October 11, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Kathleen Magramo, Adam Renton, Christian Edwards, Peter Wilkinson, Aditi Sangal, Dakin Andone, Leinz Vales, Steve Almasy, Elise Hammond, Tori B. Powell, Kaanita Iyer and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 2:51 p.m. ET, October 12, 2023
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10:54 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Biden offers warning to Iran to "be careful" following Hamas' attack on Israel

From CNN's Donald Judd

Biden speaks at a roundtable with Jewish community leaders in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House on October 11, 2023. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Biden speaks at a roundtable with Jewish community leaders in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House on October 11, 2023. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued a stark warning to Iran to “be careful” around its actions in the region following Hamas’ attack on Israel.

During a roundtable roundtable with Jewish community leaders on the administration’s efforts to provide support for Israel, Biden stressed the assistance that the US is providing, adding that he's been frequently speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US is "surging additional military assistance to the Israeli Defense Force including ammunition, interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome, we moved the US carrier fleet to the eastern Mediterranean and are sending more fighter jets there, to that region, and made it clear, made it clear to the Iranians – be careful," Biden said.

In his remarks, Biden also addressed reports of the atrocities committed by Hamas.

“It matters that Americans see what's happening – I mean, I have been doing this a long time, I never really thought that I would see it and have confirmed pictures of terrorist beheading children," Biden said.

Biden pledged the full force of his administration’s commitment to rescuing hostages in Hamas custody, telling the group that while “we're working on every aspect of the hostage crisis in Israel,” if he relayed in detail what steps the administration was taking, “I wouldn’t be able to get them home.” 

“Folks, there's a lot we're doing -- a lot we're doing, I have not given up hope of bringing these folks home,” he said. “But the idea that I'm going to stand here before you and tell you what I'm doing is bizarre, so I hope you understand how bizarre I think it would be to try to answer that question.” 

Some context on Iran: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh by phone on Sunday and later congratulated the Palestinian people for their “victory” over Israel.

On Monday, however, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said that the Islamic Republic was “not involved in Palestine’s response,” referring to the Hamas attack. “It is taken solely by Palestine itself,” it said.

Israel says Iran supports Hamas to the tune of some $100 million a year. The US State Department in 2021 said that the group receives funding, weapons, and training from Iran, as well as some funds that are raised in Gulf Arab countries.

The United States has collected specific intelligence that suggests senior Iranian government officials were caught by surprise by Saturday’s attack, according to multiple sources familiar with the intelligence.

The existence of the intelligence has cast doubt on the idea that Iran was directly involved in the planning, resourcing or approving of the operation, the sources said.

Note: After President Biden’s remarks Wednesday, an administration official told CNN neither Biden nor the administration have seen pictures or confirmed reports of children or infants beheaded by Hamas. The official clarified that the president’s remarks were referring to public comments from media outlets and Israeli officials.

5:31 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Federal agencies warn of potential safety concerns in US in wake of attacks in Israel

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

Federal agencies are warning of the potential of attacks in the US following Hamas’s assault on Israel, citing the pervasiveness of antisemitism in violent extremist groups.

The FBI along with the Department of Homeland Security issued a public service announcement saying that while there is no current intelligence suggesting a planned domestic attack, the potential for such attacks remains a concern.  

“Foreign terrorist organizations and their supporters remain committed to attacking the United States within and beyond our borders,” the PSA said.
“In recent years, there have been several events and incidents in the United States that were purportedly motivated, at least in part, by the conflict between Israel and HAMAS. These have included the targeting of individuals, houses of worship, and institutions associated with the Jewish and Muslim faiths with acts of physical assault, vandalism, or harassment," it added. 

The FBI and DHS also noted that antisemitism "serves as a primary driver for attacks by a diverse set of violent extremists" who threaten Jewish communities in the US and across the world.

According to the FBI, terrorist organizations abroad have used previous conflicts between Hamas and Israel “to call on their supporters located in the United States to conduct attacks.”

