Israel latest: Over 1,100 dead; oil soars on fears of proxy war
The combined death toll from the Hamas attack on southern Israel has climbed to more than 1,100 as fighting entered a third day. Oil surged as the fighting threatened to inflame tensions in the Middle East, home to almost a third of global supply.
More than 700 Israelis, most of them civilians, were killed in the attacks which erupted outside the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning. About 400 Palestinians have died in fighting and retaliatory attacks, as the Israeli military regained control over most areas breached by militants.
The operation by Hamas — which included taking scores of Israeli hostages — was an unprecedented incursion that has shaken regional stability and markets. Israel officially declared war and says it won’t stop until Hamas’s military infrastructure is dismantled, a task that seems likely to include a ground invasion and take months.
All time stamps Israel.
Oil Soars Amid Rising Tensions (2:45 a.m.)
Oil surged more than 4% as Hamas’ surprise attacks on Israel over the weekend threatened to inflame tensions in the Middle East, home to almost a third of global supply.
West Texas Intermediate rose above $86 a barrel as a war-risk premium returned to markets. The latest events don’t pose an immediate threat to oil supply, but there’s a risk the conflict could spiral into a more devastating proxy war, embroiling the US and Iran.
Dollar Rises as Traders Seek Havens (2:07 a.m.)
The dollar strengthened against most of its major peers from the Asian open as currency traders got their first chance to react to a shock attack by Hamas within Israel.
The greenback — seen as a haven in times of trouble — advanced at least 0.2% versus the euro and pound, while risk currencies such as the Aussie and kiwi weakened.
Blinken, Saudi Foreign Minister Hold Talks (1:58 a.m.)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan discussed the most recent developments related to the Hamas “terrorist attacks” on Israel in a call, according to a readout from the State Department. Blinken encouraged Saudi Arabia’s continued engagement.
‘Not All’ UN Security Council Members Condemned Hamas, US Says (12:35 a.m.)
“A good number of countries” condemned the Hamas attacks during a closed session of the UN Security Council, Ambassador Robert Wood of the US said. “Obviously not all. I don’t really want to get into that. I think you could probably figure out one of them without me saying anything.”
Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh of the UAE said the immediate concern is the safe and unconditional return of hostages; broader political discussions aimed at a possible two-state solution can be addressed later.
Iran Aided Hamas Attack: WSJ (12:21 a.m.)
Iranian security officials helped Hamas plan its attack on Israel in a series of meetings over months, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group and political faction in Lebanon.
The Journal said Hamas was given the “green light” for the attack in Beirut last Monday.
US officials have noted Iran’s longstanding support for Hamas, with money and weapons. But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday the US hasn’t “yet seen direct evidence that Iran was behind this particular attack.”
Palestinian Observer at UN Defiant Ahead of Security Council (10:28 p.m.)
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian observer at the United Nations, took a defiant tone in comments to reporters ahead of a special Security Council session, saying his people had repeatedly warned the Security Council about “the consequences of Israeli impunity and international inaction.”
“We know only too well that the messages about Israel’s right to defend itself will be interpreted by Israel as license to kill, to pursue on the very path that led us here,” Mansour said.
Islamic Jihad Says 30 Hostages Held (9:25 a.m.)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad is holding more than 30 Israeli hostages that will not be freed until all Islamic Jihad prisoners in Israel are also freed, the group’s leader, Ziad Al-Nakhala, said in a televised address.
Israel Says ‘Every Inch of Gaza’ Is Part of Hamas ‘War Machine’ (9:21 p.m.)
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said “every inch of Gaza has become part of Hamas’ war machine,” vowing that his country would “obliterate” all of the group’s terror infrastructure.
Despite the violence, Israel is sticking to efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, he said, charging that suspending that bid would only benefit Iran.
“There are moderate countries in our region
that want to normalize relations and live in peace and coexistence, and definitely Saudi Arabia is part of them,” he said, speaking to reporters before a closed-door session of the UN Security Council on the issue.
Four US Citizens Believed Dead: AP (8:57 p.m.)
At least four American citizens were killed in the attacks on Israel, the Associated Press reported, citing preliminary reports from an unnamed US official.
US Sends Warships, Munitions in Show of Force (8:35 p.m.)
A six-vessel US naval group including the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier is headed to the eastern Mediterranean to “bolster regional deterrence efforts,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. Additional US equipment and resources, including munitions, will arrive in the coming days, he said.
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone for the second time in two days. Biden told Netanyahu during the call that additional military assistance for Israel “is now on its way,” according to a White House statement.
Erdogan: Regional Problems Stem From Palestinian Issue (5:45 p.m.)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.
“The basis of the problems in our region today is the Palestine issue. Unless the issue is resolved, the region will long for peace,” Erdogan said in Istanbul on Sunday, “It is important to preserve the two-state solution.”
Israel to Prepare for Evacuations in North (5:30 p.m.)
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant instructed officials to prepare for the evacuation of civilians from communities in the country’s north. The program would be similar to evacuations that have taken place in more than 20 communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip.