A ‘Black Day’ in Israel

It is Monday. War exploded in the Middle East over the weekend as Hamas terrorists launched an all-out assault on Israel. The death toll is still climbing—marking the deadliest weekend in Israel in decades.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Hamas launched a surprise terrorist attack on Israel over the weekend, firing thousands of rockets at the country and sending hundreds of terrorist fighters into cities and towns in southern Israel. Hamas fighters killed hundreds of civilians—including women and children—and kidnapped more than 100 people, taking them back into Gaza as hostages. Israel declared war on Hamas—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would “destroy” the group and “take mighty vengeance for this black day.” As of Monday morning, Israeli Defense Forces were still clearing parts of Israeli territory of terrorists. The United States announced additional military assistance will be sent to Israel, and the Ford carrier strike group will sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be in a position to assist Israel if necessary. The attack came amid U.S.-brokered normalization talks between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which may now be at risk: The Saudi Foreign Ministry called for de-escalation and suggested the war is the result of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
  • Two 6.3-magnitude earthquakes hit Western Afghanistan on Saturday, killing more than 2,400 people and injuring another 2,400, according to Afghanistan’s disaster-management authority. The quakes struck near the city of Herat, leveling more than 1,000 homes and destroying 10 villages, according to local officials. As of Sunday, many dead and injured remained trapped as rescuers searched through the rubble.
  • Russia withdrew most of its Black Sea Fleet from its central base in Crimea, moving several ships from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk, a Russian port on the Black Sea. The withdrawal marks a significant setback for the Russian navy and comes after Ukrainian missile and drone attacks destroyed Russian naval vessels and the fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol.
  • Russia said Friday that the country will revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans experimental tests of nuclear explosions. The move comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his nation’s successful test of a next-generation weapon. The treaty has been signed by 187 nations—and ratified by 178. The U.S. and China have both signed, but not ratified, the document.
  • A bipartisan group of senators—led by Sen. Charles Schumer of New York—arrived in Shanghai on Saturday for a series of meetings with the leaders of the largest economy in Asia. “We are the two biggest economies in the world and it behooves the world that we can get along,” said Sen. Schumer in his meeting with Chen Jining, secretary of the Shanghai Communist Party. “We are prepared to compete but do not seek conflict.” In its crusade for economic fairness, the bipartisan delegation will also meet with officials from South Korea and Japan—and ultimately hopes to lay the groundwork for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that U.S. employers added 336,000 jobs in September—the sharpest gain since January of this year. Both the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent and 62.8 percent, respectively, while average hourly earnings—a measure the Federal Reserve is watching closely in its fight against inflation—rose another 0.2 percent month-over-month in September, and 4.2 percent year-over-year.
  • Republican lawmakers are expected to pick their nominee for speaker of the House in the coming days after Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the post last week. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the current majority leader, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, are both vying for the position. Rep. Kevin Hern, an Oklahoma lawmaker and chair of the Republican Study Committee, took himself out of the running over the weekend. Scalise and Jordan have each secured dozens of endorsements from their colleagues, but former President Donald Trump threw his weight behind Jordan late last week. The House GOP is scheduled to hold a closed-door candidate forum on Tuesday and a conference vote on Wednesday—the winner of the majority of the conference vote would then face a vote of the full House to become speaker.
  • Kaiser Permanente employees returned to work on Saturday, days after 75,000 health care workers walked off the job as part of the largest health care strike in U.S. history. The strike ended before new contracts had been signed, and negotiations are set to resume this week.  
  • United Auto Workers union members at Mack Trucks shot down a proposed contract agreement and voted to go on strike on Sunday night. As many as 4,000 members will go on strike at 7 a.m., joining the 25,000 UAW members on strike against the big three car manufacturers, General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.

Israel Under Attack

Israeli soldiers in an armoured personnel carrier head towards the southern border with the Gaza Strip on October 8, 2023 in Sderot, Israel. (Footage by Amir Levy/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers in an armoured personnel carrier head towards the southern border with the Gaza Strip on October 8, 2023 in Sderot, Israel. (Footage by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, Israel—Families across Israel awoke Saturday morning to air-raid sirens signaling incoming rockets from Hamas-run Gaza and swarms of terrorists within their borders. By the end of the day, more than 300 Israeli civilians and soldiers were confirmed dead—with more than 2,000 wounded and 100 kidnapped—marking the country’s deadliest single day since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

And all indications are Saturday was just the start of a painful, protracted conflict. Within hours, Israel had declared war on Hamas. 

“We are at war, not an operation or in rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a mid-day televised address. “The enemy will pay an unprecedented price.”

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