“Some violent extremists have used times of heightened tensions to incite violence against religious minorities, targeting both Jewish and Muslim Americans,” the PSA said.

5:32 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Gantz says formation of Israel's war cabinet is a "clear message to our enemies"

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Gantz speaks during during a televised address on Wednesday, October 11.
Gantz speaks during during a televised address on Wednesday, October 11. GPO/Reuters

Benny Gantz, a former defense minister who joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and current defense minister Yoav Gallant in a "war management cabinet," said Wednesday that the three men standing together is a "clear message to our enemies."

"The state of Israel is at its most difficult hours. These are faithful days," Gantz said during a televised address. "At this time, there is only one camp, one group -- the camp of the nation of Israel."

He added that "now is the time for bravery."

"Our friends, our families were killed and taken hostages by a cruel enemy. An enemy that should be annihilated with all means necessary," Gantz said. 

The emergency government and war cabinet were announced earlier Wednesday. The government will not pass any laws or make any decisions that do not concern the conduct of the war, the announcement said.

5:17 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Saudi Arabia making "unremitting efforts" to stop escalation following Hamas attacks, crown prince says

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 7. 
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 7.  Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Court/Reuters

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi Arabia "is making unremitting efforts" to stop the escalation in fighting following Hamas' assault on Israel, according to Saudi state-run SPA news. 

The crown prince affirmed, in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday:

"The Kingdom's position of rejecting targeting civilians in any way and taking the lives of innocent people, stressing the need to observe the principles of international humanitarian law," SPA said.
5:09 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Hamas official in Lebanon claims militant group prepared for attack for 2 years

From CNN's Tamara Qiblawi and Jen Deaton

A senior Hamas official based in Lebanon said militants had been preparing for the attack on Israel for two years, according to an edited interview with Russia Today’s Arabic-news channel RTArabic published on its website a day after the attack.

“We manufactured a lot," said Ali Baraka, head of Hamas National Relations Abroad. "We have local factories for everything."

The factories can make different rockets with maximum ranges from 10 to 250 kilometers, and they can make mortars and mortar shells, he said.

They also produced firearms.

"We have factories for Kalashnikovs and their bullets. We’re manufacturing the bullets with permission from the Russians. We’re building it in Gaza.”

“None of our factions," and “even our allies did not know about the zero hour” of the attack in order to “preserve the secrecy of the battle,” Baraka claimed.

Half an hour after the attack, “the Palestinian resistance factions were contacted, in addition to our allies Hezbollah and Iran,” he said. Hamas also notified Turkey, he said.

Baraka made no mention of any outside involvement in the planning of the attack, saying only that the allies of Hamas “support us with weapons and money. First and foremost, it is Iran that gives us money and weapons. Also Hezbollah.”

Russia inquired about the attack afterward, Baraka said.

“They were updated about our situation and the goals of the battle,” Baraka said.

He also said Moscow was happy for the United States to be distracted by the Israel-Hamas conflict instead of the war in Ukraine.

“Even Russia sympathizes with us. Even the Russians sent us messages (Saturday) morning. There is sympathy. It is happy for America to be embroiled in Palestine. It lessens the pressure on it in Ukraine. One battle eases the other battle. So therefore we are not alone in the battlefield.”

Baraka said that among the goals of Hamas is the release of Palestinian prisoners in the United States.

“We have Hamas members sentenced to life in prison in the US,” he said. “We call on the US to free our sons in their prisons. The US does prisoner swaps. It recently did one with Iran. Why doesn’t it do a prisoner swap with us?”

Context: Baraka is a Hamas political official based in Lebanon. Palestinian factions in Lebanon are not always tightly coordinated with their counterparts in Gaza and the West Bank in part because of severe restrictions on travel on both ends, as well the hollowing out of Palestinian politics in Lebanon starting in 1982. The majority of Palestinians in Lebanon have never been to Palestinian territories. 

