November 9, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Kathleen Magramo, Heather Chen, Nadeen Ebrahim, Ed Upright, Alisha Ebrahimji, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, November 10, 2023
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11:28 p.m. ET, November 9, 2023

IDF says it took control of Hamas military stronghold in northern Gaza

From CNN’s Amir Tal and Mostafa Salem

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Gaza, on November 9.
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Gaza, on November 9. Ali Jadallah/Anadolu/Getty Images

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that its soldiers took control of a Hamas military stronghold in northern Gaza. 

“The fighters completed the takeover of the outpost after 10 hours of fighting, during which they eliminated terrorists, captured many weapons, uncovered terrorist tunnel shafts, including a shaft located near a kindergarten and leading to an extensive underground route,” the statement said.

Hamas’ military wing Al Qassam Brigades said on Telegram it was targeting Israeli forces in the northern Gaza areas of Al Tawam, Sheikh Radwan, al-Shati camp and Juhr Al-Deek.

In another statement, the IDF said an Israeli airstrike killed a Hamas commander and the Israeli navy struck Hamas anti-tank missile launching posts in the Gaza Strip.

6:36 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

The majority of Gaza hospitals have now stopped functioning, Palestinian health ministry says

From CNN’s Abeer Salman, Lucas Lilieholm and Nadeen Ebrahim

The majority of hospitals in Gaza, 18 out of 35, have stopped functioning, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, which draws figures from the Hamas-controlled territory.

The health ministry added that 71% of all primary-care facilities have closed due to damage or lack of fuel, adding that hospitals that remain open are limited in what they can provide and are gradually shutting down their wards.

Al-Shifa Medical Complex, Gaza's largest medical facility, closed six operating rooms "due to inadequacy of supplies, including fuel,” the statement said.

An American nurse with Doctors Without Borders, Emily Callahan, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday that in Khan Younis – the city she had been working amid the war before leaving Gaza – there were some 35,000 internally displaced people living alongside her and her team.

"There were children with massive burns down their faces, down their necks, all over their limbs," Callahan said, adding that as hospitals are increasingly stretched, patients are being quickly discharged to camps with no access to running water.

Callahan said that in one camp, there are 50,000 people and four toilets. The camp residents are given two hours of water every 12 hours, she added.

"Parents are bringing their children to us, saying, 'please can you help, please can you help,' and we have no supplies," she said.

6:05 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

IDF extends hours of Gaza evacuation corridor, as thousands of Palestinians flee south

From CNN’s Mick Krever and Abeer Salman

Palestinian people flee from north Gaza towards the south on November 9.
Palestinian people flee from north Gaza towards the south on November 9. Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said an evacuation corridor in Gaza for people fleeing the north of the territory will be open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time on Thursday. 

Thousands of people fled northern Gaza on Wednesday, traveling miles on foot as Israel intensifies its ground and air campaign in the battered enclave.

An IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee said that 50,000 people evacuated northern Gaza on Wednesday. 

Streams of people – women, children, the elderly and disabled – made their way down Salah Eddin Street, one of the two north-south highways in Gaza, along the IDF evacuation corridor.

It was the fifth day in a row that the IDF opened an evacuation window, and numbers of people fleeing south have increased each day.

The UN said 2,000 had fled south on Sunday, rising to 15,000 on Tuesday. The Israeli government said 50,000 Gazans travelled via the evacuation corridor Wednesday. That number could not be independently verified, but a CNN journalist at the scene said the numbers leaving were larger than on Tuesday.

Israel has been ramping up its offensive inside Gaza, following the October 7 attacks that left 1,400 people in Israel dead.

The IDF has been bombarding Gaza for weeks, saying it hit 14,000 terrorist targets in the densely packed territory.

Thursday's six-hour window equates to 3 a.m. ET to 9 a.m. ET. The evacuation corridors have been open several times this week within a four-hour window. 

“The northern Gaza Strip area is considered a fierce combat zone and time is running out to evacuate it. Join hundreds of thousands who have responded to calls and moved south in recent days,” Adraee said. 

Humanitarian groups warned in October that the Israeli military's evacuation order of Palestinians in northern Gaza violates international law.

6:01 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

Protection of civilians "not negotiable," Macron says at Paris humanitarian conference on Gaza

From CNN's Dalal Mawad and Stephanie Halasz

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, speaks during an international humanitarian conference for civilians in Gaza, at the Elysee Presidential Palace, in Paris, on November 9.
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, speaks during an international humanitarian conference for civilians in Gaza, at the Elysee Presidential Palace, in Paris, on November 9. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday the protection of civilians in Gaza is "not negotiable," as he inaugurated an international humanitarian conference for Gaza in Paris.

“The civilians must be protected, that is absolutely indispensable. It is not negotiable," Macron said, adding that work needed to be done to bring about a ceasefire.

The conference was attended by United Nations agencies and European Union leaders. Israel did not attend.

The French president also asked for the immediate liberation of the hostages held in Gaza, “without conditions.” 

The Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, in his opening remarks alleged that international humanitarian rights were “not being applied” in Gaza, as quoted by CNN’s affiliate BFMTV.

"I was in Gaza last week, visiting a school sheltering thousands of people," Lazzarini said. "It was heart-breaking. Children who used use to learn and laugh in this school, today they plead for a piece of bread and a sip of water.” 

German Foreign Office Minister of State Tobias Lindner ahead of the conference reaffirmed his country's "unwavering solidarity with Israel," adding that the "fight is against Hamas, not the civilian population in Gaza."

5:39 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

Hostage deal between Israel and Hamas appears elusive as negotiations continue 

From CNN's MJ Lee, Becky Anderson and Alex Marquardt 

Photographs of some of those taken hostage by Hamas are seen on October 18, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Photographs of some of those taken hostage by Hamas are seen on October 18, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Leon Neal/Getty Images

A deal to secure the release of a large number of hostages that Hamas is holding in Gaza appears elusive for now, despite active negotiations involving the United States, Israel, Qatar and Hamas. 

There is no prospect of Israel agreeing to a sustained pause in fighting without a substantial number of hostages being released, one senior US official told CNN. The multi-party talks – in which Qatar is playing a key mediating role – have been ongoing for weeks and have so far produced many ideas, including the release of around 10 to 15 hostages in exchange for a one- or two-day ceasefire, diplomatic sources close to the talks said. 

But as of Wednesday, such a proposal was not on the table, the US official said.

One Israeli official said Israel was “ready for a pause” if there could be certainty that Hamas was “serious about releasing hostages.” What is not clear is how long of a pause Israel would be willing to agree to, and what would amount to an acceptable number of hostages released. 

Negotiations have also centered around exchanging hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, CNN has previously reported.

Only a handful of hostages – including two American citizens – have been released since the start of the war. After their successful exit, US President Joe Biden revealed that Israel had agreed to a brief ceasefire to secure their release. 

The Biden administration has continued to call on Israel to put in place additional “humanitarian pauses” to facilitate the release of more hostages. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will not agree to a ceasefire without the release of hostages, a message he reiterated in a social media post Wednesday.

The weeks-long efforts to try to get a big group of hostages out have brought to light a myriad of complexities. The hostages, who are of various nationalities, are not believed to be in one location and it is not clear exactly how many of them are in Gaza; communication with Hamas is slow; and there are concerns about how to safely move any big group of civilians through Gaza when the strip is under constant bombardment. 

Officials have also stressed that Hamas is far from a typical – and by any means a trustworthy – negotiating partner. “Frankly, we're dealing with Hamas,” a senior administration official said. “This is not something that anyone is expecting [to be conducted in] good faith.”

3:18 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

Palestine Red Crescent receives more than 100 aid trucks at Rafah crossing

From CNN’s Zeena Saifi in Jerusalem 

A satellite image of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt shows trucks waiting to pass through on November 7.
A satellite image of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt shows trucks waiting to pass through on November 7. Maxar Technologies/Reuters

A total of 106 trucks carrying food, water and medical supplies arrived at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza on Wednesday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said, amid growing calls from international aid agencies for a ceasefire to allow more aid into the besieged enclave.

The delivery from the Egyptian Red Crescent did not include desperately needed fuel, which Israel has banned from entering Gaza, claiming Hamas would commandeer supplies for military purposes.

It brings the total number of aid trucks into Gaza since October 7 to 756, according to the Palestine Red Crescent — a trickle compared to the roughly 455 trucks the UN says entered daily before the war.

On Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross' chief surgeon warned that doctors in Gaza are running out of medical supplies with the health care system "under severe strain."

Meanwhile, the head of the International Rescue Committee called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza for "a period of at least five days," saying that was the "absolute minimum" timeframe needed to allow aid agencies to ease the suffering of hundreds of thousands of displaced residents.

1:11 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

Malaysia leader vows to maintain ties with Hamas, calls for solidarity with Palestinians

From CNN's Heather Chen

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia on November 5.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia on November 5. Fazry Ismail/AFP/Getty Images

Malaysia will maintain ties with Hamas and will not “punish the group as a terrorist organization,” Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Tuesday.

The comments were in reply to a lawmaker's question about whether Malaysia risks economic repercussions given calls in the United States — including a proposed bill — to clamp down on foreign supporters of the Palestinian Islamist militant group following its October 7 attack on Israel.

“I will not accept any threats,” Anwar said, referring to the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week but still needs approval in the Senate.

“This action is unilateral and not valid, because we as members of the United Nations only recognize decisions made by the UN Security Council,” he added.

Muslim-majority Malaysia, and neighboring Indonesia, like many Middle Eastern nations, has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause for decades.

It has long maintained it will not diplomatically recognize Israel until a genuine two-state solution has been achieved giving Palestinians their own state.

Leading figures from Hamas — which is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel — have previously traveled to Malaysia and met with government officials.

Anwar, who has personally championed the Palestinian cause since his days as a student protest leader in the late 1960s, has pushed back against pressure to distance his nation from Hamas and portrayed his government’s stance as part of a wider campaign to support the Palestinian people.

