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Israel-Hamas war updates: Troops mass at Gaza border; Hezbollah and Israel exchange shelling

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Seventeen UK nationals feared dead or missing in Israel-Hamas conflict

Seventeen U.K. nationals, including children, are feared dead or missing following the Saturday terrorist attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel, British public broadcaster BBC said Wednesday.

The news agency cited an anonymous official U.K. source. CNBC has not independently verified the report.

Roughly 1,200 Israelis have died since the weekend start of the conflict, with at least another 973 killed in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Ruxandra Iordache

Hezbollah and Israel exchange shelling

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has claimed a missile attack against an Israeli position at the border with Lebanon, prompting retaliatory shelling from Israel.

Hezbollah said its offensive was a “decisive” response for the “aggression which killed 3 Hezbollah fighters,” according to the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar media outlet.

The militant group said it is “firm in retaliating Israeli attacks on Lebanon, especially when martyrs fall in such attacks.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli Defense Force reported that “a launch of an anti-tank missile from Lebanon towards a military post adjacent to the community of Al-Aramshe on the Lebanese border was identified” in a Telegram social media post. The Israeli military updated that it is “currently striking in Lebanese territory” as a result, without disclosing the specific region targeted.

Lebanon and Israel have repeatedly exchanged fire since the attacks carried out by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Saturday, which rekindled tensions in the Middle East.

Ruxandra Iordache

Pope Francis calls for Hamas to release hostages, expresses concern about Israel’s siege

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience on St.Peter’s Square in Vatican City on October 11, 2023.

Tiziana Fabi | Afp | Getty Images

Pope Francis on Wednesday urged the Palestinian militant group Hamas to immediately release all hostages captured during the weekend’s unprecedented assault, and said he was worried about Israel’s “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip.

Israel on Monday imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip, seeking to cut off electricity, food, water and fuel to the already blockaded population of approximately 2.3 million people. The move follows a surprise terrorist attack from Hamas on southern Israel on Saturday, sparking chaos in the region.

“I pray for those families who have seen a day of celebration turned into a day of mourning and ask for the immediate release of the hostages,” the pope said during his weekly audience, according to Vatican News.

“It is the right of those who are attacked to defend themselves,” the pope said, but expressed concern about the “total siege facing the Palestinians in Gaza, where there have also been many innocent victims.”

The pope added, “The Middle East does not need war but peace, a peace built on justice, dialogue, and the courage of fraternity.”

— Sam Meredith

Israel is amassing soldiers at Gaza border, military spokesperson says

Israel is amassing troops at the border to the Gaza Strip in preparation for a potential ground incursion against Palestinian militant group Hamas, an Israeli military spokesperson said.

“What we’re also doing in these areas close to the Gaza Strip is that we have deployed, actually, we have sent our infantry, armored soldiers, our artillery, core, and many other soldiers, from the reserves, 300,000 in numbers, in different brigades and divisions, and they are now close to the Gaza Strip, getting ready to execute the mission that they have been given, that we have been given by the Israeli government,” Israeli Defense Force spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said in a video update distributed overnight on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter.

“And that is to make sure that Hamas, at the end of this war, won’t have military capabilities by which they can threaten or kill Israeli civilians. That is our military aim,” he added.

Israel has called upon 300,000 reservists for its armed response to terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas over the weekend, further transporting back soldiers who were posted abroad to be drafted into the offensive. In the Gaza Strip, it has launched a “complete siege,” disrupting fuel, water, electricity and food provisions.

Ruxandra Iordache

Death toll rises to at least 1,200 killed in Israel, 900 in Gaza Strip

At least 1,200 Israelis have been killed, with more than 2,700 others wounded since the start of the Israeli-Hamas conflict, a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces said in a video briefing.

Roughly 900 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, with another 19 dead in the West Bank over the same period, according to the respective Health ministries of the two regions.

The numbers are expected to increase in the wake of a surprise multi-pronged terrorist attack dealt by Palestinian militant group Hamas to Israel, and Israel’s armed response since.

Ruxandra Iordache

U.S. in talks with Egypt over Gaza Strip humanitarian corridor

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during the annual meeting of the Arms Control Association at the National Press Club on June 2, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

The U.S. has signaled efforts to broker a humanitarian corridor with Egypt for civilians stranded amid crossfire in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Asked on where Gaza Strip civilians may take refuge during a Tuesday press briefing, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “This is something also we have been discussing with our counterparts in Israel and with our counterparts in Egypt. And without getting into the specific of safe passage for civilians and so forth, I will say it is something that the U.S. government sees … in supporting how we do that operationally. But the details of that are something that are being discussed.”

