The opening of the Rafah border crossing, allowing hundreds of foreign passport holders and wounded Palestinians to leave Gaza, followed weeks of talks among Egypt, Israel, the U.S. and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas.
The Palestinian death toll in the Israel-Hamas war has reached 9,061, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. In the occupied West Bank, more than 130 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, most of them in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that started the fighting, and around 240 hostages were taken from Israel into Gaza by the militant group.
Here’s what is happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
A 4TH ROMANIAN-ISRAELI CITIZEN IS AMONG THOSE HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS, FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS
BUCHAREST, Romania — A fourth dual Romanian-Israeli citizen is among those currently held captive in the Gaza Strip, according to Romania's foreign ministry.
The ministry previously said three dual citizens were being held hostage by Hamas militants in Gaza, but updated that number to four on Thursday.
Since Hamas launched its attack on Israel on Oct. 7, at least five Romanian citizens, all of whom resided in Israel and held dual Israeli citizenship, have been confirmed dead.
74 AMERICANS EVACUATED FROM THE GAZA STRIP ON THURSDAY
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that 74 Americans with dual citizenship have been evacuated from the Gaza Strip.
“We got out today 74 American folks out that are dual citizens,” Biden said, calling the update “good news.”
His remarks came during a meeting with the president of the Dominican Republic in the Oval Office.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the 74 Americans who left Gaza on Thursday came on top of the five Americans who left on Wednesday.
“I want to stress that these numbers are changing in real time.”
He said the White House hopes the flow of evacuations continues “at a similar pace, if not better than what we’ve seen,” and he cautioned that it’s “a fluid situation.”
Kirby thanked Qatar and Egypt for their assistance with the arrangements.
UNWRA SAYS AIRSTRIKES DAMAGED 4 OF ITS SCHOOLS-TURNED-SHELTERS, REPORTEDLY KILLING 2 DOZEN PEOPLE
CAIRO — Philippe Lazzarini, General Secretary of UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, said four of its schools-turned-shelters were damaged by airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, reportedly killing at least 24 people.
In a statement, Lazzarini said the four facilities that were struck were in the Jabalia Refugee Camp, The Beach Refugee Camp, and two in the Al Bureij Refugee Camp. He said 20 people were reported to have been killed in the strike on the school in Jabalia.
“How much more grief and suffering?” Lazzarini said. “A humanitarian cease-fire is overdue for the sake of humanity.”
HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT ATTACKED 19 ISRAELI MILITARY POSTS THURSDAY ALONG THE LEBANON-ISRAEL BORDER
BEIRUT — Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says its fighters carried out a simultaneous attack Thursday against 19 Israeli military posts along the tense Lebanon-Israel border.
It said the attacks in which mortar fire and antitank missiles were used coincided with the two suicide drones that Hezbollah targeted an Israeli post in the disputed Chebaa Farms area with.
The Israeli military later said warplanes and helicopter gunships retaliated by striking at Hezbollah’s command centers, arms depots and sites from where the rockets were fired.
HUNDREDS RALLY IN BUCHAREST IN SHOW OF SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
BUCHAREST, Romania — Around 200 people rallied in Romania’s capital on Thursday to pledge solidarity with Israel and the hostages being held by the Hamas militant group.
Held in central Bucharest, many attendees brandished placards depicting the faces of some of those kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7, while others waved Israeli flags that read: “We stand with Israel.”
Israel’s ambassador to Romania, Reuven Azar, told the crowd that, “We are standing today here in solidarity with all the hostages” and referred to Hamas as a “force of barbarism.”
“They infiltrated our cities, they decapitated our people, our babies — they burned them alive,” he said. “They are the new ISIS, and ISIS must be eradicated, Hamas must be eradicated because Hamas is a threat to the entire world.”
Three dual Romanian-Israeli citizens are among those held captive in the Gaza Strip, according to Romania’s foreign ministry.
Since Hamas launched its attack on Israel nearly a month ago, at least five Romanian citizens, all of whom resided in Israel and held dual Israeli citizenship, have been confirmed dead.
22 CROATIAN CITIZENS HAVE LEFT GAZA AFTER PASSING THROUGH RAFAH CROSSING
ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia’s state HRT television says 22 Croatian citizens have successfully left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing into Egypt.
The report on Thursday said 23 people initially applied to cross but one woman decided to stay after all. Those who crossed are undergoing medical checkups and will be transferred to Croatia soon.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said earlier there were 47 Croatian citizens in Gaza, but not all wanted to leave.
NETANYAHU SAYS ISRAEL HAS NOT GIVEN APPROVAL FOR FUEL SHIPMENTS DESPITE COMMENTS FROM ISRAELI ARMY
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has not given approval for fuel shipments into the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu made the comments after Israel’s military chief said the army could agree to fuel shipments — if there are guarantees that they go only to hospitals and do not reach Hamas.
Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Netanyahu said there has been no decision on fuel imports.
“We are assisting with humanitarian aid, including food, medicine and water — that exists. There has been no decision on fuel.”
