October 12, 2023 - Israel-Hamas war news

By Kathleen Magramo, Adam Renton, Christian Edwards, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Dakin Andone, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury, Christina Maxouris, Kaanita Iyer and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:14 a.m. ET, October 13, 2023
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7:12 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

At least 100 antisemitic acts committed in France since weekend

From CNN's Joseph Ataman in Paris

A French riot policeman (CRS) stands guard outside the Paris Synagogue in central Paris, France, on October 9.
A French riot policeman (CRS) stands guard outside the Paris Synagogue in central Paris, France, on October 9. Julien De Rosa/AFP/Getty Images

More than 100 antisemitic acts, consisting of "mainly graffiti," have been recorded by French police since Saturday, interior minister Gérald Darmanin said in an interview with radio station France Inter.

The graffiti includes swastikas and calls to kill Jews, in addition to "some more serious acts," including people with weapons stopped at the entrance to Jewish sites, he said. 

There is currently no Islamist terrorist threat particularly targeting Jews in France, Darmanin added. But he warned that "hate online has been unleashed," with an "extremely raised" level of reports of antisemitic abuse online.

"If it's a protest in support of Hamas or in support of the action by some Palestinians against Israel, it's 'No.' So, since Sunday we're prohibiting them on a case-by-case basis," Darmanin said, following the bans of several pro-Palestinian protests in France.

"The Palestinian cause is absolutely respectable," he added.

Evacuations: Separately, the French foreign ministry announced that the country will evacuate more of its citizens from Israel in further flights planned for the coming days.

The first repatriation flight is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Priority will be given to unaccompanied children and pregnant women, disabled people or those with medical emergencies. 

The ministry said in a statement Thursday that it is working with Air France to see commercial flights resume “as quickly as possible.” Air France suspended its flights to Israel following the Hamas attacks on Saturday.

7:08 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Elon Musk’s X says it has removed "hundreds" of Hamas-affiliated accounts

From CNN’s Hanna Ziady

X says it has removed "hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts" and taken down thousands of posts since the attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group.

The platform, formerly known as Twitter, was given 24 hours by the European Union earlier this week to address illegal content and disinformation regarding the conflict or face penalties under the bloc's recently enacted Digital Services Act. 

CEO Linda Yaccarino responded to EU official Thierry Breton in a letter dated Wednesday that she posted to X. She said the company had "redistributed resources and refocused internal teams who are working around the clock to address this rapidly evolving situation."

"There is no place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups and we continue to remove such accounts in real time," Yaccarino wrote.

"X is... addressing identified fake and manipulated content during this constantly evolving and shifting crisis," she added. The platform had "assembled a leadership group to assess the situation" shortly after news broke about the attack, Yaccarino said.

A slew of mischaracterized videos and other posts went viral on X over the weekend, alarming experts who track the spread of misinformation and offering the latest example of social media platforms' struggle to deal with a flood of falsehoods during a major geopolitical event.

Since the attack on Israel, Yaccarino said X had acted to "remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content" that break its rules on violent speech, manipulated media and graphic media. It had also responded to more than 80 "take down requests" from EU authorities to remove content.

"Community Notes" — which allow X users to fact check false posts — are visible on "thousands of posts, generating millions of impressions," she wrote.

According to Yaccarino, notes related to the conflict take about five hours on average to show up after a post is created, a revelation that could fuel concerns that fake or manipulated content is being seen by thousands — or in some cases millions — of people before being moderated.

Acknowledging receipt of Yaccarino's letter Thursday, Breton said on X that the the Digital Services Act enforcement team "will analyse the reply and decide on next steps."

The law is one of the most ambitious efforts by policymakers anywhere to regulate tech giants and companies face billions in fines for violating the act.

6:39 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Blinken meeting with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv

From CNN's Jo Shelley

Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 12.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 12. Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, according to a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

“We’re here – and we’re not going anywhere," Blinken told Netanyahu at the start of the meeting, the statement said.

The Israeli foreign minister, the head of Israel’s national security council, and Israel’s ambassador to Washington also participated in the meeting, among others.

6:30 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Israel's president says it is abiding by international law, when asked by CNN about war crime accusations

From CNN’s Zeena Saifi in Tel Aviv and Niamh Kennedy in London

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said his country is abiding by international law, in response to a question from CNN about whether Israel is upholding the laws of warfare. 

“I'm quite disappointed that that's what you're asking instantaneously. Haven't you seen? You've seen, you were all there. So now we're starting with the rhetoric about war crimes really?” Herzog said, responding to CNN’s Becky Anderson at a news briefing in Jerusalem on Thursday.

“Israel abides by international law, operates by international law. Every operation is secured and covered and reviewed legally with all due respect,” Herzog added. Accusations of war crimes come “totally out of context," he said.

Israel has been accused of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinians as it has subjected Gaza to intense bombardment since Hamas' attack on Saturday. Collective punishment is a war crime.

Herzog also got visibly agitated when responding to a similar question at the same briefing. Matt Frei, from UK broadcaster Channel 4, asked the Israeli president whether Israel is holding ordinary Palestinians in Gaza responsible for not removing Hamas.

With all due respect, if you have a missile in your goddamn kitchen, and you want to shoot it at me, am I allowed to defend myself?” Herzog retorted.

“That’s the situation. These missiles are there. These missiles are launched, the button is pressed, the missile comes up from a kitchen onto my children,” he continued.

