October 31, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

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

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, November 1, 2023
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10:04 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Chile and Colombia call ambassadors in Israel for consultation following Israel's deadly Gaza strikes

From Karol Suarez in Mexico City

Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors to Israel for consultation due to Israel's strikes on Gaza.

"If Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people, we cannot be there," Colombian President Gustavo Petro said in translation on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

On October 19, Petro met with Gali Dagan, the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip. 

Chilean President Gabriel Boric said the country is recalling its ambassador to Israel due to Israel's "violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Gaza Strip."

"Given the unacceptable violations of International Humanitarian Law that Israel has incurred in the Gaza Strip, the Government of Chile has decided to recall the Chilean ambassador to Israel, Jorge Carvajal, to Santiago for consultations," Chile's foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday. 

Chile's foreign ministry said it strongly condemns and observes with great concern the military operations, "which at this point in their development entail collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, do not respect fundamental norms of International Law, as demonstrated by the more than eight thousand civilian victims, mostly women and children."

Chile reiterated its call for an immediate end to hostilities, "which will allow the deployment of a humanitarian support operation to help the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and civilian victims."

The Colombian foreign ministry has not yet issued a statement. 

Some context: Bolivia announced Tuesday that it is cutting diplomatic relations with Israel, citing "crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people" in the wake of Israel's war with Hamas, according to the Bolivian Agency of Information (ABI).

Bolivia is also preparing to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, the ABI said.

9:48 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Bolivia cuts diplomatic relations with Israel citing "crimes against humanity" against Palestinians

From CNN's José Álvarez, Karol Suarez, Caitlin Hu and Heather Law

Bolivia is cutting diplomatic relations with Israel, citing "crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people" in the wake of Israel's war with Hamas, the Bolivian Agency of Information (ABI) said.

The decision came on Tuesday, and was announced by Vice Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani and María Nela Prada, who serves as the minister of the Presidency of Bolivia and interim foreign minister. The announcement came one day after Bolivian President Luis Arce met with the Palestinian Ambassador to Bolivia Mahmoud Elalwani.

Bolivia is also preparing to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, the ABI said.

Diego Pary, Bolivian representative to the United Nations, reiterated his country's stance at an emergency UN General Assembly meeting on Tuesday, saying they "are on the side of the rights of the Palestinian people."

"[A]s a result the people and government of Bolivia [have] taken the decision to break diplomatic ties from today with the state of Israel because we consider it a state that does not respect life of peoples, international law or international humanitarian law," Pary said.

CNN reached out to Israel's diplomatic representation in Bolivia for comment, but has yet receive a response.

 

9:23 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Jordan king "stresses the importance of a ceasefire" in Gaza during call with Biden

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh 

During a phone call with US President Joe Biden, Jordan's King Abdullah II stressed "the importance of a ceasefire and an immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid."

The Jordan leader "urged stepping up efforts to stop the war and work towards a political horizon, reiterating that the only solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the two-state solution," the Royal Hashemite Court said in a Tuesday post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

9:17 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Blinken discussed minimizing harm to civilians in call with Israeli president, according to State Department

From CNN's Rashard Rose

Antony Blinken speaks during a United States Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing in Washington, DC, on October 31.
Antony Blinken speaks during a United States Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing in Washington, DC, on October 31. Celal Gunes/Anadolu/Getty Images

In a call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated his country’s “support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism consistent with international humanitarian law” while also emphasizing “the need to take feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians,” according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

The official said the two leaders also discussed "efforts to safeguard U.S. citizens in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza; continue working tirelessly to bring hostages home; increase urgently the pace and volume of humanitarian assistance that is entering Gaza for distribution to Palestinian civilians; and prevent the conflict from spreading."

CNN previously reported that Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, and then will make other stops in the region.

8:25 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Palestinian American family mourns 42 relatives killed in a single day

From CNN's Isabel Rosales, Dianne Gallagher and Devon M. Sayers

Thousands of miles away from the brutality of war in Gaza, Tariq Hamouda and his wife Manal are in disbelief over the loss of three generations of their family.

The Palestinian Americans, who live in Maple Grove, Minnesota, say it’s been over a week since they learned 42 relatives were killed in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, and they’re still unable to fully comprehend the news.

Hamouda says his wife, whose maiden name is Saqallah, lost four brothers, a sister and most of their children when two explosions destroyed the Saqallah family compound on October 19 in the Sheikh Ejleen neighborhood of Gaza City.

Hamouda and the family say it was an Israeli airstrike. Israel has launched numerous airstrikes on Gaza City since October 7, including multiple strikes in the area that day.

CNN cannot independently confirm that it was an Israeli strike. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it could not comment without coordinates of the house. The family declined to provide CNN with the coordinates for fear of reprisal.

“It’s not one, two, three, or four — it is 42 members, it’s really hard to cope with,” Eyad Abu Shaban, Manal’s cousin said.

Abu Shaban, Manal’s cousin, says the deceased range in age from three months to 77. They were all staying in a single compound. His uncle, Essam Abu Shaban, wife Layla Saqallah and their son Ahmed were among those killed.

To avoid Israeli airstrikes, they had evacuated the nearby Tel El Hawa neighborhood and sought refuge in the Saqallah’s home, Abu Shaban says.

