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November 4, 2023 Israel-Hamas war news

What we covered

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with key Middle Eastern leaders today at a summit in Jordan, where he rejected calls for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas and instead reiterated US support for "humanitarian pauses."
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government opposes any temporary ceasefire in Gaza unless Hamas frees all hostages.
  • Hamas is blocking foreign nationals from leaving Gaza until Israel guarantees that ambulances from the Palestinian enclave can reach the Rafah crossing to Egypt, a US official told CNN Saturday.
  • Israel on Friday claimed responsibility for an airstrike on an ambulance near the enclave's largest hospital, which witnesses said killed and wounded dozens. Israel said it was targeting Hamas fighters using the vehicle, which the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has rejected.
  • As Israel intensifies its air and ground assault, up to a million people have fled northern Gaza to the south, according to a US special envoy — worsening the humanitarian situation, which is only expected to grow as more flee.
  • Here's how to help humanitarian efforts in Israel and Gaza.
12:13 a.m. ET, November 5, 2023

Our live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war has moved here.
10:25 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Canada's Trudeau calls for release of hostages and humanitarian aid for Gaza in talks with Netanyahu

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference in Montreal, Canada, on September 28. Andrej Ivanov/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his continued support for Israel’s right to defend itself in its war against Hamas when he spoke with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday.

Trudeau also called for the immediate release of hostages held by Hamas and underlined the need to provide humanitarian aid to those in Gaza, according to a readout from his office.

The Canadian leader received assurances that “Canadians in Gaza will be able to leave in the coming days,” the readout said. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) informed Canadian officials Saturday “that more than 400 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible family members will be able to leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing” as they make their way back to Canada.

There are currently 5,755 Canadians registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad in Israel and 453 Canadians registered in the West Bank and Gaza, according to the latest update from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Canadian officials are in contact with 69 Canadians, permanent residents, and family members in the West Bank, 516 in Gaza and 51 in Israel, according to GAC.

Trudeau highlighted his deep concerns over the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, according to the readout, and reiterated Canada's position on the immediate need to create conditions for urgent and necessary humanitarian aid to flow into the region. 

He also expressed “the importance of upholding international humanitarian law and making every effort to protect Palestinian civilians,” the readout said.

10:21 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

London police arrest 29 at massive pro-Palestinian rally

People gather as they carry Palestinian flags and banners to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinians and demand an immediate ceasefire at Trafalgar Square in London, United Kingdom on November 4. Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu/Getty Images

Police arrested 29 people in London during a massive pro-Palestinian rally Saturday, citing offenses including inciting racial hatred, racially motivated crimes, violence and assaulting a police officer.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators had gathered at Trafalgar Square for the protest, according to London's Metropolitan Police Service, and most were demonstrating peacefully.

However, Met Police Commander Karen Findlay said it was "disappointing that various splinter groups were again responsible for behavior which has no place in London and we are determined to deal with this robustly. Fireworks were directed towards officers and four officers were injured."

One man, suspected of making anti-Semitic comments during a speech, was arrested after being identified on social media using retrospective facial recognition technology, police said.

Two others were arrested "on suspicion of breaching section 12 of the Terrorism Act after they were seen displaying a banner appearing to support a proscribed organization," police added.

Nine people were arrested on suspicion of public order offenses, including two that were allegedly racially aggravated, the statement added.

Pro-Palestinian protests have been held in London, and other cities globally, since the Israel-Hamas war began nearly a month ago, with demonstrators decrying the rising death toll and spiraling humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid Israeli bombardment.

8:17 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

IDF says it will allow four-hour window for civilians in Gaza to evacuate

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it will allow people in Gaza to move south on specified streets Sunday, despite its troops coming under fire on Saturday while trying to secure a safe corridor for civilians.

The main route for evacuation will be Salah Al-Deen Street, with a window between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time, according to Avichay Adraee, IDF spokesperson for the Arab media.

"If you care about yourself and your loved ones, head south according to our instructions. Rest assured that Hamas leaders are already taking care to protect themselves," Adraee said on X Saturday night.

It was unclear how widely the message will be received on the ground, given the widespread electricity and internet outages, or how safe the passage will be.

According to Adraee, Hamas on Saturday fired mortar and anti-tank shells toward Israeli forces "who were keen to open the road from the north of the Gaza Strip towards its south."

"Hamas members carried out this because they wanted to keep human shields for themselves and their leaders," he said. "For your safety, take advantage of the next time to move south beyond Wadi Gaza."

The IDF has repeatedly called for civilians in Gaza to move south of Wadi Gaza as it has intensified its air and ground assault on Gaza City and Northern Gaza, including strikes on densely populated areas and civilian infrastructure that the IDF says is being used by Hamas militants. 

