U.S. urges Israel to end large-scale ground war

Israel’s pain is too fresh to discuss two-state solution, Herzog says

JERUSALEM— Israel’s president has joined the ranks of high-ranking officials to speak out against a two-state solution after the war in Gaza.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Isaac Herzog said it is not the time to be talking about establishing an independent Palestinian state when the country’s pain from Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack is still fresh.

“What I want to urge is against just saying two-state solution. Why? Because there is an emotional chapter here that must be dealt with. My nation is bereaving. My nation is in trauma,” said Herzog.

Herzog spoke a day before a meeting with the White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. The Biden administration has said that after the war, efforts must be renewed to restart negotiations aimed at establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

A journalist’s perspective: Reporting on the Israel-Hamas war

TEL AVIV — NBC News correspondents Raf Sanchez and Hala Gorani share their experience reporting on the Israel-Hamas war.

They detail stories they can’t forget and reflect on their mental well-being after reporting on so much suffering.  

At least 10 killed, 15 injured in bombing: Palestine Red Crescent Society

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said today that its ambulances transported 10 people who were killed, and another 15 who were injured, in a bombing in Deir al-Balah.

A video also released by PRCS showed paramedics carrying a small child with blood on their head in to the back of an ambulance, apparently injured in the bombing. The child, whose clothing and face were gray with ash, cried as a man wiped the blood from their face, according to the video.

PCRS said today that it has struggled to get in contact from its team in Gaza as the Palestinian enclave experiences yet another communications black out.

“We feel extreme concern about the possibility of our teams continuing to provide emergency services, especially as this disruption affects the central 101 operation room and hinders the arrival of ambulances to the injured and wounded,” the organization said in a post on X.

Palestinians search destroyed family home in Rafah

Palestinians gather around the destroyed Shehada family home following the Israeli bombardment of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 14, 2023.
Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images

Palestinians gather around the destroyed Shehada family home today following the bombardment of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Inside the Israeli hospital dedicated to the rehab of soldiers

TEL AVIV — Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the Ichilov hospital ihas dedicated an entire floor to the rehab of wounded Israeli soldiers.

NBC News was granted access inside by the military and spoke to a soldier recovering from the assault.

Danish company denies Houthi claim container ship hit by Yemeni militia

COPENHAGEN/DUBAI — Danish shipping company Maersk on Friday denied a claim by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement that the militia made a drone strike on a Maersk vessel sailing toward Israel.

The Houthi earlier claimed it carried out a military operation against a Maersk container vessel, directly hitting it with a drone. The Houthi, who made the claim in a statement, did not release any evidence.

Maersk on Thursday said ship Maersk Gibraltar was targeted by a missile while traveling from Salalah, Oman, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and that the crew and vessel were reported safe.

The incident took place near the Bad al-Mandab Strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, where Yemen’s Houthi on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a missile attack on a Norwegian chemical tanker.

Injured Israeli soldier who returned from Gaza says he wants to ‘bring back the peace’

TEL AVIV — An Israeli soldier who was evacuated out of Gaza after he was injured by mortar fire during ground operations believes the military is doing everything it can to “bring back our hostages and end the war.”  

Speaking from a hospital bed, where he has been receiving care since his evacuation in early November, Sgt. First Class Ofer said his unit was “amongst the first forces” to enter the enclave. In early November, he said he was injured in mortar fire that killed a member of his unit.

The soldier, who spoke on the condition that his last name be withheld said he believed he was doing “what you’re supposed to do … You’re making a way back to peace, for us and for the other side, for the civilians of the other side.” Asked how he feels about mounting criticisms of the Israeli military’s offensive in Gaza, which has seen more than 18,700 people killed in the enclave, he said it wasn’t his “job or decision … to dissect all of the different opinions.”  

“I work in my operational zone, which is to bring back the peace with my unit and everyone’s forces to bring back our hostages, and end the war,” he said. “That’s what I do, and leave the other higher ground to people who need to do this.”

Sullivan to meet with Palestinian Authority president tomorrow

Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security advisor, will travel to Ramallah tomorrow to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to a senior administration official.

Sullivan is expected to discuss the Palestinian Authority’s role in setting the conditions to ensure another Oct. 7 attack doesn’t happen again, as well as to reiterate the U.S. support for Palestinians, the official said.

This follows what the official described as a good, “substantive,” discussion between Sullivan and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today in Tel Aviv. The meeting also included Netanyahu’s war cabinet, where the official said Sullivan was briefed on Israeli efforts to minimize civilian causalities in Gaza.

U.S. urges Israel to end large-scale ground war, move to more targeted phase

The Biden administration has told the Israeli government that it wants Israel to end its large-scale ground campaign in Gaza and transition to a more targeted phase of its war against Hamas, two U.S. officials familiar with the discussions told NBC News.

The officials stressed National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan did not specify a timetable for this new phase of the war during his meeting today with Netanyahu.

At an unrelated event, Biden was asked whether he wanted Israel to scale back its assault on Gaza. He responded: “I want them to be focused on how to save civilian lives. Not stop going after Hamas — but be more careful.”

At today’s White House press briefing, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said Sullivan spoke with Netanyahu about “the next phase of Israel’s military campaign and he asked hard questions as we have been doing, about what all that could look like.”

Kirby said Sullivan “also discussed efforts Israel’s now undertaking to be more surgical and precise in their targeting and efforts that they are taking to help increase the flow of aid.”

Before meeting with Sullivan today, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the war against Hamas would “last more than several months.”

“That’s consistent with what they’ve been saying since almost the very beginning, that this could take some time.” Kirby said. “We’re not dictating terms to the Israelis about how long it has to take.”

U.S. officials acknowledge it will take Israel months to take out Hamas leaders, which will continue even if this high-intensity phase moves to a more surgical one. The debate over the pace of the war comes after President Biden warned earlier this week in a speech to donors that Israel was losing global support because of “indiscriminate bombing.”

Israeli opposition leader calls for ‘normalization’ in Gaza, warns against harming ‘important relationship’ with U.S.

Benny Gantz, the head of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition, said that the “normalization processes need to be started” following a visit to Israel by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

“It is clear to both us and our partners that the old concepts, and the reality of the past decades, need to change and be forward-looking,” Gantz said today, adding that Israel is at the beginning of a yearslong process.

Gantz noted that Sullivan reaffirmed the U.S. interest in normalization during a conversation the two had today. The remarks follow tensions between Netanyahu and the U.S. on Gaza’s post-war future, which Gantz also seemed to refer to.

“Unfortunately, even in these difficult times, some are trying to sabotage the unity in our people and sabotage the relationship with the United States,” Gantz said.

Israel dropping imprecise ‘dumb bombs’ in Gaza, sources tell NBC News

Nearly half of the munitions Israel has dropped on Gaza in its war on Hamas militants are less precise “dumb bombs,” according to an intelligence assessment shared with Congress, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Out of 29,000 air-to-ground munitions used in Gaza, about 40 to 45 percent were unguided, the sources said, citing reporting from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The remainder were guided munitions. CNN first reported on the intelligence assessment.

ODNI declined to comment and Israel’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Unguided or “dumb bombs” are less accurate than precision-guided munitions that are steered by lasers or satellite navigation systems. “Smart” bombs and missiles are designed to hit no more than 10 feet from a target, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Fire and smoke erupt after Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 14, 2023.
An Israeli bombardment Thursday in Rafah, southern Gaza.Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images

Why some people are losing jobs over posts on Israel-Hamas war

As the war between Israel and Hamas enters its third month, employees worldwide have reported losing their jobs and offers after speaking out about the conflict online.

A labor and employment lawyer gives advice on what employees should keep in mind during this time. 

IDF says it engaged in ‘close-quarters combat’ in northern Gaza

Israeli soldiers engaged in “close-quarters combat” with Hamas as the military continues operations in the northern Gaza Strip, according to a new statement from the IDF.

The IDF said it “killed Hamas operatives who were spotted observing the soldiers,” as well as searching a school compound where it said a Hamas battalion was operating.

Military forces have also continued its missions in the south, the IDF said, where soldiers located tunnel shafts, a rocket launching pit and a weapons storage facility in Khan Younis.

NBC News is not able to independently verify the IDF’s statement.

Netanyahu thanks America for U.N. veto, vows to continue war until Hamas is eliminated

Netanyahu reiterated that Israel will continue its war until the hostages return home and Hamas is eliminated in a statement following a visit with Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser.

