February 11, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Heather Chen, Andrew Raine and Antoinette Radford, CNN

Updated 12:23 a.m. ET, February 12, 2024
7 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:23 a.m. ET, February 11, 2024

Saudi Arabia warns Israel of "very serious repercussions" for storming Rafah

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey

A woman and children sit outside tents sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, on February 8.
A woman and children sit outside tents sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, on February 8. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry warned Saturday of "very serious repercussions of storming and targeting" the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

"The Kingdom affirms its categorical rejection and strong condemnation of their forcible deportation, and renews its demand for an immediate ceasefire," the ministry said in a statement.

Remember: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed Israel's military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah, meaning an estimated 1.3 million people, many of whom were already displaced from other parts of the enclave and say they have nowhere to go.

Call for UN meeting: The Saudi ministry said targeting Rafah amounts to a violation of international law and "confirms the need for an urgent convening of the UN Security Council to prevent Israel from causing an imminent humanitarian disaster."

11:58 p.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Israeli airstrikes kill at least 5 police officers in Rafah, Palestinian police say

From CNN’s Abel Alvarado

Palestinian police say at least five officers were killed Saturday in separate Israeli airstrikes that struck Rafah, the southern Gaza city where an Israeli ground offensive is looming.

The reports come as Israel claims to have killed three Hamas militants, including two senior military operatives, in the city Saturday.

Hospital reports civilian casualties: Another Israeli airstrike in Rafah hit a house and killed at least 12 civilians, according to information provided to CNN by the Abu Yousuf Al-Najjar hospital in Gaza. More people are believed to still be caught under the rubble.

It is unknown if Israel’s reports on the Hamas operatives’ deaths are linked to those coming from Palestinian police and hospital officials.

More on the situation in Rafah: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed his military to evacuate more than a million people living in Rafah — many of them already displaced by Israel's offensive elsewhere in the enclave.

Netanyahu told Israel's war cabinet that he wants a ground offensive in Rafah completed by the start of Ramadan on March 10, an Israeli official told CNN on Saturday.

Palestinians in the crowded city have warned they have nowhere else to go.

11:58 p.m. ET, February 10, 2024

Israel claims it uncovered a Hamas tunnel beneath UN agency's Gaza headquarters

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Lauren Izso

Israel claimed Saturday it uncovered a major Hamas tunnel hiding weapons underneath a United Nations aid agency headquarters in northern Gaza. 

The alleged finding took place as part of an Israeli military operation in the areas of Shati and Tel al-Hawa in northern Gaza, according to the Israel Defense Forces. 

The IDF claimed in a statement its troops reached a tunnel shaft located near a school operated by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). It did not say, however, when the discovery was made.

CNN has not independently verified Israel’s claims.

UNRWA head issued a quick response: The organization's commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, said the agency did not know what is under its headquarters in Gaza and that “Israeli authorities have not informed UNRWA officially about the alleged tunnel,” so they are unable to address the claim further.

The UN agency carries out inspections inside its premises every quarter, and the last one that took place in its Gaza premises was completed in September, according to Lazzarini.

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz called for Lazzarini to resign after the latest claims of a tunnel beneath UNRWA headquarters Saturday. Lazzarini did not immediately respond.

Some background: Israel has longstanding issues with UNRWA, and the agency fired several employees after Israel alleged that some of its staff were involved in Hamas’ October 7 attacks of last year.

The United States and at least 13 of its allies have pulled funding for the agency while investigators probe the claims. UN officials have raised alarm that defunding the organization imperils its ability to provide lifesaving aid in the enclave.

Gaza is home to a sprawling underground network of tunnels used by Hamas. The group has claimed there are more than 300 miles worth of the subterranean passages.

CNN's Nadeen Ebrahim contributed reporting to this post.

2:50 a.m. ET, February 11, 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

Palestinians examine damaged buildings on their way back to their homes in the wake of the Israeli army withdrew from North of Gaza City.
Palestinians examine damaged buildings on their way back to their homes in the wake of the Israeli army withdrew from North of Gaza City. Omar Ishaq/picture alliance/Getty Images

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.

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.

“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." 

11:57 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.

2:44 a.m. ET, February 11, 2024

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

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Lauren Izso

Iraeli 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.

1:27 a.m. ET, February 11, 2024

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

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian and Lauren Kent

Ianian 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.