December 3, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Heather Chen, Andrew Raine, Maureen Chowdhury and Antoinette Radford, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, December 4, 2023
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4:08 p.m. ET, December 3, 2023

Israel is expanding its ground operations to whole of Gaza strip, IDF says

From Tamar Michaelis

Israeli military tanks maneuver near the border with Gaza on Sunday, December 3.
Israeli military tanks maneuver near the border with Gaza on Sunday, December 3. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel is expanding its ground operations to the whole of the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Sunday.

"The IDF is resuming and expanding the ground operation against Hamas’ strongholds across the whole Gaza Strip," IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a news conference Sunday.

Hagari also underlined "the importance of air assistance provided by the Air Force to ground forces," saying airstrikes against terror headquarters, weapons manufacturing facilities, terror tunnels, and rocket launching sites limit the threats posed against the ground operation.

"Our policy is clear — we will forcefully strike any threat posed against our territory," he added. 

3:57 p.m. ET, December 3, 2023

Israel targets Jabalya refugee camp again on Sunday

From CNN's Jennifer Z. Deaton, Hande Atay Alam and Celine Alkhaldi 

In this still from video obtained by Reuters, smoke fills the air in Jabalya, Gaza, on Sunday, December 3.
In this still from video obtained by Reuters, smoke fills the air in Jabalya, Gaza, on Sunday, December 3. (Obtained by Reuters)

Renewed strikes hit the Jabalya refugee camp on Sunday, as seen in verified videos from the scene as well as in reporting by the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa. 

The CNN-obtained video shows huge plumes of smoke filling the skyline after the Sunday strike.  

A separate video released by Reuters news agency shows two tearful young boys searching frantically through the rubble for their father and brother, missing after the airstrike.

"My father's been killed," cries this boy after a strike on the Jabalya refugee camp Sunday.

Israel also targeted Jabalya on Saturday, killing prominent Palestinian scientist Sufyan Tayeh, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.  

CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Israel issued online warnings saying the military had resumed "working forcefully against Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip."  IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee posted on X, "To the residents of Jabalia, Al-Shuja’iya, Al-Zaytoun, and the Old City of Gaza - in order to preserve your safety, we call on you to evacuate your homes immediately."

It is unknown if residents in Jabalya camp have internet access to see the warnings from the IDF. 

1:03 p.m. ET, December 3, 2023

871 dual nationals crossed border from Gaza into Egypt this weekend, official says

From Asmaa Khalil in Rafah, Lina Wardani in Cairo and CNN's Abeer Salman in Jerusalem

More than 850 dual nationals crossed the border from Gaza into Egypt on Saturday and Sunday, through the Rafah border crossing, according to an Egyptian official at the border. 

Of the 871 who crossed into Egypt, the Palestinian dual nationals included 17 American citizens and 130 Turkish citizens.

They also included dual nationals of Egypt, South Africa, Germany, Canada, Australia and Denmark, the official told CNN. 

An additional 13 wounded Palestinians were also evacuated through the Rafah border crossing this weekend to receive medical care in Egypt, an official at the border said. 

The official added that an aid convoy also crossed into Gaza.  

The Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza said it received 100 humanitarian aid trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent on Sunday. 

The trucks passed through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza, the Palestinian Red Crescent said. The aid convoy contains food, water, relief assistance, medical supplies and medicines. 

12:36 p.m. ET, December 3, 2023

IDF orders people to evacuate more areas in southern Gaza

From CNN’s Ivana Kottasová with previous reporting from Celine Alkhaldi

Displaced Palestinians arrive at a camp near Rafah, Gaza, on December 3.
Displaced Palestinians arrive at a camp near Rafah, Gaza, on December 3. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told civilians to leave large swaths of the Gaza Strip, including number of neighborhoods in southern parts of the enclave, after it resumed its military offensive there.

Earlier on Sunday, the IDF told people to evacuate several areas southeast of Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza where many have looked for shelter in recent weeks. 

The IDF told people to move further south.

“For your safety, we invite you to move to the well-known IDP shelters in the neighborhoods of Al-Fukhari, Al-Shaboura, Al-Zuhur, and Tal Al-Sultan,” the IDF said in a statement published on social media in Arabic. `

It is not clear how many people in Gaza have access to social media because electricity and internet access are unreliable due to the war. 

