February 10, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Chris Lau, Andrew Raine and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:06 AM ET, Sun February 11, 2024
17 Posts
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6:15 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

JUST IN: Netanyahu says IDF operation in Rafah must be completed by the start of Ramadan on March 10

From CNN Lauren Izso and Eve Brennan, with previous reporting from Mick Krever

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 28, 2023.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 28, 2023. Abir Sultan/Pool/AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the War Cabinet on Thursday that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation in Rafah must be complete by the start of Ramadan on March 10, an Israeli official told CNN on Saturday.

Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Friday that the Israeli prime minister had directed the military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah.

Netanyahu also said on Thursday that the IDF would “soon go into Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion."

More than 1.3 million people are believed to be in Rafah, the majority displaced from other parts of Gaza, according to the United Nations.

On Friday, Rafah residents and people who had been displaced from elsewhere in Gaza told CNN they were afraid and have nowhere else to go if Israel enters the city in the south of the Gaza strip close to the Egyptian border.

The United Nations is "extremely worried" about the fate of civilians in the city, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said Friday, while UN Humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths warned: "There's nowhere left to go in Gaza."

He added: "Civilians must be protected and their essential needs, including shelter, food and health, must be met." 

5:45 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Hamas calls on UN Security council to "convene immediately" over Israeli threats to invade Rafah

From Ibrahim Hazboun in Jerusalem with previous reporting from Kareem El Damanhoury and Amir Tal

The Hamas-run government media office on Saturday called on the UN Security Council to “convene immediately” following threats from Israel over a possible invasion into Rafah, a city in the south of the Gaza strip close to the Egyptian border.

“We call on the UN Security Council to convene immediately and urgently to confirm its determination to oblige the ‘Israeli’ occupation to stop the genocidal war it is committing against the Palestinians in Gaza,” read the statement, warning of a “catastrophe and massacre that could leave tens of thousands martyred and wounded.”

More than 1.3 million people are believed to be in Rafah, the majority displaced from other parts of Gaza, according to the United Nations. The city is the last major population center in Gaza not occupied by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Netanyahu on Thursday said that IDF would “soon go into Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion,” and the next day directed the military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from the city alongside the defeat of Hamas, his office said in a statement. He added it was not possible to both eliminate Hamas and leave “four Hamas battalions in Rafah.”

'Ethnic cleansing': Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative on Saturday said any attack on Rafah would “lead not only to massacres but also to a wide ethnic cleansing of the population of Gaza, which is part of genocide.”

Human Rights Watch has warned that the repercussions of forcibly evacuating displaced Palestinians in Rafah would have “catastrophic consequences,” adding the Israeli military has a responsibility to protect civilians whether they evacuate or not.

5:04 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Iranian foreign minister meets Hezbollah chief Nasrallah

From CNN's Charbel Mallo, Duarte Mendonca and Mostafa Salem

Iran's Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for a discussion on ”the latest political and security developments in the region, especially in the Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon, and the rest of the fronts of the resistance axis,” according to Lebanon’s official National News Agency (NNA).

Amir-Abdollahian is in Lebanon for meeting with officials.

The leader of Hezbollah and the Iranian FM last met in November last year where they discussed “the existing possibilities regarding the course of events and efforts to stop Israeli aggression on Gaza."

Some background: Since Hamas’ October 7 attacks on Israel and the Israeli offensive in Gaza that followed, the militant group Hezbollah has engaged in frequent confrontations with Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels have launched a series of attacks on commercial ships and Western military vessels in the Red Sea, a major artery for international trade. And Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria have launched dozens of attacks aimed at US military positions in those countries, leading to a number of close calls.

The US and other international powers have hit back with strikes on the Houthis and other groups allied with Iran.

3:59 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

At least 1 dead at Gaza’s Nasser Hospital as IDF continues operations in Khan Younis

From CNN's Kareem El Damanhoury

At least one person was killed and others were injured by Israeli gunfire at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis early Saturday, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza said in a statement.

"[The Israeli military] is firing heavy gunfire towards the gates, buildings and courtyards of the Nasser Medical Complex," the statement said. "We fear for the lives of 300 health personnel, 450 wounded and sick, and 10,000 displaced people inside the Nasser Medical Complex."

