Israeli military recovers three bodies of hostages captured by Hamas in Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that it has mistakenly killed three hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza City.

“During combat in Shejaiya, the IDF mistakenly identified three Israeli hostages as a threat. As a result, the troops fired toward them and they were killed,” the IDF said in a statement.

“During searches and checks in the area in which the incident occurred, a suspicion arose over the identities of the deceased,” the IDF continued. “Their bodies were transferred to Israeli territory for examination, after which it was confirmed that they were three Israeli hostages.”

Two of the three hostages were identified as Yotam Haim, 28 and Samer Talalka, 22. Israel’s military said the third hostage, whose family has been notified, “requested that his name will not be broadcasted.”

“The IDF expresses deep remorse over the tragic incident and sends the families its heartfelt condolences,” the IDF also said. “Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home.”

Another shipping company is considering pausing Red Sea operations after Friday attack

A spokesperson from the German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd said Friday that it may follow in Maersk’s footsteps and pause all of its shipping operations in the Red Sea, according to Sky News.

The decision reportedly is being considered after one of Hapag-Lloyd’s ships, the Al Jasrah, caught fire Friday in the Red Sea after being hit by a projectile launched from rebel-controlled Yemen, a U.S. defense official and a private intelligence firm told the Associated Press.

“Hapag-Lloyd will take additional measures to secure the safety of our crews,” the company said in a statement earlier.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rockets fired from Gaza Strip toward Israel

Images captured Friday show a fresh barrage of rockets being fired towards southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli military fighting around ruins of Hamas’ Gaza leader’s house

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that its troops and personnel from the Shin Bet intelligence agency are fighting Hamas in the neighborhood of Khan Younis where the terrorist’s groups Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar lived in recent years.

“In one of the battles, the fighters worked on the ruins of one of the houses in which he lived in recent years, which was attacked by air at the beginning of the war,” the IDF said.

“During the fighting, the fighters spotted a terrorist squad that came out of a tunnel shaft and aimed an RPG at them, killing them before they could fire at them,” the IDF added.

Maersk pausing all container shipments through Red Sea: report

Danish shipping company Maersk announced Friday that it is pausing all cargo shipments through the Red Sea following the targeting of one of its vessels yesterday by a missile, a report says.

“Following the near-miss incident involving Maersk Gibraltar yesterday and yet another attack on a container vessel today, we have instructed all Maersk vessels in the area bound to pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait to pause their journey until further notice,” the company told Reuters.

Maersk reportedly will instead send ships on a detour around Africa.

Earlier today, a U.S. defense official told the Associated Press that a ballistic missile fired from Yemen struck a Liberian-flagged cargo ship in the Red Sea near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

The official identified the vessel in that incident as the MSC Palatium III.

IDF says sirens are sounding in Jerusalem

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that sirens warning of incoming rocket fire are sounding off in Jerusalem.

“After 70 days of nonstop rocket fire throughout the country, as Shabbat comes in, sirens are sounding in Jerusalem,” it wrote in a post on X.

White House says Israel is opening Kerem Shalom border crossing for humanitarian aid into Gaza

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced Friday that he has been informed by Israel that it will “open its border crossing at Kerem Shalom for direct delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

The Kerem Shalom crossing is at the southern end of the Gaza Strip.

“We welcome this significant step. President Biden raised this issue in recent phone calls with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and it was an important topic of discussion during my visit to Israel over the past two days,” Sullivan said in a statement issued by the White House.

“The United States remains committed to expanding and sustaining the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” Sullivan added. “We will continue to work closely with Egypt and other partners on the delivery and distribution of humanitarian assistance through Rafah crossing, and we hope that this new opening will ease congestion and help facilitate the delivery of life-saving assistance to those who need it urgently in Gaza.”

Israel announces three more soldier deaths in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that three more of its soldiers have died during its war with Hamas inside the Gaza Strip.

It identified the troops as Sgt. First Class Shay Uriel Pizem, 23, Staff-Sgt.-Maj. Tomer Shlomo Myara, 28 and Sgt. Oz Shmuel Aradi, 19, according to The Jerusalem Post.

All three soldiers died in fighting in the southern Gaza Strip, The Jerusalem Post also reported.

