Note to reader: We wanted to give you a trigger warning on what you may read below. We have chosen, as with every night of these briefings, to not share horrific images, however we want to alert you as sensitively as we can to the reports coming out of Israel.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “There is no way to justify” what Hamas did
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that “there is no way to justify [what Hamas did] in any way, shape or form; and everyone should condemn it unequivocally”.
Discussing the Israel-Hamas war on Politico’s Power Play podcast, the Prime Minister said that “what happened to the people of Israel was absolutely horrific. Having been there and seen first-hand, spoken to people, watched the videos; it’s hard to come away from that and not deeply understand their pain and their absolute right to defend themselves, to ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again”. “That is not just a right the Israelis have, but a duty I think of their leaders to ensure the safety and security of their country, and we will support them in that”.
“There can be no justification for what Hamas did, nor by the way can there be any justification for supporting Hamas in the UK, or glorifying terrorism. Those are illegal. Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation here in the UK… There is no grey there; there is black and white. That is illegal and wrong”.
“Also what is wrong is inciting religious or racial violence and hatred. That is unacceptable and unfortunately we’ve seen a significant rise in antisemitic behaviour over the past few weeks. That’s simply unacceptable and the police should do everything in their power to stamp that out”, he added.
Discussing the increase of aid into Gaza, Prime Minister Sunak noted that “it’s hard to have completely reliable conversations with Hamas when you’re dealing with a terrorist organisation, which is obviously present on the ground”.
Deputy PM expresses his “solidarity” at Norwood dinner
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden addressed attendees of Norwood’s annual dinner last night.
The Deputy Prime Minister “start[ed] by remembering all those people murdered so brutally and so senselessly in that heinous attack. Men, women, children, babies – may their memories be a blessing”.
He expressed his “solidarity to all those desperately waiting for those loved ones taken hostage” and vowed that the UK Government “are doing everything we can to secure their release. May they return home soon”.
A “resolute friend of Israel”, Dowden declared that “peace can only be through the removal of the threat of Hamas. The UK Government remains committed to that peace”.
“Israel has a right to exist, Israel has a duty to defend itself, and I stand with Israel.” The Government stands with Israel “in its darkest hour”.
This morning, an Israeli flag flying from Borehamwood and Elstree Town Council was defaced with red paint in Dowden’s constituency. In an online statement the Deputy Prime Minister said that “this is a horrifying act which I utterly condemn”. “I am working with the Police to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice and seek assurance that the community is safe”, he added.
Education Minister reassures parents of Jewish students
Minister for Higher Education Robert Halfon reassured parents of Jewish students last night that “I’m doing everything I can to make their children feel safe, following horrendous reports of a rise in antisemitism on campus”.
In an event hosted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Minister shared that “following the attack on Israel on October 7th, I visited a Jewish school with my ministerial colleagues, sending a clear message that the safety of Jewish students is our top priority in this situation”. He also has “written to university leaders to remind them to act swiftly against any threats to Jewish students’ safety and welfare, reiterating support for Hamas must be reported to the police”.
“The Prime Minister has also given an extra £3 million to the Community Security Trust to keep schools and synagogues safe”. “We’re now going further”, he vowed.
Listing actions on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Minister said that the Department of Education will:
“1. Call for visas to be withdrawn from international students who incite racial hatred.
- Write to Vice Chancellors asking that they act decisively against staff and students involved in antisemitism.
- Meet the Office for Students to discuss its role in reviewing incidents and any potential action.
- Reiterate in all my discussions that criminal acts should be referred to the police.
- Explore establishing an antisemitism charter in Higher Education, signing up universities which demonstrate a commitment to tackling antisemitism”.
The Union of Jewish Students published a thread on X this afternoon highlighting examples of antisemitism and anti-Israel hatred on Campus on what was meant to be a positive ‘My Jewish Experience week’. Examples include a ‘freedom for Palestine’ poster graffitied with ‘kill Jews’.
Bob Blackman writes to the BBC asking for “a full and frank apology”
CFI Officer Bob Blackman CBE MP has written to the BBC following Director-General of the BBC Tim Davie’s appearance in front of the 1922 committee calling for “a full and frank apology… as well as immediate improvements in the [BBC’s] coverage”.
In his letter, Blackman notes that “the BBC has not apologised for their coverage of the blast at the al-Alhi Hospital in Gaza in their public response to complaints on this issue”.
He states that “the BBC is a taxpayer-funded organisation with a duty to the British taxpayer to be strictly impartial on any and all matters. It should not take the side of a terrorist organisation”.
“In all of your public statements you have seemingly attempted to equalise the actions of Israel and the actions of Hamas. This is not appropriate. One is a terrorist organisation who stormed into another country, murdered and captured hundreds of people live on camera, and butchered babies. The other is the world’s only Jewish nation state defending its sovereignty”, he added.
Blackman expressed that “the horrendous scenes of antisemitism we have seen in recent weeks can partially be laid at the historic and ongoing failures of the BBC to address this issue properly”.
Over 1,400 people have been murdered and over 5,500 in Hamas’ deadly terror attack against Israel.
242 hostage families have been notified that their loved ones are being held in Gaza. This number excludes the four hostages released and Private Ori Megidish rescued from Gaza. It also excludes Oron Shaul, Hadar Goldin, Avra Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed who are still being held captive by Hamas after several years.
20 IDF soldiers have been killed in Gaza since Israel’s ground incursion. Bedouin-Israeli Lt. Col. Salman Habaka was announced today, the highest ranking officer to be killed in the war so far.
Over 9,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israel with a large barrage directed towards Beersheva early afternoon.
This evening in a potentially co-ordinated attack, a large barrage of rockets from Gaza were fired towards central Israel at the same time of rockets fired from Lebanon and Syria towards northern Israel, and rockets intercepted over the Red Sea launched by the Houthi’s.
Gazan rockets directly hit a residential home in Rishon l’zion, as well impact in Shefela, east of Tel Aviv.
Israel’s northern border
Rockets were launched from Lebanon towards Israel’s Mount Dov and the Hermon overnight, all landing in open areas. A surface-to-air missile was also launched at an IDF drone overnight. There was no damage caused to the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The IDF responded with artillery fire and struck the terror cell that launched the missile as well as the launch site.
This morning, roads were closed in the Manara area due to Hezbollah terrorists from Lebanon firing a kornet missile towards Israel’s northern border.
Hezbollah increased its attacks on Israel this afternoon by launching a barrage of rockets and anti-tank missiles at six targets on Israel’s northern border simultaneously. This is the first time an incident of this magnitude has occurred on Israel’s northern border since the start of the war. In response the IDF attacked the Maroun-Ras area in Lebanon, where many launches originated from.
Hezbollah also claimed it used two kamikaze drones to attack an IDF base in the Sheba farms area.
Early evening Hezbollah launched another barrage of rockets, directly hitting a restaurant in Kiryat Shmona causing a large fire. In response, the IDF struck “a series of Hezbollah sites” in Lebanon. Hamas took responsibility for firing 12 rockets in the launch towards Kiryat Shmona.
Rockets were also launched from Syria this evening, with the Jordanian army announcing it intercepted a drone from Iran-backed terror groups in the territory.
Hezbollah has started to target Israeli drones as they are one of the apparatus used to strike Hezbollah cells after rocket launches.
Jordan has warned the Iran-backed Houthi’s in Yemen against firing missiles towards Israel, due to them threatening Jordan’s airspace and in some cases falling short and landing in Jordan.
Saudi Arabia has also refused the Houthi’s request to not intercept missiles and drones launched from Yemen towards Israel. The Houthis have since accused Saudi Arabia of cooperating with Israel and the United States.
A spokesperson for the Houthi’s has said that “we will stop all ship traffic towards Israel”.
Terror attack in the West Bank
This morning a vehicle was shot at and the car subsequently overturned in a terror attack on Route 557 near Kfar Beit Lid. 29 year-old Elhanan Klein, returning home from reserve duty, was killed.
The terrorist fled the scene, and their car was later found on fire between Kfar Roman and Bazariya. According to Israeli Channel 14, an explosive device was set off against IDF troops who arrived at the scene.
Since 7th October, this is the first shooting attack to take place inside the Israel- West Bank region.
Aid into Gaza increases
Egyptian authorities have said that they will allow the evacuation of 7000 foreign nationals from Gaza through the Rafah crossing.
400 foreign nationals are expected to be evacuated from Gaza today, as well as approximately 60 injured Gazans to receive treatment in an Egyptian field hospital next to the Rafah crossing.
Israel alongside Egypt, the U.S. and the United Nations are together coordinating the transfer of humanitarian aid into Gaza whilst ensuring Israel’s security is preserved – following long-running misuse of humanitarian aid by the Hamas terror group.
More than 300 trucks carrying food, water, and medical supplies have entered the Gaza Strip from Israel since 21st October. 61 trucks entered Gaza yesterday.
Israel is planning a humanitarian zone in Khan Younis, west of the Gaza Strip, where humanitarian aid will be routed. A field hospital will also function from the area.
The United States’ NBC News has reported that Hamas holds approximately 200,000 gallons of fuel for terror purposes therefore hospitals running out of fuel is down to Hamas’ action and can be rectified if Hamas chooses.
The IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi in a press briefing said that “we have been hearing for over a week that the gas in the hospitals in Gaza is running out, and we see that there is still fuel there”. “When the fuel runs out, we will put fuel into the hospitals under supervision and make sure that it does not reach Hamas”.
Operation Swords of Iron
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said last night that the IDF “broke through Hamas’ front lines of defence in the north of the Gaza Strip” and that “the ground operation is progressing as planned”.
The IDF Spokesperson’s office has said that “during the operational activities, IDF fighter jets, helicopters, UAVs, naval vessels and artillery are assisting the ground forces by directing and conducting simultaneous air strikes according to the operational need. Furthermore, joint IDF strikes are being carried out based on real-time intel gathered and immediately transferred to the air and naval forces.”
MK Benny Gantz, member of the War Cabinet said “The achievements are significant… The goal is to fundamentally change the situation in the south of the country and in the whole country”.
It is reported that the IDF has successfully taken control of a corridor across Gaza, separating the evacuated North from the South.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi said today that Israel “are fighting in the name of the sanctity of life, against an enemy whose flag represents death and destruction. We fight as a powerful military, with a sharp moral compass. We are fighting for the values of justice and morality upon which the country was established, against a terrorist organisation that committed vile and horrific war crimes”.
Last night the IDF revealed that it had killed the commander of Hamas’ anti-tank guided missile array, Muhammad A’sar.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry over 9,000 Palestinians have been killed. It is unclear how many in this figure are terrorists and civilians. This number cannot be independently verified and is believed to also include Hamas terrorists killed in Israel following the deadly massacre of 7th October. The number also includes Gazans killed as a consequence of rocket misfires and landing short.
During this difficult time please consider donating to Magen David Adom’s urgent appeal https://mdauk.org/
Please also email your MP to share your support with Israel. You can do this via We Believe in Israel: https://tinyurl.com/mr2rcbej