Israel-Hamas War: At least 27 Americans killed, 14 unaccounted for


The number of Americans confirmed dead in the ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas rose Thursday to 27, with 14 U.S. citizens remaining unaccounted for, according to officials.

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Editor’s note: This story is no longer being updated. The latest updates can be found here.

Officials in Israel and Gaza have said thousands of people have died as humanitarian groups warned of an increasingly dire situation in the Gaza Strip.

Homeland security official says no evidence of US threat

Update 9:00 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Thursday that there is no specific or credible intelligence about a threat to the United States amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas, CNN reported.

“We are especially vigilant, at this time, against the potential for violence here in the United States from a variety of threat actors,” a Homeland Security official said, according to CNN.

“Everybody is pretty well-attuned to the different ways in which the conflict could expand: you know, a northern front involving Lebanese Hezbollah, other actors in the region becoming involved,” the official said. “Each of those, were they to materialize, would have potential implications for our homeland security.”

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

France has banned pro-Palestinian protests

Update 8:16 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: France’s interior minister ordered authorities to ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations following the rise in antisemitic acts since Hamas attacked Israel on Saturday, The Associated Press reported.

President Emmanuel Macron urged the French people to not let the war to impact tensions at home, and he pledged that France would protect its Jewish citizens, the AP said.

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

‘Other fronts’ may open, Iran official says

Update 6:57 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian said that if Israel’s bombardment of Gaza does not stop, the war may open on “other fronts.” According to The Associated Press, that is an apparent reference to Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group.

“In light of the continued aggression, war crimes, and siege on Gaza, opening other fronts is a real possibility,” Amirabdollahian said after arriving in Beirut on Thursday night, the AP reported. He was reportedly greeted by Hamas representatives and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as well as other Lebanese officials. Earlier in the day, Amirabdollahian visited Iraq and made similar statements when he met with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Hamas officials have denied that Iran has been directly involved in planning the attack or “green-lighted it,” according to the AP. There has not yet been direct evidence that Iran was involved, but many believe that the country played a part due to its “long sponsorship” of Hamas.

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Death toll rises to 1,537 in Gaza

Update 5:34 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: At least 1,537 Palestinians have been killed since Israel started striking Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said, according to CNN.

The 1,537 people killed in Gaza include 447 children, the ministry said, according to CBS News.

Of those killed, 276 were women and 500 were under the age of 18, officials said, according to The Associated Press.

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

EU opens investigation into X

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: The European Union has opened an investigation in X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, over the spread of violent content and hate speech on the social media platform since the start of the Israel-Hamas war over the weekend, BBC News reported.

The investigation will be the first under the EU’s Digital Services Act and will also examine how complaints on X are handled, according to the news station.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Israel

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is scheduled to visit Israel on Friday, one day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the country, The Associated Press reported.

Citing an unidentified source, the AP reported that Austin is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Austin has spoken on the phone with Gallant several times since Hamas launched surprise attacks on Israel over the weekend.

No plans to put US troops on the ground, White House official says

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: There is “no intention or plan” to put American troops on the ground in Israel as fighting with Hamas militants continues, John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, said Thursday.

“There’s no desire by the Israelis for that outcome,” he said Thursday at a White House news conference.

He added, “The Israelis have made it very clear that they don’t want foreign troops on their soil, that they want to prosecute these operations on their own, and they have every right to want to do that.”

US will begin evacuating Americans from Israel as soon as Friday

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: The U.S. government will begin chartering flights as soon as Friday to get Americans seeking to leave Israel out of the country, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

“Beginning tomorrow, the U.S. government will arrange charter flights to arrange transportation from Israel to sites in Europe,” he said at a White House news conference. “They’re still working through some of the details of that.”

Kirby added that officials are “exploring other options to expand the capacity of doing this, including exploring whether it’s possible to help Americans leave by land and by sea.”

Two more Americans confirmed dead in Israel-Hamas war

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: As of Thursday afternoon, 27 Americans have been killed and 14 others remained missing after fighting broke out in Israel over the weekend, said John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council.

The number is two higher than the number confirmed earlier Thursday by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and five higher than the figure reported by Kirby on Wednesday.

“We’re obviously doing everything we can to support and inform the families,” Kirby said Thursday at a White House news conference. “Now, sadly, five more families have now gotten the worst possible news that any family can conceive of getting, and we’re going to keep in touch with them as appropriate. Same goes for those family members of those who are unaccounted for.”

He stressed that authorities still do not know the status of the people who are unaccounted for. It was not immediately clear whether the Americans had been taken hostage.

“We don’t know where they are,” he said. “They don’t know where they are. So we’re going to obviously stay in touch with (the families) as well and certainly we’re continuing to work with Israeli officials to make sure that we’re getting as much context and information as possible that we will share with them.”

Biden, senior officials discuss protecting US citizens following Hamas attacks

Update 1:20 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and several senior administration officials met Thursday to discuss “steps we are taking to safeguard the homeland and the people of the United States, including Jewish, Arab, and Muslim communities, following the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel,” according to White House officials.

Among the people who were part of the discussion were U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and FBI Director Chris Wray.

“We are in touch with faith leaders and communities across the country to provide support, listen to their concerns and offer the full resources of the federal government during what is a very difficult time for many people in the Jewish community, but also for people of all faiths,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday at a news conference.