He declined to supply further details, but stressed that “there are consultations ongoing.”

In a Google-translated Tuesday post on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter, a spokesperson for the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs had said that “Egypt is working every effort to contain the escalation, calm the situation, and facilitate the arrival of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.”

Israel on Monday declared a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the Hamas attacks over the weekend, cutting off water, fuel, electricity and food supplies to the region and its roughly 2 million inhabitants.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israel conflict could affect oil markets, Russian official says

The current war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas could affect oil markets, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Novak represents Moscow in discussions and policy-setting carried out by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+.

On Wednesday, he will meet with Saudi Energy Minister and de facto OPEC leader Abdulaziz bin Salman to consult on the crude market, Reuters reported.

“Of course, we are discussing these issues. Any such events in the world can in one way or another affect the situation with the consumption of energy resources in one direction or another,” Novak said Wednesday, in Google-translated comments carried by Russia’s state news outlet Tass.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Russia and Saudi Arabia are the largest OPEC+ producers and typically set the tone of the alliance’s output strategy and of voluntary production moves carried out by some members.

Crude prices have been bolstered by instability in the Middle East. Over the weekend, a terrorist attack delivered by Hamas struck Israel on nearly the 50th anniversary of the Arab-Israel war of 1973, which rattled oil markets through an Arab oil embargo against the U.S.

Ruxandra Iordache

At least 1,000 Gaza infiltrators dead since weekend, Israeli military says

Israeli forces killed 1,000 infiltrators from the Gaza Strip since the terrorist attacks of Palestinian militant group Hamas, a military spokesperson said, according to Israeli public broadcaster Kan.

“We counted 1,000 bodies of terrorists, there are hundreds more on the fence – this indicates the scale of the attack, they planned not an attack and retreat but an occupation. In the last day, there were encounters with 18 terrorists in the Gaza Strip and Ashkelon,” the unnamed spokesperson said, in Google-translated comments.

Israel said it gained control of the border with Gaza on Tuesday.

In the same Kan report, the spokesperson added that Israel carried out attacks on more than 200 targets in the Gaza Strip at sites it believes were Hamas headquarters.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

First plane carrying U.S. military supplies arrives in Israel

The first plane carrying U.S. ammunition and military supplies has landed at an air base in southern Israel, the Israeli Defense Force said.

The weapons are aimed at facilitating Israel’s military operations and boosting its preparedness as the nation defends itself against Hamas militants that infiltrated Israel on Saturday.

“We are grateful for the U.S. backing and assistance to the IDF,” the force said. “Our common enemies know that the cooperation between our militaries is stronger than ever, and is a key part in ensuring regional security and stability.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to provide “surging additional military assistance, including ammunition, and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome” to the Jewish state.

“We are going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens,” Biden said.

Joanna Tan

Hamas slams Biden’s ‘sheer evil’ label, saying it’s ‘double standards’

People wave Palestinian flags during a rally to show their support to Palestinians and against Israel’s military operations in Gaza, in front of the headquarters of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago on October 10, 2023.

Martin Bernetti | Afp | Getty Images

Hamas has condemned Biden’s comments calling the militant group’s attacks on Israel were “sheer evil.”

The group accused Biden of “double standards” for excusing Israel’s occupation and regular raids on one of Islam’s most sacred sites at Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on the West Bank.

After avoiding military operations against Israel since 2021, Hamas on Saturday infiltrated the Jewish state after launching a surprise assault by air, sea and land on parts of southern Israel that border the Gaza Strip.

The dawn attacks — which occurred over the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah and came 50 years after the outbreak of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war — killed hundreds and wounded thousands in Israel. It spurred retaliatory strikes from Israel that have killed hundreds of civilians in the Gaza Strip so far.

— Clement Tan

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that Hamas attacked Israel on Saturday. An earlier version misstated the day.

Biden confirms Americans are being held hostage, calls Hamas attack ‘sheer evil’

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the attacks on Israel, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10, 2023.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden confirmed in a speech Tuesday afternoon at least 14 Americans have been killed in Israel.

Biden confirmed for the first time that Americans are among the people being held hostage by Hamas.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters after Biden’s speech that the government believes there are around 20 or more Americans missing but noted that it didn’t mean all 20 were taken hostage.

“We do not know the number of hostages we have at this time,” Sullivan said.

Emma Kinery

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