November 2, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Kathleen Magramo, Christian Edwards, Ed Upright, Dakin Andone, Matt Meyer, Adrienne Vogt, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury, Tori B. Powell and Mabel Berezin, CNN

Updated 1:55 a.m. ET, November 3, 2023
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11:38 p.m. ET, November 1, 2023

Indonesian Hospital's main generator in northern Gaza is out of service, director says

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

The main generator for the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza went out of service Wednesday night, Dr. Atef Al Kahlout, the head of the hospital, told CNN Thursday.

Al Kahlout said a secondary generator was running in some sections of the hospital. However, the electromechanical systems throughout the entire hospital had stopped working, he said, including the ventilation systems in the operating rooms, the facility's only oxygen station and its morgue refrigerators.

Gaza's Indonesian Hospital is considered a backbone in providing health services in the northern part of the coastal enclave as the nearest medical facility receiving scores of people injured from two days of Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalya refugee camp.

The Israeli military conducted airstrikes on the densely populated refugee camp on Tuesday and Wednesday, which it said targeted Hamas militants.

Medics said there were "hundreds" of dead and wounded. Videos seen by CNN on Tuesday showed long lines of bodies outside the hospital.

The second strike on Wednesday killed at least 80 people, Al Kahlout told CNN earlier.

10:38 p.m. ET, November 1, 2023

Barrage of explosions seen in Gaza City early Thursday morning, live camera feed shows

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey

A barrage of new explosions was seen over Gaza City in the early hours of Thursday, a live camera feed from the Agence France-Presse news agency showed. 

The explosions were seen at around 3:08 a.m. Israel time (9:08 p.m. ET), with sustained booms and bright flames captured on the AFP footage. However, it was too dark to determine whether there were any projectiles.

The Israel Defense Forces have not yet commented on the blasts. 

1:46 a.m. ET, November 2, 2023

Second Israeli airstrike on Jabalya kills dozens, hospital director says

From CNN's Abeer Salman

Palestinians conduct a search and rescue operation after the second bombardment of the Israeli army in the last 24 hours at Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza City, Gaza on November 1.
Palestinians conduct a search and rescue operation after the second bombardment of the Israeli army in the last 24 hours at Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza City, Gaza on November 1. Ali Jadallah/Anadolu/Getty Images

The Israeli airstrike that rocked the Gaza refugee camp of Jabalya on Wednesday killed at least 80 people, according to a local hospital official.

Dr. Atef Al Kahlout, the director of Gaza's Indonesian hospital, told CNN Wednesday that at least 80 bodies have arrived at the hospital following the strike and that more were being dug out of the rubble.

He said the majority of the casualties were women and children and that hundreds more people were injured.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed earlier Wednesday that the blast in the Falluja neighborhood of the Jabalya refugee camp was due to an airstrike. It said "Hamas terrorists were eliminated in the strike."

Video from the blast site showed catastrophic damage surrounding a deep crater in the neighborhood. People are seen digging through the rubble searching for bodies. 

The Israeli military also conducted airstrikes in Jabalya on Tuesday in an area near Falluja. Medics said there were hundreds of casualties.

9:33 p.m. ET, November 1, 2023

"Tragedy is unprecedented" in Gaza, UN agency says after visit

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Sahar Akbarzai

The "scale of the tragedy in Gaza is unprecedented," according to Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA,) who has just returned from a visit to the area.

Lazzarini said in a statement that the trip marked the first time he had been allowed into Gaza since the war began nearly four weeks ago. He called it "one of the saddest days in my humanitarian work."

"I met with displaced Palestinians sheltered in one of the UNRWA schools in Rafah," he said of his visit. "They showed me where it was damaged during bombardments. One person was killed and more than 80 were injured. The place was overcrowded. The levels of distress and the unsanitary living conditions were beyond comprehension."
"Everyone was just asking for water and food," he said. "Instead of being at school, learning, children were asking for a sip of water and a piece of bread. It was heart wrenching. Above all, people were asking for a ceasefire. They want this tragedy to end."

UNRWA "has become the last remaining lifeline for survival," Lazzarini said, noting that basic necessities "are running out fast." He also stressed the agency "will continue to stand" with Palestinian refugees and communities, and renewed calls for a humanitarian ceasefire.

8:56 p.m. ET, November 1, 2023

Biden hails Rafah gate's opening and calls civilian deaths a tragedy

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden hailed the opening of the Rafah gate to wounded Palestinians and foreign nationals on Wednesday. He said the United States will continue pressing Israel to adhere to international laws protecting civilians in conflict. 

