November 4, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Chris Lau, Andrew Raine, Tamara Qiblawi, Sophie Tanno, Laura Smith-Spark, Adrienne Vogt and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 0420 GMT (1220 HKT) November 5, 2023
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9:18 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Israeli military urges Gaza residents to use main road to evacuate to the south

From CNN's Kyle Blaine

The Israeli military is calling on Gaza residents to use the main road in the strip in order to travel south of Wadi Gaza, the waterway bisecting the center of the strip.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman for Arab media posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, in Arabic that residents should use Salah al-Din Road for a three-hour period between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. local time in Gaza to move to safety.

It's unclear how many Gaza residents have access to the internet to see the message.

The IDF has repeatedly called for civilians in Gaza to move south of Wadi Gaza as it intensifies its air and ground assault on Gaza City and northern Gaza, including strikes on densely populated areas and civilian infrastructure that the IDF has said is being used by Hamas militants. 

International aid and rights groups have criticized Israel's calls for residents to evacuate the north without a pause in fighting and with roads and other infrastructure badly damaged.

6:42 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Number of French nationals killed in Hamas attacks on Israel rises to 39, French foreign ministry says

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy, Chris Liakos and Joseph Ataman

The number of French nationals killed in the Hamas attacks in Israel has risen to 39, according to the French foreign ministry. 

"France mourns the tragic deaths of further French nationals, bringing the total number of French victims of Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel to 39," the ministry said in a statement Saturday. 

Nine French nationals are still missing following the October 7 attacks, the ministry said, adding that it has "now been confirmed that some of them have been taken hostage by Hamas." 

The French government says it is in contact with the families of the missing individuals. French President Emmanuel Macron met with the family members of hostages during a recent trip to Israel. 

6:33 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

French cultural center targeted by Israeli strike in Gaza, French foreign ministry says

From CNN's Joseph Ataman in Paris

Israeli forces targeted the French cultural center in Gaza, which has been closed since the outbreak of fighting, the French foreign ministry said in a statement Friday.

The ministry said it was informed by Israeli authorities that the site was the target of the strike. It is the only Western cultural center in Gaza, and is affiliated with the French embassy in Israel.

“We have demanded that the Israeli authorities communicate to us without delay via appropriate channels the tangible elements that motivated this decision,” the ministry said. 

The ministry said none of the institute’s workers or French citizens were inside the center at the time of the strike. French authorities have been working to evacuate the center's Palestinian workers from Gaza.

In a statement to CNN, the Israeli military said that it continues to request all Gaza residents move to safer territory in the south of the strip due to its assault on Hamas in Gaza City and northern Gaza. 

Israel has, however, targeted several locations in the southern part of the coastal enclave.

“Hamas continues to attack Israel across the entire Gaza Strip. Hamas has embedded itself in civilian infrastructure and operates across the entire Gaza Strip. The IDF is determined to end these attacks and as such we will strike Hamas wherever necessary,” the IDF statement military said.

10:52 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Blinken shares "deep concern" about Lebanon-Israel border tension with Lebanese PM Mikati

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his "deep concern" in a meeting with Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Amman on Saturday about the cross-fire along Lebanon's southern border with Israel.

“Secretary Blinken thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership in preventing Lebanon from being pulled into a war that the Lebanese people do not want, as well as his efforts with regional partners to pursue durable and sustainable peace in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said.

“The Secretary discussed US efforts to secure humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza and noted that Lebanon needs to select a President to lead the country through both the regional and domestic crises.”

Some context: Iran-backed Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah has been engaged in daily skirmishes with Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border since October 8.

On Friday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hailed the crossfire as an "unprecedented battle" but called for a ceasefire in Gaza, signalling a reluctance to widen hostilities with Israel.

9:18 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza denies Israeli assertion that ambulances were used by fighters

From CNN's Kareem Khadder and Eyad Kourdi

Palestinians inspect a damaged ambulance after an attack outside Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 3.
Palestinians inspect a damaged ambulance after an attack outside Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 3. Anas al-Shareef/Reuters

The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has rejected Israeli military allegations that an ambulance struck on Friday was being used by Hamas operatives.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed responsibility Friday for striking an ambulance "that was identified by forces as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to their position in the battle zone.”

At least 15 people were killed, and 60 others wounded in the attack outside Shifa hospital in Gaza City, according to Gazan health authorities.