“I told our American friends: Our heroic soldiers have not fallen in vain,” Netanyahu said. “Out of the deep pain … we are more determined than ever to continue fighting until Hamas is eliminated — until absolute victory.”

The prime minister also thanked the U.S. for using its veto power to block the U.N. Security Council vote for a cease-fire last week and for supplying arms to Israel. His comments come after a public disagreement with Biden’s vision for a post-war Gaza.

Netanyahu said in a video statement that he would not support the Palestinian Authority taking over governance in Gaza after the war, and an Israeli ambassador said yesterday that the country will not accept a two-state solution. Biden’s administration reiterated yesterday that it believes there can be no peace in the region without the realization of an independent Palestinian state.

UNRWA commissioner: People stopping aid trucks to grab food “out of total despair”

Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, said that hungry people near the Rafah crossing are stopping aid trucks and eating the food before the trucks have the chance to reach deeper into Gaza.

“People are stopping at aid trucks, taking the food and eating it right away,” he said during a news conference today. “This is how desperate and hungry they are.” According to Lazzarini, this is blocking food from reaching shelters or more remotes areas.

He described the situation in Gaza as continuously worsening and having become an uninhabitable “living hell.” Since the resumption of fighting, he said, it has become almost impossible for UNRWA to continue operating.

Lazzarini called for more efforts to open a second border crossing at Kerem Shalom.

IDF says its concluded 60-hour raid on Jenin in the West Bank

After about 60 hours, the IDF said it has concluded the operation it launched in Jenin on Tuesday.

According to the military, the three-day raid resulted in more than 50 weapon seizures, the discovery of 10 underground shafts, and the arrest of 14 wanted suspects. Three of those arrests were suspects affiliated with Hamas, the IDF said.

Israeli forces were also attacked during the raid, the IDF said, resulting in seven injured soldiers.

The IDF said more than 10 “terrorists” were killed in the raid, while the Palestinian Health Ministry said that 12 people were killed in Jenin since Tuesday, including at least one teenage boy.

A Palestinian child walks past a Star of David painted on the wall of a house by members of the Israeli army during a three-day incursion in the Jenin camp in the occupied West Bank bank city of Jenin on Dec. 14, 2023.
A child walks past a Star of David today painted on the wall of a house by members of the Israeli army in Jenin.Zain Jaafar / AFP – Getty Images

Palestinian prisoners allegedly beaten, held in cold and rainy conditions

The Palestinian Prisoners Club accused Israeli forces of using the bad weather as “a tool to torture” Palestinians being detained as winter conditions set in.

Detainees are allegedly being beaten, stripped and forced to sleep on floors without covers as cold weather sets in, according to a statement from the club.

“The occupation forces carried out torture operations against the detainees by keeping them in the rain and in the extreme cold, in addition to beating them severely,” the club said. “Based on the testimonies of many prisoners, the Israeli soldiers refuse to allow those arrested to wear extra clothes.”

In response to an NBC News request for comment on the allegations, the Israeli Prison Service said that it was unaware of the claims and that prisoners are allowed to file complaints for officials to review.

French Foreign Ministry says Hamas funding and propaganda must be combated

The French Foreign Ministry held a meeting in Paris today “dedicated to combating Hamas” under the direction of President Emmanuel Macron.

A release following the meeting noted that the ministry discussed international coordination for actions taken against Hamas. Two items were identified as main priorities: Hamas’ funding and the statements it releases.

“The participants recalled the importance of robust regulation mechanisms and the need to increase cooperation based on existing mechanisms for fighting the spread of online terrorist content, while respecting the human rights and freedom of expression that prevail in a law-based State,” it said.

Doctors Without Borders says team witnessed teenage boy killed by Israeli forces outside hospital compound

An unarmed teenage boy was shot and killed this morning outside Khalil Suleiman Hospital in Jenin, a West Bank neighborhood, according to a statement from Médecins Sans Frontières, known as Doctors Without Borders in English.

Doctors working with the Palestinian Health Ministry and MSF were unable to save the boy after he was shot, the aid organization said. The IDF has not immediately responded to a request for comment from NBC News.

The MSF medical team witnessed Israeli forces stopping ambulances and forcing staff inside to get out, strip and kneel while patients were left inside. A 13-year-old boy died on arrival to Khalil Suleiman Hospital on Tuesday, MSF noted, because Israeli armored cars blocked ambulances forcing his father to carry him to the compound.

“Since October 7, we have seen Israeli forces fire live bullets at the hospital, tear gas the hospital, block ambulances, humiliate and harass medical staff, and now shoot and kill someone in the hospital compound,” MSF’s statement said.

The IDF began what has now become a three-day raid on Jenin on Tuesday, in which the military said yesterday it has detained more than 100 Palestinians and seized 30 weapons. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 12 people have been killed since the Jenin raid began.

Germany arrests four suspected Hamas operatives

Earlier today, German law enforcement arrested three suspected Hamas operatives in Berlin, and a fourth operative was arrested in the Netherlands on behalf of Germany.

The suspects: Abdelhamid Al A, Mohamed B, Nazih R, and Ibrahim El-R are accused of having close ties to Hamas’ military leadership and attempting to build an underground weapons cache in Berlin. A statement from German prosecutors says that Abdelhamid Al A was acting upon orders from Hamas leadership in Lebanon.

Prosecutors allege this weapons operation had been going on since at least the spring. This comes in addition to the announcement of the arrest of seven Hamas operatives in Denmark today.

Police officers investigate at a house in Berlin on Dec. 14, 2023.
Police officers investigate at a house in Berlin today.Paul Zinken / dpa via Getty Images

‘It will last more than several months, but we will win’: Israel’s defense minister says

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with Sullivan today in Tel Aviv, where they discussed the ongoing war front in Gaza and threats brewing in the Middle East. 

Prior to the meeting, Gallant said the U.S. and Israel “share common interests, common values and in this war, we also share common goals.”

He vowed to “destroy” Hamas, but noted it won’t be an easy feat. “It will require a period of time — it will last more than several months, but we will win and we will destroy them,” he said. 

The two discussed ongoing developments in Gaza, the northern border with Lebanon, the need to allow Israeli citizens to return to their homes in the north, and Iranian aggression via its proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. 

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, left, meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv on Dec. 14, 2023.
Sullivan, left, meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv.Ariel Hermoni / Israel’s Ministry of Defense

Gaza hit with another phone and internet blackout

Gaza’s largest telecommunications provider, Paltel, is again no longer providing service.

“We regret to announce that all telecom services in Gaza Strip have been lost due to the ongoing aggression. Gaza is blacked out again,” Paltel announced today on X.

Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Kentik, a company that tracks global internet connectivity, confirmed to NBC News that internet service in Gaza was out.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society announced it had completely lost contact with its operations room, and that this was the fifth blackout it had experienced since the war began.

Paltel, which provides the majority of phone and internet connections for Gazans, has suffered repeated outages since the war started. It has cited Israeli bombing and energy blackouts as the primary reasons.

Hamas’ popularity increases against Palestinian Authority during war but majority remain unsupportive, poll finds

Hamas’ popularity has increased since the attacks Oct. 7, but a majority of Palestinians still remain unsupportive of the group, a survey published yesterday found.

In the Gaza Strip, 42% supported Hamas, up from 38% before the war, with support for the Palestinian Authority dropping from 33% to 24%. More people now also support a two-state solution but majority still oppose its view of its impracticality due to expansion of Israeli settlements.

The poll was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank and Gaza between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2, with the interviews in Gaza conducted during the truce. A total of 1,231 people were interviewed, with 750 in the West Bank.

“The overwhelming majority condemns the positions taken by the US and the main European powers during the war and express the belief that they have lost their moral compass,” the center said.

A woman looks at a poster of a Palestinian man killed in a previous Israeli army operation as she walks past a Star of David spray-painted on the wall of a house in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Dec. 14, 2023.
A woman looks at a poster of a Palestinian man killed in a previous Israeli army operation as she walks past a Star of David spray-painted on the wall of a house in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank today.Marco Longari / AFP – Getty Images

In Israel’s northern neighbor, worries grow that Netanyahu won’t stop with Gaza

BEIRUT — As Israeli forces expand their ground operations in southern Gaza, anxiety is running high internationally that Tehran’s proxies could try to broaden the war into a regionwide conflict.

