February 10, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Chris Lau, Andrew Raine and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 0506 GMT (1306 HKT) February 11, 2024
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3:01 p.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Gaza residents describe "total destruction" and desperate conditions after Israeli operations in the north

From CNN's Eve Brennan, Abeer Salman and Khader Al Za'anoun

The Tal El Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City is pictured on February 10.
The Tal El Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City is pictured on February 10. CNN

Israeli operations in northern Gaza left “total destruction,” according to residents in the Tal El Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City, with some saying they have had to drink from toilets due to a lack of water.

Abdul Kareem Al-Qaseer has been displaced for two months from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza to the “industrial area” southeast of Gaza City, where some industrial factories are located, he told a local journalist working for CNN on Saturday.

Al-Qaseer said the Israel Defense Forces "hit the whole area, (resulting in) a large number of martyrs and wounded people" where he was sheltering. 

“We were besieged. We tried to go back to the north, but we were besieged here," he said. "Every day there were martyrs. Every day there was shelling. Every day there was hunger."

"We even had to drink water from the toilets. We had to drink from it and make our children drink from it. There was no food, no drink,” Al-Qaseer added.
Abdul Kareem Al-Qaseer speaks in Gaza City's Tal El Hawa neighborhood on February 10.
Abdul Kareem Al-Qaseer speaks in Gaza City's Tal El Hawa neighborhood on February 10. CNN

Olfat Hamdan said she had witnessed bodies lying in the streets of Gaza City, noting that "nobody was able to drag them or move them."

“What have I seen? Total destruction — look at of the scale of the destruction,” she said in a video commissioned by CNN, as she pointed to damaged buildings and rubble around her. 

Another Gaza City resident, Main Naim, also said he had seen dead bodies on the streets, describing some as having been there for 10 days.

Main Naim speaks in Gaza City's Tal El Hawa neighborhood on February 10.
Main Naim speaks in Gaza City's Tal El Hawa neighborhood on February 10. CNN

“Nobody is able to move them,” he said. “They destroyed these areas, as you can see yourself,” he added, pointing to rubble in the video. 

Fighting has continued sporadically in northern Gaza. Earlier this month, the IDF reported further operations in the northern Gaza Strip, where it said "IDF troops are continuing to enter Hamas military compounds and eliminate terrorists." 

12:51 p.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Israel claims it killed 2 senior Hamas military members in Rafah

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Lauren Izso

Israeli military aircraft killed three Hamas members in Rafah on Saturday, including two senior military operatives, the Israel Defense Forces claimed in a statement.

The military said the operatives killed included Ahmed Eliakubi, who the Israeli military claims was “responsible for the security provisions for senior Hamas leaders and served as a senior commander in the Rafah district.”

The statement said the attack also killed a senior military member identified by the IDF as Iman Rantisi, and a third militant who was not identified.

CNN cannot independently verify the claims, due to the difficulty of reporting from the war zone.

Remember: Rafah is a southern Gaza city packed with Palestinians who have been displaced from other parts of the enclave, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now directed his military to plan for the evacuation of civilians before a coming ground offensive.

Rafah is the last major population center in Gaza not occupied by Israeli forces, and Palestinians living there have warned they have no place to go.

12:28 p.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Israeli fighter jets strike 3 Hezbollah military command centers in southern Lebanon, IDF says

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Lauren Izso

Israeli fighter jets struck three Hezbollah military command centers in southern Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces said Saturday. 

Aside from the the command centers, located in the area of Ayta ash Shab and the coastal town of Naqoura, the aircraft struck additional Hezbollah locations in the areas of Khiam, Marwahin and Boustane, the IDF said in a statement. 

Israeli artillery, meanwhile, struck three launching sites in southern Lebanon after they were identified as locations targeting the town of Shlomi in northern Israel, according to the IDF.

Remember: Hezbollah is a powerful paramilitary group backed by Iran, which has engaged in increased cross-border skirmishes with Israel since the start of the latest war in Gaza.

More news from this region: The news of fresh Israeli strikes Saturday came as Lebanese state-run media reported a drone strike on a car about 40 miles from the border. Reuters reports that the drone targeted a Palestinian figure linked to Hamas, but that they survived the attack, according to security sources.

It also came as Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah met in Lebanon with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who called for a political solution to the war in Gaza.