Later on Sunday, the IDF also instructed people to leave some areas in northern Gaza, including Jabalya, Shejaiya, Zaytoun and the Old City of Gaza. Many of the areas have been previously targeted by heavy IDF strikes. 

The IDF released a new map of Gaza on Friday, dividing the strip of land into hundreds of numbered sectors that it called “evacuation zones.”

It said it would use the map to advise people to evacuate civilian areas where it says Hamas has placed military infrastructure.

The IDF also dropped leaflets in areas of southern Gaza which included a QR code that connects to the map when scanned — if users have internet access, which is very spotty in Gaza.

CNN’s attempts to contact people in Khan Younis to ask if they had seen the map were unsuccessful on Saturday and Sunday due to the poor communication links. 

The UN estimates that up to 1.8 million people in Gaza, or nearly 80 percent of the population, are internally displaced, having already had to leave their homes.

12:33 p.m. ET, December 3, 2023

US urges greater civilian protection in Gaza as Israel launches overnight strikes. Here's the latest

From CNN Staff

A Palestinian man inspects destruction caused by air strikes on December 3, in Khan Younis, Gaza.
A Palestinian man inspects destruction caused by air strikes on December 3, in Khan Younis, Gaza. Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says fighter jets and helicopters struck targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, including tunnel shafts, command centers and weapons storage facilities. 

Hamas militants were targeted and killed by an IDF drone operating on the direction of ground troops, the military said.

Meanwhile, the US has stepped up pressure on Israel to do more to protect civilians following the resumption of combat operations in Gaza.

Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed at least 15,207 people and injured at least 40,652 others, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza, said on Saturday. At least 70% of those killed were women and children.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed on Saturday that the country's support for Israel is “not negotiable” in remarks at a forum in California — but also emphasized that the protection of civilians in Gaza is crucial to Israel’s long-term success against Hamas.

Here's a look at more headlines from today:

Israeli soldiers killed: Israel says two more soldiers have died in their offensive in the Gaza Strip. Several others were “lightly injured” as a result of an anti-tank missile being fired toward an IDF vehicle in Beit Hillel in Northern Israel. 

UK sends flights: The United Kingdom will fly surveillance aircraft over Gaza to help Israel locate the hostages taken by Hamas in the 7 October attacks. The UK government said it has been working with other countries “to secure the release of hostages, including British nationals, who have been kidnapped."

IDF destroys tunnels: The IDF said it has destroyed about 500 Hamas tunnels in Gaza during its offensive. It also claimed it has located more than 800 tunnel shafts in the Palestinian enclave, claiming many of the tunnel shafts "were located in civilian areas" and inside civilian structures. 

Netanyahu demands investigation: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday has called for a “thorough inquiry” into the fatal shooting of Yuval Doron Castleman, the civilian who responded to Thursday’s Jerusalem shooting attack and was himself shot and killed, apparently by a soldier who also responded.

Israel peace activists reconsider position: When human rights activist Ziv Stahl was awakened to the booms of rocket fire on October 7, while staying at her sister’s home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, she did not for a moment anticipate the scale of the terrorist attack unfolding around her. Nor did she imagine the horror she would feel when she later called the police, who “basically told me no one is coming.” Read the full story here.

11:41 a.m. ET, December 3, 2023

GOP senator rejects defense secretary's argument that more civilian casualties in Gaza could worsen insurgency

From CNN’s Avery Lotz

US Sen. Lindsey Graham and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
US Sen. Lindsey Graham and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Getty Images

US Sen. Lindsey Graham rejected Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s contention that further civilian casualties in Gaza could produce even more insurgents and replace “a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

The Republican senator went on to characterize Austin as “naive," saying he has “lost all confidence” in him.

“Strategic defeat would be inflaming the Palestinians? They’re already inflamed. They are taught from the time they’re born to hate the Jews and to kill them," Graham claimed on CNN — calling on Austin to “Quit criticizing Israel in public.”

“Secretary Austin is telling Israel things that are impossible to achieve,” Graham said. “Secretary Austin, the reason Palestinians are dying: Gaza is so condensed, Hamas has tunnels under apartments, under schools, under hospitals.”

Graham added that he understands the theory of what retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal has called “insurgent math,” an idea that collateral civilian death in warfare can be a catalyst for creating insurgents, but argued Gaza’s population “has been radicalized for decades.”

