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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7:08 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

First shipment of weapons has arrived from the US since Hamas attacks, Israel says

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac, Kevin Liptak and MJ Lee

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the first plane carrying US armaments arrived at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel late Tuesday evening.

The cooperation between our militaries is a key part of ensuring regional security and stability in times of war,” the IDF said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Israel’s defense ministry published a video of the shipment arriving. It said on X that the equipment was “procured & brought to Israel by the Israel Ministry of Defense’s DOPP [Department of Production and Procurement], the US Procurement Mission & the International Transportation Unit.”

US pledges support: US President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, in the immediate wake of Hamas’ attack, to emphasize his country's continued support for Israel.

U.S. President Joe Biden, center, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, makes remarks after speaking by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 10.
U.S. President Joe Biden, center, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, makes remarks after speaking by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 10. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

In remarks made at the White House Tuesday, Biden condemned the “pure, unadulterated evil” of the Hamas attackers, and confirmed that at least 14 American citizens were among those killed in Israel. 

Biden also said he would call on Congress to approve more funding for Israel to help it defend its territory and people. He promised his administration would not allow Israel to run out of ammunition and interceptors for its Iron Dome air defense system, which is intended to shoot rockets out of the air before they strike Israeli territory.

“When Congress returns, I’m going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners. This is not about party or politics, it’s about the security of our world, the security of the United States of America,” Biden said Tuesday.

Concern for hostages: White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told CNN Tuesday the White House is having “active conversations,” with Israel to try to bring American citizens in Hamas custody home.

Hamas fighters are holding as many as 150 people hostage in locations across Gaza following their raids on southern Israel Saturday, according to Israel's ambassador to the United States.

In a chilling development, Hamas said it would start executing civilian hostages if Israel targets people in Gaza without warning.

“We're obviously going to be developing options, looking at possibilities how we can get them back, how we can get them back with their families," Kirby told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
7:09 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Israel strikes inside Lebanese territory after anti-tank missiles launched at military post

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi and Charbel Mallo in Beirut

Smoke rises from Dhayra village in southern Lebanon on October 11.
Smoke rises from Dhayra village in southern Lebanon on October 11. Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Israel struck inside Lebanese territory after anti-tank missiles were launched at an Israel Defense Forces military post near the Lebanese border, the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday.

Lebanese group Hezbollah said they fired on an Israeli site with “guided missiles” in response to the killing of three of its members on Monday.

The IDF said it shelled the area in Lebanon where the anti-tank missile was fired.

“In response to the anti-tank missile fired at IDF soldiers a short while ago, an IDF aircraft struck a military observation post belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist organization in southern Lebanon. Furthermore, IDF artillery struck the area from which the launch originated,” the IDF said.

Hezbollah said it had killed and injured Israeli soldiers in the attack. The IDF did not immediately respond when asked by CNN about the casualties.

Lebanese state media NNA reported that intense shelling had resumed near the border with Israel on Wednesday, and that gunfire could be heard in the Lebanese towns of Yarine, Marwahin and Al-Duheira.

Cross-border exchanges: Rockets were also fired from south Lebanon toward Israel on Tuesday, according to Al Manar, a Lebanese outlet that is Hezbollah-owned. Hezbollah did not claim that it fired the rockets.

The IDF said it responded with artillery fire, in another sign of growing tensions along Israel's northern border with Lebanon.

6:29 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Videos show how Hamas militants breached the border fence and started a bloodbath

From CNN's Muhammad Darwish, Nic Robertson, Artemis Moshtaghian, Amir Tal, Ivana Kottasová and Sana Noor Haq

CCTV footage shows one of two Hamas Islamist militants entering Be'eri kibbutz in southern Israel, on October 7, in this still image from video.
CCTV footage shows one of two Hamas Islamist militants entering Be'eri kibbutz in southern Israel, on October 7, in this still image from video. South First Responders/Telegram/Reuters

More than 100 bodies were found in Be’eri on Monday, as the horrors of Hamas’ attack on border communities in Israel continue to emerge.

Civilians were killed and taken hostage in the kibbutz, which is home to about 1,000 residents, according to Israeli authorities and videos obtained and authenticated by CNN.

Heavily armed militants arrived in Be’eri on motorbikes around 7 a.m., just half an hour after they breached the typically high-tech, tightly guarded border fence between Gaza and Israel, videos show.

A bloodbath followed.

Footage shows militants pulling three bodies out of a car, before stealing the vehicle and driving north. The video, which first surfaced on Telegram, was taken by a surveillance camera in Be’eri. CNN has geolocated the video to an intersection in the northeastern part of the kibbutz.

Another video shows armed militants taking five Israeli civilians captive, with the bodies of four later seen lying on the ground nearby in another video verified by CNN.

Terrified residents told Israel’s Channel 12 television station that assailants went door to door, trying to break into their homes.

Of at least 107 bodies discovered in the aftermath, most were of local residents of the kibbutz, though some were of Israeli security forces, a search and rescue spokesperson told CNN.

