that the United States has been distracted by the war in the Middle East. The US’ involvement alleviates some of the pressure on Putin for his ongoing war in Ukraine

‘The thing any Palestinian desires most is to be martyred for the sake of Allah, defending his land,’ Baraka said in an interview about the outbreak of the war

He explained some of the geopolitical dynamics surrounding Hamas’ actions in Israel

An IDF soldier reacts and covers his face before removing the body of a civilian killed days earlier in an attack by Hamas militants on October 10, 2023 in Kfar Aza, Israel

Aftermath of Israeli air strikes in Gaza on October 10, 2023. Israeli air strikes hammered Gaza on Tuesday, razing entire districts in retaliation for Saturday’s Hamas terror attacks

Also in the interview, Baraka explained that Iran is Hamas’ primary political and financial backer, and that the terror organization plans to expand the and escalate the war so that Israel is defending itself in the South and the North.

Rockets from Syria and Lebanon began flying into northern Israel early this week.

On Saturday, Iran-backed Palestinian terrorists stormed Israel in a coordinated attack that has so far taken the lives of 1,200 Israelis, some of whom were raped, burned alive, and beheaded mercilessly by agents of Hamas.

Today, residents in Gaza faced growing uncertainty after the territory’s only power plant ran out of fuel and shut down. Over the weekend, PM Netanyahu declared war on Hamas and made it clear that Gaza would feel the impact of Israel’s retaliation for decades to come.

This week, Israeli airstrikes demolished entire neighborhoods and sent people scrambling to find safety. The war is only expected to escalate from here.

Netanyahu has promised that his military will ensure the deaths of every Hamas agent. 

Former Wagner commander Andrei Troshev has outlasted a failed military coup and the death of his one-time boss.

Just over a month since Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death in a plane crash, the 61-year-old has been tasked by President Vladimir Putin with overseeing volunteer fighter units in Ukraine.

Here’s everything we know about him.

Who is Andrei Troshev?

A former Internal Affairs agent and military veteran, Andrei Troshev was a founding member and executive director of the Wagner Group.

The retired colonel — whose call sign is “Siedoy” or “Grey Hair” according to EU documents — reportedly “split away” from Wagner forces following the attempted rebellion in June.

But even prior to the attempted mutiny, Troshev’s history within the group was contentious.

An older man with white hair sits in a suit with military medals on the lapel

Andrei Troshev is seen here at a celebration for Heroes of Fatherland Day in 2016. (Reuters: Kremlin.ru/Handout)

He played a role as a Wagner commander in Russia’s military intervention in Syria in 2015.

In 2017, he was admitted to a St Petersburg hospital after being discovered on the street.

The near-comatose Troshev was carrying 5 million rubles ($78,448) and $US5,000 ($7,923) in cash, according to Russian media and police reports.

He was also allegedly carrying military maps of Syria, plane tickets and receipts for new weapons.

Three men sit at a long table in a decorated conference table

Photos of the meeting were released by the Kremlin. (Reuters: Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel)

A year later he would be handed the Hero of the Russian Federation, the highest military title in Russia, for his service in Syria.

His refusal to take part in Wagner’s short-lived rebellion meant he was not aboard the private jet alongside Prigozhin and his top officers when it crashed on August 23.

To recap, what is the Wagner Group? 

The Wagner Group is a private Russian military company with mercenaries operating in 30 different countries, including Syria and parts of Africa

It was led by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin and had played a large role in the Ukraine invasion until the moment he ordered troops to advance on Moscow. 

It may have been that attempted mutiny — labelled “treason” by Putin — which left Prigozhin vulnerable to retribution. 

Why did Troshev meet with Vladimir Putin?

It’s believed the Kremlin wants to show it has control over Wagner following the mutiny and Prigozhin’s death.

Troshev was shown on state television meeting with the Russian leader on Thursday local time, alongside Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.

Addressing Troshev, Putin said they had spoken about how “volunteer units that can perform various combat tasks, above all, of course, in the zone of the special military operation”.

“You yourself have been fighting in such a unit for more than a year,” Putin said.

“You know what it is, how it is done, you know about the issues that need to be resolved in advance so that the combat work goes in the best and most successful way.”

What does the meeting mean for the Wagner Group?

It appears to indicate that what’s left of Wagner will now be overseen by Troshev and Yevkurov.

In late August, just days after the plane crash, Putin ordered all Wagner employees to swear an oath of allegiance to Russia.

Some Wagner fighters have signed up for service with the Russian military, while others have been snatched up by different private military companies.

British military intelligence suggests as many as several hundred former Wagner fighters have already begun to redeploy to Ukraine as part of different units.

ABC/Reuters

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Updated [hour]:[minute] [AMPM] [timezone], [monthFull] [day], [year]  

Russia has issued carefully calibrated criticism of both sides in the war between Israel and Hamas. But the conflict also is giving Moscow bold new opportunities — to advance its role as a global power broker and challenge Western efforts to isolate it over Ukraine.

While Moscow lacks leverage to mediate a settlement in the Middle East, it could try to play on some perceived credibility problems with the West’s response to the crisis.

It also expects the Israel-Hamas war to distract attention from the fighting in Ukraine and erode support for Kyiv.

There are risks for Moscow, however. It could damage its relationship with Israel, which until now has kept it from sending weapons to Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on towns in southern Israel. At the same time, he warned Israel against blockading the Gaza Strip, likening it to Nazi Germany’s siege of Leningrad during World War II.

He has cast the war as a failure of U.S. diplomacy, charging that Washington has opted for economic “handouts” to the Palestinians and abandoned efforts to help create a Palestinian state.

Putin declared earlier this month that Moscow could play the role of mediator, thanks to its friendly ties with both Israel and the Palestinians, adding that “no one could suspect us of playing up to one party.”

Despite that claim of even-handedness, a U.N. Security Council resolution that Russia submitted last week condemning violence against civilians made no mention of Hamas. It was rejected by the council.

China was among a few countries that backed the Russian draft, reflecting a shared stance by Moscow and Beijing. Chinese and Russian Middle East envoys met last week to discuss working together to help cool the situation, noting their adherence to a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.

While U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other Western leaders visited Israel to show support, Putin waited for nine days before calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even though they previously had developed warm personal ties. Putin also discussed the war in calls with the leaders of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the head of the Palestinian Authority.

Putin offered Netanyahu condolences to the families of Israelis killed by Hamas and emphasized “his strong rejection and condemnation of any actions that victimize the civilian population, including women and children,” according to a Kremlin readout of the call. He also emphasized the need for a “peaceful settlement through political and diplomatic means,” it added. Netanyahu’s office said he told Putin that Israel would not stop until it had eliminated Hamas.

Unlike Putin, who carefully balanced his statements, other Russian officials were more blunt in their criticism of Israeli strikes on Gaza.

Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament, said that while Hamas unleashed the war, Israel’s response was “disproportionate” and “inhumane.”

The Kremlin’s maneuvering may reflect domestic politics, with Muslims making up about 15% of the its population. The Moscow-backed leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, spoke strongly in support of the Palestinians, assailing Israel for capturing their lands and establishing blockades.

Moscow’s stance won quick praise from Hamas, which said it appreciates Russia’s call for a cease-fire. Russia’s statements also play well in the Arab world, where many have accused the U.S. and its allies of squarely supporting Israel while turning a blind eye to the rising civilian death toll in Gaza.

But this position also threatens Russia’s friendly ties with Israel, which hasn’t joined Western sanctions against Moscow or given weapons to Ukraine.

“There is a real threat of exacerbation of our ties with Israel in the current situation,” said Andrei Kortunov, academic director of the Russian International Affairs Council.

