November 4, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Chris Lau, Andrew Raine, Tamara Qiblawi, Sophie Tanno, Laura Smith-Spark, Adrienne Vogt and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:20 AM ET, Sun November 5, 2023
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12:31 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Blinken doubles down on US opposition to a ceasefire in Gaza, repeating call for "humanitarian pauses"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a meeting in Amman, Jordan, on November 4.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a meeting in Amman, Jordan, on November 4. Alaa Al Sukhni/Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken doubled down on the United States' opposition to a ceasefire in Gaza as he met with key Middle Eastern leaders Saturday, saying it was the US’ view that a ceasefire now would leave Hamas able to regroup and attack Israel again.

The US resistance to calls for a ceasefire has put it at odds with its Arab partners, including those with whom he met in Amman, Jordan.

Instead, the top US diplomat again stressed the US support for “humanitarian pauses” – a concept that has been rejected by Israeli officials.

Fears of an expanded conflict: Blinken said he and his counterparts “all agreed on the importance of using our respective influence and capabilities to deter any state or non-state actor from opening another front in this conflict.”

“Throughout this conflict, countries across the Middle East and beyond have played an essential role in preventing its spread,” Blinken said at a news conference in Amman.

The US has repeatedly warned other foes of Israel — including Hezbollah, which has voiced support for Hamas and exchanged fire with Israeli troops across the border with Lebanon but not directly intervened on Hamas' behalf — not to broaden the conflict into a wider war in the Middle East.

The US and its Arab partners share “the same fundamental interests and objectives” to end the Israel-Hamas war “in a way that ensures lasting peace and security in the region,” Blinken said following the summit, while acknowledging “we may have different views and positions” on how to achieve that end.

The top US diplomat said all parties reaffirmed their commitment to working together on the issue.

West Bank attacks: Blinken said he also spoke with the Arab leaders about the need to protect Palestinian civilians amid increasing attacks by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

He updated his counterparts on his talks with Israeli officials yesterday, where he said he “underscored that incitement and extremist violence must be stopped and perpetrators must be held accountable.”

12:13 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Israel accuses Hamas of firing on IDF soldiers operating planned humanitarian route for Gaza residents

From CNN's Kyle Blaine

The Israeli military accused Hamas of using an announcement telling Gaza residents to move safely south as an opportunity to fire on soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces.

"The Hamas terrorist organization exploited the humanitarian window that the IDF provided to residents of the Gaza Strip to move southwards," the IDF said in a statement. "The terrorists fired mortars and anti-tank missiles at IDF troops who arrived and operated to open the route."

Earlier Saturday, the IDF had called on Gaza residents via its Arabic account on X, formerly known as Twitter, to use the main Salah-al-Din Road to move south for a three-hour period from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. local time. It's unclear how many Gaza residents have access to internet to see the message.

The IDF said no soldiers were hurt in the incident, but that it served as proof that Hamas "exploits the Gazan population and prevents them from acting in the interest of their own safety."

In its statement, the IDF provided links to a video, photos and audio it claimed showed Hamas opening fire toward the route during the window. 

CNN is unable to verify the authenticity of the material.

More context: The IDF has repeatedly called for civilians in Gaza to move south of Wadi Gaza as it has intensified its air and ground assault on Gaza City and northern Gaza, including strikes on densely populated areas and civilian infrastructure that the IDF has said is being used by Hamas militants. 

International aid and rights groups have been critical of Israel's calls for residents to evacuate the north without a pause in fighting, as transportation infrastructure has also been damaged. It has also recently struck several targets in the southern strip.

11:48 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Up to a million people have fled to southern Gaza, placing stress on humanitarian response, US envoy says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

People ride with their belongings after evacuating their home in Rafah, Gaza, on November 1.
People ride with their belongings after evacuating their home in Rafah, Gaza, on November 1. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

The number of people who have fled from north of Wadi Gaza to the southern part of the enclave is estimated to be 800,000 "to perhaps a million," the US special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues said Saturday — a mass relocation that has exacerbated humanitarian issues, which are only expected to grow as more people flee.

The envoy, David Satterfield, said there needs to be the “secure, sustained movement” of aid not only from the Rafah crossing in Egypt to Gaza, but “into points of need in the south.”

“And those points of need are growing as individuals come increasingly to the south,” he added.

The ability to move assistance has scaled up exponentially, particularly in the last week, from “pretty much zero in terms of ability to move humanitarian assistance through the Rafah corridor into Gaza,” Satterfield said, but reiterated that even the current number of aid trucks getting through the crossing per day is not sufficient.