The IDF acknowledged on Monday that Be’eri was “very badly hit.”

“We thought we would need more rooms (to house the evacuees). We didn’t need all the rooms,” said IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht.

The attack on Be’eri came around the same time as Hamas militants descended upon a music festival, known as Nova, just three miles south, shooting revelers at point-blank range and looting their belongings.

5:05 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Analysis: The clock may be ticking for Netanyahu after Hamas attack failures

Analysis from CNN’s Elliott Gotkine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the German Chancellery on March 16, 2023, in Berlin, Germany.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the German Chancellery on March 16, 2023, in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

In his more than three decades in politics, Benjamin Netanyahu has accrued almost as many nicknames as he has election wins.

There’s “The Magician” for his uncanny ability to grab victory from the jaws of defeat. “King Bibi” for staying atop Israeli politics longer than anyone else. And, universally, though not necessarily affectionately: plain old “Bibi.” But there is another one he reveled in, and which now appears in tatters: “Mr Security.” How did it all go so wrong?

It remains unclear as to how more than 1,000 Hamas militants managed to take Israel by such devastatingly deadly surprise, murdering – as President Isaac Herzog wrote – more Jews in one day than at any time since the Holocaust.

And for now, Netanyahu’s opponents are not calling for Netanyahu to step down.

“I’m not dealing now with who is to blame or why we were surprised,” said former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, now leader of the opposition. “It’s not the time, it’s not the place.”

But that time and place will come. 

Indeed, according to Amit Segal, chief political commentator for Israel’s Channel 12, the surprise would be if Bibi’s prime ministership survives this war. “It would set a national precedent,” he told CNN. 

“Israeli history has taught us that each and every surprise and crisis led to the collapse of the government. That was the case in 1973 [after the Yom Kippur War] with Golda Meir, in 1982 with Menachem Begin in the first Lebanon war, and in 2006, with Ehud Olmert, in the second Lebanon War. The clock is ticking.”

Read the full story here.

4:57 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

"Butchered" children found in Kfar Aza as new details emerge of Hamas' atrocities

From CNN's Muhammad Darwish, Nic Robertson, Artemis Moshtaghian, Amir Tal, Ivana Kottasová and Sana Noor Haq

Bullet holes are seen on the walls of a house next to a broken door handle in Kfar Aza on Tuesday.
Bullet holes are seen on the walls of a house next to a broken door handle in Kfar Aza on Tuesday. Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The horrifying details of attacks on border communities are just beginning to come to light, days after Hamas launched a surprise assault on Israel. Kfar Aza is one of the several kibbutzim, small farming enclaves, that bore the brunt of Hamas’ ground assault on Saturday.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took a CNN team and other foreign press to the site, as they went house to house collecting the dead in body bags and loading them onto a truck. Among those killed in Kfar Aza were children, women and elderly, the IDF said.

I’ve never seen anything like this in my career, never in 40 years of service this something I never imagined,” Maj. Gen. Itai Veruv told CNN on Tuesday, just a few hours after Israeli troops secured the Kfar Aza kibbutz from Hamas militants.

Veruv said his soldiers spent “about 48 hours” fighting “waves and waves of terrorists” on roads and in neighboring communities.

“I saw hundreds of terrorists in full armor, full gear, with all the equipment and all the ability to make a massacre, go from apartment to apartment, from room to room and kill babies, mothers, fathers in their bedrooms,” Veruv said.

The IDF told CNN that civilians were "brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action." It could not confirm the number of people killed in Kfar Aza and would not detail how the people were killed.

At least 1,200 people have died in Israel since the conflict erupted, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said in an update on Wednesday. 

Read more about the Hamas attacks.

4:48 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Analysis: How China has responded to the conflict

Analysis from CNN's Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Beijing in June, China vowed to contribute “Chinese wisdom, Chinese strength” to resolve the longstanding conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

That pledge, coming on the heels of a Beijing-brokered rapprochement between bitter rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, was widely seen as part of China’s ambition to expand its diplomatic clout in the Middle East — a region traditionally dominated by US power.

A few months on, Beijing’s offer to broker peace in one of the world’s most intractable conflicts is being tested by a fresh outbreak of war between Israel and Gaza, after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel.

So far, China’s response to the crisis — which has left at least 1,200 Israelis dead alongside 950 Palestinians and thousands more wounded or displaced — has been a bland call for restraint from both sides, with no condemnation of Hamas for a rampage that unleashed the killing of civilians and kidnapping of hostages, including children and the elderly.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who touted a Beijing-led security initiative for the Middle East as an alternative to the US-led system when he last visited the region in December, has yet to make any public statement on the conflict.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center left, and Arab leaders pose for a group photo during the China-Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 9.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center left, and Arab leaders pose for a group photo during the China-Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 9. Saudi Press Agency/Reuters

Experts say this initial response may expose Beijing’s limited influence in the region, despite official propaganda talking up China as the world’s new peacemaker.

