(Bloomberg) -- US President Joe Biden and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed efforts to secure the release of hostages, allow foreign nationals to leave Gaza and bolster aid deliveries, the White House said.
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Earlier Biden said he had asked Israel to delay an invasion of Gaza so that more hostages held by Hamas can be freed, and French President Emmanuel Macron said a “massive” ground operation would be a mistake, as diplomatic efforts to avert a wider war intensify.
Netanyahu told Israelis a ground invasion is being prepared, triggering a jump in oil prices. Israel’s military said it continued to target Hamas’s leadership in Gaza, where the United Nations said that its shelters were overwhelmed by almost 600,000 Palestinians who’ve fled their homes.
(All time stamps are Israeli time)
Biden-Netanyahu Call Centers on Hostages, Aid, Post-Crisis (4:12 a.m.)
Biden and Netanyahu discussed the situation in Gaza, including efforts to secure the release of hostages and ways to ramp up aid deliveries, during a phone call Wednesday afternoon Washington time, according to a White House statement.
Biden also “reiterated that Israel has every right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism and to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law,” according to the statement.
The US president urged Israel’s government to focus on “what comes after this crisis, to include a pathway for a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
US Says 21 Suffered Minor Injuries in Iraq, Syria Attacks (1 a.m.)
The Pentagon said 21 US personnel received minor injuries in drone attacks targeting the Al Assad Airbase in Iraq and the Al-Tanf Garrison in Syria. All have returned to duty.
The injuries were suffered between Oct. 17 and 18, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement. The US has accused Iran-backed militias for the attacks and has warned it would ultimately hold Iran responsible, statements that have helped fan fears that the Israel-Hamas war could turn into a regional conflict.
Putin Says Gaza War Risks Spilling ‘Far Beyond’ Middle East (1 a.m.)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said there’s a risk that an escalating Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza could “spill far beyond the borders of the Middle East.”
In televised remarks at a Kremlin meeting with the heads of religious groups, including Jewish and Muslim leaders, Putin expressed condolences over the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel but also criticized the bombing of the Gaza Strip. “The fight against terrorism cannot be carried out according to the notorious principle of collective responsibility,” he said.
Security Council Rejects Rival Resolutions to Pause Fighting (11:45 p.m.)
The United Nations Security Council voted down dueling US and Russian resolutions that sought to pause the fighting between Israel and Hamas and open the flow of humanitarian aid, as pressure mounted on Netanyahu to let food and medicine into the Gaza Strip.
The council first rejected a US-backed resolution that called for measures including “humanitarian pauses” that would give UN agencies access to provide “essential goods and services important to the well-being of civilians in Gaza, including especially water, electricity, fuel, food and medical supplies.” The resolution gained the support of 10 of the council’s 15 members but Russia and China vetoed it. Then the council rejected a Russian-backed resolution that called for a broader cease-fire, with the US and UK vetoing it.
Oil Climbs on Israel’s Invasion Buildup (10:20 p.m.)
Oil rose as Israel’s preparations for a ground invasion of Gaza revived concerns about the conflict disrupting supplies from the Middle East. West Texas Intermediate rallied above $85 a barrel during Netanyahu’s televised address, marking the return of a war premium that had essentially vanished this week.
Biden Says He Asked Israel to Delay Attack for Hostage Talks (9:50 p.m.)
Biden said he had asked Israel to delay a ground invasion of Gaza to assist in the return of hostages held by Hamas, but had not demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold off on military operations.
“What I have indicated to him, is that if that’s possible to get these folks out safely, that’s what he should do. It’s their decision,” Biden said Wednesday at the White House. He also called for a two-state solution once the war is over, saying Israel has a responsibility to plan for governance after pushing Hamas of Gaza.
Israeli Jets Strike Hezbollah Military Targets in Lebanon (9:30 p.m.)
Israeli fighter jets struck a number of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, including a compound and observation posts, the military said. Earlier in the day, Israeli tanks and aircraft attacked militants in three separate incidents. One of the groups had fired an anti-tank missile at Israeli soldiers the country’s north, and a second was suspected of attempting to carry out a shooting attack from Lebanon, the Israeli military said.
Netanyahu Tells Israelis That Gaza Ground Assault Is Coming (8:50 p.m.)
Netanyahu told Israelis that the military is preparing a ground invasion of Gaza as the country fights for its very existence, and said he won’t explain the reasons for its timing to avoid providing information to the enemy.
“We are preparing for ground entry. I will not detail when, how and how much, nor the set of considerations that we take into account,” Netanyahu said. “This is in order to protect the lives of our soldiers.” He also said that after the war there will be a thorough investigation of Israel’s failure to prevent the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, and that he himself will be among those who’ll “have to provide answers.”
‘Massive’ Israeli Ground Operation Would Be Mistake: Macron (7:45 p.m.)
French President Emmanuel Macron said a “massive” Israeli ground operation in Gaza would be a mistake since it would put civilian populations in danger and wouldn’t provide long-term security for Israel. The French leader, who spoke with reporters in Cairo after visiting Israel, said that such an operation wouldn’t abide by international humanitarian law.
Iran Leader Accuses US of ‘Orchestrating Crimes’ in Gaza (7:15 p.m.)
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said the US is “orchestrating the crimes being committed in Gaza,” in a post on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter. His comments come after the US warned it will hold Iran responsible for a spate of attacks on American forces in the region. Iran is a key backer of Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist group by the US and European Union.
Israel to Delay Invasion as US Seeks to Protect Troops: WSJ (6:15 p.m.)
The Pentagon has persuaded Israel to delay an invasion of Gaza until the US can deploy almost a dozen air-defense systems to the Middle East to protect US troops in the area, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing US officials and unidentified people familiar with Israel’s war planning.
The missiles may be in place later this week, and would protect US forces in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the WSJ said. US troops in Syria and Iraq have been attacked multiple times in the past week by drones and rockets. The US has blamed Iran-backed militias.
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