More than 100 days since Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, the Israeli military continues its bombardment of the neighboring Gaza Strip.
The conflict, now the deadliest between the warring sides since Israel's founding in 1948, shows no signs of letting up soon and the brief cease-fire that allowed for over 100 hostages to be freed from Gaza remains a distant memory.
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Feb 7, 7:22 AM
Blinken meets with Netanyahu on latest trip to Israel
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
First, Netanyahu and Blinken "held a long and in-depth meeting in private" before having "an extended meeting" with other Israeli and U.S. officials, according to a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.
It's Blinken's fifth trip to the Middle East since Oct. 7 when war erupted between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that rules the neighboring Gaza Strip. The United States, along with Egypt and Qatar, has been involved in negotiations between the warring sides.
-ABC News' Jordana Miller and Morgan Winsor
Feb 6, 7:35 PM
US House fails to pass Israel aid bill
The U.S. House failed to pass a $17.6 billion standalone bill to provide aid to Israel.
The bill failed 250-180 during a vote Tuesday evening.
The GOP measure was being considered under suspension, which required a two-thirds majority to pass.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, who unveiled the standalone bill over the weekend, blamed President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for its failure.
"The decision by President Biden and Leader Schumer to torpedo this bill to aid the Israeli people in their fight against Hamas is a disappointing rebuke to our closest ally in the Middle East at their time of great need," Johnson said in a statement following the vote.
The Biden administration had issued a veto threat to the bill on Monday, saying it "strongly opposes" the measure after a bipartisan group of senators came to an agreement on a national security supplemental that includes Israel aid.
Schumer said he was against the bill and wanted Israel aid coupled with aid for Ukraine, Taiwan and the border.
-ABC News' John Parkinson and Lauren Peller
Feb 6, 4:50 PM
Qatari prime minister: Hamas has responded to hostage deal framework
Hamas has formally responded to the proposed framework for a deal exchanging hostages remaining in Gaza for an extended cease-fire, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said Tuesday during a press conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
"The reply includes some comments, but in general it is positive," he said via a translator. "However, given the sensitivity of the circumstances we will not tackle details. We are optimistic and we have delivered the response to the Israeli party."
Hamas in a statement did not say they had agreed to the deal but said they "dealt with" the proposed hostage deal "with a positive spirit."
However, after receiving the response from Hamas, Israeli officials indicated a deal is still "far off," according to Israeli political sources.
While Blinken didn’t express the same level of optimism as the Qatari prime minister, he maintained that a hostage deal was within reach, saying now that they had a response from Hamas, negotiators would be "intensely focused on that."
"We’re reviewing that response now, and I’ll be discussing it with the government of Israel tomorrow,” Blinken said. "There is still a lot of work to be done, but we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and indeed, essential, and we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it."
When asked about the amount of time it took for Hamas to deliver an answer, the Qatari prime minister said "communication was presenting some challenges" and that "it took some time to get them to a place where we get that response," adding, "we are hoping to see it yielding very soon."
-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford
Feb 6, 4:02 PM
31 hostages are dead and remain in captivity in Gaza, Israeli sources say
The bodies of 31 hostages remain in Gaza, according to Israeli sources. The 31 hostages either died while being held captive by Hamas or were killed on Oct. 7, the sources said.
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman
Feb 6, 9:49 AM
Blinken meets with Egypt's president amid push for new truce
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss Israel's ongoing war in the neighboring Gaza Strip.
Their "meeting focused on developments in unyielding efforts aimed at reaching a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, exchanging detainees and providing access of needed relief aid to end the severe humanitarian catastrophe in the sector," according to a readout from Egypt’s presidency.
It's Blinken's fifth trip to the Middle East since war erupted between Israel and Gaza’s militant rulers, Hamas. Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been involved in negotiations between the warring sides.
-ABC News' Ayat Al-Tawy and Morgan Winsor
Feb 5, 11:54 AM
UN secretary-general opens independent review into UNRWA
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced Monday that he has appointed an independent review group to determine whether the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is "doing everything within its power to ensure neutrality and to respond to allegations of serious breaches when they are made."
The probe comes amid Israel's allegations that a dozen UNRWA employees were involved in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 terror attack.
"These accusations come at a time when UNRWA, the largest U.N. organization in the region, is working under extremely challenging conditions to deliver life-saving assistance to the 2 million people in the Gaza Strip who depend on it for their survival amidst one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises in the world," Guterres said in a statement.
The independent review group will begin its work on Feb. 14 and will provide an interim report by late March. A final report is due April 2024, according to Guterres.
The probe is separate from an investigation the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight is conducting into the allegations.
UNRWA has said it is investigating the allegations and took swift action against those accused of participating in the attack. However, the United States and other top donors have suspended their funding to the agency, which is the biggest humanitarian aid provider in the war-torn Gaza Strip.
-ABC News' Ellie Kaufman and Morgan Winsor
Feb 5, 8:44 AM
Food convoy hit by Israeli naval gunfire in Gaza, UNRWA says
A food aid convoy waiting to move into the north of the Gaza Strip was struck by Israeli naval gunfire on Monday morning, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
"Thankfully no one was injured," Tom White, director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza, wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
— Thomas White (@TomWhiteGaza) February 5, 2024
There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.
-ABC News' Morgan Winsor
Feb 3, 4:52 PM
House plans vote on standalone Israel aid bill next week
House Speaker Mike Johnson announced on Saturday the House will vote on a standalone $17.6 billion Israel aid package next week.
“Next week, we will take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package. During debate in the House and in numerous subsequent statements, Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its offsets. The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally,” Johnson said in a letter to colleagues obtained by ABC News.
This news is a major reversal after House Republicans previously approved a $14.3 billion Israel funding package that included cuts to IRS funding. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not bring this legislation to the floor for vote because of Democrats’ opposition to IRS funding cuts.
Johnson again emphasized the Senate negotiated supplemental will face an uphill battle in the House and attacked Senators for excluding him and the House from the bipartisan talks.
-ABC News’ Lauren Peller
Feb 3, 3:21 PM
IDF deploys 3 divisions to northern border amid Hezbollah attacks
The Israeli military has deployed three divisions to the northern border amid Hezbollah’s attacks on northern Israel, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said at a press conference Saturday.
He said the IDF is working to “reshape the security reality” on the northern border, so that some 80,000 Israelis displaced by Hezbollah’s attacks can return to their homes.
“We do not choose war as our first option but are certainly ready, and preparing for it all the time, if need be,” Hagari said.
The IDF has struck more than 150 cells, killing some 200 terror operatives, mostly members of Hezbollah, and targeted more than 3,400 Hezbollah sites since the beginning of the war in Gaza, according to Hagari.
-ABC News’ Anna Burd
Feb 2, 2:23 PM
Blinken to travel to the Middle East next week
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East next week, making stops in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the West Bank, the State Department announced.
This will be Blinken’s fifth visit to the region since Oct. 7.
During this trip, Blinken will focus on reaching "an agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages and includes a humanitarian pause that will allow for sustained, increased delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza," State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said.
Blinken is also looking to prevent the conflict from spreading while "reaffirming that the United States will take appropriate steps to defend its personnel and the right to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea," Miller said.
-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford