October 28, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Tara Subramaniam, Andrew Raine, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Thom Poole, Sophie Tanno, Adrienne Vogt and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 12:19 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023
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12:03 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Our coverage of the Israel-Hamas war has moved here.

10:43 p.m. ET, October 28, 2023

IDF reiterates urgent call for civilians in Gaza to move south as ground operations expand

From CNN’s Hadas Gold and Lucas Lilieholm

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) wants to “increase the urgency” of its warning to civilians in Gaza to move to areas south of Wadi Gaza as it expands ground operations in the enclave, according to a spokesperson.

“Civilians in northern Gaza, in Gaza City should temporarily move south of Wadi Gaza to a safer area," Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a video posted to IDF social media on Sunday morning

On Monday “humanitarian efforts to Gaza, led by Egypt and the United States, will be expanding,” Hagari claimed, without providing further details.

Telephone and internet services have been out across much of the territory since Friday night making it unclear how predominantly Arabic-speaking Gazans will receive the most recent call in English from the IDF to evacuate.

12:19 a.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Humanitarian situation in Gaza a "catastrophic failing," Red Cross committee president says

From CNN’s Lucas Lilieholm

People mourn Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis, Gaza, on October 28.
People mourn Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis, Gaza, on October 28. Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

The International Committee of the Red Cross has called for an immediate de-escalation of hostilities in Gaza and delivery of humanitarian aid.

"It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza amid the massive bombardments, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible. This is a catastrophic failing that the world must not tolerate," ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric said in a statement Saturday.

Spoljaric added that the “immediate imperative must be to save lives” by ensuring healthcare services, water, and electricity are restored in Gaza.

“Under international humanitarian law, the parties are obligated to spare civilians from the effects of military operations at all times, to distinguish between civilians and military targets, and to never use human shields to prevent military objectives from being attacked,” Spoljaric said.

The ICRC also called for the “immediate release of all hostages” and reiterated the organization’s previous offer to facilitate any future hostage release operation. 

11:59 p.m. ET, October 28, 2023

It's nighttime in Israel and Gaza. Catch up on the latest developments in the war 

From CNN's Amarachi Orie, Zahid Mahmood, Ivana Kottasová, Kareem Khadder and Lauren Said-Moorhouse

Destruction in northern Gaza after Israeli airstrikes is pictured on October 28.
Destruction in northern Gaza after Israeli airstrikes is pictured on October 28. Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Israeli ground forces are inside Gaza after entering the enclave overnight, as Palestinians experienced what they have described as the most intense round of airstrikes since Israel began its retaliation against Hamas’ October 7 terror attack.

The expanded operation has left families of the more than 200 hostages taken to Gaza fearful for their loved ones. A group lobbying for the families of Israeli hostages spoke of “the most terrible of all nights” as emotions spiked with the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) expansion of its ground operation.

Catch up below on the latest developments in the war:

Israel's goals in this stage: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday the war in Gaza is "going to be long." He said the goals of this stage of the war are to destroy Hamas and return the hostages the militant group took on October 7 and still holds in Gaza. Netanyahu confirmed he spoke with family members of the hostages and said he vowed to them that he would exhaust all options to return their loved ones home.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement his country had entered “a new phase in the war.” The official said Israel "attacked above ground and below ground. We attacked terrorist operatives at all levels, in all places. The instructions to our forces are clear: the operation will continue until a new order is given.”

Details on the expanded ground operation: Israeli forces “went into the Gaza Strip and expanded the ground operation where infantry, armor and engineer units and artillery with heavy fire are taking part,” IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Saturday morning. “The forces are in the field and continue the fighting,” he added, without giving further details.

Hagari’s words confirm the military operation has undergone a significant expansion after what it had earlier described as two “targeted raids,” which took place on Wednesday night and Thursday night. Both those raids saw ground forces withdraw after a few hours. However, it does not appear as though any major ground offensive aimed at seizing and holding significant amounts of the territory is yet underway. In a fresh call for Gazans to move south, the IDF spoke of an “impending” operation.

Mourning in Gaza: Gazans mourned the loss of their loved ones on Saturday following a night of intense Israeli airstrikes, with many gathering at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al Balah in central Gaza. Video captured by CNN shows multiple bodies, including those of children, covered in white shrouds or thick blankets, placed on the ground in the hospital yard. Another video showed a young man lying on the floor of the hospital as doctors operated on him.

More than 2 million people live in the enclave, and for weeks people in the territory have faced Israeli airstrikes and a growing humanitarian situation, with shortages of water, food and fuel. The IDF said Gazans who had moved south of Wadi Gaza, a waterway bisecting the center of the strip, were in a “protected space,” and would receive more food, water and medicine today, but did not give any details.

Aid agencies lose contact: Communications in the enclave have been severely disrupted, leaving aid agencies out of touch with their staff on the ground and emergency services struggling to reach those in need. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday morning that reports of the intense bombardment are “extremely distressing.” He added: “We are still out of touch with our staff and health facilities. I’m worried about their safety.” Several United Nations agencies have also reported losing contact with their local staff in Gaza.

7:59 p.m. ET, October 28, 2023

Police temporarily close New York's Brooklyn Bridge due to large pro-Palestinian demonstration

From CNN’s Jessica Xing

People shout slogans as they cross Brooklyn Bridge during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in New York on October 28.
People shout slogans as they cross Brooklyn Bridge during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in New York on October 28. Andres Kudacki/AP

Police temporarily shut down all lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York on Saturday after a large group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators started heading in that direction.

The bridge, which connects Manhattan with the borough, was closed in both directions, according to an alert from the local government's NotifyNYC service. 

The rally started at Brooklyn Museum at 3 p.m. ET, continued in front of Barclays Center arena at 4 p.m. ET and ended at the Brooklyn Bridge, according to a post by Within Our Lifetime, which promoted the demonstrations.

“Join us at Brooklyn Museum or march and converge with us throughout the day,” a post from the Palestinian-led community organization reads. “The more they try and silence us, repress us, push us off the streets, the larger our numbers will be, the louder we will be.”

The New York City Police Department said the demonstration has been nonviolent and they have not had any incidents with demonstrators at this time.

The rally in the most populous US city was among several seen around the world this weekend, including a "March for Palestine" in London that drew thousands of participants Saturday, and a demonstration by a Jewish group calling for a Gaza ceasefire in New York's Grand Central Terminal, which led to around 300 people getting arrested Friday night.

6:59 p.m. ET, October 28, 2023

CNN reporters describe eruption of activity near Israel-Gaza border 

From CNN's Maija-Liisa Ehlinger

A still from a video shows flashes on the horizon, as seen from Sderot, Israel, on October 28.
A still from a video shows flashes on the horizon, as seen from Sderot, Israel, on October 28. CNN

Fighter jets can be heard in the sky and huge flashes seen on the horizon in the direction of Gaza Saturday, according to a CNN team on the ground in Sderot, Israel.

"Today there was an eruption of activity ... Last night was strong, it was active, it was busy. Tonight, it seems a step up from that," CNN's Nic Robertson said in a live report around 11 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET).

On top of the sound of airstrikes, Robertson said he is hearing artillery fire into Gaza and heavy machine gun fire from his location. 

CNN's Jeremy Diamond, reporting from the Israeli city of Ashkelon, said explosions on Saturday night were the loudest he's heard in weeks. 

"It made the room shake ... and we are 6 miles from the border with Gaza," Diamond said during a live report.

5:30 p.m. ET, October 28, 2023

Israeli military strikes Hezbollah targets, according to IDF 

From CNN's Tamar Michaelis

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fighter jets struck several Hezbollah targets on Saturday, following rockets and missile fire from Lebanon into Israel, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.

"During the strikes, Hezbollah terror infrastructure was targeted, including a military compound and observation posts," he said.

Remember: This fighting is centered on northern Israel and southern Lebanon — separate from Israel's fighting with Hamas farther south, which is centered around Gaza. But an uptick in clashes with Hezbollah has raised fears the powerful Lebanese paramilitary group could actively participate in the conflict. Hezbollah has unambiguously supported the Palestinian militants and roundly condemned Israel’s large-scale airstrikes on Gaza, but it has not intervened on behalf of Hamas so far.

A senior Hamas official said Thursday that Hezbollah and other allies were expected to play a bigger role than they have so far in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

9:01 p.m. ET, October 28, 2023

Israel recalls diplomats from Turkey

From CNN's Pauline Lockwood

All Israeli diplomatic staff have been called back from Turkey following Turkish criticism of Israel's current military operations in Gaza. 

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Saturday that Israeli-Turkish ties were going to be reevaluated.

“Given the grave statements coming from Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there in order to conduct a reevaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey,” Cohen wrote.

On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said attacks on Gaza "have long passed the point of being self-defense," adding, "It is now oppression, atrocity, massacre and barbaric."

On Saturday, Erdogan told a crowd of Palestinian supporters in Istanbul that they should leave the rally "with the determination to never allow new Gazas to arise."

CNN's Gul Tuysuz contributed reporting to this post.

5:23 p.m. ET, October 28, 2023

Families of hostages meet with Netanyahu to call for "comprehensive deal" to return all hostages

From CNN’s Tamar Michaelis in Jerusalem and Maija Ehlinger in Atlanta

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with families of hostages in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 28.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with families of hostages in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 28. Israeli Prime Minister's Office

Families of hostages held in Gaza say they told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu they would only accept an "everyone in return for everyone" deal, which would secure the immediate release of all hostages.

The families held a news conference shortly after meeting Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Saturday, just before the prime minister held his own media briefing, where he announced the launch of the second stage of the war in Gaza.

"We spoke bluntly and made it clear to the prime minister in no uncertain terms that a comprehensive deal based on the 'everyone for everyone' principle is a deal the families would consider, and has the support of all of Israel," Meirav Leshem Gonen, mother of Romi Gonen, said on behalf of the families.

An "everyone for everyone" deal would involve the release of the over 200 hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons, which the nongovernmental organization Palestinian Prisoners Club estimates to be 6,630 people.

Hamas released a statement Saturday claiming the group was willing to engage in such a trade, though any such deal would be hugely controversial in Israel.

Hamas said it is “immediately ready” to initiate a comprehensive prisoners swap with Israel, according to a statement issued by Abu Obaida, the spokesperson of Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. The spokesperson added that Hamas is ready, whether Israel seeks an all-inclusive approach to the prisoner issue or prefers a “segmented” approach. 

On Friday, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari characterized Hamas' most recent hostage exchange overture a form of "psychological terror aimed to manipulate Israeli civilians."

Netanyahu was asked about such a deal at his Saturday news conference, and acknowledged he discussed the option with the families.

"I think that elaborating on this will not help achieve our goal. In the meeting with the families, I felt emotionally helpless," Netanyahu said.

As the efforts to free the hostages drag on, loved ones have also expressed alarm at the possibility Hamas' captives will be harmed in Israel's intensifying bombardment of Gaza.

"We came with an unequivocal demand that military action takes into account the fate of the hostages and missing, and that any move considered will take into account the well-being of our loved ones," Gonen said on behalf of the families.