October 27, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sophie Tanno, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Elise Hammond, Tori B. Powell, Matt Meyer and Emma Tucker, CNN

Updated 12:07 AM ET, Sat October 28, 2023
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3:12 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

US in "active conversations" with Israel about humanitarian pause to allow for hostages' release

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

A woman looks at a wall in Tel Aviv, Israel, displaying pictures of people held hostage on October 26.
A woman looks at a wall in Tel Aviv, Israel, displaying pictures of people held hostage on October 26. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The US has held “active conversations” with Israel about a humanitarian pause to allow for the release of hostages in Gaza, the White House said.

“We absolutely believe that that if a pause can be effected to allow for the…release of hostages, then that is something we absolutely would support and we believe Israel should support it,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“We’ve been having active conversations with them about that,” Kirby said. 

He said the US would “continue to press with our partners in the region” to see the hostages released.

“If that requires a localized, temporary pause to do it, then we are absolutely supportive of that. We’re in support of whatever effort can be made to get them home safely to their families,” Kirby said.

The White House said it will still continue its work Friday to secure the release of hostages even after the Israel Defense Forces' announcement of "expanding ground operations" in the Gaza Strip.

“We are working as hard today as we were yesterday and the day before and the day before to get these hostages home,” Kirby told CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez. “And we will do what it takes working with our partners for that outcome.”

What Israel is saying: IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters Friday to disregard rumors about a possible deal to release the hostages being held in Gaza.

The official said IDF "will reach and present any credible information" on hostages to the families first when it’s confirmed, and then they will notify the public.

"Until then, don’t surrender to Hamas’ manipulations of psychological terror,” Hagari said.

CNN's Kyle Blaine contributed reporting to this post.

2:36 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

White House says it wouldn't be appropriate to weigh in on Israel's latest actions in Gaza

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House says it wouldn’t be appropriate for it to weigh in after the Israel Defense Forces announced Friday they are expanding ground operations.

“We have, of course, certainly seen Israel undertake varied operations on the ground in the last couple of days,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters. “But again, we're not going to get into the habit of chiming in from the sidelines here on what they're trying to do on the ground.”

Kirby said he wouldn’t address what Israel is doing on the ground, how they’re doing it or progress they were making.

He did say the US would continue providing Israel military assistance.

“We're going to continue to support their desire for capabilities … and munitions and that process continues,” Kirby said.

He said President Joe Biden is still working to ensure humanitarian aid enters Gaza and civilians who want to leave are able to. Kirby added that an additional 10 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza, bringing the total since the start of the conflict to 84. 

2:39 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

Palestine Red Crescent Society says it "completely lost contact" with emergency medical teams in Gaza

From CNN's Kareem Khadder 

A still from AFP TV footage shows balls of fire rising above Gaza City during an Israeli strike on October 27.
A still from AFP TV footage shows balls of fire rising above Gaza City during an Israeli strike on October 27. AFP/Getty Images

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it has "completely lost contact with the operations room in Gaza and all our teams operating there," according to a statement released Friday following a massive increase in Israeli air strikes on the enclave.

“We are deeply concerned about the ability of our teams to continue providing their emergency medical services, especially since this disruption affects the central emergency number '101' and hinders the arrival of ambulance vehicles to the wounded and injured," the statement said. 

Earlier, Jawwal, the Palestinian telecom company that provides mobile service to the Gaza Strip also said the strikes resulted in a "complete interruption of telecommunications service,” according to a statement.

2:26 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

Israeli military says forces are "operating forcefully" on all fronts

The Israel Defense Forces' troops are "operating forcefully" on all fronts in order to fulfill its goals in the war with Hamas, and will "continue striking Gaza City and keep calling upon civilians to evacuate south," IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Friday.

Asked about a possible deal to release the over 200 hostages being held in Gaza, Hagari told reporters to "disregard rumors," claiming Hamas is using psychological terror.

On the ground in Israel: As the IDF announced it was expanding ground operations in Gaza, sirens indicating incoming rockets sounded in the Israeli city of Ashkelon Friday night.

A CNN team on the ground heard a loud boom, potentially from Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepting a rocket.

CNN's Ivana Kottasová contributed reporting to this post.

4:35 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

Gaza residents say tonight's airstrikes are the most intense they have seen

Explosions in Gaza are seen from the Israel-Gaza border, in Southern Israel, on October 27.
Explosions in Gaza are seen from the Israel-Gaza border, in Southern Israel, on October 27. Reuters

Multiple residents of Gaza tell CNN the airstrikes Friday night were the most intense they have experienced since the beginning of hostilities nearly three weeks ago.

Jawwal, the Palestinian telecom company that provides mobile service to the Gaza Strip released a statement Friday night, saying "the intense bombardment in the past hour has resulted in the destruction of all remaining international routes connecting Gaza with the outside world" leading to a "complete interruption of telecommunications services."

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told CNN "the world is facing a historic moment " and needed to act in order to stop the "aggression and massacres" that would come in a potential Israeli incursion.

He accused Israel off cutting communications and internet in the Gaza Strip Friday in an "attempt to create darkness so that crimes can be committed" in preparation for an IDF ground operation.

The IDF would not comment on whether it had cut off telephone and internet service in the coastal enclave. 

Meanwhile, journalist Asmaa Khalil, who is working for CNN in Rafah, said the most intense bombardment of southern Gaza in the past 10 days was heard from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing.