Yet, despite the belligerent rhetoric from all sides since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack and the escalation by members of the Iran-led “axis of resistance” — Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as powerful Iraqi Shia militias and Yemen’s Houthis — few officials who lead Israel’s northern neighbor believe that Iran and its partners want an all-out war.

Anxiety in Lebanon is instead focused on one wild card: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s political insecurity brought on by the crisis in Gaza and deepening unpopularity at home have many fearing that he could fire up the cross-border war to a full boil, spilling it into Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and even scalding American naval assets in the Mediterranean Sea. 

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip has sparked fears of a wider regional conflict, with near-daily exchanges of fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah across Israel's border with Lebanon and a surge of deadly violence in the occupied West Bank.
Damage in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in the southern Lebanese border village of Mais el-Jabal on Dec. 6.Hansan Fneich / AFP – Getty Images

Many among Lebanon’s officialdom — NBC News spoke to a dozen diplomats, military chiefs and leaders of militant organizations for this article — fear that Netanyahu may turn his personal troubles into a regional nightmare.

Read the full story here.

Denmark arrests 7 people operating for Hamas, Netanyahu’s office says

Denmark arrested seven operatives acting on behalf of Hamas, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement today, adding they foiled an “attack aimed at killing innocent citizens on European soil.”

“Hamas strives to expand its operational capabilities around the world and in Europe in particular in order to realize its ambitions to hit Israeli, Jewish and Western targets at any cost,” it said, adding the “extensive exposure” of Hamas infrastructure in Europe was exposed today.

The identity of those arrested and their charges were not disclosed.

Hamas open to ‘ideas or initiatives’ that could end the war, top official says

As the death toll mounts in Gaza amid Israel’s military campaign in the besieged enclave, Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, said it’s open to “any ideas or initiatives” that could end the war in Gaza and secure an independent state.

His comments appeared as backing a common state for the Palestinian people, one that would include the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip with Jerusalem as its capital.

“Any bets on arrangements in Gaza without Hamas and the resistance factions are an illusion and a mirage,” he said in a televised address yesterday.

Smoke billows over the northern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment from southern Israel on Dec. 14, 2023.
Smoke billows over the northern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment today.Jack Guez / AFP – Getty Images

Bombardment of Khan Younis is so intense not all wounded can be rescued, medics say

The emergency room at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis was overwhelmed by wounded Palestinians as Israel maintained its relentless assault.

Artillery shelling continues in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, Red Crescent says

The Palestine Red Crescent Society’s teams were helping with an unspecified number of dead and wounded Palestinians in central Khan Younis as artillery shelling continued for hours, the group said in a statement posted on X.

The shelling is happening less than a mile away from the PRCS headquarters and Al-Amal Hospital, it said.

A woman cries for her dead at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.
A woman cries for her dead relatives today at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza.Mohammed Dahman / AP

Sullivan meets with Netanyahu

Sullivan is currently meeting with Netanyahu.

The meeting is also being attended by the Israeli national security adviser and head of its National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, and the U.S. presidential special envoy for the Middle East, Brett McGurk.

It will be followed by a meeting with the Israeli war Cabinet.

IDF denies report that it executed 15 people at a U.N. school in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces denied an Al Jazeera report that said its troops had executed 15 people at a school run by the U.N. agency supporting Palestinians, saying the claims made were “deceitful” and “biased.”

In the report, piles of bullet casings can be seen in the destroyed school with residents saying they found dead bodies.

The IDF said in a statement to NBC News that its soldiers operated within the area of the school after people were evacuated, finding weaponry and ammunition.

It “even encountered armed terrorists who were using civilian infrastructure and the population as human shields,” it said.

Homes shattered in southern Gaza as strikes continue

Israeli leaders on December 13, they intend to press ahead with the Gaza Strip war against Hamas, despite coming under increasing international pressure, including from key ally the United States.
Said Khatib / AFP via Getty Images
Rafah Southern Gaza Destruction
Said Khatib / AFP – Getty Images

Palestinians walk through the rubble of what remains of their homes, following continued Israeli bombardments of the southern region today.

