January 27, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Andrew Raine, Brad Lendon, Sophie Tanno, Tori B. Powell and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 12:22 AM ET, Sun January 28, 2024
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12:09 a.m. ET, January 28, 2024

Our live coverage of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza has moved here.

10:07 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Norway says it will continue support for UNRWA while investigation underway

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh 

Norway said Saturday it would continue its financial support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) while awaiting the results of an investigation into allegations that UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel. 

The situation in Gaza is catastrophic, and UNRWA is the most important humanitarian organization there. Norway continues our support for the Palestinian people through UNRWA. International support for Palestine is needed now more than ever," Norway's representative to the Palestinian Authority posted in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Norway's representative said reports that UNRWA staff were allegedly involved in the attacks "are deeply disturbing and, if true, completely unacceptable," saying the country welcomes the UNRWA's investigation in the accusations and expects "full transparency."

The head of the UN agency announced Friday that employees accused by Israel of being involved in the attacks had been fired, adding that the highest investigative authority of the UN has already taken action and an independent review by external experts is forthcoming.

An Israeli official told CNN on Friday that Israel shared information about 12 staffers allegedly involved in the October 7 attacks both with UNRWA and the US. The official did not share more specifics on the alleged actions of the 12 former staffers.

In the wake of the allegations against the UNRWA, the United States and a growing list of countries - including the UK, Canada and Australia - have paused funding to the main UN agency in Gaza. 

In its statement Saturday, Norway stressed the importance of UNRWA's work in Gaza, saying:

We need to distinguish between what individuals may have done, and what UNRWA stands for. The organisation's tens of thousands of employees in Gaza, the West Bank and the region are playing a crucial role in distributing aid, saving lives and safeguarding basic needs and rights."

Last October, Norway increased its funding for the UN agency up to 360 million Norwegian Kroner (around $34 million) for the year, referring to the agency's "important and lifesaving work in Gaza," according to a statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

8:18 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany pause UNRWA funding

From CNN's Heather Law, Majlie de Puy Kamp and AJ Davis 

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) trucks carrying fuel arrive at the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on November 22, 2023.
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) trucks carrying fuel arrive at the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on November 22, 2023. Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany are pausing funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after UNRWA employees were accused of being involved in the deadly October 7 Hamas attacks.

They join other nations such as the US, Canada, UK, Italy, Finland and Australia in pausing funding.

The Swiss Foreign Minister told CNN in a statement that Switzerland was "extremely concerned" about allegations put forth by Israel and will make a decision on future funding once more information has been provided after the investigation into the allegations.

The Swiss Federal Assembly, also known as the Swiss Parliament, decided during their winter session that further funds would only be paid in portions after discussing with foreign policy commissions, the ministry explained, but the consultations have not yet taken place.

Switzerland has zero tolerance for any support for terrorism and any incitement to hatred or violence," the ministry wrote, adding that the country "expects the same" from its partners."

The Netherlands announced it was "freezing future contributions to UNRWA."

A statement on the Dutch government's website on Saturday said Foreign Trade and Development Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen made the decision after UNRWA announced it was terminating the contracts of the employees allegedly involved and launching an investigation into the matter.

The statement said the minister is awaiting the results of the investigation and that in the meantime, additional funds to UNRWA will be suspended.

These accusations are too serious. We first need to know exactly what the investigation will reveal and what steps the United Nations is taking. The Netherlands will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza through other means," the minister said.

The statement added that UNRWA was scheduled to receive 19 million euros from the Dutch Foreign Trade and Development budget this year and that this payment has already been transferred.

Germany's Foreign Ministry on Saturday announced it would be suspending new funds to UNRWA until investigations into the agency's employees' alleged involvement had been completed. 

Germany has financed the UNRWA with basic supplies for the Gaza Strip since October 7, its foreign office said, which include water, food, medicine, emergency shelter, hygiene and sanitary products.

As of now, there are no new commitments pending, it said, adding that humanitarian aid would continue.