Consecutive artillery fire was heard nonstop for over an hour in Egypt, in addition to an exchange of gunfire. The bombardment and explosions were heard more than 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) away from the Egyptian-Gazan border, Khalil reports. 

Egypt has increased military presence in north Sinai and deployed more troops near the border. Egyptian military aircraft were heard flying over the Egyptian side on Friday.

Remember: Israel is at war with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza and carried out devastating terror attacks in Israel earlier this month.

The Palestinian Authority is a separate government body with limited self-rule in the West Bank. It was established as part of a peace pact between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993.

Hamas — which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, European Union and other countries — presents itself as an alternative to the Palestinian Authority, which has recognized Israel and has engaged in multiple failed peace initiatives with it.

CNN's Abeer Salman, Asmaa Khalil in Rafah and CNN's Sarah El Sirganycontributed reporting to this post.

3:30 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

UN prepares to vote on Israel-Hamas war

From CNN's Caitlin Hu, David Shortell and Richard Roth

Pakistan's United Nations Ambassador Munir Akram addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on October 27.
Pakistan's United Nations Ambassador Munir Akram addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on October 27. Bebeto Matthews/AP

UN members are preparing to vote on a resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the war between Israel and Hamas so that humanitarian aid can reach civilians in the battered enclave of Gaza. The vote is expected at 3 p.m. ET.

Key Arab states, including Egypt, endorsed the resolution. The United States, siding with Israel, sharply criticized the effort, calling the resolution “deeply flawed.”
Jordan brought the resolution to the General Assembly after successive attempts to call for ceasefires and humanitarian pauses failed in the more powerful Security Council. A general assembly vote is politically significant but not binding.

The draft resolution calls for an "immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities," as well as "immediate, full, sustained, safe and unhindered humanitarian access."

The resolution also calls for "the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive" but does not name Hamas as the captor.

Israel's position: In debate Thursday, Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the resolution “completely devoid of any content related to the situation,” saying calls for a ceasefire were “not an attempt for peace,” but “an attempt to tie Israel’s hands, preventing us from eliminating a huge threat to our citizens.”

Palestinian observer's position: Ambassador Riyad Mansour, head of the Palestinian Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, highlighted the climbing death toll among Palestinian civilians, asking the assembly, “Is this the war some of you are defending?” 

There is no explicit criticism of Hamas in the General Assembly resolution currently under debate. Hamas, which controls Gaza, sparked the latest outbreak in violence after its October 7 terror attacks in Israel that left more than 1,400 dead.

“These are omissions of evil and they give cover to and they empower Hamas’s brutality,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said Friday. “No member state should allow that to happen.”

Canada has offered a last-minute amendment which sharply denounces the militant group. 

A majority of at least two-thirds of member countries present in the General Assembly Hall would need to vote yes for the resolution to pass.

Jordan's input: Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman Safadi urged approval of the pending UN resolution, writing on X that “voting against Arab #UNGA resolution means approving this senseless war, this senseless killing.”

The outcome of the Israeli ground operation “will be a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions for years to come,” he said. “Millions will be watching every vote. History will judge.”

3:07 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

Ground operations expanding in Gaza, Israel Defense Forces announce

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced Friday that they are "expanding ground operations" in the Gaza Strip, according IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

“In addition to offensive operations we carried over the past few days, the IDF ground forces are expanding their ground operation this evening,” Hagari said. 

“Hundreds of thousands of IDF soldiers are all around the borders of the state — in the air, ground, and the sea — to protect the state," he added.

The announcement comes as CNN reports a large series of explosions rocked Gaza City on Friday night.

CNN's Nic Robertson reports:

1:28 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

US officials insist hostage talks will continue as new strikes hit Gaza

From CNN's Alex Marquardt, Jeremy Diamond and Natasha Bertrand

As Israeli strikes on Gaza intensify, US government officials insist talks will continue to pursue hostage negotiations, two officials tell CNN.

One official said earlier talks had seemed closer to moving forward than they do now. But the official insisted they would press for negotiations to continue.

“There’s no scenario until they’re freed that we would stop pursuing talks,” the official said.

A third official said the talks are “tug and pull.”

1:29 p.m. ET, October 27, 2023

Extensive airstrikes on Gaza Strip

From CNN staff

Smoke is seen over Beit Hanoun in Gaza from the Israel-Gaza border on October 27, in Sderot, Israel.
Smoke is seen over Beit Hanoun in Gaza from the Israel-Gaza border on October 27, in Sderot, Israel. Amir Levy/Getty Images

A large series of explosions rocked Gaza City Friday night, according to CNN's Nic Robertson who is reporting live near the Israel and Gaza border.

Robertson reports hearing outgoing tank fire as well as "unusual, intense and sustained" military activity for the past couple of hours.

"There have been huge rounds of outgoing tank fire from where we are," he said reporting from Sderot. "Round after round of artillery fire going into Gaza as well. Multiple impacts reported in Gaza and Gaza City."

Robertson said that about an hour ago, the CNN team saw a "huge wall of smoke literally blow in off of Gaza." He reported that it smelled like the kind of cover smoke that could be used for military operations.

Israeli television has been showing live images of outgoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces has not commented on the uptick in military activity or whether there has been a scaling up of their operations targeting Hamas.