8:25 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Flurry of rockets launched from Gaza into Israel

Israel's Iron Dome system intercepts rockets over the sky of Tel Aviv, Israel, on November 4. Reuters

A CNN team close to the Israel-Gaza border witnessed eight rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and shortly after, the IDF said it had intercepted six of the eight rockets. Israeli television channels aired live video of the rockets being brought down by the IDF's Iron Dome defense system.

The Israeli police also released a statement saying it was "conducting extensive scans to locate possible rocket impact sites in the central region and Tel Aviv." The statement noted there are no casualties "at this stage."

"Public cooperation saves lives. We urge residents to stay in protected areas, avoid approaching the scenes, and not touch rocket debris that may contain hazardous material, " the statement added. "The public is asked to report impact sites and rocket debris to the Israel Police's 100 hotline without delay."

Soon after, a barrage of new explosions was seen over Gaza City Saturday night, according to a CNN team close to the border.

The Israel Defense Forces have not yet commented on the new blast.

5:25 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah warns of catastrophic lack of medical resources and fuel in Gaza

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah warned Saturday of a "catastrophe within Gaza hospitals," adding that wounded people are "taking their last breaths" due to the lack of medical resources and fuel. 

Palestinian Health Minister Dr. Mai al-Kaila also called on the international community to provide fuel to Gaza hospitals to prevent the shutdown of services. 

As of midday on Saturday, more than 150 health care professionals in Gaza have been killed, according to the health ministry in Ramallah. The ministry also said "16 hospitals and 32 primary healthcare centers have been taken out of service."

"The continued Israeli shelling of the vicinity and entrances of Gaza hospitals in the north aims to force medical personnel to abandon their patients and leave the hospitals. This constitutes a complex massacre against the wounded and patients," al-Kaila added. 

Organizations outside of Gaza are also raising an alarm about the dire situation in the enclave's hospitals. 

MedGlobal, a US-based organization that supports local health programs for vulnerable populations across the globe, issued an urgent appeal for fuel to power a generator at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

MedGlobal President Dr. Zaher Sahloul said in a social media post Saturday that the organization's lead pediatrician in northern Gaza sent him a message about the "catastrophic situation," adding that a 2-year-old just died.

According to Sahloul, the pediatrician at Kamal Adwan Hospital, Dr. Husam Abu Safyia, added:

"Currently, surgeries have stopped, and the departments are without electricity and water." 
Earlier on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also highlighted the lack of medicine and other resources in Gaza, saying, "Fuel to power hospitals and water plants is running out."
Israel's stance: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that his government opposes any temporary ceasefire in Gaza unless Hamas frees all the hostages it holds. He also said it would continue to block fuel from entering Gaza. The Israeli military has claimed there are fuel supplies in Gaza being held by Hamas.
4:34 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Protesters in DC and London urge for ceasefire

Pro-Palestinian protesters rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, on November 4. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Thousands of protesters rallied in Washington, DC, and in major cities across Europe on Saturday, calling for a ceasefire in the hostilities between Israel and Hamas as the humanitarian situation in Gaza worsens.

In Washington, DC: A crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters packed into Freedom Plaza in the United States capital Saturday afternoon, as speakers called for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to US aid to Israel.

Freedom Plaza, located near the National Mall and White House, has been nearly entirely filled with chanting demonstrators donning red, green, and black attire and waving Palestinian flags.

The event organizers said they expected thousands of protesters. 

The speakers slammed US President Joe Biden's administration for its response to the crisis in Gaza, warning that they will not support the president in 2024 if he does not call for a ceasefire in the war.

"Let it be known to all of those, including Joe Biden and all of those congressmen who fail to see our humanity today, and who fail to hear our voices today, that we will not see their names on the ballot next year. And we will not hear them when they come calling upon us next year," said Omar Suleiman, a Muslim scholar who addressed the crowd. "We will not allow for them to tell us anymore that the only refuge we have from right-wing racists are two-faced liberals."

The march comes after several weekends of pro-Palestinian rallies in Washington.

The crowd is expected to march to the White House and then back to Freedom Plaza later Saturday.

In London: Thousands of people gathered in the UK capital on Saturday to call for a ceasefire in Gaza as airstrikes and fighting on the ground continue.

Demonstrators at the rally, which took place in Trafalgar Square, waved Palestinian flags and banners calling for a “ceasefire now.” Some people held signs that read “Free Palestine” and called for the bombing to stop. 

