December 7, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Kathleen Magramo, Sophie Tanno, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 8, 2023
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11:45 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Gaza's health system "on its knees" and nearing total collapse, WHO says

From CNN's Kareem El Damanhoury, Lina El Wardani and Ibrahim Dahman

Relatives of dead Palestinians mourn at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on Wednesday.
Relatives of dead Palestinians mourn at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, on Wednesday. Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Gaza's health system is "on its knees" and nearing total collapse, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement on Wednesday. 

"#Gaza cannot afford to lose any more hospitals…and yet another one is on verge of closing," he added in another statement in reference to the Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza. "This will deprive thousands of people of essential lifesaving care."

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah accused the Israeli military of placing the Kamal Adwan hospital under siege.

CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for a response. In previous statements, Israel had maintained it targets Hamas infrastructure in the strip.

WHO has reported at least 212 attacks on Gaza's health sector since October 7. As a result, only 14 hospitals are partially functioning and three are minimally functioning in the strip, while 19 have gone out of service, the WHO chief added. 

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai Al-Kaila said Tuesday that none of the hospitals in northern Gaza can accommodate surgical operations, while the capacity has surpassed 216% in hospitals in the south.

CNN's Kareem Khadder contributed reporting to this post.

11:00 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Amnesty claims Israel used US-made weapon in airstrikes that killed dozens of civilians in Gaza

From CNN staff

An investigation by Amnesty International alleges that a US-made weapons guidance system was used in two Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in October in which 43 civilians are said to have been killed.

Fragments of the US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions guidance system were found in the rubble of destroyed homes in the neighborhood of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, according to a report released Tuesday by the human rights organization.

Israel uses a wide variety of American weapons and munitions, but Amnesty's report is one of the first attempts to tie an American-made weapon to a specific attack that left a significant number of civilians dead.

The JDAM is a “guidance tail kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate, adverse weather ‘smart’ munitions,” according to the US Air Force.

CNN cannot independently verify Amnesty's findings.

Amnesty said its weapons experts and a “remote sensing analyst” examined satellite imagery and photos of the homes that show the “fragments of ordnance recovered from the rubble” and the destruction, the report explains. Amnesty’s fieldworkers took the photos.

As a result of these two attacks, 19 children, 14 women, and 10 men were killed, the report claims.

The human rights organization said it "did not find any indication there were any military objectives at the sites" of the airstrikes or that the individuals living in the homes were legitimate military targets.

“The organization found that these air strikes were either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks,” the report says, calling for the attacks to be investigated as war crimes.

In a statement to CNN, the Israel Defense Forces called the report “flawed, biased and premature, based on baseless assumptions regarding the IDF’s operations.”

“The assumption that intelligence regarding the military use of a particular structure does not exist unless revealed is contradictory to any understanding of military activity, and the report uses this flawed assumption to imply equally flawed and biased conclusions regarding the IDF, in line with existing biases and prior problematic work by this organization,” the IDF said.

Read more about the Amnesty report.

11:45 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

"Everyone in Gaza is hungry," World Food Programme chief says amid severe food and water shortages

From CNN’s Kareem El Damanhoury

People wait while a woman prepares food in southern Gaza on Wednesday.
People wait while a woman prepares food in southern Gaza on Wednesday. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

World Food Programme (WFP) Chief Cindy McCain is warning of the limited access to food and water in the Gaza strip.

The humanitarian system is collapsing," McCain said in a statement on Wednesday. "Everyone in #Gaza is hungry."

WFP said 97% of Palestinian households in the northern areas of the strip and 83% in the south reported inadequate food consumption — with many having spent at least one day without eating. 

“Around 88 percent of the households in the Northern governorates and around 54 percent in the Southern governorates reported spending at least one full day and night without eating in the past four weeks, because there was not enough food,” WFP said in its latest report, adding that 20% in the north and 14% in the south had to do this more than 10 times. 

The lack of cooking gas in Gaza has also led many to rely on waste burning, firewood and wood rubbish, which can have negative health repercussions, including high risks of respiratory diseases, according to WFP's data. 

Additionally, the average daily clean water consumption levels range between 1.5-1.8 liters per person across the strip, which is way below the 15 liters minimum average volume of water for drinking and hygiene per person daily. 