Speaking on a visit to a farm in Minnesota, Biden said it was impossible not to be moved by images of suffering Palestinians.  

“Israel has the right to respond and a responsibility to defend its citizens from terror. And it needs to do so in a manner that is consistent with international humanitarian law, that prioritizes protection of civilians,” Biden said. “We've all seen the devastating images from Gaza, Palestinian children crying out for lost parents.
“The loss of innocent life is a tragedy. We grieve for those deaths and continue to grieve for the Israeli children and mothers who were brutally slaughtered by Hamas terrorists.” 

Biden said the Rafah crossing's opening came after “intense and urgent American diplomacy with our partners in the region,” and that as many as 1,000 more foreign nationals could depart soon. 

He said the US would keep pushing to increase aid to Gaza, saying the number of trucks crossing into the enclave had increased significantly, "but we still have a long way to go."

“The United States is going to continue to drive humanitarian support for innocent people in Gaza who need help and they do need help,” he said. 

On the hostages being held in Gaza, Biden said his administration “continues to work around the clock to reunite those families.”

“We are not going to give up, period,” he said. “And I am optimistic. But I am an optimist, folks.”

9:32 p.m. ET, November 1, 2023

UN Human Rights Office concerned Israeli strikes on refugee camp "could amount to war crimes"

From CNN’s Richard Roth in New York and Amy Cassidy in London

The United Nations' Human Rights Office expressed concern that Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza "could amount to war crimes."

“Given the high number of civilian casualties and the scale of destruction following Israeli airstrikes on Jabalya refugee camp, we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes," the office said in a social media post Wednesday.

The UN's statement comes after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that a blast in the Falluja neighborhood of the Jabalya refugee camp Wednesday was due to an airstrike, following an initial airstrike on Tuesday. Both airstrikes targeted Hamas, according to the IDF.

The IDF said in a statement Wednesday that its jets "struck a Hamas command and control complex in Jabalya," adding that "Hamas terrorists were eliminated in the strike."

  

12:58 a.m. ET, November 2, 2023

Israeli strikes on civilians pose tough questions for Biden

From CNN's MJ Lee and Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden and his top national security officials are increasingly confronting questions about Israel’s commitment to minimizing civilian deaths and how scenes from Gaza could affect his domestic political standing.

Even some allies of the administration are worried that defending Israel’s response to the October 7 Hamas terror attacks could become an untenable position for the White House. A massive blast that ripped through Jabalya refugee camp on Tuesday vividly captured the tightrope that the Biden administration is trying to walk: Maintaining in public that Israel is trying to contain Palestinian civilian casualties, even as bloody scenes of destruction pour out of Gaza, fueling public outrage and calls for a ceasefire.

The airstrike, which left catastrophic damage and killed a large number of people has raised  raised new questions about how effective Biden and his top officials have been in convincing their Israeli counterparts to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians. It is also intensifying concerns within the administration that the mounting civilian death toll could further erode international support for Israel, isolating the country at a moment of deep regional instability.

Read more on the tough questions facing Biden.

9:32 p.m. ET, November 1, 2023

Here's why the Rafah border crossing has a critical role in the Israel-Hamas war

From CNN's Abbas Al Lawati and Mohammed Abdelbary

A small number of Palestinians and foreign nationals have finally been able to leave Gaza on Wednesday, after weeks of intense negotiations resulted in the partial opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

On Wednesday, some exited Gaza through Rafah following a deal brokered by Qatar between Israel, Hamas and Egypt, in coordination with the United States.

It comes soon after aid trucks were able to start entering the enclave in greater numbers in the opposite direction — a development that also required lengthy talks.

Located in Egypt’s North Sinai, the Rafah crossing is the sole border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. It falls along an 8-mile (12.8-kilometer) fence that separates Gaza from the Sinai desert.

Rafah is the only Gazan border crossing that isn’t controlled by Israel, which shut its crossings with the territory following Hamas’ October 7 attack. It has emerged as a crucial location as the humanitarian situation in the territory worsens.

Before the war with Hamas that started in early October, Israel had two crossings with Gaza: Erez, which is for the movement of people, and Kerem Shalom, for goods. Both were heavily restricted and have been shut since the war began.

According to United Nations figures, an average of 27,000 people crossed the border each month as of July this year. The border was open for 138 days and closed for 74 this year until that month.

Closures often depend on the security and political situation on the ground. While Israel has no direct control over the crossing, Egypt’s closures often coincide with Israel’s own tightening of restrictions on Gaza.

Read more about the critical role of the Rafah crossing.