October 8, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Tara Subramaniam, Andrew Raine, Thom Poole, Joshua Berlinger, Maureen Chowdhury, Matt Meyer and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 0805 GMT (1605 HKT) October 9, 2023
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3:19 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Hamas says fighters still present in southern Israeli cities

From CNN’s Ibrahim Dahman in Gaza

A building in Tel Aviv is damaged by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza on October 7, 2023.
A building in Tel Aviv is damaged by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza on October 7, 2023. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Hamas fighters are still present in southern Israeli cities, according to a statement from the group.

The statement said Hamas is supporting them with rocket fire on Israeli cities.

It said the fighters were present in Ofakim, Sderot, Yad Mordechai, Kfar Aza, Be'eri, Yated, and Kissufim.

2:57 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

UNIFIL peacekeepers remain in place in Lebanon after exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel

From CNN's Mostafa Salem

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in south Lebanon said their peacekeepers remain in position even after an exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel earlier Sunday.

“Early this morning, UNIFIL peacekeepers detected several rockets fired from southeast Lebanon toward Israeli-occupied territory in the general area of Kafr Chouba, and artillery fire from Israel to Lebanon in response," United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said on X, formerly Twitter.  

“We are in contact with authorities on both sides of the Blue Line, at all levels, to contain the situation and avoid a more serious escalation. Our peacekeepers remain in their positions and on task. They continue to work, some from shelters for their safety."

UNIFIL said they're available to help de-escalate the situation.

“We urge everyone to exercise restraint and make use of UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanisms to de-escalate to prevent a fast deterioration of the security situation”, it added.

2:24 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

IDF says it targeted Hamas intelligence chief

From CNN's Lauren Iszo

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says fighter jets have struck a compound in Gaza belonging to the head of the intelligence department of Hamas.

“The IDF is currently continuing to strike terror targets in the Gaza Strip,” it added.

The IDF published aerial footage of the operation

2:51 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

IDF says five militants hiding in beach area targeted

From CNN's Lauren Iszo

The IDF says its naval soldiers have identified and targeted "five terrorists who were hidden in the area of Zikim Beach in Israeli territory.” 

“IDF naval soldiers targeted the terrorists and prevented infiltration into civilian areas,” it said in a statement. 

The IDF released video that it said showed the operation taking place in the past few hours.

2:12 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Palestinian death toll rises to 256, health ministry says

From CNN's Ibrahim Dahman in Gaza 

A Palestinian woman looks on as she walks on a debris-strewn street near the Watan Tower, which was destroyed in Israeli strikes, in Gaza City on October 8, 2023.
A Palestinian woman looks on as she walks on a debris-strewn street near the Watan Tower, which was destroyed in Israeli strikes, in Gaza City on October 8, 2023. Mohammed Salem/Reuters

At least 256 Palestinians were killed over the past 24 hours, including 20 children, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said Sunday. 

A further 1,788 Palestinians have been injured, including 121 children, the ministry said in a statement. 

2:16 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Hezbollah claims responsibility for targeting Israeli sites

From CNN's Mostafa Salem

Smoke rises from the Shebaa farms area as seen from the Lebanese village of Rashaya al-Foukhar, in southern Lebanon, on October 8, 2023.
Smoke rises from the Shebaa farms area as seen from the Lebanese village of Rashaya al-Foukhar, in southern Lebanon, on October 8, 2023. Karamallah Daher/Reuters

The Lebanese group Hezbollah issued a statement Sunday claiming responsibility for targeting three Israeli sites in an area known as Shebaa Farms using missiles and artillery.

Shebaa Farms is considered by Lebanon as Israeli-occupied. 

The three sites include the Radar site, the Zabdin site, and the Ruwaisat Al-Alam site, the statement by Hezbollah said. 

Israel responded to the attacks by firing artillery at the area in Lebanon where the strike originated, the IDF said earlier.

Some context: Lebanon and Israel are considered enemy states, but a truce between the two has largely held since a conflict between them in 2006. There have been several small-scale rocket attacks from Lebanon in recent years that have prompted retaliatory strikes from Israel.

1:35 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

China “deeply concerned” over escalation of tensions and violence, calls for two-state solution

From CNN’s Manveena Suri and Wayne Chang

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday that it is “deeply concerned” over the current escalation of tensions and violence.

“We call on relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities to protect civilians and avoid further deterioration of the situation,” the MOFA spokesperson said.

“The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent state of Palestine,” the ministry’s spokesperson said.

The ministry urged the international community “to act with greater urgency, step up input into the Palestine question, facilitate the early resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel, and find a way to bring about enduring peace.”

The spokesperson added that China will “continue to work relentlessly with the international community towards that end.”

1:27 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

IDF names 26 soldiers killed in Hamas attack

From CNN’s Abeer Salman, Richard Allen Greene and Mossi Moshe in Jerusalem

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday published the names of 26 soldiers killed in the attack Hamas launched at dawn the day before.

“Israel is waking up this morning to a terrible morning. There are a lot of people killed. People have been kidnapped into Gaza, not only soldiers but civilians, children, grandmothers,” the IDF’s International spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said in a briefing Sunday. 

“We have lost soldiers, we have lost commanders, we have lost a lot of civilians,” he added.

Hecht said there are plans to activate a hotline for those with questions regarding missing or injured people.

“In the case of missing or injured persons, a hotline will be activated to clarify questions, and for the families who are disturbed," Hecht said. "We know how to deal with difficult situations and difficult challenges and we will meet the targets we are required to achieve. We ask the public to continue to show responsibility.”

1:53 a.m. ET, October 8, 2023

IDF vows to control all of Gaza as conflict enters its second day

From CNN's Richard Allen Greene and Mossi Moshe in Jerusalem

A man carries a crying child as he walks in front of a building destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on October 7, 2023.
A man carries a crying child as he walks in front of a building destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on October 7, 2023. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) say their focus is taking control of the Gaza Strip as the conflict enters a second day.

“The significant thing that preoccupies us right now is the stabilization of control in the Gaza Strip," IDF International Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, told a briefing Sunday.

“We have targets for the next 12 hours: to end the Gaza enclave. To control the entire enclave and kill all the terrorists in our territory,” Hecht said.

“We are probably going to try to evict certain communities in areas of Gaza. As the day goes on, we might evict people from certain areas of Gaza.”

The IDF said there are still eight “points of engagement” with Hamas militants in the south of the country.

Hecht told the briefing the IDF would "exact a very heavy price" by "attacking military infrastructure targets and all Hamas targets.”

Hecht added: “We are prepared with many forces with an emphasis on Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and the northern arena – to stop any event if there is an attack against us. We are prepared for disturbances or attempted attacks if there are any."

Hecht said the IDF had neutralized most of the significant battles that took place in the settlement of Otef, but there were still operations ongoing in Sderot, Kfar Gaza, Be’eri, Kissufim and Sufa, among other places.

The IDF was engaged in searches and trying to clean the area, to make sure there were no Hamas militants still inside the communities, Hecht said. Those living in communities around the Gaza Strip were slowly being evacuated, he said.

“We are going to respond severely against Hamas. It's going to take some time,” Hecht said.

Asked by a journalist about the intelligence failure that had allowed such a large scale attack to occur, Hecht said: "This is not a question for now.... I am sure that will be a big discussion down the road."