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February 4, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

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11:07 p.m. ET, February 4, 2024

US strikes Houthi anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles, Central Command says

The United States military struck Houthi anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles in Yemen Sunday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said, one day after joint US-UK strikes against the Iran-backed militant group

US forces struck an anti-ship cruise missile prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea at approximately 4 a.m. Yemen time Sunday, CENTCOM said.

Ninety minutes later, US forces struck a Houthi land attack cruise missile. The rebel group has used these types of missiles to attempt to strike Israel, as the Houthis claim their operations are carried out in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

At 10:30 a.m. Yemen time, US forces targeted four more anti-ship cruise missiles, saying they presented a threat to merchant vessels and US warships in the region.

More context: These strikes, which have becoming increasingly common as the US goes after Houthi weapons, come one day after a US-UK joint operation struck 36 different Houthi targets across 13 different sites in Yemen.

10:50 p.m. ET, February 4, 2024

US senators unveil package including billions in aid for Israel ahead of key vote

US Senators unveiled a long-awaited border deal and foreign aid package with assistance for Ukraine and Israel on Sunday, paving the way for a key vote in the chamber this week in which the legislation is at risk of failing and, if it does pass, setting up a clash with the House.

According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the sweeping $118.2 billion legislative package includes roughly $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, as well as humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

It’s the product of months of bipartisan negotiations with a trio of senators — Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, one of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans. But former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson have attacked the border deal as too weak, and their opposition threatens to derail the legislation.

If Congress is unable to pass the legislative package, senators will have to decide whether to try to pass aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan separately from border and immigration measures.

Johnson announced Saturday that the House will vote this week on a standalone bill providing aid for Israel. The Louisiana Republican called on the Senate to take up that bill swiftly, ratcheting up pressure on senators to abandon their efforts to keep Israel aid linked with other issues.
Read more about the package.
6:43 p.m. ET, February 4, 2024

Jordan and the Netherlands airdrop aid to Gaza hospital in the north of the enclave

The Royal Jordanian Air Force worked with the Dutch Air Force Sunday to successfully airdrop aid and medical supplies twice in the vicinity of the Jordanian field hospital in northern Gaza, according to officials in both countries.

The drop included humanitarian and medical supplies, delivered using GPS-guided parachutes, according to a statement published by the Jordanian Armed Forces on Sunday.

The Dutch Ministry of Defense confirmed the successful humanitarian mission, and chef José Andrés, founder of the NGO World Central Kitchen, said he was also part of the effort.

Earlier in January, French and Jordanian air forces dropped 7 tons of urgent humanitarian and medical aid to another field hospital in Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis.

4:56 p.m. ET, February 4, 2024

The US destroyed or damaged 84 of its 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, defense officials say

A destroyed building is pictured at the site of a US airstrike in al-Qaim, Iraq, on February 3. Reuters

The US destroyed or damaged 84 out of 85 targets in a sweeping series of airstrikes on Friday in Syria and Iraq, according to two US defense officials, with no current indications of Iranian casualties. 

All but one of the 85 targets were “destroyed or functionally damaged,” the officials said, citing a preliminary battlefield damage assessment. A complete post-strike analysis is still under way, but one official says there are currently no indications that members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed as part of the operations.

On Friday, in a briefing with reporters after the strikes, Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the targets were chosen “with an idea that there would likely be casualties associated with people inside those facilities.”

These undated photos from the US Army Reserve Command show Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23. US Army Reserve Command

Remember: In response to a drone attack that killed three US service members and wounded scores more in Jordan last weekend, the US targeted facilities and weapons used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran-backed militias in both Iraq and Syria on Friday.
President Joe Biden's administration has faced criticism that it waited too long to respond to the deadly drone strike in Jordan, which gave the Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria time to move their personnel. Sims said on Friday that good weather conditions for the operation did not present itself until Friday night. 

Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes, far larger than previous US operations in Iraq or Syria, were only the start of the US response. 

9:56 p.m. ET, February 4, 2024

Houthis say their military capabilities "are not easy to destroy" following strikes by US and UK

The Houthi rebel group in Yemen projected "robustness" Sunday, criticizing ongoing strikes by the United States and United Kingdom and saying their military capabilities are resistant to such attacks.

