Israel-Gaza live updates: Israel warns of ‘short window’ for diplomacy with Hezbollah

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(NEW YORK) — More than a month after a temporary cease-fire between Hamas and Israel ended, Israel continues its bombardment of Gaza.

The end of the cease-fire came after Hamas freed over 100 of the more than 200 people its militants took hostage during the Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel. In exchange, Israel released more than 200 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Jan 05, 7:37 AM EST
Israeli kibbutz announces death of hostage initially believed to be alive

An Israeli man who was believed to be alive and held hostage by militants in the Gaza Strip has been confirmed dead, his community announced Friday.

Tamir Adar, 38, was killed during the Hamas-led assault on the kibbutz of Nir Oz in southern Israel on Oct. 7 before militants took his body back to neighboring Gaza, according to a statement from the kibbutz. His grandmother, Yaffa Adar, was abducted alive and later released during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

Tamir was “born and raised in the kibbutz and lived there with his family,” the statement from Nir Oz said. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

“Tamir was a family man, he loved people and nature,” the statement added.

-ABC News’ Anna Brund, Jordana Miller and Morgan Winsor

Jan 04, 6:10 PM EST
Mother, uncle of US service member rescued from Gaza

The mother and uncle of an American servicemember were rescued from Gaza in an operation involving Israel and Egypt — the first known mission of its kind to take place since the war broke out — U.S. officials confirmed on Thursday.

Zahra Sckak and her brother-in-law, Farid (a U.S. citizen), were shepherded out of Gaza days ago, though the details of the operation were kept quiet due to security concerns surrounding the operation.

The U.S. played a “liaison role” in the case, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

“There wasn’t an operational presence by any U.S. forces or U.S. personnel there to help these family members escape, but we were glad to see them make their way safely out of Gaza and we’ll continue to work to do what we can to facilitate the departure of others,” Miller told reporters Thursday.

Fadi Sckak, a brother of the U.S. servicemember, told ABC News Live last month that his mother was on the list of individuals approved to leave Gaza through the Rafah gate, but that she couldn’t get to the border crossing because of the heavy fighting surrounding the area where she was sheltering.

-ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford

Jan 04, 4:48 PM EST
3 missing Israeli citizens recognized as hostages: IDF

Three Israeli citizens previously considered missing are now recognized as hostages, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Thursday.

“This decision was made following the completion of search and investigation operations in Israel and after examining all plausible scenarios and the information we have,” he said during a briefing.

That brings the total number of Israeli hostages held in Gaza to 136, including 23 believed to be dead, officials said.

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller

Jan 04, 2:13 PM EST
Secretary Blinken to make another trip to Middle East

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be making a marathon trip to the Middle East — his fourth visit to the region since the Oct. 7 attack, the State Department announced Thursday.

The trip, running from Jan. 4 to 11, will technically be his fifth visit to Israel since the war began; he stopped there twice on his trip in October.

“Throughout his trip, the Secretary will underscore the importance of protecting civilian lives in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza; securing the release of all remaining hostages; our shared commitment to facilitating the increased, sustained delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the resumption of essential services; and ensuring that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced from Gaza,” State Department Spokesperson Matt Miller said in a statement.

The last part of the agenda Miller lays out — “ensuring that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced from Gaza” — runs counter to the rhetoric put forth in recent days by Israeli Minister of National Security Ben Gvir and other far-right politicians, comments the Biden administration have already denounced.

As of now, Blinken is scheduled to spend time in eight countries: Turkey, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt. He will also be stopping in the West Bank.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

Jan 04, 12:15 PM EST
Houthi leader calls for protests against Israel’s war in Gaza

The leader of Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebel group has called for mass protests to take place on Friday against Israel’s ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

“Let the dear Yemeni people make their voice and word heard to the whole world, in their steadfastness in their faith, moral and humanitarian stance in supporting the oppressed Palestinian people, against whom the Jewish Zionists are committing crimes of genocide, completely destroying their cities and homes in Gaza, and are creative in practicing the most heinous crimes against them, such as burying the living and crushing them,” Houthi leader Abdul Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi said in a statement on Thursday.

Houthi rebels, who have been at war with Yemen’s internationally recognized government since 2014 and currently control a large part of the country, have carried out attacks on ships in the Red Sea in recent weeks in response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza, a territory ruled by Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas.

ABC News’ Will Gretsky and Morgan Winsor

Jan 04, 11:05 AM EST
Israeli defense minister warns of ‘short window’ for diplomacy with Hezbollah

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned Thursday that diplomatic solutions with Hezbollah are running out.