People attend a rally at Trafalgar Square in London on November 4. Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu/Getty Images

“40,000 people packed into Trafalgar Square today to stand with Palestine,” the organizer of the event, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, posted on social media. London’s Metropolitan Police has not released any figures for the size of the demonstration.
The event was the third consecutive pro-Palestinian weekend rally in London. Thousands of people have attended each rally, with the Met Police estimating a turnout of 100,000 for the first solidarity march.
Demonstrations also took place in other cities across the UK on Saturday, including Manchester, Oxford, Newcastle, and Liverpool.
Thousands also took to the streets in cities across Europe, with demonstrations taking place in capital cities including Paris and Berlin.
3:47 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

Israel police arrest 3 people at anti-government protests in Jerusalem

Israeli police say they have arrested three people at anti-government protests in Jerusalem on Saturday.

Hundreds of people gathered to protest Israel's failure to prevent the October 7th Hamas attacks, police told CNN.

In videos shared by the police, protesters can be heard chanting, “Where were you in Kfar Azza?” (one of the communities most affected by the assault). Signs read, "Their blood is on your hands" and "The sleep of wisdom brings monsters to life," and called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's impeachment.

Families of hostages hold rally: Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, hundreds of family members of hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 are holding a rally in front of the Kirya, the government's military headquarters, "to demand greater actions by the government to release the hostages."

In a statement released ahead of the event, organizers said it is "not an anti-government protest. This is a rally of families and community that would like to see more done to release the hostages."

CNN's Bex Wright contributed reporting to this post.
3:18 p.m. ET, November 4, 2023

The top US diplomat met with Arab leaders today. Here's what else you should know on the Israel-Hamas war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with foreign ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar, as well as the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization November 4, in Amman, Jordan. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a multinational trip Saturday after visiting Israel for the third time since the October 7 Hamas attack.

Meanwhile, a US official told CNN that Hamas is blocking foreign nationals from leaving Gaza after an Israeli airstrike on an ambulance near a hospital Friday.

Here are some of the latest headlines:
Blinken meets with Arab leaders: The top US diplomat has reiterated his country's rejection of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, instead calling once again for "humanitarian pauses" to get aid into Gaza. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government opposes any temporary ceasefire in Gaza unless Hamas frees all the hostages it holds, adding that it would continue to block fuel from entering the enclave.
Blinken met with foreign ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar, as well as the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Egyptian and Jordanian leaders made remarks after the meetings strongly condemning Israel's offensive. Blinken, who acknowledged differences with Arab leaders on their approaches to the conflict, will also travel to Turkey.
Hamas stopping foreigners from leaving, official says: Hamas is blocking foreign nationals from departing Gaza until Israel guarantees that ambulances from the Palestinian enclave can reach the Rafah crossing to Egypt, a US official familiar with situation told CNN Saturday.
The demand comes after Israel admitted on Friday that it attacked an ambulance outside Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the enclave. The vehicle had been in a convoy headed for Rafah, which is the only remaining option for getting in and out of Gaza during Israel's siege of the territory. Israel claimed the ambulance was being used by Hamas fighters, which the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has rejected.
More than 700 foreign nationals were expected to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing Saturday, according to an official source on the Egyptian side of the crossing.
CNN reported Friday that initial efforts to secure safe passage for foreign nationals in Gaza were stymied in part by Hamas including its own members on a list of wounded Palestinians designated to pass through the Rafah crossing, according to a senior US official.
UN chief on Israel's ambulance attack: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement he was "horrified" by the strike, while calling for a ceasefire and release of hostages.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan accused Guterres of rushing to comment “without even bothering to ask” about the context of the strike. “You completely ignore the fact that Hamas intentionally exploits ambulances for terror,” Erdan wrote on Saturday in post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Strikes near hospital and school shelter: Israeli airstrikes have damaged a building located in front of the emergency entrance of Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, injuring 21 people, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said Saturday.

A UN-run school serving as a shelter in a refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip was also struck Saturday, according to the main UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees in Gaza.

Humanitarian situation: The number of people who have fled from north of Wadi Gaza to the southern part of the enclave is estimated to be 800,000 "to perhaps a million," the US special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, David Satterfield, said Saturday. There has been no new fuel into Gaza since the war began, he said.

The US is looking at the prospect of establishing field hospitals in south Gaza, Satterfield said, and Israel is engaging with countries about putting hospital ships offshore of Gaza.

IDF says Hamas fired on safe route: The Israeli military accused Hamas of using an announcement telling Gaza residents to move safely south as an opportunity to fire on soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces.
The IDF had called on Gaza residents via its Arabic account on X, formerly known as Twitter, to use the main Salah-al-Din Road to move south for a three-hour period from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. local time. It's unclear how many Gaza residents had access to internet to see the message.
Turkey latest to recall ambassador: Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Israel for "consultations" due to the "unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Gaza" and continuing Israeli airstrikes, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday. Several other countries, including Honduras, Colombia, Chile, and Bahrain, have also withdrawn their ambassadors.