Although the US believes the current daily flow of trucks into Gaza is sustainable, “it's challenged by the environment on the ground in south Gaza,” Satterfield said, noting United Nations warehouses with basic supplies and food had been broken into early in the week.

“There was … an environment in Gaza, which allowed more normal commercial life, cooking gas, cooking oil, provisions, necessities of life to move in. That's not the situation now,” he said.

Shelter is also a problem, he added.

“You've got 350,000 or 400,000 still in the north. If those individuals — some portion of them — come to the south, that's going to increase the load, increase the demand even more,” he added.

Israeli's military has called for civilians in Gaza to move south as it intensifies its air and ground assault on Gaza City and northern Gaza. International aid and rights groups have criticized Israel's calls for residents to evacuate the north without a pause in fighting and while roads and other infrastructure are badly damaged.

Possible field hospitals and ships: The US is looking at the prospect of establishing field hospitals in south Gaza, Satterfield said Saturday, and Israel is engaging with countries about putting hospital ships offshore of Gaza.

Satterfield said the US is speaking with agencies like the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders to set up tented field hospitals.

“Now bringing in staff — which we all see in the realm of the 'very doable' — will require an assurance that staff, international staff, not only can come in but can exit,” he said. “And that of course lies with what we refer to as the de-facto authorities.”

Israeli officials are speaking with allies like the United Kingdom and France about large hospital ships, he said, while also taking security and safety into account.

11:55 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

No new fuel has entered Gaza since start of war, US envoy says

From CNN’s Jennifer Hansler

Palestinians use alternative forms of transportation amid fuel shortages in Khan Younis, Gaza, on October 28.
Palestinians use alternative forms of transportation amid fuel shortages in Khan Younis, Gaza, on October 28. Mohammed Talatene/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

No new fuel has entered Gaza since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, US Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues David Satterfield said Saturday.

“Fuel, which existed in depots accessible to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), that existed in Gaza prior to October 7, has been accessed by UNRWA for purposes of trucks, delivery of assistance that is from Rafah terminal to distribution points, for desalinization plant operation, and for delivery to hospitals in the South. That has been going on for pretty much the last week,” Satterfield said.

The US expects that additional fuel will be brought in once that fuel runs out, and there is an agreed mechanism in place for that, the envoy said. This fuel would only be going to south Gaza, he noted.

Israel has accused Hamas of hoarding and diverting fuel, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that “Israel has raised appropriate concerns, concerns that we share, about Hamas’s hoarding and syphoning of fuel in northern Gaza.”

“Again, its cynicism knows no bounds, denying fuel itself that it has to hospitals and other places that desperately need it. In meetings with regional partners, I’ll continue conversations about getting assistance to flow, including with help from the United Nations,” Blinken said Friday during a visit to Israel.

US officials are not aware Hamas diverting any humanitarian assistance that has entered Gaza in the past weeks since trucks began entering via the Rafah crossing, Satterfield said Saturday.

Aid workers in the field have not reported “interdiction of or seizure of goods by Hamas,” he said.

CNN cannot independently verify the amount of fuel in the enclave.

Deteriorating conditions in hospitals: Gaza's hospitals and staff are overwhelmed as the facilities are housing both patients and the countless displaced who have nowhere else to go.

Gaza’s leading cancer hospital, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital, has stopped operating due to Israeli bombardment and fuel shortages, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said in a statement Wednesday.

A doctor at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital Friday said that low fuel stocks have plunged wards into darkness and cut off major, basic functions like oxygen generation.

11:17 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

US official: Hamas is blocking foreigners from leaving Gaza until Israel allows ambulances to reach border

Hamas is blocking foreign nationals from departing Gaza until Israel guarantees that ambulances from the Palestinian enclave can reach the Rafah crossing to Egypt, a US official familiar with situation told CNN Saturday.

The demand comes after Israel admitted on Friday that it attacked an ambulance outside Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the enclave. The vehicle had been in a convoy headed for Rafah, which is the only remaining option for getting in and out of Gaza during Israel's siege of the territory.

Israel claimed the ambulance was being used by Hamas fighters.

The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed it had been notified about the convoy, but did not have any of its own ambulances present at the time of the strike.

“Even if we were not present, this is still medical convoy, and any violence towards medical personnel is unacceptable,” the ICRC said Saturday.

More than 700 foreign nationals were expected to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing Saturday, according to an official source on the Egyptian side of the crossing.

CNN reported Friday that initial efforts to secure safe passage for foreign nationals in Gaza were stymied in part by Hamas including its own members on a list of wounded Palestinians designated to pass through the Rafah crossing, according to a senior US official.