Gallant made the remark at the Israeli Ministry of Defense heaquarters in Tel Aviv during a meeting with Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden. The two discussed the situation in northern Israel and along the border with Lebanon, where Israeli forces have been exchanging fire with Hezbollah. The Lebanese militant group has voiced support for Palestinians amid Israel”s ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

“There is only one possible result — a new reality in the northern arena, which will enable the secure return of our citizens,” Gallant said. “Yet we find ourselves at a junction — there is a short window of time for diplomatic understandings, which we prefer. We will not tolerate the threats posed by the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, and we will ensure the security of our citizens.”

ABC News’ Will Gretsky and Morgan Winsor

Jan 04, 8:22 AM EST
IDF says it struck Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces said Thursday morning that one of its fighter jets struck an “observation post and terrorist infrastructure” belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

An “anti-tank missile terrorist cell in the same area” was also identified and struck, according to the IDF.

The IDF said its soldiers fired mortar shells overnight “in order to remove a threat” in another area of southern Lebanon, which shares a border with Israel.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah on the Israeli strikes.

Jan 03, 3:21 PM EST
‘Hamas still has a significant force posture inside Gaza,’ White House says

The White House was pressed on Wednesday about how close Israel may be to its stated goal of eradicating Hamas, as the death count in Gaza surpasses 22,000.

Notably, White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby declined to give specific stats on damage done to Hamas but said, “Hamas still has a significant force posture inside Gaza.”

“We have estimates. I’m loath to put the numbers out there now because they are just estimates but Hamas still has a significant force posture inside Gaza,” he said in response to a question about how many more Hamas fighters are left.

He added that Israel has said they’ve been successful “against a range of leadership” and have “without question” had an effect on “Hamas’ ability to command and control itself, to resource itself, and quite frankly to lead their troops.”

But he wouldn’t give specifics on how many members of Hamas have been killed or any measures of progress that Israel has made.

“I’ve been trying real hard not to give them a report card here and I think that is a wise thing for us to do, is to refrain from analyzing and armchair-quarterbacking their military operations,” Kirby said.

Still, on multiple occasions, he was asked if Israel can still eradicate Hamas, which has been the country’s stated goal.

“It can be done militarily. Are you going to eliminate the ideology? No. And are you likely going to erase the group from existence? Probably not. But can you eliminate the threat that Hamas poses to the Israeli people? Absolutely,” Kirby said.

Jan 03, 1:38 PM EST
Hezbollah leader warns of response for killing of top Hamas official

The head of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassam Nasrallah, said in a speech Wednesday that the killing of deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri was a “serious and heinous crime that will not remain without response and punishment.”

“Whoever thinks about war with us will regret it and it will be costly,” al-Arouri said in Arabic.

Nasrallah said they did receive messages that the assassination of al-Arouri was “not targeting Lebanon and the southern suburbs.”

The speech Wednesday was the first time the leader of the Lebanese group has spoken since Nov. 3. It followed the death Tuesday of al-Arouri in a bombing.

Israel has not claimed responsibility, but Hamas and Hezbollah have pointed the blame.

ABC News’ Ghazi Balkiz and Ellie Kaufman

Jan 03, 1:01 PM EST
Israel says it dismantled tunnels under Al-Shifa Hospital

The Israeli army said in a release Wednesday it had destroyed Hamas’ tunnels underneath the Al-Shifa Hospital without causing damage to the hospital complex.

Israel said the tunnels under the hospital spanned over 250 meters and “led to a number of significant terrorist centers and was used for carrying out terrorist operations.” It added that humanitarian operations continued at the hospital.

Hamas, as well as doctors at the hospital, has denied that terrorists were operating from the hospital complex.

ABC News’ Jordana Miller

Jan 02, 3:42 PM EST
US denounces Israeli officials’ remarks on emigration from Gaza

The U.S. State Department is denouncing recent comments from Israel’s far right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calling for the emigration of Palestinians from Gaza, calling the officials’ statements “inflammatory and irresponsible.”

“The United States rejects recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir advocating for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza,” State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement. “We have been told repeatedly and consistently by the Government of Israel, including by the Prime Minister, that such statements do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government. They should stop immediately.”

ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford

Jan 02, 2:11 PM EST
Top Hamas leader killed in Beirut strike, official says

A top Hamas leader and at least five others were killed in a strike in Beirut on Tuesday, a Hamas official said.

The leader, identified by the official as Saleh Arouri, was second in command in Hamas and the head of Hamas in the West Bank.

