October 30, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Tara Subramaniam, Christian Edwards, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond, Holly Yan, Zoe Sottile and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 1:08 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023
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11:18 p.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Netanyahu deletes social media post accusing security chiefs of failing to warn about October 7 attack

From CNN's Lucas Lilieholm, Tamar Michaelis, Maija Ehlinger and Laura Paddison

Benjamin Netanyahu attends a meeting in Tel Aviv on October 12.
Benjamin Netanyahu attends a meeting in Tel Aviv on October 12. Jacquelyn Martin/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received sharp criticism after he accused security chiefs in a now-deleted social media post of failing to warn him about the impending Hamas attack prior to October 7.

Amid a chorus of disapproval from opponents and allies, Netanyahu deleted the post on Sunday morning, issuing a rare apology and stating Israel’s security heads had his “full backing.”

But the incident has done little to quell increasing frustration and anger directed at Israel’s leader for failing to anticipate the brutal Hamas attacks, which saw the group kill at least 1,400 people and take more than 200 hostages, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Netanyahu’s tweet comes at a time when he is also under increasing pressure from the families of hostages for a “comprehensive deal” to ensure their release. These calls are becoming more urgent amid concerns for what Israel’s expanding ground operations could mean for the safety of hostages trapped in Gaza.

In the now-deleted post on X, formerly Twitter, Netanyahu said, “At no point was a warning given to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Hamas’s intention to start a war. On the contrary, all the defense officials, including the heads of the Intelligence Directorate and the Shin Bet, assessed that Hamas was deterred.”

An outpouring of criticism swiftly followed Netanyahu’s post, following which, the prime minister deleted the post and apologized. “I was wrong. Things I said following the press conference should not have been said and I apologize for that,” he wrote on X. Israel’s security chiefs had his “full backing,” he added.

But even in this apology, Netanyahu made no mention of his own responsibility for the failure to anticipate the deadliest attack in Israel’s history. By contrast, security chiefs Ronen Bar and Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, as well as chief of staff of the IDF Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, have all taken responsibility to some extent for failures that led to the attacks.

12:24 a.m. ET, October 30, 2023

"Fabric of society is starting to break down" in Gaza, UN agency warns

From CNN's Helena Geers, Rosanne Roobeek, Anna Gorzkowska, and Jessie Gretener

Palestinians check damage at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Khan Younis on Sunday.
Palestinians check damage at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Khan Younis on Sunday. Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The "fabric of society" in Gaza is starting to break down, an official from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) told CNN — echoing warnings Sunday of a breakdown in civil order.

Thomas White, director of affairs for Gaza for UNRWA, said people were looting logistics and aid warehouses in the enclave in a "breakdown in civil order." 

"We have been warning for a couple days now, that if essential public services and humanitarian aid would not be provided to the population in a sustained way we would see a breakdown in civil order. What we are seeing right now is the first stages of that, and that some of our logistic bases were looted by hundreds of young men. It's a very worrying sign that the fabric of society is starting to break down," White said.

White said he was concerned for the people of Gaza but also for UNRWA's ability to maintain operations there. He called for a humanitarian ceasefire, citing the urgent need to "get the assistance that people need and stabilize society in Gaza." 

10:00 p.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Video shows Hamas launching weaponized drone from Gaza during October 7 attack

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Hamas launched at least one of its weaponized drones in the October 7 terror attack from a residential building in southern Gaza, video circulating on social media shows.

CNN geolocated the takeoff site in the video to the eastern outskirts of the town of Khuza'a.

It's the latest video to come to light from captured Hamas weaponry and body cameras that sheds new insight into how Hamas conducted its surprise assault on Israel. 

The drone is seen rising in the video from the building, away from Khuza'a and toward the Gaza-Israel border. A second video, taken near an Israeli military outpost just east of Nir Oz, shows the drone flying. 

It is suddenly heard losing propulsion and is then seen hitting the ground. It's unclear what caused the drone to crash, and it's unclear whether it dropped munitions before crashing. 

9:52 p.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Here's what to know about Iran's role in the broader Middle East conflict

From CNN's Nadeen Ebrahim

Israel has "crossed the red lines" in Gaza, which "may force everyone to take action," Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said Sunday, while US national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned of an "elevated risk" of a spillover conflict in the Middle East.

Experts say that while Iran is wary of being dragged into the Israel-Hamas war, it may not be in full control if the militias it backs in the region — like the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah — independently intervene as Hamas suffers heavy blows and the death toll in Gaza continues to mount.

“What connects all these groups to Iran is their anti-Israel policies,” said Sima Shine, head of the Iran program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, noting that while Iran has varying levels of influence over the groups, it doesn’t dictate all their actions.

