January 11, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Kathleen Magramo, Antoinette Radford, Christian Edwards, Jessie Gretener, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 12, 2024
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5:53 p.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Dozens killed and injured in Israeli strikes in Gaza over past 24 hours, officials say

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder, Abeer Salman and Celine Alkhaldi

Dozens of people were killed in Gaza following a series of Israeli airstrikes in the southern part of the enclave in the last 24 hours, several officials said.

In the early hours of Wednesday, an airstrike targeting a house in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, killed seven people and injured at least 25 others, the Al-Nasser Medical Complex said.

“You are seeing us passing away every day. And there is a question: How many of us have to die that this war will end?” Dr. Ahmad Al Moghrabi, a surgeon at the facility, said in a video obtained by CNN.

Several civil defense and medical personnel were also injured after an Israeli airstrike that struck a residential building near the hospital, Gaza’s Civil Defense said in a statement. Videos obtained by CNN show civil defense crew members being treated inside the medical center.

Also near Khan Younis, six people were killed and brought to the European Hospital on a “horse cart,” the hospital said.

In another incident, journalist Khader Zaanoun, who is in Gaza City, told CNN that he spoke with a doctor at Al-Shifa Medical Complex. Dr. Mu’taz Salah told him that Israeli army snipers fired at hundreds of civilians on the coastal Haroun Al-Rasheed road, in the Sheikh Ajleen area west of the city. 

At least five people were killed and 21 others were injured, Zaanoun said.

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment regarding allegations they have targeted rescue personnel. The IDF has also not responded to CNN’s request for comment on the incidents in Khan Younis and Gaza City.

A rising death toll: The number of people killed in Gaza since October 7 from Israeli attacks as of Wednesday is at least 23,469, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said. CNN cannot independently verify casualty figures due to limited access to the area.

3:17 p.m. ET, January 11, 2024

White House official discusses increasing assistance to Gaza with new UN aid coordinator

From CNN's Samantha Waldenberg

A White House official discussed efforts to increase the flow of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza with the newly appointed United Nations Gaza aid coordinator on Thursday.

Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer expressed "strong U.S. support" for Sigrid Kaag and her new role, according to a readout from the White House.

The officials "discussed mutual efforts to increase the amount of humanitarian assistance reaching civilians in Gaza, as well as steps that can more sustainably meet the needs of Gazan civilians in the longer term," the readout said.

Kaag was named to the position in December after it was created through a UN Security Council vote.

She was finance minister and deputy prime minister of the Netherlands before resigning her position to join the UN effort in Gaza.

2:44 p.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Israeli military says Hamas held Israeli hostages in tunnels found under Khan Younis

From CNN's Amir Tal and Lauren Izso

Israeli soldiers show journalists an underground tunnel where the Israeli military claims it found evidence hostages were held by Hamas in Khan Younis, Gaza, on January 10.
Israeli soldiers show journalists an underground tunnel where the Israeli military claims it found evidence hostages were held by Hamas in Khan Younis, Gaza, on January 10. Ohad Zwigenberg/AP

The Israel Defense Forces said a tunnel it uncovered beneath the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis was used by Hamas to hold Israeli hostages.

The tunnel was connected to an underground system of other tunnels beneath a civilian area in Khan Younis and had "ventilation systems, electrical supply and plumbing," the IDF said in a statement Thursday.

"After investigating the tunnel, it can be confirmed that Israeli hostages had been inside the tunnel," the IDF said. The statement added that Israeli forces found more than 300 tunnel shafts, "some leading to significant tunnels, tactical shafts, and underground areas which are used as weapons storage facilities and combat areas."

CNN cannot independently confirm hostages were held in those tunnels.

Some background: A CNN team was taken into a tunnel under Khan Younis by the IDF earlier this week. The journalists went down multiple sets of stairs and saw a small room in the underground tunnels, and a functional bathroom about 20 meters (roughly 65 feet) underground.

The Israeli military has previously released statements on the discovery of Hamas-made tunnels, which Hamas called "an integral part of the resistance."

In another IDF statement on Thursday, the Israeli military said thousands of tons of concrete and metal were used to build hundreds of kilometers of underground tunnels in the enclave. CNN cannot independently verify this claim.

1:05 p.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Hezbollah says it launched dozens of rockets toward Israel in response to Israeli strikes in Lebanon

From CNN's Charbel Mallo, Eyad Kourdi and Lauren Izso

Israeli security forces examine a road hit by a rocket fired from Lebanon, in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, on Thursday.
Israeli security forces examine a road hit by a rocket fired from Lebanon, in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, on Thursday. Leo Correa/AP

Hezbollah says it has launched "dozens of rockets" toward northern Israel on Thursday in response to Israeli strikes that killed two paramedics in Lebanon.

The Iran-backed group — which has one of the most powerful paramilitary forces in the Middle East — said its strikes on the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanese border, were also in support of the "steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip."

