November 20, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Tara Subramaniam, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:09 a.m. ET, November 21, 2023
18 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:47 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

World Health Organization "appalled" by attack on Indonesia Hospital in Gaza, director-general says

The head of the World Health Organization has condemned the attack on the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza which killed 12 people, including patients. 

In a post on X, Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "WHO is appalled by an attack on the Indonesian Hospital in #Gaza."

"Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, and especially when inside a hospital," he added.

Israel said on Monday it was responding to enemy fire targeting their troops from within the hospital and that, "in response, IDF troops directly targeted the specific source of enemy fire. No shells were fired toward the hospital."

Twelve people died after Israeli tank fire hit the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, health authorities in the Hamas-run strip said earlier on Monday. Among the dead are patients who were being treated at the hospital and a member of medical staff, health officials said.

11:26 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

IDF says it targeted enemy fire at Gaza's Indonesian Hospital overnight

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they responded to gunfire targeting their troops from within the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza overnight, according to a statement released on Monday. 

"Overnight, terrorists opened fire from within the Indonesian hospital in Gaza toward IDF troops operating outside the hospital," the statement says. "In response, IDF troops directly targeted the specific source of enemy fire. No shells were fired toward the hospital."

Twelve people died after Israeli tank fire hit the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave said earlier on Monday. Among the dead are patients who were being treated at the hospital and a member of medical staff, health officials said.

Palestinian journalist, Anas al-Sharif, who is inside the hospital, told CNN that Israeli tanks were outside the main hospital gates as well as other locations near the hospital. “We are under fire in the Indonesian Hospital, and we are trapped inside,” he said.

A short video clip shared by the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry showed medical personnel inside the facility assisting an injured man on the floor, while another man held a dialysis tube hanging from the debris.

CNN's Andrew Carey contributed reporting to this post.

10:06 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

In a Cairo hospital, Gazans describe grief, pain and guilt

From CNN's Eleni Giokos

Elham Maged speaks to CNN from inside Cairo's Nasser Medical Institute. 
Elham Maged speaks to CNN from inside Cairo's Nasser Medical Institute.  CNN

When Rami Mahmoud left his family’s home to buy food, his wife, Elham Maged, stayed behind to pray. When he made his way back through the narrow, tightly packed nearby streets of northern Gaza’s Jabalya Refugee Camp, he returned to a scene of complete chaos. An Israeli airstrike had smashed into the center of the densely populated community, tearing a deep crater into its heart. Their apartment had vanished.

Scanning the devastation, Mahmoud suddenly noticed a single finger reaching up between the rubble; it was Elham. Miraculously she had survived. But his relief at finding her alive was brief. Two of their children, they would soon discover, were dead. Nothing would ever be the same again.

Two weeks on from the horror of that day, the couple are more than 200 miles southwest of Gaza City, inside Cairo’s Nasser Medical Institute in neighboring Egypt. The wreckage and chaos of their shattered home was replaced by the cleanliness and order of this foreign medical facility, the noise of rockets and explosions exchanged for the benign, insistent hum of traffic crawling through Egypt’s bustling capital.

But safety and care does not bring comfort; they are still haunted by grief. “My daughter, just an hour before she died, she called her best friend and said, ‘I feel like something is going to happen to me. Can you take care of my mother and visit her often?’” Elham told us.

“My son is a handsome boy, he was in high school, he used to go to the gym and lift weights, and he is tall and well built,” she continued, tears streaming down her face. “He liked to look good. He got a haircut two days before he was killed, in the middle of war. He said, ‘even if I die, I want to die looking good.’”

Mahmoud shared family photos with us. Their daughter, just 15, her wide, clear eyes and delicate features framed by a headscarf; their son, 17, carrying a small boy on his back, a warm smile shining from beneath his tousled black hair.

“God created them, God took them,” his wife said. “I just want to go back to the rest of my children. There is no internet there, so I don’t know anything about them. I know they are with their grandfather somewhere safe, hopefully, but we have no way of reaching them.”

Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed more than 12,000 Palestinians since October 7, including an estimated 5,000 children, according to the Hamas government press office. Israel says its airstrikes intend to target Hamas commanders and infrastructure, following the militant group’s October 7 terror attacks, which left 1,200 people dead in Israel and saw about 240 taken hostage.

Read more about this here.

9:34 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

Mother of infant recounts evacuation from Al-Shifa for life-saving treatment in Egypt

CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London and Asmaa Khalil in Rafah, Egypt

Al Shifa hospital during the Israeli ground operation around the hospital in Gaza on November 12.
Al Shifa hospital during the Israeli ground operation around the hospital in Gaza on November 12. Ahmed El Mokhallalati/Reuters

A mother whose premature baby was evacuated from Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital to Egypt has called Egypt the "best place on earth."

Lubna El-Seik told a media pool, run by Egyptian state media that "it never occurred to us that the hospital would be targeted and that those children would have to go through what they went through."

After a "difficult birth" on September 28, El-Seik's daughter was placed in an incubator in the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. 

"On the seventh of October, I was supposed to go and see my daughter. She was reliant on artificial respiration. Then they asked us to leave our house, then they bombed our house."

El-Seik's husband stayed with her daughter for 10 days in the hospital so she could receive oxygen and nourishment. 

"During the siege, there was no milk. Her condition worsened. She went back to zero, and she relied solely on artificial oxygen," El Seik added. 

The young mother recounted the evacuation of the premature babies from Al Shifa, describing the coordination as "very good."

"Within hours, we came over here and we were well received. Egypt is the best place on earth." 

A visibly upset Al Seik said she wanted to remind the world that the evacuated babies were "innocent children."

"My daughter was in hospital and my house was bombed... Enough destruction, the children will be killed," she said. 

The babies will be treated at the Al-Arish Hospital in Sinai and the New Capital Hospital in Cairo, according to a CNN journalist at the Rafah crossing. 

Speaking to Egyptian state broadcaster, Al Qahera, a doctor named Ahmad working in the Al Arish Hospital described the extensive preparations that Egypt has put in place.

"We have been waiting for them during the past few days. We have made all the preparations to receive the new born babies with all the medical equipment needed for that. All the medical teams are on stand by to receive them," he said. 
10:56 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

Premature babies evacuated from Gaza hospital have arrived in Egypt. Here's what else to know

Medics transfer premature babies evacuated from Gaza to ambulances on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border on Monday, November 20.
Medics transfer premature babies evacuated from Gaza to ambulances on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border on Monday, November 20. The Egyptian Health Ministry/Handout/Reuters

Dozens of premature babies removed from the beleaguered Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza have now reached Egypt for medical treatment, while China has hosted talks with diplomats from Arab and Muslim majority nations focused on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Here are the latest headlines:

  • Newborns arrive: Ambulances evacuating premature babies from Al-Shifa have arrived in Egypt through the Rafah crossing. The convoy was greeted by medical professionals waiting with incubators to take them into care.
  • Opposing narratives over hostages: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has released CCTV videos and still images it says show Hamas fighters bringing hostages into Al-Shifa on October 7. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry responded to the IDF briefing by questioning the authenticity of the videos and stills — but went on to say that, if true, the pictures showed that hospitals were providing medical care to anyone who needed it.
  • Doctor calls for international aid: A doctor inside Al-Shifa has spoken to CNN about conditions inside the facility, accusing Israeli forces of pushing around staff and questioning them about Hamas. He said two adults and two babies died overnight Saturday, leaving the hospital with about 259 patients, seven doctors and five nurses. The facility is running out of urgent requirements, including anesthetics, oxygen tanks, medicine and blood banks, he added, calling for international support.
  • UN highlights "unliveable" conditions in Gaza shelters: The UN’s main aid agency in Gaza says heavy rain has been falling in the region on Monday, causing "unliveable" conditions in shelters. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) posted a video on X showing crowds in Gaza stepping through puddles of rain.
  • Beijing making diplomatic push: Talks on “de-escalating” the Israel-Hamas conflict began in China as Beijing steps-up its efforts to play a role in establishing a ceasefire. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian National Authority, Indonesia, as well as the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the capital Monday.

Watch:

8:10 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

Father of 9-year-old girl held hostage by Hamas says he will "believe it when I see it" on possible deal

From CNN's Caitlin Danaher in London

The Israeli father of a suspected Hamas kidnap victim says he hasn’t been given any information about a possible hostage deal. 

Thomas Hand was initially told that his daughter Emily was killed during the Hamas attack on Israel. But weeks later, Hand said the Israel Defense Forces told him his daughter was believed to be alive and a Hamas hostage.

Emily’s birthday was last week. She turned nine.

Speaking at a news conference in London on Monday, Hand said the situation of not knowing is his “worst nightmare.”

Asked about reports of a possible hostage deal, Hand said he’d “believe it when I see it.”

Iris Haim is the mother of 28-year-old Yotam Haim, who was also taken hostage.

“We don’t know about any kind of deal. We don’t know anything,” she said at the news conference.

Haim acknowledged that given her son is not a child, it’s unlikely he would be part of any immediate hostage deal.

7:30 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

Israeli artillery fire on Gaza's Indonesian Hospital kills 12, Hamas-run health ministry says

From CNN's Andrew Carey

Twelve people have been killed after Israeli tank fire hit the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, according to the health ministry in the territory, which is controlled by Hamas.

Among the dead are patients who were being treated at the hospital and a member of medical staff, the ministry said.

Palestinian journalist Anas al-Sharif, who is inside the hospital, told CNN that Israeli tanks were outside the main hospital gates, as well as other locations near the hospital.

“We are under fire in the Indonesian Hospital, and we are trapped inside,” he said.

A short video clip shared by the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry showed medical personnel inside the facility assisting an injured man on the floor, while another man holds a dialysis tube hanging from the debris.

The electricity seems to have been cut off and the ceilings badly smashed up.

Israel’s military did not offer details about specific locations in its update on ground operations in Gaza on Monday morning, but it did say that warplanes had killed three Hamas company commanders in one strike.

7:28 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

EU foreign policy chief reiterates call for "immediate humanitarian pauses" in Israel-Hamas war

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Jordan's King Abdullah II, right, meets with European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, in Amman, Jordan, in this handout picture released on November 20.
Jordan's King Abdullah II, right, meets with European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, in Amman, Jordan, in this handout picture released on November 20. Royal Hashemite Court/Reuters

The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, met with Jordan's King Abdullah II to discuss the situation in Gaza and call for "immediate humanitarian pauses".

Josep Borrell wrote in a post to X, formerly Twitter, that he was "honoured to be received by His Majesty King Abdullah II."

"We discussed the war in Gaza and [the] importance to end suffering of civilians," he said.

Borrell said the "political process towards two states needs to be restored," adding "the King’s role is crucial."

7:51 a.m. ET, November 20, 2023

Ambulances carrying premature babies from Al-Shifa Hospital arrive in Egypt

From CNN's Asmaa Khalil in Rafah, Egypt and Niamh Kennedy

Premature babies, who were evacuated from Al-Shifa hospital, lie in an ambulance before they are transported via the Rafah crossing into Egypt on November 20.
Premature babies, who were evacuated from Al-Shifa hospital, lie in an ambulance before they are transported via the Rafah crossing into Egypt on November 20. Hatem Khaled/Reuters

Ambulances evacuating premature babies from Gaza have arrived in Egypt through the Rafah crossing. The convoy was met by medical professionals waiting with incubators to take them into care.

According to an Egyptian government official, 28 babies were transported into Egypt. The four mothers and six nurses accompanying them will be sent to two separate hospitals for treatment, the government source added.

Some context: On Sunday, 31 babies were transferred from Al-Shifa Hospital to the Emirati Hospital in southern Gaza, a Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) spokesperson told CNN on Monday.

On Monday, 28 were on their way to Egypt as one baby was discharged in Gaza and went home with his parents to their temporary shelter. Two other babies stayed at the Emirati Hospital's ICU unit.

The newborn babies are being transferred from the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, which has become a flashpoint in Israel’s war in the besieged territory.

The Israeli military alleges the facility is being used by Hamas as a shield for its operations and raided the hospital last Wednesday. Hamas and hospital officials have denied Israel’s claims.

CNN’s Eleni Giokos and Abeer Salman contributed to this reporting.