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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9:15 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Hamas claims to be holding more than 100 hostages, including Israeli army officers

From CNN's Eyad Kourdi and Jonny Hallam

Hamas fighters are holding more than 100 Israeli hostages in Gaza, including high-ranking army officers, a spokesperson for the militant group claimed Sunday.

In an interview with Arabic news outlet al-Ghad TV, Mousa Abu Marzouk, chief deputy of Hamas' political bureau, said the number of Israeli hostages "hasn't been counted yet but they are over a hundred."

Asked about the presence of Israeli army officers among the hostages, Marzouk said: "There are high-ranking officers." 

Another Palestinian armed group, Islamic Jihad, on Sunday said it is holding at least 30 hostages in Gaza.

CNN is unable to verify the claims of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. 

Israel authorities have said that dozens of Israelis are being held hostage in Gaza but have not confirmed exact numbers.

In addition to Israeli captives, there are several other nationalities believed to be taken hostage. Two Mexican nationals, a woman and a man, have “presumably” been taken hostage by Hamas, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said on Sunday. At least three Brazilian nationals are also missing, according to Brazilian authorities.

8:33 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

"I didn't want to believe it," says father of Israeli woman reportedly taken hostage at festival

From CNN's Celine Alkhaldi

The father of an Israeli woman who was reportedly taken hostage at a music festival near the Gaza-Israel border on Saturday said he "didn’t want to believe it" when he saw his daughter being hoisted onto the back of a motorcycle by Hamas militants in a video circulating on social media.

Speaking to CNN's Becky Anderson, Yakov Argamani described the moment he saw the video of his 25-year-old daughter Noa being taken captive.

"I couldn’t believe it…I didn’t want to believe it," he said. "One couldn’t describe it with words. It’s impossible…It was a very difficult moment.
"She is my only daughter, and this is very difficult."

 At least 260 bodies have been found at the site of the outdoor Nova Festival following Saturday's attack by Hamas, according to Israeli rescue service Zaka.

The event was supposed to be an all-night dance party, celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Hamas gunmen shot at fleeing attendees and took others hostage at the festival in a rural farmland area near the Gaza-Israel border, according to social media videos and accounts from festivalgoers.

Yakov said he has "not heard anything from authorities," regarding his daughter’s situation.

"I’m not blaming them… I believe they are busier with other high-level things and they will arrive later."

The terrifying festival attack was just one of multiple locations hit on Saturday morning by the most sustained and coordinated assault inside Israel ever carried out by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group designated as a terror organization by the United States, European Union and Israel.

Yakov appealed to Hamas militants to "reach an honest peace."

"Work with your heart and your feelings, we are human beings just like you. You have families who are hurt. I am sure mothers who cry, and fathers who are worried," he said.
"You have soldiers just like us, this is an opportunity to connect between the two nations."
7:58 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Hamas claims to have taken more Israeli hostages Sunday

From Eyad Kourdi, Ibrahim Dahman and Jonny Hallam

Hamas on Sunday claimed to have taken a large number of hostages from Israel and brought them back to Gaza, according to Abu Obaida, the spokesperson for the armed wing of Hamas, in a short statement on al-Aqsa TV. 

“Today, our fighters managed to capture a large number of prisoners from the enemy forces and bring them to the Gaza Strip,” Obaida said.

Hamas, an Islamist militant group, claimed their forces are still present and conducting operations in Mavki'im in southern Israel just north of Gaza.

"Our fighters managed to reach the Mavki'im area and engaged in fierce clashes that resulted in the killing and injury of a significant number of enemy forces,” Obaida said.

CNN is unable to verify Hamas' claims. 

Asked for comment in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer early Monday morning local time, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Ben Wahlhaus neither confirmed or denied the Hamas claims, saying, "It is a very fluid situation. It's something that's ongoing as we speak with rockets being fired." 

"We're still fighting down south. People are still inside their homes, inside their safe rooms, inside their bomb shelters," Wahlhaus told CNN.

"Our forces are down there trying to do everything they can to get those terrorists out of Israel and stop attacking our civilians. And that includes everything that has been going over the past 24 hours," he added.
7:27 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

US still seeking to determine Iran's connection to Israel attack

From CNN's MJ Lee, Jim Sciutto and Pamela Brown

Israelis inspect the rubble of a building in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Sunday, October 8, a day after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza.
Israelis inspect the rubble of a building in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Sunday, October 8, a day after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza. Oded Balilty/AP

US officials tell CNN on Sunday that the administration has yet to find a smoking gun so far linking Iran directly to planning and executing the attack on Israel this weekend.  

However, there’s no denying Iran’s history of aiding Hamas, officials say. 

“Of course Iran is in the picture,” one US official told CNN. “They’ve provided support for years to Hamas and Hezbollah.” 

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, senior US officials have maintained that it was too early to determine whether Iran had any direct role in planning and supporting Hamas’ attack. “It is early" and a matter of direct interest to determine, one senior official said. 

But officials are beginning to go as far as to say that Iran's well-established connections to Hamas would mean it is likely they helped train and finance effort that ultimately led to this weekend’s attack. 

“Iran’s close ties to Hamas and financial and operational support make it likely they had a role in this,” one Democratic senator, who was expected to receive a classified briefing on Monday, told CNN. 

But for now, US officials say there is no intelligence making the direct connection. 

One congressional source said that given the sophistication of the attack, Iran would have had a role, since Hamas does not have the ability to buy weapons at this scale. The question now: To what extent Iran played a role.

Another key question is how Hamas coordinated and amassed the people and weaponry to execute the operation and do so undetected by key middle eastern and western intelligence operations, including the Israelis.

Publicly, administration officials have expressed similar regarding the understanding of Iran's role so far. On CNN's "State of the Union" today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said "in this specific instance, we have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack. And on NBC's "Meet the Press," Blinken added "that's something we're looking at very carefully, and we've got to see where the facts lead."

While the administration has rejected the criticism that a recent deal unfreezing billions of dollars in Iranian funds was connected to the attack, Blinken was more circumspect about whether the deal freed up Iran to spend other money, noting that Iran has long underwritten terrorism.

"Iran has, unfortunately, always used and focused its funds on supporting terrorism, on supporting groups like Hamas. And it's done that when there have been sanctions; it's done that when there haven't been sanctions. And it's always prioritized that," Blinken said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Reporting from Katie Bo Lillis, Natasha Bertrand and Evan Perez contributed to this post.

6:57 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

How US markets and oil prices are reacting to Israel's war with Hamas

From CNN's David Goldman

Oil prices surged and US stock futures fell Sunday night in their first reaction to Israel's war with Hamas.

Although Israel is not a major oil producer, escalating tensions in the oil-rich Middle East spooked investors who have already been selling off oil in recent weeks. Inflation, fear of a global economic downturn and a correction to prices that were surging in recent months had sent US oil prices down from around $95 a few weeks ago to just above $80 last week.

But US oil prices were 3% higher Sunday night — more than $85 a barrel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was also about 3% higher, trading around $87 a barrel.

US stock futures, which surged on a surprisingly strong American job market report Friday, fell sharply Sunday night. Wall Street investors fear prolonged tensions in Israel could hurt the fragile global economic recovery.

Dow futures were down 190 points, or 0.6%. S&P 500 futures were down 0.7%. And Nasdaq futures were 0.6% lower.

7:02 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

Death toll in Israel after Hamas attack has passed 700, defense force says

 

The death toll in Israel a day after the surprise attack by Hamas fighters breached the border from Gaza has risen to "over 700 dead," Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Maj. Ben Wahlhaus, told CNN on Sunday. 

6:52 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

US sending more fighter jets to the Middle East as part of plan to bolster posture, official says

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

A US F-35 fighter jet flies over Jutland, Denmark, on March 10.
A US F-35 fighter jet flies over Jutland, Denmark, on March 10. Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

The US is positioning more fighter jets to the Middle East as part of a plan to bolster US force posture in the region, a US official familiar with the planning tells CNN.

The move will include sending in F-35 and F-15 fighter jets, the official said, two of the most potent air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities in the Air Force. Though an exact number of aircraft is unclear, the official said it will likely be around 20-25 fighters headed to the region.

The purpose of the deployment of additional fighter jets is to deter any Iranian aggression or an expansion of the fighting beyond Israel’s borders, the official said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced earlier Sunday the US would “augment” its fighter squadrons in the Middle East under US Central Command. In addition to F-35s and F-15s, Austin also said F-16 and A-10 squadrons in the region would be bolstered.

F-35 fighter jets were ordered to the region in mid-July in response to Iranian aggression in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical waterway in the Middle East. The jets wrapped up the deployment only days ago, but more of the fifth-generation aircraft will head to the region in the wake of the escalation between Israel and Gaza and concerns it could spill become a regional conflict.

In late March, the US deployed A-10 attack aircraft to the region following increased Iranian aggression against US forces in Syria. The A-10s were then shifted to the monitoring the Strait of Hormuz following a series of attempted seizures from Iranian maritime forces.

6:38 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

6 Palestinians killed Sunday in the West Bank by Israeli fire, health officials say

From CNN’s Abeer Salman and Kareem Khadder in Jerusalem

Six Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli fire in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, according to Palestinian health officials.

First, a 24-year-old Palestinian man was fatally shot in the northern entrance of Jericho. This was confirmed by the director of Jericho Government Hospital in a phone interview with CNN.

Later, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah said that three Palestinians were shot and killed near Qalandiya checkpoint. Nine Palestinians were injured and transferred to Ramallah Medical complex Sunday night.

The ministry identified the three who were killed as Mohammad Ziyad Abdel alJaleel Ehmaid, 24; Amjad Maher Alian Khdeir, 36; and 17-year-old THa’er Sami Ali Kassabeh.

A fifth Palestinian was shot and killed in Hebron and was identified by the Palestinian Ministry as Mohammad Jawad Abdel Rahman, 21, the ministry said.

The sixth Palestinian was shot and killed in Beita and was transferred to Rafidia Government hospital near Nablus in the West Bank. The ministry said it is not yet releasing the identification.

6:28 p.m. ET, October 8, 2023

US Holocaust Memorial Museum condemns Hamas attack

From CNN's Lindy Royce and Philip Wang

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum on Sunday condemned the Hamas’ attack on Israel and called for immediate release of hostages being held in Gaza.

“Our prayers are with all Israelis, including the many Holocaust survivors who helped build the State of Israel, where they could finally live in the freedom and security they deserved after centuries of persecution, and ultimately genocide, ” Museum Chair Stuart E. Eizenstat said in a statement.

Dozens of people are believed to have been captured in Israel by Hamas fighters over the weekend. They are now being held in locations across Gaza, complicating Israel’s response to the militant group’s deadly attack on Saturday.