October 29, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Tara Subramaniam, Andrew Raine, Sophie Tanno, Maureen Chowdhury and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 1:40 AM ET, Mon October 30, 2023
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2:14 p.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Second-largest hospital in Gaza City warned to evacuate ahead of possible bombardment, humanitarian group says 

From CNN's Abeer Salman, Richard Allen Greene, Radina Gigova and Muhammad Darwish 

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it has received a warning Sunday from the Israeli military to immediately evacuate Al-Quds Hospital, the second-largest in Gaza City, ahead of possible bombardment.

The hospital is located in the Tal Al Hawa neighborhood, in Gaza City, north of Wadi Gaza – the line south of which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has urged people in Gaza to flee. 

The hospital is located in the Tal Al Hawa neighbourhood, in Gaza city, north of Wadi Gaza – the line south of which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has urged people in Gaza to flee. 

The Palestinian Red Crescent "has just received a new threat by the Israeli Authorities this morning, ordering the team to immediately evacuate Al-Quds Hospital," reads a statement from the organization. 
"Two phone calls were received, with a clear and direct threat, that the hospital must be evacuated at once, otherwise PRCS holds full responsibility for the lives of everyone inside the hospital," the organization said. 

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the evacuation threat as "deeply concerning."

"We reiterate - it’s impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients without endangering their lives," he added in a post on social media Sunday.

In response to questions about the Palestinian Red Crescent statement, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Nir Dinar told CNN on Sunday, "They received much more than two (warnings) for the last three weeks." 

Al-Quds Hospital is treating hundreds of patients, including wounded people, patients in intensive care and children in incubators, the Palestinian Red Crescent said. In addition, approximately 12,000 internally displaced civilians are currently sheltering at the hospital. 

The aid organization's management and operations teams, which are helping civilians staying in the northern Gaza Strip, are also stationed in the hospital, the organization said. 

"All medical facilities and medical missions, as well as civilians are protected under international Humanitarian Law. States Parties to the Geneva Convention, are called upon to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances," the Palestinian Red Crescent said. "We call once again on the international community as a whole, The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the UN system and the International agencies to act immediately and save Al-Quds Hospital, as well as all hospitals in Gaza from being targeted, and to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe from unfolding," it added.

Repeated warnings: In a statement released on October 14, the World Health Organization strongly condemned "Israel's repeated orders" for the evacuation of 22 hospitals in northern Gaza, and said those evacuation orders are "a death sentence for the sick and injured."

"Hospital directors and health workers are now facing an agonizing choice: abandon critically ill patients amid a bombing campaign, put their own lives at risk while remaining on site to treat patients, or endanger their patients’ lives while attempting to transport them to facilities that have no capacity to receive them," WHO said. 

"Overwhelmingly, caregivers have chosen to stay behind, and honor their oaths as health professionals to 'do no harm,' rather than risk moving their critically ill patients during evacuations," WHO said. "Health workers should never have to make such impossible choices," it added. 

9:43 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Death toll in Gaza rises to 7,950

From CNN’s Abeer Salman and Eyad Kourdi

The father of a young boy from the al-Aqad family, reacts as he touches the body of his child, killed in an Israeli strike on Khan Younis, southern Gaza, before his burial on October 29.
The father of a young boy from the al-Aqad family, reacts as he touches the body of his child, killed in an Israeli strike on Khan Younis, southern Gaza, before his burial on October 29. Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 7,960, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah announced on Sunday, drawing the data from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The enclave has been pummelled by Israeli strikes since October 7, which has also resulted in over 20,000 injured, the ministry said. 

Nearly three-quarters -- 73% -- of those killed are from vulnerable populations, including children, women, and elderly individuals, according to the ministry report. 

The ministry added that the total number of dead includes 116 medical personnel. Additionally, 24 hospitals, which together have a capacity of 2,000 beds, have been instructed to evacuate in the northern part of Gaza. 

The updated figures come as Israel said the next stage of its war with Hamas had begun after it expanded its ground operations in the enclave. "The war inside Gaza is going to be long," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday.

8:54 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Video shows aftermath of destruction at mosque and houses in Gaza's Al-Nuseirat refugee camp

From CNN's Kareem Khadder in Jerusalem

Video from the ground in central Gaza shows the aftermath of the destruction of a mosque and adjacent houses in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp on Sunday.

The video, obtained by CNN from a Gaza-based journalist, shows a large amount of destruction at the site of an airstrike at Bilal Bin Rabbah mosque and people searching through the rubble to look for survivors.  

According to medical sources at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the nearby city of Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, an Israeli strike hit the mosque, killing 13 people and leaving "dozens" of other people injured. 

CNN cannot independently verify the number of casualties. 

Medical sources added that the victims were from several families who were taking shelter in houses around the site of the mosque after they were displaced from northern Gaza. The mosque in Al-Nuseirat is south of Wadi Gaza.

Additional footage that CNN obtained from the journalist on the ground shows people praying over several bodies that are wrapped in shrouds outside of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, as well as some of the victims' funerals.

"We were in 'Block C' of Al-Nuseirat. We were sleeping in God's grace, and we woke up to see everything coming down on us -- martyrs and injured and the entire house all on top of us, as you can see. My mother and sister died," said one of the survivors, Issa al-Ahmad, in an interview.
"There were no warnings. It was a strong airstrike. The people [nearby] pulled us from underneath the rubble."

Another survivor, Mohammad Ahmad, said in an interview that people from at least three families staying next to the mosque in "Block C" of the camp were killed. 

"We were sleeping and all of sudden the glass and rubble were on top of us from every hole, we were terrified we started pulling the children outside," said Ahmad, adding that several children died in the strike.
"There were no warnings at all... We didn’t know exactly where the hit was, we started running to get our children out." 
"Where are we supposed to go," added Ahmad, sitting on top of the rubble of his house. 

CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment. 

In a statement earlier on Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it struck more than 450 targets in the past day, including command centers, observation posts, and missile launch sites, as Israel continues to expand its ground incursion into Gaza. 

One video segment the IDF released along with its statement appears to show a missile hitting a building next to a mosque. It is not clear if that is the Bilal Ben Rabbah mosque.

10:47 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

It's afternoon in Israel and Gaza. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

The United Nations has warned that civil order is starting to break down in the besieged Gaza Strip, with thousands breaking into warehouses to take basic supplies including wheat flour and hygiene products.

“People are scared, frustrated and desperate," said Thomas White, director of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) affairs in the Gaza Strip.  

Below are the latest developments...

  • New phase of war: In a statement on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that a second phase of the war had begun, with the goals of destroying Hamas and returning the hostages the militant group took on October 7 and still holds in Gaza. Netanyahu also warned that the war in Gaza is "going to be long."
  • Communications partially restored: Communications in Gaza were partially restored on Sunday morning, according to two service providers and a monitoring group. Palestine Telecommunications (Paltel) announced in a post on its Facebook page that land line, cellular and internet connectivity were gradually being restored after being severely disrupted on Friday evening. The Jawwal Telecommunication Company also announced Sunday that its telecommunication services were "gradually being restored."
  • 450 targets hit: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck more than 450 targets over the past day, including command centers, observation posts and missile launch sites, as Israel steps up its operation in Gaza, according to a statement Sunday. “As part of the expansion of ground activities, combined combat forces struck terrorist cells that attempted to attack the forces and terrorist cells that planned to carry out anti-tank missile launches,” the statement said.
  • More aid trucks expected: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director for Palestine Samer Abdeljaber told CNN that 40 more aid trucks are expected to enter Gaza on Sunday amid a worsening humanitarian situation. “We hope today we will be able to allow more trucks into Gaza – 40 trucks are expected to be crossing. However, we have to also note that that's not enough compared to the soaring needs... at the moment in Gaza, we need more than that,” Abdeljaber said.
  • Warehouses broken into: The main UN agency in Gaza has said that "thousands" of people have broken into some of its warehouses, "taking wheat flour and other basic survival items like hygiene supplies." One of the warehouses in the city of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, is where UNRWA stores supplies from humanitarian convoys coming from Egypt, the agency said in a statement. 
7:35 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Israeli military says more aid trucks to enter Gaza and denies shortages in the Strip

From CNN’s Richard Allen Greene and Manveena Suri

The Israeli military said Sunday it expects more aid trucks to begin entering Gaza soon, and denied that there were shortages of food, water or medicine, despite the complete closure Israel imposed on the territory in response to the October 7 Hamas attack.

Israel has set up a joint mechanism with the United Nations, the United States and Egypt to "facilitate the access of humanitarian assistance from Egypt to Gaza," said Colonel Elad Goren, head of the Civil Affairs Department for COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), at a press briefing on Sunday.

“We have a lot of concerns about what is on those trucks so we are inspecting... We will see more trucks and the amount will be much higher in the next few days,” he added.

Despite a growing chorus of aid agencies that have released dire warnings about shortages of food, water and medical supplies, Goren stated there was “no food shortage in Gaza,” and insisted there was also enough water and medicine.

A US official who spoke on background regarding private conversations with Israeli officials questioned those assertions.

“International partners on the ground continue to report significant shortages of food, water and medicine. We are doing our best to compare those Israeli assessments with those of trusted partners on the ground. Is the food and water and medicine where people are? Where they have moved to? It’s a continuous discussion,” the official said.

The main UN agency in Gaza reported Sunday that "thousands" of people had broken into some of its warehouses, "taking wheat flour and other basic survival items like hygiene supplies."

Director Thomas White warned that "civil order is starting to break down" as people are "scared, frustrated and desperate."

7:30 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Three Palestinian men killed in West Bank overnight, say officials, totaling 114 since October 7

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder

Three Palestinian men were killed in Israeli military incursions into the West Bank overnight, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said Sunday.

That brings the number of Palestinians killed in the territory since October 7 to 114. The Ministry announced the deaths of three men in a short post on its Facebook page.