IDF suspends soldiers seen singing Hanukkah songs at a mosque in the occupied West Bank

The Israel Defense Forces has suspended soldiers seen singing Hanukkah songs at a mosque in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

In videos shared online, soldiers can be seen singing in Hebrew using a mosque’s loudspeaker system, usually used for the Muslim call to prayer. In other footage, singing in Hebrew can be heard from outside a mosque.

“The behavior of the soldiers in the videos is serious and stands in complete opposition to the values ​​of the IDF, the soldiers will be disciplined accordingly,” the IDF said in a statement to NBC News.

However, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said there was “no room for disciplinary action” against the fighters who should instead be given “full support” during wartime.

The Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry said it condemned Gvir’s statements and “the storming and desecration of a mosque,” adding the singing violated the sanctity of the mosque.

British foreign secretary warns against ‘extremist settlers’ targeting Palestinians

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron warned today that Israel needed to do more to stop Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian civilians.

“Extremist settlers, by targeting and killing Palestinian civilians, are undermining security and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians,” he wrote in a post on X.

Cameron added that those involved in such violence would be barred from immigrating to the United Kingdom.

At least two were killed as Israeli forces storm hospital in northern Gaza, Health Ministry says

At least two were killed and 10 were left wounded after Israeli forces stormed Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement today.

He said supply of drinking water, food and electricity are all being blocked by Israeli forces, depriving 12 children in need of milk.

“We warn that they will lose their lives as a result of cutting off electricity and stopping their life support equipment,” al-Qidra said, adding that 2,500 displaced people have been evacuated by Israeli forces from the hospital toward shelters.

NBC News has not independently verified the claims.

Video shows child’s body carried through Gaza floodwater

Heavy rain and flooding is adding to the misery in Gaza as a battered and displaced population struggles to cope with the conditions.

Warning: This video includes images that some viewers may find upsetting or disturbing.

Rain and flooding worsening the conditions in besieged Gaza

The already destroyed streets of Gaza are now flooded with rainwater, as more than 2 million people in the enclave face dropping temperatures, acute food and water shortage.

In a video geolocated by NBC News, a paramedic is seeing carrying a woman out of a broken window of an ambulance while moving through water up to his waist.

The adverse weather conditions in the Gaza Strip, where Israel has been carrying out attacks, have made life even more difficult for Palestinians.
A Palestinian child stands in floodwaters at a temporary camp in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, yesterday.Ashraf Amra / Anadolu via Getty Images

A rainwater reservoir, Sheikh Al-Radwan pool, in northern Gaza city is at “ a very critical level and there was no fuel to pump it,” the Gaza municipality said today, adding that it is filled with sewage and flooding is creating a dangerous situation.

U.N. and aid agencies have warned of waterborne diseases as blocked sewers and pumps fail to clear water without electricity.

Children injured after Khan Younis strike

Palestinian civilians, injured by Israeli airstrikes, arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza today.

A so-called safe zone where Palestinians have been ordered to evacuate to by the Israeli army is the coastal Bedouin town of al-Mawasi in the south of the besieged strip which is about 1km (0.6 miles) wide and 14km (8.7 miles) long.
Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Hostage families demand explanation after report that Israel blocked negotiations visit

Families of hostages taken by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attacks are demanding Israeli officials “break the deadlock in negotiations” after a report that Mossad Chief David Barnea’s visit to Qatar to jump-start negotiations was blocked by Cabinet ministers.

“The families were shocked by the report on the rejection of the Director of Mossad’s request to formulate an agreement for the release of the hostages,” the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said in a statement, adding the families “demand an immediate explanation.”

“The feeling is that every evening a Russian roulette of murdering hostages in Hamas captivity takes place,” it added.

Israeli officials have previously traveled to Doha in Qatar to negotiate the releases of hostages.

The prime minister’s office told NBC News, “Israeli officials did not comment on those reports.” NBC News has not confirmed the report.

U.S. naval ship shot down Houthi drone while responding to mayday call

The USS Mason shot down a drone launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen yesterday while responding to a mayday call from a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker under attack from the rebels, U.S. Central Command said today in a post on X.

A missile fired by Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels struck a Norwegian-flagged tanker off Yemen on Monday, US Central Command said, adding that no casualties were immediately reported.
The USS Mason.Katrina Parker / AFP – Getty Images file

“These forces first attempted to board the tanker via skiffs,” it said, adding a two missiles were fired later at the vessel and both missed. Subsequently, the Mason shot down a drone in self-defense.

