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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11:40 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Israel's military describes fighting with Hamas on the ground in northern Gaza Strip

From CNN's Amir Tal 

The Israeli military is continuing ground operations in the northern Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement Sunday. 

Israeli "aircraft, guided by IDF troops, struck Hamas military structures, some of which contained Hamas terrorists," the military said. "In addition, anti-tank missile launching posts, observation posts and military infrastructure were struck."

"Terrorists who shot at the soldiers were killed, as well as terrorists who were identified on the coastline in the Gaza Strip near the area of Zikim," the IDF said. 

Remember: Israel says the next stage of its war with Hamas has begun after expanding its ground operations in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that the second stage of the war against Hamas has begun, with the goal of destroying the group's armed wing and government, and returning hostages held in Gaza home.

The IDF launched its offensive after the devastating October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel.

11:13 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Israeli troops have advanced over two miles into northern Gaza, video suggests

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Israeli troops appear to have advanced over two miles into Gaza, according to a CNN analysis of video published by an Israeli media outlet. 

The troops in the video, taken on Saturday, are seen putting an Israeli flag on a Gaza resort hotel's roof. CNN geolocated the video to an area just over two miles from the Gaza-Israeli border.

"Soldiers of the 52 Battalion of the 401 Brigade are waving the Israeli flag in the heart of Gaza, by the beach," a soldier is heard saying in the video, taken several miles north of central Gaza City. "We will not forgive nor forget, and we’ll not stop until the victory."

The video is one of the first glimpses into where Israeli ground forces have been, and what they've been doing, during the expanded ground operations in Gaza. 

A communications blackout in Gaza has significantly hampered the flow of information out of it, though providers said service was gradually being restored Sunday.

The video was published by Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom. CNN has asked the Israel Defense Forces for comment on the video, and why soldiers are installing an Israeli flag on the hotel roof. 

On the ground: A CNN team in the Israeli city of Sderot, near the Gaza Strip perimeter, heard machine gun fire at regular intervals Sunday.

The gunfire was heard from the northern part of the enclave, close to the border, while the Israel Defense Forces continued to fire artillery rounds and mortars from outside the border further south.

Earlier on Sunday, IDF tanks and armored personnel vehicles were seen approaching the border while helicopters, drones and fighter jets flew overhead.

A large column of vehicles was seen north of the strip. Staging grounds further away from the border that were full of tanks and armored vehicles just a few days ago are now nearly empty, suggesting the troops have moved closer to the perimeter.

CNN's Ivana Kottasová contributed reporting to this post from Sderot, Israel.

10:57 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Israel has "crossed the red lines" in Gaza, Iranian President Raisi says 

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks to the crowds gathered to protest in Tehran in support of Palestinians in Gaza on October 18.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks to the crowds gathered to protest in Tehran in support of Palestinians in Gaza on October 18. Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Israel has "crossed the red lines" in Gaza, which "may force everyone to take action," Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said Sunday.

"Zionist regime’s crimes have crossed the red lines, which may force everyone to take action. Washington asks us to not do anything, but they keep giving widespread support to Israel," Raisi said in a post on social media. 

"The US sent messages to the Axis of Resistance but received a clear response on the battlefield," Raisi said.  

Some context: Israel's fierce military campaign in Gaza has raised concerns that more fronts will open up. Iran is allied to Hamas as well as Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that has been involved in tit-for-tat exchanges of fire with Israel in recent weeks.

Experts say that while Iran is wary of being dragged into the Israel-Hamas war, it may not be in full control if the militias it backs in the region independently intervene as Hamas suffers heavy blows and the death toll in Gaza continues to mount.

In the early days after the October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, questions were raised about Iran’s potential involvement in the killings. Tehran at the time commended the operation but was quick to deny any hand in it.

Initial US intelligence also suggested that Iranian officials were surprised by Hamas’ attack, and that Tehran was not directly involved in its planning, resourcing or approval, CNN has reported.

11:25 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

10 aid trucks pass from Egypt into Gaza through key border crossing

From CNN's Asmaa Khalil in Rafah, Egypt, and Abeer Salman in Jerusalem

Ten aid trucks passed inspection procedures at the Rafah border crossing and were received by the Palestinian Red Crescent on the Gazan side on Sunday, according to a CNN freelance journalist on the ground on the Egyptian side.

"Today we received 10 trucks from our brothers at the Egyptian Red Crescent through the Rafah crossing, containing food supplies and medical necessities. The total number of received trucks so far has reached 94, while fuel has not been allowed to enter yet," the Palestinian Red Crescent said in an updated statement on Sunday afternoon.

The journalist on the ground saw a total of 40 trucks from Egypt’s National Alliance for Civil Development Work arrive on the Egyptian side of the crossing between Saturday and Sunday morning — most of which are waiting to undergo security checks before entering Gaza.

The Israeli military said Sunday it expects more aid trucks to begin entering Gaza soon.

CNN also spotted the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan at the Rafah crossing.

A key link: The Rafah crossing is the only entry point to Gaza not controlled by Israel, which has implemented a "complete siege" on the Hamas-run enclave and the more than 2 million Palestinians living there.

Some aid trucks have been able to enter Gaza through Egypt since the crisis began, as seen by CNN’s team on the Palestinian side of the border, but the main United Nations agency working in Gaza has warned the limited shipments have done little to address humanitarian needs — and that more aid is desperately needed.

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."