November 3, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

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1:07 p.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Videos show dozens of casualties after incident near Gaza hospital, as cause remains unclear

There are dozens of casualties after an incident near Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, according to multiple videos from the scene and the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

The cause is not immediately clear. 

Multiple videos from the scene show at least a dozen bloodied casualties strewn across the ground near an ambulance. There appears to be some shrapnel damage to at least one of the cars on the scene.

CNN has geolocated the videos to the edge of a compound that includes the hospital. There is so far no video evidence of any crater from a munition.

CNN has inquired about the incident with the Israel Defense Forces.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, who was at the hospital, said that Israel was responsible for the attack. 

Dr. Ashraf Al-Qidra said that authorities had organized a medical convoy from the hospital, traveling to the Rafah border crossing, and informed the International Committee of the Red Cross about the move.

“When the ambulances moved towards the south, the occupation (Israel) targeted the ambulances in multiple locations, including on the gate of Al-Shifa medical compound,” he said. “The Israeli occupation targeted intentionally those ambulances.”

1:06 p.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Rocket seen hitting courtyard of school in Israeli city overlooking Gaza

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

At least two rockets were seen making a direct hit in the Israeli city of Sderot on Friday evening, with one striking the courtyard of a kindergarten. Shrapnel hit the windows of the building as well as several nearby cars.  

That rocket hit less than 100 meters (about 328 feet) from where some journalists are positioned in the city, overlooking Gaza. 

There were no reported casualties. 

12:07 p.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Families of 11 Hamas victims file complaint with the International Criminal Court

From CNN's Lianne Kolirin

The International Criminal Court building in The Hague, Netherlands on July 30, 2016.
The International Criminal Court building in The Hague, Netherlands on July 30, 2016. Michel Porro/Getty Images

Families of eleven victims of the Hamas attack on October 7 have accused the perpetrators of “crimes against humanity” in a complaint filed to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Relatives of the victims, who were all civilians, have also called on International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan to investigate Hamas’ actions as “war crimes” that were carried out as part of a “genocidal plan,” according to a press statement shared with CNN by their lawyer Francois Zimeray on Friday.

“It was the execution of a genocidal plan assumed by its perpetrators. In the face of denial in real time, the truth must be defended, these atrocities must be known and engraved in the collective memory," the complaint lodged by Zimeray, a lawyer at the Paris Bar and ICC said.

The complaint concerns 11 victims who were either killed or injured within Israeli borders. Several had been at the Nova music festival, where Hamas gunmen killed more than 260 people.

According to Zimeray's law firm, Zimeray & Finelle, “the material facts cannot… be disputed” as Hamas has “amply documented and broadcast” its actions, which shocked the “universal conscience.”

Zimeray asked the prosecution to "consider the advisability of issuing an international arrest warrant for the leaders of Hamas, following the example of the warrant issued for the Russian President in relation to the aggression in Ukraine." 

The development comes days after Khan visited the region and where, from Cairo, he gave a speech in which he said that impeding the flow of aid into Gaza could constitute a war crime. 

11:29 a.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Pregnant women describe the desperate maternal health situation in Gaza, health agency says

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam 

The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA) released audio interviews with three women currently taking shelter in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza describing their desperate situation.

The recordings were made over the last few days in Al Shifa Hospital, UNFPA said.

One woman says she was forced to flee her home while heavily pregnant and another lost a child in utero during an airstrike. 

Gaza is home to 50,000 pregnant women and "some 5,500 of these women are due to give birth in the coming month," according to an October 12 report from UNFPA. "That is equal to 166 births per day, taking place with inadequate access to healthcare or even clean water."

"I was under the rubble… I couldn't move… I was nine months pregnant. I had ten days left to give birth. They scanned the fetus; they found the pulse was weak and they had to do an emergency cesarean section,” 35-year-old Islam Hussein said in the interview released by UNFPA. "I named my son Sanad — it means support.”

"I am two months pregnant, and I had a hemorrhage before," 24-year-old Reham Rashad Bakr said. "There is a treatment that I should take but I am not able to take it,” she said in the audio interview. "Pregnant women like me should be drinking milk and eating eggs. All bakeries have been bombed. There is no bread, no water.” 

Alaa Al Bayaa, a 30-year-old pregnant Palestinian woman, said when she went to the doctor, she was told her baby had died.

"The doctor told me there is no pulse, there is no hope," she said. "It means my fetus is dead and it needs to be removed from my uterus."  
11:06 a.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Blinken returns to Israel for meetings with top officials. Here's what you should know today

From CNN staff

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to Israel on Friday for his third trip to the country since the October 7 Hamas attack, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials.

Standing alongside Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv on Friday, Blinken said the US stood by Israel but called for Gazan civilians to be protected amid intensifying Israeli bombardment.

