February 6, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Amir Vera, Jack Guy, Antoinette Radford, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Tori B. Powell and Helen Regan, CNN

Updated 10:01 a.m. ET, February 7, 2024
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5:04 p.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Biden says members of Congress who oppose border bill are denying aid to Palestinians in need

From CNN's Samantha Waldenberg

US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 6.
US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 6. Evan Vucci/AP

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that those who oppose a Senate border bill are “denying aid” to Palestinian people who are “really suffering.” 

“This bipartisan agreement also provides Israel with what it needs to protect its people and defend himself against Hamas terrorists, and it will provide the necessary lifesaving humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people,” Biden said. “By opposing this bill, they are denying aid to the people who are really suffering and desperately need help.”

The bill includes security assistance for Israel and humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

4:38 p.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Hamas response to hostage deal proposal is "reasonable," source says

From CNN's Alex Marquardt

Hamas’ long-awaited counteroffer to a hostage and truce framework is “reasonable,” a source familiar with the discussions told CNN. It does not include two of its most prominent and public demands: that Israeli soldiers leave Gaza or for a deal to end the war. 

Top US diplomat Antony Blinken, who is in the Middle East to meet with leaders of multiple nations, responded positively after hearing Hamas' proposal, the source said, which Blinken later echoed in a press conference.

A State Department official said Blinken was first informed about the Hamas counterproposal by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who told the top US diplomat that Hamas had responded an hour before the meeting.

The emir outlined the counterproposal briefly and called it positive. Then the Qatari prime minister gave further details, the official told the traveling press. State Department officials briefed the White House. 

In a statement last week, senior Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh said that "the review of the new proposal for a ceasefire is based on the basis that any negotiations lead to a complete end to the aggression.”

The next hurdle, as Blinken indicated in his comments to reporters, will be presenting the Hamas counteroffer to the Israeli government.

Prime Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed repeatedly that Israel's war will not end until there is "complete victory" over Hamas, which includes killing Hamas leadership and "will take time — months not years."

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting. This post was updated with additional details on a briefing by a State Department official.

Correction: This post has been updated to accurately reflect how the source characterized the counteroffer.

2:28 p.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Blinken: Saudi Arabia interested in normalizing ties with Israel but wants a "clear" path to Palestinian state

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 5.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 5. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool/AP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saudi Arabia still has a "strong interest" in normalizing relations with Israel, but Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made clear that the war in Gaza must end and there should be "a clear, credible, time-bound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Blinken met with bin Salman for more than two hours on Monday in Riyadh. He is scheduled to meet with senior Israeli officials in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

On both this trip and his last tour to the region, Blinken has stressed that the Israeli government must make “difficult” decisions and move toward a two-state solution if it wants to achieve normalization with Saudi Arabia and if it wants the support of its Arab neighbors for security and reconstruction in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the idea of a Palestinian state. He has also said that the war in Gaza will continue for months longer

12:42 p.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Blinken says US is reviewing the response from Hamas on hostage proposal

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte

The United States is reviewing the response from Hamas “now,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.

“I’ll be discussing with the government of Israel tomorrow,” Blinken said.

The top US diplomat reiterated that the proposal that was presented to Hamas was a “serious” one “that was aimed at not simply repeating the previous agreement, but expanding it.”

“There's still a lot of work to be done, but we continue to believe that an agreement is possible, and indeed essential. And we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it,” he said at a press conference in Doha.
2:30 p.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Hamas gives "positive" response to framework agreement on hostage deal but offers few details

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte

Hamas gave a “positive” response Tuesday to a framework agreement on a hostage deal, but offered few details in a short statement. 

The Palestinian Islamist group’s response included elements that have not been offered by Israel, including a “comprehensive and complete ceasefire” and “lifting their siege on the Gaza Strip,” as well as “completing a prisoner exchange.”

Qatar's prime minister also confirmed that Hamas had responded.

“The reply includes some comments, but in general it is positive. However, given the sensitivity of the circumstances, we will not tackle details,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at a news conference alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Doha on Tuesday.

The Qatari prime minister said they have given the response to Israel and added, "we are optimistic."

Blinken heads to Israel later today.

12:25 p.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Blinken discusses hostages and humanitarian pause with Qataris and Egyptians 

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Lusail Palace in Doha on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Lusail Palace in Doha on Tuesday. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani discussed “ongoing efforts to secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas and enable an extended humanitarian pause in the conflict in Gaza” in their meeting in Doha Tuesday.

The Qataris have served as a key mediator in the negotiations with Hamas, to whom a proposal to reach those aims was submitted more than a week ago. The group has not yet provided a substantive response to that proposal.

