October 10, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ed Upright, Joshua Berlinger, Aditi Sangal, Dakin Andone, Steve Almasy, Tori B. Powell and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023
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2:10 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

How did Israel and Palestinians get here?

From CNN's Hadas Gold, Richard Allen Greene, Amir Tal, Ibrahim Dahman, Abeer Salman, Kareem Khaddar and Nadeen Ebrahim

Israeli soldiers celebrate the capture of Old Jerusalem in June,1967.
Israeli soldiers celebrate the capture of Old Jerusalem in June,1967. Bettmanm Archive/Getty Images

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have existed since before the nation’s founding in 1948. Thousands of people on both sides have been killed and many more injured in the long-simmering conflict between the two sides over the past few decades.

Violence has been particularly heightened this year. The number of Palestinians — militants and civilians — killed in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces is at its highest in nearly two decades. The same is true of Israelis and foreigners — most of them civilians — killed in Palestinian attacks.

Israel and the militant group Hamas have been involved in armed conflict dating back as early as the 1987 First Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Israel captured Gaza from Egypt in a 1967 war, then withdrew in 2005. The small territory — home to some 2 million Palestinians — fell under Hamas’ control in 2007 after a brief civil war with Fatah, a rival Palestinian faction that is the backbone of the Palestinian Authority.

After Hamas seized control of Gaza, Israel and Egypt imposed a strict siege on the territory, which is ongoing. Israel also maintains an air and naval blockade on Gaza.

Before Saturday’s operation, the last war between Hamas and Israel was in 2021, which lasted for 11 days and killed at least 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel.

Saturday’s assault occurred on the 50th anniversary of the 1973 war, when Israel’s Arab neighbors launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, on October 6, 1973.

4:39 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

IDF strikes more than 200 targets in Gaza overnight

From journalist Lauren Izso in Ashdod 

Palestinians inspect the destruction from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City's al-Rimal neighbourhood early on October 10.
Palestinians inspect the destruction from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City's al-Rimal neighbourhood early on October 10. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of Israeli fighter jets struck more than 200 targets in Gaza overnight, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement Tuesday. 

The targets were in the Rimal and Khan Yunis neighborhoods in the densely populated coastal enclave, where the IDF claimed a number of attacks against Israel were directed from. 

The IDF said it struck an Islamic Jihad terror infrastructure in Khan Yunis, a weapons storage site of Hamas militants located inside a mosque, and "operational terror infrastructure used by Hamas terror operatives," among other targets. 

The fighter jets also struck a number of "operational residences" belonging to Hamas operatives, as well as a Hamas operational command center located inside a mosque, the IDF said.

So far, the bombings have killed at least 687 people, including dozens of children and women, and left thousands injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

A major Israeli offensive such as a ground incursion into Gaza is widely anticipated though the full scale of the Israeli response remains unclear.

Earlier Tuesday, the IDF said it had "more or less" restored full control over the border fence with Gaza, after it was breached by Hamas militants launching their surprise attack on Saturday.

1:50 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

"The house and living room were filled with bullets": Survivors recount horror of Hamas attack

From CNN's Becky Anderson and Zeena Saifi

Members of an Israeli family who survived a Hamas attack on their home have described the terror unleashed by the Islamist militants during their unprecedented assault in southern Israel on Saturday.

The Shindler family's home in the kibbutz of Kerem Shalom is located mere steps away from where militants bulldozed through the Gaza border as they launched a killing spree against civilians.

"They woke us up at 6:30, 'red alert,'" mother of six young children, Revital Shindler, told CNN. "We went to the bathroom. We started hearing shots from everywhere, and the house and living room were filled with bullets.

"My husband heard noises in Arabic in the house. He immediately went into the safe room and held the door handle so that nobody could get in. They screamed at us 'we are IDF soldiers, we want to come in.'

"We heard they had an Arabic accent, we said: 'We are not opening the door,' and there was a battle of shouting."

She said the militants threw a grenade at the door, sending her husband, Amichai, flying through the air.

Amichai Shindler, 33, survived the blast and is recovering in hospital in Tel Aviv after one of his arms was amputated, his wife said.

It's not the first time the family has experienced the pain of a terror attack. Over a decade ago, they lost Amichai’s 24-year-old brother, said his mother, Sagalit. He was shot by militants during a flare-up of tensions between Palestinians and Israelis. 

"It brings me back 13 years ago, to cope with this massacre, this monstrosity. It’s just so difficult and sad," she said.

Despite the horror of Saturday's attack, the family said they remain positive and hoped those injured would pull through.