“There were no injuries to personnel and no damage to any vessels,” it said.

Attacks on commercial ships in the region have increased, which the Houthi rebels say is in support of the people of Gaza. The Israeli military campaign in the besieged Palestinian enclave has displaced the majority of its 2.2 million people.

UNRWA: 2023 the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005

This year has been the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since the United Nations began recording casualties in 2005, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said yesterday in a report.

At least 271 Palestinians, including 69 children, have been killed by Israeli forces, it added.

Israeli forces have been raiding camps and carrying out arrests in the occupied West Bank in the past few weeks, with at least seven killed, including one child, from missiles fired by Israeli drones Tuesday, UNRWA said.

In Gaza, at least 135 of UNRWA staff members have been killed since the war began Oct. 7, the agency said today in a post on X, adding that 70% of its team is displaced across Gaza.

A hole from a stray bullet is seen in the window of a hotel room in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on Dec. 14, 2023.
A hole from a stray bullet is seen in the window of a hotel room today in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.Marco Longari / AFP – Getty Images

Putin says there is no comparison between Gaza and Ukraine conflicts

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at an end-of-year news conference in which ordinary citizens had the chance to pose questions, said there was no comparison to be drawn between the conflicts taking place in Gaza and Ukraine.

‘God help us’: Displaced Gazans who fled bombardment now face health crisis in a makeshift tent city

TEL AVIV — Women, children and the elderly are among the thousands of displaced people living in a huge, makeshift tent city sprawled across the desert in southern Gaza.

Some live in unfinished concrete structures, others are sheltering under plastic sheets and tents. Laundry is done in buckets. Cooking is done outside on makeshift, wood-fired metal stoves. Many walked miles to get to the camp on the outskirts of the city of Rafah, the blisters on their feet still visible from perilous journeys amid regular Israeli bombardment, the trauma etched on their faces.

Rohifa Ramza, 15, Baker told an NBC News crew earlier this week that she wondered whether it would be better “for me to die here instead of living this black life.”

“This is our life. We are living in a tent at the Egyptian border,” she said. “May God help us. May God help us.”

Read the full story here.

IDF spokesperson says military is ‘creative’ in damaging Hamas tunnels

The Israeli military will use a “creative variety of ways” to destroy Hamas tunnels, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said during a briefing yesterday after being asked directly whether the military was flooding tunnels.

“Some of these ways are tactical activity, using some kind of tool to get the terrorists out of the tunnels and some permanent destruction so that the tunnel cannot function,” he said. “The more ways the better, it is wrong to give the enemy the information where and in what place.”

A U.S. official told NBC News on Tuesday that the Israeli military began using seawater to flood underground tunnels, where it is believed Hamas leadership is hiding. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

NBC News previously reported that Israel was considering this tactic, though critics argued it may exacerbate the current humanitarian crisis after the Palestinian Water Authority warned it could damage Gaza’s underground aquifer.

Sullivan meets the Saudi crown prince

National security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed the ongoing efforts for “sustainable peace” between Israelis and Palestinians in a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, yesterday.

“They also discussed the humanitarian response in Gaza, including efforts to increase the flow of critical aid,” the White House said in a readout of their meeting.

A child is mourned in Rafah

A woman cries as she cradles the body of a child killed in a recent Israeli bombardment, outside Najar Hospital in Rafah, in southern Gaza today.

A woman from the Palestinian Ashour family holds the body of a baby who was killed in Israeli bombardment, on December 14, 2023, at Najar hospital in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images

Netanyahu pledges to press on with war until ‘victory’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed the war in Gaza would continue until Israel achieved a definitive victory.

“We are going on to the end, until victory, nothing less,” he said. “Nothing will stop us,” he told a brigade fighting in Gaza, according to a readout from his office. “I also say this in light of the great pain, but also in the face of the international pressures.”

President Joe Biden said earlier that Netanyahu “has to change,” and that the support for Israel’s military campaign was waning amid its heavy bombardment of Gaza. But his talk has not translated into actions to slow Israel’s war.

On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to back a nonbinding cease-fire resolution. The U.S. joined Israel and eight other countries in voting against it.

Highlights from NBC News’ reporting relating to the war