“Secretary Blinken and the Amir agreed to continue close coordination to increase humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and to urge the protection of civilians consistent with humanitarian law,” a readout from State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said.
“The Secretary reiterated the U.S. rejection of any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and underscored the U.S. commitment to establishing durable peace in the Middle East, including the establishment of a Palestinian state that ensures security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” 

Prior to his meeting with the Emir, Blinken was in Cairo for discussions with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other top Egyptian officials on the same matters. The Egyptians are the other key interlocutors with Hamas.

According to a readout from the Egyptian President’s office, “the meeting focused on developments in unyielding efforts aimed at reaching a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, exchanging detainees and hostages and providing access to desperately needed relief aid to end the severe humanitarian catastrophe in the sector.”

12:18 p.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Fighting intensifies in Gaza as aid workers caution expanded Israeli operation in Rafah. Catch up here

From CNN staff

Fighting between Israel and Hamas is ongoing across multiple parts of the Gaza Strip since Monday, with operations in Khan Younis and "targeted raids in the northern and central Gaza Strip," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

Journalists working for CNN in Gaza reported that Israeli fire, including the shelling of an apartment block, caused multiple casualties across the territory since Monday.

But in the south, toward Rafah, aid workers have raised concerns over any expanded military operation, where satellite images show a makeshift tent city estimated to house more than 1 million civilians displaced by the war.

The director of the Hamas-run government media office also warned the expansion would "cause a real disaster."

Here's what else to know today:

  • Senior commander killed: One of the "most prominent leaders" of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was killed, along with 13 of his family members, in an Israeli airstrike on a property in Deir al-Balah over the weekend, the group announced. Issam Khattab “Abu Mazen” was killed at his family's home.
  • Crossing protests: The Kerem Shalom crossing, where aid is checked before it enters Gaza, has again been blocked by Israeli protesters — despite the area becoming a designated military zone. Israel says 100 aid trucks were able to enter the territory before the protesters arrived.
  • Nasser hospital: The Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza has accused the Israeli military of tightening a siege of the Nasser medical complex and putting the lives of 300 medical personnel, 450 wounded, and 10,000 displaced people at risk. In late January, Nasser Hospital was the largest functioning hospital in the Gaza Strip, according to Doctors Without Borders. It's adjacent to the main route for people trying to flee Khan Younis for somewhat safer areas along the coast.
  • Egypt visit: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has left Egypt after a one-on-one with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and is now in Doha, where he will meet with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
  • Red Sea attacks: A ship off the coast of Yemen received “slight damage” after a projectile was fired toward it, the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) organization said early on Tuesday. Another vessel, reported an explosion around 50 meters away from its side, British security firm Ambrey said in a statement Tuesday.

10:49 a.m. ET, February 6, 2024

Houthis say they will increase attacks on US and UK ships in the Red Sea if the war in Gaza does not stop

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Baghdad

Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen have vowed to increase their attacks on US and UK ships in the Red Sea if the war in Gaza does not stop.

The Houthis started targeting ships in the Red Sea in November 2023, and have warned they "will carry out more military operations against all hostile American-British targets," in the Red Sea "within the right to respond to the aggression, and the right to defend our beloved Yemen and its people," Houthi military spokesperson, Yahya Sare'e said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said Houthi forces "emphasize the continuation of their military operations" in the Red Sea "against Israeli shipping or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine until the siege is lifted and the aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is stopped."

Remember: The Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea prompted the US and UK to retaliate with strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. The governments said they destroyed missiles, weapons storage sites and drone systems, according to senior officials.

10:30 a.m. ET, February 6, 2024

US secretary of state arrives in Qatar after meeting with Egyptian president

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he departs for Doha, at Cairo East Airport, in Cairo, Egypt, on February 6.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he departs for Doha, at Cairo East Airport, in Cairo, Egypt, on February 6. Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived at the next stop on his whirlwind trip in the Middle East: Qatar. He is set to meet with Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as well as Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

Blinken traveled to Doha from Cairo amid reports that Israel is planning to shift its offensive to Rafah, a key site on the border with the Sinai Peninsula where countless people have gathered to try to get to Egypt and the only port of entry for critical humanitarian aid. 

While in Cairo, the secretary met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a meeting that lasted nearly two hours, according to US reporters traveling with the secretary. The meeting also included intel chief Abbas Kamel, who was a part of the Paris talks on the hostages. Egypt has been a key conversational partner with Hamas in these talks.

US officials have stressed that the ball is in Hamas' court on the proposal to release hostages and reach a sustained pause in the fighting in Gaza. 

Blinken has a news conference scheduled for noon ET.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting.

This post has been updated to note Blinken's arrival in Qatar.