11:19 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

"Too many Palestinian civilians continue to be killed" in Gaza, US official says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte

Palestinians perform funeral prayer for people killed during Israeli airstrikes in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza ,on Wednesday.
Palestinians perform funeral prayer for people killed during Israeli airstrikes in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza ,on Wednesday. Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The number of civilian casualties in Gaza is too high, US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said Wednesday.

"Too many Palestinian civilians continue to be killed" in Gaza, he said.

Speaking several days into the renewed offensive by Israeli forces in southern Gaza, Miller said the United States wants "to see the civilian death toll lower than it has been."

"A good component of this is the problem presented by Hamas embedding in civilian sites in Khan Younis just as it did in Gaza City, but that doesn't lessen the burden that's on Israel to do everything it can to reduce civilian harm," he said during a news briefing.

Miller noted the conflict in southern Gaza was "still at an early stage," and would not say whether the US believes Israeli forces are carrying out this part of their offensive differently than in the north. 

Miller said the State Department had "some very frank conversations with the government of Israel about that when we were there last week," during US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit.

"We continue to have very frank discussions with them about this question, and I think I'll leave it at that," he said.

Blinken said last week that Israel must prosecute the war differently in the south than it did in the north.

7:42 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Israeli forces have breached Hamas "defense lines" in Khan Younis, IDF spokesperson says

From CNN's Tamar Michaelis, Mick Krever and Sugam Pokharel

Israeli forces have breached Hamas "defense lines" in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, where they have been involved in a fierce battle with the militant group since Tuesday, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said Wednesday.  

“Over the last 48 hours, these three divisions (98, 36, 162) along with another division in the east, are fighting with high intensity against terrorists. We have breached the defense lines of Jabalya, Shuja'iyya and the Khan Younis area,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during his daily press conference.  

It comes after the IDF said the Israeli military had begun carrying out raids against "Hamas strongholds" in the center of Khan Younis, the territory’s second-largest city.  

Within a few hours after Israeli troops surrounded the city, “the soldiers pierced through the defensive lines of the Khan Younis Brigade, encircling it and for the first time began to operate in the heart of the area,” the military said.  

The Khan Younis Brigade is one of Hamas' two most significant battalions, according to the Israeli military.  

Hamas leader "underground": Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli forces had encircled the house of Hamas' leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. The IDF would not say where it believes Sinwar is, but that he was “underground.” Sinwar is originally from Khan Younis but it is unclear if he is currently there.

7:41 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is "underground," Israeli military says 

From CNN's Tamar Michaelis in Tel Aviv

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is "underground" in Gaza, the Israeli military said Wednesday, but did not say where they believe he is.

The statement from an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson came shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the IDF had surrounded Sinwar’s house in southern Gaza.

“Sinwar’s house is in the area of Khan Younis,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during a press briefing. “There is terror infrastructure and headquarters there. Sinwar is not above ground. He’s underground. I do not want to mention where, and what intelligence we acquired.”

“Our role is to reach Sinwar and kill him. We need to do that as soon as possible,” he added.

A senior adviser to Netanyahu on Wednesday told CNN the encirclement of Sinwar’s house is a “symbolic victory.”

“It will be a real victory very soon,” Mark Regev said. “It’s only a matter of time before we get the man.”

2:37 a.m. ET, December 7, 2023

US Senate impasse over border policy threatens aid to Israel and Ukraine

From CNN's Clare Foran, Lauren Fox, Ted Barrett, Kristin Wilson and Morgan Rimmer

A partisan clash between Senate Republicans and Democrats over border policy continues to threaten the effort to send badly needed foreign aid to key US allies as time and money are running out for Ukraine.

Senate negotiators are vowing to continue to try to reach a deal, after Republicans blocked foreign aid from advancing Wednesday evening in protest over the package’s lack of changes to border and immigration policy.

The impasse among negotiators has taken on a renewed sense of urgency as the 2023 congressional calendar is drawing to a close.

The Senate has struggled for weeks as it tied immigration and border security policy — one of Congress’ historically most divisive issues — to a legislative package for sending aid to key US allies, among them Israel and Ukraine.

Read the full story.