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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1:18 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Israeli military says its ground troops have reached the coast of Gaza

From CNN's Tamar Michaelis

The Israeli military said Sunday that its soldiers had reached positions along the coast of Gaza as part of the expansion of its ground operations.

The 36th Division of the Israel Defense Forces reached the coast as it worked to encircle Hamas forces and strike targets in Gaza, the IDF said in a news release.

“In the last 12 hours, the soldiers of the division struck around 50 targets, including combat zones, operational residences, outposts, military positions and underground infrastructure, and eliminated terrorists in close-quarter combat,” the statement added.

1:06 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Ambassador says IDF is making "every effort" to get civilians out of harm's way as humanitarian pressure grows

From CNN’s Aileen Graef

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog said Sunday that Israel is “making every effort” to get the civilian population in Gaza “out of harm’s way.”

“We're making every effort to distinguish between terrorists and civilian population. We call the civilian population to move to the south out of harm's way, and Hamas is doing everything they can to keep them in harm’s way,” Herzog said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Herzog called the deaths of civilians “tragic,” but said Israel cannot "allow Hamas immunity because they hide behind civilians."

Herzog said Israel would be open to the idea of a humanitarian pause if it means getting hostages out of Gaza, but said Hamas is “not serious” about a hostage release agreement and is “playing for time.”

Outcry over Gaza crisis grows: Israel's military said it gave Gaza civilians a four-hour window Sunday to move south, as its ground offensive and heaviest bombardment target Gaza City and the northern strip. Officials say the flight of displaced residents to southern Gaza has only deepened the humanitarian crisis, and the IDF has struck targets south of the evacuation line.

US President Joe Biden and his top advisers are warning Israel with growing force that it will become increasingly difficult for it to pursue its military goals in Gaza as global outcry intensifies about the scale of humanitarian suffering there.

American officials also believe there is limited time for Israel to try to accomplish its stated objective of taking out Hamas in its current operation before uproar over the humanitarian suffering and civilian casualties — and calls for a ceasefire — reach a tipping point.

More from the Biden administration: Jon Finer, the US deputy national security adviser, said Sunday that Hamas operating in densely populated areas “places a higher burden” on the Israel Defense Forces to protect civilians, but the US will continue to hold Israel to operating within humanitarian law.

Finer told ABC that during his trip to the Middle East this weekend, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made clear to the Arab countries calling for a ceasefire, that the United States does not believe “now is the time for an overall ceasefire,” but still supported humanitarian pauses to get aid in and hostage out.

Finer also said there is ongoing talks to get the hostages still held by Hamas released, and the administration still thinks it is “possible,” but they have not reached an agreement.

12:36 p.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Palestinian ambassador to UK says Abbas' meeting with US secretary of state was tense

From CNN’s Abby Baggini

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom slammed the United States on Sunday for failing to be an "honest mediator" in the Israel-Hamas war.

"We need to see the US playing the role of an honest mediator, not adopting the Israeli narrative," the ambassador, Dr. Husam Zomlot, said on CBS shortly after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. "We needed a grown-up in the room and that is the US — unfortunately, we haven't heard that, and we have not come up with a joint statement." 

Zomlot, who also served as the last Palestinian ambassador to the US, said Blinken's meeting with Abbas was tense.

"Our president demanded an immediate ceasefire to the atrocious, murderous assault by Israel on our civilians and people. This is not a war against Hamas," Zomlot said. "It's clear since it started that it's a war against our people, not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank."

The ambassador also slammed the US for refusing to call for a ceasefire and instead opting for the term "humanitarian pause."

"This whole talk, Margaret, about 'humanitarian pauses' is simply irresponsible," he told CBS' Margaret Brennan. "Pauses of crimes against humanity — we're going to pause for six hours killing our children, and then we resume killing the children? I mean, this doesn't stand even international laws."

Zomlot declined to formally condemn the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and instead called on the US to "empower the state of Palestine that will be able to protect its people."

Zomlot said he does not consider the conflict to be a war, because "a war does not happen between the occupied and an occupier" and "only happens between two sovereign states."

He said the situation in the West Bank is "very volatile and dangerous" and that he is concerned about it escalating into a broader regional war.

"Every minute we wait, there is a risk of spreading over," he warned.

11:55 a.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Hospital in Gaza scrambles to treat dozens of children after main generator stops working, doctor says

From CNN's Lauren Kent and Radina Gigova in London 

Medical staff at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza are trying to provide care to more than 60 injured children, including 13 on mechanical ventilation, despite a lack of medical supplies and after the hospital's main generator stopped working due to lack of fuel, a pediatrician at the hospital told CNN on Saturday. 

Most of the children who came to the emergency department on Saturday were in "very critical" condition, said Dr. Husam Abu Safyia, a pediatrician at the medical center. 

The main hospital generator stopped working Friday and the hospital is relying on a small electric generator that is being used "just for intensive care units," he said in a message to CNN. 

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah warned Saturday of a "catastrophe within Gaza hospitals," adding that wounded people are "taking their last breaths" due to the lack of medical resources and fuel. 

11:38 a.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Qatar "hopeful" Gaza border crossing will reopen as dispute over ambulance strike threatens progress

From CNN’s Becky Anderson and Elizabeth Wells in Doha, and CNN’s Zeena Saifi in Jerusalem

A family carries their luggage at the Rafah border crossing in Rafah, Gaza, on November 5.
A family carries their luggage at the Rafah border crossing in Rafah, Gaza, on November 5. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Qatar is "hopeful" the Rafah crossing will open again to allow people to leave Gaza for Egypt, but cannot say when that will happen, the Gulf state’s foreign ministry spokesperson said Sunday in response to questions from CNN. 

The opening of the crossing this week to allow hundreds of foreign passport holders and dozens of wounded Palestinians out of the besieged, Hamas-run enclave was “a very optimistic moment in a very gloomy month,” Majed Al-Ansari, the official spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN.

“We do understand that there are a lot of difficulties on the ground here that do not allow for this positive point to continue, but we are hopeful that we will see more opening of this crossing and we will see more people coming out as soon as possible,” he said. Al-Ansari could not give a specific timeline. 

The crossing into Egypt — the only way out of Gaza since Israel closed its two crossings —closed Saturday and did not open Sunday.

Dispute over ambulances: Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza, is blocking foreign nationals from departing until Israel guarantees that ambulances from Gaza can reach the Rafah crossing, a US official familiar with situation said Saturday. Israel has accused Hamas of using ambulances to transport militants. In the case of an ambulance targeted by an Israeli strike Friday, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has rejected that allegation. Witnesses said dozens were killed and wounded in the strike.

Qatar’s Al-Ansari acknowledged the dispute over ambulances. 

“The bombing of ambulances — which are part of this agreement, for the ambulance convoys to move patients out of harm’s way — certainly does not help as a proof of concept for this agreement to be successful,” he said.

He urged for "all parties, but especially the occupation army" to assure safe routes and make sure an agreement is reached and respected.

Hostage negotiations ongoing: Qatar has played a vital role in negotiating for the evacuation of foreign nationals and injured civilians. It also leads the mediation in negotiating for the release of hostages held in Gaza. Asked by CNN for an update on those negotiations, Al-Ansari said they were ongoing, and that Qatar remains committed in its mediating role.  

“While we have continuously said that the escalation on the ground makes it more difficult for these mediations to succeed … they are still ongoing and we remain steadfast in our commitment to handle this mediation in the best way possible,” he said. 

11:35 a.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Blinken visits West Bank and blast rocks Gaza refugee camp. Here’s what you need to know today

From CNN staff

People stand in the rubble of the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on November 5.
People stand in the rubble of the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on November 5. Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has returned to the Middle East this weekend as the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate – and as settler violence in the West Bank has increased. Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday, in his first visit to Ramallah since the war began.

The top US diplomat has used the Middle East tour to continue advocating for a "humanitarian pause" to the fighting between Israel and Hamas, to allow fuel and life-saving aid to enter the war-torn Gaza Strip. He has also reiterated US opposition to an immediate ceasefire, saying it would give Hamas a chance to regroup and attack Israel again. That position stands in contrast to the Arab leaders he met with in Jordan.

Israel has as yet rebuffed the US calls for a temporary pause in fighting — and the calls for a ceasefire. Shortly after Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet Friday, Netanyahu very publicly rejected the US proposal, saying he would not allow for a ceasefire or a pause until hostages held by Hamas are released.

Here are the latest developments:

  • More on Blinken's tour: The diplomat has met with foreign ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar and Cyprus since returning to the Middle East. His meeting with the Palestinian Authority leader Sunday centered on violence in the West Bank, where at least 150 Palestinians have been killed in since October 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health – a number nearing the total number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank in all of 2022. At a summit Saturday in Amman, Jordan, Blinken called extremist violence “a serious problem that’s only worsened since the conflict.” He also spoke about the need to focus on rebuilding Gaza after Israel's offensive there and its future governance, which Blinken said the Palestinian Authority should be a part of.
  • Deadly blast in refugee camp: Dozens were killed and many more wounded in a explosion at the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip late Saturday night, according to hospital officials. The explosion killed 52 people, Mohammad al Hajj, the director of communications at the nearby Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ hospital in Deir Al-Balah, told CNN. He said the blast was the result of an Israeli airstrike. The Israel Defense Forces says it is looking into the circumstances around the explosion. Muhammed Alaloul, a journalist in Gaza, told CNN he lost four children and three siblings in the explosion.
  • Explosions near hospital: Large explosions rocked the vicinity of the Al-Quds hospital, close to Gaza City, early Sunday, the Palestine Red Cross Society (PRCS) said. The PRCS said the building was targeted by the IDF, and that a number of people had been killed in the blast. Earlier Sunday, Israel once again told civilians to move south from Gaza City, though it's unclear how many received the message. CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for comment on the explosions. It has frequently accused Hamas of using civilian infrastructure such as hospitals for military operations.
  • Rising Gaza death toll: More than 9,700 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since October 7, according to Dr. Mai Al-Kaila, the Palestinian minister of health in Ramallah, using data drawn from medical sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave. The figure included 4,800 children, Al-Kaila said. The updated figures came after a US special envoy, David Satterfield, said Saturday that between 800,000 and a million people have fled from the north to southern parts of the Gaza Strip, deepening the humanitarian crisis. Critical supplies remain in short supply during Israel's siege on the territory.
  • Demonstrations around the world: Hundreds of family members of hostages taken by Hamas in the October 7 attack held a rally in front of the Kirya – the government’s military headquarters – in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, “to demand greater actions by the government to release the hostages.” More than 200 hostages are still being held in Gaza after Hamas’ attacks nearly a month ago. Meanwhile, three people were arrested at anti-government protests in Jerusalem on Saturday, while people marched in major capitals across the globe to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
10:02 a.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Over 300 Americans have left Gaza in last several days, White House official says

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

More than 300 Americans and their families have departed Gaza “over the last several days,” White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said Sunday on CBS Face the Nation, citing intensive negotiations.

Finer cautioned that there are still a “number of Americans” inside Gaza.

“(This is a) major priority and one that we’re going to continue to work at until every American who wants to leave is able to do so," he said.

Approximately 400 American citizens and their family members – about 1,000 people total – were stuck in Gaza and are seeking to leave, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing last Tuesday.

Efforts to secure safe passage for foreign nationals in Gaza were stymied by Hamas and a slew of logistical challenges exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation as thousands of foreigners, including hundreds of Americans, remained trapped in the war-torn region.

A breakthrough was finally reached last week to allow foreign passport holders and a group of critically injured civilians to depart through the Rafah border crossing, with the first group departing last Wednesday.

9:39 a.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Pope Francis issues plea for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas conflict

From CNN’s Barbie Latza Nadeau in Rome and Catherine Nicholls in London

Pope Francis delivers a blessing at the Vatican, on Sunday, November 5.
Pope Francis delivers a blessing at the Vatican, on Sunday, November 5. Gregorio Borgia/AP

Pope Francis said on Sunday that he “begs” in God’s name for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

“I continue to think about the serious situation in Palestine and in Israel where many, many people have lost their lives. In God’s name, I beg you to stop: cease using weapons!" the pope said on X, formerly Twitter.

“I hope that avenues will be pursued so that an escalation of the conflict might be absolutely avoided,” the pontiff added.

9:23 a.m. ET, November 5, 2023

"European Jews today are again living in fear," European Commission says

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

The European Commission said Sunday that “European Jews today are again living in fear,” amid a spike of antisemitic incidents across Europe in the weeks since Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel.

“The spike of antisemitic incidents across Europe has reached extraordinary levels in the last few days, reminiscent of some of the darkest times in history,” a statement published on the European Commission’s website read.

A spate of antisemitic assaults have shaken Jewish communities across Europe, since the war between Israel and Hamas began.

In its statement, the Commission pointed to this “resurgence of antisemitic incidents and rhetoric in the European Union and worldwide,” citing Molotov cocktails thrown on a synagogue in Germany, stars of David sprayed on residential buildings in France, a Jewish cemetery desecrated in Austria, Jewish stores and synagogues attacked in Spain, as well as demonstrators chanting hate slogans against Jews.

“In these difficult times the EU stands by its Jewish communities. We condemn these despicable acts in the strongest possible terms. They go against everything that Europe stands for. Against our core values and our way of life,” the statement read.

The Commission said the attacks were “against the model of society” it represents: “one based on equality, inclusiveness and the full respect of human rights. Jewish, Muslim, Christian – no one should live in fear of discrimination or violence because of their religion or their identity.”

“The EU is determined to protect the wellbeing of all its communities, ethnic, religious or other,” it added. “We have to push back against this rise in antisemitism, as well as the rise in anti-Muslim hatred that we have been witnessing over the past weeks – which has no place in Europe,” the statement read.

The Commission said it would “continue to step up security measures,” in cooperation with member states.