November 5, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Kathleen Magramo, Andrew Raine, Rob Picheta, Ed Upright, Christian Edwards, Maureen Chowdhury and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 2:53 a.m. ET, November 6, 2023
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10:41 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Communications are down in Gaza as top US diplomat visits the Middle East. Here's what to know

From CNN staff

Humanitarian agencies have lost contact with aid workers in Gaza, as the Palestinian enclave faces its third communications blackout of the Israel-Hamas war, according to operators.

The company Paltel announced a "complete interruption" of its telecom and network services in a statement posted on Facebook. It said the interruption was due to "the main routes that were previously reconnected being cut off again from the Israeli side."

The main United Nations agency supporting Palestinians in Gaza said it lost contact with "the vast majority" of its teams in the strip. The Palestine Red Crescent Society also said it couldn't reach aid workers in the territory.

Here are some of the day's other major developments:

Israel's offensive in Gaza: The Israeli military said it was carrying out a significant strike on Gaza Sunday evening, after its forces reached the enclave's coast earlier in the day.

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari provided few further details about the nighttime strike, beyond saying it was very extensive and targeted Hamas infrastructure both above and underground.

A CNN team in Sderot, southern Israel, which is not far from the Israel-Gaza border, observed a number of explosions and flares in the direction of Gaza on Sunday evening local time.

Earlier in the day, the IDF said its soldiers had reached the coast as part of an effort to encircle Hamas forces and strike targets in Gaza.

Blinken criss-crosses the region: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's whirlwind diplomatic trip to the Middle East continued Sunday, including an unannounced visit to Iraq.

Blinken met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad for more than an hour, emerging to say the meeting was "productive."

The leaders discussed making sure the conflict in Gaza does not spread into the wider region, the top US diplomat said. That has been a key concern for the US, which has repeatedly warned Israel's foes not to take advantage of the fighting with Hamas to launch a multi-front war.

The Iraq stop was the latest in a series of high-level meetings this weekend. Blinken visited Israel on Friday and met with key Arab leaders on Saturday in Jordan. He also met with the Palestinian Authority president Sunday in Ramallah, where the two discussed escalating settler violence in the West Bank.

He has now arrived in Turkey for his last stop of the tour.

Tension rising at Lebanon-Israel border: Tensions continued to flare at the northern Israel border Sunday, with Israel and Lebanon both announcing civilian casualties from the ongoing strikes between the Israel Defense Forces and Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah spoke on Friday about the October 7 Hamas attacks and ensuing war in Gaza. He said Hezbollah would be "prepared for all scenarios,” and that any escalation by the Israeli army at the border would be a "historic folly" that would prompt a major response. But he also said Hezbollah’s “primary goal” was to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

IDF accuses Hamas of using civilian infrastructure: The Israeli military released what it said was evidence of Hamas using civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and children’s playgrounds, as shields for its attacks on Israel. Images and video showed what a military spokesperson described as "launch pits" that Hamas used to fire rockets from the civilian areas. Officials with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-controlled government media office in Gaza rejected the claims.

Unrest at Turkey airport: Turkish police broke up a pro-Palestinian protest after demonstrators tried to storm an air base housing US Air Force troops in southern Turkey, according to Turkish state news outlet, Anadolu Agency. 

In a post on its website, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation said it had organized the protest to "amplify the voice of the oppressed in Gaza" and show its opposition to what it described as the "pro-Israel attitude adopted by the United States."

Police intervened, using tear gas and water cannons, after some protesters broke down barricades and attempted to enter the airbase, Anadolu added. 

Hostages in Gaza: The Israeli military’s current count of hostages being held by Hamas is 240, Hagari, the Israel Defense Forces' spokesperson, said Sunday. The IDF has said the number can fluctuate based on updated intelligence.

7:58 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

More UN workers have been killed in Gaza over the last 48 hours, relief agency says

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London

Five more United Nations employees have been killed in Gaza over the past 48 hours, according to the main UN agency in the besieged territory.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has also learned of two staff members who were killed on October 24, it said in a report posted Sunday.

