October 24, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Christian Edwards, Aditi Sangal, Tara Subramaniam, Adrienne Vogt, Eric Levenson, Elise Hammond, Tori B. Powell and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 8:45 a.m. ET, October 25, 2023
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7:55 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

French president proposes international collaboration to combat terror groups

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the media during a press conference in Jerusalem on October 24.
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the media during a press conference in Jerusalem on October 24. Christophe Ena/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday proposed an international coalition to combat terror groups with a similar model to the fight against ISIS.

Macron said that Hamas is comparable to ISIS and al Qaeda "in action and intention." Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he condemned the "pure hate" and "pure violence" of the October 7 attacks on Israel.

"The struggle [against terror groups] must be without mercy but not without rules," he said, calling for humanitarian access and electricity to civilian populations caught in fighting, without such assistance going to terror groups.

The French president stressed that the acts of Hamas "go beyond all understanding," marking "a black page in our history."

Expressing France’s condolences to Israel over the attacks, he said, "Our two countries are joined by the same grief."

At least 30 French citizens were killed in the Hamas attacks and nine French citizens are "missing or held hostage," he said.

Macron urged that the Palestinian cause be heard "with reason," adding that the "first condition" of a Palestinian state in peace and security must be accepting the existence and security of Israel.

Macron said that he will visit Ramallah in the West Bank later today. 

7:53 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

Netanyahu warns Israel's fight against Hamas "could be a long war"

From CNN's Pauline Lockwood

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Jerusalem, on October 24.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Jerusalem, on October 24. Christophe Ena/Pool/Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country's fight against Hamas "could be a long war."

Israel formally declared war on Hamas on October 8, the day after the militant group launched a brutal terror attack on Israel that killed more than 1,400 people.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), told CNN that the Israeli military's aim is: "To strike Hamas and prevent them from ever being able to attack us again."

Speaking at a news conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, Netanyahu stressed the need to defeat Hamas or "we will all lose."

Netanyahu warned that Hamas would also present a threat to Europe.

He also echoed Macron's warning to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Islamist militant group that dominates southern Lebanon, not to join the war. He said Hezbollah would "regret" entering the conflict.

"I hope they heed our warning. They will suffer horrible consequences," he said. 
9:01 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

Released hostage criticizes Israeli military, says costly border fence with Gaza "didn't help"

From CNN's Christian Edwards and Niamh Kennedy in London

Yocheved Lifshitz speaks to members of the press a day after being released by Hamas militants, at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Tuesday, Octover 24.
Yocheved Lifshitz speaks to members of the press a day after being released by Hamas militants, at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Tuesday, Octover 24. Ariel Schalit/Reuters

Yocheved Lifshitz, who was held captive in Gaza for more than two weeks before being released Monday evening, appeared to criticize Israel’s security failure that allowed Hamas gunmen to pour into Israel on October 7.

Speaking to journalists outside Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center on Tuesday, Lifshitz accused the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of not taking threats from Hamas “seriously.”

“I could not have known that we (could) get into this stage,” she said.

Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it has spent billions of dollars securing the border from attacks.

“It didn’t help,” Lifshitz said of the costly border fence that was breached on October 7.

“The lack of awareness by Shin Bet (the Israel Security Agency) and the IDF hurt us a lot,” she said. “They warned us three weeks beforehand, they burned fields, they sent fire balloons and the IDF did not treat it seriously,” she added, referring to Hamas.

Lifshitz explained how this culminated in the attack on her kibbutz of Nir Oz in southern Israel on October 7.

"All of a sudden on a Saturday morning, everything was very quiet. There was a hard pounding on the settlement,” she said.

Not long after, "hordes" of Hamas fighters broke through the kibbutz's "expensive" fences and kept coming in their "droves" before placing Lifshitz on a motorbike and driving away, she said.

"It was very, very difficult and unpleasant," a visibly upset Lifshitz added. 

Speaking in the wake of the October 7 attack, IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus admitted “the entire system failed.”

9:06 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

"It looks like a spiderweb," recalls released Israeli hostage taken into Hamas tunnels

From CNN's Christian Edwards and Niamh Kennedy in London

Yocheved Lifshitz is pictured at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 24.
Yocheved Lifshitz is pictured at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 24. Janis Laizans/Reuters

Yocheved Lifshitz, an 85-year-old Israeli grandmother who was released by Hamas Monday evening, described being taken underground into Hamas’ huge network of tunnels after being captured by Hamas gunmen on October 7.

After being slung over the back of a motorbike and hit with sticks, Lifshitz told reporters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that she was taken underground.

“They walked for a few kilometers on the wet ground,” Lifshitz’s daughter, acting as a translator, explained. “There is a huge, huge network of tunnels underneath. It looks like a spiderweb.”

Lifshitz said there were doctors and paramedics waiting to receive them. After initially being grouped together with 25 other people, Lifshitz said her captors then placed her in a smaller group with four other individuals from a kibbutz near hers. 

“As we got there, the people told us that they are people who believe in the Quran and they will not harm us, and we will get the same conditions they get in the tunnels,” Lifshitz said.

“There were guards and a paramedic and a doctor who took care of the fact that we’ll have the same medicine that we need," she said, adding how they "took care of the sanitary side of things so that we didn't get sick."

Lifshitz said they slept on mattresses, describing the tunnels as “most, wet, damp everywhere.”

Liftshitz was released Monday evening, along with her neighbor and friend Nurit Cooper, 79. Both are residents of kibbutz Nir Oz.

But more than 200 people are believed to have been captured and brought into Gaza.

"It's not over until everyone's home," Lifshitz said.
9:13 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

"I went through hell," says released Israeli hostage

From CNN's Pauline Lockwood, Niamh Kennedy and Christian Edwards

Yocheved Lifshitz speaks to members of the media in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 24.
Yocheved Lifshitz speaks to members of the media in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 24. Janis Laizans/Reuters

Yocheved Lifshitz, who was released by Hamas on Monday, told reporters on Tuesday that she "went through hell" in Gaza.

Lifshitz, an 85-year-old grandmother, was held captive in Gaza for more than two weeks before being released and returned to Israel late Monday evening.

"It was difficult, but we will get through this," she said, recounting her experience to journalists outside Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center. 

Speaking in Hebrew, and sitting alongside her daughter who translated, Lifshitz described how she was captured by Hamas gunmen during their brutal terror attack on Israel on October 7.

"I was kidnapped on a motorbike on my side while they were driving toward Gaza," Lifshitz said. Her daughter explained how her head lay on one side of the motorbike while her feet dangled from the other.
"It was a painful act. They brought us into a gate. I was lying on the side on the motorbike. I got bruises because of the drive," Lifshitz added.

Lifshitz's daughter explained that her mother was brought down into a "huge network" of spider web-like tunnels where she was held.

9:09 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

"She wants to tell everybody what she knows," says daughter of released hostage

From CNN’s Manveena Suri

The daughter of released hostage Yocheved Lifshitz told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that her mother “wants to tell everybody what she knows” after she was returned to Israel on Monday evening.

“The nurses said she's very sharp and very communicative. And she wants to tell everybody what she knows. She wants to tell everybody what she knows. She's really the first person that has been with other people there and I think she's very aware that she can pass on information,” she said soon after being reunited with her mother in Tel Aviv.

Lifshitz, an 85-year-old grandmother, was held in Gaza for more than two weeks after she was snatched by Hamas militants from her home in kibbutz Nir Oz.

Hamas released Lifshitz and her neighbor and friend Nurit Cooper, 79, on Monday, and later they were reunited with family members who rushed to their bedside at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Asked whether she was held with other people in Gaza, Lifshitz's daughter replied, “Yes, so she was with other people. There was medical care to some extent.”

She also added there were children among the hostages.

“I know that she was with some children it seems and then she would have done quite a lot of work with them. I don't think she kept kind of sitting in a corner."
5:01 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

Iranian foreign minister says US sent 2 messages to Tehran about regional escalation

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian and Adam Pourahmadi

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian holds a press conference in Tehran, Iran on October 23.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian holds a press conference in Tehran, Iran on October 23. Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu/Getty Images

The Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the United States sent Iran two messages regarding escalation in the region.

“The first message said that the United States is not interested in expanding the war, and the second message asked Iran to have self-restraint and insisted that Iran should also ask other countries and other sides to have self-restraint,” Abdollahian said during a news conference in Tehran Monday night.

Amir-Abdollahian did not disclose how and when the messages were delivered.

“The US says it is not interested in expanding the war but in the past two weeks has showed it is involved in expanding and escalating the conflict in Gaza by sending thousands of shipments of weapons and full support of the Zionist regime,” he added.

The Iranian foreign minister called out US President Biden over what he said was the “hypocrisy” of the US position regarding human rights in Gaza. He asked if “the death of more than 5,000 civilians, women and children, more than 20,000 wounded and hundreds of thousands homeless, is the result of the human rights that Mr. Biden was talking about?”

Some context: As Israel prepares for an expected ground incursion into Gaza, there has been a flurry of diplomatic efforts to prevent Israel's war against Hamas from escalating into a wider regional conflict.

Since Hamas' October 7 attack, there has been consistent crossfire on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, as the Israel Defense Forces clash with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Islamist movement that has its main base on the Israel-Lebanon border.

CNN reported Monday that the US has intelligence that Iranian-backed militia groups are planning to ramp up attacks against US forces in the Middle East, as Iran seeks to capitalize on the backlash in the region against US support for Israel, according to multiple US officials.

Read more here.

4:59 a.m. ET, October 24, 2023

"Lebanon will pay the price" if war breaks out with Hezbollah, Israel's president says

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman

Israeli soldiers patrol an area near Israel's northern border with Lebanon on October 23.
Israeli soldiers patrol an area near Israel's northern border with Lebanon on October 23. Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP/Getty Images

Lebanon cannot claim innocence when Israel is attacked by Hezbollah, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday. 

“It should be clear that Lebanon will pay the price,” if war breaks out with Hezbollah, he said.

Hezbollah is “playing with fire,” he added.

“We are not looking for a confrontation on our northern border or with anyone else,” Herzog said.

France has “passed messages” to other groups “potentially wanting to join the conflict” to warn them against doing so, Macron said.

Herzog also said that "30 children are out there" having been kidnapped by Hamas militants.

There has been an increase in skirmishes between Israel and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Islamist movement that has its main base on the Israel-Lebanon border. On Monday, Lebanon's minister of information said the government "does not want war" with Israel, but that threats from Israel have become a "constant occurrence."