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Israel-Hamas war: Death toll climbs in Gaza airstrikes as Blinken visits region

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Death toll rises as Israel-Hamas war intensifies 05:19

Our coverage of latest developments in the Israel-Hamas war continues here. Catch up on earlier reporting below.

The U.S. State Department announced Thursday it is arranging evacuation flights to help Americans leave Israel – as the war with Hamas escalates and the death toll in the conflict climbs. Israel is devastating Gaza with strikes and preparing a ground invasion of the Palestinian territory in response to Hamas' brutal weekend attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians.

While the death toll in Israel from Hamas' bloody rampage crept up, with victims still being identified, images from inside the densely packed, completely blockaded Palestinian territory showed many neighborhoods flattened.

The scale of Israel's counterattack led a group of independent experts at the United Nations to warn – while condemning the "horrific" war crimes committed by Hamas – that "indiscriminate military attacks against the already exhausted Palestinian people of Gaza" amounted to "collective punishment." 

"This is absolutely prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime," they added.

Their condemnation came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel, vowing support for the country and saying Hamas' brutal acts harken "back to ISIS." He met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while Israel's military said it was "preparing" for a Gaza ground offensive. Tens of thousands of Israeli forces have massed along the border with the Palestinian territory and with Lebanon, to Israel's north, amid fears that another battlefront could open if Hezbollah is drawn into the conflict. The group is backed in Iran, like Hamas, and is based in Lebanon.

As of Thursday afternoon, Israel's military said Hamas' attack killed more than 1,200 people, including at least 27 Americans, and left some 2,800 people wounded. At least 1,537 people, including 447 children, have been killed in Gaza by Israel's retaliatory strikes, the Gaza Ministry of Health said, adding that more than 6,000 others were wounded.


Iran says "new front" in Hamas war depends on Israel actions

Iran's foreign minister, whose government supports Hamas and other Middle East militant groups, said on Thursday that the opening of a "new front" against Israel would depend on Israel's actions in Gaza.

The United States fears there could be a second front on Israel's northern border with Lebanon if Hezbollah, another heavily armed Islamist group backed by Iran, were to intervene in the current war.

"Officials of some countries contact us and ask about the possibility of a new front (against Israel) being opened in the region," said Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Although Tehran has been a long-term backer of Hamas, Iranian officials have been adamant that the country had no involvement in the militants' attack against its arch enemy Israel on Saturday.

"We tell them that our clear answer regarding future possibilities is that everything depends on the actions of the Zionist regime in Gaza," Amir-Abdollahian said, according to a statement from the Iranian foreign ministry.

The West has been cautious about Iran since Saturday, but leaders have warned Tehran in no uncertain terms against intervening in the war.

President Biden said on Wednesday that he had "made it clear to the Iranians: Be careful."


Palestinian gunman killed after wounding Jerusalem police officers

Two officers were wounded Thursday in a shooting in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. The gunman, a 20-year-old man from the city's eastern sector, was killed by Israeli forces, police said. 

The gunman, who has not been identified, "opened fire at police officers who were standing in front of the" Shalem police station near the Old City, police spokesman Dean Elsdunne said.

Israel Declares War Following Large-Scale Hamas Attacks
 Israeli border police secure the area outside The Shalem Police Station and Herod's Gate on October 12, 2023 in Jerusalem, Israel. Alexi J. Rosenfeld / Getty Images

An AFP photographer saw what appeared to be a dead body outside the police station with dozens of officers in the area.

One of the officers was in serious condition and the other was lightly wounded, police said, citing medics.

As the gunman "attempted to flee the scene", officers "managed to... successfully neutralize him. He was declared deceased at the scene," said Elsdunne.

At least 33 Palestinians have been killed in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank in violence related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Saturday. 


U.S. Defense Secretary to travel to Israel on Friday

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will visit Israel on Friday, a senior defense official told CBS News on Thursday afternoon. 

Austin will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country's defense minister Yoav Gallant, and Israel's newly formed war cabinet. The defense official told CBS News that Austin and other officials will discuss Israeli objectives for the conflict with Hamas and the country's security assistance needs. 

The defense official also told CBS News that the Department of Defense is providing the Israel Defense Forces with advice on hostage recovery efforts. The official also said that the Department of Defense expects there to be a continuous delivery of security assistance to Israel from the United States. 

Ellen Watson contributed reporting. 

By Kerry Breen

338,000 people displaced in Gaza, U.N. says

The United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Thursday the number of displaced people in the Gaza Strip has climbed 30% since the day before.

There are now 338,000 people displaced in Gaza, which is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. More than two million people live in the 139-square-mile territory. 

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said nearly 218,000 displaced people are sheltering in 92 of its schools and facilities in the Gaza Strip. Over 2,500 homes have been "destroyed or severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable" amid a barrage of retaliatory airstrikes from Israel

At least 88 education facilities have also been struck, UNRWA said, including 17 of its schools and 70 Palestinian Authority schools. Twelve UNRWA personnel have been killed since the violence began. 

Gaza citizens trapped in Israel-Hamas war 10:49

People in Gaza are also suffering as Israel halted the entry of water, food, medicine and fuel, cutting electricity supplies to the Palestinian enclave. The territory's sole power plant has run out of fuel, OCHA said, causing a blackout. 

UNRWA also warned a water crisis is looming in its emergency shelters and across the Gaza Strip as a whole. Water pumps and desalination plants cannot operate without electricity. 

Humanitarian workers have been able to offer some assistance, including bringing fresh bread to 137,000 displaced people and delivering 70,000 liters of fuel to water and sanitation facilities to help them operate. 

By Kerry Breen

U.S. reaches "quiet understanding" with Qatar not to release $6 billion in Iranian oil money

The U.S. has reached a "quiet understanding" with Qatar not to release any of the $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue that was unfrozen as part of the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap last month, a source with knowledge of the arrangement told CBS News.

As part of the high-stakes deal to release five Americans who had been wrongfully detained in Iran, the Biden administration included the transfer of the Iranian oil assets from a restricted account in South Korea to Qatar.

The timing of the understanding that was reached was not disclosed by the source, so it is not known whether this transpired after Hamas attacked Israel over the weekend.

Sen. Tim Scott says $6 billion released in Iran prisoner swap created "market for hostages" 06:45

In a briefing with reporters on Thursday afternoon, White House national security spokesman John Kirby insisted that "the regime was never going to see a dime of that money."

Read the full story here

Caitlin Yilek and Olivia Gazis contributed to this report.

By Nancy Cordes

"Emergency government" sworn in one day after being formed in Israel

Israeli lawmakers swore in an "emergency government" in a 66-4 vote on Thursday, the country's parliament said, one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a war-time partnership with rival Benny Gantz.

Gantz and four members of his party were sworn in as ministers. Earlier Thursday, opposition chief Yair Lapid announced he would not join the government and criticized the Israeli government for not preventing this weekend's brutal attack, calling it an "unpardonable failure." 

The AFP contributed reporting.

By Kerry Breen

Blinken to visit Qatar, where Hamas has a political office, after Israel

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will travel from Israel - where he voiced U.S. solidarity Thursday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli people in the wake of Hamas' bloody terror attack - to Doha, Qatar, where the Palestinian faction maintains an international political office.

A senior State Department official and a regional source confirmed Blinken's travel plans to CBS News' Margaret Brennan, with the U.S. official stressing that the visit should not necessarily be taken as an indicator of any progress in negotiations to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas. The group seized between 100 and 150 hostages during its Saturday rampage across southern Israel.

The Qataris have hosted the Hamas office for just over a decade and may be involved in efforts to push for a release of the captives. The U.S. and Israel have both listed Hamas as a terrorist organization for decades.

Blinken takes questions in Israel, says U.S. working to recover hostages 32:02
By Tucker Reals

NYPD prepares for pro-Palestinian rallies on Friday

A law enforcement official confirmed to CBS News that police officers in New York City have been ordered, as a precaution, to be prepared after former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal called for worldwide demonstrations in support of Palestinians on Friday. The directive was issued Wednesday, the official said. 

Officers are being asked to report in uniform for regular shifts, while off-duty officers are asked to have their uniforms ready in case they are asked to deploy if protests get out of hand, the official said, adding that authorities want to make sure protests remain peaceful.

Security at all 77 NYPD precincts will be beefed up. The official told CBS News that the NYPD has sufficient personnel to cover the protests, but if they grow to a larger scale than anticipated, they may need to call in more officers. 

CBS News' Pat Milton contributed reporting. 

By Kerry Breen

Blinken says Hamas' acts "harkens back to ISIS"

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed reporters on Thursday in Tel Aviv, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials and vowed U.S. support for the country. 

He described Hamas' attacks on Israel as "depravity in the worst imaginable way" and said acts by the militant group "harkens back to ISIS."

"It almost defies comprehension," Blinken said. 

Blinken is heading to Jordan on Thursday night to meet with King Abdullah and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, as well as senior officials from U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt. He said the U.S. and these allies "will continue pressing countries to help prevent the conflict from spreading and use their leverage with Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release the hostages."

"We'll also discuss how we can continue to make real our affirmative vision for a region that's more peaceful, more prosperous, more secure, more integrated," Blinken said. "And in fact, that is the choice and the choice in some ways has been made even more stark by the actions of Hamas on Saturday."

"One path forward is a region that comes together – integrated, normalized relations among its countries, people working in common purpose for common benefit, more peaceful, more stable," he said. "And then there is the path that Hamas has shown in the stark, clear light — terror, destruction, nihilism. The choice could not be more clear."

By Caroline Linton

U.S. arranging evacuation flights for Americans starting Friday

The U.S. State Department announced it will arrange charter flights for Americans and immediate members of their families who have not been able to book commercial transit out of Israel after Saturday's Hamas assault. The government will arrange the flights starting Friday, it said in a statement.

After leaving Israel and arriving in other locations, individuals will be able to "make their own onward travel arrangements to the destination of their choice," the State Department said. It plans to "augment" the initial transportation options in the coming days. 

The department said that it expects "these initial travel options to facilitate the safe departure of thousands of U.S. citizens per week." 

"Senior State Department officials are actively working with airline carriers and international partners on how best to provide additional options to U.S. citizens seeking to depart Israel or conduct onward travel to the United States," the statement said. 

By Kerry Breen

Biden holds national security meeting about "safeguarding" U.S. amid war

The White House released a photo Thursday of President Joe Biden and other administration officials meeting about U.S. national security amid the Israel-Hamas war. 

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr. Biden said he has "no higher priority than the safety of Americans at home and abroad." He said officials discussed "ongoing steps to protect the homeland, including Jewish, Arab, and Muslim communities, following the attacks in Israel." 

According to a readout of the meeting, the president was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, the intelligence and FBI directors, and other officials.

By Kerry Breen

27 Americans killed Israel, Kirby says

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in a White House briefing Thursday that 27 American citizens have been killed in Israel and 14 Americans are missing.

Americans are among the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, although it is unclear how many are being held. 

By Kerry Breen

Israel opposition leader accuses government of "unpardonable failure"

Opposition leader Yair Lapid accused the Israeli government Thursday of "unpardonable failure" for not preventing the brutal weekend attack by Hamas militants that killed more than 1,200 people in Israel.

"Saturday's failure is unpardonable," Lapid said in a televised address, adding that he would not join the emergency government announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his rival Benny Gantz.


Israeli celebrity chef works to feed soldiers, displaced civilians, amid war

An Israeli celebrity chef is one of thousands volunteering to support people in Israel who have been affected by the country's war with Palestinian military group Hamas

Segev Moshe used social media to solicit food donations and recruit helping hands. Inside a hotel kitchen in Tel Aviv, Moshe and his volunteers are producing thousands of meals, which are going to soldiers, including thousands of reservists who have been called up, and civilians who have been displaced by the war. 

"We need to do something. People, now, in the middle of the war with no food, with no nothing - this is the best that we can do," said Moshe. 

CBS News' Haley Ott contributed reporting. 

Israeli TV chef helps feed troops 01:21
By Kerry Breen

Israeli leader's office shares "horrifying photos of babies murdered" in Hamas attack

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office posted gruesome photos on social media Thursday showing infants allegedly murdered and burned in an attack by Hamas militants on a kibbutz near the Gaza border.

The tweet said Netanyahu had showed the same "horrifying photos of babies murdered and burned by the Hamas monsters" to visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.

"Hamas has shown itself to be an enemy of civilization: The massacring of young people in an outdoor music festival; the butchering of entire families; the murder of parents in front of their children and the murder of children in front of their parents; the burning of people alive; beheading; the kidnapping of a young boy, not only kidnapped, molested, hurt, attacked," Netanyahu said during a joint news conference with the top U.S. diplomat in Tel Aviv, adding that President Biden had been "absolutely correct in calling this sheer evil."

Netanyahu did not reiterate claims that babies at the Kfar Aza kibbutz had been decapitated by Hamas militants. An Israeli military spokesperson told CBS News on Wednesday that soldiers who first entered the commune had seen such atrocities, and a civilian emergency responder told CBS News' Holly Williams that he had personally seen beheaded infants. Watch Williams' report on the attack at the kibbutz below:

Israel kibbutz the scene of a Hamas “massacre,” first responders say 04:28
By Tucker Reals

Blinken, Moroccan counterpart discussed "efforts to prevent a regional escalation" amid Israel-Hamas war

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Wednesday with his Moroccan counterpart, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, about "efforts to prevent a regional escalation and secure the release of hostages" after the Palestinian faction Hamas' brutal attack on Israel. 

Hamas is believed to be holding between 100 and 150 people hostage in the wake of its terror rampage in southern Israel, including an unconfirmed number of Americans.

Blinken "praised King Mohammed VI's commitment to peace and security in the region and welcomed continued close cooperation between Morocco and the United States," the State Department said Thursday in a readout of their phone call.

By Tucker Reals

Gaza university student calls Israel's retaliation for Hamas attack "a genocide"

"They're wiping us out. This is a genocide," Gazan university student Efaf al-Najar told CBS News as Israel pounded the densely packed Palestinian territory with missiles. "It's not even an attack anymore. They keep saying, 'leave the Gaza Strip.' Where? They've bombed everything, even the only border we can leave through."  

Israel has hammered Hamas-ruled Gaza for six days in retaliation for the Palestinian faction's brutal terror attack on Israeli military personnel and civilians. Watch CBS News correspondent Imtiaz Tyab's full report on the desperate circumstances inside Gaza, and growing fear that the war could escalate, here:

Gaza citizens trapped in Israel-Hamas war 10:49
By Tucker Reals

Israel acknowledges intel "indicators" just before Hamas terror attack

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) acknowledged Thursday that the Israeli military had intelligence "signs" or "indicators" of a looming Hamas attack before the Palestinian militants launched their bloody assault on Oct. 7, but said there was no clear warning, and nothing to suggest the scale of the attack being planned.

"There was no intelligence warning. The indicators that appeared hours ago were intelligence indicators of various kinds," Israel's Walla news outlet quoted IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari as saying Thursday. He stressed that the "indicators" did not point to a Palestinian attack "of this magnitude."

Questions have mounted rapidly over how Israel's vast intelligence network failed to detect and disrupt the well-orchestrated, and seemingly long-planned attack. Hamas training videos posted online weeks and even months before the assault include scenes eerily reminiscent of those that played out in southern Israeli communities and at military posts on Oct. 7.

During a briefing later Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said if the U.S. had seen any intelligence indicating Hamas was poised to strike before it did, "we would share them with Israel. But to my knowledge, we did not see that."

By Tucker Reals

Gazans say Israel warned them to seek safety after bombing homes

Palestinian residents of the city of Beit Lahiya in the northern region of the Gaza Strip said Thursday that Israeli planes dropped flyers warning them to evacuate their homes and to head to "known shelters," after bombs had already started falling.

"Anyone who is near Hamas terrorists will put their lives in danger," the flyers said. "Adhering to IDF (Israel Defense Forces) instructions will prevent you from being exposed to danger."

The area had already been heavily struck by the time the flyers were dropped. Shelters in the Gaza Strip are not safe from airstrikes — the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees has seen 10 of its shelters struck since the start of Israel's operation retaliating for the terror attack launched by Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Palestinians living the pummeled strip have said Israel's military often has not alerted them before striking homes, or will alert them but not with enough time to evacuate before their homes are hit. Israeli defense officials have said they attempt to provide warning before strikes.

By CBS News and The Associated Press


U.N.'s World Food Program says its trying to feed thousands as 263,000 people displaced in Gaza

The United Nations' World Food Program said Thursday that it was still managing to distribute food to Palestinians displaced from their homes amid Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip, despite a complete Israeli blockade of the enclave.

"As shelters continue to receive people who fled their homes, we plan to continue distributing food, aiming to reach 219,000 people," the WFP said Thursday in a tweet.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Wednesday that the number of people displaced across Gaza had topped "263,000 men, women and children," which it said was an increase of 40% since Tuesday.

With reporting by CBS News' Pamela Falk at the United Nations.

By Tucker Reals

Death toll in Gaza Strip over 1,400, health officials say

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Thursday that the death toll from Israel's airstrikes on the Palestinian territory had risen to 1,417, including 447 children and 248 women. It said another 6,268 people were wounded, including 1,531 children and 932 women.

Israel has rained missiles down on the densely-populated Gaza Strip since its Hamas rulers launched a brutal terror attack on southern Israel over the weekend, killing more than 1,200 people and taking more than 100 hostage.

By Tucker Reals

France says 12 nationals killed in Israel, 17 still missing, including 4 kids

France's President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that four of 17 French nationals missing in Israel after Hamas' brutal weekend attack were children. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said earlier that 12 nationals of the European nation were confirmed dead in Israel.

By Elaine Cobbe

NATO allies say Israel has "right to defend itself with proportionality"

NATO countries on Thursday told Israel's defense minister they stood by his country after the attack by Hamas, but urged his forces to respond with "proportionality." Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant briefed counterparts from the U.S.-led military alliance via videolink as his country carries out a bombing campaign after Islamist militants killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

"Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO condemned the terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms, adding: 'Israel does not stand alone'," NATO said in a statement. "Allies expressed solidarity with Israel, making clear that it has the right to defend itself with proportionality against these unjustifiable acts of terror."

The bloc urged Hamas "to immediately release all hostages, and for the fullest possible protection of civilians.

"Allies also made clear that no nation or organization should seek to take advantage of the situation or to escalate it."  

The statement added that "a number of NATO allies made clear that they are providing practical support to Israel as it continues to respond to the situation."


57-Islamic nation bloc condemns "Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people"

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Thursday strongly condemned what it called the "ongoing Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip."

"The OIC considers this brutal aggression against the Palestinian people a blatant international and humanitarian law violation and a war crime," it said in a statement. It cited the killing and wounding of women and children, the destruction of civilian buildings and other locations.

The OIC said it held Israel "fully responsible" for the "repercussions of the continuation of this sinful aggression."

The OIC, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, broadly aligns itself with the thinking of Saudi Arabia's rulers. That suggests the ongoing war likely will affect the ongoing efforts by the United States to broker a deal that could see Saudi Arabia diplomatically recognize Israel.

By The Associated Press

Blinken, in Israel, stresses need to protect innocent lives amid response to Hamas attack

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Thursday as he visited Israel and spoke alongside its prime minister that while "no country can tolerate the slaughter of its citizens," and Israel has every right to defend itself and try to rescue nationals kidnapped by Hamas, "how Israel does this, matters."

"We democracies distinguish ourselves from terrorists by striving for a different standard — even when it's difficult — and holding ourselves to account when we fall short," Blinken said. "Our humanity, the value that we place on human life and human dignity, that's what makes us who we are." 

He reiterated a U.S. appeal for Israel to make every effort to limit the impact of its war with Hamas on civilians in the Gaza Strip — where officials say more than 1,300 people have already been killed by Israeli airstrikes ahead of a widely-expected ground invasion.

Israel continues to pummel Gaza with airstrikes 05:59

Israel has acknowledged and lamented the loss of civilian lives in Gaza, but insists that its many hundreds of airstrikes have all targeted Hamas and that they're necessary to destroy the group and remove the threat it poses. It also says the full blame for all loss of life in Gaza rests with its Hamas rulers, for attacking Israel and drawing the overwhelming response.

By Tucker Reals

Blinken and Netanyahu stress U.S.-backing for Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, and the United States, for "standing with Israel today, tomorrow and always."

He blasted the Palestinian group Hamas, which both Israel and the U.S. have long designated a terror organization, for the brutal attack launched against Israeli civilians over the weekend, saying "Hamas is ISIS," and "just as ISIS was crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed."

Blinken opened his remarks by noting that he was not only visiting Israel as America's top diplomat, but "a Jew" who was personally affected by the brutality of Hamas' attack, and inspired "by the bravery of Israeli citizens."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Israel
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make statements to the media inside The Kirya, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defense, after their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 12, 2023. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

Reaffirming the Biden administration's previous commitments, Blinken said that as "Israel's defense needs evolve, we will work with congress to make sure they are met," adding that there was "overwhelming bipartisan support" for Israel's fight against Hamas.

He also renewed President Biden's warning to "any adversary" in the region that might seek to "take advantage" of the situation to join Hamas in attacking Israel, warning that "the United States has Israel's back."

By Tucker Reals

Blinken says 25 Americans killed in Israel amid Hamas attack

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday in Israel that 25 U.S. nationals were confirmed to be among the more than 1,200 people killed in Israel by Hamas since the group launched it's attack on Oct. 7.

"Tragically, the number of innocent lives claimed by Hamas' heinous attacks continues to rise. Among those we now know that at least 25 American citizens were killed," Blinken said during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Tucker Reals

Defense Minister tells NATO that Israel "will hunt down every last man" in Hamas

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told his NATO counterparts on Thursday, amid expectations of a looming Israeli ground offensive into Gaza, that the Jewish state would "destroy Hamas. And we will hunt down every last man with the blood of our children on his hands."

Calling Hamas "the ISIS of Gaza, a savage organization, funded and supported by Iran," Gallant vowed that after Israel's military response to the group's vicious attack on Israel, "the ISIS of Gaza will not exist on our borders." 

He said Israel was prepared for "a long and difficult war. But we will prevail."

By Tucker Reals

Gaza death toll rises to 1,354, according to Health Ministry

The Health Ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said Thursday, after another punishing night of Israeli airstrikes, that the death toll in the decimated Palestinian territory had reached at least 1,354, with another 6,049 wounded. 

Since Hamas launched its bloody terror attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,200 people in the Jewish state, Israel has sealed the Gaza borders completely, cutting the tiny Palestinian enclave and its 2.3 million people off from the outside world. No food, water, medicine, electricity or any other essential goods have been permitted into Gaza, prompting hospitals to rely on dwindling fuel supplies to keep their lights on as hundreds of rockets rain down.

Israel's Energy Minister, Israel Katz, vowed in a tweet that "not a single electricity switch will be flipped on, not a single faucet will be turned on, and not a single fuel truck will enter" Gaza until Hamas frees more than 100 hostages it seized during it's vicious attack on Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to "crush and destroy" Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007. "Every Hamas member is a dead man," Netanyahu said Wednesday in a televised address.

By Tucker Reals

Israeli military says it's "preparing" for Gaza invasion, but leaders have not yet ordered one

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters Thursday that the country's forces were "preparing for a ground maneuver if decided," but that political leaders had not yet ordered one. A ground offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza, whose 2.3 million residents are densely packed into a sliver of land only 25 miles long, would likely bring even higher casualties on both sides in brutal house-to-house fighting.

Tens of thousands of Israeli troops and military hardware have been massing on the Gaza border for days. 

Israel Declares War Following Large-Scale Hamas Attacks
Israeli troops and artillery gather on the border with the Gaza Strip, Oct. 12, 2023, near Sderot, southern Israel. Leon Neal/Getty

This includes reporting from The Associated Press.


Israel won't lift Gaza blockade until hostages held by Hamas freed, minister vows

Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said Thursday his country would not allow basic resources or humanitarian aid into Gaza until Hamas released the people it abducted during its surprise weekend onslaught.

"Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electric switch will be turned on, no water tap will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home," he said in a statement.

Around 150 Israelis, foreigners and dual nationals were abducted and brought to the Gaza Strip by Hamas militants as part of the Saturday attack that killed more than 1,200 people in southern Israeli towns and communities.

Israel has in turn launched a withering air campaign against Hamas militants in the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing around 1,200 people.

In recent days, Israel announced a "complete siege" on Gaza, cutting off water, fuel and electricity supplies. The Palestinian territory's sole power plant shut down on Wednesday after running out of fuel.

By Brian Dakss

Israel says it hit elite Hamas forces' command centers

Israel's military said it carried out a wave of airstrikes on command centers of Hamas' elite Nukhba forces in Gaza early Thursday. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says Nukhba forces were among those who led the attack on areas of southern Israel Saturday.

"The Nukhba elite forces consist of terrorists selected by senior Hamas operatives, designated to carry out terrorist attacks such as ambushes, raids, assaults, infiltration through terror tunnels, as well as anti-tank missile, rocket, and sniper fire. The Nukhba elite forces were one of the leading forces that infiltrated the State of Israel in order to carry out murderous acts of terror against its citizens," the IDF said.  

By Brian Dakss

Hamas says its fired rockets at Tel Aviv after Israeli strikes on Gaza "civilians"

Hamas militants on Thursday fired a barrage of rockets at Tel Aviv in response to Israeli air strikes that targeted "civilians" in two refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, the group said.

"Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades fired rockets at Tel Aviv in response to (Israeli strikes) targeting civilians in Al-Shati and Jabalia camps," Hamas said, referring to its armed wing, in a text message sent to journalists.

AFP correspondents witnessed dozens of air strikes over 30 minutes on Thursday morning in the direction of Al-Shati camp and in the blockaded strip's north.

The Israeli air strikes left "dozens" of people dead and injured, Iyad al-Buzum, spokesman for the Hamas interior ministry, told AFP.

AFP journalists saw at least seven dead bodies and six buildings destroyed in Al-Shati camp.


Blinken to meet with Palestinian president

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Friday in Amman Jordan with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II, a senior Biden administration official told reporters Thursday.

Blinken, along with other officials, departed the U.S. for Israel on Wednesday.

Before leaving Joint Base Andrews, Blinken said the U.S. stands "resolutely" with Israel. "Not since ISIS have we seen this depravity," Blinken said.

He arrived in Tel Aviv Thursday morning local time and was to head later in the day to Amman.

By Faris Tanyos

300,000 Israeli troops amassed outside Gaza in "biggest and fastest reserve call up in Israeli history"

Some 300,000 Israeli soldiers have amassed outside the border of the Gaza strip in what an Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson called the "biggest and fastest reserve call up in Israeli history."

IDF international spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus did not explicitly say Israel was preparing a ground assault of Gaza, but noted the troops, along with tanks, armored vehicles and other artillery, were "making preparations for the next stage of the war, which will come when the timing is opportune and fit for our purposes." 

Conricus defended the IDF's ongoing barrage of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, saying they are targeted at Hamas infrastructure, including tunnels built underneath densely populated neighborhoods. 

Conricus said Israel's northern border with Lebanon was "relatively stable," save for an anti-tank missile that was fired into Israel on Tuesday, wounding one IDF member.

By Jordan Freiman

Thousands attend funeral of woman killed by Hamas at music festival

Thousands of people Tuesday attended the funeral of a 24-year-old college student who was among hundreds of people killed when Hamas militants opened fire on a desert music festival during their invasion into southern Israel Saturday.

Bruna Valeanu's mother and sister had recently moved to Israel and didn't know many people.

So they took to social media asking for 10 people — the quorum, known as a minyan, required for Jewish religious ceremonies — to attend the funeral.

However, about 10,000 Israeli strangers actually showed up to pay their respects, according to Israel's Channel 12.  

Brazil's Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported that Valeanu immigrated to Israel from Brazil and was studying at Tel Aviv University.

She was among at least 260 people who were killed when Hamas gunmen stormed the Supernova trance music festival. 

Thousands attend funeral of woman killed by Hamas at music festival 00:42
By Jordan Freiman

Saudi Arabia, Iran discuss Israel-Hamas war in first call since renewed relations

Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler and Iran's president spoke by phone about the war between Israel and Hamas, Saudi state media said early Thursday, their first call since a surprise rapprochement in March.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a call on Wednesday from the Iranian leader, Ebrahim Raisi, during which they discussed "the current military situation in Gaza and its environs," the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

Prince Mohammed told Raisi that Riyadh is "communicating with all international and regional parties to stop the ongoing escalation," SPA said.

He also stressed "the kingdom's firm position towards supporting the Palestinian cause," it said.

Iranian state news agency IRNA also reported on the call, saying the two men discussed the "need to end war crimes against Palestine."


Tensions rise on Israel's border with Lebanon as Hezbollah continues its assault

Tensions rise on Israel's border with Lebanon as Hezbollah continues its assault 02:09

Girl, 13, describes surviving Hamas attack on Israel kibbutz

As Hamas terrorists who invaded southern Israel were going door-to-door in the Kfar Aza kibbutz on Saturday, a 13-year-old girl and her family spent 16 hours hiding in a shelter.

Renana Botzer Swissa, who was raised in Kfar Aza, which is located just miles from the border with the Gaza Strip, told "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday that she believes the fact she and her family are still alive is a miracle.

"I was thinking, many moments, this was gonna be my last moments," Swissa said. "I was so afraid if someone's coming, because, are they gonna rape me? Are they gonna take me? Are they gonna shoot me? I didn't know what could happen to me."

Hamas militants slaughtered anyone they could find in Kfar Aza, including babies and children, Israeli officials said.

13-year-old girl, family describes surviving massacre in Israel kibbutz 03:15

"I tried not to look around as much as possible," Swissa said of when she and her family — including her mother, father and grandmother — finally came out of the shelter.

"I don't know if many people can understand, but the smell, it smelled like war and bad news and tears," she added.

Swissa said the escape north by bus was "so, so scary."

"I remember friend of my family came to me and she told me, 'No, no, you're not crying, not now, you can't fall apart now. You need to focus, you need to survive, keep going. Keep walking, walk fast, run.'"

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Libby Weiss described the horrors of what Israeli emergency responders found as a "massacre" when they arrived at Kfar Aza.

 "We see blood spread out in homes," Weiss told CBS News Wednesday. "We've found bodies of people who have been butchered. "The depravity of it is haunting."


Netanyahu and opposition leader deliver joint message: "We are all together"

National Unity Party chairman Benny Gantz, a key opposition leader in Israel who on Wednesday formed an emergency war-time cabinet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared with the prime minister Wednesday night to deliver a joint statement.

"Our standing here, shoulder to shoulder, is a clear message to our enemies, and more importantly, a message to all citizens of Israel –we are all together, we are all mobilizing," Gantz said.

"This is the time to come together and win," Gantz said. "This is not the time for difficult questions, it is the time for crushing responses on the battlefield. I would like to turn to all citizens of Israel and tell them that the enemy will be destroyed, security will be restored, the killing fields in which our heroes fell will be rebuilt and the entire State of Israel will flourish anew and be strengthened."

Netanyahu said he, Gantz and other Israeli leaders "have put aside every other consideration because the fate of our country is at stake. We will work together, shoulder to shoulder, for the citizens of Israel and for the State of Israel."

"We are fighting with full force on all fronts. We have gone over to the offensive," Netanyahu said. "Every Hamas member is a dead man. Hamas is ISIS, and we will crush and eliminate it just as the world crushed and eliminated ISIS."

By Jordan Freiman

Biden, Emhoff address Jewish leaders at community roundtable

President Biden and second gentleman Douglas Emhoff addressed about 20 Jewish leaders during a community roundtable on Wednesday afternoon to discuss support for Israel and the administration's plan to combat antisemitism. 

Emhoff said he was honored to be at the roundtable as an American, a patriot, "but also as a Jew." He announced that the administration is rolling out a plan with 100 specific actions designed to fight antisemitism, and introduced Mr. Biden as a "true advocate for the Jewish community."

After Hamas attack on Israel, Biden warns Iran to "be careful" 02:47

Mr. Biden called Hamas' Saturday attack a "campaign of pure cruelty…against the Jewish people," and said it was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.

"Silence is complicity," he said, adding, "I refuse to be silent." 

"America can't be silent," he said.

President Biden Attends Roundtable With Jewish Community Leaders
President Joe Biden listens as second gentleman Douglas Emhoff speaks during a roundtable with Jewish community leaders in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11, 2023. President Biden spoke about U.S> support for Israel following the Hamas terrorist attacks. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Mr. Biden said the U.S. is working with its Israeli counterparts on the hostage crisis after Hamas took more than 100 people hostage, according to Israeli officials. Mr. Biden spoke with some frustration, saying he can't reveal details of any plans, "because if I told you, I wouldn't be able to get them home." 

Mr. Biden also said he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and stressed that Israel must operate by the "rules of war."

Mr. Biden assured Jewish leaders the U.S. has "Israel's back."

"I truly believe, were there no Israel, no Jew in the world would be ultimately safe. It's the only ultimate guarantee," he said.

By Cara Tabachnick

State Dept. issues travel advisory for Israel as exit strategy for Americans in Gaza remains unclear

The U.S. State Department is telling Americans to reconsider travel to Israel during the war with Hamas, noting that "mortar and rocket fire may take place without warning." 

Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv remains open, but major American airlines have suspended flights to and from Israel. 

"For U.S. citizens who want to leave Israel, commercial flights are available even if they are not direct to the U.S. We are also exploring contract options to facilitate U.S. citizen travel to nearby countries," the State Department said on social media.

As for Americans in Gaza, which is being blockaded by Israel, the State Department said they are "advised to check the status of the Rafah Crossing into Egypt." The crossing, however, has been closed since Tuesday after Israel bombed the crossing on the Palestinian side, according to Reuters.

Stéphane Dujarric de la Rivière, a spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, said Wednesday that Egyptian officials have said they plan to reopen the crossing and make the nearby El Arish Airport available. 

"Now, in order for the border to be effectively open, we also will need assurances from the Israeli side that the crossing will not be targeted," Dujarric said. "We'll need assurances that humanitarian aid can come through."

Pam Falk and Olivia Gazis contributed reporting.

By Jordan Freiman

"Prepared and vigilant": U.S. Jewish security group ramps up operations

The Secure Community Network, a security group for Jewish institutions in North America, has increased its preparedness and expanded its footprint since Saturday, when Hamas militants launched a deadly surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. 

Authorities say there have been no credible threats to the public related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, but U.S. law enforcement officials and Jewish leaders say the threat environment remains "incredibly dynamic."

"In many communities, news broke early Saturday morning. Many people were in synagogue, they were at services, and they weren't using electronics and they walked out and there were police squad cars there," said Michael Masters, the director of the Secure Community Network. "It's absolutely critical that we recognize how dynamic the environment is and that we stay prepared and vigilant." 

Headquartered in Chicago and created after 9/11, the Secure Community Network employs dozens, including several security analysts with military or private intelligence backgrounds. The group's analysts monitor conditions both overseas and domestically 24/7, standing ready to alert any of the thousands of synagogues, community centers or day schools in their network about any potential threats.  

"Certainly, in the last several days, we have seen [online rhetoric] increase," Masters said, "and we believe it's going to continue to increase, not only increase but potentially become more violent." 

By Nicole Sganga

At least 22 Americans killed, and more "might be part of the hostage pool"

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in a news briefing Wednesday that at least 22 Americans had been killed during the Hamas attacks on Israel. 

Kirby said another 17 Americans remain unaccounted for. He said "a number" of the missing are hostages of Hamas, but would not give an exact count. 

"We need to steel ourselves for the very distinct possibility these numbers will keep increasing," said Kirby. "More Americans might be part of the hostage pool."

Officials have not released information on the individuals killed, but Kirby said the U.S. State Department is actively working to reach out to the families. 

Read the full story here

By Cara Tabachnick

Where things stand in the Israel-Hamas war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, a harsh critic of the prime minister and a key opposition leader, have formed a unity government four days after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. Israel continued launching airstrikes on Gaza as it tightened its blockade of the territory, threatening to cut off Palestinians inside Gaza from food, water, medicine and electricity. Here are some of the latest key developments in the Israel-Hamas war.

More than 1,000 killed in both Israel and Gaza: The death toll in both Israel and the Gaza Strip has surpassed 1,000 people, authorities said. In Israel, more than 1,200 people have been killed, including at least 22 Americans, U.S. officials said. At least 1,100 people, including 326 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said.

Iranian officials surprised by Hamas attack: Senior Iranian officials were surprised by Hamas's attack on Israel, according to intelligence collected by the United States. The intelligence was confirmed by multiple American officials familiar with the matter, and suggests that, despite close ties with Hamas, Tehran may not have been directly involved with the deadly assault. 

Hundreds of thousands displaced in Gaza: More than 260,000 people in the Gaza Strip have been displaced, according to the United Nations. Some 2.3 million people live in the 139-square mile territory. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees said that about 220,000 internally displaced people are sheltering in 92 of the agency's facilities across Gaza, and many are overcrowded and struggling to provide enough food and water.

Blinken headed to Israel: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with other officials, is on his way to Israel. Before departing Joint Base Andrews, Blinken said the U.S. stands "resolutely" with Israel. "Not since ISIS have we seen this depravity," Blinken said. He is expected to arrive in Tel Aviv on Thursday morning local time, and then head to Amman, Jordan.

By Jordan Freiman

Turkey negotiating with Hamas for release of civilian hostages

A senior Turkish official told CBS News that Turkey is negotiating with Hamas for the release of civilian hostages. No other details were given. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had an official meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in July 2023.

— Pinar Sevinclidir contributed reporting.

By Jordan Freiman

Videos shared months ago show Hamas training for attack on Israel

Months-old videos show the members of the terror group Hamas simulating assaults on settlements, practicing taking hostages and more. The techniques shown in the videos mirror those used by the group in its bloody, highly-coordinated attack against Israel on Saturday. 

The videos appear to have been online for months, with one video posted as early as December. Some videos were even covered by Israeli media. It adds to the questions about how Israel's U.S.-backed, world-class intelligence agencies missed the signs that Hamas was planning to attack

An IDF spokesperson did not respond to a CBS News question about whether the Hamas videos had been seen before Saturday's attack or taken as a warning of an actual, imminent assault. On the day of the unprecedented attack, Hamas was helped by numerous logistical and intelligence lapses, according to The New York Times.

Read the full story here.

By Kerry Breen

More than 260,000 displaced across Gaza amid airstrikes, U.N. says

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday that more than 263,000 people have been displaced across Gaza since Israel began bombarding the territory in response to the Hamas terror attack on Saturday. 

That's an increase of 40% since Tuesday, when there were about 200,000 people displaced in the Gaza Strip. The territory is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with more than two million people living on about 139 square miles of land.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees said that about 220,000 internally displaced people are sheltering in 92 of the agency's facilities across Gaza. Those numbers are increasing, the agency said. Some of the shelters are overcrowded and are struggling to provide enough food and water.

APTOPIX Israel Palestinians
A view of the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike, in Jabalia, Gaza strip, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.  Hatem Moussa / AP

The Gaza Strip has been subject to a blockade for years, but that was tightened to stop the flow of all food, electricity and more in the wake of the Hamas assault. This blockade has led to a severe shortage of drinking water, impacting about 650,000 people, OCHA said. 

More than a thousand housing units in Gaza have been destroyed, and some 560 have been rendered uninhabitable, OCHA said. Hospitals in the area are only partially operational, and Israeli airstrikes have damaged seven facilities that had been providing water and sanitation services to over a million people. Because of this, sewage and solid waste are accumulating in the streets in some areas, OCHA said. 

How the world is responding to the Israel-Hamas war 03:51

"Civilians must be protected at all times.  International humanitarian law must be respected and upheld," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said. "U.N. premises and all hospitals, schools and clinics must never be targeted … Crucial life-saving supplies –including fuel, food and water– must be allowed into Gaza. We need rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now." 

CBS News' Pamela Falk contributed to this report.

By Kerry Breen

Arab foreign ministers condemn Gaza airstrikes after emergency meeting

Top Arab diplomats held an emergency meeting in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip as retaliation for Hamas's brutal terror attack over the weekend. 

The meeting was held at the request of the Palestinian Authority and Morocco to discuss Arab efforts to halt the airstrikes. 

"We demand that the Israeli aggression be stopped immediately and that the basic needs of the Palestinian people be secured," said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki during the meeting.

In a brief statement, the Arab League said that attendees discussed "political actions" at the "Arab and international levels to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza and achieve security and peace based on international law and international legitimacy."

The ministers warned against the displacement of Palestinian people, stressed the need to protect civilians and allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, and condemned the actions of Israel. 

CBS News' Khaled Wassef contributed to this report.

By Kerry Breen

Gaza hospitals relying on generators, officials say

Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are relying on generators to keep lights and equipment on after Israel tightened a blockade on the territory, the Gaza Ministry of Health said Wednesday. An Israeli official said earlier Wednesday that the territory's "local power station has collapsed and there is no electricity in Gaza." 

The Gaza Ministry of Health said in a statement that the generators being used are "already old generators" that "need spare parts and fuel" to continue operating. The blockade around Gaza has cut off food, water, electricity, fuel and other supplies. 

The Ministry of Health's Director General of Engineering and Maintenance, Mazan Al-Araishi, said in the statement that the effects of the blockade meant Israel was "deliberately causing a health disaster." The ministry added that dependence on generators could put hundreds of patients at risk, including "serious repercussions" for "100 premature babies." 

Gaza power plant runs out of fuel as Israel airstrikes continue demolishing buildings 01:18

Earlier Wednesday, the ministry said that it had been forced to start rationing health care services provided in hospitals.

Even before the blockade was tightened in response to the bloody assault by Hamas, Gaza only had electricity for about half the day. 

By Kerry Breen

At least 22 Americans dead, State Department says

The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday it can "confirm the deaths of at least 22 U.S. citizens" amid the violence in Israel and Gaza. 

"We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected," a State Department spokesperson told CBS News. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that there may be more deaths reported. 

"That number could still go up, and it probably will," he said before departing Joint Base Andrews to travel to Israel and Jordan. 

Seventeen Americans remain unaccounted for, said National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby in a news conference on Wednesday. "A number" of the missing are hostage of Hamas, he said, but would not give a number. 

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden had said that at least 14 Americans were dead and 20 were unaccounted for.

By Kerry Breen

White House says the U.S. is working to allow safe passage out of Gaza for civilians

The U.S. is in active conversations to allow for safe passage out of Gaza for civilians, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.

Kirby noted that Israel and Egypt are the two most significant players in the efforts.

"We are having active conversations about trying to allow for that safe passage," Kirby said. "It's the civilians who did nothing wrong so we want to make sure they have a way out."

By The Associated Press

Antony Blinken, other delegates, depart for Israel

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other officials are on their way to Israel, where Blinken said he will discuss the situation on the ground and ways to support Israelis in their fight against Hamas.

Blinken is accompanied by Barbara Leaf, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs; spokesperson Matthew Miller; counselor Derek Chollet; deputy chief of staff for policy Tom Sullivan; U.S. special representative for Palestinian affairs Hady Amr; and Steve Gillen, the deputy special envoy for hostage affairs. 

The delegation is expected to land in Tel Aviv Thursday morning local time before traveling to Amman, Jordan, that evening. The secretary is expected to share condolences for the victims of Hamas' attacks, condemn the attacks and reaffirm the United States' solidarity with Israel. 

Blinken will meet with other senior officials while traveling. 

Before departing Joint Base Andrews, Blinken said the U.S. stands "resolutely" with Israel. 

"Not since ISIS have we seen this depravity," said Blinken.

By Kerry Breen

Chicago-area teen studying abroad in Israel details hiding during attack

Josh Jury, a high school senior from the Chicago area, spent hours hiding in a bomb shelter on Saturday during Hamas' attack on Israel. Jury told CBS Chicago the "stressful" attack "turned (his) world upside down." 

Jury said he awoke to the sound of Israel's siren alert system, which threw him and other classmates "into a shock" as their counselor "started yelling and telling us we had to run to a bomb shelter." 

The study abroad program was meant to end in December, but organizers are working to get the students out of Israel as soon as possible, Jury said. Read more of Jury's story at CBS Chicago

Chicago area teen studying abroad in Israel hid in bomb shelter during Hamas attack 04:40
By Kerry Breen

Iranian officials were surprised by attack on Israel, according to U.S. intelligence

Senior Iranian officials were surprised by Hamas' attack on Israel, according to intelligence collected by the United States. The intelligence was confirmed by multiple American officials familiar with the matter. 

This preliminarily suggests that Tehran was not directly involved with the deadly assault. Officials briefed on the intelligence said it appears key Iranian officials who would normally be aware of operations in the region were unaware of the planned attack. 

U.S. officials did not provide further information about the intelligence collected. The New York Times first reported that the U.S. has intelligence that the assault by Hamas took senior Iranian officials by surprise. Iran has long supported Hamas with material, financial and logistical support, according to officials. 

House members to get classified Israel briefing 03:29

"[W]e have said since the beginning that Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided the lion's share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas, they have provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years," national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday.  

CBS News' Olivia Gazis contributed reporting. 

By Kerry Breen

Satellite photos show devastation in Gaza after Israeli airstrikes

Since Hamas surprised Israel with a bloody, highly coordinated attack on Saturday, the Gaza Strip has faced relentless airstrikes causing hundreds of deaths. Satellite photos show the destruction caused by the bombardment.

The images show buildings turned into rubble and streets left in ruins. 

Israel Palestinians
This image provided by Maxar Technologies, shows an explosion from an airstrike in Gaza City, Tuesday Oct. 10, 2023. (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies via AP) Maxar Technologies via AP
APTOPIX Israel Palestinians
This image provided by Maxar Technologies, shows an overview of the Rimal district in Gaza City, Tuesday Oct. 10, 2023. Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies via AP

Israel has said it is targeting weapons storage centers and infrastructure used or occupied by Hamas militants, but the United Nations said that at least a dozen health facilities in the territory have been hit. 

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Many of its residents have been unable to escape the bombardments, Palestinian journalist Hassan Jaber told CBS News.

By Kerry Breen

Cruise lines change course, airlines suspend flights

Multiple travel providers have altered their operations as the war between Israel and Hamas rages. 

Cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises and Carnival have altered their courses to remove Israeli ports in upcoming itineraries.

Airlines have also altered or suspended service. Delta Airlines has canceled flights to Tel Aviv through Oct. 31. United Airlines said its flights to and from Israel "will remain suspended until conditions allow them to resume." American Airlines has suspended flights until Dec. 4. British Airways said on Wednesday that flights to and from Israel are suspended starting immediately. 

Meanwhile, Israeli airlines El Al and Israir Airlines added flights to bring military reservists back to the country, Reuters reported Tuesday. 

By Kerry Breen

Man puts his life in the U.S. on hold to re-join Israeli military after Hamas attack

The Hamas terror attack has sparked a huge mobilization of Israel's military forces, but it has also galvanized the civilian population around a common cause. All across the nation, volunteers have swung into action to gather supplies for victims' families and soldiers heading into what could be a long fight.

While more supplies, both military and humanitarian, have been flooding into Israel from abroad, so are people with connections to the Jewish state, eager to help.

"This has been a tough couple of days," Menajem Perez, who grew up in Miami and later served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army before returning to the U.S., told CBS News. After the terror attacks, he decided to return immediately – to do "whatever we need to do."

He's in the process of re-joining the Israel Defense Forces, but in the meantime, he was volunteering to help civilians affected by the attacks.

Israeli-American arrives to join fight against Hamas 01:33
By Haley Ott

U.N. aid agency in Gaza says 11 workers killed by Israeli strikes, no aid getting in

The United Nations humanitarian relief agency that operates in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said Wednesday that 11 of its workers have been killed by Israeli airstrikes on the densely packed Palestinian territory since the Jewish state started retaliating for Hamas' brutal terror attack on Saturday.

The U.N.'s Palestine Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said in a statement posted online Wednesday that at least 20 of its facilities in Gaza had been damaged by the strikes, including two schools.

A spokesperson for the group said some "were killed in their homes with their families." 

Israel-Palestine War
Palestinians walk on the rubble of a UNRWA school in Gaza City, which was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on Oct. 8, 2023. Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Getty

A spokesperson for the group said earlier that UNRWA had not been able to bring any additional aid into Gaza since Saturday, when Hamas militants unleashed an unprecedented ground, air and sea assault on Israel. Israeli forces have tightened their longstanding blockade of Gaza since the attack, sealing off the coastal strip of land and vowing that nothing would go in or out, including water, food, medicine, gas or electricity.

The UN agency said staff were continuing their humanitarian work despite the risks presented by Israel's bombardment and the challenges increased by the blockade.

Israel has long accused Hamas of positioning its fighters and weapons in or near Gaza homes, mosques and schools, including those run by the U.N. agency. 

CBS News' Pamela Falk contributed reporting.

By Tucker Reals

Netanyahu tells Biden: "We've never seen such savagery"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared a video of a phone call he had with President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening. During the call, Netanyahu provided further details about the violence perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilians. 

"We were struck Saturday by an attack whose savagery we have not seen since the Holocaust," Netanyahu said. "I mean, we have hundreds massacred, families wiped out in their beds and their homes. Women brutally raped and murdered. Over a hundred kidnapped, including children." 

Netanyahu described other atrocities that occurred, saying that the country had "never seen such savagery." 

"They took dozens of children, bound them up, burned them and executed them. They beheaded soldiers. They mowed down these youngsters who came to a nature festival and just put five Jeeps around a depression in the soil and like Babi Yar, they mowed them down," Netanyahu said, referencing a 1941 massacre that took place during the Holocaust. 

Netanyahu told the president that Hamas was "worse than ISIS." He also shared a photo of a bloodstained bedroom on social media with that same message. 

President Biden has pledged "rock solid and unwavering" support to Israel. Netanyahu said the president reiterated this sentiment during their call. Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris again spoke to Netanyahu on Wednesday, where they discussed ongoing U.S. support for Israel, according to a readout of the call shared by the White House. 

By Kerry Breen

Death toll rises in Gaza Strip

At least 1,100 people in the Gaza Strip have died amid the violence, the Gaza Ministry of Health said Wednesday afternoon. 

Of those, 326 are children and 171 are women, officials said, adding that there have also been at least 5,339 people injured, including more than 1,200 children. 

The Gaza Ministry of Health said there have been 28 "family massacres" and 10 medical staff killed. Fourteen healthcare facilities have been attacked, the ministry said. Ashraf al-Qodra, a spokesperson for the ministry, said in a news conference Wednesday that Israeli airstrikes have targeted medical crews. 

The Red Cross said on Wednesday that five members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have been killed, including four paramedics who died when ambulances were hit. 

By Kerry Breen

King Charles appalled by "barbaric acts" in Israel, spokesperson says

Britain's King Charles is appalled by the "barbaric acts of terrorism" in Israel, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said on Wednesday, following attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. 

"This is a situation His Majesty is extremely concerned about, and he has asked to be kept actively updated," the spokesperson said. "His thoughts and prayers are with all of those suffering, particularly those who have lost loved ones, but also those actively involved as we speak."

"His majesty is appalled by and condemns the barbaric acts of terrorism in Israel," the palace spokesperson said.

Reuters contributed reporting. 


Holocaust survivor says Israel-Hamas war reopens old wounds

David Schaecter, a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor living in Florida, survived four Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He told CBS Miami that the war between Israel and Hamas has reopened old wounds and shown that people have forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust.

Read more of Schaecter's interview with CBS Miami here

Holocaust survivor hopes unique perspective opens hearts, minds 02:58
By Kerry Breen

What is a kibbutz?

A kibbutz is a type of communal settlement, traditionally rural, in Israel. The first kibbutz was created more than 90 years ago, the name coming from the word kvutza, which means "group" in Hebrew.

In most early kibbutzim, people worked in agriculture and pooled their money. Everyone's income helped run the settlement. 

Now, many kibbutzim are private and many engage in manufacturing rather than, or in addition to, agriculture. Kibbutz Degania, for example, runs a diamond-cutting factory, which grosses several million dollars a year, according to Israel's tourism site. 

Some attract tourists and have hotels, and many contribute to the wider economy.

There are about 125,000 people living across an estimated 250 kibbutzim, which are unique to Israel, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel, an organization that connects Jewish communities.

As part of its attack, Hamas targeted Kibbutz Kfar Aza, a farming community. Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Maj. Libby Weiss called it a "massacre," saying Hamas beheaded babies, children and adults.

At the start of Saturday's attack, Hamas targeted a music festival in the desert near Kibbutz Re'im, a settlement in the southern part of the country. There, at least 260 people were killed.

By Caitlin O'Kane

Israeli official calls Gaza blockade fair response to Hamas terror

Israel Katz, the minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water for Israel, issued a statement on X calling the blockade of Gaza a fair response to Saturday's attack by Hamas. 

