October 25, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Kathleen Magramo, Andrew Raine, Sana Noor Haq, Aditi Sangal, Alisha Ebrahimji, Adrienne Vogt, Tori B. Powell, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Steve Almasy, CNN

Updated 12:42 a.m. ET, October 26, 2023
34 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:23 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

Biden hasn't sought assurances from Netanyahu on delaying ground operation

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

U.S. President Joe Biden, center left, pauses during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center right, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 18.
U.S. President Joe Biden, center left, pauses during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center right, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 18. Miriam Alster/Pool/AP

US President Joe Biden says he has told Israel's prime minister that if it’s possible to secure the release of hostages in Gaza ahead of a potential ground operation, he should do so.

Biden flatly said he had not sought assurances from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would hold off on a ground operation while hostages remain in custody.

“What I have indicated to him is that if that's possible to get these folks out safely, that's what he should do,” Biden said at The White House. “It is their decision, but I did not demand it.”
"Obviously, they're in jeopardy,” Biden continued. “The question is whether or not there's any way of getting them out. If we can get them out, we should get them out.”

Biden also said he has no confidence in civilian death figures provided by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, but said it was imperative for Israel to focus on targeting Hamas leaders as the country responds to this month’s terror attacks.

“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden said. “I'm sure innocents have been killed, and it's a price of waging war.” 

Israel must be “incredible careful to be sure that they're focusing on going after the folks that are propagating this war against Israel,” rather than civilians, he said.

“It's against their interests when that doesn't happen,” he said. “But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”

3:18 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

Biden says Israel has "responsibility" to respond to Hamas attacks, but must protect civilian lives

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Joe Biden speaks as he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 18 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
President Joe Biden speaks as he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 18 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Evan Vucci/AP

President Joe Biden says Israel has a “responsibility” to respond to Hamas’ October 7 attack, but that it must endure the “burden” of protecting civilian lives.

The region could not go back to the pre-attack status quo, Biden said at a news conference, as he called for renewed work toward a two-state solution.

Biden said humanitarian aid must flow faster in Gaza and added that he was troubled by attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank by “extremist settlers.”

“Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live side-by-side in safety, dignity and peace,” he said in the Rose Garden. “There's no going back to the status quo as it stood on October the sixth. That means ensuring Hamas can no longer terrorize Israel and use Palestinian civilians as human shields. It also means that when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next.”

“In our view, it has to be a two state solution and means a concentrated effort for all the parties, Israelis, Palestinians, regional partners, global leaders, to put us on a path toward peace,” Biden said. 

The president said it was critical to remember Hamas doesn’t represent Palestinians, but said its use of human shields made Israel’s task more difficult.

“Hamas is hiding behind Palestinian civilians, and it's despicable and, not surprisingly, cowardly, as well,” he said. “This also puts an added burden on Israel. While they go after Hamas, that does not lessen the need to operate in line with the laws of war.”

“Israeli has to do everything in his power…as difficult as it is, to protect innocent civilians,” he said.

Biden said he believed a factor in Hamas’s decision to attack were his diplomatic efforts toward normalizing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“I have no proof of this, but my instinct tells me it's because of the progress we're making towards regional integration for Israel and regional integration overall, and we can't leave that work behind,” he said.

3:22 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

US calls for "humanitarian pauses" in Israel-Hamas fighting in UN Security Council resolution 

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

People search the rubble of a building following Israeli strikes on Rafah, in southern Gaza, on October 24.
People search the rubble of a building following Israeli strikes on Rafah, in southern Gaza, on October 24. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

A UN Security Council resolution put forward by the United States calls for "humanitarian pauses" — not a ceasefire — to allow desperately needed aid to reach Gaza.

It also “(r)eaffirms the inherent right of all States to individual and collective self-defense, and also reaffirms that in responding to terrorist attacks, Member States must fully comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law,” according to a copy obtained by CNN.

The resolution welcomed the delivery of aid that has been made to Gaza so far and encouraged member states to support other aid efforts. It also condemned the October 7 attack in Israel and the subsequent hostage-taking by Hamas, and urged “all parties to fully respect and comply with obligations under international law.”

The resolution will be voted on Wednesday afternoon. It is unclear if it will pass or be vetoed by a permanent member of the council.

Remember: The US vetoed a resolution put forward by Brazil on October 18, which also called for "humanitarian pauses" to allow for aid delivery in besieged Gaza. It condemned the October 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas and urged the release of hostages. It also called on all parties to comply with international law and protect civilian lives in Hamas-controlled Gaza amid a ferocious retaliation by Israeli warplanes. In explaining the decision to veto, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the US was “disappointed this resolution made no mention of Israel’s right of self-defense.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken used the “humanitarian pauses” phrase in remarks at a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday while outlining the US resolution. US officials have publicly rebuffed the notion of a ceasefire and have offered full support for what they have called Israel’s “imperative” to defend itself following the brutal Hamas attacks earlier this month.

1:26 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

US law enforcement and intel agencies begin new effort to target Hamas' sources of funding

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz, Evan Perez and Pamela Brown

US authorities have started a new effort to target fundraising and other forms of support for Hamas, including any tentacles the terrorist group has into the United States, current and former US officials tell CNN. 

The move is part of a broader reassessment ongoing in US intelligence and law enforcement agencies about the threat posed by Iranian terrorist proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Islamist movement, with one of the most powerful paramilitary forces in the Middle East, in the wake of the escalating violence in Israel and Gaza.

Hamas has long been known to have a network of supporters in the US that it uses largely for fundraising. But because the group has traditionally focused on attacking Israel, American authorities believed it was less likely to carry out attacks against US interests or on US soil.

Until the events of October 7, the view of Hamas, one US official said, was “they’re a low priority. They’re fundraising.”

Now, the situation in Israel and Gaza has led US law enforcement agencies to shift and launch a full-court press to target Hamas’ sources of funding and move intelligence resources to focus on the group.

Read more about the effort here.

1:00 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

US agrees to send two Iron Dome batteries to Israel

From CNN's Haley Britzky

The US has agreed to send two Iron Dome batteries from the US to Israel, a defense official and US official told CNN on Wednesday. 

It’s unclear if the batteries, owned by the US Army, have already been shipped. The US Army and Israel signed an agreement for the US to procure two Iron Dome batteries in 2019, according to the Army, and they were delivered in 2020.

The batteries from US stocks are in addition to Iron Dome interceptors the US provided from stocks already in Israel. Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters last week that interceptors from stocks “that the United States has in country have been quickly provided to Israel,” and additional interceptors would be provided “in the days ahead.” 

Some background: The Iron Dome is designed to shoot down incoming projectiles. It is equipped with a radar that detects rockets and then uses a command-and-control system that quickly calculates whether an incoming projectile poses a threat or is likely to hit an unpopulated area. If the rocket does pose a threat, the Iron Dome fires missiles from the ground to destroy in the air.

Defense News was first to report the Iron Dome batteries being sent to Israel from the US.

12:53 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

Palestinian American says his mother is "trapped in Gaza" with little food and water

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Palestinian American Nabil Alshurafa says his 66-year-old mom is "trapped in Gaza," after the war broke out between Hamas and Israel while she was visiting her sick mother.

He described the situation as "challenging."

"I spoke to her about 24 hours ago. I couldn't reach her this morning," he said. "It's been an impossible situation. There's no food. There's little water. They're eating garbanzo beans, whatever they can find. When my uncle went to go get some bread, it took him about two and a half hours to wait in line to get bread when the Israeli military bombed the store forcing everyone to fall and collapse on top of each other."

If she needed to go to the Rafah border to leave, "she'll have a very difficult time," he said.

"She was trapped in Gaza. She was 10 minutes away from getting out of the border, the Rafah border, on October 10, when the Israeli military struck down the Rafah border, shutting it and trapping 600 US citizens and hundreds of European and other international citizens," he said.

He questioned why the US government couldn't get its citizens out.

"Right now, it's no longer just about my mother. There are thousands of children, mothers, women being killed. I had four family members that were killed as well recently. Buildings are being wiped out, neighborhoods wiped out. Doctors are operating without anesthetic. This is not Israel at war. This is Israel performing genocide on the Palestinian people. And our government is just sitting there quietly," he said.

