Iran is aiding Hamas and inciting violence in Lebanon, elsewhere, Israel says: Live updates

Iran provided Hamas with crucial technical knowledge, weapons and funding ahead of the militant group's Oct. 7 rampage and has backed militant attacks in other countries in recent days, an Israeli military spokesman charged Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari accused Tehran of ordering recent attacks by militias in Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. The Hamas attack in Israel killed more than 1,300 Israelis and ignited a war that has left thousands of Palestinians dead and swaths of the Gaza Strip in ruins.

“Iran directly aided Hamas before the war, with training, supplying weapons, money and technological know-how,” Hagari charged. “Even now, Iranian aid to Hamas continues in the form of intelligence and online incitement against the State of Israel.

The Biden administration has repeatedly said there is no evidence of direct Iranian involvement in the Hamas rampage in Israel, or even prior knowledge. The administration has been laboring to keep Iran and other regional actors from fueling an expansion of the war into Lebanon and elsewhere.

A woman, with a photograph of a child who was abducted during the Hamas attack on Israel, hands out yellow ribbons to passing drivers in central Tel Aviv on Oct. 25, 2023.

Blinken urges 'humanitarian pauses':But US won't back ceasefire in Gaza


∎ The Israeli military said it killed a senior Hamas commander Taysir Mubasher, a battalion chief and former commander of Hamas' naval forces. Mubasher was a close confidant of Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’ military wing, the Israeli military said.

∎ The Hamas-run Health Ministry, citing reports from hospital directors, said Wednesday that at least 6,546 Palestinians had been killed. More than 1,400 Israelis have also died, most in the early hours of the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas militants on Israeli communities along the Gaza border.

∎ Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said his military would avoid joining the war, warning that "your military power (can) make you rush into wrong decisions."

Lack of fuel may force UN to halt humanitarian aid to Gaza

The U.N. agency charged with shuttling humanitarian aid into Gaza says it will need to significantly reduce and possible halt operations if fuel does not get to Gaza immediately. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

"The coming 24 hours are very critical," the agency said in an update Wednesday.

More than 613,000 people are sheltering in 150 agency facilities across Gaza. Three more agency staff members were killed Tuesday, bringing the total to 38 staff killed since the war began, the U.N. said.

Iranian leader blames US for Israeli bombardment of Gaza

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of orchestrating military strikes in Gaza and accused Israel of taking revenge on defenseless Palestinians because it was incapable of confronting Muslim fighters. Khamenei, on social media, warned Muslim governments not to follow the lead of the U.S. and other Western nations labeling "people defending their homes and country as terrorists."

"Palestine will definitely be victorious in this current situation and in the future," he wrote.

Inside the tunnels:As Israel preps for possible ground invasion, a look at the tunnels in Gaza

Network of tunnels key to Hamas warfare

Hamas militants are using hundreds of miles of secret tunnels under Gaza and into Israel to attack Israeli targets, move weapons and, most recently, hold hostages. Hamas has used the tunnels, estimated from 150 to 300 miles in length, for decades in its war against Israel. The militant group claimed the underground network was 311 miles in 2021, but this has not been independently verified. The network, consisting of about 1,300 tunnels, will present special problems for Israel Defense Force members if Israel invades with ground troops.

Hamas leaders use parts of the network as command centers to guide military operations, Israeli experts say. The Israeli military says Hamas has used millions of dollars in aid to pay for building the tunnels. Read more here.

 George Petras, Janet Loehrke

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