June 18, 2024

(Bloomberg) — The Israeli death toll from the war with Hamas has surpassed 1,000, as the conflict entered a fourth day.

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Israel’s ruling coalition said it wants to form an emergency government with the opposition to see the country through the crisis. The military said it’s building a base for thousands of soldiers in preparation for the next phase of its retaliation, which has led to hundreds of deaths in Gaza amid an intense bombardment of the territory.

While a ground invasion hasn’t been announced, many Israelis and Palestinians expect one. Iran and Hamas have said Israel will pay a high price for such a move.

A huge and rapid mobilization has stretched the Israeli military’s resources and the US is sending security aid. President Joe Biden said at least 11 Americans had died and others were likely being held hostage. Hamas, which the US and Europe have declared a terrorist group, said late Monday it was prepared to kill hostages.

All time stamps are for Israel

Biden to Speak to Netanyahu (4:15 p.m)

President Joe Biden will speak to Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to coordinate additional support for Israel, the White House said.

Israel Builds Up Forces Near Gaza for Next Phase of Conflict

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will earlier meet their national security teams for an update on the situation and discussion of next steps. The president is slated to give a speech on US support for Israel, the hostage crisis, and combatting anti-Semitism in the United States.

Israel Says Two Members of Gaza Politburo Killed (3:59 p.m.)

An Israeli airstrike killed two members of the Gaza politburo, Hamas’s decision-making body, the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday. It named them as Zakarya Abu Muamar, who was in charge of coordination between the different Palestinian factions, and Jawad Abu Shamalla, who held the economic portfolio.

The 20-member politburo was formed following internal Hamas elections in 2021.

Putin Says Israel-Palestine ‘Vivid’ Example of US Policy Failure (3:51 p.m.)

The Israel-Hamas conflict is a “vivid example of the failure of US policy in the Middle East,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Hamas Got Around Israel’s Surveillance Prowess by Going Dark

Putin, speaking a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani in Moscow, accused the US of trying to monopolize efforts toward a resolution, putting pressure on both sides “without taking into account the fundamental interests of the Palestinians.” He said an independent, sovereign Palestinian state was a necessity.

EU’s Borrell Says Israel Has Right to Self-Defense, Must Follow International Law (3:27 p.m.)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Israel has the right to defend itself, but said “it has to be implemented according to the principles of international humanitarian law.” He also called for allowing people in Gaza access to food, water and medicine.

Israeli Death Toll Rises to More Than 1,000 (3:02 p.m.)

More than 1,008 Israelis have been killed in the attacks, the Israeli Embassy in the US said on X. Over 3,418 others have been injured and some 4,969 rockets launched, it said.

US’s Kirby: $6 Billion Iran Funds Can Be ‘Refrozen’ (2:41 p.m.)

Access the US gave Iran to $6 billion in suspended funds as part of a prisoner-swap deal can be “refrozen at any time, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told MSNBC.

President Joe Biden’s Republican rivals have harshly criticized his decision to grant Iran access to the funds for humanitarian purposes, saying it emboldened Iran and its proxies such as Hamas.

“Not a single dinar of that $6 billion has ever gone into Iran for humanitarian purposes,” Kirby said. “None of it has been allocated; none of it has been spent. So it’s all still sitting in a Qatari bank and that is an option that’s available to us.”

Ruling Coalition Wants to Form Emergency Government (2:20 p.m.)

Israel’s ruling coalition said it wants to form a rare emergency government with the opposition following Saturday’s attacks by Hamas that killed more than 900 Israelis.

“All the heads of the coalition, without exception, supported the establishment of a national emergency government and authorized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to act for its establishment,” Likud, the premier’s party, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Some opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Yair Lapid and ex-Defense Minister Benny Gantz, said over the weekend that they’d favor such a move.

France Says Plausible Iran Helped Hamas (1 p.m.)

French President Emmanuel Macron said there wasn’t any definite trace of Iran’s direct involvement in Saturday’s attacks at this stage, but added it was plausible the country cooperated with Hamas and provided help.

He told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Hamburg that public statements made by Iran were “unacceptable.” “We very clearly condemn all the countries who cheered the horrors committed by Hamas, which is the case of Iran,” he said.

Israeli, Palestinian Foreign Ministers Invited to EU Meeting (1:04 p.m.)

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief asked Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to join an emergency meeting of EU ministers on Tuesday. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki was also invited to speak to the group, Josep Borrell said in a post on X.

Iran is Key to Whether Conflict Roils Oil Market (1 p.m.)

“The road to an oil crisis leads through Iran,” Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official, told Bloomberg television on Thursday. “Right now, our odds are about 20% — but with risks skewed sharply higher — that this will affect oil in a material way.”

“Secondarily, you’ve got to watch Lebanon and Hezbollah. Other than a formal accusation of Iranian complicity, an expansion of the conflict in Lebanon is how this thing could spread and become a major oil and LNG issue.”

Hamas Leader Says Will Only Discuss Hostage Situation After War Ends (12:57 p.m.)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the group “informed all parties that contacted us” regarding hostages that “this file will not be discussed before the end of the battle,” according to a statement. It “will only be at a price that the resistance will accept,” he said.

He urged other “resistance groups” to join Hamas’s fight.

Egypt’s state-run Ahram Online website on Monday reported the country was working to facilitate a prisoner-exchange deal, looking to secure the release of Palestinian women and children held by Israel in return for that of Israeli “civilian women” taken by Hamas. It cited people it didn’t identify.

Number of Palestinians Displaced in Gaza Rises to 180,000 (11:59 a.m.)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said 180,000 people had now been internally displaced in Gaza due to the violence. Some 137,500 are sheltering in 83 UNRWA schools.

Israel Expects Gaza to Lose Electricity Within Days (11:47 a.m.)

Energy Minister Israel Katz says he expected electricity in Gaza to completely cut within days, with local suppliers disabled. Electricity supply coming from Israel has already been shut down. Water is likely to cut within a week, once pumping wells are emptied, he said.

Khamenei Warns Against Attacks on Gaza (11:23 a.m.)

“The massacre and mass killing of the people of Gaza will bring a greater calamity” on Israel, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said at a military graduation ceremony. “They should know that the reaction to these atrocities will be a heavier slap”

Khamenei repeated his country’s denial of involvement in the attacks, and said the Hamas operation was a response to Israeli “crimes.”

“The incumbent government of the Israeli regime is the culprit,” he said. “Of course, we defend Palestine and their fight,” said Khamenei, who’s previously criticized Arab countries for normalizing ties with Israel.

Israel Builds Up Forces Near Gaza (10:01 a.m.)

The Israeli military is building a base next to the Gaza Strip to accommodate tens of thousands of soldiers.

“Israel is going to respond very severely and aggressively and there will be more loss of life,” Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military and lieutenant-colonel, told journalists in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. “We should all change the paradigm here. This is not tit for tat.”

The mass and rapid mobilization means the military is stretched for equipment, leaving some troops with older items, Hecht said. He warned there could be errors when it comes to hitting targets in Gaza.

–With assistance from Gwen Ackerman, Alisa Odenheimer, Galit Altstein and Marissa Newman.

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