Blinken to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Qatar and Jordan

Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that he will visit several countries in the Middle East after leaving Israel “to help prevent the conflict from spreading,” according to CNN and BBC News.

At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Blinken said that U.S. officials will also “continue pressing countries ... to use their leverage with Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release the hostages,” CNN reported.

Hamas official warns Israel not to launch a ground invasion

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT Oct. 12: A high-ranking Hamas official on Thursday warned Israel not to launch a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, saying it would be disastrous for the country’s military, The Associated Press reported.

“For every action the enemy takes, there is a plan we have,” Saleh Al-Arouri, the deputy head of the political bureaus of Hamas, according to the AP.

Reports have indicated that Israel is preparing for a ground operation after days of airstrikes targeting Hamas in Gaza.

Israeli prime minister’s office releases photos of babies killed in war

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released graphic images Thursday showing “babies murdered and burned by the Hamas monsters.”

The images were released after Netanyahu’s office said that Hamas had beheaded babies in Kfar Aza as part of its attack on Israeli citizens, CNN reported. Government officials told the news network on Thursday that they could not confirm the report.

Palestinians say Israeli planes dropped flyers urging them to evacuate

Update 10:55 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: Palestinians living in Beit Lahiya in the northern part of the Gaza Strip told The Associated Press on Thursday that got flyers dropped from Israeli planes that warned them to evacuate the area.

“For your safety, you must evacuate your homes immediately and go to known shelter centers,” the flyer read, according to a copy obtained by NBC News. “The Israeli army is not interested in harming you or your family members. Anyone who approaches Hamas terrorists or their facilities will put their lives in danger.”

By the time the flyers were dropped, the area had already been hit hard by airstrikes, the AP reported.

Woman kidnapped at music festival turns 26

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: Noa Argamani, an Israeli woman kidnapped by Hamas militants during the Supernova Music Festival on Saturday, turned 26 on Thursday, family members said.

A video posted on Instagram showed Argamani being taken from the music festival and also included clips of her dancing and smiling before Saturday.

“Our hearts are broken and we await her safe return,” family members said on Instagram.

Argamani’s boyfriend, Avinatan Or, is also believed to have been kidnapped from the music festival, NBC News reported.

Nearly 339,000 displaced in Gaza Strip amid Israel-Hamas conflict

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: Almost 339,000 people have been displaced in the Gaza Strip since fighting between Hamas and Israel began over the weekend, according to a United Nations office.

Officials with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 338,934 people were displaced as of Wednesday.

“The situation is devastating,” Samer Abdeljaber, Palestine country director for the United Nations World Food Programme, said Wednesday in a statement. “We are on the ground doing everything we can to be sure the people in need – the ones who fled their homes, the ones living in shelters – are getting the food and help they need to survive.”

The WFP is distributing food in Gaza and the West Bank after Israeli officials announced a “complete siege” of Gaza earlier this week.

Death toll tops 1,400 in Gaza

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: The death toll in the Gaza Strip rose to 1,417 on Thursday, including nearly 450 children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Officials said almost 6,270 people have been injured in the Gaza Strip as fighting continues.

In Israel, officials said 1,300 people have died, according to BBC News.

Netanyahu: Hamas should be ‘crushed’

Update 7:58 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: During an appearance with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas should be “crushed,” comparing the group to ISIS.

“Hamas is ISIS, and just as ISIS was crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed and Hamas should be treated exactly the way ISIS was treated. They should be spat out from the community of nations. No leader should meet with them, no country should harbor them. And those that do should be sanctioned,” Netanyahu said, according to CNN.

He also praised the U.S., thanking America for the “incredible support for Israel.”

Blinken: ‘I come before you not only as the U.S. Secretary of State but also as a Jew’

Update 7:40 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Binken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave public statements after they met behind closed doors at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, The New York Times reported.

“I come before you not only as the U.S. Secretary of State but also as a Jew,” Blinken told Netanyahu at the beginning of the appearance, adding, “I understand on a personal level the harrowing echoes that Hamas’s massacres carry for Israeli Jews and for Jews everywhere.”

Blinken’s stepfather, Samual Pisar, was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Update 6:47 a.m. EDT Oct. 12: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Tel Aviv meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, CNN reported.

He also plans to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

Blinken will work to get more than 100 people that Israel says Hamas is holding hostage. Some of the hostages may be U.S. citizens, Reuters reported.

At least 22 Americans have been killed since Hamas attacked Israel on Saturday.

“That number could still go up, and it probably will,” Blinken said, according to Reuters.

The State Department said there are between 500 and 600 Americans in Gaza and that the agency is trying to get them to safety, The New York Times reported.

Original report: CNN reported that at least 1,354 people have been killed in Gaza with 6,049 injured in strikes carried out by Israel, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

Two Palestinians were killed in the West Bank during a funeral in Qusra, The Associated Press reported. Video from the incident showed Jewish settlers in cars swerving into a procession before stopping and opening fire.

The two killed were a father, a local official in the Fatah party, and his son, an off-duty security officer.

One of the most shocking and disturbing claims from the nearly-week-long war — reports that babies had been decapitated — is being questioned.

An Israeli official told CNN that while Hamas attackers have been carrying out beheadings, “we cannot confirm if the victims were men or women, soldiers or civilians, adults or children.”

Earlier, the Israel Defense Forces said that an attack at the Kfar Aza kibbutz was a “massacre” with women, children, toddlers and the elderly “brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action,” CNN reported. A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also relayed the information.