Debris scatters amid an explosion during what the Israeli army says was an operation in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, in this screengrab taken from a video released on Dec/ 8, 2023. (Credit: Israel army/Handout via Reuters)


US vetoes UN Security Council resolution calling for immediate humanitarian cease-fire: Day 63 of Israel-Hamas war

What you need to know

The US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli military hostage has been killed during a rescue operation in Gaza, according to Hamas.

The bombing that killed Lebanese journalist Issam Abdallah in south Lebanon occurred “in a combat zone,” the Israeli army says.

Hezbollah has announced the death of another of its fighters, the 95th since the start of the conflict.

Israeli shelling has persisted throughout much of the day, all along Lebanon's southern border.

23:05 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage of Day 63 of the Hamas-Israel conflict.

We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis, right here at L'Orient Today.

22:56 Beirut Time

⚡️BREAKING: The United States has vetoed a UN Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, Reuters reports.

Reuters adds that the deputy US envoy to the UN said the draft UN resolution was divorced from reality and would "not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way."

22:46 Beirut Time

The World Food Programme (WFP) says it is becoming impossible to get supplies to hungry people in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reports.

"With law and order breaking down, any meaningful humanitarian operation is impossible," the WFP's Deputy Executive Director Carl Skau said in a statement after a visit to the Palestinian enclave today. More details here.

22:11 Beirut Time

The Biden administration has asked Congress to approve the sale of 45,000 shells for Israel's Merkava tanks for use in its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, Reuters reports, citing two sources: a US official and a former US official.

The news agency adds that the request comes as concerns grow over the use of US weapons in a conflict that has killed thousands of civilians. Click here for more.

22:02 Beirut Time

The Israeli army said this evening that two soldiers were "severely injured" during a hostage rescue operation overnight in the Gaza Strip, AFP reports. Hamas had earlier claimed a captive was killed in the attempt. More details here.

21:41 Beirut Time

At least 10 people have been killed and many others wounded after Israeli forces bombed a family home in southern Gaza's Khan Younis, Palestinian health officials tell Reuters.

20:58 Beirut Time

The UN Security Council vote to demand an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza is now due to take place at 3 p.m. in New York (8 p.m. GMT; 10 p.m. Beirut time), Reuters reports, citing diplomats.

Meanwhile, the White House says the US — which has indicated it will not vote in favor of an immediate cease-fire — is continuing to work with Israel on being cautious in their targeting in Gaza.

20:31 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has shelled an area close to the south Lebanon border, near the village of Alma al-Chaab, with four missiles, residents of the village tell L'Orient Today.

Israel has also bombarded the area around Naqoura, according to residents there, who report hearing three shells.

20:10 Beirut Time

The Hamas press office has issued a statement calling “on the Security Council, the international community and all countries around the world to end this brutal war and save the Gaza Strip before it is too late,” AFP reports.

19:54 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has announced the deaths of three more of its members: Hassan Ali Dakdouk, Ali Adris Salman, and Hussein Issam Taha. The party adds that the three are from the south Lebanon villages of Aita al-Chaab, Armata, and Mais al-Jabal, respectively. As is usual, Hezbollah did not specify the time or place of their deaths.

19:36 Beirut Time

Image: Emergency service members work at the site of Israeli shelling that hit a supermarket and a coffee shop in the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh near the border with Israel on Dec. 8, 2023. (Credit: Hassan Fneich/AFP)

19:11 Beirut Time

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to open a second "crossing point" between Israel and the Gaza Strip, at Kerem Shalom, to deliver "urgently needed" aid to Palestinian civilians.

In a telephone conversation, "the President of the Republic recalled the need to protect civilians in Gaza and stressed the importance of achieving a lasting cease-fire," the Elysée Palace reports.

19:10 Beirut Time

Jordan's foreign minister says that a failure of today's a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, would be giving a license to Israel to "continue with its massacre," Reuters reports.

19:07 Beirut Time

Hamas has urged UNESCO to protect historic buildings in the Gaza Strip, saying Israel's assault has left the Palestinian territory's oldest church, last hammam baths and treasured mosques in ruins. More details here.

Image: A view of the remains of a mosque destroyed by Israeli strikes, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the central Gaza Strip, Dec. 8, 2023. (Credit: Doaa Rouqa)

18:59 Beirut Time

The European Commission will provide an initial amount of 125 million euros ($134 million) in humanitarian aid for Palestinians in 2024, said the European Union's executive body has announced, Reuters reports. The Commission says the new funds will support humanitarian organizations in both Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Click here for more. 

18:48 Beirut Time

The inaction of the UN Security Council "makes it complicit in the slaughter" in Gaza, says Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Click here for more.

18:45 Beirut Time

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says it is absolutely necessary to "end fighting immediately" in Gaza, Reuters reports, adding that the minister has also called for an "immediate, significant, ramping up of humanitarian aid in Gaza."

18:39 Beirut Time

The US does not support calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the country's deputy envoy has told the UN, according to Reuters.

18:36 Beirut Time

⚡️ BREAKING: Belgium will submit a proposal to its European Union partners on Monday to ban entry into the Schengen area to Israeli settlers who have engaged in violence against Palestinians, Belgian authorities say, according to AFP.

18:32 Beirut Time

The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has called for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip to end the "decimation" of Palestinian lives, AFP reports.

Philippe Lazzarini urged all UN member states to "take immediate actions to implement an immediate humanitarian cease-fire," saying in a statement that "calling for an end to the decimation of the lives of Palestinians in Gaza is not a denial of the abhorrent attacks of 7 October in Israel."

18:29 Beirut Time

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tells Reuters an international peace conference is a necessity to end the war in Gaza and to work out a lasting political solution that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

"I am with peaceful resistance. I am for negotiations based on an international peace conference and under international auspices that would lead to a solution that will be protected by world powers to establish a sovereign Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem," Abbas said during an interview with the news agency at this office in Ramallah. More details here.

Image: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting with Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (not pictured), in Ramallah, Nov. 23, 2023. (Credit: Alaa Badarneh/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

17:54 Beirut Time

BREAKING: A Lebanese Army medical center in the south Lebanon border village of Ain Ibel has been hit by an Israeli strike, the army says in a statement. The army adds that the attack caused material damage, but no casualties have been recorded.

17:35 Beirut Time

An Israeli drone fired on a car in southwest Syria today, killing four people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a regional security source close to Damascus, Reuters reports. Click here for more.

17:28 Beirut Time

BREAKING: A few dozen demonstrators, mostly women and children, are holding a sit-in in front of the National Museum in Beirut in solidarity with Palestine, our journalist on the ground, Matthieu Karam, reports.

Image: Credit: João Sousa

17:25 Beirut Time

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says there is no effective protection of civilians in Gaza and that nowhere in Gaza is safe, according to Reuters. The UN chief's comments come hours before the UN Security Council is set to vote on a demand for a humanitarian cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war. 

17:23 Beirut Time

Hamas says Israel has bombed Gaza's medieval Omari Mosque, causing widespread destruction to the building, Reuters reports. More details here.

17:21 Beirut Time

A senior Hamas official has accused Israeli forces of carrying out a "heinous crime against innocent civilians" after images of Palestinian men stripped to their underwear in Gaza circulated on social media, Reuters reports. Izzat el-Reshiq, who is in exile abroad, urged international human rights organizations to intervene to show what happened to the men and help secure their release. Click here for more.

17:15 Beirut Time

The Israeli army is currently shelling areas adjacent to the south Lebanon border villages of Mais al-Jabal and Houla, a resident of Mais al-Jabal tells L'Orient Today.

The Israeli army is also shelling areas around the border villages of Naqoura and Dhayra, according to a security source.

17:10 Beirut Time

An 81-year-old woman was lightly injured when her house in the south Lebanon border village of Marwahin was hit by Israeli shelling today, a resident of the village tells L'Orient Today. Other members of her family were also in the house at the time but were not injured, the source says.

17:10 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has announced a second attack on the Israeli position of "Rweisat al-Alam" near the disputed areas of Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Shuba Heights. The group says this attack occurred at 3 p.m. It also announced that it targeted two Israeli positions facing the southern Lebanon villages of Houla and Ramish. Hezbollah added that it had "directly hit the target."

16:45 Beirut Time

A senior EU official says he expects the bloc to adopt further sanctions against Hamas in the coming weeks, Reuters reports.

"I'm pretty sure that the sanctions on Hamas will be adopted in the next couple of weeks, something like that," the news agency cites the official as saying, adding that he was speaking on condition of anonymity.

The EU today put two Hamas commanders on its terrorist list. 

16:43 Beirut Time

Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari says Israel has "successfully intercepted a suspicious aerial target that crossed from Lebanon into the territory of the state of Israel."

Earlier, Haaretz reported that sirens sounded in northern Israel.

Hagari adds that "a number of launches were detected a short time ago from Lebanese territory towards a number of [Israeli army] posts in the border area" and the army is attacking "with artillery the source of the shooting and other targets in Lebanese territory."

16:36 Beirut Time

BREAKING: Mohammad Deif, general commander of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas's military wing), and Marwan Issa, his deputy, have been added to the European Union's terrorist blacklist "in response to the attacks of Oct. 7," the Council of the European Union has said.

"This decision is part of the European Union's response to the threat posed by Hamas and its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. These sanctions are effective as of today," a press release from the EU body reads.

Image: Mohammad Deif has led the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades since 2002. (Credit: AFP)

16:33 Beirut Time

A UN Security Council vote on the demand for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza has been postponed until 5:30 p.m. New York time (22:30 GMT; 00:30 Beirut time), Reuters reports, citing diplomatic sources. 

16:29 Beirut Time

DEATH TOLL UPDATE: The Gaza Health Ministry says 17,487 people have been killed in Israeli strikes since Oct. 7, AFP reports.

16:27 Beirut Time

Southern Lebanon: Israel's artillery has been shelling the outskirts of the towns of Jibbain and Chihine, the area of Labouneh in Naqoura (Sour district) as well as the outskirts of Hebbarieh, Fradis and Shebaa (Hasbaya), security sources and residents tell our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

A park in the town of Maroun al-Ras (Bint Jbeil) has also been targeted by Israeli artillery.

Local residents, meanwhile, report that the outskirts of Majdal Selm and Wadi Saluki (Marjayoun district) have been bombed.

Lastly, two Patriot missiles have exploded over the al-Abad area, opposite the town of Houla (Marjayoun district).

16:24 Beirut Time

"There will be no Hamas; we will eliminate it. The mere fact that this is the proposal of the Palestinian Authority only reinforces my policy: the Palestinian Authority is not the solution," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remraked on X following comments by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh during an interview with Bloomberg.

Shtayyeh had remarked that he preferred that, at the end of the conflict, Hamas become a minor partner of the Palestine Liberation Organization and contribute to the construction of a new independent state including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

16:20 Beirut Time

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani today discussed their coordination on efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and the importance of preventing the conflict in Gaza from spreading, the US State Department says, according to Reuters.

"The secretary expressed appreciation for Qatar’s critical efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and the recent humanitarian pause in Gaza," the department said in a statement.

16:19 Beirut Time

Israel is bombing along the entire Lebanese southern border, from Naqoura in the western sector through the central sector to the eastern Kfar Shuba Heights, our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah reports.

16:18 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announces it hit an artillery position at the Khirbet Maar Israeli site at 3:15 p.m. ‏

16:16 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has fired artillery smoke shells to hide their sites, a security source tells our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

Meanwhile, more than 30 Israeli shells fell on the Labouneh forests, Wadi Hamoul and the outskirts of Naqoura within an hour, a security source told L'Orient Today.

A security source also told L'Orient Today that the Israeli site of "Radar" at the Kfar Shuba Heights and another site near the shore at Naqoura have been bombed.

15:52 Beirut Time

In south Lebanon, missiles have just been fired at three Israeli sites, a security source tells our correspondent, Muntasser Abdallah.

Meanwhile, seven Israeli shells have fallen on the outskirts of Labbouneh and Naqoura as well as in Wadi Hamoul (Sour district), according to the same source.

The outskirts of Kfar Shuba (Hasbaya) have also been shelled, according to local residents.

15:47 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has announced the deaths of two more of its soldiers who were wounded during fighting in northern Gaza.

Before this announcement, the Israeli army had counted 91 deaths in its ranks during combat in the enclave, AFP reports.

15:44 Beirut Time

Six Israeli shells have fallen on the outskirts of Halta (Hasbaya district), a resident tells our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

Meanwhile, security sources tell L'Orient Today that missiles have been fired at the Israeli al-Raheb site, opposite Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil district).

The same sources say that Israel has also targeted the outskirts of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil district) and Naqoura (Sour district).

15:39 Beirut Time

The Israeli army says it has intercepted a "suspicious target" above the Houla Valley in northern Israel, Haaretz reports. Earlier this afternoon, four Israeli shells fell between Houla and Markaba in south Lebanon, according to village residents cited by our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

15:34 Beirut Time

The Lebanese Army commander Joseph Aoun today visited soldiers injured in an Israeli strike on an army post in Odaisseh, southern Lebanon, on Tuesday.

Aoun praised the wounded soldiers "sacrifices in performing their mission" and wished them a speedy recovery.

On Tuesday, the Lebanese Army said that "an army military position in the ... Odaisseh area was bombarded by the Israeli enemy, leaving one soldier martyred and three others injured."

15:20 Beirut Time

Gaza's health system is on its knees and cannot afford to lose another ambulance or a single hospital bed more, the World Health Organization warns.

"The situation is getting more and more horrible by the day … beyond belief, literally," AFP reports the WHO's spokesperson Christian Lindmeier as telling a press briefing in Geneva. Click here for more.

14:34 Beirut Time

The Palestinian presidency called on all members of the UN Security Council to vote in favor of a resolution later today demanding an immediate cease-fire and the protection of civilians in Gaza, based on Article 99 of the UN Charter, reports the Palestinian agency Wafa.

The presidency stressed that the time had come to adopt this resolution to put an end to "the genocidal war inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupying forces in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank" and to rapidly deliver emergency humanitarian aid.

Following UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's invocation of Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time in his mandate, the Security Council is due to meet on Friday to discuss a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

14:09 Beirut Time

A boy stands next to a fence as displaced Palestinians who fled their homes due to Israeli strikes shelter at Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Dec. 8, 2023. (Credit: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

14:08 Beirut Time

Two Israeli shells have fallen on the outskirts of Khiam's plain and three others between Taybeh and Odaisseh (Marjayoun district), a security source told our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

14:07 Beirut Time

Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri dismissed claims that diplomats have spoken with him on behalf of Israel on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The resolution, which ended the July 2006, would see Hezbollah forced wot withdraw north of the Litani River while the Lebanese army and a multinational force deployed to the South. This has yet to be implemented.

With Israel's defense minister, Yoav Gallant, saying that Hezbollah would be forced to withdraw north of the Litani either by an "international political settlement or through military action," Berri pushed back, saying that Israel should be the one to withdraw from the South.

"I hope the [Israelis] implement [the resolution], withdraw from the Shebaa Farms, the Kfar Shouba Hills, the Ghajar village, and the 13 conflict points," Berri said.

Read the full story here.

13:38 Beirut Time

A spokesperson for Germany's foreign ministry says that there can be no lasting peace in the Middle East as long as Hamas is able to launch attacks from Gaza, Reuters reports.

The spokesperson added that Germany is continuing to advocate for "further cease-fires" and that Israel needs to take more care in avoiding civilian suffering and is required to abide by international law. 

13:07 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced in a press release that it had targeted the Israeli Misgav Am site at 12 p.m.

13:03 Beirut Time

One person was wounded in Rashaya al-Fokhar by shrapnel from an Israeli shell that fell in front of a house at the entrance to the village, a municipal policeman confirmed to our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

According to this source, the victim, Massoud Abdallah, was working in a garage inside the building. He was injured in the hand.

12:48 Beirut Time

Four Israeli shells fell between Houla and Markaba in South Lebanon, according to village residents, cited by our correspondent Mountasser Abdallah.

Bombings also took place around the villages of Blida and Alma al-Shaab.

12:47 Beirut Time

Residents reported that three Israeli shells fell near the villages of Dhaira, in the district of Sour, and Odeisseh, in the district of Marjayoun, reports our correspondent Mountasser Abdallah

12:21 Beirut Time

Israeli artillery has hit the villages of Houla and Markaba (Marjayoun district) in southern Lebanon, and three shells fell on the outskirts of the village of Kfar Shouba (Hasbaya district), residents told our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

According to him, two shells have also fallen on the outskirts of the village of Rachaya al-Foukhar (Hasbaya district).

11:56 Beirut Time

The "Islamic Resistance in Iraq" announced on Hezbollah's Telegram channel that it hit an American base in the Koniko oil field in Syria with missiles "in response to the crimes committed by [Israel] against people in Gaza."

Semi-official Iranian Tasnim news agency reported yesterday an attack on the Koniko oil field in the eastern region of Deir al-Zour in Syria.

Citing Al-Mayadeen, Tasnim reported severe explosions resulting from the attack on the base.

11:25 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announces the death of its fighter Ahmad Hussein Ali Ahmad.

Yesterday, the party said the death of three of its fighters. The total number of Hezbollah soldiers killed since the beginning of clashes between the party and Israel reached 94.

10:59 Beirut Time

In an interview with Bloomberg, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh pointed out that US officials visited him earlier this week to discuss a plan for the day after the war in Gaza.

He also said that his preferred outcome of the conflict would be for Hamas to become a junior partner under the Palestine Liberation Organization, helping to build a new independent state that includes the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

According to Bloomberg, Shtayyeh will fly to Qatar this weekend to ask Doha to switch its substantial financial support for Hamas in recent years over to the Palestinian Authority.

US officials have previously said that the Palestinian Authority should rule over Gaza after the war.

10:23 Beirut Time

Three Israeli artillery shells have fallen between the towns of Shihine and Jibbain in South Lebanon, residents told our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

10:03 Beirut Time

The Israeli army spokesperson announced that 450 targets in the Gaza Strip were attacked over the past day, according to Haaretz.

According to the announcement relayed by Haaretz, the army's 7th Brigade operating in Khan Younis directed the Air Force to attack "terrorists," some of whom intended to fire rockets at Israeli forces, killing many of them.

10:01 Beirut Time

Hamas's military wing said an Israeli soldier who had been taken hostage was killed early Friday during a clash between the militants and an Israeli special forces unit that was carrying out a rescue operation, Reuters reports.

The al-Qassam Brigades said its fighters discovered the rescue operation and clashed with the unit, resulting in the death and injury of a number of members of the Israeli forces involved in the operation, without specifying the number.

They identified the captured soldier who was killed as Sa'ar Baruch, aged 25, and gave his identification number.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

10:00 Beirut Time

The Israeli military, responding Friday to a Reuters investigation that Israeli soldiers killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah in southern Lebanon on Oct. 13, said the incident occurred in an active combat zone and that it was under review.

“On Oct. 13, 2023, the terrorist organization Hezbollah launched an attack against multiple targets in Israeli territory along the Lebanese border,” said the statement released by the Israeli army.

"One incident involved the firing of an anti-tank missile, which struck the border fence near the village of Hanita. Following the launch of the anti-tank missile, concerns arose about the potential infiltration of terrorists into Israeli territory. In response, the Israeli Defense Force used artillery and tank fire to prevent infiltration. The Israeli military is aware of the claim that journalists who were in the area were killed. of an active combat zone, where active shooting is taking place and where it is unsafe to be. The incident is currently under review,” the statement said.

09:59 Beirut Time

Israeli forces shot and killed five Palestinians on Friday in a refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry reported, cited by AFP.

The Palestinian ministry did not identify the dead but specified that they had been killed "by occupation bullets in the al-Fara refugee camp," in the Tubas region.

Asked by AFP, the Israeli army did not immediately comment.

09:40 Beirut Time

After 11 p.m., other bombardments were also recorded in Southern Lebanon, security sources told our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah.

. Four Israeli artillery shells fell on the eastern outskirts of Maroun al-Rass (Bint Jbeil district).

. A warplane airstrike targeted the outskirts of Bayt Lif.

. A drone carried out two strikes on the outskirts of Marwahin (Sour district).

. After 12 a.m., the outskirts of Deir Mimas (Marjayoun district) were subjected to artillery shelling.

Moreover, Hezbollah released a statement at 11:30 p.m. in which it claimed its responsibility for hitting the site of Malikieh with artillery shells at 9:24 p.m.

Finally, residents reported that Israeli shells have fallen this morning on the outskirts of Khiam, Kfar Kila and Deir Mimas (Marjayoun district).

08:55 Beirut Time

In South Lebanon:

The region suffered violent Israeli bombardments on Thursday night, reports our correspondent Mountasser Abdallah. An Israeli strike against a home in the village of Majdel Zoun left one dead and three injured.

In addition, the al-Quds brigades, the military branch of Islamic Jihad, announced Thursday evening the death of two fighters in South Lebanon. This brings to eight the number of fighters from the al-Quds brigades killed in Lebanon since October 7, according to a count by L'Orient Today.

08:54 Beirut Time

On the Israeli side, during the night, the army reported two soldiers lightly injured by an anti-tank missile fire and announced to carry out airstrikes against Hezbollah sites, according to AFP.

08:53 Beirut Time

- In a telephone interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, American President Joe Biden "insisted on the absolute necessity of protecting civilians and separating the civilian population from Hamas," according to the White House cited by AFP.

08:53 Beirut Time

- On Thursday evening, Israeli television channels broadcast videos showing dozens of Palestinians in their underwear, blindfolded, under the guard of Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip, provoking a lively controversy on social networks, reports AFP.

The Israeli army said it was "investigating" to "verify who is linked to Hamas and who is not," in reference to the Palestinian Islamist movement considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union and the United States.

08:52 Beirut Time

Here's what you need to know this morning:

-Intense urban fighting rages Friday in and around the largest cities in the Gaza Strip. After a first phase of its ground offensive against Hamas concentrated in the north of Gaza, the army this week extended its operations to the south, where nearly two million civilians are now trapped, cornered in a territory increasingly cramped.

08:50 Beirut Time
08:49 Beirut Time

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us for day 63 of the war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza.