October 23, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 2:05 p.m. ET, October 24, 2023
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11:18 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

Hamas releases 2 hostages as Israeli troops prepare for potential ground incursion. Here's what to know

From CNN staff

Two more hostages have been released from Hamas custody, according to various officials. They have arrived in Egypt at the border with Gaza, according to Egypt's state-affiliated Al-Qahera News.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces says soldiers are conducting training exercises ahead of a potential ground incursion into Gaza.

It all comes as the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Though some aid has made its way across the border, relief groups are warning it's not enough.

Here's what to know:

  • Hostages released: Israeli citizens Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, were released from Hamas custody Monday following Qatari and Egyptian mediation, according to two Israeli officials and two other sources briefed on the matter. Hamas also said it released two hostages, according to a statement from a spokesperson. On Friday, Hamas released two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie Raanan.
  • Aid into Gaza: Twenty trucks carrying humanitarian aid passed the Rafah crossing into Gaza on Monday, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). On Saturday and Sunday, a total of 34 trucks were able to enter Gaza, it said. But, relief groups have warned much more is required to curb a deepening humanitarian crisis inside the strip. Aid deliveries entering Gaza have not included fuel, which is critical for things like water desalination and hospitals, OCHA said.
  • Dire situation at hospitals: Hospitals are nearing collapse, operating at more than 150% of their capacity, according to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health. Situations have become so dire that surgeries are being conducted without anesthesia, and in some cases, under the illumination of phone lights, it said. A British-Palestinian surgeon who traveled to Gaza to help in hospitals has warned that without electricity, the hospital he is in “will just be a mass grave.”
  • Israeli strikes: More than 400 people were killed in overnight Israeli strikes on Gaza, the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Health Ministry said. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the assault hit 320 "terror targets" belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel also said it has killed or captured more than 1,000 members of Hamas, according to Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson for IDF.
  • Looming ground operation: Israeli soldiers are taking part in training exercises to improve their "readiness and capabilities for ground operations" in Gaza, the IDF said. Israel has already mobilized troops and military material on the border. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the country is preparing for a "multilateral operation" on Hamas from the "air, ground, and sea." The White House declined to say if the Biden administration was urging Israel to delay a possible ground incursion to allow for the release of more hostages held by Hamas and for aid to reach Gaza.
  • The scope of the conflict so far: As of Monday, more than 5,000 people have been killed in Gaza, and more than 15,000 have been injured since October 7, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in the occupied West Bank reported. Israeli authorities said Saturday that it believes 210 people are being held hostage in Gaza. A Hamas spokesperson previously said the militant group captured between 200 and 250 people during the attacks.
11:16 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

Grandson of released hostage says his grandmother "can hug her grandchildren"

From CNN’s Mihir Melwani and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong

A grandson of Yocheved Lifshitz, who has been released from Hamas custody following Qatari and Egyptian mediation, told CNN on Tuesday that his grandmother “can hug her grandchildren.” 

“She is talking, she can walk, she can hug her grandchildren, which (we) are very happy from that,” Daniel Lifshitz said after meeting his grandmother in Tel Aviv. “We couldn’t imagine that it will happen.”

“Meeting my grandmother here was — I was thinking that I would never see her again,” Lifshitz said. “She’s a hero. She has so much courage. She’s so strong. She’s sick, and she suffered walks in tunnels.”

Lifshitz’s grandfather is still being held by Hamas, he said.

Lifshitz said “now my grandmother is back but still now I’m more afraid about my grandfather that he’s still there, and still no men being released.”

11:08 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

US Marine 3-star general in Israel to counsel IDF ahead of expected ground operation, source confirms

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Glynn, the former commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command, is in Israel to counsel the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on their current operations and ahead of an expected ground incursion into Gaza, according to a US official familiar with the matter.

The official would not provide specifics on what type of advice or counsel Glynn would offer, but the official noted that Glynn is able to tap into his decades of experience to offer help with the “big picture” surrounding the conflict in Gaza. 

Glynn is currently the deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, helping to lead the service’s efforts to recruit and retain new Marines. He was previously the commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and has significant combat experience in Iraq. 

Axios was first to report on Glynn’s role in Israel.

Asked whether Glynn would be advising the Israelis, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby would not confirm Glynn’s position.

Instead, Kirby told reporters Monday that the Biden administration had sent to Israel “a few relevant military officers” who had “the kind of experience that we believe is appropriate to the sorts of operations that Israel is conducting and may conduct int the future.”

Kirby said these officers would also “ask the hard questions, the same hard questions that we’ve been asking of our Israeli counterparts since the beginning.” 

The US official said this included questions about how Israel planned to avoid civilian casualties, a number that has soared as the IDF bombards the coastal enclave. 

Glynn is not the most senior US officer to visit Israel since the Hamas terror attack on October 7. The commander of US Central Command, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, visited Israel last week and met with senior Israeli military leaders, including Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi.

Glynn’s role is separate from the team of special operations forces that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sent to Israel in the days after the Hamas attack. That team was tasked with helping Israel with intelligence and planning related to the hostage rescue efforts.

It is unclear when Glynn arrived in Israel or how long he is expected to stay.

Some context: As CNN previously reported, the US and its allies have urged Israel to be clear about its goals in Gaza if and when it launches a broader operation targeting the coastal enclave.

The US has warned against a prolonged occupation of Gaza and has placed a particular emphasis on avoiding civilian casualties, US and Western officials told CNN.

US officials don’t yet have a clear sense for Israel’s intentions in Gaza and believe it will be difficult for Hamas to be eradicated entirely.

At least publicly, Israeli officials have articulated their plans only in broad strokes, saying that the goal is to eliminate Hamas and its infrastructure.

In private discussions with their Israeli counterparts, officials have not tried to dissuade Israel from moving into Gaza with ground forces, officials said. But they have emphasized that Israel should have clear objectives when it comes to degrading Hamas and seeking to avoid a long-term occupation of the Gaza Strip.

10:43 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

Biden spoke with Netanyahu Monday, White House says

From CNN's Donald Judd

President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, the White House said.

Biden “updated the Prime Minister on U.S. support for Israel and ongoing efforts at regional deterrence, to include new U.S. military deployments," the readout released by the White House read.

Biden “welcomed the release of two additional hostages from Gaza earlier today, and reaffirmed his commitment to ongoing efforts to secure the release of all the remaining hostages taken by Hamas — including Americans — and to provide for safe passage for U.S. citizens and other civilians in Gaza," the readout noted.

In addition, Biden, “underscored the need to sustain a continuous flow of urgently needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” the White House said.

The two leaders plan to speak again in the coming days, the White House said.

10:40 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

Gaza's Indonesian Hospital has no electricity due to fuel shortages, Hamas says

From CNN’s Kareem El Damanhoury 

The Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza has no electricity due to fuel shortages, Hamas said in a statement early Tuesday, accusing Israel of a "crime against humanity."  

Israel has not permitted fuel to enter Gaza since it ordered a "complete siege" on the territory on October 9, following the deadly attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians.  

Hamas called on the United Nations as well as Arab and Muslim countries to take action to immediately provide fuel to hospitals. 

“We warn against the consequences of negligence in providing fuel, which means sentencing all the sick and wounded in hospitals to death,” the Hamas statement read. 

CNN has reached out to the head of the Indonesian Hospital for comment.

Some context: Aid agencies have repeatedly warned that fuel supplies are desperately needed in Gaza to power water desalination for clean drinking water and lifesaving machines in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health said Monday that hospitals in the enclave are nearing collapse, operating at more than 150% of their capacity.

Ten of the 35 hospitals in Gaza are currently non-functional, it added. Of these, nine hospitals have been “destroyed or rendered out of service.”

10:36 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

IDF says it struck several Hezbollah military posts in Lebanon

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and Mitchell McCluskey 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it struck Hezbollah posts in Lebanon in several strikes on Monday night.

The IDF said they struck a military compound, a military post and an observation post in southern Lebanon used by Hezbollah.

“The strikes were conducted in responses to the rocket and anti-tank missile launches from Lebanese territory today,” the IDF said.  

Hezbollah military media, Al Manar, reported that strikes had been carried out in open areas in Kafr Kila, Aitaroun, and East Wazzani. 

Al Manar also reported that Hezbollah fighters had been targeting “Israeli occupation sites” on the border with Lebanon.

A CNN crew in Lebanon heard the IDF strikes being carried out. 

Before the most recent IDF strikes, Al Manar reported that four Hezbollah fighters had died on Monday. 


10:05 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

Google Maps and Waze temporarily disable live traffic data in Israel

From CNN's Ramishah Maruf

Google is temporarily disabling live traffic conditions on its mapping service apps, Google Maps and Waze, in Israel, the tech company confirmed Monday, as the country prepares for a potential ground invasion into Gaza. 

"As we have done previously in conflict situations and in response to the evolving situation in the region, we have temporarily disabled the ability to see live traffic conditions and busyness (sic) information out of consideration for the safety of local communities," a Google Maps spokesperson said.

Google did not say whether the tools would be disabled in Israel, Gaza or both. It also did not say whether the action was at the request of the Israel Defense Forces.

CNN has reached out to IDF for comment.

The website Geektime first reported the news.

Google made a similar move last year after Russia invaded Ukraine, Reuters reported. In Ukraine, Google temporarily disabled real-time vehicle data.

Google Maps added that "anyone navigating to a specific place will still get routes and ETAs that take current traffic conditions into account."

Google acquired Israeli mapping service Waze in 2013 and merged both product teams in 2022.

10:07 p.m. ET, October 23, 2023

Israel wouldn't authorize fuel to Gaza due to potential of Hamas stealing it, Netanyahu senior advisor says 

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey,

Israel would not allow fuel into Gaza even if all hostages are released, Mark Regev, senior advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN on Monday.

“At the moment we have no interest in more fuel going to the Hamas military machine and we have not authorized fuel, we have authorized medicine, we have authorized water. We've authorized foodstuffs, we've not authorized anything else,” Regev said.

Asked if Israel would allow fuel to enter Gaza if all hostages were released, Regev maintained that they would not waver. 

“The government decision is that fuel doesn't go in because it will be stolen by Hamas and it'll be used by them to power rockets that are fired into Israel to kill our people,” Regev said. 

Regev said some fuel was allowed to enter through Rafah crossing but claimed a “large proportion” was stolen at gunpoint. 

“We presume it was diverted to their military mission,” Regev said.

No fuel has entered Gaza in the aid convoys through the Rafah crossing in recent days, according to multiple UN officials. Aid agencies have repeatedly warned that fuel supplies are desperately needed to power water desalination for clean drinking water and lifesaving machines in hospitals.

More: Twenty more trucks carrying vital humanitarian aid passed the Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza Monday, the UN said, while warning that the situation in the enclave's hospitals remains dire and much more help is needed.