The Lebanese Civil Defense said two of its members were killed in the earlier attack on an ambulance in Hanin, according to the country's state news agency NNA.

What Israel says: The Israel Defense Forces said it identified 10 launches from Lebanon toward Israel, with sirens sounding in Kiryat Shmona and the nearby community of Margaliot. Three of those were intercepted, the military said.

"In addition, earlier today (Thursday), a number of launches toward Israeli territory were identified. In response, the IDF struck the sources of the fire," the IDF statement said.

Israel said its military also struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, including "military sites, a military post, and terrorist infrastructure," as well as a number of other areas in Lebanon.

5:14 p.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Houthis warn that any US aggression "will not go unanswered" 

From CNN’s Eyad Kourdi

Newly recruited Houthi fighters watch a recorded lecture on Israel and the Jews by the Houthi movement's top leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, during a ceremony at the end of their training in Sanaa, Yemen, on January 11.
Newly recruited Houthi fighters watch a recorded lecture on Israel and the Jews by the Houthi movement's top leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, during a ceremony at the end of their training in Sanaa, Yemen, on January 11. Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi said that any United States aggression against Yemen “will not go unanswered,” amid fears that the rebel group's attacks could escalate Israel’s war against Hamas into a wider regional conflict. 

Al-Houthi said in a speech on Thursday that the response from the group will be “much greater” than this week’s barrage of drones and missiles on the Red Sea. 

“The answer will not only be attacking the Americans in the sea with more than 24 drones and missiles — the response will be much more," al-Houthi said. 

The leader said that Yemen is ready “to confront American aggression” and criticized US and United Kingdom support for Israel, stating it “will not deter” Yemen's actions. 

Al-Houthi said the strategy in preventing Israeli-linked ships from traversing the Red Sea has been effective, citing the recent American attack on the Houthis’ navy as evidence of this impact. 

Furthermore, al-Houthi accused the US and the UK of trying to involve other countries in the confrontation against Yemen, warning that those who target Yemen and its naval forces risk their maritime safety and commercial shipping interests. 

"Those who want to get involved and attack our people and target the naval forces are risking their maritime safety and their commercial ships," al-Houthi said. 

Some background: The Iran-backed Houthis began launching the attacks soon after the start of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza, claiming they were targeting ships with ties to Israel as they stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution calling on the group to “cease its brazen” attacks in the Red Sea, as the United States and Britain hinted at military strikes.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a meeting Thursday that the UK would "continue to take action to defend freedom of navigation and protect lives at sea," according to a statement from Downing Street.

The warnings come as the militants continue a weeks-long campaign to launch drones and missiles at vessels in the commercially vital shipping lane, which they say are revenge against Israel for its military campaign in Gaza.

That continued Thursday, when the US Defense Department said the rebels fired an anti-ship missile into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden. A commercial vessel reported seeing the missile hit the water, and there were no injuries or damage, according to a US spokesperson.

This post has been updated with information about another missile fired by Houthi rebels and new remarks from the British prime minister on Thursday.

CNN's Max Foster, Michael Conte and Oren Liebermann contributed reporting to this post.

10:51 a.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Top US diplomat says path forward involves security for Israel, a Palestinian state and marginalizing Iran

From CNN's Jen Deaton in Atlanta

There is a clear and "attractive" path toward peace in the Middle East, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said as he wrapped up his latest multi-nation visit to the region, which came amid fears the Israel-Hamas fighting could spark a wider regional conflict.

The path includes assured security for Israel, isolating and marginalizing Iran, and the establishment of a Palestinian state, he said, adding that these things are tied together.

It will be up to the governments in the region to commit to such a path, Blinken said.

"All of which, I believe countries are prepared to do. And it's also the best way to address the most fundamental security concern that Israel and many others have, which are the actions that Iran and its proxies have taken," he told reporters in Cairo before his flight back to the United States.

The top US diplomat also insisted that his visit to the region resulted in concrete steps toward ending the conflict in Gaza. "First, an agreement by Israel to have the United Nations send an assessment team to the north of Gaza to look at the conditions that would be necessary to start to get people moving back to the north," he said. "Second, we have a commitment from the Palestinian Authority to issue meaningful reform."

10:35 a.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Middle East conflict is not escalating but there are "lots of danger points," top US diplomat says

From CNN's Jen Deaton

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media before boarding his plane to return to Washington, in Cairo, Egypt, on January 11.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media before boarding his plane to return to Washington, in Cairo, Egypt, on January 11. Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday the Israel-Hamas war is not ramping up into a broader regional conflict, but he did admit that there were "danger points."

"I don't think the conflict is escalating," Blinken said. "There are lots of danger points. We're trying to deal with each of them."

