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Biden: ‘I have not given up hope’ on rescuing hostages held by Hamas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Joe Biden said he is designating experts to help in the effort to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas. The announcement came following U.S. confirmation that there are Americans among the more than 100 captives the terror group took back to the Gaza Strip in its invasion of Israel.

“We’re working on every aspect of the hostage crisis in Israel including deploying experts to advise on assist and recovery,” Biden told a round table of Jewish leaders invited Wednesday to the White House for a briefing on what his administration was doing to assist Israel.

He said he knew he would be under pressure to give details, but that he would not.

“If I told you I wouldn’t be able to get them out,” Biden said. “Folks, there’s a lot we’re doing, I have not given up hope of bringing these folks home.”

Families of Americans believed to be held hostage by Hamas held a press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday urging the United States to act, and John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, was peppered with questions about the hostages earlier Wednesday at a White House press briefing.

“We’re in discussions not only with the Israelis, about what hostage recovery could look like, but with other allies and partners in the region,” Kirby said. “And there are some countries like Qatar that have open lines of communication with with Hamas, so of course we’re casting the net wide as you would expect, we would we want to get all these hostages back with their families, particularly the American hostages.”

But he said there was little information at this stage. “Now where they are and in what condition? No, sadly, we don’t know,” he said. “And that makes efforts very, very difficult, again, in these early hours, but we don’t know where they are. We don’t know if they’re all in one group or broken up into several groups that don’t know if they’re being moved, in with what frequency and to what locations.”

Kirby said that Israel has a formidable track record of returning hostages. “Sadly, they have had been forced to perfect that particular kind of capability but we also have a lot of know-how to and we’re offering to share that with the Israeli Defense Forces,” he said.

Kirby confirmed that there are at least 22 Americans among the more than 1,200 people who were killed in Hamas’ invasion. He did not know how many Americans are among the abducted.

In his talk with the Jewish leaders, Biden was as emotional as he had been in an address to the nation the day before.

“This weekend in synagogue the Torah teaches us that God made stars to give light on the earth and separate light from darkness,” he said. “It’s been hard to find that light during the darkness of the last few days.”

Hamas brought “sheer evil to the world,” he said. “I would argue it’s the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.”

He also repeated, as he has in recent days, that Israel should operate according to international law. He said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “It’s is really important that Israel, for all the anger and frustration, that it operates by the rules of war.”

Biden told the room he had Israel’s back “and I have yours as well, both at home and abroad.” He saw, about half way across the room, Sheila Katz, the CEO of the National Council of Jewish Woman, tearing up. “You okay, kiddo?” he said. She smiled and nodded.

The meeting was chaired by the Jewish Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, who has been convening the Biden administration’s task force to combat antisemitism

The post Biden: ‘I have not given up hope’ on rescuing hostages held by Hamas appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on

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