IDF releases video of attack on Hamas ‘smuggling’ sites near Gaza-Egypt border

The Israel Defense Forces have released a video Friday appearing to show airstrikes being carried out against Hamas positions along the Gaza-Egypt border linked to the terrorist group’s “smuggling efforts.” 

“Fighter jets, helicopter gunships and remotely manned aircraft of the Air Force… this week destroyed military sites, guard posts, observation posts, weapons warehouses and command and control rooms of the general security mechanisms of Hamas located in the border area of the Gaza Strip and Egypt,” the IDF said. 

“The sites that were attacked in the Rafah area, where Hamas terrorists operated, aided the smuggling efforts led by Hamas and included weapons that endanger the IDF soldiers operating in the Strip and the citizens of Israel,” it continued. 

“Damage to these terrorist infrastructures harms the terrorist organization’s ability to smuggle more weapons into the Strip,” the IDF added.

Maersk disputes claim from Yemen’s Houthi rebels that cargo ship was struck

Danish shipping company Maersk on Friday is disputing a claim from the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen that one of its cargo ships was struck by a drone yesterday near the entrance of the Red Sea.

The Houthis said it executed a military operation on the Maersk ship and registered a direct hit with a drone, according to Reuters.

But a Maersk spokesperson told the news agency that the Maersk Gibraltar “was not hit.”

The company said yesterday that the ship was targeted by a missile near the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the entrance of the Red Sea while traveling from Oman to Saudi Arabia.

Sullivan: Israel has intent to avoid civilian deaths and ‘we want to see results match up to that’

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday that Israel is intending to avoid civilian casualties in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip but the U.S. wants to see the “results match up to that.”

Sullivan spoke at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and the country’s war cabinet.

Sullivan said “Israel selects targets and tries to distinguish between targets that hit Hamas and those that might take the lives of innocent civilians.”

“At the end of the day what we have consistently said is that Israel has the intent to make sure that it is drawing those distinctions clearly and in a sustainable way, and we want to see the results match up to that,” he added.

Sullivan said the topic is a conversation that he has had with Netanyahu today and yesterday. 

IDF foils Hamas ambush that used dolls, children’s backpacks and speakers playing crying noises

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday it has foiled a “Hamas terrorist ambush” attempt that used dolls, children’s backpacks and speakers playing sounds of crying in hopes of luring soldiers to a tunnel. 

“The ambush attempted to use dolls and children’s backpacks with speakers playing sounds of crying. These were placed intentionally near a tunnel shaft connecting to a large tunnel network,” the IDF said in a statement. 

“This network extends under other nearby civilian structures, including a school and a medical clinic. It also connects to a mosque containing a Hamas command center
equipped with cameras that were monitoring IDF troops,” the IDF continued. “The command center is connected to the medical clinic’s power supply.” 

The IDF added that “Hamas anti-tank and intelligence positions were also located in the area, along with an extensive network of explosives aimed at targeting IDF troops.” 

An image released by the IDF appeared to show some of the items recovered from the reported ambush attempt. 

US floats possible plan for postwar Gaza, who could govern after Israel eliminates Hamas

The United States is currently debating what a postwar Gaza Strip could look like, including who would govern the territory, should Israel be successful in its military objective to eliminate Hamas.

According to a senior U.S. official, the White House could consider reactivating Palestinian security forces to govern the Gaza Strip. Palestinian security forces previously governed in Gaza but were driven out by Hamas during its rise to power and eventual takeover of the territory.

The proposal, floated as one of several, was the first specific indicator of Washington’s vision for who could govern in Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war comes to an end. It is not clear to what extent the U.S. and Israel differ on the timetable and both sides have agreed fighting could continue for several more months.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met on Friday to discuss postwar arrangements for Gaza.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Missile fired from Yemen strikes second cargo ship in Red Sea, US official says

A U.S. defense official told the Associated Press Friday that a ballistic missile fired from rebel-held territory in Yemen struck a Liberian-flagged cargo ship in the Red Sea near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, where numerous incidents have unfolded in recent days. 

The official identified the vessel as the MSC Palatium III and said it remained unclear if anyone was hurt. The missile apparently was aimed at the Al Jasrah, which was set on fire by a projectile earlier Friday, the official said. Another missile launched in the salvo missed both ships. 

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen – who have claimed responsibility following other attacks on ships this week — did not immediately acknowledge either attack. 

The Al Jasrah is operated by German-based shipper Hapag-Lloyd, which said no crew member had been hurt in that attack. 

