October 16, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Tara Subramaniam, Adam Renton, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Christian Edwards, Dakin Andone, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury, Zoe Sottile, Amir Vera and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 4:21 AM ET, Tue October 17, 2023
25 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:03 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

Water supply hasn't been restored in Gaza, Water Authority says

From CNN’s Abeer Salman in Jerusalem

Palestinians collect water from a water tap in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on October 15.
Palestinians collect water from a water tap in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on October 15. Fatima Shbair/AP

Water supply has not been restored to Gaza, the director of the enclave's water authority told CNN on Monday. 

“I strongly deny the news of supplying Gaza Strip with water, these are false allegations and lies,” Munther Shublaq said. 

His remark comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office told CNN that Israel had turned on water to southern Gaza. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday also shared the possible development with CNN.

It was unclear if Israel cutting electricity in Gaza had affected the water supply but the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Saturday that most people in Gaza had no access to water. 

 "As a last resort, people are consuming brackish water from agricultural wells, triggering serious concerns about the spread of waterborne diseases," it said in a statement. 

4:45 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

Blinken returns to Israel for meetings with Netanyahu and other officials

From CNN staff

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, arrives at the airport to depart from Amman, Jordan, on October 16, en route to Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, arrives at the airport to depart from Amman, Jordan, on October 16, en route to Israel. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Tel Aviv, where he is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli war management cabinet. His first meeting with Netanyahu is scheduled for around 6 a.m. ET.

The US top diplomat was in Israel last week, days after Hamas launched its deadly attacks in Israel, in a show of support from the Biden administration as it seeks to reinforce the country's defenses and prevent the conflict from escalating further.

Blinken's return Monday comes as the US seeks to help American citizens trapped in Gaza make their way across the only remaining exit from the besieged strip, the Rafah crossing to Egypt. The US is also working with regional partners to help secure the release of hostages, including American citizens, taken by Hamas during their brutal attack on October 7.

Earlier Monday, the Israeli prime minister's office denied there were any arrangements to open the Rafah border crossing.

On Sunday Blinken promised the crossing “will be open” and that the US was working with the UN, Egypt, Israel and others to coordinate aid efforts.

4:30 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

China's special Middle East envoy to visit region next week

From Mengchen Zhang

China's form foreign affairs Vice-Minister in charge of Africa and special envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, arrives at the Tunisian Foreign Affairs Ministry on July 10, 2023.
China's form foreign affairs Vice-Minister in charge of Africa and special envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, arrives at the Tunisian Foreign Affairs Ministry on July 10, 2023. Mohamed Hammi/SIPA/Shutterstock

China's special envoy on the Middle East issue, Zhai Jun, will visit the region next week, Chinese state media reported Sunday.

In an interview with CGTN, he said he would promote peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to provide further details Monday.

4:23 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

UN team waiting on Egyptian side of Rafah crossing for green light to deliver aid to Gaza

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Begona Blanco Munoz

Aid convoy trucks loaded with supplies waiting to cross into Gaza at the Rafah border are seen on October 16, in North Sinai, Egypt.
Aid convoy trucks loaded with supplies waiting to cross into Gaza at the Rafah border are seen on October 16, in North Sinai, Egypt. Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images

A UN humanitarian team is waiting on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing in the hopes that it will be given the green light to deliver aid supplies to Gaza.

In a situation update Monday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it has sent “an advance team to Egypt to prepare for the possible opening of a humanitarian corridor to bring humanitarian aid supplies into the Strip.”

“For the fifth consecutive day, Gaza has had no electricity, pushing vital services, including health, water and sanitation to the brink of collapse, and worsening food insecurity,” the UNRWA statement added.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is the only remaining outlet for supplies, but it has been closed for much of the past week.

3:30 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

"Urgent need" for ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid for Gaza, UN Human Rights Office says

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

There is an "urgent need" for a pause in hostilities to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

"There have been very mammoth diplomatic efforts to try to make this happen. The secretary-general is constantly liaising with all the parties that are involved, and many other member states are also exercising what leverage they can. We need the security for the aid deliveries to be able to happen," UNHRO spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told CNN on Monday.

Gaza is facing a critical humanitarian crisis, with shortages of water, electricity, food, fuel and medicine.

"We have seen hospitals that have been forced to evacuate. Doctors insisting that they will stay with patients who are in the ICU wards and the neonatal units, where you had the impossible choice of whether to abandon your patients or to stay with them and risk death.

The access to water, access to food, the forced evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people into southern Gaza has created a very, very difficult humanitarian situation in southern Gaza as well," Shamdasani said.

She said there is a significant amount of aid waiting at the border to get in.

"We are looking at potentially thousands of deaths if this aid doesn't get through."

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is the only remaining outlet for supplies, but it has been closed for much of the past week, with neither Gazans nor foreign nationals able to cross.

3:59 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

Israel denies reports of plans to open Rafah border crossing

From CNN’s Amir Tal in Jerusalem

Palestinians gather outside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the hope of getting permission to leave Gaza on Monday.
Palestinians gather outside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the hope of getting permission to leave Gaza on Monday. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

The Israeli prime minister’s office has denied there are any arrangements for the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. 

"At the moment there is neither a ceasefire nor humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip in return for the exit of foreigners," the office told CNN around 9:45 a.m. local time.

Hamas also issued a statement noting it had not received confirmation from Egypt about the possible opening of the Rafah border crossing.

A security alert from the US Embassy in Jerusalem earlier on Monday cited media reports saying the Rafah crossing will open at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) on October 16.

“We anticipate that the situation at the Rafah crossing will remain fluid and unpredictable and it is unclear whether, or for how long, travelers will be permitted to transit the crossing,” the embassy statement said.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is the only remaining outlet for supplies, but it has been closed for much of the past week, with neither Gazans nor foreign nationals able to cross. Tons of vital humanitarian supplies for people in Gaza have been piling up on the Egyptian side of the border.

2:48 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

Hamas has not received a notification about possible opening of Rafah border crossing, official says

From CNN's Abeer Salman and Tim Lister

Hamas has not yet received confirmation from Egypt about the possible opening of the Rafah border crossing, the Palestinian militant group said in a statement Monday. 

“Until this moment, we have not received any contacts or confirmations from the Egyptian authorities regarding the intention to open the Rafah crossing today. All the information being circulated in this regard is attributed to Israeli media outlets," said Salama Marouf, head of the government media office.

A security alert from the US Embassy in Jerusalem cited media reports saying the Rafah crossing will open at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) on October 16.

“We anticipate that the situation at the Rafah crossing will remain fluid and unpredictable and it is unclear whether, or for how long, travelers will be permitted to transit the crossing,” the embassy statement said.

It’s unclear whether the border opened at the anticipated time. CNN has reached out to Palestinian officials at the border crossing. 

The Secretary General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said WHO’s planeload of medical supplies arrived near Rafah on Saturday “and we are working with partners to transport them into Gaza today if at all possible. Many civilians are in serious need.”

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is the only remaining outlet for supplies, but the crossing has been closed for much of the past week, with neither Gazans nor foreign nationals able to cross. Tons of vital humanitarian supplies for people in Gaza have been piling up on the Egyptian side of the border.

3:23 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

Pakistan's prime minister calls for ceasefire in Gaza amid nationwide pro-Palestinian rallies

From CNN's Sophia Saifi

As tens of thousands of Pakistanis demonstrated against Israel’s military strikes in Gaza over the weekend, the country's interim Prime Minister, Anwar ul Haq Kakar, on Monday called for “an immediate ceasefire and lifting of the blockade in Gaza."

Kakar expressed his deep concern over the "ongoing violence and loss of life in Gaza” in a statement posted to "X," formerly Twitter, on Monday.

He also accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians, calling it a “manifest violation of international law.”

“The breakout of violence needs to be seen in the context of years of forced and illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and repressive policies against its people,” Kakar added.

During a news briefing on Sunday, caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani called the situation in Gaza “a genocide conducted by Israel against the poor people of Palestine.” Jilani will attend an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Executive Committee on October 18 to discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Sunday.

Both ministers' statements came after a weekend of pro-Palestinian rallies across Pakistan, including in the north-western city of Peshawar on Saturday, where former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal addressed thousands of supporters of the Islamist Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan via video link.

2:10 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023

Israeli airstrike kills 5 rescuers in Gaza, Palestinian interior ministry says

From CNN's Eyad Kourdi

Five rescuers from civil defense teams were killed after a "direct” Israeli airstrike, the Palestinian Ministry of Interior Affairs said Monday. 

Several others are injured, two of whom are in critical condition, according to a Palestinian Ministry of Interior Affairs statement published Monday morning. 

The airstrike hit the Civil Defense headquarters in the Al-Tuffah neighborhood, east of Gaza City, the ministry added. 

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment.