November 30, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Tara Subramaniam, Antoinette Radford, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Adrienne Vogt and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT) December 1, 2023
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12:59 a.m. ET, November 30, 2023

Israeli military says "operational pause will continue" amid ongoing talks for more hostage releases

From CNN staff

A vehicle carrying hostages released drives by, in Ofakim, Israel, on November 30.
A vehicle carrying hostages released drives by, in Ofakim, Israel, on November 30. Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

The "operational pause" in fighting between Israel and Hamas will continue amid ongoing talks for the release of more hostages, the Israel Defense Forces said, minutes before the truce was set to expire. 

“In light of the mediators' efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework, the operational pause will continue,” the IDF said.

Hamas also confirmed the extension of the truce for a seventh day in a statement.

The group had previously said negotiations for an extension were at an impasse after Israel refused an offer to receive seven women and children and the bodies of three others who they claim were killed by Israeli bombardment in return for an extension of the truce.

CNN’s political and foreign policy analyst Barak Ravid reported prior to the expiration that “Israeli officials say Hamas proposed via mediators to release less than 10 hostages or to release hostages that are not women and children.”

Diplomatic sources close to the negotiations told CNN that Hamas was only able to offer seven women and children and offered to include an additional three elderly hostages.

12:30 a.m. ET, November 30, 2023

Deal reached to extend Israel-Hamas truce, Israeli military says

From Tamar Michaelis

A vehicle carrying hostages released as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas, drives by, in Ofakim, Israel, November 30.
A vehicle carrying hostages released as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas, drives by, in Ofakim, Israel, November 30. Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas has been extended to a seventh day, Israel Defense Forces said Thursday morning, minutes before the deal was set to expire .

This is the second extension of the initial four-day truce that began on Friday.

The truce has resulted in the return of 70 Israelis under the agreement. During the pause, three dual-national Israeli citizens and twenty-four foreign nationals have also been released outside of the deal.

In exchange, 210 Palestinians have been freed from Israeli jails, officials said.

12:00 a.m. ET, November 30, 2023

Hamas military wing asks fighters to be ready for combat if truce isn’t extended

From CNN's Kareem El Damanhoury and Michael Rios

The Hamas military wing on Thursday asked its forces to maintain a high-combat readiness posture in case a truce with Israel isn’t renewed.

The Al-Qassam Brigades said on Telegram that its fighters should remain in the high-combat readiness position unless an official statement is issued confirming the extension of the truce, which was set to expire at 7 a.m. local time (midnight ET). 

Key mediator Qatar is "very optimistic" an extension will be announced, a foreign ministry spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday. 

However, the Israeli military said Wednesday it is prepared for the next stage of the war in Gaza when the truce ends.

12:44 a.m. ET, November 30, 2023

Ahead of truce deadline, Israeli leaders ratcheted up war rhetoric

From Tamar Michaelis and CNN's Sugam Pokharel

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media in Berlin, Germany, on March 16.
Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media in Berlin, Germany, on March 16. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Israeli government and military leaders ratcheted up war rhetoric Wednesday as questions swirled over whether a truce deal between Israel and Hamas would be extended.

“Over the past few days I’ve been hearing this question – will Israel go back to fighting after maximizing this phase of returning our hostages? So my answer is unequivocal – Yes,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. 

Netanyahu vowed that Israel would fight until the end. 

“This is my policy, the whole cabinet stands behind it, the whole government stands behind it, the soldiers stand behind it, the people stand behind it – that is exactly what we will do,” the prime minister said. 

The Israeli military is prepared for the next stage of the war in Gaza when the truce ends, Herzi Halevi, the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff said Wednesday, according to an IDF statement.  

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, echoing Halevi, said “IDF troops in the air, ground, and sea, are prepared to resume operations immediately [should the decision be made]." 

Gallant however added that Israel was "taking every possible measure to return the hostages and to maximize the current framework in which all the women and children held hostage in Gaza, will be released." 

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, who is a part of the emergency war cabinet, noted Wednesday that "we are in complex moments, and in a window of time within the outline for the return of our hostages." 

"We will work to exhaust it as much as possible. At the same time, we are prepared and ready to return to combat, at any given moment, including these moments," he said. 

Gantz stressed that fighting would "expand to wherever it is needed throughout the Strip. There will be no cities of refuge." 

Halevi, the military chief of staff, on Wednesday approved plans for the next stage of the military operation in Gaza, according to the IDF. 

On Tuesday, Halevi said the Israeli military was using the pause to beef up its readiness for combat. 

“The IDF is prepared to continue fighting. We are using the days of the pause as part of the framework to learn, strengthen our readiness and approve future operational plans,” Halevi told a group of soldiers in northern Israel. 

11:59 p.m. ET, November 29, 2023

US wants Israel to move civilians out of southern Gaza before Israel focuses attacks there

From CNN's MJ Lee, Jennifer Hansler and Katie Bo Lillis

Biden administration officials are discussing with their Israeli counterparts how to protect thousands of civilians who fled to southern Gaza should the Israel Defense Forces target the area once the pause in fighting with Hamas ultimately ends, according to multiple United States officials.

Among the many options that US and Israeli officials are actively deliberating include moving civilians who went south at the onset of the war back up north once military operations there have ended, one senior US official told CNN. While much of northern Gaza has already been decimated from the fighting and airstrikes, Israel has made clear it is bent on finishing its military operations there.

So far the IDF has warned displaced Palestinians against returning from the south. Moving civilians back north would represent a significant humanitarian challenge, as an estimated 40% to 50% of structures in northern Gaza have been damaged, according to satellite analysis by independent researchers.

Why start conducting operations in the south: A major reason Israel is expected to begin focusing its military operations in southern Gaza is that intelligence suggests Hamas leadership has fled to that region, according to one US official. That official did not say whether this was US or Israeli intelligence.

In private, Biden administration officials — including President Joe Biden himself — are telling their Israeli counterparts that they do not want to see the IDF resume the kinds of air strikes from earlier in the war that led to massive casualties and widespread destruction, multiple officials told CNN. Instead, Israel must be “more cautious, more careful, more deliberate, and more precise in their targeting,” one senior administration official said.

While it’s not clear whether Israel would ultimately agree, some US officials expressed optimism that Israel was at least receptive to considering such ideas.

“There is an understanding that a different type of campaign has to be conducted in the south than was conducted in the north,” another senior administration official said.

Read more about what the US is saying to Israel as fighting is set to resume

11:59 p.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Containers carrying fuel and cooking gas transferred to UN organizations in Gaza, Israel says 

From Tamar Michaelis and CNN's Sugam Pokharel

Four containers of diesel fuel and four containers of cooking gas were transferred from Egypt to United Nations humanitarian aid organizations in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, an Israeli government agency said.

Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement that the fuel passed through the Rafah crossing — the only crossing in and out of the enclave that is not controlled by Israel.  

The aid trucks going into Gaza are part of the pause and the hostage-release framework agreed by Israel and Hamas, COGAT said.   

“The fuel and cooking gas are designated for the operation of vital humanitarian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” it said. 

In addition, 200 humanitarian aid trucks were transferred on Wednesday to the international aid organizations operating in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, COGAT said. Those trucks had to first go through a security check at the Nitzana crossing, it added.

The humanitarian aid trucks carried food, water, shelter equipment, and medical supplies.

12:50 a.m. ET, November 30, 2023

Level of aid entering Gaza "remains completely inadequate," UN chief says

From CNN’s Caitlin Hu and Mitchell McCluskey

Antonio Guterres speaks during joint press briefing at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on November 28.
Antonio Guterres speaks during joint press briefing at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on November 28. Lev Radin/Sipa USA/AP

The level of aid and fuel entering Gaza remains insufficient, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

“The level of aid to Palestinians in Gaza remains completely inadequate to meet the huge needs of more than 2 million people,” Guterres said. “And although the total volume of fuel allowed into Gaza has also increased, it remains utterly insufficient to sustain basic operations.”

The Security Council convened on Wednesday to discuss how to implement its mandatory resolution earlier this month, which calls for "humanitarian pauses and corridors" within Gaza.

Guterres noted the importance of opening more crossings into Gaza as the Rafah crossing with Egypt has become inundated.

“It is important to recognize that the Rafah border crossing does not have enough capacity, especially taking into account the slow pace of security procedures,” Guterres said. “That is why we have been urging the opening of other crossings, including Kerem Shalom, and the streamlining of inspection mechanisms to allow for the necessary increase of lifesaving aid.”

Hospitals in Gaza are also still overwhelmed, Guterres said.

“The medical system has broken down under the heavy caseload, acute shortages and the impact of hostilities,” Guterres said.

“Ultimately, we know that the measure of success will not be the number of trucks dispatched or the tons of supplies delivered – as important as these are,” Guterres said. “Success will be measured in lives that are saved, suffering that is ended, and hope and dignity that is restored.”

11:58 p.m. ET, November 29, 2023

Northern Gaza's health care system faces crisis, health ministry says

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder and Eyad Kourdi

Northern Gaza’s health care system has lost over 60% of its capacity across all of its hospitals, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

The reduction extends to operation rooms and intensive care units, which have seen a similar decline in capacity, spokesperson Dr. Ashraf Al-Qidra told CNN in a written statement Wednesday. 

The spokesperson noted that 62% of renal dialysis units have been lost recently, leaving only 38% of the units predominantly in the south operational. This equates to about 70 units.

Additionally, the healthcare infrastructure for neonatal and maternity care has been heavily affected, according to Al-Qidra.

In the north, 76 premature incubators have been lost, leaving only 51 units in the south. The north has also seen the loss of 150 maternity beds, with only a few remaining in Al-Sahaba NGO clinic and Kamal Adwan Hospital.

“Primary health care centers (PHCC) are continuing to function in the south, along with nine UNRWA clinics. However, only four PHCCs are currently operational in the north. The refugee centers in the North, numbering 57, are receiving only partial health services,” Al-Qidra said.