October 9, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ed Upright, Joshua Berlinger, Aditi Sangal, Dakin Andone, Maureen Chowdhury, Leinz Vales, Elise Hammond, Steve Almasy and Kathleen Magramo, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023
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8:11 p.m. ET, October 9, 2023

Father says he was on the phone with his daughter as she was killed by Hamas gunfire

From CNN's Celina Tebor

Ilan Troen told "CNN This Morning" Monday that he was on the phone with his daughter, Deborah Matias, at the moment she was killed shielding her 16-year-old son from Hamas gunfire this weekend.

"We were on the phone with Deborah as she was killed," said Troen, a professor emeritus at Brandeis University. Troen's son-in-law, Schlomi Matias, was also killed, he said while speaking to CNN from Be'er Sheva, Israel.

“We were on the phone the entire day with our grandson, Rotem, as he lay first under her body, and then found a place to escape under a blanket in a laundry," he added, later clarifying that a group text message was used to communicate with his grandson, who was injured but will survive.

"He was told not to speak and therefore he was to hide and use texting," Troen said. "By the time he was rescued, he had 4% left in his battery."

“The brunt of the shot was borne by his mother,” Troen said. Both his daughter and grandson are US citizens.

Troen remembered his late daughter as a "child of light and life."

“She, rather than becoming a scientist or a physician, she said to me one day, ‘Dad, I have to do music, because it’s in my soul,'" Troen said. His daughter attended the Berkeley College of Music in Boston, as well as the Rimon School of Music in Tel Aviv, where she met her husband.

9:18 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

Lebanon does not want to engage in war with Israel, prime minister says

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Mia Alberti

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati gestures during a news conference at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon, on December 28, 2021.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati gestures during a news conference at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon, on December 28, 2021. Mohamed Azakir/Reuters/File

Lebanon does not wish to be drawn into the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said Monday, according to state news NNA.

“We do not want Lebanon to enter into the ongoing war, and we are striving for that,” Mikati said in a meeting Monday with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bu Habib, adding that part of the Lebanese government's priority was to "maintain security and stability in southern Lebanon."

Some context: Lebanon and Israel are considered enemy states, but a truce between the two has largely held since a conflict between them in 2006. There have been several small-scale rocket attacks in recent years from Lebanon — which borders Israel to the north — that have prompted retaliatory strikes from Israel. Palestinian factions in Lebanon were believed to be behind those rocket attacks.

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday said a “number of armed suspects” who “infiltrated” into Israel from Lebanon were killed, and that IDF soldiers were searching the area.

IDF helicopters are currently striking in the area,” the statement added.

8:57 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

Solidarity vigils to be held in London and Paris

From CNN's Lianne Kolirin

Britain’s Jewish community is expected to turn out in force this evening for a vigil opposite 10 Downing Street in solidarity with the victims of the attacks in Israel. 

In a joint statement the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council said that the gathering would be held close to the residence of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

We would urge all members of the community who are able to be present to meet us there for an event which will demonstrate our grief, but also our unity," the statement said.

The organizers told CNN that they are expecting several lawmakers to attend the event, but would not share their identities. 

A similar event is taking place in Paris this evening, with organizers posting details of the march on X, formerly Twitter. 

The Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (CRIF), a Jewish advocacy group, wrote: “The CRIF, Jewish groups and all friends of Israel call for a march in solidarity with Israel and Israelis, struck by Hamas terrorism.

“March starts tonight at 6:30, leaving Place Victor Hugo continuing until Trocadèro.”

A rally is also planned for 5pm on Wednesday in Manchester in the United Kingdom.  

These events come after a series of landmark buildings around the world were lit up with the Israeli flag, including the Sydney Opera House, Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and the Empire State Building in New York City. 

8:41 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

9 US citizens dead amid Israel conflict, US National Security Council spokesperson says

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

A National Security Council spokesperson on Monday confirmed in a statement that nine US citizens are among those who have died in Israel's conflict with Hamas.

"At this time, we can confirm the death of nine U.S. citizens. We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected, and wish those injured a speedy recovery. We continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in touch with our Israeli partners, particularly the local authorities," the spokesperson said in a statement.

State Department spokesperson Matt Miller confirmed that reporting, telling CNN’s Phil Mattingly, “We are in close contact with the government of Israel as they continue to conduct security operations to locate missing US citizens.. and we are, of course, in close contact with the families of these nine deceased Americans and offering them any consular assistance that we can provide.”

The US continues to gather information on US citizens involved in the conflict.

8:37 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

Israeli traveler ditches dream trip for military duty 

From CNN's Lianne Kolirin

When 22-year-old Ben left Israel in August, he had set out on an exciting journey, planning to explore Asia for several months. Little did he know that his adventure would take an unexpected turn in the Nepalese Himalayas.

As he prepared to embark on a trek from a mountain village on Saturday, tragic news from home reached him. Israel had been struck by a horrific attack.

Now, this young man, who asked to keep his family name confidential, has abandoned his plans to return to Israel as a military reservist, serving in a reconnaissance unit.

“I think there are more than 100 Israelis in Kathmandu alone who are trying to get back to Israel,” Ben, who is also a US citizen, told CNN in a phone call. “Only El Al and Emirates are flying,” he said. 

“A lot of Israelis are trying to get back home. There are big WhatsApp groups with thousands of people trying to get back but flights are crazy expensive. I’ve seen flights for as much as $10,000,” he added. 

