The body of one of the approximately 240 people kidnapped in Israel during the Oct. 7 Hamas rampage was recovered in a building near Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital, the Israeli military said Thursday.
Yehudit Weiss was abducted from the Be’eri kibbutz, Israel said on the platform X, when Hamas launched the brutal attack that killed about 1,200 people and provoked Israel’s reprisal seeking to dislodge the militant group from Gaza. No cause of Weiss’ death was given.
The Israel Defense Forces tweeted that Weiss’ cadaver was identified by forensic experts and her family was notified. In the same building her body was discovered, Israeli troops also found military equipment and weapons that included a shoulder-fired missile, the IDF said.
“The national mission before our eyes is to locate the missing and return the abducted home,” the IDF said, according to a translation of its tweet. “The IDF works closely and in full coordination with the relevant national and security bodies in order to meet these tasks, and will not let up until they are completed.”
Hamas at hospital:Israel says weapons on video ‘totally confirm’ Gaza hospital was Hamas fortress
∎ Laptops seized by Israeli troops during their raid of Gaza’s Shifa Hospital included photos and videos of some of the more than 240 hostages taken by militants, the Israeli military told a BBC News crew provided access to the hospital.
∎ Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government isn’t functioning and urged him to resign: “Netanyahu needs to go now during the fighting.”
∎ Israel seized control of the Gaza harbor from Hamas, which had used it as a training facility for naval commando forces, the Israeli military said. Ten tunnel shafts and four structures “used for terror” were destroyed and 10 militants were killed, the military said.
Israel to show UN ‘horrors’ of Oct. 7 rampage
Israel will play footage from the Hamas rampage into Israel for U.N. envoys in New York next week as the isolated Middle East country attempts to rally support for its war in Gaza.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan said Thursday that he has invited ambassadors, U.N. officials and representatives of the Jewish community in New York to view the “horrors of the massacre” committed by Hamas.
“The U.N. has not yet condemned Hamas,” Erdan said in a statement. “I hope that, following the screening of the film, some of the ambassadors and U.N. officials will understand what moral distortion they are complicit in.”
Erdan said Mosab Hasan Yosef, the disowned eldest son of a Hamas co-founder, will also address the gathering. Yosef, a Palestinian, worked undercover for Israel’s internal security service for a decade and has frequently spoken out against the militant group.
Israel has faced severe global scrutiny for its assault on Gaza, which the U.N. says has forced internal displacement of more than 1.5 million Palestinians. They remain trapped in a 140-square mile territory where much of the infrastructure has been bombed into submission since Israel began its offensive right after the brutal Oct. 7 attack by Hamas ravaged Israeli border communities and stunned the world.
Israel says more than 1,200 were killed that day and 240 taken hostage by militants. The Gaza Health Ministry says more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since.
All communications across the Gaza Strip shut down Thursday because of a lack of fuel, the Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel announced.
“Dear people in our beloved homeland, we regret to announce a complete interruption of communications services (fixed, cellular and Internet) in the Gaza Strip,” Paltel said on social media. The company said it had been unable to obtain fuel and that backup energy sources to operate the network had been exhausted.
Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the U.N. relief agency attempting to manage the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, confirmed the “total communication blackout” at a press conference in Geneva, the Times of Israel reported. Lazzarini has been warning for days that the entire aid mission would soon “grind to a halt” unless Israel eased its blockade and allowed more fuel into Gaza.
Suspect arrested in death of Jewish protester outside LA
A suspect in the death of a Jewish counter-protester was arrested Thursday in a Los Angeles suburb.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement it had detained Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter “for the death of Paul Kessler,” and his bail would be set at $1 million.
Alnaji, 50, teaches computer science at Moorpark College in Ventura County and has expressed support for the Palestinian cause on social media, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Kessler, 69, was part of a group protesting a pro-Palestinian rally Nov. 5 in Thousand Oaks, a suburb northwest of Los Angeles, when the sides clashed. Kessler fell backward in a confrontation with a demonstrator and hit his head against the ground, causing a bloody injury. He died in a hospital several hours later.
Israel bombs home of Hamas political leader
Israeli jets bombed the Gaza home of Hamas political bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh, the Israeli military said. The military shared a video of fighter jets bombing the building, which Israel says was part of the Hamas military infrastructure and a meeting place for Hamas’ senior leaders to direct terrorist attacks against Israel. The fate of Haniyeh, one of the highest-ranking officials in Hamas, was not immediately revealed.
Many Palestinians who fled northern Gaza on orders from the Israeli military were being warned to evacuate parts of southern Gaza, a turn in the war threatening to aggravate the severe humanitarian crisis already unfolding in the embattled enclave. Residents and journalists said the Israeli military was dropping leaflets near the southern town of Khan Younis warning people to evacuate and that anyone found near Hamas militants was “putting his life in danger.” Similar leaflets were dropped across northern Gaza in the weeks prior to the start of Israel’s ground attack.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled the battering in northern Gaza have packed homes and U.N.-run shelters in the south.
Holocaust survivor says he was bullied off TikTok by antisemitism
An 88-year-old Holocaust survivor using TikTok to make sure a new generation does not forget says he’s being bullied off the social media platform by resurging antisemitism and Holocaust denial. Gidon Lev, a TikTok celebrity with nearly half a million followers, plans to deactivate his account after the flood of hateful comments and messages after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks made him fear for his safety. Lev, a retired dairy farmer who for years lived on the Gaza border, says he’s taking refuge from TikTok on Instagram.
“A survivor of the Holocaust had to leave Tiktok after the worst massacre against the Jews since the Holocaust. Imagine that,” his partner Julie Gray told USA TODAY. Read more here.
− Jessica Guynn
UAE to build desperately needed water plants in Gaza
The United Arab Emirates announced plans to build three desalination plants in the Gaza Strip. The resulting 600,000 gallons of water daily could provide for about 300,000, the UAE Defense Ministry said, but did not say when the plants would come online.
The announcement came the same day the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics issued a report warning that Gaza faces a severe water crisis. Israeli bombings have left much of Gaza’s infrastructure, including the water system, in ruin. The bureau said 55% of Gaza’s water supply systems are in urgent need of repair.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and other senior Biden-Harris administration officials met Wednesday with national Muslim, Arab, and Sikh organization leaders to discuss efforts to counter the uptick in instances of Islamophobia, antisemitism and hate-fueled threats in schools and on college campuses. Earlier this month, the White House announced that the Biden-Harris administration will develop the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia.
Contributing: The Associated Press