CNN's Donald Judd contributed reporting to this post.

10:55 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Number of people killed in Gaza rises further, Palestinian health ministry says

From CNN’s Abeer Salman and Eyad Kourdi 

People mourn for Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on November 3, in Khan Younis, Gaza.
People mourn for Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on November 3, in Khan Younis, Gaza. Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

A total of 9,425 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, according to figures released Saturday by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

An additional 24,000 others have been injured, the ministry said.

The figures are drawn from sources inside the Hamas-controlled enclave.

According to the ministry's report, nearly 73% of the fatalities are from among vulnerable groups, including children, women and the elderly. 

The number of deaths reported Saturday is 270 higher than that reported by the Ministry on Friday, with the number injured about 1,000 higher.

The Israeli military continues to encircle and pound the Gaza Strip with airstrikes in response to a cross-border terror attack launched by Hamas militants on October 7.

Calls for a ceasefire by Hamas, aid organizations, and much of the global community have been rejected by Israel’s government, which has vowed to wipe out Hamas after the brutal attack last month, which killed more than 1,400 Israelis, most of them civilians.

10:47 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Arab foreign ministers will call for "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza during meeting with Blinken, Jordan says

From CNN’s Caroline Faraj in Dubai and Zeena Saifi in Jerusalem

Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on November 3.
Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on November 3. Ali Jadallah/Anadolu/Getty Images

Arab foreign ministers are set to "call for an immediate ceasefire" in Gaza during a summit in Amman on Saturday, Jordan's Foreign Ministry said in a post on social media.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with several Arab foreign ministers during the summit to discuss the situation in Gaza.

During the meeting, the ministers will "affirm the Arab position, which is calling for an immediate ceasefire and the immediate and urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip," the Jordanian ministry said. 
"All the ways to end this dangerous deterioration that threatens the security of the entire region" will be discussed at the meeting, the ministry said. 

Blinken also met separately with Jordan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ayman Safadi, in Amman ahead of the joint meeting. 

Some context: Foreign ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar, as well as the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, were set to meet with Blinken, according to a statement from Jordan's foreign ministry.

On Saturday morning, Blinken met with Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to discuss weeks-long tensions between Iran-backed Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah and Israel on the Israeli-Lebanese border, according to US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

9:49 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Israeli airstrikes damage building in front of Al-Quds Hospital and injure 21, Palestine Red Crescent says

From CNN's Abeer Salman in Jerusalem

Israeli airstrikes have damaged a building located in front of the emergency entrance of Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, injuring 21 people, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said Saturday in a post on social media.

"This has resulted in significant damage to the location and the injury of 21 displaced individuals," the aid group said.

One video released by the PRCS shows people sheltering from dust and debris at the hospital's entrance, while some are running from across the street to avoid the debris.

Another video shows people rushing towards the damaged building.

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for comment about the reported airstrikes.

Some context: The IDF has repeatedly called on civilians to evacuate Gaza City and northern Gaza and move southwards, as it intensifies its assault in the area. The IDF has frequently asserted that civilian infrastructure, including hospital compounds, is being used by Hamas.

Al-Quds Hospital is located north of Wadi Gaza, the line Israel has urged people in Gaza to flee south of.

9:49 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Erdogan says Turkey will bring Israeli "war crimes" to International Criminal Court

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting at parliament in Ankara, Turkey, on October 25.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting at parliament in Ankara, Turkey, on October 25. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Reuters

Turkey has "crossed out" Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and will strive to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court for its actions in Gaza, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday, according to Turkish state media outlet Anadolu. 

Speaking to journalists onboard the presidential plane as he returned from a trip to Kazakhstan, Erdogan described Prime Minister Netanyahu as “no longer someone we can talk to," adding: "We have crossed him out."

The Turkish leader has been a vocal critic of Israel's actions in Gaza, last week accusing Israel of going beyond its right to defend itself, committing what he described as "oppression, atrocity" and "massacre" in Gaza. 

On Saturday, Erdogan recalled a speech he made at a recent pro-Palestinian rally during which he announced Turkey's support for "initiatives that would bring Israel’s human rights violations and war crimes to the International Criminal Court."

"Our relevant authorities, especially our Foreign Ministry, will carry out this work,” Erdogan added, according to Anadolu. 

The Turkish president is set to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken soon, after the top US diplomat added a stop in Turkey to his shuttle diplomacy tour of the Middle East. 

Israel is not a member of the ICC, a body which was established in 2002 to bring justice to those found responsible for crimes against humanity and genocide.