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Israel-Hamas war: US working to extend Gaza ceasefire – Joe Biden

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Israel-Hamas war: US working to extend Gaza ceasefire – Joe Biden



US President Joe Biden pledged to work to prevent the immediate resumption of the Gaza war as he welcomed the completion of the third phase of the Gaza hostage deal by which 40 Israelis, one Filipino and 17 Thai citizens have been freed.

“We’ll work to extend the deal,” Biden told reporters during a brief press conference in Nantucket.

“This deal is structured so it can be extended to keep building on these results. That is my goal, that is our goal, this pause going beyond tomorrow so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief into Gaza,” he said.

“This is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour approach,” he said.

Avigail Idan, 3. (credit: COURTESY OF THE FAMILY)

Extending the ceasefire agreement

Biden spoke about the deal which included a four-day pause in the Gaza War that began at 10 a.m. Friday was scheduled to end on Tuesday morning after the final release of what could at least 10 or 11 Israeli captives.

They are among the over 239 captives Hamas seized during its October infiltration into southern Israel when it also killed over 1,200 people.

Israel launched a military campaign after the attack to oust Hamas from Gaza, but paused those efforts to focus on a hostage release deal, which could be extended beyond its original four days. The pause can be extended an additional 24 hours for every ten hostages that are freed.

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Israel in exchange agreed that for every hostage released, it would free three jailed Palestinian women and minors, held on security-related offenses.

Some 78 Palestinian prisoners were freed in the first two days and an additional 39 were expected to be released on Sunday.

During the pause, some 200 trucks of humanitarian aid a day have entered Gaza through Rafah.

Biden, who was instrumental in the creation of the deal together with Egyptian and Qatari mediators, told reporters he was looking for a way to extend the pause.

US citizens held in Gaza

Some nine US citizens are believed to be held in Gaza.

“For weeks I have been advocating a pause in the [Gaza] fighting to increase assistance for Gaza civilians and to facilitate the release of the hostages,” he said.

“Thousands have been killed and from the earliest days of the crisis,” he said, he has been working with Egypt and Jordan to help innocent Palestinian civilians.

“We worked urgently to take advance of the pause to surge aid into Gaza” including fuel, food, water, medicine and cooking gas.

“More is needed but this deal is delivering life-saving results,” he said.

Biden pledged to continue working with Qatar, Egypt and Israel to ensure that all the hostages are released.

In the future, he said, Hard and necessary steps are needed to build an integrated future for the region that includes a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I would like to see the pause go on as long as prisoners are going out,” he said.

“All the players in the region are looking for a way to end this so the hostages are released and Hamas is no longer in control of any portion of Gaza,” Biden said.

He also spoke about the release Sunday of Avigail Idan, four, who holds Israeli-American citizenship.“Today she is free,” he said.

“She has been through a terrible trauma. Her mom was killed in front of her when her Kibbutz was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

Avigail ran to her Dad, who was gunned down while using his body to shield little Avigail. She then ran to her neighbor for help, where they were all taken hostage by Hamas and held for 50 days.”

“What she endured is unthinkable,” he said.

“Thank God she is home. I wish I were there to hold her,” Biden said.





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Jewish diaspora expresses concern as Iranian drones launch toward Israel

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Jewish diaspora expresses concern as Iranian drones launch toward Israel



Jewish diaspora organizations expressed concern for Israel and increased their own security preparedness as Iran launched drones against Israel on Saturday night.

The Jewish Federation said it was comforted by IDF statements that the situation was under control and by the statements of support by the United States of America, but was watching “Iran’s launch of an attack on Israel with extreme concern.”

“We are monitoring the situation very closely and join in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Israel.”

Preparing for attacks in the diaspora

The Conference of European Rabbis said that Jewish communities in Europe were raising their level of preparedness, given the history of Iranian proxies attacking Jewish targets on the continent.

A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on October 4, 2023. (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

“We are closely monitoring the Iranian attack on Israel and its implications for the security of Jews in the diaspora,” said conference president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt. ‘We are in contact with all the leaders of the Jewish communities and security officials across the continent. I call on all Jews across Europe to remain vigilant in community institutions and to act responsibly in the public sphere.” 





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Dozens of Palestinians and Jews injured in West Bank altercations

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Dozens of Palestinians and Jews injured in West Bank altercations



The IDF said on Saturday night that dozens of Jews and Palestinians had been injured in altercations in the West Bank following the terrorist murder of 14-year-old shepherd, Binyamin Achimair.

Though he was murdered on Friday, his death was only confirmed Saturday afternoon, with the subsequent violence between Jewish extremists and Palestinians being declared the largest battles in the area not involving IDF forces since February 2023.

In February 2023, dozens or more of extremist Jews burned large swaths of Palestinian property in Huwara in the West Bank, injured a number of Palestinians, and killed at least one Palestinian.

The IDF said it had significantly beefed up its forces in the area to try to maintain order, but it appeared to be on a significant delay from after multiple rounds of attempts by Jewish extremists to take revenge on nearby Palestinians villages, though these extremists did not have any specific information about who might have committed the murder.

After February 2023, the IDF apologized for failing to react fast enough to protect Palestinians and had said it would preemptively beef up to be ready for future potential reactions by Jewish extremists to the killing of Jews in the West Bank by Palestinians.

Binyamin Achimair, Missing 14-year-old boy from Samaria, Police are requesting help in searching, April 12, 2024. (credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

One area attacked by Jewish extremists on Saturday was the Duma village, south of Nablus.

A mix of Israeli, Arab, and US media reported that Jewish extremists also attacked over Friday and Saturday al-Mughayyir, Deir Dibwan, and Beitin, east of Ramallah and the town of Sinjil, northeast of Ramallah.

Violence from both sides

There were also reports of Palestinian counterattacks.

It was unclear which reports involved live fire, which lower grade rock-throwing style violence and how much violence was committed by each side.

Reports did say that dozens of Palestinians’ cars or structures were set on fire by extremist Jews, with some reports of Palestinian deaths.

By Shin Bet statistics, most extremist Jews, though not all, involved in violence come from a specific list of West Bank settlements or outposts.





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Israeli drone shot down by Hezbollah was worth $10 million

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Israeli drone shot down by Hezbollah was worth $10 million



An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was shot down last Saturday by Hezbollah. The UAV was later revealed as an Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Kochav, valued at around $10 million. 

The Hermes 900 is Elbit’s largest drone and has been sold to the Israeli Air Force, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and according to foreign reports, Azerbaijan. The UAV is a relatively large and expensive drone capable of staying in the air for approximately 30 straight hours.

Hermes 900 UAV (credit: ELBIT SYSTEMS)

The IDF’s response to Hezbollah terror

Following the downing of the UAV, the IDF struck targets in Baalbek deep in Lebanon, on the border with Syria. Missiles were fired in the next morning towards the Golan Heights, and in the afternoon towards Kibbutz Manara and Moshav Margaliot.

Proceeding this, about a month and a half ago, the IDF announced that an Israeli Air Force UAV was shot down by Hezbollah in Lebanese territory. In response, the IDF struck targets of the terrorist organization in the Baalbek area in Lebanon for the first time since the Second Lebanon War. Baalbek is approximately 100 km. north of the border and is the northernmost target that the IDF has struck since the beginning of the war.





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