Israel and Hamas at war: Latest news

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(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will make a high-stakes visit to Israel on Wednesday as it prepares to escalate an offensive against Hamas that has set off a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and raised fears of a broader conflict with Iran.

Diplomacy

*Group of 7 president Japan will provide $10 million in aid for civilians in Gaza, its foreign minister said, adding she was making final preparations for talks with her Iranian counterpart while monitoring the situation in Gaza with concern.

* Diplomats renewed calls for aid to the besieged Gaza Strip while Iran’s foreign minister said Israel would not be allowed to act there, warning of “preemptive action” in the coming hours.

* Egypt President al-Sisi and U.S. President Biden underlined the necessity in a phone call of containing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict so that it doesn’t threaten regional security, Sisi’s office said.

* Russian President Putin told Netanyahu that Moscow wanted to help prevent a humanitarian disaster in Gaza as he waded into the Middle East crisis with a flurry of calls to regional players.

Conflict

* A top leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas said it “has what it needs” to free all Palestinians in Israel’s jails, indicating Hamas may try to use the Israelis it kidnapped as bargaining chips to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners.

* Hamas has about 200-250 Israeli captives in Gaza, the group’s armed-wing spokesman said. The Israeli captives include high-ranking officers from the Gaza Division, said former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal.

* Iran’s top envoy said Israel will not be allowed to take any action in the Gaza Strip without facing consequences, state TV reported.

* Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas, discussed the release of civilian prisoners held by the group, a ministry source said.

* The head of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency took responsibility for failing to prevent Hamas from carrying out its Oct. 7 rampage through Israeli towns that killed more than 1,300 people.

Human Impact

* Gaza hospitals struggled to cope with air strikes and a blockade as they awaited the expected Israeli ground offensive.

* 87-year-old Holocaust survivor Ruth Haran had felt safe in her own home in Israel but that changed on Oct. 7 when Hamas gunmen attacked the kibbutz of Beeri in southern Israel. They forced her into the house’s safe room. She emerged unscathed hours later. Her family did not.

Insights And Explainers

* How Hamas secretly created a ‘mini-army’ to fight Israel.

* Hamas uses a global financing network to funnel support from charities and friendly nations, passing cash through Gaza tunnels or using cryptocurrencies to bypass international sanctions.

* What are the origins of Hezbollah: Iran founded it in 1982 to export its 1979 Islamic Revolution and fight Israeli forces after their 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Markets And Business

* Defense exchange-traded funds saw sharp inflows as the conflict threatened Middle East stability.

* Oil prices fell slightly on Tuesday after a more than $1 slide amid hopes the U.S. would ease sanctions on producer Venezuela and as Washington stepped up efforts to prevent an escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas.

* Stablecoin issuer Tether has frozen 32 cryptocurrency wallet addresses containing a combined $873,118 linked to “terrorism and warfare” in Israel and Ukraine, the company said.

*Asian stocks rose in cautious trade on Tuesday, with investors choosing to focus on corporate earnings prospects and the resilience of the U.S. economy ahead of tensions in the Middle East.

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