October 15, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

By Rhea Mogul, Andrew Raine, Joshua Berlinger, Peter Wilkinson, Maureen Chowdhury and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 16, 2023
43 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:51 p.m. ET, October 15, 2023

Biden says US can support both Israel and Ukraine: "We have the capacity to do this and we have an obligation"

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright and Nikki Carvajal

US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on October 11.
US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on October 11. Susan Walsh/AP

President Joe Biden said the US can provide support to Israel and Ukraine while still maintaining, “our overall international defense,” in an interview excerpt aired Sunday morning.

“We have the capacity to do this and we have an obligation to, we are the essential nation,” Biden said on CBS News, paraphrasing a famous quote from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“We're the United States of America for God's sake, the most powerful nation in the history — not in the world, in the history of the world. The history of the world. We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defense,” Biden said, when asked if the US could take on both wars at the same time. “And if we don't, who does?” the president noted.

A pillar of Biden’s presidency has been to reassert America’s global leadership, which is supported, the White House argues, by the president’s lifetime of experience and worldview, and which his allies said will guide his next steps through remarkably uneven geopolitical crosscurrents of aid for Israel, funding for Ukraine and relations with Iran, CNN previously reported.

The full interview airs on CBS "60 Minutes" tonight.

 

11:49 a.m. ET, October 15, 2023

More US attack aircraft arrive in Middle East in a move to bolster defense posture, central command says

From CNN’s Zachary Cohen

Additional US attack aircraft have arrived in the Middle East as part of a plan to bolster American defense posture in the region, US Air Combat Command announced Sunday.

The deployment of additional A-10 Warthog attack aircraft, along with other US fighter jets, is intended to deter any Iranian aggression or an expansion of the fighting beyond Israel’s borders, a US official previously told CNN.

“A-10s from the 354th EFS have arrived to the US Central Command AOR (Area of Responsibility),” Air Combat Command posted on social media Sunday.

“This arrival bolsters the U.S. defense posture, enhances air operations throughout the Middle East, and reassures our allies and regional partners we remain postured to protect and defend their freedom,” the post added.

Last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the US would “augment” its fighter squadrons in the Middle East under US Central Command.

In addition to F-35s and F-15s, Austin also said F-16 and A-10 squadrons in the region would be bolstered.

1:43 p.m. ET, October 15, 2023

Death toll in Gaza rises to at least 2,450, Palestinian health ministry says

From CNN's Abeer Salman in Jerusalem

Graves are prepared at a cemetery in Rafah, Gaza, on Octobers 15.
Graves are prepared at a cemetery in Rafah, Gaza, on Octobers 15. Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

The death toll in Gaza increased to 2,450 people and 9,200 injured, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said.

10:59 a.m. ET, October 15, 2023

This is where the flurries of rockets and airstrikes have been landing in Gaza and Israel

11:06 a.m. ET, October 15, 2023

US Senate delegation in Israel forced to take shelter amid rocket fire in Tel Aviv, lawmaker says

From CNN’s Abby Baggini

A bipartisan US Senate delegation was forced to take shelter in Tel Aviv amid rocket fire on Sunday, according to a social media post by US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"While in Tel Aviv today, our delegation was rushed to a shelter to wait out rockets sent by Hamas," Schumer wrote. "It shows you what Israelis have to go through. We must provide Israel with the support required to defend itself."

Schumer, who is leading the delegation on a trip to meet high-level Israeli officials and show US support for Israel, posted a photo of senators and staffers standing in an Israeli shelter.

10:56 a.m. ET, October 15, 2023

IDF warns Hezbollah to "watch very closely what is happening to Hamas"

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London

The Israel Defense Forces warned the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to “watch very closely what is happening to Hamas,” following the recent exchanges of fire along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

“With Hezbollah, we have had several skirmishes along the border over the last few days,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday.

“Even today, during the day, we've had anti-tank guided missiles fired at forces indeed causing some casualties. So, we need to be prepared,” Lerner said.

On Sunday, Hezbollah launched an attack on the northern Israeli town of Shtula, killing one Israeli, according to medics.

Hezbollah said Sunday’s attack was launched as a response to the killing of a Reuters journalist during Israeli shelling in Lebanon.

“I would highly recommend that Hezbollah watch very closely what is happening to Hamas and their organization in Gaza as we speak,” Lerner added, stressing the militant group should be “very cautious of crossing that threshold.”

Israel is also keeping a close eye on Iran, Lerner said, accusing them of using “millions and millions of dollars” to “fund terrorist organizations.”

More background: This fighting is centered on northern Israel and southern Lebanon — separate from Israel's fighting with Hamas farther south, which is centered around Gaza.

But an uptick in clashes with Hezbollah has raised fears the powerful Lebanese paramilitary group could actively participate in the conflict. Hezbollah has unambiguously supported the Palestinian militants and roundly condemned Israel’s large-scale airstrikes on Gaza, but it has not intervened on behalf of Hamas so far.

10:42 a.m. ET, October 15, 2023

Egypt willing to accept Americans from Gaza but Hamas stopping crossing, White House says

From CNN’s Nikki Carvajal and Jasmine Wright

Hamas has been stopping Americans from leaving Gaza through the Rafah crossing to Egypt, even though Cairo has agreed to let US citizens cross into the country, the White House said Sunday.

 “We have told President Sisi to open the border to let Americans out,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “The situation there at the crossing is actually more complicated.”

Sullivan said while the Egyptians have agreed to allow Americans to depart to get safe passage through the Rafah crossing and the Israelis agreed, “to ensure that the area around there would be safe, at least as far as they were able to do so,” when a group tried to cross yesterday, it “was actually Hamas taking steps to try to stop that from happening.”

“But we are continuing to work this around the clock, and we are doing all that we can to make sure that American citizens who are in Gaza can get through that border crossing,” Sullivan said. He added US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Egypt Sunday to meet with the country’s president, and it was “at the top of his list to help get those American citizens out of Gaza.”

“Anyone who is a US citizen should have the right to free passage through there, and then have the US government facilitate their travel home,” he said.

Key context: Egypt is facing mounting pressure to act as neighboring Gaza gets pummeled by Israeli airstrikes after Hamas' brutal October 7 terror attacks on Israel.

In the wake of the Hamas attacks, Israel closed its two border crossings with Gaza and imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, blocking supplies of fuel, electricity and water.

It has left the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt as the only viable outlet to get people out of the enclave — and supplies into it. But it’s unclear if even the crossing is operational.

The Egyptian foreign minister told CNN Saturday the crossing was officially open on the Egyptian side, but aerial bombardment had left the roads to the crossing "inoperable" on the Gaza side. He emphasized the need for humanitarian shipments to use the crossing.

CNN spoke to several Gaza residents Saturday who said they tried to leave via the Rafah crossing but were eventually turned away.

CNN's Nadeen Ebrahim contributed reporting to this post.

10:51 a.m. ET, October 15, 2023

Israel says it has turned on water to southern Gaza, but Water Authority says it can't confirm supply

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright and Nikki Carvajal

People collect water from a tap in Khan Younis, Gaza, on October 15.
People collect water from a tap in Khan Younis, Gaza, on October 15. Fatima Shbair/AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told CNN Sunday Israel has restored water to southern Gaza, but the director of the Palestinian Water Authority said he could not be sure it was true, because electricity has not been restored.

“I cannot confirm this at the moment because our water stations in Khan Younis, Gaza City, and central Gaza are not in a condition to receive and distribute water to the people,” Munther Shublaq, the director of the Water Authority in Gaza, told CNN.

“To enable the stations to receive and distribute water, we need electricity, which is currently cut off. The alternative is fuel to power the generator, which we also do not have. There may be pressure to restore the water supply, but I cannot confirm anything until the stations are ready.”

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan shared the development with CNN earlier Sunday.

“I can tell you this morning that I have been in touch with my Israeli counterparts just within the last hour who report to me that they have in fact turned the water pipe back on in Southern Gaza,” Sullivan told CNN.

Sullivan was pressed by CNN's Jake Tapper to identify — from the Biden administration perspective — the difference between Russia cutting off supplies to civilians in Ukraine and Israel doing the same in Gaza.

“First, thank you for saying that Israel is not Russia,” Sullivan first responded.
“Civilians are civilians,” Tapper said.
Sullivan responded, “Yes, absolutely they are. They deserve, as I said before, access to water and medicine, and we are working actively to ensure that that happens.”

More context: The US has held diplomatic conversations with the United Nations, Jordan, Egypt and others to allow access of humanitarian supplies to flow into Gaza as the crisis deepens.

Trapped residents in the Gaza Strip — the coastal enclave Hamas controls — have been pummeled by airstrikes since Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” on the area, including halting supplies of electricity, food, water and fuel.

 

10:20 a.m. ET, October 15, 2023

Israeli military says it is responding to rockets fired from Lebanon

From CNN's Hadas Gold 

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement Sunday afternoon it is responding to fire from Lebanon.

"Following reports regarding sirens sounded in northern Israel, nine rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory," the IDF said in a statement.

According to the statement, the IDF's Aerial Defense Array intercepted five rockets.

"The IDF is currently striking the site of the launch in Lebanon," the statement said.

Remember: This fighting is centered on northern Israel and southern Lebanon — separate from Israel's fighting with Hamas farther south, which is centered around Gaza. But an uptick in clashes with Hezbollah has raised fears the powerful Lebanese paramilitary group could actively participate in the conflict. Hezbollah has unambiguously supported the Palestinian militants and roundly condemned Israel’s large-scale airstrikes on Gaza, but it has not intervened on behalf of Hamas so far.