When asked what Israel’s plan is, he responded: “The plan is we have to make sure that Hamas will not be able to repeat this again.”

“We have to defend ourselves. We have the full right to do so. And it's about time that the world understands it,” he stressed.
6:38 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Israeli official says the government cannot confirm babies were beheaded in Hamas attack

From CNN’s Matthew Chance

Israeli forces extract dead bodies of Israeli residents from a destroyed house in Kfar Aza, Israel, on October 10.
Israeli forces extract dead bodies of Israeli residents from a destroyed house in Kfar Aza, Israel, on October 10. Ilia Yefimovich/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

The Israeli government has not confirmed the specific claim that Hamas attackers cut off the heads of babies during their shock attack on Saturday, an Israeli official told CNN, contradicting a previous public statement by the Prime Minister's office.

"There have been cases of Hamas militants carrying out beheadings and other ISIS-style atrocities. However, we cannot confirm if the victims were men or women, soldiers or civilians, adults or children," the official said. 

The explosive allegations that children had been decapitated at the kibbutz of Kfar Aza emerged Tuesday in Israeli media. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later described the scene as a "massacre" in a statement to CNN. Women, children toddlers and the elderly were "brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action," the IDF said.

Tal Heinrich, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Wednesday that babies and toddlers had been found with their "heads decapitated" in Kfar Aza.

An IDF spokesman later in the day said that terrorists had carried out decapitations.

"We know that there were dead babies. There is evidence that there was decapitation. I don't know how to verify numbers or how they were killed," IDF spokesman Maj. Nir Dinar said.

6:30 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Gaza death toll climbs to 1,354

From CNN's Abeer Salman

Bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes wait outside at the Nasser Hospital to be buried after a funeral prayer in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on October 12.
Bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes wait outside at the Nasser Hospital to be buried after a funeral prayer in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on October 12. Abed Zagout/Anadolu/Getty Images

At least 1,354 people have been killed and a further 6,049 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Saturday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Earlier Thursday, the Israel Defense Forces said it is "conducting a large-scale strike" on Hamas targets in Gaza as the conflict entered a sixth day.

A humanitarian crisis is rapidly spiraling in the coastal enclave. The UN said Thursday more than 330,000 people have been displaced there since Israel began its bombardment.

At least 1,200 people were killed and thousands more injured in Hamas’ surprise attacks on Israel at the weekend, according to Israeli officials.

6:24 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Gaza health system on brink of collapse, Palestinian official says

From CNN’s Ibrahim Dahman, Eyad Kourdi and Abeer Salman

Medical staff help injured people to bring to Al-Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, Gaza, as Israel's attacks on continue on October 11.
Medical staff help injured people to bring to Al-Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, Gaza, as Israel's attacks on continue on October 11. Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu/Getty Images

The health infrastructure in Gaza is close to breaking point, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, said Thursday.

Al-Qudra raised alarm about the state of intensive care units, saying “even after expansion, all beds are occupied, leaving no room for new patients in critical condition.”

The surge in the number of injured individuals now exceeds the capacity of the operating rooms available, he added.

Earlier Thursday the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said hospitals in Gaza “risk turning into morgues” as they lose power amid escalating violence and following Israel’s siege of the enclave.

A cry for aid: The Palestinian minister of health called for international help to assist in establishing field hospitals in the Gaza Strip as hospitals there are already overcrowded.

In a statement, health minister Dr. Mai Al Kaila "urgently" called on all "international and UN health organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and all countries of the world to intervene immediately and urgently to provide medicines and medical supplies, especially for operating rooms, emergency departments, and intensive care units."

5:34 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Israel says no electricity, water or fuel to Gaza until Hamas returns hostages

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Israeli Minister Israel Katz attends the cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel, on February 17, 2019.
Israeli Minister Israel Katz attends the cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel, on February 17, 2019. Sebastian Scheiner/AP

Gaza will not be provided with any electricity, water or fuel until Israeli hostages being held by Hamas are returned home, Israeli energy minister Israel Katz said Thursday.

"No electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened, and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home. Humanitarian for humanitarian. And no one will preach us morals," Katz wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

During the onslaught on Saturday, armed Hamas militants poured over the heavily-fortified border into Israel and took as many as 150 hostages, including Israeli army officers, back to Gaza.

Hamas warned that it would start executing hostages if Israel targeted people in Gaza without warning.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), told CNN's Erin Burnett that the situation with the hostages is an "extremely sensitive and complex topic."

Although Israel has "some experience" with hostage situations, Conricus said they have never dealt with an operation like this: "Not in the scope, not in the magnitude and not in the complexity of where our hostages are."

Conricus said "reason dictates" that the hostages are being kept underground, to "keep them safe from Israeli intelligence, and efforts to get them out."

5:14 a.m. ET, October 12, 2023

Israel's European Championship soccer qualifier postponed

From CNN's Zayn Nabbi

Israel's Euro 2024 qualifier against Kosovo scheduled for Sunday has been postponed "as the Israeli authorities currently do not allow their national team to travel abroad," UEFA announced Thursday.

Israel had been due to play their Group I qualifier against Kosovo in Pristina.

UEFA, European soccer's governing body, has already postponed all soccer matches scheduled in Israel over the next two weeks due to the conflict in the region.

A new date for the October 15 fixture was not given.