Here are the top headlines right now:

  • Blinken visit: Following Blinken's remarks, Herzog thanked the diplomat for his "moral clarity." The top US diplomat was expected to push for a "pause" in airstrikes on Gaza to "allow for mediation," while visiting Israel on Friday, according to a diplomatic source familiar with the negotiations. However, the timeline for such a pause was unclear.
  • Israeli military update: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are advancing in Gaza and destroying Hamas infrastructure, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a press conference on Friday. Separately, he said that the IDF is on a "very high level of alertness" at the Lebanese border, a day after unusually fierce exchanges of fire in that area.
  • Bombardment of Gaza: Residents of the enclave faced another night of heavy aerial assault, with the skies of northern Gaza illuminated by flares and explosions. A doctor at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital said that low fuel stocks had plunged wards into darkness and cut off major, basic functions like oxygen generation. Meanwhile, Gazan residents who had been working in Israel were seen returning to the besieged territory on Friday through the Kerem Shalom border crossing in southern Israel, a day after an Israel Cabinet decision to expel them.
  • Rafah border crossing: The exodus of foreign nationals from Gaza into Egypt continued Friday, with 99 people making their way through on Friday morning, according to an Egyptian border official. The White House on Thursday confirmed a total of 79 American citizens and family members were among those who had arrived in Egypt so far.
  • Criticism from Ireland's leader: Ireland's leader Leo Varadkar criticized Israel's actions in Gaza, describing them Friday as resembling "something approaching revenge," according to Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ. Varadkar told reporters during a visit to South Korea on Friday, "I strongly believe that like any state Israel has the right to defend itself, has the right to go after Hamas so they cannot do this again. But what I am seeing unfolding at the moment isn't just self-defense, it resembles something more approaching revenge and that's not where we should be and I don't think it is how Israel will guarantee its future freedom and security," Varadkar continued.
  • Hezbollah chief breaks his silence: Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah made his first public remarks since the Hamas-Israel war erupted on October 7. In his speech on Friday, Nasrallah addressed speculation about whether Iran-backed factions were part of the attacks, saying that the planning and execution of the attacks were "100 percent Palestinian." His speech comes amid escalating skirmishes between his powerful, Iran-backed armed group and Israel, sparking concern of a potential broader regional war.  

CNN's Niamh Kennedy contributed reporting to this post.

This post has been updated with new details about Nasrallah's remarks.

10:56 a.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Netanyahu says Israel opposes temporary ceasefire unless all hostages are freed

From CNN's Mick Krever

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a televised speech on November 3.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a televised speech on November 3.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that his government opposed any temporary ceasefire in Gaza unless Hamas freed all the hostages it holds.

He also said that it would continue to block fuel from entering Gaza.

“Israel is objecting a temporary ceasefire which does not include freeing all our hostages,” Netanyahu said during televised remarks on Friday. “Israel does not allow fuel into the Gaza Strip and is objecting to funds being transferred into Gaza strip.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv on Friday said the US believes efforts to get humanitarian assistance in and hostages out “would be facilitated by humanitarian pauses.”

Blinken also said during the news conference that the US and Israel have "identified mechanisms" to get much-needed fuel to Gaza's hospitals.

The Israeli military on Friday said 241 hostages are believed to have been taken by Hamas on October 7.

The military also said Friday the death toll of Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza is up to 25.

CNN’s Becky Anderson contributed reporting to this post.

11:00 a.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Hezbollah's leader calls for ceasefire in Gaza

From CNN’s Tamara Qiblawi and Lauren Kent

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech from an unspecified location in Lebanon, in this screenshot taken from video obtained on November 3.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech from an unspecified location in Lebanon, in this screenshot taken from video obtained on November 3. Al-Manar via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, called in a speech Friday for people to "work day and night" to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza, saying it is Hezbollah's "primary goal."

Nasrallah said the powerful Iran-backed Lebanese paramilitary group's secondary goal is for Hamas to emerge "victorious" in Gaza.

He also described the war as a "turning point."

"The victory of Gaza means a victory for Palestine, for Jerusalem, for Aqsa and the Holy Sepulcher and all the neighboring countries," Nasrallah said.

Warning of a new front: Nasrallah went on to say Hezbollah has been in an "unprecedented battle" with Israel on the Israel-Lebanon border since October 8, adding that "the possibility of the Lebanese front escalating into broad battle is a realistic option."

"Israel should take this into account," he said in his speech.

Nasrallah described Hezbollah's operations at the Lebanese border as a "deterrent" to Israel and said "all scenarios" are possible in the region, warning Israel against escalating its military activity there. The Hezbollah leader said any such escalation would be "a historic folly" by Israel.

Some background: Hezbollah is an Iran-backed Islamist movement with one of the most powerful paramilitary forces in the Middle East. The group, which has its main base on the Israel-Lebanon border, could become a wildcard player in the Hamas-Israel war and spark a wider regional conflict.

Hezbollah and Israel have been engaged in tit-for-tat skirmishes across the border in northern Israel and southern Lebanon since the war began. The Lebanese group has voiced support for Hamas' cause but not yet directly intervened on its behalf, linking its clashes with Israel to attacks on Lebanese soil.