6:54 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

CNN sees Palestinian detainees blindfolded in Israel, and more countries pause aid to UN agency. Catch up here

From CNN staff

CNN filmed rare footage Saturday of Palestinian men detained by Israeli forces in Gaza and brought across the border to Israel — witnessing the men blindfolded and barefoot, with their hands bound behind their backs.

The Israel Defense Forces said the men are “suspected of terrorist activity and were arrested in Gaza and transferred to Israel for further interrogation.”

Meanwhile, a growing number of countries have temporarily suspended aid to the main United Nations relief agency in Gaza over allegations some staff members were involved in last October's Hamas attacks, and the Palestine Red Crescent Society says hospitals in the southern part of the strip are "under siege."

These are the biggest headlines from the war today:

More on the Palestinian detainees: Some of the men in the video appear physically exhausted, with their heads falling and swaying as they attempt to remain kneeling. They appear to be wearing only disposable white coveralls, despite the 10-degree Celsius temperature (50 degrees Fahrenheit). The IDF said the men filmed Saturday were about to be transferred to a "heated bus" when CNN filmed the scene, and maintained that detainees are treated in accordance with international law. A bus was waiting nearby, but CNN could not confirm when the men were put onto the bus. The Israeli military has detained hundreds – if not thousands – of Palestinian boys and men, and sometimes women, as its ground forces sweep through the enclave.

More countries pause UNRWA funding: Multiple nations have announced they are temporarily pausing their funding to the embattled UN agency in Gaza, in the wake of the allegations against its staff members. The Israel Defense Forces claimed UNRWA facilities were used for "terrorist purposes" in a statement on Saturday. The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East urged the countries to reconsider suspending their funding, noting the accused employees have been fired, the highest investigative authority of the UN has already taken action and an independent review by external experts is forthcoming.

Situation deteriorating at Khan Younis hospitals: Nasser Hospital, the main medical center in the southern Gaza city, is running out of its supply of blood, anesthesia and other medications, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said Saturday. The city has been a flashpoint area in recent fighting between Israel and Hamas. Hospital facilities have been "under siege" as the Israeli military intensifies operations there over the past week, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

Where hostage talks stand: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu challenged Qatar on Saturday, saying, "They position themselves as intermediaries. Well, let them prove it and help to bring the hostages back." The prime minister was also asked about an alleged leaked audio recording that aired on Israeli television Tuesday, in which he appeared to criticize Qatar for not putting enough pressure on Hamas. "I’m not taking back even one word that I said," he said on Saturday. "I will not give up a route of pressuring Hamas or whoever can affect Hamas to bring our hostages back." Meanwhile, CIA Director Bill Burns is set to meet in the coming days with Israel and Egypt’s intelligence chiefs and the Qatari prime minister to discuss a hostage deal.

Houthi attack: A Marshall Islands-flagged commercial tanker was carrying a highly flammable liquid hydrogen mixture when it was struck by a Houthi missile in the Gulf of Aden on Friday, US Central Command said, sparking a fire that took a day to extinguish. Despite a series of US strikes against Houthi missiles, drones and radar sites, the Iran-backed rebel group has continued to attack international shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The Houthis claim the attacks are in solidarity with the Palestinian people as a result of the war in Gaza — an argument the US has repeatedly rejected.

6:08 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

UN agency urges countries to reconsider funding suspensions

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey

Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) speaks at a press conference in Rafah, Gaza, on November 1, 2023.
Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) speaks at a press conference in Rafah, Gaza, on November 1, 2023. Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images/File

The head of the main United Nations agency in Gaza, reeling from allegations members of his staff participated in Hamas attacks on Israel, called the decision by a growing list of countries to suspend funds to the agency "shocking" and urged them to reconsider.

Commisioner-General Philippe Lazzarini says the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides food and health care in shelters for more than a million people in the besieged enclave.

“Many are hungry as the clock is ticking towards a looming famine,” Lazzarini said in a statement Saturday. “The lives of people in Gaza depend on this support and so does regional stability.”