4:46 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

27-year-old Israeli-American killed was passionate about protecting his country, family says

From CNN's Allison Gordon and Deborah Doft

Aryeh Shlomo Ziering
Aryeh Shlomo Ziering Courtesy Debby Ziering

Aryeh Shlomo Ziering, a 27-year-old dual Israeli-American citizen, was killed in Israel, his aunt Debby Ziering confirmed.

He was a captain in the Israel Defense Forces’ dog-handling unit.  

Ziering’s parents are from New York and Maine. They moved to Israel after getting married. Although he was born and raised in Israel, Ziering attended summer camp in the United States and grew up speaking English with his parents, his aunt said. 

Debby Ziering also told CNN that Aryeh grew up not wanting to be a soldier, but “when my nephew does something, he does it 200%. And he was very passionate about protecting his country.”

He was a “fun-loving, athletic, great kid.”

4:43 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

At least 13 Latin American citizens dead as several countries begin evacuating citizens from Israel 

From CNN's Abel Alvarado and Heather Law

At least 13 Latin American citizens have been killed in Israel following Hamas' surprise attack on Saturday.  

Colombia's government announced Wednesday the death of a Colombian-Israeli woman who had been missing since Saturday.  

In addition, seven Argentines, two Peruvians, two nationals from Brazil, and one person from Chile have been reported killed after the attacks.

At least 20 more Latin American citizens are missing, with people from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, and Colombia.  

Several Latin American countries have also begun evacuating their citizens.  

Mexico's Foreign Affairs Ministry announced Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the first plane carrying 135 Mexican evacuees is en route to its capital.  

In Brazil, the first repatriation flight with 211 passengers landed in Brasilia early Wednesday. A second flight carrying 214 people took off shortly after midday, Brazilian time, from Tel Aviv. Additional flights are expected to fly to Tel Aviv until Sunday.   

Chile has evacuated 209 of its citizens on three flights, according to the country's Foreign Ministry.  

Peru's government reported on X that 16 nationals have been flown out of Israel, and 131 of them are expected to leave in the "next upcoming days." Authorities also informed on Wednesday that a woman who was reported missing had been located and is safe.  

4:24 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Turkey working to deliver aid to civilians affected by Israel-Hamas conflict, Erdogan says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants his country to work on delivering humanitarian aid to civilians affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict, his office said Wednesday.

Erdogan made the comments during a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and “stressed that it is important for regional countries to give constructive messages for the termination of the conflicts,” the Turkish presidency said on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.

As Erdogan discussed the aid delivery and the latest developments in the conflict with MBS, the Turkish president also said “it is unacceptable to bomb civilian settlements.” 

Following Saturday’s attack by Hamas, Israel said it has ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza, including halting supplies of electricity, food, water and fuel. 

Erdogan’s office did not say how the Turkish aid would be delivered to the Palestinian enclave.

4:22 p.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Israel calls up roughly same number of combined reservists as available to US military reserve force 

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Christian Edwards in London and Oren Liebermann in Washington

Israel has called up roughly the same number of reservists as the combined number of reservists across the entire US military. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is composed of three service branches: the Israeli Ground Forces, the Israeli Air Force, and the Israeli Navy.  

IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Wednesday that 300,000 reservists were “close to the Gaza Strip.” The figure includes “infantry, armored soldiers, artillery corps and many other soldiers from the reserves,” Conricus said.  

The total number of US forces in the reserves across the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy is 331,392 as of August 31, 2023, according to US Defense Department data. 

In an interview with CNN earlier Wednesday, IDF spokesperson Doron Spielman referenced reports that said Israel’s mobilization is on the “scale of a major country,” such as the US.  

“There's not a family that does not have somebody that's been called up,” Spielman said.  

Unlike most militaries, which have larger active-duty forces and relatively smaller reserve forces, Israel’s military is the opposite. Israel’s reserve force is larger than its active-duty force, and Israeli service members who complete their mandatory military service frequently become a part of the reserve forces. The system provides the country with a large population to call upon in the event of an emergency.