"We believe Amichai will get out of this alive, and everyone else injured will, too. We want peace, this is all we want," Revital told CNN.
"We are not afraid, we will continue to live in these places. We won't flee as they wish because this is our home and we don’t have another."
4:44 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

IDF says it has "more or less" restored full control over border fence with Gaza 

From CNN's Richard Greene in Jerusalem

Israeli forces patrol areas along the Israeli-Gaza border in Sa'ad on October 10.
Israeli forces patrol areas along the Israeli-Gaza border in Sa'ad on October 10. Ilia Yefimovich/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have "more or less" restored full control over the border fence with Gaza, after it was breached by Hamas militants launching their surprise attack on Saturday, according to IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht. 

"Looking towards the south, we have more or less restored full control over the border fence. Hopefully in the next few hours it will be final," he said in a briefing on Tuesday. 

Hecht said Israeli forces have secured communities around the border and have nearly completed evacuations in the area.

He added there were two small firefights overnight in the Sa'ad and Kissufim communities. "We are focusing our offensive in the Gaza Strip and our airstrikes," he said. 

1:20 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

IDF adds "tens of thousands" of additional troops along border with Lebanon after deadly clash

From CNN's Nada Bashir

A convoy of Israeli armored vehicles drive on a road near Israel's border with Lebanon on Monday.
A convoy of Israeli armored vehicles drive on a road near Israel's border with Lebanon on Monday. Ammar Awad/Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has amplified its presence along the border with Lebanon, adding tens of thousands of additional troops after clashes in the disputed region, according to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. 

“The situation [on the Lebanon border] is volatile. We are vigilant. We have added tens of thousands of additional troops along the border — reservists as well as regular units — in anticipation of a Hezbollah attack," Conricus told CNN.
“We have strongly urged them to think twice before they embark on any such attack against Israel," he said. “So far in the last few hours, the situation has been quiet. Let’s hope it remains like that."

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 in recent years from Lebanon that have prompted retaliatory strikes from Israel. Palestinian factions in Lebanon were believed to be behind those rocket attacks.

On Monday, the IDF said militants had infiltrated from Lebanon into Israeli territory, with a "number of armed suspects" killed and IDF troops searching the area. An IDF officer died after an "encounter" with the militants, Israeli hospital officials said.

It came after Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group that is considered a terrorist organization by the US and much of the West, on Monday said three of its members died during an Israeli air raid in southern Lebanon.

12:57 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

What you need to know about Hamas

From CNN's Hadas Gold, Richard Allen Greene, Amir Tal, Ibrahim Dahman, Abeer Salman, Kareem Khaddar and Nadeen Ebrahim

Hamas members attend a funeral in Rafah, southern Gaza, on February 16, 2022.
Hamas members attend a funeral in Rafah, southern Gaza, on February 16, 2022. Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Hamas is an Islamist organization with a military wing that came into being in 1987, emerging out of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist group that was founded in the late 1920s in Egypt.

The word “Hamas” is itself an acronym for “Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamia” — Arabic for Islamic Resistance Movement.

The group, like most Palestinian factions and political parties, insists that Israel is an occupying power and that it is trying to liberate the Palestinian territories. It considers Israel an illegitimate state.

Its refusal to recognize Israel is one reason why it has rejected peace talks in the past. In 1993, it opposed the Oslo Accords, a peace pact between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The group presents itself as an alternative to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has recognized Israel and has engaged in multiple failed peace initiatives with it. The PA is today led by Mahmoud Abbas and is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Hamas, meanwhile, controls the Gaza Strip, an enclave that is home to some 2 million Palestinians and is frequently the site of civilian casualties when fighting flares between militants and Israeli forces.

Hamas has over the years claimed many attacks on Israel and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. Israel accuses its archenemy Iran of backing Hamas.

3:13 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

"We just kept on going": Israeli woman recalls escape with young children from deadly Gaza attack

From CNN’s Yong Xiong

An Israeli woman who survived a deadly Hamas attack on Monday recounted how the Islamist militants stormed her home, taking her and others captive and killing her friend.

Avital Alajem told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she and her neighbor, Hayim Katsman, hid in a closet on Saturday when around eight Hamas militants bombed the door and began shooting — killing Katsman.

 Alajem said she was dragged by militants alongside another friend's two young children — Negev, 4, and baby Eshel, just 4 months — and forced to walk toward Gaza as her neighborhood was torched. 

"They burned everything they could, the cars, everything. They broke everything. Everything is ruined," she said. "I just kept on saying to myself that maybe some women over there will take care of us, and maybe they will be a little humane to us."

Alajem said that for reasons she doesn't understand, the militants released her and the two children after crossing into Gaza. 

"I don't know why they saved the kids' life and my life. They just told me to go. And then we started walking back," she said. “I saw tanks and I heard lots of bombs. They were shouting, tooting. We just kept on going."