Before the airstrikes, the IDF called to say there could be military activity in the area, but they were never told to evacuate their home, Hamouda says surviving family members told him.

“We’ve never seen in this day and age where the whole world is watching innocent people just being torn apart. Families, whole families, just wiped off the map,” Abu Shaban said. “I want everybody to know that the people of Gaza are just like them, they hurt, they bleed, they have families, they have feelings.”

Read more.

7:46 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Israeli military says it continues to intercept threats on northern and southern borders

From CNN's Kyle Blaine and Tamar Michaelis

The Israeli military said early Wednesday morning local time that it continues to intercept threats on its northern border with Lebanon and its southern border near the Red Sea.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) said in a statement it intercepted a surface-to-air missile that was launched from Lebanon toward an Israeli drone. Israel has been trading fire with Lebanese-based militants on its northern border for weeks.

Israel said it struck the origin of the missile launch and the individuals who carried out the launch in response.

The IDF also said it intercepted an aerial threat south of the city of Eilat. The news comes after a Tuesday incident when Israel said it thwarted an aerial threat in the same region, an attack that the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen claimed credit for.

7:53 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Firearm applications have surged in Israel since the October 7 Hamas attack, officials say

From CNN's Hadas Gold and Mitchell McCluskey

Applications to carry private firearms have surged in Israel since the Hamas attack on October 7, according to the Ministry of National Security.

As of October 30, the ministry had received about 180,500 new applications and its centers received an average of 10,000 new requests per day. Before October 7, there were around 850 new requests each week, the ministry said.

Approximately 15,508 conditional permits and 9,255 new licenses have been issued since the attack. The ministry also reported that around 5,466 applications were rejected.

There have been around 210,500 applications submitted so far in 2023, according to the ministry. That's more the past two years combined — about 42,000 applications were received for the entire year of 2022 and 20,000 applications in 2021.

Following the Hamas attacks, the Ministry of National Security recognized several Israel towns near the Gaza border — Sderot, Ofakim and Netivot — as an "eligible place of residence" where the ministry allows as many citizens as possible to apply for a gun license.

Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir has voiced his desire for more Israelis to carry firearms.

"A weapon saves lives. We saw that during a terrorist incident, those who saved the situation in real time and saved lives by neutralizing the terrorist, were people qualified to carry private firearms with a license,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement from the ministry.

Licenses are issued free of charge and the Ministry of National Security has stated that it “thoroughly and responsibly checks every application, even after receiving the license.”

In order to obtain a firearm license, Israelis must meet certain requirements before they are able to carry a gun including prior experience, age, a health declaration by a doctor, an interview and training. 

7:49 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Dozens of humanitarian aid trucks crossed into Gaza, officials say

From CNN’s Hadas Gold and Abeer Salman

Volunteers stand in front of trucks carrying humanitarian aid at the Rafah border crossing, on October 31.
Volunteers stand in front of trucks carrying humanitarian aid at the Rafah border crossing, on October 31. Ahmed Hatem/AP

Dozens of trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said Tuesday evening it received 59 trucks. By late Tuesday evening, 70 trucks had entered the strip, the spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement.

The shipments include “only water, food, and medical equipment," according to the COGAT spokesperson.

The decision was made “at the request of the US Administration, and in accordance with instructions from the political echelon” the statement from COGAT said.

“The transfer, the source, and the destination of the aid are monitored by Israel,” the COGAT statement read. “Any other attempt to provide supplies, not coordinated with and approved by Israel, will be blocked.”

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it has received a total of 217 trucks so far, but fuel has not been allowed to enter Gaza yet.

8:36 p.m. ET, October 31, 2023

Israel Defense Forces defends deadly strike on refugee camp in northern Gaza

From CNN's Mariya Knight and Mitchell McCluskey

The aftermath of Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, on October 31.
The aftermath of Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, on October 31. Stringer/Anadolu/Getty Images

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is defending the Israeli military’s decision to target the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The Israeli strike on the area left catastrophic damage and killed a large number of people, according to eyewitnesses and medics in the enclave.

Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said in a news briefing Tuesday night local time that Israel had struck the camp in order to kill top Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari, who was “pivotal to the planning and the execution of the October 7 attack.”

“He was actively coordinating, orchestrating, and leading combat activities against the IDF as he was targeted,” Conricus said.

The IDF spokesperson said that Biari’s activities go back to before 2004 when he “masterminded” an attack in Ashdod that led to the killing of 13 Israelis.

“Dozens” of Hamas combatants were also killed in Tuesday’s strike when underground tunnels beneath the camp collapsed, Conricus said, adding that the IDF is still working to obtain a precise number of casualties.

“I understand that that is also the reason why there are many reports of collateral damage and non-combatant casualties. We’re looking into those as well,” Conricus said.

Conricus said they are working to determine the number of civilians who were also killed in the strike. The spokesperson said that the IDF had considered all factors when making the strike “including the possibilities of non-combatants being affected.”

The spokesperson added that the military had notified civilians to leave the area through the distribution of leaflets, messages on social media and radio dispatches.

Conricus said he was not yet able to provide details on the type or number of munitions that were used in the strike.

“I want to emphasize the strike was on a military target of significant military importance to the battlefield and for us to be able to be able to obtain our military objectives. That is why it was struck,” Conricus said.