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Prepare to deploy, US troops told; Biden to visit Israel on Wednesday

Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes that have killed more than 3,000 Palestinians, a quarter of them children, and driven around half of the 2.3 million Gazans from their homes

Volunteers wait next to a convoy of trucks carrying aid from Egyptian NGOs for Palestinians at the Rafah crossing	photo: reuters

Volunteers wait next to a convoy of trucks carrying aid from Egyptian NGOs for Palestinians at the Rafah crossing (photo: reuters)

Agencies
The Pentagon has reportedly sent a ‘prepare to deploy’ order to 2,000 marines and sailors it handpicked to support Israel in war against Hamas. The United States also sent its top General to Israel, a day before President Joe Biden’s planned visit. The US show of military prowess comes amid reports that Israel will invade Gaza.

US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday to show support for its war on Hamas after Washington said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to let humanitarian aid reach besieged Gazans.

Israel has vowed to annihilate the Hamas movement that controls Gaza after Hamas gunmen killed 1,300 people, mainly civilians, during a rampage through southern Israeli towns on October 7 — the deadliest single day in Israel’s 75-year history.

Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes that have killed more than 3,000 Palestinians, a quarter of them children, and driven around half of the 2.3 million Gazans from their homes. It has imposed a total blockade on the enclave, halting food, fuel and medical supplies, which are rapidly running out.

A top Hamas leader said on Monday the group “has what it needs” to free all Palestinians in Israel’s jails, indicating the militant group may try to use the Israelis it kidnapped as bargaining chips to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Soon after Hamas official Khaled Meshaal made the remarks on the captives, who include Israelis and non-Israelis kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, the group’s armed wing separately said the non-Israelis were “guests” who would be released “when circumstances allow”.

Scores of trucks carrying vital supplies for Gaza headed towards the Rafah crossing in Egypt on Tuesday, the only access point to the coastal enclave outside Israel's control, but there was no clear indication that they would be able to enter.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Biden’s planned visit at the end of hours of talks with Netanyahu, in which he said Netanyahu had agreed to develop a plan to get humanitarian aid to Gaza civilians. He gave no details. Biden will “hear from Israel what it needs to defend its people,” Blinken said. He will also hear how Israel will carry out operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and lets humanitarian aid into Gaza to help civilians “in a way that does not benefit Hamas”.

Israel’s national security adviser predicted on Tuesday that the United States would get "involved" if the Gaza war escalated to the point where Iran and Hezbollah joined in on behalf of Hamas.

In a televised briefing, Tzachi Hanegbi noted expressions of support by US President Joe Biden, which included US naval deployments in the Mediterranean and a public warning to the Lebanese group and to Tehran to stay out of the fighting.
 
Hamas releases 1st video of hostage taken to Gaza

Israel says Hamas fighters captured 199 hostages during their rampage. Hamas said foreigners among the captives were its “guests” and would be released “when circumstances allow”, while making clear it aims to swap Israeli captives for thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails. It released a video on Monday in which a French-Israeli woman captive was shown having an injured arm treated by a medic worker. She identified herself as 21-year-old Mia Schem and asked to be returned to her family as quickly as possible.

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euters
US senator accuses Meta, X of  spreading fake news

US Senator Michael Bennet on Tuesday sought information on how tech giants Meta, X, TikTok and Google were trying to stop the spread of false and misleading content about the Israel-Hamas conflict on their platforms. "Deceptive content has ricocheted across social media sites since the conflict began, sometimes receiving millions of views," Bennet, a Democrat, said in the letter addressed to the company chiefs. Visuals from older conflicts, video game footage, and altered documents are among misleading content that has flooded social media platforms.

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euters
Israel approaches Musk’s Starlink

Israel is in talks with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to set up a Starlink satellite network to bolster wartime communications. Authorities are working to allow civilians to exit Gaza through a crossing with Egypt. Iran-backed Hezbollah said it launched attacks against several Israeli targets near the border with Lebanon. The Israeli military said it shelled Hezbollah positions and reported gunfire at army posts. Israel said the network would allow Israeli towns near the frontlines to have continuous internet service.  

Bloomberg








 

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First Published: Oct 17 2023 | 11:18 PM IST

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