Negev, whose foot was injured by shrapnel, had to crawl on the way home, she said. 

Alajem was able to safely return the two children to their father, but their mother, Adi Kaaplon, is still missing, she said.

Hayim Katsman, her neighbor who was killed in the attack, "was a good soul in this world," who "gave life to this planet, because he saved me and I was able to save two kids," Alajem said.

“Hayim in Hebrew is ‘life,’” she said.

Watch the interview here:

12:52 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

Analysis: Deep and wide political shockwaves will result from Israel's war with Hamas

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

Israeli soldiers keep watch in Sderot, southern Israel, on Monday
Israeli soldiers keep watch in Sderot, southern Israel, on Monday Amir Cohen/Reuters

Cataclysmic events like the Hamas onslaught on Israel trigger profound political shocks and strategic transformations that no one could predict at the time.

The rocket attacks, hostage takings and mass killings inside Israel came as the global order was already at a pivot point, with the post-Cold War era swept away by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s superpower ascent.

The raw shock over what just happened — the scenes of gunned down civilians at an Israeli music festival, the wrenching accounts of families torn apart and the fierce first burst of Israeli reprisal attacks on Gaza — are transfixing the world.

But politics is never still for long. The sudden and bloody shattering of a rare interregnum of calm and hope for diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East is already shifting calculations in Israel, the United States, the Arab world and across the globe.

The Hamas assault has been compared to the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001 — as a comparatively low-tech assault on civilians that breached the homeland of a more powerful and sophisticated adversary, partly by defying the imagination of threat assessors in a complacent national security and political establishment.

The lesson of that historic trauma was that the political and military steps taken by American and other leaders when normal politics roared back to life did not just change the world through military action. They unleashed extraordinary political forces inside nations like the United States and Britain, creating conditions that are still influencing society and elections.

This may be where Israel finds itself now. The Jewish state is no stranger to rocket attacks from Gaza or Lebanon or bus and suicide bombings. But the Hamas invaders just shattered Israelis’ illusions of their own security more deeply than at any time since the Yom Kippur war in 1973 when Egyptian and Syrian forces attacked. This sense of emotional violation will condition Israel’s response in the days ahead and will influence how the rest of the world reacts to its fight-back.

Read Collinson's full analysis here.

12:26 a.m. ET, October 10, 2023

Netanyahu says Israel will respond "like never before" after Hamas assault. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers an address on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers an address on Monday. GPO

The Israeli military would attack Hamas with a force "like never before," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed, as the conflict enters a fourth day following the Islamist militants' devastating surprise attack in Israeli territory. 

"As the Prime Minister of Israel, I tell you frankly, difficult days are still ahead of us," he said in a televised address Monday.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza and said he would halt the supply of electricity, food, water and fuel to the Palestinian enclave.

Hours later, a spokesperson for Hamas’ armed wing said it would begin killing civilian hostages and broadcasting the act if Israel targets Gaza without warning.

These are the key details you need to know:

  • Stunning attack: Hamas launched a surprise assault early Saturday, firing thousands of rockets and sending armed fighters into Israel. At least 900 people died — including more than 260 attending a music festival near the Gaza border. Thousands were wounded and dozens were taken hostage, according to Israeli officials.
  • Americans killed: At least 11 US citizens have been confirmed killed in the Hamas attack, President Joe Biden said Monday, and White House officials are bracing for that number to grow. Twelve Thai citizens, 10 Nepalis, two Ukrainians, two French nationals and one British citizen are also among the dead, according to officials.
  • War declaration: Israel on Sunday formally declared war on Hamas in response to the attack and Israeli jets bombarded Gaza with airstrikes. Gaza's health ministry said Monday the death toll has reached 687 people, including 140 children.
  • Hostages in Gaza: Israeli authorities believe up to 150 hostages are being held in Gaza as it lays siege to the enclave in an effort to "obliterate Hamas terrorist capabilities," Israel's ambassador to the UN said late Monday. Hamas said Sunday more than 100 hostages are being held in Gaza, including high-ranking Israeli army officers. Videos on social media appeared to show militants capturing multiple civilians, including children. A White House official said the US believes Americans may be among those in captivity. On Monday, Hamas warned civilian hostages would be executed if Israel targets people in Gaza without warning.
  • Gaza under siege: More than 137,000 people are taking cover from Israeli strikes at UN emergency shelters in Gaza. The shelters are at 90% capacity, the UN relief agency said.
  • Security lapse? Questions remain over how the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus appeared to be caught off guard in one of the country’s worst security failures. Fighting between the two sides has surged in the past two years. The violence has been driven by frequent Israeli military raids in Palestinian towns and cities, which Israel has said are a necessary response to a rising number of attacks by Palestinian militants on Israelis.