“China doesn’t really have the experience or expertise in the region to make a meaningful change” on the long-running, complex Palestine-Israel conflict,” said Jonathan Fulton, an Abu Dhabi-based senior non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “You don’t see governments in the region saying ‘what’s China’s solution to this’ because they’re not seen as a credible actor here yet.”

Editor's Note: A version of this post first appeared in CNN's Meanwhile in China newsletter, which explores what you need to know about the country’s rise and how it impacts the world. Read the full analysis here.

3:21 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Gaza hospitals overwhelmed, aid agency says

From CNN's Steve Almasy and Alex Stambaugh 

Hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed and experiencing shortages of drugs, medical supplies and electricity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned on Wednesday, as a humanitarian crisis rapidly unfolds in the Palestinian enclave under Israeli bombardment.

Israel has stepped up its aerial offensive in Gaza following Hamas’ weekend assault, leaving hundreds of thousands displaced, many cut off from food and electricity.

In a statement, Avril Benoît, executive director of MSF-USA, said the aid agency — also known as Doctors Without Borders — was "seeing shortages of water, electricity, and fuel, which hospitals rely on for their generators."

"Some hospitals only have enough fuel for four days," she said.

An MSF clinic in Gaza City was "slightly damaged" by an explosion on Monday, but is still operational, Benoît said. A nurse and ambulance driver were killed in strikes, and several others were injured, she added.

The death toll in Gaza rose to 950 and 5,000 others have been wounded in the Israeli airstrikes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry on Wednesday.

At least 1,200 people have died in Israel following Hamas' unprecedented attack on Saturday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

MSF said it does not currently operate medical programs in Israel but has offered its support to Israeli hospitals treating "a high number of casualties."

3:09 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Raging conflict claims lives of more journalists

From CNN's Oliver Darcy

A funeral ceremony is held for Palestinian journalists Saeed Al-Taweel and Mohammad Sobh, who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Tuesday.
A funeral ceremony is held for Palestinian journalists Saeed Al-Taweel and Mohammad Sobh, who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Tuesday. Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Some journalists are making the ultimate sacrifice while covering the war between Israel and Hamas.

At least seven journalists have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Hamas launched its brazen assault on Saturday, according to press freedom groups and media reports. That number could rise even further in the coming days as Israel carries out retaliatory strikes against Hamas, while the terror group continues waging its offensive against the Jewish state.

The bloodshed underscores the very real risk that journalists take on as they report from conflict zones, gathering information in extraordinarily fraught circumstances to keep the world informed and hold authorities accountable for what is transpiring on the ground.

“In many ways, the most vulnerable journalists are the ones needed most,” Sherif Mansour, a Committee to Protect Journalists coordinator who oversees the Middle East, noted on Tuesday.

Editor's Note: A version of this post first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here and read more about journalists covering the conflict.

2:27 a.m. ET, October 11, 2023

Analysis: What history can teach us about how an Israeli ground operation could play out in Gaza

Analysis from CNN's Ben Wedeman

Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike over a UN school in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, on January 17, 2009.
Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike over a UN school in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, on January 17, 2009. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

In January 2009, CNN's Ben Wedeman, along with a crew, went on the ground to cover what Israel had dubbed “Operation Cast Lead” — the first in a series of flare-ups of various durations between Israel and Gaza in 2012, 2014, 2021 and 2022.

Here's what he knows about how an Israeli ground assault in Gaza could play out based on what he saw then:

  • Inside Israel's tactics: Israel’s tactics have always been to move fast, control as much territory as possible, but avoid street-to-street, house-to-house fighting where a weaker opponent can take full advantage of the terrain. Entering urban areas in Gaza, however, would bring in an entirely new element to the fight.
  • Multiple Palestinian groups on ground: At the moment, Israeli forces are engaged with Hamas. But Gaza is home to a myriad of armed Palestinian groups, including Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) to name just a few. They don’t have Hamas’ manpower or weaponry, but they’re numerous enough to put up serious resistance.
  • A well-prepared Hamas: The Israeli military has mobilized 300,000 reservists for what is widely believed to be an unprecedented incursion into Gaza — and perhaps, some speculate, a reoccupation of the enclave — in the aftermath of Hamas’ surprise attack Saturday, which killed more than 1,000 people in Israel. What awaits it is a Hamas that has shown, despite the cruelty vividly displayed in its Saturday attack, a level of military capability far beyond what was previously thought. It is probably well prepared for the next phase in this war.
  • A bloody ground operation: If it comes, the ground operation will be far bloodier and more destructive than what we saw during the weekend fighting between Hamas and Israel. Israeli forces will also have to be mindful that spread around Gaza are more than a hundred Israelis soldiers and civilians, including women and children — held captive by Hamas. And although no one outside Hamas knows where they’re being held, it’s likely they’re in the most difficult areas for Israeli forces to access, possibly in crowded refugee camps. As eager as Israel’s leaders may be to deal a fatal blow to Hamas, it will come at a very high price. To all.

Read more here.