October 22, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Rhea Mogul, Andrew Raine, Rob Picheta, Sophie Tanno, Tori B. Powell and Steve Almasy, CNN

Updated 12:05 a.m. ET, October 23, 2023
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6:52 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

Senior Israeli official says there will be “no ceasefire” for Gaza amid hostage talks 

From CNN’s Matthew Chance and Florence Davey-Attlee

A senior Israeli official tells CNN there will be “no ceasefire” in Gaza amid US and Qatari efforts to free more than 200 hostages held there by Hamas.    

The official told CNN they were “not aware” of US calls for a delay to Israel's expected Gaza ground operation, and said both Israel and the US want all the hostages released “as quickly as possible.”

But, the official added, “humanitarian efforts cannot be allowed to impact the mission to dismantle Hamas.”

Israel agreed to a US request to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, “although that was not popular in Israel,” the official said.  

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that US President Joe Biden's administration was talking to the Israeli government on a "regular basis" about the Gaza situation.

"Both of us want to make sure that the many hostages who’ve been taken come home, and that’s why we’re working on it, as I said, virtually every minute of the day" Blinken told NBC's Meet the Press.
4:19 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

At least 14 humanitarian aid trucks enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing

From CNN's Kareem Khadder and Eyad Kourdi

A CNN journalist observed at least 14 humanitarian relief trucks, sponsored by the Egyptian Red Crescent and the United Nations, entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah crossing on Sunday late evening local time.

An official with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza confirmed to CNN that the trucks had been admitted, and were being offloaded to vehicles that will take the goods to Gaza storage facilities of the UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

Photos from the Palestinian Crossing Authority showed the second set of trucks getting loaded up on the Palestinian side of the crossing to complete the journey to the UNRWA site.

A short statement by Wael Abu Omar, head of public relations at the Palestinian Crossing Authority, said the trucks carried food and medicine for Gaza.

Some background: The news comes a day after a convoy of 20 Egyptian trucks unloaded humanitarian aid in Gaza after using the same crossing, which was briefly opened Saturday, according to a CNN stringer on the ground.

The critical Rafah crossing with Egypt in the south has been touted as the last hope for Gazans to escape as Israel’s bombs rain down, and many Palestinians have begun moving in its direction in anticipation. So far, however, the opening has only been opened for aid — not evacuees.

Meanwhile, aid workers in Gaza, which is under a "complete siege" by Israel and running critically low on basic resources, said this weekend's deliveries were a help, but only barely started to address needs across the densely populated strip.

4:42 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

French and Dutch leaders are set to visit Israel this week, Israeli prime minister says

From CNN’s Tamar Michaelis, Pierre Meilhan and Oliver Bricoe.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte are due to arrive in Israel Monday, the Israeli prime minister’s office said Sunday. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone to the two leaders as well as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Macron and Rutte will arrive on Monday and Tuesday, and will meet with Netanyahu, according to his office.

The Israeli prime minister thanked the the Western leaders for their support of Israel's "right to defend itself against Hamas's brutal terrorism," his office said in a statement, adding that "Israel's victory over Hamas would be a victory for the entire world."

CNN reached out to the Elysee Palace, which has not yet confirmed Macron’s visit, but the French president had said he would visit Israel in the following days, according to his office.

More from Sanchez: The Spanish prime minister confirmed he spoke to his Israeli counterpart in a post on the social media platform X, saying he reiterated his "condemnation of Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel and its right to defend itself against them, within the limits of international and humanitarian law."

Sanchez wrote that those being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza should be released “immediately and unconditionally.”   

He added that all civilians in the Israel-Hamas conflict should be protected, and that “sufficient and sustained humanitarian aid” should be provided to the people of Gaza.  

2:44 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

Israeli soldier killed and 3 others hurt as IDF prepares for Gaza ground operation, military says

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Tamar Michaelis

An Israel Defense Forces soldier died and three others were wounded during a raid as part of preparations for a Gaza ground operation, an IDF spokesperson said Sunday.

The raid was carried out earlier today in the area of Kibbutz Kissufim near the Gaza Strip, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said during a video briefing. An anti-tank missile launched toward an IDF tank and an engineering vehicle left one soldier dead, one with moderate injuries, and two with mild injuries, according to Hagari.

The IDF said the raid was part of the preparations for a Gaza ground operation, with Israeli forces attempting “to dismantle terror infrastructure, clear the area of terrorists, weapons, and locate missing persons, and bodies.”

The family of the killed and wounded soldiers have been notified, according to the IDF.

More background: The Israeli military has been increasing its attacks against Hamas and collecting information regarding the hostages held in Gaza, according to Hagari.

Hamas fighters clashed with Israeli troops inside Gaza Sunday, in what appears to be one of the first skirmishes between the two sides on the ground inside the strip since war broke out on October 7.

The IDF chief of staff told commanders Saturday that the military is preparing to "enter the Gaza Strip" and take out Hamas, but he did not provide a specific timeframe. The US is seeking to delay an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza, in hopes of getting more hostages out and more humanitarian aid in to the besieged enclave, according to two sources briefed on discussions

2:19 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

Biden held calls with Pope Francis and the Israeli prime minister about the Middle East conflict today

From CNN's Aileen Graef

US President Joe Biden spoke with Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in two separate calls about developments in Israel and Gaza.

In his discussion with Pope Francis, Biden condemned the attack by Hamas and discussed his efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

The two “discussed the need to prevent escalation in the region and to work toward a durable peace in the Middle East," according to a readout of his call.

The White House is expected to send a readout of the president's call with Netanyahu soon.

Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris also received a briefing Sunday morning from their national security team about the latest Gaza developments.

Participants in the briefing included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown, Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

2:01 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

Blinken says he's hopeful more hostages will be released

From CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 12.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 12. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden's administration is “hopeful” that more hostages held by Hamas will be released, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday. 

“We don’t know why Hamas chose to release Natalie and Judith (Raanan) first. I use the word first advisedly, because again, we’re hopeful that more follow,” he said. “This is something we’re engaged in virtually around the clock.”

He said US officials have been engaged with partners in the region and in talks with those who might have influence with Hamas to release the hostages. 

Blinken said that of the 10 Americans unaccounted for, some are believed to be hostages, but he didn’t provide an exact figure. 

“What we don’t know for sure is whether some of the unaccounted for are dead and have simply not been uncovered yet, or whether they’re hostage. But we have a pretty strong idea that some number of the 10, at least, are being held in Gaza by Hamas,” he said.

When asked whether the US wants Israel to delay its ground operation until more hostages can be released — as CNN has reported, according to two sources briefed on the discussions — Blinken said the US is talking to Israel on a regular basis but maintained the decisions are for Israel to make.

Blinken later said the US remains concerned over a potential escalation by Iranian proxies and is prepared for that likelihood. 

“We are taking steps to make sure that we can effectively defend our people and respond decisively if we need to. This is not what we want, not what we’re looking for. We don’t want escalation,” he said.
1:30 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

Egyptian border guards suffer minor injuries after Israel says IDF tank accidentally fired at watchtower

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan, Kareem El Damanhoury and Eyad Kourdi

An Israeli tank “accidentally fired and hit an Egyptian post” Sunday near the border between the two countries, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF apologized for the incident — which took place in the area of Kerem Shalom, near the borders of southern Gaza and northeastern Egypt — and is investigating the matter.

Some Egyptian border guards suffered minor injuries, Egypt’s military said. 

"During the ongoing clashes in the Gaza Strip Sunday, one of the Egyptian border watchtowers was accidentally hit by fragments of a shell from an Israeli tank, resulting in minor injuries to some border guards," an Egyptian military spokesperson said on Facebook.

Egypt also said the Israeli side “immediately” expressed its regret over the unintentional incident, and that the circumstances around the shelling are being investigated.

More background: Kerem Shalom is one of Israel’s two border crossings with Gaza.

It has been closed since Israel imposed a “complete siege” on the enclave after Hamas' October 7 terror attacks. Kerem Shalom was among the areas where Hamas killed civilians after bulldozing through the Gaza border during the assault.

6:30 p.m. ET, October 22, 2023

Doctors at central Gaza hospital endure “bloody day” after strikes overnight

From CNN's Abeer Salman and Kareem Khadder

Conditions at a central Gaza hospital are "catastrophic" Sunday, the medical center's director general told CNN, as the emergency department faces a surge of casualties and electricity and fuel shortages brought on by Israel's airstrikes and blockade.

Dr. Iyad Issa Abu Zaher said it has been a "bloody day" at Al Aqsa Martyrs hospital, updating the number of bodies the hospital has just received to 166.

The Al Aqsa hospital is located in Deir Al Balah in central Gaza — the district where Israel carried out airstrikes overnight Saturday into Sunday.

More than 300 wounded people have been admitted, Zaher said.

“It's impossible for any hospital in the world to admit this number of injured, and it's impossible for any medical crew to work with (these) large numbers of injured," the doctor told CNN. "And every injured person needs four or five specialized surgeons and surgeries, and this puts a large burden on the medical crew."
11:47 a.m. ET, October 22, 2023

Hamas and Israeli troops clash inside Gaza

From CNN’s Ibrahim Dahman, Eyad Kourdi and Amir Tal

Hamas fighters clashed with Israeli troops inside Gaza, the Palestinian group’s militant Al-Qassam Brigades said Sunday, in what appears to be one of the first skirmishes between the two sides on the ground inside the strip since war broke out on October 7.

Hamas said its fighters destroyed two Israeli military bulldozers and a tank in an ambush, forcing Israeli troops to retreat into Israel without their vehicles.

“The soldiers of the Zionist force that fell into the Khan Younis ambush left their vehicles and fled east of the fence on foot," the Al-Qassam Brigades said on social media.

The Israel Defense Forces said only that "shots were fired at IDF soldiers operating west of the Gaza Strip security fence, in the area of Kissufim."

"An IDF tank struck the terrorist cell who fired at the soldiers," the IDF added.

Kibbutz Kissufim, in Israel, is east of Khan Younis, in Gaza. 

The IDF confirmed to CNN by phone that its troops had been operating inside Gaza during the incident.

It is not the first time the IDF has said it operated inside Gaza since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. On October 13, the IDF said it had carried out raids inside Gaza in the previous 24 hours, but it did not say clashes had taken place.