October 8, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Tara Subramaniam, Andrew Raine, Thom Poole, Joshua Berlinger, Maureen Chowdhury, Matt Meyer and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 4:05 AM ET, Mon October 9, 2023
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12:19 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

UN Security Council will hold a closed door emergency meeting on the Middle East Sunday

From CNN’s Richard Roth at the United Nations in New York

The United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East will be a closed door meeting starting at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, according to the UN.

Gilad Erdan, the permanent representative of Israel to the UN, is expected to brief reporters ahead of the meeting at 1:30 p.m. ET.

12:26 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Americans among hostages held in Gaza, Israeli minister says

From CNN's Casey Gannon

Americans are among the “scores” of hostages being held in Gaza, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday. 

He declined to estimate the number of Americans specifically being held.

Dermer called the attack on Israel a "savage attack," saying that women, children and elderly people are among the hostages in Gaza. 

The US is “working overtime” to verify reports of missing and dead Americans overseas after Hamas launched its unprecedented attack, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Bash earlier Sunday.

12:21 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Hamas says the Iranian president praised its attack in a phone call

From CNN's Ibrahim Dahman and Mohammed Tawfeeq

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a news conference on September 20.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a news conference on September 20. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Hamas claimed Sunday that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi praised its surprise attack on Israel in a phone call with the group's leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Iran's state-run IRNA news on Sunday said Raisi spoke with Haniyeh in a phone call and "reviewed the situation underway in the occupied lands," but did not provide further details.

In a later statement, Raisi said his country "supports the Palestinian nation's legitimate defense," and that Israel and its backers "bear responsibility for endangering the security of the nations of the region."

Haniyeh expressed his appreciation for Iran's position, according to a statement released by Hamas.

Some context: Iran is Israel's archenemy, and the two countries have long engaged in a form of proxy war, in which Iran-backed groups fight Israeli forces.

Israel accuses Iran of backing Hamas.

An official in US President Joe Biden's administration said Saturday that it's not yet clear whether Iran played a direct role in this weekend's attacks on Israel, but that there is no question Hamas is funded, equipped and armed by Iran.

11:44 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Several European leaders express "unreserved support for Israel," Netanyahu says

From CNN’s Alex Hardie in London

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed support for Israel on Sunday.

Netanyahu said the European heads of state “expressed unreserved support for Israel’s right to defend itself as necessary,” according to a social media post.

The office of the Italian prime minister said on social media that Meloni “reiterated the Italian government's full solidarity for the attacks suffered and its closeness to the families of the victims, to the hostages and the injured,” adding that Italy "will work with international partners to coordinate support."

Zelensky also wrote a post about the conversation on social media.

“I spoke with Netanyahu to affirm Ukraine’s solidarity with Israel, which suffers from a brazen large-scale attack, and to express condolences for the multiple victims," the Ukrainian president wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Zelensky also noted that Israeli law enforcement and diplomats are coordinating to ensure the safety of Ukrainian citizens in Israel.

12:40 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

At least 370 Palestinians killed since Saturday, according to health ministry in Gaza

From CNN’s Ibrahim Dahman in Gaza

A man inspects the rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on Sunday, October 8.
A man inspects the rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on Sunday, October 8. Fatima Shbair/AP

At least 370 Palestinians have been killed and 2,200 others wounded in Gaza since Saturday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

Israel formally declared war on Hamas Sunday, after the group's devastating surprise attack the day prior, setting the stage for a massive military response. Israel has been pounding Gaza with airstrikes.

10:17 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Israel will "do anything" to get hostages back from Gaza, military official tells CNN

From CNN's Nic Robertson and Catherine Nicholls

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Doron Spielman speaks with CNN on Sunday, October 8.
Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Doron Spielman speaks with CNN on Sunday, October 8. CNN

Israel will “do anything” to free and return hostages that have been taken into Gaza, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Doron Spielman told CNN on Sunday.

“We have men, women, children and grandmothers sitting in Gaza in some basement,” Spielman said during an interview in Sderot, Israel. “What I can tell you is that we’re not going to stop until we exhaust every means possible of (getting them back). We will not leave any person behind, and we will do anything to make that happen.”

Spielman said Israeli forces are “trying to eliminate the Hamas infrastructure as effectively as possible.”

The spokesperson said Hamas is trying to infiltrate seven different areas in Israel, and that the IDF has air command over most of them, but is trying to firm up its defenses.

Spielman was unequivocal in describing the severity of Hamas' incursion.

“This is the most devastating attack in the history of the state of Israel over the last 75 years, since the state was created,” he said.
10:56 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Poland sending military planes to evacuate citizens from Israel 

From CNN’s Eve Brennan and Antonia Mortensen 

Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks in Krakow, Poland, on September 29.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks in Krakow, Poland, on September 29. Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Poland will send air force transport planes to evacuate its citizens from Israel, President Andrzej Duda noted in a post on social media platform X on Sunday

“Soldiers from our special forces will ensure loading protection and safety on board. We are working so that all our compatriots can return home safely,” Duda said.

12:44 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Music festival organizers help Israeli authorities search for missing attendees after brutal attack

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Ami Kaufman

People run across an empty field away from gunshots at a music festival near the Gaza-Israel border on October 7, 2023.
People run across an empty field away from gunshots at a music festival near the Gaza-Israel border on October 7, 2023. From Instagram

Organizers from a music festival that was attacked by Hamas are helping Israeli security forces find missing attendees.

"We send strength and share the sorrow of the missing and murdered," Nova Festival said in a statement published to social media. "We are doing the best we can to help the security forces, maintaining constant contact with them and are positioned in the area taking part in searches in order to locate the missing."

Organizers are asking for anyone with information on missing persons from the festival to pass it along to relevant officials. 

"We are hopeful and pray that good news will reach you and us soon," the statement continued. "At these moments, it is important we stay strong and unified, faithful, and support each other and we will be there for anyone who needs it."

Some background: The outdoor Nova Festival event in a rural farmland area near the Gaza-Israel border was supposed to be an all-night dance party, celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

But as dawn broke, attendees began hearing sirens and rockets. Hamas fighters raided the festival, gunning down innocent people as they ran for their cars. Others were taken hostage.

Dozens of bodies were seen at the festival grounds in photos released by Israel's foreign ministry in the aftermath of the attack. In one of the images, a body bound by cable ties is seen badly burned. It's unclear why the individual is bound, but Hamas fighters have been seen putting prisoners in the restraints in videos from their assault.

Read more on the festival here.

CNN'S Gianluca Mezzofiore, Clarissa Ward and Brent Swails contributed reporting to this post.

11:11 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Israeli cabinet formally declares war against Hamas

From CNN's Amir Tal and Lauren Iszo

An Israeli tank travels on a highway near Sderot, Israel, on October 8.
An Israeli tank travels on a highway near Sderot, Israel, on October 8. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

The Israeli government formally declared war on Hamas on Sunday, setting the stage for a massive response against the Islamist militant group.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already said Saturday the country was at war — but that declaration was rhetorical. Sunday’s move by the Israeli cabinet is an official decision, tantamount to a declaration of war by Congress in the United States.

The war declaration was taken in accordance with Article 40 of Israel’s Basic Law, the Israeli government press office said. Israel does not have a written constitution, but its 13 Basic Laws serve a similar function.

Netanyahu said before Sunday’s declaration that Israel would “take mighty vengeance” for the attack by Palestinian militants, while the country’s top military official in charge of activities in the Palestinian territories said after the attacks that Hamas has "opened the gates of hell." Israel has been pounding Gaza with airstrikes, which have killed more than 300 people.