November 12, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Heather Chen, Andrew Raine, Sophie Tanno, Maureen Chowdhury, Antoinette Radford and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 0556 GMT (1356 HKT) November 13, 2023
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7:06 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

3-year-old American among hostages held in Gaza, according to White House

From CNN’s Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden discussed the war in Gaza with the emir of Qatar on Sunday, including Qatari-brokered efforts to free hostages.

In a readout of the call, the White House revealed that one of the hostages being held is a 3-year-old American toddler whose parents were killed by Hamas during its October 7 attacks in Israel.

"The two leaders agreed that all hostages must be released without further delay," the White House said in a readout of the call.

Biden "affirmed his vision for a future Palestinian state where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side with equal measures of stability and dignity" in Sunday's phone call, according to the readout.

"He noted that Hamas has long been an impediment to that outcome," the White House statement reads.

8:32 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

Operating rooms are completely out of service at Gaza's largest hospital, director says

From CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali in Atlanta and Jo Shelley in Tel Aviv

None of the operating rooms at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza are functioning due to lack of electricity, the medical center's director told Al-Araby TV on Sunday.

"The operating rooms are completely out of service, and now the wounded come to us and we cannot give them anything other than first aid,” Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya said.

“Whoever needs surgery dies, and we cannot do anything for him.”

The hospital director said staff were trying to keep premature babies at the hospital alive after oxygen ran out and they had to be moved from the neonatal unit’s incubators.

“I was with them a while ago. They are now exposed, because we have taken them out of the incubators. We wrap them in foil and put hot water next to them so that we can warm them,” Abu Salmiya said.  

The doctor said several children have died while in the intensive care unit and the nursery over the last day.

People stand outside the emergency ward of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 10.
People stand outside the emergency ward of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 10. Khader Al Zanoun/AFP/Getty Images

More background: Heavy fighting near Gaza’s largest hospital has left it in a “catastrophic situation,” with patients and staff trapped inside, ambulances unable to collect the wounded and life-support systems without electricity, health officials and aid agencies report.

The World Health Organization says Al-Shifa has been without power for three days.

“It's been three days without electricity, without water and with very poor internet, which has severely impacted our ability to provide essential care,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on the social media platform X.

“Regrettably, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore,” he said.

Dispute over fuel offer: The Israeli military said it put 300 liters of fuel at the entrance to the Al-Shifa Hospital complex on Sunday, but that Hamas had blocked the hospital from receiving it. 

Abu Salmiya, the hospital director, told Al-Araby TV that Israeli officials had indeed called him to offer the fuel — which he said would provide power to run the generators for only thirty minutes — but that staff had been too scared to go get it. 

An Israeli army soldier walks towards a building structure carrying gallon containers, as they say, while delivering fuel to Al Shifa hospital, in a location given as Gaza, in this screengrab taken from a handout video released on November 12.
An Israeli army soldier walks towards a building structure carrying gallon containers, as they say, while delivering fuel to Al Shifa hospital, in a location given as Gaza, in this screengrab taken from a handout video released on November 12. Israeli Army/Handout/Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces released a video it said showed soldiers delivering the jerry cans to a curbside location near the hospital entrance. It also released an audio recording, purportedly of a hospital official accusing a Hamas leader at the health ministry of refusing to allow it to be collected.

Abu Salmiya said it was the presence of Israeli tanks that prevented collection.

“Of course, my paramedic team was completely afraid to go out,” he said, adding, “We want every drop of fuel, but I told (the IDF) that it should be sent through the International Red Cross or through any international institution.” 

Hamas dismissed the allegations and said the Israeli fuel delivery was a propaganda stunt.

6:11 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

Israeli army conducts raids deeper in Gaza City, military spokesperson says

From CNN's Jonny Hallam

The Israeli ground operation expanded deeper within Gaza City today, army spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a news briefing.

Infantry and combat engineering forces reached the outskirts of Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza, Hagari said. Meanwhile, army forces coordinated with the Israeli Navy to raid the Gaza marina area.

"They are fully encircling the area," Hagari said

The Israeli army is "locating long-range rocket launchers aimed at Israel," according to the spokesperson.

While destroying anti-tank launching pads, tunnel shafts and terror infrastructure, Hagari said Israeli forces arrested alleged members of Hamas, who were brought back to Israel for investigation.