Ben was discharged from compulsory military service in August 2022. He spent a year planning and working towards his long trip overseas -- a rite of passage for many young Israelis following their time in the military. 

Yet just a few weeks into his travels, he is cutting short his adventure. “One of my friends from my unit has been killed,” he told CNN. “He had signed on for more time and to become an officer.

"We are 24 in our unit now and there are eight of us who are trying to get back to Israel from Asia, South America, Australia.”

Ben added: “It feels really hard to be so far away and there isn’t much you can do... you’re worried about the people there and all you do all day is watch the news and look at your phone. It’s impossible to be away right now." 

8:47 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

Gaza death toll rises to more than 550, Palestinian health ministry says 

From CNN's Kareem El Damanhoury

Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike at Jebalia refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on October 9.
Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike at Jebalia refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on October 9. Ramez Mahmoud/AP

At least 560 people have died and 2,900 have been injured in Gaza since Israel began carrying out airstrikes in response to Hamas' surprise attack early Saturday morning, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement on Monday.

8:22 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

12 Thai citizens killed as number of foreign dead and captured mounts

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

The Hamas attacks took place on Israeli soil, but they have impacted families around the world, with a growing list of foreign nationals killed or kidnapped.

Thailand announced that 12 nationals were confirmed dead and a further 11 taken hostage by Hamas, a spokesperson for Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday, the largest loss of life by a foreign nation so far.

A further eight Thais have been hospitalized for their injuries, spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke said.

“We don’t want to release the names as a courtesy. We don’t want the relatives learn the news from the media before we have direct communication with them,” she added.

Why Israel: Israel has long been a major destination for Thai migrants, most of whom work agricultural jobs.

There are approximately 30,000 Thai workers in Israel, according to the Foreign Ministry, and over 1,000 have requested help to be evacuated.

The Thai government is prepared to evacuated its remaining citizens with planes from the Royal Thai Air Force on standby, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

‘Toll will rise’: Among other foreign nationals known to have been killed so far are four Americans, two Ukrainians, 10 Nepali citizens, one French citizen, and one British citizen.

The Nepalis were killed when militants attacked Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel on Saturday, Nepali ambassador Kanta Rizal told CNN Sunday.

The deceased were agriculture students, who were studying and working under the “Learn and Earn” program of the Israeli government, Rizal said. The embassy is working to repatriate the bodies, she added.

Other foreigners missing: Three Brazilians, two Mexican nationals, a Nepali student and a British citizen are among those unaccounted for.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said Sunday the two Mexican nationals, a woman and a man, have “presumably” been taken hostage by Hamas.

The Brazilians and 26-year-old British citizen Jake Marlowe were all at the music festival near the Gaza border which was attacked on Saturday. Marlowe was working there as a security guard, his mother told the Israeli Embassy in the UK.

The German Foreign Ministry said it “has to assume” that there are German citizens amongst those kidnapped, a ministry source told CNN late Sunday.

One festival attendee with dual Israeli-German nationality, Shani Louk, was identified in social media videos stripped and motionless being paraded by fighters in Gaza.

7:57 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

US does not have "direct information" linking Iran to Hamas attacks, US official says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer speaks in Bogota, Colombia, on July 22, 2022.
U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer speaks in Bogota, Colombia, on July 22, 2022. Ivan Valencia/AP/File

US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer reiterated Monday that while the US believes Iran is “broadly complicit” in Hamas attacks in Israel, the US does not at this time have “direct information” linking Iran to the attacks.

“What we can be quite clear about is that Iran is broadly complicit in these attacks for having supporting Hamas going back decades,” Finer said during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” pointing to weapons, training and other financial support to Hamas.
“What we don’t have is direct information that shows Iranian involvement in ordering or planning of the attacks that took place over the last couple of days. It’s something that we’re going to keep looking at closely.”

In another appearance on "CBS Mornings," Finer said the US will be "laser-focused" on confirming the presence of any Americans among the hostages taken by Hamas, saying he expected the issue "to take on increasing over the course of the coming days."

The US is prepared to offer “expertise on how to address these hostage situations,” he said. Finer also predicted the Israeli response will “continue for quite some time,” vowing there would be “more US steps to show support and solidarity for Israel.”

7:51 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

The Kremlin says it is "extremely concerned" by the conflict in Israel and Gaza

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow is worried about the situation in Israel and Gaza, calling it a "great danger for the region."

“We are extremely concerned. We believe that this situation needs to be brought back to a peaceful channel as soon as possible,” Peskov said during a regular conference call with journalists. “The continuation of such a spiral of violence is certainly fraught with further escalation and growth of this conflict. This is a great danger for the region, so we are extremely concerned.”

No information on injured Russians: According to Peskov, while no information about any Russian victims has been reported yet, Russian diplomats are in close contact with both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to monitor the situation and ensure the safety of Russians residing in the conflict zone.

A complicated relationship: The war between Russia and Ukraine initially put Israel in a tight spot. Israel maintained a policy of neutrality, with then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett calling for a ceasefire and initially declining to condemn Russia.

Some politicians, like then-foreign minister and former caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, were candid in their opposition to Russia's actions.

However, upon retaking office, current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to take a tougher stance against Russian President Vladimir Putin than his predecessor.