February 12, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy, Deva Lee, Antoinette Radford, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Chris Lau, CNN

Updated 1:02 p.m. ET, February 13, 2024
6 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:48 a.m. ET, February 12, 2024

More than 60 people killed in Israeli strikes on Rafah, Palestine Red Crescent Society says

From CNN staff

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 12.
Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 12. Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

More than 60 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on the southern Gazan city of Rafah, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said early Monday.

CNN cannot independently verify the numbers. 

The city, where more than half of Gaza’s population is seeking refuge, experienced "intense targeting" by warplanes and airstrikes, the PRCS said.

Helicopters also fired machine guns along its border regions, according to the PRCS. Rafah lies near Gaza's border with Egypt. 

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed Monday that they conducted "a series of strikes" on targets in the area of Shaboura, a district of Rafah, saying in a statement that "the strikes have concluded."

A mosque in Shaboura was among the targets of the Israeli strikes, according to the Rafah municipality. 

Hamas-run television channel Al-Aqsa reported two mosques were targeted as well as 14 homes in various areas of Rafah on Monday.

The director of Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital said medical facilities in Rafah "cannot handle the large number of injuries due to the Israeli occupation's bombardment."

According to the PRCS, people are trapped under the rubble and there is still a heavy presence of warplanes in the skies over Rafah. 

Some context: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brushed off mounting criticisms over plans for a ground offensive in Rafah, where more than 1.3 million people have taken refuge, many of whom were already displaced from other parts of the enclave and say they have nowhere to go.

This post has been updated with the IDF's confirmation of strikes on Rafah.

4:38 p.m. ET, February 12, 2024

Two male Israeli hostages rescued in special operation in Rafah, IDF says

From CNN staff

Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, the two hostages rescued from Gaza by Israeli forces.
Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, the two hostages rescued from Gaza by Israeli forces. The Hostage and Missing Families

Two Israeli hostages were rescued overnight from the southern Gaza city of Rafah in a special operation between the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency Shin Bet, and the Israeli police.

The two hostages have been identified as Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, who were taken by Hamas during the militant group's October 7 attack on Israel, according to the joint statement on Monday.

Their rescue comes 128 days after they were taken captive.

The two men are in good medical condition and have been transferred to Sheba Medical Center in Israel, the IDF said.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said it was an "impressive release operation" by the IDF.

"All appreciation to IDF forces, security forces and special police forces for the important operation and quality performance. We will keep our commitment to return the hostages in any way," he wrote on X.

Both hostages had been kidnapped from the Nir Yitzhak kibbutz, Gallant said.

Some context: Nir Yitzhak was one of multiple kibbutzim close to the border with Gaza that came under attack by Hamas militants during their October 7 attack that saw about 1,200 people killed and more than 240 taken hostage. Israel’s response has wrought widespread devastation across Gaza. The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has said the death toll since October 7 has risen to more than 27,500.

This picture provided by the Israeli military, shows an Israeli Air Force helicopter carrying two released hostages, at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel, on Februay 12.
This picture provided by the Israeli military, shows an Israeli Air Force helicopter carrying two released hostages, at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel, on Februay 12. Israel Defense Forces/AP

9:47 p.m. ET, February 11, 2024

Biden stresses to Netanyahu the need for "credible" plan to ensure safety of Rafah civilians

From CNN’s Aileen Graef

US President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday morning and “reaffirmed” his stance the Israel Defense Forces should not proceed with the military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah “without a credible and executable plan” to ensure the safety of civilians.

Biden also stressed the need capitalize on the progress in the negotiations to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

Some context: Netanyahu has directed the country’s military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah, his office said in a statement on Friday, ahead of an anticipated ground assault on the southern Gaza city.

Many of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in tent camps in Rafah have already been displaced from elsewhere in the enclave and say they have nowhere to go.

The plan has sparked concern from many countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry warned of "very serious repercussions of storming and targeting" the city while the United Arab Emirates warned Israel's plan “threatens to cause the loss of more innocent life and exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.”

The key facilitator of negotiations between Israel and Hamas, Qatar has also condemned the plans, and the Egyptian foreign ministry said Sunday that it strongly rejects Israel's plan, warning of "dire consequences."

Hamas has warned that if the offensive into Rafah takes place, it would spell the end of hostage negotiations.

12:07 a.m. ET, February 12, 2024

Why only a trickle of aid is getting into Gaza

From CNN's Nadeen Ebrahim

Volunteers load food and supplies onto trucks in an aid convoy for Gaza on October 16, in North Sinai, Egypt. 
Volunteers load food and supplies onto trucks in an aid convoy for Gaza on October 16, in North Sinai, Egypt.  Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images

Lengthy inspections, rejected humanitarian aid and Israeli bombs raining down. Those are some of the hurdles to relief reaching the 2.2 million Palestinians in war-torn Gaza.

The United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Martin Griffiths, has described the process as “in all practical terms, impossible.

Gaza was placed under a complete Israeli siege on October 9, when Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he would halt the supply of electricity, food, water and fuel to the enclave after Hamas attacked his country, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages. Israel has since begun allowing some aid to enter.

Getting any form of relief into Gaza is a long and arduous process, aid workers and the UN say.

An average of 95 aid trucks per day entered Gaza between October 10 and February 1, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, down from 500 commercial and aid trucks a day before the war, when Palestinians weren’t facing mass displacement and starvation. Some 2 million Gazans are dependent on UN aid now.

Relief operations are expected to be further hampered after the United States and other top donors suspend funding for UNRWA, the main agency responsible for aid distribution in Gaza. The donors pulled their funding over allegations by Israel that some of its staff were involved in the Hamas attacks.

Read more on why aid is slow to get into Gaza.

12:09 a.m. ET, February 12, 2024

Hamas says Israeli ground offensive in Rafah would destroy hostage negotiations

From CNN's Abeer Salman and Simon Cullen

AnIsraeli ground offensive in the city of Rafah would mean the end of hostage negotiations, Hamas-run television channel Al-Aqsa reported Sunday, quoting a leadership source in Hamas. 

According to Al-Aqsa TV, a Hamas leadership source said that an assault on Rafah would mean the “destruction” of negotiations that have been ongoing for weeks.

“Netanyahu is trying to evade the obligations of the exchange deal by committing a genocide and a new humanitarian catastrophe in Rafah,” Al-Aqsa quoted the Hamas source as saying.

In a statement on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said it had directed the military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah in anticipation of a ground assault on the southern Gaza city.

In an interview with ABC releasing Sunday, Netanyahu called Rafah the “last bastion” of Hamas and said Israel was “working out a detailed plan” to secure “safe passage” for civilians but offered few details. 

More than one million people live in Rafah, which is the last major area of Gaza the Israeli military is yet to enter.

12:36 a.m. ET, February 12, 2024

Telling Israel not to enter Rafah is like telling us to lose the war, Prime Minister Netanyahu says

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh 

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that the Israeli military would soon launch an operation into Rafah and pledged to provide safe passage to civilians, but offered few details.

"Victory is within reach. We're going to do it. We're going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we're going to do it," Netanyahu told ABC News' Jonathan Karl in an interview released Sunday.

"We're going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave," he said.

When asked where Palestinians are expected to go, Netanyahu said "we're working out a detailed plan."

"Those who say that under no circumstances should we enter Rafah are basically saying: ‘lose the war, keep Hamas there’," Netanyahu added.

The prime minister has directed his military to prepare to evacuate an estimated 1.3 million people in the city. Many have already been displaced from other parts of the enclave and say they have nowhere to go.

The US has warned carrying out such an operation without thorough planning "would be a disaster" while the United Nations, other aid organizations, and several other countries have expressed concern over the impact on civilians.