Nine countries have announced they would temporarily pull funding from UNRWA after the agency announced it had fired employees who were allegedly involved in the October 7, 2023, Hamas attacks, Lazzarini said.

The Israeli government has not released details of the evidence concerning the alleged UNRWA involvement. Lazzarini said the highest investigative authority of the UN has already taken action, and an independent review by external experts is forthcoming. 

Lazzarini also highlighted this week’s ruling from the International Court of Justice, which instructed Israel to enable more humanitarian assistance to prevent a genocide in Gaza. 

“The only way that this can be done is through cooperation with international partners, especially UNRWA as the largest humanitarian actor in Gaza,” he said. 
6:22 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

An oil tanker struck by Houthi rebels Friday is now headed to safe harbor

From CNN’s Kareem El Damanhoury and Mitchell McCluskey

An image posted on X by the Indian Navy on January 27 shows the Marlin Luanda oil tanker on fire in the Gulf of Aden.
An image posted on X by the Indian Navy on January 27 shows the Marlin Luanda oil tanker on fire in the Gulf of Aden. @indiannavy/X

The Marlin Luanda oil tanker is sailing toward a safe harbor after extinguishing a fire caused by a missile attack from Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the vessel’s operator, Trafigura, said Saturday.

All crew members on board are safe, the company said.

On Friday, the vessel was the latest commercial vessel struck by a Houthi missile as it crossed through the Gulf of Aden after passing through the Red Sea.

Trafigura highlighted the “exceptional dedication and bravery” of the crew and thanked Navy vessels from India, France and the United States for their assistance.

Remember: This all ties back to Israel's ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza: The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, say their actions are aimed at pressuring Israel to stop its ground offensive and widespread bombardment of the Palestinian enclave. The US has repeatedly rejected that argument.

The Houthis say they are also retaliating for recent strikes on their infrastructure by the US and UK militaries, which have been aimed at stopping the group's attacks in the key global shipping lane.

More about the ship: The commercial tanker had been carrying a highly flammable liquid hydrogen mixture when it was hit by the missile, according to US Central Command. The strike sparked a fire that took a day to extinguish.

The ship's crew consists of one Bangladeshi member and twenty-two Indian crew members, according to the US military officials.

CNN’s Oren Liebermann contributed reporting to this post.

This post has been updated with more details about the ship from US officials.

5:25 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

CNN video shows Palestinian detainees blindfolded and barefoot in Israel near Gaza border

From CNNs' Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv

This still image from CNN video shows Palestinian men, who were detained by Israeli forces in Gaza, sitting and kneeling in southern Israel near the Gaza border on January 27.
This still image from CNN video shows Palestinian men, who were detained by Israeli forces in Gaza, sitting and kneeling in southern Israel near the Gaza border on January 27. CNN

More than two dozen men are sitting and kneeling on the wet, cold ground near the Israel-Gaza border – blindfolded and barefoot, their hands bound behind their backs. Israeli soldiers, their faces obscured by balaclavas, are standing guard. 

This was the scene CNN found in southern Israel near the Gaza border on Saturday morning, filming rare footage of Palestinian men detained by Israeli forces in Gaza and brought across the border to Israel.

Some of the men appear to be physically exhausted, with their heads falling and swaying as they attempt to remain kneeling. One detainee is laying on the ground before an Israeli soldier arrives to rouse him, propping him back up. The men are barefoot and appear to be wearing nothing more than disposable white coveralls, despite the 10-degree Celsius temperature (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

The Israeli military said the men are “suspected of terrorist activity and were arrested in Gaza and transferred to Israel for further interrogation.”

“As part of the IDF activity in the combat area in Gaza, individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activity are being detained and questioned. It is often necessary for terror suspects to hand over their clothes such that their clothes can be searched and to ensure that they are not concealing explosive vests or other weaponry. The suspects are given jumpsuits, and are provided with clothes upon arrival to the detention facility,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “Relevant suspects are taken for further questioning within Israel. Individuals who are found not to be taking part in terrorist activities are released back into Gaza, as soon as possible.”