The additional deaths bring the total number of UN relief agency workers killed in Gaza to 79 since Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel, the agency said.

Last week, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said the losses amount to the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict anywhere in the world in such a short period of time.

UNRWA paid tribute to its staff in Sunday's report, highlighting how they "continue to work tirelessly to provide humanitarian assistance" despite the losses and displacement they are experiencing.

The agency also provided an update on the death toll from separate strikes in the vicinity of the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza on November 2 and 4.

The agency said it established that 27 people were killed in the strike near a UNRWA school in the camp on November 2. The November 4 strike on a UNRWA school in the camp resulted in the deaths of 15 people, the report said. 

2:53 a.m. ET, November 6, 2023

US guided missile sub surfaces in Middle East, sending message of deterrence to regional adversaries

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

A picture shared by US Central Command appears to show a guided missile submarine in the Suez Canal passing under the Al Salam Bridge northeast of Cairo.
A picture shared by US Central Command appears to show a guided missile submarine in the Suez Canal passing under the Al Salam Bridge northeast of Cairo. US Central Command

In a rare announcement, the US military said a guided missile submarine has arrived in the Middle East, a message of deterrence clearly directed at regional adversaries as the Biden administration tries to avoid a broader conflict amid the Israel-Hamas war.

US Central Command said on social media Sunday that an Ohio-class submarine was entering its area of responsibility. A picture posted with the announcement appeared to show the sub in the Suez Canal northeast of Cairo.

The social media post did not name the sub, but the US Navy has four Ohio-class guided missile submarines, or SSGNs, which are former ballistic missile subs converted to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles rather than nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

Each SSGN can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 50% more than US guided-missile destroyers pack and almost four times what the US Navy’s newest attack subs are armed with.

Each Tomahawk can carry up to a 1,000-pound high-explosive warhead.

“SSGNs can deliver a lot of firepower very rapidly,” said Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center told CNN in 2021.
“One-hundred and fifty-four Tomahawks accurately deliver a lot of punch. No opponent of the US can ignore the threat.”

The magnitude of that firepower was shown in March 2011, when the guided missile sub USS Florida fired almost 100 Tomahawks against targets in Libya during Operation Odyssey Dawn. The attack marked the first time the SSGNs were used in combat.

The military rarely announces the movements or operations of its fleet of ballistic and guided missile subs. Instead, the nuclear-powered vessels operate in near-complete secrecy.

Read more about the sub.

CORRECTION: AN earlier version of this post misidentified the type of US vessel that surfaced in the Middle East. It is a guided missile submarine.

7:11 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

WHO is "very concerned" about reports of communications outage in Gaza, chief says

From CNN's Kareem El Damanhoury and Niamh Kennedy 

The World Health Organization is "very concerned" about reports of another communications outage in Gaza, the organization's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a post on social media Sunday.

"Without connectivity, people who need immediate medical attention cannot contact hospitals and ambulances. All channels of communication must be restored immediately," the WHO chief said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The main United Nations agency supporting Palestinians in Gaza has lost contact with the "vast majority" of its team in the territory, it said earlier Sunday.

Attacks on health care: The WHO has documented 102 attacks on health care establishments in the Gaza Strip since October 7, it said in a separate post Sunday.

The WHO said these attacks have killed hundreds of people, wounded hundreds more, and caused damage to dozens of health care facilities, while also damaging ambulances that serve the strip.

"Over half of health attacks and over a half of hospitals damaged were in Gaza City," the WHO said, referring to the main population center in the territory.

7:23 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Jordan airdrops medical aid package to field hospital in Gaza

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh

 

Jordan air-dropped a medical aid package to a Jordanian field hospital in Gaza, King Abdullah II said on social media.

"Our fearless air force personnel air-dropped at midnight urgent medical aid to the Jordanian field hospital in Gaza. This is our duty to aid our brothers and sisters injured in the war on Gaza. We will always be there for our Palestinian brethren," King Abdullah II said.

The king has been critical of Israel's assault on Gaza and repeatedly called for a ceasefire.