US intelligence officials were watching Nasrallah's speech closely Friday for signals about Hezbollah’s intentions, an intelligence source told CNN on Thursday.

10:31 a.m. ET, November 3, 2023

Blinken: US and Israel have "identified mechanisms" to get fuel to hospitals in Gaza

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Kaitlan Collins

United States and Israeli officials have "identified mechanisms to enable fuel to reach hospitals and other needs," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday, as the situation in Gaza's healthcare facilities continues to deteriorate.

The issue of getting fuel into Gaza was expected to be a key focus of Blinken’s conversations in Tel Aviv, and a source familiar with the discussion told CNN that it was one of the top US diplomat’s most notable pushes.  

It is unclear when the mechanisms may be put into action. The source said Israel’s wartime cabinet was not very receptive given the difficulties in ensuring that fuel is for humanitarian purposes. Israeli officials have repeatedly said they believe Hamas will steal the fuel.

“Israel has raised appropriate concerns, concerns that we share” about Hamas siphoning off the fuel, Blinken said at a press conference in Tel Aviv, adding that the group’s “cynicism knows no bounds.”

Blinken said he “spoke to Israeli leaders about tangible steps that can be taken to increase the sustained delivery of food, water, medicine, fuel and other essential needs while putting in place measures to prevent diversion by Hamas and other terrorist groups.”

Blinken said conversations would continue “about getting assistance to flow, including with help from the United Nations.”

The situation in Gaza's hospitals: A woman sheltering in Gaza’s largest medical facility told CNN that piles of both trash and people line the hospital’s corridors, with many “sleeping on the floors because residents feel hospitals are safe.”

“The smell of death is everywhere,” she said. “The smell of blood is everywhere.”

Gaza’s leading cancer hospital, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital, has stopped operating due to Israeli bombardment and fuel shortages, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said in a statement Wednesday.

Israel has claimed that there is fuel in Gaza, but that it is under Hamas’ control. CNN cannot independently verify the amount of fuel in the enclave.

Hospitals in the heavily battered enclave are “hanging by a thread,” the UN said Monday, adding that around 10 hospitals in Gaza are still operational. But those facilities are constantly receiving evacuation orders, the UN added.

11:35 a.m. ET, November 3, 2023

US surveillance drones flying over Gaza to help with hostage search

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis, Natasha Bertrand, Zachary Cohen and Oren Liebermann

The US military is flying surveillance drones over Gaza as part of American efforts to help Israel locate the more than 240 hostages still held by Hamas, the Pentagon confirmed Friday.

CNN had earlier reported the drones — which are also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) — are part of a surge of intelligence assets sent to the region in the days and weeks following the October 7 attack on southern Israel, according to multiple US officials familiar with the matter. The attack caught both Israeli and US intelligence services by surprise.

“In support of hostage recovery efforts, the US is conducting unarmed UAV flights over Gaza, as well as providing advice and assistance to support our Israeli partner as they work on their hostage recovery efforts,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement. “These UAV flights began after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.”

Two other US drones — both MQ-9 Reapers, one of the US’s most sophisticated drones primarily used for surveillance — were also flying off the coast of Lebanon over the weekend, according to one source familiar with the effort and flight tracker data reviewed by CNN. The US is closely monitoring for any signs that Lebanese Hezbollah — or any other Iranian proxy force — may seek to escalate the simmering tensions rippling across the region. 

It’s not clear how helpful the imagery gathered by the overhead flights in Gaza will be in locating hostages, since they are widely believed to be held in the vast network of underground tunnels, some former intelligence officials said. 

US officials insisted the intelligence gathered by the drones and shared with Israel is limited to hostage recovery efforts and is not so-called “targeting intelligence” — information used to conduct lethal strikes against Hamas leaders and positions.

US special operations personnel inside Israel have also been advising the Israeli Defense Forces on hostage recovery efforts, as the US separately has been providing bombs and other lethal aid. 

But Ryder said Thursday that those forces and the US military broadly are “not participating in IDF target development” or “helping them run their campaign” in Gaza. 

“We the US military are not participating in IDF target development, helping them run their campaign — just to be crystal clear that it is their operation,” Ryder said. “That planning element is providing planning and intelligence support as it relates to hostage recovery.”

Still, several of these officials acknowledged to CNN that that the information gathered by the drones that the US shares with Israel could also be helpful in tracking Hamas’s activities beyond holding hostages.

Israel has been pounding Gaza with airstrikes for weeks, drawing international criticism that it has been insufficiently mindful of the risk to civilians trapped in the blockaded enclave. 

The Biden administration also dispatched three-star Marine Corps general James Glynn to counsel the IDF on planning its tactical assault on Gaza, but he has since returned to the US.

Of the more than 240 hostages still held by Hamas, 10 of them are believed to be Americans.

This post has been updated with comments from the Pentagon confirming the drones' use in hostage recovery efforts.