“Palestine is colonized through apartheid, ethnic cleansing and now genocide,” Anwar said during Tuesday’s parliamentary session.
“Whatever happened is the legitimate right and struggle of the Palestinian people.
“All parties and members of the public should show solidarity in the issue of Palestine, rather than using it for politics.”

Malaysia rallies: On October 22, thousands of Malaysians waving Palestinian flags and carrying banners calling for peace gathered in the capital Kuala Lumpur to express solidarity with Palestinians. Two days later, during a separate pro-Palestinian rally at Malaysia's national stadium, Anwar said he rejected pressure from Western countries to condemn Hamas.

“Malaysia is a fiercely independent country. We decide what is right,” he said on stage at the rally. “We want the Arabs, Palestinians and people of Gaza to be treated as human beings. Nothing more, nothing less.”

7:18 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

UN rights chief accuses Hamas and Israel of war crimes as civilians flee south. Here's the latest

From CNN staff

Hamas and Israel have both committed war crimes during the past month, the UN human rights chief said Wednesday.

Volker Türk also urged both sides to agree to a ceasefire to allow aid deliveries to Gaza, the release of hostages by Hamas, and to work toward an "end to the occupation." 

Israel's military pushed back against war crimes accusations, saying its strikes on Hamas targets followed international law and sought to minimize civilian casualties.

Meanwhile, the United States and its G7 allies have repeatedly rejected calls for a ceasefire, putting them at odds with mounting calls from their Arab partners and international aid agencies.

Here's what else to know:

  • Civilians flee south: Thousands of Palestinians are evacuating northern Gaza as Israel intensifies its ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza City. Some of them described an unbearable reality in the enclave's main urban center, with constant airstrikes and no water. A man who did not provide his name told CNN in southern Gaza that the war "left nothing safe — not churches, not mosques or anything." Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant claimed Tuesday that IDF troops were operating in Gaza City, targeting Hamas infrastructure and commanders there.
  • Dire humanitarian situation: Doctors in Gaza are running out of medical supplies, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross's chief surgeon, while all bakeries have been forced to close in northern Gaza due to a lack of fuel, water and wheat flour. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said it was able to deliver medical supplies to the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City Wednesday despite "relentless bombardments."
  • Louder calls for a ceasefire: The president of the International Rescue Committee called for a humanitarian ceasefire for at least five days, emphasizing it was the "absolute minimum" needed to allow aid agencies to relieve some of the suffering. Other world leaders have also called for a ceasefire or a "humanitarian pause" in recent days. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated US opposition however, saying, "Those calling for an immediate ceasefire have an obligation to explain how to address the unacceptable result that would likely bring."
  • Hostage negotiations: A deal to secure the release of a large number of hostages that Hamas is holding in Gaza appears elusive, despite negotiations involving the US, Israel, Qatar and Hamas. The multi-party talks have been ongoing for weeks and have so far produced many ideas, but any proposal involving hostages in exchange for a pause in fighting is not on the table, a US official and other diplomatic sources said. IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the military’s current count of hostages being held by Hamas is 239.
  • Rafah border latest: The crossing between Gaza and Egypt was closed Wednesday due to a “security circumstance,” the US State Department said. A total of 637 foreign nationals were evacuated to Egypt Tuesday, an Egyptian official said.
  • Gaza's future: The US believes the Palestinian Authority “is the appropriate place to look for governance eventually” of Gaza, a State Department official said Wednesday. That's in line with Blinken's comments that "Israel cannot occupy Gaza," but "there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict." Israeli Prime Minister benjamin Netanyahu claimed this week that Israel will have the "overall security responsibility" in Gaza for an "indefinite period."
12:52 a.m. ET, November 9, 2023

UN rights chief says war crimes have been committed by both Israel and Hamas

From CNN's Michael Rios

Volker Türk speaks during an interview for Europa Press at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid, Spain, on October 4.
Volker Türk speaks during an interview for Europa Press at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid, Spain, on October 4. Eduardo Parra/Europa Press/AP

Both Hamas and Israel have committed war crimes since the conflict erupted last month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Wednesday.

“The atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian armed groups on 7 October were heinous, brutal and shocking, they were war crimes — as is the continued holding of hostages,” commissioner Volker Türk said. “The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts also to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.”

Türk delivered the remarks after visiting the Rafah border crossing, which he called a symbolic lifeline for the 2.3 million people in Gaza.

“The lifeline has been unjustly, outrageously thin,” he said as he called for more humanitarian aid to be delivered to the enclave.

Türk also urged both sides to agree to a ceasefire on the basis of three human rights imperatives: the delivery of aid to Gaza, the release of hostages by Hamas as well as the implementation of “a durable end to the occupation, based on the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis to self-determination and their legitimate security interests."

“Even in the context of a 56-year-old occupation, the current situation is the most dangerous in decades, faced by people in Gaza, in Israel, in the West Bank but also regionally,” he said.

The Israeli military commented on accusations of war crimes saying:

"The IDF’s strikes on military targets are subject to relevant provisions of international law, including the taking of feasible precautions and after an assessment that the expected incidental damage to civilians and civilian property is not excessive in relation to the expected military advantage from the attack."