The ministry said Saturday that two ambulances were hit.

“The first ambulance was struck near the Ansar roundabout, critically injuring a paramedic and causing additional injuries to the ambulance driver. The second attack occurred as the convoy reached the entrance of the Shifa medical compound,” the ministry statement said.

This post has been updated to reflect the most recent information on the number of people injured.

7:57 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Jordan: Blinken to meet with several Arab foreign ministers Saturday

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler in Amman

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a meeting with Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan, on November 4.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a meeting with Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan, on November 4. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Jordan says US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with fellow foreign ministers from key Arab partners at a summit in Amman Saturday to discuss the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced Friday that Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi would convene his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar, as well as the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who will then meet as a group with Blinken.

The Foreign Ministry said the summit will be focused on ending the war and addressing “the humanitarian catastrophe it has caused.”

3:11 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

730 foreign nationals expected to cross through Rafah Saturday,  Egyptian source says

From journalist Asmaa Khalil in Rafah 

Some 730 foreign nationals are expected to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing Saturday, according to an official source on the Egyptian side of Rafah.

Here is breakdown of nationalities expected:

55 Egyptians

386 Americans

112 British 

77 French 

151 Germans

3:13 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Blinken to meet with Lebanon caretaker prime minister in Amman

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler in Amman

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Lebanese Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati at his hotel during a day of meetings, in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday, November 4.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Lebanese Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati at his hotel during a day of meetings, in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday, November 4. Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Amman Saturday as part of his third trip to the region since Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7 and the subsequent war. 

It comes after his trip to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Friday, after which he spoke of the need for more to be done to protect Palestinian civilians.

But he also condemned Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields and embedding its fighters within civilian infrastructure, adding that “civilians should not suffer the consequences for its inhumanity and its brutality.”

He said that the US believes efforts to get humanitarian assistance in and hostages out “would be facilitated by humanitarian pauses.”

3:35 a.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Israeli festival survivor returns to site of Hamas rampage

From CNN's Rebecca Wright and Nic Robertson, John Torigoe, Eli Kiko Cohen and Joel Bennett

Aliza Samuel, 24, returned to the site of the deadly Nova festival attack by Hamas militants, in southern Israel, on October 7.
Aliza Samuel, 24, returned to the site of the deadly Nova festival attack by Hamas militants, in southern Israel, on October 7. Rebecca Wright/CNN

Nearly one month on from the massacre of festival-goers in Re’im in southern Israel by Hamas militants, survivor Aliza Samuel left her home for the first time and returned with CNN to the place where she witnessed the murders of four of her friends. 

She walked carefully through debris left strewn across the ground, picking up a bracelet before coming across some small clay trinkets that had been handmade during the Nova Music Festival.

More than 260 bodies were found at the site in the aftermath of the assault on October 7, one of the deadliest of the Hamas attacks, which killed at least 1,400 people in Israel.

Samuel recalls the moment she was jolted awake soon after sunrise by the sound of Hamas rockets flying toward them from Gaza. She said she immediately woke her friend, and they fled their tent to try to find a concrete shelter.

Many of the other festival goers were asleep or still dancing, and either didn’t hear the alarm, or ignored it, she said.

But Samuel and her friend didn’t want to take any chances, so they started running. As they sought cover, they suddenly spotted Hamas fighters appearing in the skies above them on paragliders, shooting at people from the air as they came in to land.

Panicking, the pair sprinted across the open farmland surrounding the festival site and dived into a ditch behind a line of large trees. Samuel worked on trying to calm her friend down, clamping her hand over her mouth to stop her screaming, as they began to realize what was unfolding. Others were also hiding behind the trees, “trying not to breathe,” she said.

“I saw Hamas take a bunch of people and went to their commander, and asked if to kill them or to take them,” she said. “And once they were dead, they didn’t stop, they just kept shooting them, and you just saw the body just jump and jump from the bullets, after they were dead.”

After hiding in the ditch for hours, Samuel and her friend eventually saw army vehicles arrive and decided to make a run for it – stepping through “pools of blood” to escape. Finally, they found some Israeli soldiers who helped them get to safety.

Later, she learned that another male friend at the festival had also been found dead – shot in the leg and then later beheaded at a nearby kibbutz.

Read the full story here.