"For years we supplied Gaza with electricity, water and fuel. Instead of saying thank you, they sent thousands of human animals to slaughter, murder, rape and kidnap babies, women and the elderly - that's why we decided to stop the flow of water, electricity and fuel and now their local power station has collapsed and there is no electricity in Gaza," Katz wrote in Hebrew. Other officials have referred to the situation as a "complete siege." 

What Israel's "complete siege" on Gaza could mean 04:27

Even prior to the blockade, the Israeli organization Gisha said that many people in Gaza do not have sufficient access to clean water. Officials said electricity in the Gaza Strip was only available for about half the day. No food or medical supplies are currently being allowed in or out. Palestinian civilians are already suffering amid the tight restrictions and ongoing aerial bombardments. 

Katz said the siege will continue "until the Hamas threat to Israel and the world is removed." 

By Kerry Breen

Shipment of advanced weaponry from U.S. arrives in Israel, officials say

An initial shipment of advanced weaponry from the United States has been delivered to Israel, the country's Ministry of Defense said Wednesday. 

The ministry released videos and photos of materials being unloaded from a cargo plane. The materials being unloaded were blurred. The Israel Defense Forces said on social media  that the plane landed at Nevatim Airbase, in the southern part of the country. 

An initial shipment of advanced weapons being unloaded from a cargo plane in Israel. Israel Defense Forces

The equipment was procured and brought to Israel through a joint operation by the Ministry of Defense, its International Transportation Unit, and the United States.  

"The cooperation between our militaries is a key part of ensuring regional security and stability in times of war," the IDF said on social media. 

Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group on Wednesday blasted the United States for its support of Israel, saying that sending an aircraft carrier to the region "will not scare our people or the resistance movements that are ready for the confrontation" and criticizing President Joe Biden's "flagrant" support of Israel. 

The Associated Press contributed reporting. 


Israel to form emergency unity government

A top opposition Israeli politician says he has reached an agreement to enter a wartime unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Benny Gantz, a former defense minister and military chief of staff, released what he said was a joint statement with Netanyahu.

The statement said they would form a five-member "war-management" Cabinet. It will consist of Netanyahu, Gantz, current Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and two other top officials serving as "observer" members.

It said the government would not pass any legislation or decisions that are not connected to the war as long as the fighting continues. It was not immediately clear what would happen to Netanyahu's existing government partners, a collection of far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.

By The Associated Press

10 French citizens killed in Israel and 18 missing, prime minister says

CBS News' Elaine Cobbe in Paris reports that French prime minister Élisabeth Borne announced Wednesday that 10 French citizens have died in the violence in Israel. Eighteen French citizens are still missing, Borne said. 

French president Emannuel Macron has previously condemned the attacks against Israel.

"France stands in solidarity with Israel and the Israelis, committed to their security and their right to defend themselves," he said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday. 

By Kerry Breen

Israel's defense ministry lays out huge supply boost for military ahead of expected Gaza invasion

Israel's Ministry of Defense said Wednesday that since the country's military forces started responding to the unprecedented Hamas terror attack on Saturday, it had contracted more than 60 construction companies and supplied some 24,000 tons of infrastructure material to support the troops' ground operations. 

Five factories had been set up exclusively "for the production of protective equipment" as Israel's war machine ramps up operations against Hamas, with a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip widely expected in the coming days.

In a possible hint of the scale of the Israeli Defense Forces' next steps, the Defense Ministry said it had "prepared approximately 1,500 buses for transporting IDF soldiers, focused mainly on reserve forces," roughly 400,000 of whom have been called up to active duty over the last five days.

By Tucker Reals

Norway urges global community to keep up "financial assistance to the Palestinian people"

Norway, which chairs an international donors group for people in the Palestinian territories, urged the international community on Wednesday to maintain its aid the to Palestinians following the Hamas terror attack on Israel.

"The situation will only deteriorate further if the international community suspends or reduces its assistance at this critical juncture," Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt told AFP in an email.

After Saturday's bloody attack on Israel, several countries, including Austria, Denmark, Germany and Sweden, announced they were suspending their development aid — but not humanitarian aid — to the Palestinians.

"As chair of the international donor group AHLC, Norway encourages the international community to continue its financial assistance to the Palestinian people," Huitfeldt said. "This includes support to the Palestinian Authority channelled through the World Bank, assistance via international organisations such as the UN system, and support to humanitarian organisations and to the Palestinian civil society."

By CBS News and the AFP


Gaza health officials say blockade forcing health care rationing in hospitals

The Gaza Ministry of Health said Wednesday that it had been forced to start rationing the health care services provided in hospitals as it tries to manage with limited electricity supplied by emergency generators, as Israel's retaliatory airstrikes and complete blockade of the Palestinian territory, cuts power supplies.

By Khaled Wassef

More rockets from Gaza fired at Israeli cities

Air raid sirens blared again Wednesday as a fresh salvo of rockets was reportedly unleashed by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, targeting southern Israeli cities including Ashkelon and Ashdod.

At least one of the rockets was said to have landed in Ashkelon, but there was no immediate word on casualties from the most recent barrage. Unverified images posted on social media showed the purported impact site of at least one rocket in Ashkelon.   

Hamas and other Palestinian factions have continued firing rockets at Israel since Hamas launched it's unprecedented terror attack on Saturday, despite a fierce Israeli bombing campaign targeting the militants' fighters, command centers and weaponry in Gaza.

That bombing campaign has killed at least 950 people as of Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

By Tucker Reals

Gaza officials warn of looming humanitarian crisis as Israeli blockade cuts power and water

The roughly 2.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip were facing the prospect of a dire humanitarian and environmental situation Wednesday due to an Israeli blockade that has cut power and water supplies, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), which is responsible for water and waste management in the Palestinian territory, told CBS News.

Since Israel declared a "complete siege" on Gaza Monday, in response to the Hamas group's bloody terror rampage in Israel, power lines providing 80% of the densely packed strip of land's electricity, and the company providing 30% of its water supplies, have been cut off.

Insufficient fuel supplies for backup generators has already led to prolonged power outages, forcing essential facilities including wastewater treatment plants to shut down. 

The Mayor of Gaza City, Dr. Yehya Al Saraj, told CBS News Tuesday that "raw sewage has been thrown to the sea, polluting the sea," adding: "This affects everybody in the region." 

"We can barely provide people with a little water," Saraj said, noting the destruction of several water pumping stations was exacerbating the crisis.

The CMWU called on national and international institutions to urgently intervene and provide fuel and spare parts for backup generators, so that power and water supplies in Gaza could be restored and waste management facilities brought back online.

By CBS News' Marwan al-Ghoul in Gaza and Maddie Richards in London


Israeli air force says it attacked university in Gaza used as Hamas "training center"

Israel's Air Force said Wednesday that it had "recently attacked the Islamic University in Gaza City," accusing Hamas of using the college as a "major training center" for the Palestinian faction's engineers. 

The air force said in a social media post that the university "serves as an important center of political and military power for the terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip and a training institution for the development and production of weapons." 

By Tucker Reals

U.S. warns Hezbollah as Iran-backed group exchanges deadly fire with Israeli forces

The U.S. has warned the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement — the most powerful military force in crisis-racked Lebanon — not to get involved in Israel's war with Hamas. For four days now, Hezbollah, along with other Palestinian factions that operate inside Lebanon, has been trading cross-border fire with Israeli forces.

That exchange continued Wednesday, when Israeli military positions in the north of the country, near the Lebanese border, were targeted with anti-tank fire. So far, at least three suspected Hezbollah militants have been killed, in addition to three Israeli soldiers.

CBS News' Imtiaz Tyab contributed reporting.

By Tucker Reals