The United Nations and Gazan hospitals have warned that fuel supplies are quickly dwindling, threatening medical and humanitarian operations in the besieged area.
Israel has been conducting a fierce offensive in Gaza since a bloody, cross-border attack by Hamas militants on Oct. 7.
HAMAS SAYS IT FIRED 12 ROCKETS FROM LEBANON TOWARD NORTH ISRAELI TOWN
BEIRUT — The military wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas says it fired 12 rockets from Lebanon toward the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona.
The Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Thursday’s rocket attack came in retaliation for the “occupation’s massacres against our people in Gaza.”
It was not immediately clear if the rockets fired from Lebanon hit the northern Israeli town.
The firing of the rockets came amid major escalation along the Lebanon-Israel border with Hezbollah attacking an Israeli army position with two suicide drones.
By sunset, Israel’s air force conducted airstrikes along the border area.
FUEL WOULD BE ALLOWED INTO GAZA ONLY WITH ASSURANCES IT WOULDN’T BE DIVERTED TO HAMAS, ISRAELI MILITARY CHIEF SAYS
JERUSALEM — Israel’s military chief says that Israel is willing to allow fuel shipments into the Gaza Strip — if there are assurances the fuel is not diverted to Hamas for military use.
Israel has barred all fuel shipments from entering Gaza since the war against Hamas erupted on Oct. 7. It says that Hamas is hoarding fuel and diverting it for military use. But many of the strip’s hospitals say they have been forced to limit or halt operations because of a lack of fuel for their generators.
Speaking to reporters, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said that Israel is closely monitoring the fuel situation in Gaza and believes the hospitals still have enough to operate. He said when Israel is convinced that fuel has truly run out, it would be willing to allow in new supplies.
“We will see when that day comes and fuel will be delivered with supervision to the hospitals,” he said. “We will do everything so that it does not reach the Hamas infrastructure,” he added.
Halevi did not say when the fuel shipments might start.
HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT ATTACKED AN ISRAELI POST IN DISPUTED AREA USING SUICIDE DRONES
BEIRUT — Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says it has attacked an Israeli army post in a disputed area with two suicide drones filled with explosives.
Hezbollah said in a short statement that the drones “precisely” hit their targets Thursday in the disputed Chebaa Farms that Lebanon claims are Lebanese territories.
It was the first time that Hezbollah says it attacked Israeli forces using suicide drones.
Since the Israel-Hamas broke out on Oct. 7, Hezbollah has been attacking Israeli posts along the two countries border.
The drone attack is an escalation by the militant group and comes a day before Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to give his first televised speech since Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing over 1,400 Israeli troops and civilians.
The Palestinian death toll has reached more than 9,000, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.
ISRAELI PRESIDENT MEETS WITH FOREIGN AMBASSADORS TO DISCUSS PLIGHT OF THOSE KILLED OR KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS
JERUSALEM — President Isaac Herzog of Israel met Thursday with ambassadors from countries whose citizens were killed and kidnapped by Hamas in the militant group’s brutal cross-border attack Oct. 7.
The meeting with ambassadors from Thailand, Nepal, the Philippines and Tanzania dealt with the plight of foreign workers killed and kidnapped in the attack. Many worked low-wage jobs in Israeli communities near the Gaza border as farmworkers and caregivers, or were students participating in programs to learn agricultural techniques.
“We are suffering a lot,” said Thai ambassador Pannabha Chandraramya, whose country saw 29 citizens killed by Hamas and 24 taken hostage. “The news about Israel is every day in the Thai media and we are concerned about the well-being of the Thai people who are still living here and working here in Israel,” she said.
Hamas also killed four Filipino caregivers and 10 Nepali students studying agriculture, according to the ambassadors. At least two Tanzanian agriculture students, two Nepalese citizens and two Filipino citizens were taken hostage.
Herzog vowed that Israel would “work tirelessly” to bring the hostages home.
Of the 240 hostages identified by the Israeli government, just over half have foreign passports, according to a preliminary analysis done by the Israeli government. It is unclear how many have dual citizenship and how many are foreign nationals.
UK FOREIGN SECRETARY SAYS IT'S ‘VERY DIFFICULT’ TO ACHIEVE PAUSE IN FIGHTING
BLETCHLEY PARK, England — U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly says it is proving very difficult to bring about a pause in the Israel-Hamas war to allow humanitarian aid to reach people in Gaza.
Cleverly said that “pretty much the whole world has been agreed that we need to get increased volumes of humanitarian aid into Gaza.”
“We, the U.S., voices all over the world have been pushing for, you know, these humanitarian pauses — temporary, localized, specifically for humanitarian purposes. They’ve proven to be very, very difficult to achieve,” he told reporters at an AI Safety Summit in England.
Cleverly, who has made several trips to the Middle East since the war began, said “we will keep pushing to get those humanitarian pauses … for as long as it takes.”
He said the U.K. position remains that “calls for a broad cease-fire are premature.”