Lebanese Security Services said six people were killed in the strike, which Hamas blamed on Israel.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson declined to comment on the incident, but told ABC News that Israel “is on high alert and prepared for any scenario.”

“I want to be clear we are focused on the fight against Hamas,” the spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, added.

Jan 02, 12:38 PM EST
Top Hamas leader killed in Beirut strike, official says

A top Hamas leader and at least five others were killed in a strike in Beirut on Tuesday, a Hamas official said.

The leader, identified by the official as Saleh Arouri, was second in command in Hamas and the head of Hamas in the West Bank.

Lebanese Security Services said six people were killed in the strike, which Hamas blamed on Israel.

ABC News did not immediately receive a response from Israeli officials on the incident.

The head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said Tuesday the militant group has sent its conditions for a truce to Egypt and Qatar.

In a statement, Haniyeh said the position “is based on a comprehensive cessation of aggression against our people.”

Jan 02, 11:53 AM EST
Maersk halts all transit through Red Sea

Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, has decided to pause all transit through the Red Sea “until further notice,” the company said Tuesday morning.

The company made the announcement in the wake of an attack on its vessel Maersk Hangzhou by small boats carrying Houthi militants on Sunday.

U.S. Navy helicopters returned fire and sank three of the four small boats, killing the crews, U.S. officials said. The fourth boat fled the area.

Sunday’s incident was the second time in 24 hours that the Hangzhou had issued a distress call, U.S. Navy officials said.

Houthi leaders have said they will not stop the Red Sea attacks until Israel ceases its assault in Gaza.

Jan 02, 10:46 AM EST
What we know about the conflict

The Israel-Hamas war is nearing the three-month mark.

In the Gaza Strip, at least 22,185 people have been killed and over 57,000 others have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry and the Government Media Office.

In Israel, at least 1,200 people have been killed and 6,900 others have been injured by Hamas and other Palestinian militants since Oct. 7, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

There has also been a surge in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli forces have killed at least 297 people in the territory since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Jan 01, 8:31 PM EST
What we know about the conflict

The Israel-Hamas war is nearing the three-month mark.

In the Gaza Strip, at least 21,978 people have been killed and 57,697 others have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry and the Government Media Office.

In Israel, at least 1,200 people have been killed and 6,900 others have been injured by Hamas and other Palestinian militants since Oct. 7, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

There has also been a surge in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli forces have killed at least 297 people in the territory since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Jan 01, 1:30 PM EST
Some Israeli communities near Gaza can return soon: Defense minister

Some communities in southern Israel near the Gaza border will be able to return soon, Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said Monday.

“In accordance with the recommendations given by the IDF and the defense establishment, we will soon be able to return [displaced] communities home, in areas within a range of four to seven kilometers north of the Gaza Strip,” Gallant said during an operational situation assessment held in Kibbutz Dorot.

Gallant said the “gradual return” will start with communities within seven kilometers, before moving on to the remaining communities.

Earlier Monday, Gallant toured the kibbutz and discussed the security measures required for the return of its residents.

Jan 01, 10:29 AM EST
Israel to move some troops out of Gaza, IDF announces

The IDF announced Monday it is adjusting deployment plans for forces in Gaza and the reserve system.

Some reservists will return to their families and employment, while others will return to scheduled training. The IDF says this is expected “to significantly alleviate economic burdens and enable them to gather strength for upcoming activities in the next year, as the fighting will persist, and their services will still be needed.”

“These adaptations aim to ensure effective planning and preparation for the continuation of operations in 2024” in anticipation of further warfare into the year, according to the IDF statement.

Dec 31, 4:47 PM EST
IDF says it expects war to last all of 2024

The war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group is expected to last all of 2024, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a statement that the Israeli military is making adjustments to its deployment of troops in the Gaza Strip as it anticipates the war lasting for the entirety of 2024.

“We are adjusting the fighting methods to each area in Gaza, as well as the necessary forces to carry out the mission in the best way possible,” Hagari said. “Each area has different characteristics and different operational needs.”

Hagari added that as 2024 begins, “The goal of the war requires lengthy fighting, and we are prepared accordingly.”

The Israeli military, according to Hagari, will be carrying out “smart” management of its forces in Gaza, allowing reservists to return home to help boost the economy, and allowing standing army troops to train to become commanders.

“It will result in considerable relief for the economy, and will allow them to gain strength for operations next year, and the fighting will continue and we will need them,” Hagari said.

He said the adjustments are necessary for the IDF to endure the long road ahead.

“The IDF needs to plan ahead, out of the understanding that we will be needed for additional missions and continued fighting during the entire coming year,” Hagari said.

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