He said the army — along with Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet — had arrested 20 detainees, including "terrorists that were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack."

5:54 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

Red Cross urges protection for Gaza civilians as they evacuate under perilous conditions

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali

Palestinians flee to southern Gaza on Salah al-Din Street in Bureij, Gaza, on November 10.
Palestinians flee to southern Gaza on Salah al-Din Street in Bureij, Gaza, on November 10. Fatima Shbair/AP

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued an urgent appeal Sunday for the protection of civilians in Gaza — emphasizing the perilous situation faced by those attempting to evacuate or remaining in conflict zones. 

The ICRC expressed grave concern in its statement for the safety of vulnerable populations, including medical staff, patients, infants, people with disabilities and the elderly, as hostilities escalate in densely populated urban areas, including around hospitals.

"An unbearable human tragedy is unfolding in front of our eyes. People call us day and night, saying they are afraid to open their door for fear of getting killed and pleading to help them reach safety," said William Schomburg, the head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza. "As a humanitarian worker, I feel frustrated not to be able to respond to these calls, as our teams lack basic security conditions to move in North Gaza."

The ICRC highlighted the precarious conditions under which evacuations occur, with displaced individuals, including women and children waving white flags, navigating through dangerous areas without access to necessities such as food and water.

The organization stressed the importance of preventing the separation of family members during evacuations.

The ICRC also called for an unimpeded flow of humanitarian assistance to the enclave, as approximately 100,000 displaced people now lack essentials like shelter, food, water and hygiene.

The Red Cross has intensified its emergency response in Gaza, deploying a surgical team and delivering critical medical supplies to support health care facilities throughout the strip, according to the statement.

The organization has also coordinated evacuation convoys for hospital patients and displaced people from northern Gaza in recent days.

6:42 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

Border official says hundreds of foreign nationals left Gaza Sunday, marking largest evacuation yet

From Asmaa Khalil in Rafah and CNN's Zeena Saifi in Jerusalem

A bus carrying Canadian nationals recently evacuated from Gaza prepares to depart the Rafah crossing on November 12.
A bus carrying Canadian nationals recently evacuated from Gaza prepares to depart the Rafah crossing on November 12. Ali Moustafa/Getty Images

More than 800 foreign nationals passed through the Rafah crossing into Egypt on Sunday, an Egyptian border official told a journalist working for CNN, marking the largest number that has passed through the crossing in a single day since evacuations from the enclave began.

It is the first evacuation of foreign nationals since Thursday, when more than 300 left Gaza through the crossing, according to a border official.

More background: 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.

As the only route in and out of Gaza that is not closed due to Israel's siege, Rafah has played a key role in efforts to get aid in and people out of the enclave.

CNN's Abbas Al Lawati, Mohammed Abdelbary and Rob Picheta contributed to this report.

8:43 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

Israel is looking ahead to long-term plan for Gaza, Israeli ambassador to US says

From CNN’s Eve Brennan in London 

Israeli soldiers are seen at the Israel-Gaza border on Sunday, November 12.
Israeli soldiers are seen at the Israel-Gaza border on Sunday, November 12. Leo Correa/AP

Israel is looking ahead to a long-term plan for Gaza and is discussing the issue with the United States, according to Ambassador Michael Herzog.

“It is our position that Palestinians will have to govern themselves. What will be the exact role of the Palestinian Authority (PA) remains to be seen, because everybody understands that the PA, in its current composition — they can hardly govern Ramallah. So certainly not Gaza,” the Israeli ambassador to the US said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

The Palestinian Authority would have to undergo reform, Herzog said.

The ambassador said Israel is not interested in occupying or governing Gaza, adding that security is the main priority.

“We are not in Gaza in order to occupy Gaza or to govern Gaza. We are there to move the Hamas military threat against Israel and their ability to rebuild the capabilities and strike again and again, as they're saying they would like to do. That's our intent,” Herzog said. 

Herzog claimed Israel is “very targeted” in its operation in Gaza.

“People have to understand Gaza is the biggest terror complex around the globe with over 500 kilometers (about 310 miles) of terror tunnels. … We are not targeting the population,” Herzog said.