Raisi's comments were not the first warning from an Iranian official of the potential for a broader conflict.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has also warned that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza could have far-reaching consequences, saying that if Israel does not halt its airstrikes, “it is highly probable that many other fronts will be opened.”

“This option is not ruled out and this is becoming increasingly more probable,” he told Al Jazeera in a recent interview.

Last Monday, Abdollahian said the US has 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, without saying how and when the messages were delivered.

He added that while the US says it wants to de-escalate, it has contradicted itself by continuing to support Israel.

Trita Parsi, vice president of the Quincy Institute in Washington, DC, said there is no appetite or desire from either Iran, the US or Israel for a wider war, but that Washington’s failure to restrain Israel may inadvertently drive the region toward escalation.

Read more on Iran's role in the region.

10:31 p.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Risk of expanding Middle East conflict is real, US national security adviser says

From CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Avery Lotz

The United States sees an "elevated risk" of a spillover conflict in the Middle East as Iranian proxies target American troops stationed in the region, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday.

"We are vigilant, because we are seeing elevated threats against our forces throughout the region and an elevated risk of this conflict spreading to other parts of the region. We are doing everything in our power to deter and prevent that," Sullivan said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Last week, the US carried out airstrikes targeting two facilities linked to Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria following a series of drone and rocket attacks against US forces in the region.

The airstrikes against the facilities linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups did not result in any casualties, the US assessed.

Asked about US strikes on Iranian proxies in the region, Sullivan said on ABC, “If attacks continue, we will respond, and I think the Iranians understand our message.”

“We, of course, are taking every measure necessary to protect our forces, to increase our vigilance and to work with other countries in the region to try to keep this conflict that is currently in Israel and Gaza from spinning out into a regional conflict,” Sullivan said. “But the risk is real, and therefore, vigilance is high, and the steps that we are taking to deter that and prevent that are serious, systematic and ongoing.”

1:45 a.m. ET, October 30, 2023

Aid warehouse break-ins show "growing hunger and desperation" in Gaza, UN food program says

From CNN's Zeena Saifi in Tel Aviv and Chris Liakos in Cairo

Palestinians storm a UN-run aid supply center in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on October 28.
Palestinians storm a UN-run aid supply center in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on October 28. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations World Food Programme said some of its aid supplies were looted in Gaza and warned of "growing hunger and desperation" in a news release Sunday.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said earlier Sunday that "thousands" of people had broken into some of its warehouses and distribution centers in the central and southern areas of the strip, "taking wheat flour and other basic survival items like hygiene supplies."   

The food program said one of the warehouses was storing some of its food commodities, and supplies from humanitarian deliveries through Egypt.

"This is a sign of people losing hope and becoming more desperate by the minute. They are hungry, isolated, and have been suffering violence and immense distress for three weeks," said Samer Abdeljaber, a World Food Programme official for the region. "We need a humanitarian pause to be able to reach the people in need with food, water and basic necessities safely and effectively. Much more access is urgently needed, and the trickle of supplies needs to become a flow."

The food program pointed to the "harrowing 24-hour communication blackout" and "persistent access challenges" that brought all of its operations to a halt as a result of Israel's extensive airstrikes Saturday.

"WFP plans to provide food lifeline to over one million people who are going hungry now and needs a steady supply of food with at least 40 WFP trucks to cross daily into Gaza to be able to meet the escalating needs," the statement said. "So far emergency food and cash assistance has reached over 635,200 people in both Gaza and the West Bank."

9:48 p.m. ET, October 29, 2023

Israel has "crossed the red lines" in Gaza, Iranian President Raisi says 

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Israel has "crossed the red lines" in Gaza, which "may force everyone to take action," Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said Sunday.

"Zionist regime’s crimes have crossed the red lines, which may force everyone to take action. Washington asks us to not do anything, but they keep giving widespread support to Israel," Raisi said in a post on social media. 
"The US sent messages to the Axis of Resistance but received a clear response on the battlefield."

Some context: Israel's fierce military campaign in Gaza has raised concerns that more fronts will open up. Iran is allied to Hamas as well as Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that has been involved in tit-for-tat exchanges of fire with Israel in recent weeks.

Experts say that while Iran is wary of being dragged into the Israel-Hamas war, it may not be in full control if the militias it backs in the region independently intervene as Hamas suffers heavy blows and the death toll in Gaza mounts.

In the early days after the October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, questions were raised about Iran’s potential involvement in the killings. Tehran at the time commended the operation but was quick to deny any hand in it.

Initial US intelligence also suggested that Iranian officials were surprised by Hamas’ attack, and that Tehran was not directly involved in its planning, resourcing or approval, CNN has reported.