The US and UK hit at least 30 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday, with US forces striking an additional Houthi anti-ship cruise missile early Sunday local time.

In a statement posted on his Telegram channel, Houthi spokesperson Mohammad Abdul Salam highlighted the "resilience" and “gradual enhancement” of the Houthis' military capabilities, saying they are "not easy to destroy."

Abdul Salam also warned that such "aggression" by the US and UK would not yield any positive outcomes for the involved nations, but rather "increase" the regional issues and problems.

"The continuation of the American-British aggression against our country will not achieve any goal for the aggressors but rather increase their issues and problems at the regional level," Abdul Salam said.

The statement also reaffirmed the Houthis' support for Gaza. The group has said its attacks on global shipping lanes in the Red Sea — which prompted the US and UK strikes — are aimed at pressuring Israel to end its offensive in the enclave.

1:59 p.m. ET, February 4, 2024

Dozens killed during 2 days of airstrikes in central and southern Gaza, local medical sources say

At least 14 Palestinians were killed, and many others injured, by three Israeli airstrikes in central Gaza, a doctor at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital told CNN on Sunday.

The strikes hit the Al-Shuhada Mosque in the city of Deir al-Balah, according to the doctor. Video obtained by CNN from the western part of the city showed destruction at the mosque, with civilians trying to rescue people from under the rubble.

Video from the hospital showed scenes of multiple dead bodies in plastic bags Sunday and many people, including multiple children, being treated in the emergency room.

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CNN is unable to independently verify who was responsible for the destruction.

More strikes this weekend: The news from Deir al-Balah comes after airstrikes on the southern city of Rafah killed at least 17 people in the densely populated El-Geneina neighborhood Saturday, according to Dr. Marwan Al-Homss, the director of Abu Youssuf Al-Najjar Hospital.

Responding to an inquiry from CNN about the Rafah strikes, the IDF stated Saturday that they had no knowledge of any strike occurring at the specific time and location provided by CNN.

The Hamas-controlled Palestinian Ministry of Health in the strip says at least 27,365 people have been killed and 66,630 injured in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attacks and Israel's ensuing offensive in the enclave.
10:36 a.m. ET, February 4, 2024

Sullivan vows "further action" after US carries out retaliatory strikes on Iranian-linked militia targets

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is pictured during an interview with CNN on February 4. CNN

The US will take “further action” after conducting major airstrikes over the weekend against Iranian-backed militias who have carried out attacks on US troops in the Middle East, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday.
“I would just say that the president was clear when he ordered them and when he conducted them that that was the beginning of our response and there will be more steps to come,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

Sullivan, in response to Bash asking whether that meant the US was planning additional strikes, said, “What it means is that we will take further action.

“I’m not going to, obviously, describe the character of that action because I don’t want to telegraph our punches,” he said, “but there will be further action.”

Read the full story here.
10:35 a.m. ET, February 4, 2024

At least 83 aid trucks enter Gaza from Israel as 4 trucks carrying cooking gas enter from Egypt

At least 83 trucks have entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel, while four trucks carrying cooking gas tankers have entered through Egypt’s Rafah crossing on Sunday, the spokesman for the Crossings Authority Hisham Adwan told CNN Sunday.

This comes after hundreds of Israeli protesters blocked aid trucks from driving into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing for several days last week, demanding that hostages held in Gaza be freed before any more aid was delivered into the enclave. 

Aid began entering the strip when Israel declared the area around the crossing a closed military zone due to last week’s demonstrations.

Israel’s Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) -- which falls under the Israeli Defense Ministry and oversees infrastructure, humanitarian and economic issues -- said at least 79 aid trucks crossed on Friday, delivering food, medical supplies, and shelter equipment.

Measures have been taken to distribute aid into Gaza after the United States, Egypt and the United Nations reached an agreement to close the Kerem Shalom and Nitzana crossings on Saturdays to allow the UN to distribute goods inside Gaza that day, a statement by COGAT said Sunday. 

COGAT announced in the update that the IDF would "pause operations in A-Sheikh Muhammad al-Yamini - west, in the town of Dier al Balah, Gaza, in order to enable movement of humanitarian aid” between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time on Sunday.