CNN cannot independently verify the allegations and has reached out to the Israeli military for comment. The Israel Defenses Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that its troops “continue to conduct targeted raids on terrorist targets” in western Khan Younis.

A frontline hospital: Earlier on Friday, a medical doctor inside the hospital said in a video on his Instagram account that continuous gunfire by the Israeli military was preventing medical staff from moving from one hospital building to another.

In a statement on Thursday, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza warned of a “health and humanitarian crisis” as a result of what it described as an Israeli “siege and targeting,” adding that there are 300 medical staff, 450 injured people and 10,000 displaced people in the Nasser Medical Complex.

5:03 p.m. ET, February 10, 2024

5-year-old Palestinian girl found dead after being trapped in car under Israeli fire

From CNN’s Abeer Salman in Jerusalem and Khader Al Za’anoun in Gaza

A 5-year-old Palestinian girl who was trapped in a car with her dead relatives after it came under Israeli fire in Gaza last month has been found dead.

“The child (Hind Rajab) and everyone in the car were found killed by the Israeli Army near the Fares petrol station in the Tal Al-Hawa area, southwest of Gaza City,” said Khader Al Za’anoun, a Palestinian journalist working for CNN who spoke to the child’s grandfather.

On January 29, Hind had been traveling in a car with her uncle, his wife and their four children, fleeing fighting in northern Gaza, when they came under Israeli fire, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

Hind’s cousin, 15-year-old Layan Hamadeh, made a desperate call for help to emergency services that was recorded by the PRCS and shared on social media. Audio of gunshots heard during the call revealed that Hamadeh was killed while making the call.

Two PRCS ambulance staff dispatched to find her also died, the organization said.

Soon after the incident, CNN gave the Israeli military details about the incident, including coordinates provided by the Palestine Red Crescent Society. In response, the Israel Defense Forces said it was “unfamiliar with the incident described.”

When contacted again by CNN, the IDF said they were “still looking into it.”

Clarification: The headline on this story has been updated to better characterize the circumstances of Hind Rajab’s death.

12:23 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

It's morning in Gaza. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

A woman and children sit outside tents sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, on February 8.
A woman and children sit outside tents sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, on February 8. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed the military to plan for the evacuation of the more than 1.3 million people the United Nations estimates are in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

In a statement, his office said that it was not possible to both eliminate Hamas and leave “four Hamas battalions in Rafah.”

Here's what you need to about this and other developments in the Israel-Hamas war:

Where will the civilians go?: Rafah is the last major population center in Gaza not occupied by the Israel Defense Forces and it has rapidly become home to a huge population of displaced Palestinians. Satellite images showed this week how a tent city has swelled in size in just a few weeks. CNN has also previously reported on Palestinian civilians who followed evacuation orders being killed by Israeli strikes, underscoring the reality that evacuation zones and warning alerts from the Israeli military haven’t guaranteed safety for civilians in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where Palestinians have no safe place to escape Israeli bombs.

Here's what the United States has said: “To conduct such an operation right now with no planning and little thought in an area where there is sheltering of a million people would be a disaster,” Deputy State Department Spokesperson Vedant Patel told a news briefing Thursday. Also, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns about the expansion into Rafah during meetings with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials this week, two Israeli officials told CNN on Wednesday.

Non-governmental organizations issue warnings: Several non-governmental organizations have warned about the humanitarian consequences of Israeli operations in Rafah. For instance, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said the city, which borders Egypt, could soon turn "into a zone of bloodshed and destruction that people won’t be able to escape."

Hostage families frustrated: With hopes for a new deal to return Israeli hostages from Gaza in doubt, many, including the families of those hostages still held by Hamas, have directed their anger at Netanyahu, who dismissed the terms of a ceasefire and hostage deal put forward by Hamas.

Half of UNRWA requests to deliver aid in Gaza denied: The UN's main relief agency in Gaza said Friday that half of its aid mission requests to deliver aid in Gaza since the beginning of the year have been denied. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has not been able to deliver aid in Gaza since January 23, agency Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on X, adding that people in the territory are on the verge of famine.