6:06 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Lebanon says it is working with Hezbollah to prevent war

From CNN’s Zeena Saifi in Jerusalem 

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib speaks to CNN on Sunday.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib speaks to CNN on Sunday. CNN

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib told CNN on Sunday that the government is working with Hezbollah and Palestinian groups in Lebanon to prevent a war. 

“We are working with Hezbollah and other Palestinian organizations here to prevent a war, and we’d like the US also to pressure Israel not to start a war,” he told CNN. 

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that "all scenarios" are possible on the Lebanon-Israel border, warning Israel against further escalation of its operations on the Lebanese border, as he repeated calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

Bou Habib said Israel provokes Lebanon “every day” and said he believes Hezbollah does not want a war. 

“We are under the impression, they didn’t tell us, but we are under the impression that there wouldn’t be any big war coming unless Israel attacks Lebanon or the situation gets very bad in Gaza,” said. 

He said he believes Hezbollah when it says it had no prior knowledge to the October 7 attack by Hamas but conceded that that doesn’t mean the two groups don’t have relations with one another. 

“One small incident can start a war. Hopefully not, Lebanese do not want war, I don’t think Hezbollah wants a war … hopefully the Israelis don’t start a war with us,” he said. 

Some background: There has been an ongoing exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Iran-backed Hezbollah across the border over the past weeks following the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7.

4:58 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

US secretary of state arrives in Turkey for another key diplomatic meeting

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at an airport in Ankara, Turkey, just after midnight local time on November 6.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at an airport in Ankara, Turkey, just after midnight local time on November 6. Ercin Erturk/Anadolu/Getty Images

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Turkey just after midnight Monday local time (4 p.m. ET on Sunday) — his last stop in the region before heading to Asia.

Blinken is expected to meet with Turkish officials Monday morning to discuss the Israel-Hamas war. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been immensely critical of Israel's offensive in Gaza, calling the actions "crimes against humanity" and saying this weekend he was suspending communications with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Turkey has also recalled its ambassador to Israel for "consultations." 

Blinken has traveled to Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Cyprus, and Iraq so far as part of a whirlwind diplomatic trip.

5:08 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Texas pizza shop owner among those able to leave Gaza after being stranded for weeks

From CNN's David Williams

From left: Hesham Kaoud with his brothers, Jamal, Esam and Nezam, and his nephew, Ameer Kaoud.
From left: Hesham Kaoud with his brothers, Jamal, Esam and Nezam, and his nephew, Ameer Kaoud. Courtesy Haifa Kaoud

A Texas pizza shop owner who was stranded in Gaza with limited supplies for weeks was able to safely cross into Egypt on Saturday, his wife told CNN Sunday.

Palestinian-American Hesham Kaoud had been stuck in the besieged area after traveling to visit family in Gaza with his brothers Jamal, Esam and Nezam — along with Esam’s adult son, Ameer Kaoud — who are all American citizens.

Jamal Kaoud was able to leave Gaza last week, as was their brother Mohd, who had already been in Gaza, Hesham’s wife Haifa Kaoud told CNN.

The three others remain in Gaza as of Sunday.

When asked if she was relieved, Haifa said, “Sure, however, we are still waiting for the others.”

Hesham and his wife live in Waxahachie, Texas, where they own Milano’s Pizza.

They have two adult sons and an 8-year-old daughter.

Jamal, Esam and Nezam and Ameer live in California, and the family has been in the United States for more than 50 years, Haifa said.

Some Palestinians and foreign nationals were finally able to exit Gaza beginning last Wednesday after the Rafah crossing with Egypt partially opened following weeks of intense negotiations, CNN previously reported.

The partial opening happened through a Qatar-brokered deal between Israel, Hamas and Egypt in coordination with the United States.

Rafah, the only Gazan border crossing that is not controlled by Israel, has become a crucial location as the humanitarian situation in the territory worsens.

Israel closed its crossings with the territory following Hamas’ October 7 attack.

CNN’s Caroll Alvarado, Abbas Al Lawati, Mohammed Abdelbary and Rob Picheta contributed to reporting to this post.