“Do you know what they teach in the schools?” Graham questioned. "The idea that somehow we’re or Israel is radicalizing the people in Gaza is ridiculous'"

“If we were attacked like this, which we were in 9/11, if somebody called for us within two months to have a ceasefire against al-Qaeda, we would’ve laughed them out of town, we would have run them out of town,” he said, also criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris’ Saturday statement that “too many innocent Palestinians have been killed.” 

“Vice President Harris, tell Israel how to destroy Hamas in a way not to hurt innocent Palestinians, and I'll pass it along,” he said. “No Republican believes this, by the way,” he added. “No Republican is telling Israel to change your military tactics.”

Aid for Israel: Meanwhile, said he would not vote for a bill to aid Israel and Ukraine if US immigration restrictions he and his GOP colleagues have advocated for are not included in the proposed legislation.

“I think there are votes for Israel apart from the package,” he contended. “Republicans overwhelmingly support Israel — so do most Democrats. Republicans are divided on Ukraine.”

10:49 a.m. ET, December 3, 2023

Israel says negotiations are over with Hamas and recalls negotiators from Qatar

From Tamar Michaelis in Tel Aviv and Simon Cullen in London

On Saturday, Israel recalled its team of negotiators from Qatar after reaching a “dead end” in talks, according to a statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

“The Hamas terror organization did not fulfill its part in the agreement, which included the return of all women and children held hostage, in accordance with a list sent to Hamas and approved by them,” the statement said.

The negotiators were from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. The statement said it was the head of the agency, David Barnea, who recalled the team.

Remember: An agreement between Israel and Hamas was reached with the help of foreign mediation and saw a seven-day pause in fighting, with the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. More aid was also able to flow into the enclave during the truce.

The pause began on November 24 and was renewed twice before ending on Friday morning.

11:02 a.m. ET, December 3, 2023

Netanyahu calls for investigation into killing of Israeli who stopped Jerusalem shooting attack

From CNN Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv , Israel, on October 28.  
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv , Israel, on October 28.   Abir Sultan/Pool/Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday called for a “thorough inquiry” into the fatal shooting of Yuval Doron Castleman, the civilian who responded to Thursday’s Jerusalem shooting attack and was himself shot and killed, apparently by a soldier who also responded.

"Yuval Doron Castleman is a hero of Israel. In a supreme act of bravery, Yuval saved many lives. However, unfortunately, a terrible tragedy occurred there – and the man who had saved others was killed. There must be a thorough inquiry,” Netanyahu said. 

Castleman died at Shaare Zedek medical center after being transported there critically wounded at the scene of the attack, the hospital announced late Thursday. Three other victims did earlier on Thursday.

Videos of the attack circulating widely on social media and aired on Israeli television show Castleman run across the road when he sees two men shooting at people at a Jerusalem bus stop. He fires his handgun at them several times as they return to their car after shooting at people. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the attackers’ car, a uniformed soldier also begins shooting. Castleman, apparently realizing he could be mistaken for one of the attackers, throws his pistol away, drops to his knees, opens his jacket to show he is not wearing a suicide vest, and raises his hands. The soldier appears to shoot him after his hands are raised. 

The Israel Defense Forces originally said it would not investigate the incident. 

Amid widespread media coverage of Castleman’s death, Israel Police said they would investigate it, and the IDF then said it would join the investigation because the suspect in the killing is a soldier.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Israel Friday cited it as a violation of the pause in hostilities between Hamas and Israel.

8:56 a.m. ET, December 3, 2023

Several Israeli soldiers lightly injured in a missile attack on northern Israel

From CNN's Ivana Kottasova

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said Sunday that several of its soldiers were “lightly injured” as a result of an anti-tank missile being fired toward an IDF vehicle in Beit Hillel in Northern Israel. 

The IDF said the injuries were caused by “fragments” and that the IDF vehicle was damaged in the attack.

The IDF said that it identified several missile launches in the Har Dov area, some of which fell inside Lebanese territory. It said its artillery was striking the sources of the fire.

Some context: The Har Dov area, also known as Shebaa Farms, is a disputed strip of land between Lebanon and Syria that is controlled by Israel, and is adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. It is a site of frequent cross-border fire between the IDF and Hezbollah. 

Hezbollah said on Sunday that it targeted several sites, including the Shebaa Farms on Sunday, in “support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.” The group is the most powerful paramilitary force in the Middle East