Here's what he detailed:

  • Houthi attacks in the Red Sea: Blinken noted that the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution calling on Yemen's Houthi rebels to stop their "brazen" attacks in the Red Sea. "We have a number of countries that have made clear that if it doesn't stop, they'll have to be consequences. And unfortunately, it hasn't stopped. But we want to make sure that it does, and we're prepared to do that," he said.
  • Israel-Hezbollah tensions: Blinken said "aggressive" diplomatic efforts were underway to quell ongoing clashes between Hezbollah and Israel, and ensure that people on both sides of the border — in northern Israel and in southern Lebanon — who've been forced from their homes could return. Blinken did say that Israel had "mobilized a significant number of forces starting in the north."
  • West Bank: Blinken also said that work was being done to make sure the "West Bank does not explode, catch on fire."

He also said that efforts were underway to end the fighting in Gaza, but that Israel had to ensure that October 7, 2023, doesn't happen again. "We also want to see this conflict come to an end, and until it does, to make sure that humanitarian assistance goes up for people who need it," he added.  

11:05 a.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Iran has seized an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman

From CNN’s Adam Pourahmadi in Abu Dhabi

Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations said in a statement to CNN that the seizure of a crude tanker by the Iranian army on Thursday does not constitute hijacking, but is rather a “lawful undertaking sanctioned by a court order.”

A vessel was boarded Thursday by at least four armed people in the Gulf of Oman and has diverted its course toward Iranian territorial waters, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations.

The ship’s company security officer reported hearing unknown voices over the phone, after which communications with the vessel were lost, UKMTO said. The reported seizure happened early Thursday morning (around 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday) in waters between Iran and Oman.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-associated media outlet Tasnim News Agency said that Iran had seized the tanker and is transferring it to an Iranian port, in retaliation for the United States confiscating the same vessel and its oil last year.

Tasnim cited a statement from the Iranian Navy saying the seizure came after an order from an Iranian court.

“This tanker whose name was changed to ST Nicholas and carrying oil in the Oman sea was seized in retaliation for the theft of oil by the American regime, with an order from the judicial courts, and is being transferred to ports of the Islamic Republic to be delivered to the judicial authorities,” it said.

A maritime monitoring website, Tanker Trackers, said the vessel seized was a Marshall Islands-flagged crude oil tanker named St Nikolas, formerly known as the Suez Rajan.

The Suez Rajan, which was at the center of a dispute between the United States and Iran, was seized by the US government last year after a court found that it was used to “covertly sell and transport Iranian oil to a customer abroad,” the US Department of Justice said in a press release. 

The seizing of the vessel was described by the Iranian mission to the UN as "a lawful undertaking sanctioned by a court order". They said it "corresponds to the theft of Iran's very own oil. Adhering to the established legal procedures is the most prudent approach for the resolution of this matter."

Some context: There are international concerns that the conflict in Gaza could spill into the wider Middle East region.

Adding to this concern is the actions of Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who are stepping up their strikes on ships in the Red Sea, which they say is revenge against Israel for its military campaign on Hamas in Gaza.

On Tuesday, the US Navy shot down 21 Houthi missiles and drones launched from Yemen, according to a statement from US Central Command, in one of the largest Houthi attacks to take place in the Red Sea in recent months.

The attacks have forced some of the world’s biggest shipping and oil companies to suspend transit through one of the world’s most important maritime trade routes, which could potentially cause a shock to the global economy.

CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi contributed to this reporting.

9:58 a.m. ET, January 11, 2024

South Africa says existence of Palestinian people in Gaza is threatened unless court intervenes

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London

South Africa's Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, center, and Palestinian assistant Minister of Multilateral Affairs Ammar Hijazi, third right, address the media outside the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, on January 11.
South Africa's Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, center, and Palestinian assistant Minister of Multilateral Affairs Ammar Hijazi, third right, address the media outside the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, on January 11. Patrick Post/AP

South Africa’s justice minister said the case it has taken to the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza affords the court the opportunity to “act in real time” to prevent what he described as genocide “continuing in Gaza.”

Addressing journalists outside the steps of the Peace Palace in The Hague after South Africa concluded its oral arguments at the hearing on Thursday, Ronald Lamola said he hoped the case would be “impactful” to the people of Gaza. 

“This case presents the court with an opportunity to act in real time to prevent genocide from continuing in Gaza by issuing an urgent injunction,” Lamola said. 

“We believe that without the intervention of this court, the international community, we will see the total destruction of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” he added. 

Lamola expressed his hope that the case will deter Israeli soldiers in Gaza from continuing their actions, saying they may realize that they may be called individually before the court one day. 

The justice minister told journalists that South Africa had presented a “compelling argument” to the court based on facts and “jurisprudence.” 

He said his government had faith that the judges of court would be able to “exercise professionally” in reaching a decision. 

He also strongly refuted a claim from Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat that South Africa is the “legal arm” of Hamas, stressing that the South African delegation only has a mandate from the South African government.

“Our case also is not against the Jews as a people. Our case is against the actions of the State of Israel, the actions of genocide that are committed in Gaza,” Lamola said.