January 27, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Andrew Raine, Brad Lendon, Sophie Tanno, Tori B. Powell and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 0522 GMT (1322 HKT) January 28, 2024
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4:02 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Israeli military claims UN agency facilities were used for "terrorist purposes"

From CNN staff

The Israel Defense Forces claimed facilities of the main United Nations relief agency in Gaza were used for "terrorist purposes" in a statement to CNN on Saturday.

During a probe into the deadly October 7, 2023, Hamas attacks, investigators found evidence "incriminating several UNRWA employees for their alleged involvement in the massacre, along with evidence pointing to the use of UNRWA facilities for terrorist purposes," the IDF said.

Remember: On Friday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said it was immediately terminating the contracts of employees Israel had accused of being involved in the Hamas attacks.

The UN says it is conducting an investigation into the matter, while the US and a growing list of other nations have suspending their funding for the agency.

UNRWA responds: When asked about the Israeli military's claim on the use of its facilities, the UNRWA told CNN in a statement, "We don’t have more information on this at this stage," and that the internal oversight body of the UN was looking into all the allegations as part of its investigation.

3:32 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Images show fire on Marlin Luanda tanker after missile strike by Houthi rebels

From CNN's Benjamin Brown

Pictures released by the Indian Navy show the aftermath of a missile attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden by Houthi rebels Friday — the latest incident linked to the Iran-backed group in the key shipping route off the coast of Yemen.

The images show the British-linked vessel, Marlin Luanda, ablaze. No injuries have been reported.

Stills show the Marlin Luanda vessel on fire in the Gulf of Aden after it was reportedly struck by an anti-ship missile fired from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.
Stills show the Marlin Luanda vessel on fire in the Gulf of Aden after it was reportedly struck by an anti-ship missile fired from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen. @indiannavy/X
@indiannavy/X
@indiannavy/X
@indiannavy/X
@indiannavy/X

3:20 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Hospital is running low on anesthesia and blood in southern Gaza, Hamas-run health ministry says

From CNN's Ibrahim Hazboun

Surgeons operate on a Palestinian man injured during Israeli attacks, at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, on November 16.
Surgeons operate on a Palestinian man injured during Israeli attacks, at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, on November 16. Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/File

Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza is running out of its supply of blood, anesthesia and other stress medications, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said Saturday.

The shortage of blood is “severe and dangerous,” ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra warned in a statement.

Nasser is the main medical center in the city of Khan Younis, which has been a flashpoint area in recent fighting between Israel and Hamas. The southern city's hospital facilities have been "under siege" as the Israeli military intensifies operations there over the past week, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

The Israeli military says Hamas was operating in the area from inside the Al-Amal and Nasser hospitals. CNN cannot independently verify those claims.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement Friday that it is carrying out “precise operations” against Hamas and is liaising with hospital directors in Khan Younis to ensure the hospitals remain operational. But the PRCS claimed Saturday that the IDF has not made efforts to communicate with hospital administration.

Fewer than half of the 36 hospitals in Gaza are still partially functioning, the United Nations said Thursday.

2:12 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Palestinian official condemns the countries pausing funding for UN agency in wake of October 7 allegations

From Ibrahim Hazboun and Hira Humayun

Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, speaks during a press conference in Ramallah, West Bank, on October 15.
Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, speaks during a press conference in Ramallah, West Bank, on October 15. Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images

The leader of a Palestinian political party has condemned countries that are pausing aid to the main United Nations agency in Gaza, in response to claims some of its workers participated in the October 7, 2023, attacks on Israel.

Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, specifically called out the US, Canada, Italy and Australia in a post on social media for what he called the "shameful" decision to suspend support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Barghouti criticized the governments taking this action despite taking "no punitive acts against Israel which killed 102 of UNRWA aid and health workers in Gaza." 

Some context: The UN said last November that at least 102 UNRWA workers had been killed in Gaza since October 7, but CNN cannot independently verify Barghouti's claim they were all killed by Israeli forces.

As of January 19, UNRWA said the death toll had increased to 151 of its workers.

The UN agency has fired staff members allegedly involved in the Hamas attacks, and said it is launching an investigation into the matter.

Israel and UNRWA have not specified the nature of the alleged involvement of the organization's employees.

1:20 p.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Arab and Muslim Americans say they won't back Biden over support for Israel in Gaza war

From CNN's Camila DeChalus

Many Arab Americans and Muslim voters who have spoken to CNN say they will not vote for US President Joe Biden’s reelection efforts due to his unwavering support of Israel and failure to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. 

In the last presidential election cycle, Biden received the backing of several prominent Muslim American elected officials and community leaders. But this time around, many are skeptical – and angry.

“I believe he is beyond redemption,” said Khalid Turaani, 57, a consultant based in Michigan and co-chair of the state’s chapter of the Abandon Biden movement. “I will not vote for Joe Biden. I believe that his complicity and his active participation in the genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza disqualify him from my vote.”

The Abandon Biden campaign was created in Minnesota after a group of Muslim Americans demanded the president call for a ceasefire by October 31. And when Biden didn’t respond to these calls to support a permanent halt in fighting, the group vowed to campaign against him.

At least 146,620 of the 200,000 Muslim American voters in Michigan cast a ballot in the 2020 election cycle, according to an analysis by Emgage. In 2020, Biden won Michigan by three percentage points over Trump. Four years prior, Trump won the state over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by 0.2 percentage points.

