Israel Latest: US Warplanes Strike Syrian Facility Used by Iran

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(Bloomberg) — US fighters fired upon a weapons depot in Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, adding that the “self-defense strike” was in retaliation for attacks on American forces in Iraq and Syria.

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Israel said about 50,000 Palestinians fled to southern Gaza as the army pushed deeper into Hamas strongholds in the north of the territory. The Israeli military said it’s been enacting limited pauses in the offensive in some parts of Gaza to allow people to escape.

For more stories on the Israel-Hamas war, click here.

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

Hapoalim Sees Covid-Like Economic Contraction This Quarter (9:58 a.m.)

Israel’s economy is set for a slump this quarter that might be comparable to the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, even as household expectations suggest “the crisis will not be prolonged” and spending by consumers has picked up slightly, according to Bank Hapoalim.

“We believe that in the fourth quarter of the year there will be a sharp decline in economic activity on the order of magnitude that we saw during Covid,” analysts at Bank Hapoalim’s financial division said in a report.

Israeli Army Takes Over Hamas Outpost in Jebaliya (8:33 a.m.)

Israel’s army says it had taken over a Hamas outpost in western Jebaliya, the group’s military stronghold north of Gaza City.

The Israel Defense Forces said on social media platform X that the operation uncovered tunnel shafts — including one located next to a kindergarten — leading to an extensive underground route.

“The soldiers completed the takeover after 10 hours of fighting, during which they eliminated terrorists, captured weapons, and collected significant operative materials about the enemy’s operational plans,” the IDF said in a post.

UN Says About 50,000 People Evacuated to Southern Gaza (7:32 a.m.)

The UN agency for humanitarian affairs said about 50,000 more people were evacuated to the south of Gaza through a “corridor” opened by the Israeli military on Wednesday.

Hundreds of thousands of people, including internally displaced persons, are still in the north of the strip, the agency added.

Shelters are overwhelmed by the number of internally displaced persons and the daily volume of aid only “meets a fraction of people’s needs,” as the drinking water which enters Gaza is only sufficient for 4% of its residents, it said.

Turkish Municipality Cancels Israel Contract Over Gaza (6:38 a.m.)

A province in northern Turkey canceled a $150 million contract with Israel’s Eco Wave Power over the country’s “brutal attacks,” Mayor Hilmi Guler said in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The contract to generate electricity from tidal energy was scrapped on Oct. 17, he said, adding that he was announcing it to the public due to unspecified allegations about the municipality.

Turkey and Israel restored diplomatic ties last year but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since angered Israel by criticizing its operation in Gaza and describing Hamas as a “liberation group.” Israel says its invasion of Gaza is aimed at destroying Hamas, which is designated a terrorist group by the US and EU.

Clinton Says Israelis and Palestinians Need New Leadership for Peace (6:42 a.m.)

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said both Israel and the Palestinians need new leadership in order to have a chance of achieving a peace deal once the current war in the Gaza Strip ends.

“You have to create the environment in which there is a chance to revitalize the peace process,” Clinton said in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Thursday.

Pressed on whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be a partner for a two-state solution, Clinton said, “I don’t think there’s any evidence of that. I think the Israeli people will have to decide about his leadership.”

Israel Combat Engineers Uncover Tunnels (5:40 a.m.)

The Israel Defense Forces said its combat engineers have uncovered 130 tunnel entrances since the war began. In a post on social media platform X, the IDF said that water and oxygen storage discovered inside the tunnels suggest Hamas was preparing for extended stays underground.

Israel, Hamas, Discuss Hostage Release for Pause, NYT Reports (2 a.m.)

Israel and Hamas have been negotiating for the release of as many as 15 hostages in exchange for a brief suspension in the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said that CIA Director William Burns had been helping with the talks. The pause would last three days and give time for shipments of humanitarian aid to reach the strip, according to the Times report.

US Fighters Hit Target in Syria (1 a.m.)

The US military carried out the “self-defense strike” on an installation in eastern Syria that was used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to store weapons, Austin said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

He said that the attack by two F-15 warplanes was “a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria” by Iranian-backed forces. Austin added that President Joe Biden “has no higher priority than the safety of US personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.”

US Drone Shot Down Off Yemen Coast (1 a.m.)

An American MQ-9 military drone was shot down by Houthi militants off the coast of Yemen, a US official said Wednesday evening. The official did not provide additional details. The Houthis, a clan from Yemen’s northwest whose uprising against the government in 2014 triggered a civil war, are supported by Iran.

They launched missiles and drones toward Israel on Oct. 19 and Oct. 31 and threatened further attacks unless Israeli forces end their campaign against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. Although Israel and Yemen are about 1,000 miles apart at their narrowest point, the involvement of the Houthis has raised concerns about that the Israel-Hamas conflict could spread.

Israeli Airstrikes in Syria Kill Hezbollah Fighters (11:30 p.m.)

Israel carried out airstrikes in the area around the Syrian capital Damascus, killing three Hezbollah fighters, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Israeli strikes also targeted air defenses in southern Syria, the group said.

Israel Says 50,000 Gazans Moved to South on Wednesday (9:00 p.m.)

About 50,000 Palestinians in Gaza moved on Wednesday from the north of the territory, where most Hamas fighters are based and the heaviest fighting is taking place, to the south, army spokesperson Daniel Hagari told reporters.

Israel is enacting limited pauses in its attacks to enable people to leave northern Gaza, and there’ll be another opportunity for them to do so on Thursday, said Hagari. Earlier, Netanyahu’s office said there have been “small tactical pauses” lasting an hour or so to allow aid to be brought in.

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