Here's what the US government has said about its citizens stuck in Gaza: White House official John Kirby told CNN on Monday there are “a lot of factors” contributing to why Americans trapped in Gaza have not been able to leave, even after the first tranche of humanitarian aid was successfully delivered via the Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza over the weekend.

On Wednesday, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told CNN that "the Egyptians are — on their side — ready, they say, to accept people, foreign nationals, United States citizens, if they can get to Egyptian processing. He added that the US continues to collaborate with Egypt, Israel and the United Nations on the matter.

Additionally, Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Americans who are stuck on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing are not able to leave because “Hamas won’t let them out.”

However, Palestinian Americans visiting or living in Gaza have told CNN they were desperately trying to find ways out of the region but have received little or no support from US Embassy officials.

12:53 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

UK discussing "humanitarian pauses" in Gaza but rejects ceasefire, official says

From CNN’s Benjamin Brown and Lindsay Isaac in London

The UK government is discussing “humanitarian pauses” to allow aid into Gaza but rejects a “wholesale ceasefire,” claiming it would only benefit Hamas, a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Wednesday.

Sunak told parliament that a Royal Air Force plane carrying 21 tons of aid for Gaza left the UK to travel to Egypt Wednesday morning. The prime minister did not say how and when the aid would be delivered from Egypt to Gaza.

“We will continue to do everything we can to increase the flow of aid, including fuel, into Gaza,” Sunak added.

The prime minister's spokesperson also said that Sunak disagreed with comments made by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and said that there could be “no justification for Hamas’ attack.”

On Tuesday Guterres said the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7 “did not happen in a vacuum” during his remarks to the Security Council on the Middle East. 

On Wednesday, Guterres said he was "shocked by the misinterpretations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council," adding that he "condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel."

12:29 p.m. ET, October 25, 2023

A "just and lasting" peace is "possible" in the Middle East, French president says

From CNN's Chris Liakos and Maya Szaniecki

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Cairo on October 25.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Cairo on October 25. Christophe Ena/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that "a just and lasting peace is possible in the Middle East."

Following a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Macron posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that "France is working to combat terrorism, protect civilians and ensure that the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians are taken into account," calling Jordan "an essential partner on this path."

According to a post on X by the Jordanian Royal Hashemite Court, during the meeting King Abdullah II "affirmed that stopping the war on #Gaza is an absolute necessity that the world must immediately move to address."

The French leader visited the capital city of Amman Wednesday, after he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday. He then traveled to Cairo, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Macron also on Tuesday proposed an international coalition to combat terror groups with a similar model to the fight against ISIS, without providing further details. 

According to an Elysee Palace source, the proposal could look into whether aspects of that coalition could be replicated to fight Hamas, such as intelligence sharing and combatting terrorism finance.

11:11 a.m. ET, October 25, 2023

Common ground can be found toward a "humanitarian pause" to allow aid into Gaza, senior EU diplomat says

From CNN's James Frater, Alex Hardie and Chris Liakos

A senior European Union diplomat told CNN on Wednesday that the EU may lean toward a "short humanitarian pause" in Gaza at this week's extraordinary European Council meeting.

Leaders will meet Thursday to try and reach consensus on how to best deal with the current conflict and to avoid a further humanitarian crisis. The diplomat said they will have to "find a formula" that would satisfy both camps — those who are calling for an "outright" ceasefire and those who believe that it is too early to speak about one.

What other EU leaders are saying:

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell: Support for "a humanitarian pause" is growing in the bloc, he said on Wednesday. "All civilian lives are of equal value and all must be protected," Borrell posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte: The Netherlands would continue to advocate for a "humanitarian pause," he said Monday.

France: French President Emmanuel Macron said he would discuss some sort of pause for humanitarian reasons during his trip to Israel, according to the Élysée Palace.

Foreign ministers of Ireland and Slovenia also spoke of a "required" and "urgent" pause on humanitarian grounds in order for more aid to make it into Gaza.

According to the senior EU diplomat, however, some may feel that there is "little" difference between a ceasefire and a pause, adding that it is not clear what the wording of the final communique would be. "There must be an occasion for the delivery of humanitarian aid in safe circumstances," the diplomat stressed.