12:00 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Iran-backed militia umbrella group vows to expel US troops from Iraq

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jen Deaton

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI), an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias in the country, says it will resume attacks on US targets and expel US troops from the country.

In a statement Friday night it said that the US, who it refers to as the occupying enemy, understands nothing but the "language of weapons" and that recent US strikes in Iraq including the killing of senior Kataib Hezbollah commander Wisam Mohammed Saber al-Saedi in Baghdad on Wednesday "violated the rules of engagement."

The IRI will respond with "strikes and broad attacks," it said, and called on others to join the resistance. It also said it was turning all efforts to "expelling the occupation at this historical state in Iraq and the region."

At around the same time Friday night, the Kataib Hezbollah militia, one of the most powerful armed factions in the IRI, vowed revenge for the killing of their commander Al-Saedi in a post on Telegram.

"It is the stage of revenge, and liberation and hell is coming," it said.

Late last month, Kataib Hezbollah said it was suspending its military operations against US forces in the region two days after a drone attack killed three US service members and wounded dozens of others.

The US, however, vowed to respond to the US soldier deaths, and has conducted deadly retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria in the last week to that end.

Kataib Hezbollah is not just part of the IRI, it is also part of the Hashd al Shaabi – or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) – a predominantly Shiite Iran-backed paramilitary force based in Iraq. Unlike other Iran-backed groups around the region, the PMU is tied to the Iraqi government and officially falls under the authority of the Iraqi military forces.

12:27 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Mass evacuation in Rafah would have "catastrophic consequences," human rights organization warns

From CNN's Kareem El Damanhoury

Citizens queue for food that is distributed for free on December 28, 2023 in Rafah, Gaza.
Citizens queue for food that is distributed for free on December 28, 2023 in Rafah, Gaza. Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned about the repercussions of forcibly evacuating displaced Palestinians in Rafah as Israel plans a military escalation in the southern Gaza city.

“Forcing the over one million displaced Palestinians in Rafah to again evacuate without a safe place to go would be unlawful and would have catastrophic consequences," HRW refugee and migrant rights researcher Nadia Hardman said. "There is nowhere safe to go in Gaza. The international community should take action to prevent further atrocities.”

HRW said the Israeli military has a responsibility to protect civilians whether they evacuate or not.

"Civilians who do not evacuate following warnings are still fully protected by international humanitarian law," HRW said. "Many civilians may be unable to heed a warning to evacuate for reasons of health, disability, fear, or lack of any place else to go."

HRW's statement comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the Israeli forces to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah, adding the Israeli military would “soon go into Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion.” 

3:26 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Israeli parliament speaker cancels meeting with UN chief after statement calling for ceasefire

From CNN's Jonny Halam and Kareem El Damanhoury

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing on his priorities for 2024 at UN Headquarters on February 8.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing on his priorities for 2024 at UN Headquarters on February 8. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

The speaker of the Israeli parliament on Friday canceled a meeting scheduled with Secretary-General António Guterres because of the UN leader's call for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza.

"I intended to try and convince, as well as hand [the UN Secretary General] a book we prepared in the Knesset, documenting [October 7] with still images," Amir Ohana said in a statement. "But yesterday he again called on the State of Israel to stop fighting, criticizing it 'even if Hamas uses human shields.'"

Guterres said Thursday the level of destruction and number of people killed in Gaza show that “there is something wrong in the way the military operations are being conducted.”

Responding to a reporter who said Hamas is hiding within the civilian population, Guterres reiterated his condemnation of the use of human shields, adding that the protection of civilians is a must even in those circumstances. 

“I even said [the use of human shields is] a violation of international humanitarian law, but the same humanitarian international law is clear that even when there are human shields, there is an obligation to protect civilians,” he said. “In that regard, I think we are abiding by principle without double standards.”

In a news conference held after Ohana's statement, Guterres' spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters the secretary general's office knew about the cancelation first through the media before receiving an official notification, adding that Guterres' statement on Thursday was not new.