“I feel used as a Muslim voter,” said Ariana Afshar, 27, a content creator based in California. “He used people like myself in order to get elected and is now doing whatever serves him in his position.”

Read more about the views of Muslim and Arab Americans toward the Biden campaign as the war in Gaza continues.

11:59 a.m. ET, January 27, 2024

Palestine Red Crescent Society says hospital and its workers in southern Gaza are besieged by Israeli forces

From CNN's Ibrahim Hazboun and Robert Iddiols

An injured Palestinian boy receives medical assistance at Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, in this handout image released on January 23.
An injured Palestinian boy receives medical assistance at Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, in this handout image released on January 23. Ameer Abu Aisha/Palestine Red Crescent Society via Reuters

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says its medical workers are living in a "state of terror and panic," and has once again accused Israel of besieging its headquarters and a southern Gaza hospital.

The PRCS condemned the “siege and targeting” of Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis “for the sixth consecutive day” in a statement released Saturday, calling on the international community to shield its aid workers.

“The occupation continues to bombard the vicinity of the hospital and open fire, jeopardizing the safety of medical staff, the wounded, patients, and approximately 7000 displaced individuals who sought refuge there to escape Israeli bombardment," the statement reads.

The aid group called the situation part of a "series of systematic attacks" on the organization and medical facilities in the Gaza Strip. The PRCS has previously said its headquarters and the hospital are "under siege" by Israel. 

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for a response to the latest claims. It has previously claimed Hamas was operating in the area from inside the Al-Amal and Nasser hospitals.

PRCS disputed those claims Saturday as "false," and said the IDF has not made efforts to communicate with hospital administration.

CNN cannot independently verify either side's claims about the situation at the hospital due to the difficulties of reporting from the war zone.

11:08 a.m. ET, January 27, 2024

How Israeli troops make their way into deep underground tunnels in Gaza

From CNN’s Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem

Israeli Master Sgt. Omri Erental was kneeling at the mouth of a tunnel shaft in Gaza, standing guard while waiting for a specialized unit to arrive, when he suddenly spotted movement down below.

Other soldiers in his Israel Defense Forces combat engineering unit had already thrown two grenades into the tunnel shaft, so Erental turned his flashlight on.

He then felt a hammer-like impact, as if “hot lava just punched into my face,” he recalled.

The impact was a 7.62-millimeter bullet that pierced his cheek and took out a fragment of his jaw, before lodging in his neck — very close to critical nerves and arteries, according to Erental and his doctor. As Erental crawled back to safety, his fellow soldiers killed the militant who shot him from inside the tunnel, he said. 

Exposing tunnels is central to the Israeli military’s campaign against Hamas in the Palestinian enclave, but the work presents big challenges and dangers. Israel uses enormous bunker-busting bombs to penetrate deep underground, targeting what it says are Hamas command centers and fighters — but these often leave gaping craters where civilian buildings once stood and can kill large numbers of civilians.

Members of Israel’s combat engineering forces also send drones, dogs and sometimes troops deep into booby-trapped tunnels in order to clear them of Hamas fighters, uncover potentially useful intelligence, and then ultimately detonate them.

Israeli officials believe that many Hamas fighters — including Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar — are surviving in sophisticated tunnels equipped with electricity, bathrooms and stocks of food and water.

Watch Jeremy Diamond's report:

11:12 a.m. ET, January 27, 2024

PLO calls on countries pausing UNRWA funding to "retract their decision"

From CNN's Ibrahim Hazboun 

Workers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees transport aid in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on October 25.
Workers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees transport aid in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on October 25. Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The Palestine Liberation Organization called on countries halting support for the main United Nations agency in Gaza to “immediately retract their decision.”

The US, Canada, Australia and Italy each announced they have paused funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) following allegations that some of its staff members were involved in the October 7, 2023, attacks by Hamas in Israel.

“We call on the countries that announced the cessation of their support for UNRWA to immediately retract their decision,” Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Hussein Al-Sheikh said in a statement Saturday. 

“In light of the continuing conflict and aggression against the Palestinian people,” Al-Sheikh wrote, the decision to drop funding “entails great political and relief risks.”

“This organization must be supported and not stopped from being supported and assisted by the international community,” he said. 

The PLO is recognized internationally as a representative body of the Palestinian people. 

7:03 a.m. ET, January 27, 2024

The US and Iran are dangerously close to confrontation. Here’s where they both operate

From CNN's Nadeen Ebrahim and Abbas Al Lawati

The war between Israel and Hamas has already spilled over to the wider Middle East, with prospects of a confrontation between regional and world powers becoming ever more likely.

Across the region, the fighting has largely been confined to tit-for-tat attacks between Iran-backed militias on one side and the US, Israel and its allies on the other.

But the direct intervention of both Iran and the US in recent weeks has heightened fears that the proxy conflict between the two could turn into a direct one.

So far, the US and Iran have avoided directly confronting each other. The US has attacked Iranian-backed groups in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, while Iran-linked groups have targeted American personnel in Iraq and Syria. Tehran has also struck what it said were anti-Iran groups in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. Pakistan responded with retaliatory strikes.

As tensions across the region rise, CNN takes a look at where Iran or its allies are present, where US forces are stationed and where both sides have conducted military operations since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Read the story here.