“I believe that what we see today with more and more people moving to the south indicates to us that these people do not want to serve as human shields for Hamas. They understand they don't like us, but they don't like Hamas either,” he added. 

Some context: More than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its military offensive nearly a month ago, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in the Palestinian enclave said last week.

It’s unclear how many combatants are included in the total. CNN cannot independently verify the numbers released by the ministry in Gaza, which is sealed off by Israel and mostly sealed by Egypt.

Thousands of Gaza residents have fled northern areas of the strip as Israel's military urges them to move south, but there are no fully protected zones in Gaza. Eyewitnesses and hospital officials have described recent blasts in central and southern areas despite the calls to evacuate there.

2:36 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

Israeli military says its fighter jets attacked several Hezbollah targets in Lebanon

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Ben Wedeman 

Smoke rises over Lebanon on November 12.
Smoke rises over Lebanon on November 12. Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces said its fighter jets attacked several Hezbollah targets within Lebanon on Sunday, in response to attacks carried out by the Lebanese militant group in northern Israel. 

"IDF fighter jets of the Air Force attacked several targets of the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanese territory, in response to the shooting that was carried out earlier today," the IDF said in a statement.  

Israeli forces said Hezbollah military infrastructure was among the targets it attacked. 

Earlier today, the IDF said it was launching artillery strikes in response to anti-tank missiles that had been fired from Lebanon into Dovev, located in northern Israel. 

A CNN team in southern Lebanon heard outgoing rocket fire Sunday and observed Israel's air defense system, the Iron Dome, intercepting two rockets over Rosh HaNikra in northern Israel. 

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted a military logistical team that was about to start setting up communication towers and surveillance equipment.

More context: The IDF's clashes with the Iran-backed paramilitary group are central to fears of the Israel-Hamas war spreading into a wider Middle East conflict.

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah gave his second speech since the war started via video link Saturday, saying his group would keep up the pressure on Israel at its border.

CNN's Zeena Saifi and Amir Tal contributed to this report.

8:44 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

UN secretary-general rejects Netanyahu claims, saying he has condemned Hamas "since the beginning"

From CNN's Sophie Tanno

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference in New York City on November 6.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference in New York City on November 6.  Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has responded to claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

The Israeli leader said Guterres laid blame on Israel and should instead be demanding that Hamas obey international law. But Guterres insisted later Sunday that he has condemned Hamas "since the very beginning."

"But there is a basic principle for me, and that is that Hamas is not the Palestinian people," he continued. "And you need to be able to distinguish Hamas from the Palestinian people. And so you cannot use the horrific things that the Hamas did as a reason for collective punishment of the Palestinian people."

He went on to say that there were Palestinian grievances which "related to 56 years of occupation," although "none of these grievances justify the barbaric attack of Hamas."

Speaking about the UN's potential role in mediation once the war is over, Guterres said that the international community needs to come together, and the UN can "play a part" in that.

There will need to be a transition "that is acceptable to Israel from the point of view of the guarantee of the security of Israel," he said, adding that it should "at the same time allow for the transfer to an effective Palestinian Authority."

The exact make-up of this "is not obvious at this moment," he said.

Guterres said it was essential to "take profit" of the situation and "finally query the possibility of a two-state solution."

"The two-state solution is, in my opinion, the only way out," he added.

1:49 p.m. ET, November 12, 2023

Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah says it has lost contact with northern Gaza hospitals

From CNN's Zeena Saifi in Jerusalem 

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah released its daily report on Sunday, saying it was unable to update casualty figures in Gaza after losing contact with hospitals.

"On 11 November, following the Israeli occupation forces' cutting of services and communications at hospitals in the north of Gaza, the MoH is not able to update casualty figures," the report said. 

The report went on to outline the dire impact strikes are having on health care to patients at hospitals in Gaza.

"There is a catastrophe occurring in hospitals: patients are now dying without receiving their treatments, such as children and adult patients who need dialysis (and) are dying in their homes without receiving dialysis sessions," the ministry added. 

The Ministry of Health in Ramallah draws data from medical sources in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

More background: The health care crisis is deepening in Gaza. Health officials say the largest medical center in the enclave, Al-Shifa Hospital, has devolved into a "catastrophic situation," while the Palestine Red Crescent Society said the territory's second-largest hospital is also out of service.