Some context: Tensions, which were already high before the Hamas attack, have been boiling over in the occupied West Bank, where residents previously told CNN they are fearful of a wave of violence from the Israeli military and security forces, as well as revenge attacks by the estimated 700,000 Israeli settlers living in the area.

Violence has been particularly acute this year, with the number of Palestinians – militants and civilians – killed in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces since the year began at its highest in nearly two decades.

10:39 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

UN warns "civil order" starting to break down as Gazans break into warehouses to take basic survival items

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Palestinians storm a UN-run aid supply center, that distributes food to displaced families following Israel's call for more than one million residents in northern Gaza to move south for their safety, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on October 28.
Palestinians storm a UN-run aid supply center, that distributes food to displaced families following Israel's call for more than one million residents in northern Gaza to move south for their safety, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on October 28. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

The main United Nations agency in Gaza has warned civil order is breaking down, saying "thousands" of people have broken into some of its warehouses "taking wheat flour and other basic survival items like hygiene supplies." 

One of the warehouses in the city of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, is where the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) stores supplies from humanitarian convoys coming from Egypt, the agency said in a statement. 

“This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza. People are scared, frustrated and desperate," said Thomas White, director of UNRWA Affairs in the Gaza Strip.  

"Tensions and fear are made worse by the cuts in the phones and internet communication lines. They feel that they are on their own, cut off from their families inside Gaza and the rest of the world," White added. 

The "massive" displacement of people from northern Gaza to the south "has placed enormous pressure on those communities, adding further burden on crumbling public services," the agency said. Some families have received as many as 50 relatives who are taking shelter in one household, it said. 

“Supplies on the market are running out while the humanitarian aid coming into the Gaza Strip on trucks from Egypt is insufficient. The needs of the communities are immense, if only for basic survival, while the aid we receive is meagre and inconsistent,” White said. 

Just over 80 trucks of aid have crossed into Gaza in one week so far, and on Saturday there was no convoy due to the blackout in communications, the agency said. 

“The current system of convoys is geared to fail. Very few trucks, slow processes, strict inspections, supplies that do not match the requirements of UNRWA and the other aid organizations, and mostly the ongoing ban on fuel, are all a recipe for a failed system," White said. 

We call for a regular and steady flow line of humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip to respond to the needs especially as tensions and frustrations grow,” he added. 

Following the restoration of internet services, UNRWA teams in Gaza "will reassess the situation with the aim of resuming convoys and distribution of assistance," the agency said. 

1:57 p.m. ET, October 29, 2023

CNN team near Gaza hears constant explosions as IDF continues heavy bombing of strip on Sunday

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová and Adi Kopelwitz in Sderot and Sa’ad, near Gaza

Israel Defense Forces continued their campaign of heavy bombing against the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, combining artillery strikes with air power and tanks.

A CNN team on the ground on the edge of the closed military zone, about a kilometer from the border, heard constant explosions and sporadic machine gunfire on Sunday morning.

The IDF was firing artillery rounds and mortars from outside the border to the east, while machine gunfire was heard from within the Gaza Strip.

Drones, helicopters and F-16 fighter jets were seen flying overhead.

The IDF said that helicopters, under the direction of IDF tanks, were striking Hamas targets in the north of the Gaza Strip.

The CNN team also saw a column of military vehicles, tanks and armored personnel carriers moving towards the northern border of the enclave.

Artificial smoke has been seen billowing from near the perimeter, likely intended to obscure the visibility from across the border.

IDF soldiers stationed by an artillery position about three kilometers east of the Gaza Strip told CNN there has been regular incoming fire coming from Gaza towards Israel as Hamas continues to launch rockets even after three weeks of continuous IDF strikes against its infrastructure in the enclave.

6:20 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

World Food Programme says 40 more aid trucks expected to enter Gaza but it "needs more"

From CNN’s Eve Brennan

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director for Palestine Samer Abdeljaber told CNN that 40 more aid trucks are expected to enter Gaza on Sunday amid a worsening humanitarian situation.

“We hope today we will be able to allow more trucks into Gaza – 40 trucks are expected to be crossing. However, we have to also note that that's not enough compared to the soaring needs... at the moment in Gaza, we need more than that,” Abdeljaber said.

Just for WFP to be able to reach 1 million people, we need 40 trucks a day. If we're going to be supporting 2 million people, we need 100 trucks of food,” he added. 

The trucks going into the strip include food, water and medical supplies, but not fuel, according to Abdeljaber.

Abdeljaber went on to say that the blackout that happened with telecommunication over the weekend presented a “major challenge” for the World Food Programme. 

“We couldn't coordinate on the ground to facilitate for the trucks to go in," he said.

Communications in the enclave -- including cellular and internet connectivity -- were partially restored on Sunday morning, according to two service providers and a monitoring group.

"Luckily today, it's gradually coming back, but after 36 (hours) of no communication on the ground with our staff, with our partners, even just to plan for the crossing and transshipment of the trucks was a major challenge and that is something that shows how vulnerable the whole situation is if something as simple as communication is not provided for us to be able to operate,” Abdeljaber added.