The IDF said the men filmed on Saturday had been brought into Israel from Gaza and were about to be transferred to a “heated bus” when CNN filmed the scene, and maintained that detainees are treated in accordance with international law.

A bus was waiting nearby, but CNN could not confirm when the men were put onto the bus, as an Israeli soldier at the scene ordered CNN to leave the premises within minutes.

Detained Palestinians: The Israeli military has detained hundreds – if not thousands – of Palestinian boys and men (and in some cases, women) in Gaza as its ground forces swept through the enclave, often transferring them to detention sites in Israel and holding them for days without charge. Many of those detained have been identified as civilians by friends and relatives after images of their detention surfaced online.

Many detainees have alleged abuse at the hands of Israeli forces, including several Palestinian boys and men who told CNN in December they were detained for five days before being ultimately released without charge, emerging with bruised and swollen wrists. At the time, the Israeli military said: "The individuals detained are treated in accordance with international law" and that "the IDF strives to treat any detainee with dignity. Any incident in which the guidelines were not followed will be looked into.”

Watch Jeremy Diamond's report below:

6:55 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

UK, Germany and Finland among growing list of countries pausing funding to UN agency in Gaza

From CNN's Benjamin Brown

Workers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees hand out supplies in Rafah, Gaza, on December 12.
Workers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees hand out supplies in Rafah, Gaza, on December 12. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

More countries joined a growing list Saturday of governments temporarily pausing funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after allegations that 12 staff members were involved in the October 7, 2023, attacks by Hamas in Israel.

The countries include:

  • United States
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands

In a statement shared with CNN, the UK foreign office said it was "appalled" by the allegations and awaiting results of the UN's internal investigation.

The Finnish foreign ministry said Saturday it had suspended its funding of 5 million euros (around $5.4 million US) per year due to the "serious allegations."

Germany's Foreign Ministry said it will "temporarily not approve" of any new funds for the organization, but other humanitarian aid will continue, with a recent 7 million euro (about $7.6 million US) increase in funding for the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund.

Hamas condemns Israeli "threats": Hamas said in an official statement released Saturday that it condemns Israel's "threats and blackmail" against the UNRWA. The group criticized the relief agency's decision to fire the accused employees in Gaza and called for an "impartial investigation" into Israel's allegations.

Hamas also slammed a claim made by Israel's UN ambassador that the World Health Organization is in “collusion” with the Hamas movement, calling that a "hollow accusation," and stressing the importance of these agencies in providing aid in the besieged enclave.

This post has been updated to add countries that are halting funding.

CNN's Ibrahim Hazboun and Lauren Kent contributed reporting to this post.

5:08 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Father of Palestinian American teen killed in West Bank demands answers from the US

From CNN’s Morayo Ogunbayo 

Hafiz Abdel Jabbar speaks during an interview with CNN on January 27.
Hafiz Abdel Jabbar speaks during an interview with CNN on January 27. CNN

The father of a Palestinian American teenager criticized US President Joe Biden's administration Saturday for its handling of his 17-year-old son's killing in the West Bank last week.

Speaking on CNN, Hafiz Abdel Jabbar addressed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, asking what he should tell his young daughter about the death of her brother, Tawfic.  

“What should I tell her, Mr. Blinken? That we are supporting a government that shot my kid?” Abdel Jabbar asked.  

What we know about the shooting: It is not yet clear who fired the shots that killed Tawfic on Friday, January 19.

Last week, Israeli authorities told CNN they received a report that an off-duty police officer and an Israeli civilian fired toward a "Palestinian individual suspected of hurling rocks" in the West Bank neighborhood where Tawfic, a former Louisiana resident, lived.

Abdel Jabbar says there is no way his son could have thrown rocks at them from where he was located at the time of the shooting.

An IDF soldier was also in the area at the time of the shooting, and has been accused of firing at the person killed, the IDF said in a statement. Israel has said that claim, as well as the entire incident, will be investigated.

Abdel Jabbar said he has video evidence of the killing, which he has sent to the US Consulate and some senators.