November 13, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Tara Subramaniam, Jack Guy, Eric Levenson, Mike Hayes, Antoinette Radford, Maureen Chowdhury and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 12:05 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023
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9:10 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

Gaza's largest hospitals are no longer operating as fighting escalates. Here are the key things to know

From CNN staff

The situation inside Gaza’s two largest hospitals is worsening as Israeli forces continue their assault in the enclave. Both Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Quds Hospital are no longer functioning because of the lack of fuel and electricity, Palestinian officials said.

Doctors at Al-Shifa Hospital are refusing a mandatory evacuation order from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), warning that about 700 patients will die if left behind, the director-general of the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said.

Israel has insisted it is justified in taking military action around the hospital, despite criticism from the UN and others. A US official with knowledge of American intelligence told CNN Hamas has a command node under the Al-Shifa hospital, uses fuel intended for the hospital and its fighters regularly cluster in and around Al-Shifa.

Hamas and hospital officials have denied the command center accusation. 

Here are the key things to know:

  • The largest hospital in Gaza: The director of Al-Shifa Hospital, Mohammad Abu Salmiya, said the conditions in the facility are “catastrophic” as essential units collapse. Premature babies are being wrapped in foil and placed next to hot water in a desperate bid to keep them alive, the director said. The remaining fuel reserves have also dried, leaving the facility unable to function, according to Salmiya. 
  • The second-largest hospital: Attempts to evacuate staff and patients from Al-Quds Hospital were thwarted due to heavy fighting as the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reported "intense gunfire" near the facility in Gaza City. The Israeli military said it killed a group of Hamas fighters “embedded” among civilians at the hospital after its troops were fired on from the hospital entrance. The PRCS disputed claims about “armed militants launching shells from inside Al-Quds Hospital.” It said there were “no armed individuals inside the hospital and no shots were fired from inside.”      
  • Updated death toll: At least 11,180 Palestinians, including 4,609 children and 3,100 women, have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the occupied West Bank. Additionally, 53 ambulances have been disabled, the ministry said.  

  • Rafah crossing latest: Ten buses carrying 564 foreign nationals came into Egypt from Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Monday, an Egyptian border official said. A total of 154 aid relief trucks also made their way into Gaza, loaded with essential supplies such as food, water, relief items, medical equipment, and medications, according to an Egyptian border official.
  • Future aid in jeopardy: The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said it has no fuel to fill its trucks in Gaza and will not be able to facilitate aid deliveries through the Rafah crossing on Tuesday. The agency had been using fuel from a strategic reservoir inside Gaza after brokering access with the IDF. But now that the reservoir is dry, negotiations to refill are currently “stalled” at the “highest level of the Israeli government,” said Thomas White, the director of UNRWA Affairs in the Gaza Strip.

  • Fighting across the border: An Israeli electric worker was killed in a Hezbollah missile attack on Dovev in northern Israel, the Israel Electric Corporation said. The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack with anti-tank missiles on Sunday, saying it was aimed at a military logistical team setting up communication towers. Later, the Lebanese state-run news agency said two Israeli missiles struck a convoy of media in the town of Yaroun on Monday near the border.
  • Netanyahu’s latest comments: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday doubled down on Israel’s war against Hamas, vowing that Israel will see the “war to the end.”  On Sunday, the Israeli prime minister refused to answer whether he would take responsibility for failing to prevent the October 7 attack on Israel, saying that there would be time for such “difficult” questions once the war is over.
8:02 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

Hamas video claims an Israeli hostage in Gaza was killed in an Israeli airstrike 

From CNN's Andrew Carey

A video has emerged on a Hamas social media channel which claims an Israeli woman held hostage in Gaza has been killed in an Israeli airstrike.

The clip — which is just over a minute in length — appeared Monday evening on the Telegram channel of the Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the woman’s family is aware of the video’s existence. 

CNN is not showing any of the video and has not confirmed her death.

Most of the video shows the woman speaking into camera reading a short statement. She gives details of her father and mother, her hometown and her Israeli ID. She gives her age as 19. 

After the spoken statement, the video shows an image of what appears to be the woman’s body, following what the video claims was her death in an Israeli airstrike on November 9.     

In a short statement late Monday, the IDF said an army representative had visited the family home to inform them of the video. 

“Hamas continues to use psychological terror and acts inhumanely, through videos and photos of the hostages, as it has done in the past,” the IDF statement said. 

7:51 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

Gaza is on the brink of a communication blackout, Palestinian telecommunication minister warns

From CNN's Abeer Salman and Eyad Kourdi

The Gaza Strip is facing an imminent, complete halt of communications and internet services by Thursday, the Palestinian telecommunication minister said Sunday. 

The expected interruption is due to the depletion of fuel supplies and is expected to exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis by hindering Palestinians’ ability to reach emergency, relief and rescue services, according to Ishaq Sidr, the minister of telecommunications and information technology.

An outage could prevent Civil Defense and Red Crescent teams from coordinating a response to emergency sites, Sidr said at a news conference from the occupied West Bank.

Any interruption between the crews of these groups on the ground and their centers of communication "may cause the inability to direct these crews to distress sites, which means the loss of many lives, and deliberately depriving our people in Gaza of their right to communicate, especially in light of the displacement and continuous bombing,” Sidr said. 

The minister characterized these developments as a “violation of international law and basic human rights.” 

Since Friday morning, CNN hasn’t been able to reach Palestinians in northern Gaza via the internet, although regular phone calls have been possible despite frequent disconnections. In southern Gaza, intermittent internet access is still available. 

7:08 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

More than 100 UN staffers killed in Gaza since war began, aid agency says

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam 

At least 102 United Nations staff members have been killed in Gaza since the war began, a UN aid agency operating in the enclave said Monday.

"In the last 24 hours, one UNRWA staff member was killed with her family in the north of the Gaza Strip due to strikes," bringing the death toll to more than 100, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said in a statement. 

At least 27 staff members have also been injured since the start of the war, it said.

"This is the highest number of United Nations aid workers killed in a conflict in the history of the United Nations," UNRWA said. 

United Nations offices around the world lowered their flags to half-mast on Monday and all UN staff held a moment of silence to mourn and honor their colleagues who lost their lives in Gaza, according to the statement.

6:15 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

White House seeks to clarify Biden's comments about protecting Gaza hospitals

From CNN's Donald Judd

Smoke rises as displaced Palestinians take shelter at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 8.
Smoke rises as displaced Palestinians take shelter at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 8. Doaa Rouqa/Reuters

The White House sought to clarify comments from President Joe Biden on Monday that hospitals “must be protected” in Gaza. It comes as Israel defended military action around the Al-Shifa hospital, saying Hamas has a command and control center under the enclave's largest hospital.

Biden was referring to "this extra burden that faces the IDF as they go into Gaza – because Hamas does shelter themselves behind civilian infrastructure," said John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications. This includes places like hospitals, schools or tunnels under residential buildings, he said.

Hamas operating this way places civilians in Gaza at greater risk, which is a tough problem for the IDF when “legitimate targets” are buried inside civilian infrastructure, Kirby said.

“It makes it much harder for any military force to go after those targets because the hospital itself ought to be — as the president said — ought to be protected. So, he's really talking about this incredibly difficult conundrum that Israeli military forces are facing right now,” Kirby said.

Remember: Biden on Monday expressed concern about the enclave's hospitals.

“Well, you know, I have not been reluctant expressing in my concern with what's going on, and it’s my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospitals, we’re in contact with the Israelis,” the president said.

Biden added that there is an effort to take “this pause to deal with the release of prisoners, and that's being negotiated as well, and the Qataris are engaged, so I remain somewhat hopeful, but the hospitals must be protected.”

8:38 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

Indonesian president, in meeting with Biden, calls for US "to do more to stop the atrocities in Gaza"

From CNN's Donald Judd

Indonesia's president is calling on the United States to do more to stop “atrocities” in Gaza and advocated for a ceasefire in the conflict.

“Indonesia also wishes our partnership contributes to regional global peace and prosperity, so Indonesia appeals to the US to do more to stop the atrocities in Gaza,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said during an Oval Office meeting with President Joe Biden Monday. “A ceasefire is a must for the sake of humanity.” 

The US president did not respond to Widodo’s comments on Gaza, but he touted a number of steps the two countries have taken “taking our relationship to launching the highest level of cooperation."

Biden called it a "comprehensive strategic partnership … to mark a new era of relations between the United States and Indonesia across the board, affecting everything.”

The US president pointed to new efforts to expand military cooperation, “particularly maritime cooperation,” and efforts to build a more secure supply chain and fight climate change.

Some background: Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. Before traveling to Washington, DC, Widodo met with Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia.

Before coming to the US, Jakarta he would convey to Biden the outcomes of the Riyadh summit, where leaders criticized Israel.

"I will be delegated to tell President Joe Biden that the Hamas-Israel war should immediately be stopped,” Widodo previously said, according to Reuters.

6:11 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

Blinken acknowledges disagreements within State Department on Israel-Hamas war in email to staff

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the media, following the conclusion of 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi, India, on November 10.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the media, following the conclusion of 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi, India, on November 10. Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged disagreements within the State Department over the Biden administration’s approach to Israel-Hamas war in an email to staff Monday.

His message to personnel, sent on the heels of his recent travels, comes amid growing anger and dissent not only from staff at the State Department but within the broader Biden administration.

CNN reported last week that hundreds of personnel at the US Agency for International Development signed an open letter calling for a ceasefire, and there are reports of a “dissent memo” inside the State Department.

Last month, a State Department official publicly resigned in protest of the administration’s policy on the Israel-Hamas war. 

"I know that for many of you, the suffering caused by this crisis is taking a profound personal toll,” Blinken wrote in his email Monday, which was seen by CNN. “The anguish that comes with seeing the daily images of babies, children, elderly people, women, and other civilians suffering in this crisis is wrenching. I feel it myself.”

The top US diplomat noted that “some people in the Department may disagree with approaches we are taking or have views on what we can do better.”

The State Department head then noted that forums have been organized in Washington, DC, so that employees can provide feedback.

“We’re listening: what you share is informing our policy and our messages,” he said.

In his email, Blinken provided an overview of his trip to the Middle East and Asia last week, saying that the US’ “overarching objective remains the same: to bring this terrible conflict to a close as quickly as possible, while standing by Israel’s right and obligation, in full accordance with international humanitarian law, to ensure a terrorist attack like October 7th never happens again.”

He reiterated that “far too many Palestinian civilians have died” and “much more can and should be done to reduce their suffering.”
“As I said in private and in public, we believe Palestinian people’s voices must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza,” Blinken wrote. “We believe in Palestinian-led governance of Gaza, with Gaza unified with the West Bank. Gaza’s reconstruction must be supported with a sustained mechanism.”

HuffPost was the first to report on Monday’s email.

At a State Department briefing Monday, spokesperson Matt Miller noted that “the State Department, like every organization, not just in government but around the world, contains people with a diversity of views.” 

“One of our strengths as an organization is that we have that diversity of views and that we welcome people to make those views known,” Miller said. He said that Blinken has met with a number of people "from all ranks of the department, from different bureaus in the department, to hear exactly what they think about our policy, both with respect to Israel and its conflict with Hamas, and with respect to other matters, including very controversial matters.”

5:38 p.m. ET, November 13, 2023

"Hospitals must be protected," Biden says amid Israel's focus on medical facilities in Gaza

From CNN's Donald Judd

President Joe Biden answers questions from the press at the White House on Monday.
President Joe Biden answers questions from the press at the White House on Monday. Leah Millis/Reuters

US President Joe Biden has expressed concern for hospitals in Gaza amid Israeli allegations that Hamas is using them to coordinate attacks.

Earlier on Monday, a US official with knowledge of American intelligence said Hamas has a command node under the Al-Shifa hospital, echoing the Israel Defense Forces' accusations that the militant group is directing rocket attacks and commanding operations from bunkers underneath the building.

"When medical facilities are used for terror purposes, they are liable to lose their protection from attack in accordance with international law," an IDF spokesperson said two weeks ago, appearing to suggest such hospitals are on Israel’s target list. 

Biden on Monday expressed concern about the enclave's hospitals.

“Well, you know, I have not been reluctant expressing in my concern with what's going on, and it’s my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospitals, we’re in contact with the Israelis,” the president said.

Biden added that there is an effort to take “this pause to deal with the release of prisoners, and that's being negotiated as well, and the Qataris are engaged, so I remain somewhat hopeful, but the hospitals must be protected.”

Some background: On Sunday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, said hostilities around Al-Shifa “have not stopped,” with constant bombardment preventing evacuations and making it too dangerous for ambulance journeys.

A freelance journalist told CNN the situation is dire, with medics working by candlelight, food being rationed, and other resources dwindling.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN there's "no reason" patients can't be evacuated from Al-Shifa. Israel opened an evacuation corridor there Sunday, but the International Committee of the Red Cross said no one left through it. The hospital director says people are afraid to step outside.