11:50 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

It's early evening in the Middle East. Here's what you need to know

From CNN Staff

Men walk along a street ravaged by Israeli bombing in Rafah, Gaza, on February 9.
Men walk along a street ravaged by Israeli bombing in Rafah, Gaza, on February 9. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his country's war cabinet on Thursday that the Israel Defense Forces operation in Rafah must be complete by the start of Ramadan on March 10, an Israeli official told CNN on Saturday.

Netanyahu’s office said Friday that he had directed the military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah, where there are believed to be more than 1.3 million people — many of them already displaced by Israel's offensive elsewhere in the enclave.

Here's what you need to about this and other developments in the Israel-Hamas war:

  • Where will the civilians go? Rafah is the last major population center in Gaza not occupied by the Israel Defense Forces, and it has rapidly become home to a huge population of displaced Palestinians. Satellite images showed this week how a tent city has swelled in size in just a few weeks. CNN has also previously reported on Palestinian civilians who followed evacuation orders being killed by Israeli strikes, underscoring the reality that evacuation zones and warning alerts from the Israeli military haven’t guaranteed safety for civilians in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where Palestinians have no safe place to escape Israeli bombs.
  • International alarm grows: Several non-governmental organizations have warned about the consequences of Israeli operations in Rafah. The Norwegian Refugee Council said earlier this week that the city, which borders Egypt, could soon turn "into a zone of bloodshed and destruction that people won’t be able to escape." Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative said any attack on Rafah would lead to "massacres," and also a "wide ethnic cleansing of the population of Gaza, which is part of genocide."
  • 5-year-old Palestinian girl found dead: Hind Rajab, who was trapped in a car with her dead relatives after it came under Israeli fire in Gaza last month, has been found dead. Two men dispatched to rescue her have also been confirmed dead. Hind made a frantic call for help after her family was killed. Her mother told CNN the little girl had dreamed of being a doctor.
  • Hospital reportedly under fire: At least one person was killed and others were injured by Israeli gunfire at Nasser medical complex in southern Khan Younis early Saturday, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza said in a statement. The ministry said Israel was firing on the hospital, where thousands are sheltering. CNN can't independently confirm the allegations. Medical officials at various hospitals in the enclave have for weeks reported siege-like conditions, with dwindling supplies and Israeli forces on all sides.

And here are some of the latest developments from elsewhere in the Mideast:

  • More US strikes on Houthi weapons: The US launched more strikes on a series of missiles belonging to the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group in Yemen on Saturday, according to US Central Command, which said the weapons were "prepared to launch at ships in the Red Sea" and "presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region." The Houthis' attacks on global shipping and the growing US response are among the key flashpoints in the wider conflicts playing out during the Israel-Hamas war.
  • Lebanon drone strike: A drone strike targeted a car about 40 miles from the southernmost Lebanese-Israeli border, the Lebanese state-run National News Agency said Saturday. The report called it an "enemy drone," a likely reference to it being Israeli. The strike resulted in injuries, according to NNA, with the outlet not reporting any deaths at the time. Reuters cited four security sources saying a Palestinian figure linked to Hamas survived the attack. CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment.
  • Iranian and Hezbollah officials meet: The reported drone strike came as Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for a discussion on "the latest political and security developments in the region, especially in the Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon, and the rest of the fronts of the resistance axis," according to NNA. Hezbollah has been involved in tit-for-tat exchanges with Israel since the October 7 attacks, while other Iran backed allies of Hamas have been staging attacks.
12:21 p.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Iranian foreign minister calls for political solution to end the war in Gaza

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian and Lauren Kent

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 10.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 10. Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Saturday called for a political solution to end the war in Gaza and said that Tehran is in diplomatic talks with Riyadh to work on the issue.

"The region is moving toward stability, security and political solutions," Amir-Abdollahian said in a news conference during a visit to Beirut, Lebanon. "We announced from the beginning that war will not be the solution."

"The end of the war means the end of Netanyahu and his extreme cabinet," the Iranian foreign minister added, also warning Israel against further escalation in Lebanon, saying it cannot fight effectively on two fronts.

Amir-Abdollahian earlier met with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah during his visit to Lebanon.

Remember: Conflict involving Western powers and Iranian proxies, like the powerful paramilitary group Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, is central to concerns the Israel-Hamas war could spread into a wider Mideast conflict.

11:38 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

US conducts more strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

From CNN’s Andrew Millman

The US conducted more strikes against targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen Friday, according to US Central Command, which said the strikes destroyed weapons that posed a threat to Navy and commercial ships.

The targets included two mobile unmanned surface vessels, four mobile anti-ship cruise missiles and one mobile land attack cruise missile, all of which were “prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea,” according to the CENTCOM statement.

The US said the targets "presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region."

Some context: The US has been trying to degrade the Iran-backed militant group's ability to threaten shipping in the region.

The Houthi rebels say their strikes on ships in the Red Sea are in response to Israel's military campaign in Gaza. There are fears that the attacks could help escalate Israel’s war against Hamas into a wider regional conflict.

Seeking to avoid a regional war with Tehran, the US has not targeted Iran directly, instead going after some of its most powerful proxies in the region.

Iran funds, arms and supplies these groups to different degrees, but its leadership does not control them directly.

10:07 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Hamas warns against attacks in Rafah "with the aim of displacing our Palestinian people"

From CNN's Abeer Salman in Jerusalem, Lauren Kent in London and Ibrahim Hazboun

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza, on February 9.
Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza, on February 9. Fatima Shbair/AP

Hamas on Saturday warned against attacks on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, calling on the UN and other intergovernmental organizations to prevent operations that it claims Israel is conducting "with the aim of displacing our Palestinian people."

"We warn of the danger of the occupation committing widespread and horrific massacres in the city of Rafah," Hamas said in a statement posted on Telegram, noting that the city is housing more than a million displaced Palestinian people "living in poor conditions."

According to the United Nations figures, more than 1.3 million people are believed to be in Rafah, the majority displaced from other parts of Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed the military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah.

In its statement, Hamas urged the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the UN Security Council "to take urgent and serious action" to prevent attacks in Rafah.

Hamas also called out the US government for continuing to provide Israel with weapons, even as American authorities have raised concerns about a potential expansion of Israeli military operations into Gaza's southernmost city.

A spokesperson for the United States State Department said Thursday that the U.S. would not support an Israeli military operation in Rafah “without serious planning.”

8:22 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Israeli airstrikes and shelling targeting Rafah kill at least 25, reports say

From Ibrahim Hazboun and Abeer Salman in Jerusalem and Lauren Iszo in Tel Aviv

Palestinians mourn relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment in Rafah, Gaza, on February 10.
Palestinians mourn relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment in Rafah, Gaza, on February 10. Fatima Shbair/AP

Israeli airstrikes and shelling targeting the southern Gazan city of Rafah resulted in multiple deaths and injuries, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa on Saturday.

According to medical officials cited by Wafa, 25 people, mainly women and children, were killed as a result of airstrikes and artillery shelling on homes in central and northern Rafah.

When asked by CNN for further details about reported strikes in Rafah, an IDF spokesperson said, "In response to Hamas' barbaric attacks, the IDF is operating to dismantle Hamas military and administrative capabilities.

"In stark contrast to Hamas' intentional attacks on Israeli men, women and children, the IDF follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm," the spokesperson added.

There is mounting international alarm over Rafah, home to more than one million people, after Israel said it would soon enter the city as part of its ground campaign against Hamas.

6:43 a.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Unimaginable devastation seen inside Khan Younis, the southern Gaza city once a safe haven for the displaced

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in Khan Younis

Palestinians with a donkey cart outside destroyed residential buildings in Khan Younis, Gaza, on February 3.
Palestinians with a donkey cart outside destroyed residential buildings in Khan Younis, Gaza, on February 3. Ahmad Salem/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Scattered around a huge crater are the remnants of a life that is gone. Random pieces of clothing and a red makeup bag lie in the mud. Nearby, an English language textbook, bits of broken furniture and a pillow with floral embroidery are jumbled together in one large pile.

The crater sits right in the middle of a residential neighborhood in central Khan Younis, the besieged city in southern Gaza that is the current epicenter of the war between Israel and Hamas.

The city is the hometown of Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, and, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), a major Hamas stronghold. It’s also an area to which the Israeli military urged large numbers of civilians to flee in the early days of the war.

Looking around, it’s clear that the IDF went into Khan Younis with full force.

According to the IDF, the crater is all that is left of a building similar to the others in the area. The military said it was flattened because it sat on top of an entrance to a vast underground tunnel complex.

The IDF says the complex has been used by Sinwar and other Hamas officials to hide since the war began and some of the hostages kidnapped from Israel by Hamas on October 7 were held there.

Read CNN's full report from Khan Younis here.