President Biden and his top aides are trying to head off any major Israeli offensive on Hezbollah, the powerful militia in Lebanon, believing that Israel would struggle with a two-front war and that such a conflict could draw in both the United States and Iran, U.S. and Israeli officials say.
Fears that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might approve a pre-emptive strike on Hezbollah in the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas that killed more than 1,400 people have receded. But U.S. officials remain anxious about two factors that might prompt Hezbollah to enter the war: either its anger at Israeli tactics in the expected ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza, or at how Israel responds to Hezbollah rocket attacks.
The timing of any ground invasion remained unknown, but Israel was continuing to gather forces near Gaza. Military analysts said that an extended campaign could result in heavy casualties on both sides.
Inside Gaza, essential supplies like food, water and fuel were running out, and hospitals were nearing collapse, running short on power, medication and staff, the United Nations said Friday. Humanitarian aid remained stuck in Egypt, with Mr. Biden saying Friday that the supplies could move into the territory over the weekend.
Nearly two weeks after it took about 200 people hostage during the attacks in Israel, Hamas released two Israeli-Americans. Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie Raanan, 17, returned to Israel, where they spoke with President Biden by phone. A Qatari official said the country, which helped organize the release, would continue diplomatic efforts on the remaining hostages.
Here are some other developments:
The Biden administration tied its request for aid for Israel to Ukraine, formally asking Congress for $105 billion in emergency funding that would include $10.6 billion in military support for Israel and $61.4 billion for Ukraine.
Israeli authorities began to evacuate the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, as cross-border fire continued between Israeli forces and armed groups in Lebanon.
Violence is surging across the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where 13 Palestinians and one Israeli officer were killed in clashes on Thursday, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials.