November 17, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Kathleen Magramo, Sophie Tanno, Alisha Ebrahimji, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer, Elise Hammond and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, November 18, 2023
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6:20 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

More than 360 people now believed to have been killed at October 7 music festival, Israeli media reports

From CNN's Andrew Carey in Tel Aviv

An October 10 aerial photo shows the site of the attack on the Nova music festival by Hamas militants in southern Israel.
An October 10 aerial photo shows the site of the attack on the Nova music festival by Hamas militants in southern Israel. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli police believe at least 364 people were killed by Hamas gunmen at the Nova music festival in southern Israel on October 7, according to Israeli media.

Previously, officials had put the number killed at 270. 

Israel’s Channel 12 News said it had obtained a copy of the first police report into the attack and presented some of the report’s findings on its main news bulletin Friday evening. It did not show a copy of the report.

Seventeen of the dead were police officers, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported, citing the police report. The news outlet said 40 festival goers were kidnapped and taken into Gaza. 

The music festival was the location of the highest number of deaths on October 7 but police say interrogations of captured militants lead them to believe Hamas had no knowledge of the music festival when it launched its assault.

The report said the first alarm was received at 6:22 a.m., according to Channel 12 News, but it is clear first responders had no idea of the scale of what was unfolding. Initial word of the attack suggested just dozens of terrorists had crossed the perimeter fence from Gaza — the real number is believed to be well over a thousand.

The report said Israeli security forces finally had the festival site locked down at 3:30 p.m., more than nine hours after the shooting rampage began, according to the Israeli media outlet.

It is not clear if the updated number of people killed at the festival affects the total death toll, which officials have said is about 1,200 people killed.

6:13 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

Bahrain says release of hostages is a “prerequisite to a pause in hostilities”

CNN's From Hamdi Alkhshali

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain speaks at the 19th Manama Dialogue in Manama, Bahrain, on Friday.
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain speaks at the 19th Manama Dialogue in Manama, Bahrain, on Friday. Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain on Friday condemned both the October 7 attacks and Israel's subsequent retaliation. He emphasized the release of hostages as a requirement for breaking the cycle of violence.

During his remarks, the prince set up the conditions necessary for “breaking the cycle of violence, a feat that will only be made possible through the release of innocents and non-combatants.” He stressed that “the release of hostages is a prerequisite to a pause in hostilities.” 

He made the remarks during the 19th Manama Dialogue, the region's premier security and defense conference.

He went on to say that Bahrain opposes forced displacement, reoccupation or reduction of Gaza's territory. Simultaneously, he condemned “terrorism directed from Gaza against the Israeli public,” outlining these as non-negotiable red lines. 

“Let me be extremely clear on what matters to the Kingdom of Bahrain. There must be no forced displacement of Palestinians in Gaza, now or ever. There must be no reoccupation of Gaza. There must be no reduction in Gaza’s territory. And on the other side, there must be no terrorism directed from Gaza against the Israeli public. Those are the red lines.” 

The prince called for the full implementation of international law to ensure Gazans' access to humanitarian aid.

6:07 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

Israeli cabinet ministers will meet Saturday to discuss Gaza fuel decision after pushback

From CNN's Tamar Michaelis and Jo Shelley

Israeli government ministers will meet Saturday night to discuss a decision made by the emergency war management cabinet to allow the daily entry of fuel trucks to Gaza. 

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in an interview on Israel’s Channel 13 Friday night that he believed the decision to lift the fuel blockade — made late Thursday — should be taken by the full cabinet. The emergency war cabinet is a smaller group consisting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, the former chief of general staff and former defense minister. 

“Personally and ideologically, I’m against the entrance of fuel [to Gaza],” Cohen said, while acknowledging that “under the international law, we must allow water, fuel and food in.”
“That’s why, amid this discussion, the prime minister has decided to assemble the cabinet tomorrow at 21:30 [local time] … In my opinion, this decision should be taken by the extended security cabinet … I want to first hear all the security officials, and their recommendations, and later make a decision,” Cohen said. 

Earlier, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich had also raised objections.  

“Allowing fuel to enter the Gaza Strip is a harsh mistake that goes against the cabinet decision. It shows weakness, and allows [Yahya] Sinwar [the political head of Hamas in Gaza] to sit in his air-conditioned bunker at ease, watch the news and keep manipulating Israeli society and families of hostages,” Smotrich said in a letter to Netanyahu that he also released on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

Netanyahu had agreed to call a cabinet meeting after speaking to Smotrich, according to Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel's national security adviser. 

“The prime minster talked to the finance minster and explained exactly what I have just explained,” Hanegbi said at a press briefing on Friday. “I assume he was not aware of all of the details. It has been agreed to assemble to cabinet tomorrow evening, to elaborate on the subject … I assume that it’ll be possible to discuss that decision, which was made based on the powers given to the war management cabinet.” 

The United Nations needs 200,000 liters (52,834 gallons) of fuel each day in order to “meet the minimum of our humanitarian responsibilities in Gaza,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said Friday. The lack of fuel has meant that “communications and other essential functions such as water desalination are progressively dropping offline,” Griffiths told the UN General Assembly. 

Fuel is “essential for keeping people alive,” Griffiths said. 

4:47 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

Internet and phone services partially restored in some parts of Gaza, telecommunications company says

From CNN's Eyad Kourdi and Jomana Karadsheh 

Internet and phone services have been partially restored in some parts of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian telecommunication company PalTel said on Friday. 

“This comes after a limited quantity of fuel was provided through UNRWA to operate our main generators," the company said, referring to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

Two fuel tankers entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Friday to be used by UN agencies, an Israeli government agency told CNN on Friday. 

PalTel said it would need to receive a regular supply of fuel to avoid more disruption. 

NetBlocks, a London-based internet monitoring firm, confirmed that internet connectivity had been partially restored in Gaza.

“Metrics show that internet connectivity is being partially restored in the #GazaStrip as operators report a donation of fuel; service was lost on Thursday as telecom sector generators and backups shut down; service remains significantly below pre-conflict levels,” the firm said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
3:36 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

New video released by Hamas appears to show Israeli hostage in Gaza

From CNN's Andrew Carey

A new video appearing to show an Israeli hostage held in Gaza has emerged online.

CNN is not releasing details of the clip, which appeared on the Telegram channel of Hamas’ military wing, the Al Qassam Brigades. 

Israeli army spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari declined to comment on the video directly when asked at a news conference Friday evening.

Search for hostages: The Israeli army said earlier Friday that it had recovered the body of an Israeli hostage, 19-year-old soldier Noa Marciano, in searches near Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City — the second such announcement in 12 hours.

On Thursday evening, the army said the body of 65-year old Yehudit Waiss had also been brought back to Israel.

3:29 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

5 countries ask International Criminal Court to investigate situation in Palestinian territories

From CNN's Michael Rios

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in The Hague, Netherlands, on October 12.
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in The Hague, Netherlands, on October 12. Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters/FILE

Five countries submitted a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate whether crimes may have been committed in Palestinian territories, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said.

South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti submitted the referral of the situation in the region, Khan said.

“In accordance with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, a State Party may refer to the Prosecutor a situation in which one or more crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court appear to have been committed requesting the Prosecutor to investigate the situation for the purpose of determining whether one or more specific persons should be charged with the commission of such crimes,” Khan said in a statement.

He noted that his office is already conducting an investigation on the situation in the Palestinian territories – which began on March 3, 2021 – over possible crimes that may have been committed since June 2014 in Gaza and the West Bank.

“It is ongoing and extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence since the attacks that took place on 7 October 2023,” Khan said. “In accordance with the Rome Statute, my Office has jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territory of a State Party and with respect to the nationals of States Parties.”
3:14 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

Israeli army says it will advance “anywhere Hamas is found,” including the southern Gaza Strip

From Tamar Michaelis

Israeli troops will advance to anywhere Hamas is found, including the southern part of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli army spokesperson said.

“This will happen where and when would be convenient for the IDF and when conditions are optimal,” Israel Defence Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said. 

At least 372 IDF soldiers have been killed since October 7, Hagari said. The death toll did not change from Thursday.

Some more context: In recent days, there are growing indications that a ground offensive into the southern part of the strip could be imminent. Israeli leaders have declared the northern part of Gaza, including Gaza City, is now under Israel’s control.

A leaflet dropped Wednesday on communities to the east of Khan Younis, the largest city in the southern part of Gaza, warning people living there to move and “head toward known shelters.”

Earlier this week, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the country's ground operations “will last for many months — and will include both the north and the south (of the Gaza Strip). We will dismantle Hamas wherever it is.”

CNN's Andrew Carey contributed reporting to this post.

2:56 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

Fuel tankers enter Gaza after Israeli government approves regular deliveries

From Tamar Michaelis

Two fuel tankers entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing Friday, an Israeli government agency told CNN, after the country's war cabinet approved a measure to allow for regular deliveries to the besieged enclave.

The tankers were carrying 60,000 liters of diesel fuel between them, according to Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, an agency that liaises with Palestinians on civilian affairs.

"This fuel entered in a limited manner for the use of international organizations, for UNRWA," Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said at a news briefing, referring to the United Nations aid agency operating in Gaza. “There are desalination facilities that should provide water to the southern strip, so the fuel is used just for these two needs. We monitor this issue, to ensure it’s used for these two needs only. This (process) is led by the US and Egypt.”

Remember: Israel's war cabinet approved a measure on Friday allowing two fuel tankers a day to enter Gaza for water and sewage system support, according to Israel's national security adviser.

Those systems are "on the verge of collapsing, considering the lack of electricity and ability to operate the sewage and water systems," the official, Tzachi Hanegbi, said in a Friday briefing.

The deliveries will amount to 140,000 liters of fuel entering Gaza every 48 hours, a US State Department official told CNN.

1:58 p.m. ET, November 17, 2023

Majority of Gaza's hospitals and clinics have shut down, Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah says

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder and Eyad Kourdi 

Tents and shelters used by displaced Palestinians stand at the yard of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 12.
Tents and shelters used by displaced Palestinians stand at the yard of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 12. Ahmed El Mokhallalati/Reuters/File

Out of the 35 hospitals in Gaza, 26 have shut down due to damage from bombardment or a lack of fuel, according to a report published by the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Health in Ramallah on Friday, citing medical sources from the Hamas-controlled enclave. Of the 72 primary health care clinics, 52 have also been forced to close, it added.

At Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City: Over 40 patients, including three premature babies, have died at Gaza's largest hospital in the last six days, according to the health ministry.

At Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis: The situation is also increasingly dire as the main generator at the hospital in southern Gaza has shut down for the third consecutive day, lacking the necessary fuel to operate. The hospital is now relying on a small generator, which only supplies electricity to the labor room and the reception area's lights, the ministry added. 

“Doctors are compelled to perform surgeries without anesthesia, including for those wounded by Israeli bombardment and women undergoing C-sections,” it said.