“Hapag-Lloyd will take additional measures to secure the safety of our crews,” the company said, without elaborating. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

IDF recovers bodies of 2 soldier hostages in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces
announced Friday that it has recovered the bodies of two 19-year-old Israeli soldiers that were taken captive by Hamas — Cpl. Nik Beizer and Sgt. Ron Sherman.

The bodies “have been recovered from Gaza during operational activity and returned to Israeli territory,” the IDF wrote in a post on X. “The IDF sends the families its heartfelt condolences and will continue to support them. Our national mission is to locate the missing and return all the hostages home.”

Beizer began his military service on April 30 and was working at a base near a Gaza border crossing on Oct. 7 as part of a unit that helps coordinate the flow of goods into the Palestinian enclave, The Times of Israel reports.

“That’s the irony,” his mother Katy Beizer said earlier, according to The Times of Israel. “Everyone at this base is taking care of the Palestinians, working so that Gazans can live their lives.”

The aunt of Sherman said he texted his mother that “he loves her” as his base came under attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, the newspaper also reported.

The announcement of the recovery comes after the IDF said Friday that the body of Elia Toledano, another Israeli hostage, was recovered by its Special Forces unit and brought back to Israel as well. 

UN, human rights, media groups rely on Hamas death toll in ‘systematic deception’: expert

Media outlets, humanitarian organizations and the United Nations continue to report and rely
heavily on death toll data shared by Hamas-run ministries in Gaza, even though they recognize that the figures are no longer reliable and are now only an “estimate,” as the Israeli military offensive to wipe out the Islamist terror group after its Oct. 7 massacre causes a chaotic and deepening humanitarian crisis in the territory. 

However, international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the official Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, as well as many mainstream news outlets around the world, continue to maintain that the sensitive and inflammatory data – which could easily be another element of Hamas’ war propaganda – can and should be considered reliable.

“Western leaders should be concerned about civilian casualties, of course, but they don’t account sufficiently for Hamas manipulating the numbers and using its people as human shields,” David Adesnik, a senior fellow and director of research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), told Fox News Digital. 

Nikki Haley says Biden’s foreign policy is ‘making the world less safe’

Former UN Ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley joined ‘Hannity’ Thursday night to discuss President Biden’s foreign policy decisions as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.

The 2024 presidential candidate said Iran is the reason terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthis exist, and encouraged the Biden administration to cut all funding to the country.

“This is about preventing war and Biden is failing on the job miserably and making the world less safe,” Haley said.

Sen. Cruz calls out VP Kamala Harris for alleged Palestinian sympathy push: ‘Undermining Israel’

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,
called out Vice President Kamala Harris for allegedly pushing President Biden and other administration officials to be more sympathetic toward Palestinians.

His comments come after Politico reported Thursday that Harris has recently been pushing those in the Biden administration, including Biden himself, to be more sympathetic toward Palestinians and show more concern for the damage in Gaza.

One person close to the vice president’s office told the outlet that the U.S. should start being “tougher” on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a statement to Fox News, Cruz said “Since day 1 Biden administration officials have been pathologically obsessed with undermining Israel. Unfortunately and infuriatingly, that obsession continues in the aftermath of Hamas’s atrocities on October 7. The costs for America and Israel’s national security are catastrophic.”

The source allegedly said that Harris has been “more forceful at seeking a long-term peace and two-state solution.”

Harris’ Press Secretary Kirsten Allen told the outlet “there is no daylight between the president and the vice president, nor has there been,” adding the vice president and Biden “have been clear: Israel has a right and responsibility to defend itself; humanitarian aid must be allowed to flow into Gaza; innocent civilians must be protected; and the United States remains committed to a two-state solution.”

Body of Israeli man taken hostage by Hamas recovered during operation in Gaza: IDF

The body of hostage Elia Toledano, 28, was recovered in Gaza and brought back to Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said Friday morning.

Toledano was present at the Nova music festival and was one of many taken hostage by Hamas terrorists during the group’s unprecedented attack in Israel on Oct. 7. His body was located by IDF Special Forces.

The force said it sends Toledano’s family “heartfelt condolences.”

“Our national mission is to locate the hostages and return all of them home. We are working together with security agencies, and with all intelligence and operational means in order to return all of the hostages home,” the IDF wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

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