The Times of Israel reported Tuesday an Israeli diplomat expressed “displeasure with the role Russia is playing” to Moscow’s diplomatic officials, voicing hope the Kremlin will take “more balanced” positions.

Amir Weitmann, a leading member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, accused Russia of supporting Hamas. Speaking on Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT, he warned that after Israel defeats Hamas, “we will make sure that Ukraine wins, we will make sure that you pay the price for what you have done.”

Asked about Israeli criticism of Moscow’s stance on the war, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized Russia’s condemnation of terrorism and reaffirmed its push for a quick cease-fire and the need for a Palestinian state.

Amid what Israel sees as Moscow’s pro-Palestinian stance, some prominent Russian voices have backed Israel.

In a sign of the split sympathies, the head of the most popular political talk show on Russian state TV, Vladimir Solovyov, fired one expert on his televised panel who alleged in an online interview that two of Moscow’s top diplomats have anti-Israeli sentiments.

Yevgeny Satanovsky, a pro-Kremlin foreign policy expert, described Russia’s Middle East envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, as leaning toward Arab countries and alleged that Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova detests Israel. He later apologized.

Some commentators described the anti-Israeli sentiments as a throwback to Soviet times.

“Friendship with the Arabs against Israel and the West is an important part of that legacy,” Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center said in an analysis. “A global rebellion against the Western order to a certain extent makes Russia and Hamas natural allies and certainly prevents them from being enemies.”

Kortunov of the Russian International Affairs Council argued that Russia could use its strong contacts with Iran and Syria to help negotiate a settlement.

“Russia could be part of a multilateral coalition that would offer security guarantees,” he said. “It’s very important to maintain a well-balanced, delicate approach that wouldn’t alienate either party.”

Izabella Tabarovsky, senior adviser at the Kennan Institute, noted that for Putin, Hamas’ “attack and the anticipated ground invasion of the Gaza Strip present an opportunity to shed his pariah status and elevate his profile as the Middle East faces its most dangerous crisis in years.”

___

Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war and https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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CNN’s Anna Coren has the latest on the war in Ukraine. She also speaks with Jill Dougherty, an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, about the impact the war in Israel could have on Russia’s war on Ukraine. …
posted 3d ago via edition.cnn.com
 

Stay informed with free updatesSimply sign up to the War in Ukraine myFT Digest — delivered directly to your inbox.Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukraine’s backers to keep lethal assistance flowing “without any pauses” as US Congressional dysfunction threatens future assistance and allies are preoccupied by Hamas’s assault on Israel.“We are now in a special…
posted 3d ago via ft.com
 

A week ago the sight was unthinkable: a memorial at the site of one of the worst massacres of the Holocaust, engulfed in smoke and flame from an airstrike.Yet on Tuesday a Russian attack near the Babyn Yar memorial complex in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, achieved exactly that. Five people died in the strike targeting the television broadcast tower next…
posted 3d ago via theguardian.com
 

There are few Jewish leaders in the world outside of Israel. One of them is Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine. He is not a practicing Jew and in an interview in 2019, shortly before being elected to office, he stated: “The fact that I am a Jew is about the 20th question among my characteristics.” But Zelenskiy has pointed to his “Jewish…
posted 3d ago via english.elpais.com
 

Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we are missing Those we…
posted 3d ago via timesofisrael.com
 

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during an opening of the Russia-Latin America international parliamentary conference at the Pillar Hall of the House of Unions in Moscow, Russia September 29, 2023. Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/Kremlin via REUTERS/File Photo Acquire Licensing RightsMOSCOW, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir…
posted 3d ago via reuters.com
 

World German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. REUTERS German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was forced to evacuate his plane on Tuesday night as he was about to leave Israel, due to a missile alarm at the airport. Scholz and his group of advisors were forced to evacuate their aircraft and lay on the Tarmac before being rushed to a Bomb Shelter at Ben Gurion…
posted 3d ago via firstpost.com
 

, chancellor of Germany, has expressed his indignation and called utter shamelessness the claims of Valdimir Putin, President of Russia, that the war in the Middle East may lead to casualties among civilians.Source: European Pravda with reference to the speech of Scholz in Bundestag about a wide range of subjects in the context of latest eventsQuote:…
posted 3d ago via news.yahoo.com
 

week ago20:32 Alessandra Scotto di Santolo”It’s not too late to make decisions. We still have the opportunity to assess political decisions and help Ukraine succeed. Once this gap in support for Ukraine is bridged, we will address the remaining issues,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, speaking today at a meeting organised in…
posted 3d ago via express.co.uk
 

By Charles Davis. Much has been mentioned in the past few months, regarding Chechnya’s part in military operations in Ukraine. Most recently, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) asserted Chechen Akhmat (Spetsnaz) along with a Special Purpose Force Regiment were sent into the Donetsk region. [1] ISW suggests several possible reasons for Putin’s…
posted 3d ago via sof.news
 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken joins Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.” “Face the Nation” is America’s premier Sunday morning public affairs program. The broadcast is one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television, having debuted November 7, 1954, on CBS. Every Sunday, “Face the Nation” moderator and CBS News senior…
posted 4d ago via youtube.com
 

Haaretz | Israel NewsDeputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana tells Haaretz that anything other than a Ukrainian victory will embolden Iran, a message he shared with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Amir TibonLiza RozovskySep 10, 2023Sep 10, 2023 Amir TibonLiza RozovskyIsrael will benefit from a Ukrainian victory but face greater danger if Russia prevails,…
posted 4d ago via haaretz.com
 

Ukraine and Israel are fighting different kinds of wars, but some weapons systems could soon be in short supply if the fighting continues for months.
posted 4d ago via nytimes.com
 

Emma Ashford: Hey, Matt, I hear you’re in Europe, just like U.S. President Joe Biden. Are you consulting with NATO allies or just boosting Europe’s tourism industry? Matthew Kroenig: The president drew the short straw this week. He is working hard, with a series of meetings and summits. I, on the other hand, get to teach my annual Machiavelli course…
posted 4d ago via foreignpolicy.com
 

Vladimir Putin ha molto probabilmente trovato la soluzione per riorganizzare la compagnia militare privata Wagner che è tornata a combattere in Ucraina. Memore dell’errore fatto in passato quando concentrò tutto il potere nelle mani di Evgenij Prigozhin che ad un certo punto accecato dall’ambizione personale gli si rivoltò contro, Putin ha scelto per…
posted 4d ago via panorama.it
 

The Russian Wagner Group (ChVK Wagner – ChVK being the Russian abbreviation for PMC Wagner – Private Military Company) is a paramilitary mercenary force. The group first began operations in eastern Ukraine alongside Russian separatists, but its global promulgation began at the beginning of the Russian involvement in the Syrian civil war in late 2015….
posted 4d ago via israel-alma.org
 
By Waleed Abu al-Khair In the once empty streets of the Syrian city of Palmyra, a rapidly expanding Russian settlement has emerged, populated and controlled by mercenaries from the Wagner Group and its affiliates, Syrian activists said. Most of modern Palmyra’s 50,000 residents were displaced by the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), and…
posted 4d ago via central.asia-news.com
 

The French army says it has filmed Russian mercenaries from the paramilitary group Wagner burying bodies near a Malian military base, in an attempt to falsely accuse France’s departing troops of leaving behind mass graves. The video shot from a French drone, which shows the behind-the-scenes making of an infox, features white men near the Gossi military…
posted 4d ago via commonspace.eu
 

Having sailed 240 km. up the river that will bear his name, Henry Hudson was detained upon his return to England, and for good reason: his cruise was done not in the service of the British Crown, but its colonial rival Holland.Hudson was so loyal to his benefactors that he found a way to pass his expedition’s report to the Dutch, and thus helped with…
posted 4d ago via jpost.com
 

Wagner Group remains a new headache for Russia in the Middle East Thousands of Russian Wagner Group members continue their military operations in Syria and Libya despite legislative and unofficial demands from the Russian Ministry of Defense to bring them under agency control, which has angered the Russian military. According to the American website…
posted 4d ago via en.imarabic.com
 

Russian mercenaries from the private military company (PMC) Wagner are being offered to fight in the Gaza sector on the side of Hamas, said one of the Wagner fighters in an interview with the Russian news agency Eurasian News (EAN). The news outlet did not disclose the mercenary’s name and callsign for his safety. “We have good work…
posted 4d ago via uawire.org
 

Putin’s Wagner mercenary group involved in ‘training Hamas terrorists’ (Image: Getty)Wagner – famously used to support Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine – allegedly taught assault tactics and use of kamikaze drones during the summer months.The claims came from Ukraine’s national resistance centre after being passed intelligence by Russian and Belarusian…
posted 4d ago via express.co.uk
 

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-bek Yevkurov and retired colonel Andrei Trochev (left to right) in Moscow on September 28, 2023. MIKHAIL METZEL / AP It is not often that Vladimir Putin is forced to repeat himself – even more so publicly. But that is exactly what the…
posted 4d ago via lemonde.fr
 

Elements of the Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner are alleged to have participated in the training of Hamas militants, the Ukrainian Center of National Resistance (CNR) reports. “The Center of National Resistance thanks the Belarusian underground for the information about the enemy,” its message reads. According to the CNR, the primary…
posted 4d ago via kyivpost.com
 

On October 13, in Bishkek, Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced his thoughts about Hamas’s attack and the Israeli retaliation operation in the Gaza Strip. He recognized the right of Israel to self-defense but characterized Israeli methods as cruel, comparing them with the Nazi siege of Leningrad during World War II. He also warned that a ground…
posted 4d ago via fpif.org
 

Some of the fighters of the Wagner private military company were preparing Hamas for an attack on Israel, the National Resistance Center (NRC) reported. Russians who left Belarus for African countries were involved in training and sharing combat experience with terrorists. “The crucial areas of training of Hamas militants were assault exercises and…
posted 4d ago via ukrainianworldcongress.org
 

Vladimir Putin ha molto probabilmente trovato la soluzione per riorganizzare la compagnia militare privata Wagner che è tornata a combattere in Ucraina. Memore dell’errore fatto in passato quando concentrò tutto il potere nelle mani di Evgenij Prigozhin che ad un certo punto accecato dall’ambizione personale gli si rivoltò contro, Putin ha scelto per…
posted 4d ago via panorama.it
 

北京时间:2023-10-03 19:09 2023年10月1日,人们前往位于圣彼得堡波罗霍夫斯科耶公墓的瓦格纳头目普里戈津的墓地祭拜。(OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images) 【新唐人北京时间2023年10月03日讯】克里姆林宫上周发布了总统普京会见私人雇佣军瓦格纳的前指挥官特罗舍夫的视频,后者称号为“灰发”,被认为是瓦格纳已故头目普里戈津的“继任者”。然而,普京收回对瓦格纳的控制并不顺利,普里戈津的儿子就是障碍之一。 普京表示,特罗舍夫(Andrey Troshev)将监督和建立新的志愿战斗部队,主要在乌克兰执行战斗任务。 美国智库战争研究所(ISW)9月29日表示,普京在会见特罗舍夫时表示,他与前战友保持着关系,这进一步表明俄罗斯国防部“试图利用特罗舍夫与瓦格纳的关系”。…
posted 4d ago via cn.ntdtv.com
 

Staying informed on the happenings within the U.S. intelligence community is essential for anyone interested in national security, geopolitics, or global affairs. I offer 33 websites that will make it easy for you to keep up with the latest developments in this field. These websites are run by organizations such as the Central Intelligence Agency…
posted 4d ago via osintdaily.blogspot.com
 

In normal times domestic political fights over foreign policy breakdown more or less along a conventional left-right divide. These are not normal times. The right is largely united around the need to support Israel in its war with Hamas, but increasingly divided about backing Ukraine in its war with Russia. The left is largely united around the need…
posted 4d ago via news-herald.com
 

SaveIn the weeks after the 2020 election, a self-assured lawyer with a Southern drawl quickly climbed the ranks of the movement trying to keep President Trump in power: She aired outlandish assertions on Fox News and before cameras at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee, filed a battery of lawsuits pressing Trump’s case and took part…
posted 4d ago via washingtonpost.com
 

SaveASHKELON, Israel — A Hamas field manual obtained by The Washington Post and other documents found in the wake of the group’s brutal attack on Israel two weeks ago illustrate some of its military capabilities and preparations for close-in, bloody killing.The manual, dated last year and found on the body of a Hamas fighter, lists instructions on operating…
posted 4d ago via washingtonpost.com
 

Kyiv says Russia is looking to leverage the Israel-Hamas war to dampen support for Ukraine, while Moscow is calling it a failure of the West.
posted 4d ago via nytimes.com
 

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder gives a speech during an SPD party congress in Dortmund, western Germany, on June 25, 2017. – The SPD will sign off on its electoral program during the meeting. (Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN / AFP)Conflictul din Ucraina ar fi putut fi rezolvat încă din 2022 dacă ar fi îndeplinite o serie de condiții, spune…
posted 4d ago via flux24.ro
 

Published: 20:04 BST, 21 October 2023 | Updated: 03:37 BST, 22 October 2023 A Detroit synagogue president was found stabbed to death outside her home in the downtown area of the city on Saturday morning. Samantha Woll, 40, was head of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue since 2022, and was known for her work with several Democratic politicians…
posted 4d ago via dailymail.co.uk
 

Published: 20:09 BST, 21 October 2023 | Updated: 04:53 BST, 22 October 2023 A Hamas fugitive who ‘ran the group’s terrorist operations in the West Bank’ lives in a council property in a North London borough that is home to roughly a fifth of the UK’s Jewish community, a report has revealed.Muhammad Qassem Sawalha, 62, who served on Hamas’s ruling…
posted 4d ago via dailymail.co.uk
 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a highly anticipated meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum of International Cooperation on Wednesday, hailing their close relationship while celebrating the deepening political and economic ties between China and Russia. “The political mutual trust between the two countries…
posted 4d ago via voanews.com
 

But the 20-truck shipment of food, water and medical supplies is only a fraction of what is needed to head off a catastrophe, officials say.
posted 4d ago via nytimes.com
 

On October 18, 2023, relatives of Ukrainian Azov regiment war prisoners held a rally at St. Sophia Square in Kyiv calling for their quick exchange with Russian prisoners of war. Prisoner swaps between Ukraine and Russia are rare. While more than 2,500 Ukrainians have been released, up to 10,000 are believed to remain in Russian custody. Their fate is…
posted 4d ago via forbes.com
 

The prime minister brought about a situation in which all the options are bad.Ron Haviv / VII / ReduxOctober 21, 2023, 6:43 PM ETThis summer I spent several days in Israel talking with people who were afraid for their country’s future. They were not, at that moment, focused on terrorism, Gaza, or Hamas. They feared something different: the emergence…
posted 4d ago via theatlantic.com
 

Announcing on Wednesday that Israel had formed a unity government with the opposition, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference that “we put aside all differences to face an enemy worse than ISIS.”The war cabinet includes the PM, along with his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, both from the right-wing Likud Party, as well as leader of the National…
posted 4d ago via gzeromedia.com
 

The terrorist attack in Israel is a “gift” for Russia, who will find America’s attention now divided and its resources potentially shifted away from Ukraine, in what could prove a critical point in the conflict, an expert told Fox News Digital. “This couldn’t have happened at a better time for Putin and at the worst time for Israel,” Rebekah Koffler,…
posted 4d ago via foxnews.com
 

Haaretz | Israel NewsAnalysis | The Israeli army intends to launch a Gaza ground operation but faces questions over its possibilities of success and Biden administration constraints, sparking a debate in Netanyahu’s cabinet. The IDF’s top brass sense they have a one-time pass to kill and be killed, to restore any previous normalcyAmos HarelOct 22, 2023…
posted 4d ago via haaretz.com
 

Haaretz | Israel NewsAnalysis | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now counting on fatigue and public despair to help him stay in office, but he can’t be trusted to manage a war and it won’t save him from an enduring legacy of failure. When the war is over, whether in three weeks or three months, all political hell will break looseAlon PinkasOct 22,…
posted 4d ago via haaretz.com
 

Kyiv says Russia is looking to leverage the Israel-Hamas war to dampen support for Ukraine, while Moscow is calling it a failure of the West.
posted 5d ago via nytimes.com
 

cairo —  Egypt and Jordan harshly criticized Israel over its actions in Gaza during a summit on Saturday, a sign that the two Western allies that made peace with Israel decades ago are losing patience with its 2-week-old war against Hamas. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who hosted the summit, again rejected any talk of sending Gaza’s…
posted 5d ago via voanews.com
 

On October 7, the world as we know it changed. In the early hours of the morning, hundreds of armed Hamas operatives broke into Israel, launching a surprise attack on the IDF headquarters in the South of Israel in order to neutralize resistance for several hours. They set out to perform premeditated and meticulously planned crimes against humanity,…
posted 5d ago via jpost.com
 

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, has commented on a recent statement by US President Joe Biden which drew parallels between Putin and Hamas. Peskov, speaking at a briefing for journalists on Oct. 20, stated that the Kremlin does not accept such a tone in relation to the Russian president, stressing that the current…
posted 5d ago via kyivpost.com
 

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., broke down in a fit of rage Friday aimed at President Biden and Democrat leadership over their support for Israel amid the war with Hamas.Her angry comments came during a press conference held outside the U.S. Capitol alongside a few fellow members of the far-left “Squad” calling for a ceasefire in the war.”How is it that we…
posted 5d ago via foxnews.com
 

STANFORD, California, Oct 17 (Reuters) – The Five Eyes countries’ intelligence chiefs came together on Tuesday to accuse China of intellectual property theft and using artificial intelligence for hacking and spying against the nations, in a rare joint statement by the allies.The officials from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand…
posted 5d ago via reuters.com
 

The chiefs of the FBI and Britain’s MI5 have raised concerns about the enormous and terrifying potential artificial intelligence poses for terrorists, saying the technology adds “a level of threat to that we haven’t previously encountered.””It’s one of those issues where no one has a monopoly of wisdom and trying to have a different form of public-private…
posted 5d ago via news.yahoo.com
 

Critics of the Covid lockdowns were treated to a barrage of ill-founded abuse. Worrying about the economy was said to be “selfish”, as if the country no longer needed to pay its bills. Disputing the efficacy of particular measures would lead to accusations that you wanted thousands to die. The public was subjected to a campaign of fear to promote…
posted 5d ago via telegraph.co.uk
 

Бывшего министра юстиции Казахстана задержали по подозрению в злоупотреблении должностными полномочиями. Как передает Report со ссылкой на местные СМИ, об этом сказано в сообщении Антикоррупционной службы. “Антикоррупционной службой в целях исполнения поручения главы государства по поиску и возврату незаконно выведенных активов, задержан экс-министр…
posted 5d ago via report.az
 

A demonstrator holds a portrait of Mahsa Amini at a protest rally following her death. Mahsa Amini and the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement in Iran that was triggered by her death were awarded this year’s Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament’s top rights award, the second honor bestowed upon Iranian women this month for their…
posted 5d ago via rferl.org
 
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