Israel vows to step up Gaza bombardment ahead of expected ground offensive; West Bank mosque hit

Rebecca Picciotto
Pia Singh
Sam Meredith
Joanna Tan

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments in the Israel-Hamas war. Click here for the latest Israel news and updates on Gaza.

This picture taken from Israel's southern city of Sderot shows smoke billowing over the northern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on October 22, 2023.

Israel's military has pledged to step up its bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip in the next stage of the war, vowing to continue to attack targets that could be considered a threat to its ground forces.

Israel is widely expected to launch a major ground offensive into Gaza to "demolish" the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Palestinians say they have received new warnings from Israel's military to move from north Gaza to the south, Reuters reported, with the added warning they may be identified as sympathizers with a "terrorist organization" if they stay put.

Meanwhile, Israel's military launched an air strike on an underground compound at a mosque in the occupied West Bank that allegedly contained a "terror cell."

Global aid organizations warned that humanitarian relief that has trickled into the Gaza Strip is "far from enough" and "totally insufficient." The U.N. has called for "unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza" and warned that health facilities could run out of fuel "in the next day or so."

Early Sunday, Egyptian media reported that a second convoy of 17 trucks crossed into Gaza, but the reports proved to be inaccurate. Later Sunday, 14 humanitarian aid trucks did cross into Gaza and Cindy McCain, the director of the United Nations World Food Programme, said 40 more are expected tomorrow. On Saturday, the first 20-truck convoy carrying food, water and medicine entered the besieged Palestinian enclave for the first time since the start of the war.

The U.S. will be deploying more military assets to the Middle East to bolster regional deterrence efforts amid escalating tensions by Iran and its proxy forces across the region, the U.S. Defense Secretary said.

It is over two weeks since the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched its assault on Israel, killing 1,400 people and taking 200 hostage. Over 4,300 people have been killed in Gaza and more than 13,500 injured since the Israel-Hamas war began, according to Palestinian authorities.

More CNBC coverage of the Israel-Hamas war

Sun, Oct 22 2023 5:41 PM EDT

Feeling unsafe, many American Jews are buying guns and taking training classes

A man holds a Glock handgun during the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, May 6, 2018.

In the wake of the deadly terrorist attack on Israel earlier this month and the country's response to it, protestors and bigots have taken to social media to spout hateful rhetoric about Israelis. Now, many American Jews who feel unsafe are putting aside their distaste for guns and gun ownership and are buying weapons to protect themselves, according to an NBC News report.

There has been a rush of new customers seeking to buy guns and train up how to use them, according to NBC News.

"We've definitely seen a tremendous increase in religious Jewish people, Orthodox people, purchasing firearms," David Kowalsky, owner of Florida Gun Store in Hollywood, who also offers firearms training, told NBC News. "I've seen a surge in interest in individual training as well as group training."

See the NBC News report here.

Terri Cullen

Sun, Oct 22 2023 4:31 PM EDT

14 more humanitarian aid trucks cross over into Gaza

In this aerial view, a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on October 21, 2023.

A 20-truck convoy filled with medical supplies, food and water passed through the Rafah Crossing into Gaza on Saturday, with 14 more crossing over on Sunday.

The aid will continue to flow on a daily basis, according to David Satterfield, Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues.

The goal is to have a "continuous flow of assistance moving" to Gaza, said Satterfield on MSNBC's "Inside with Jen Psaki."

Satterfield said that Hamas, which the United States has designated a terrorist group, has been warned that if it interferes with the aid there is a chance that it stops.

Israel's potential ground invasion into Gaza could also make it more difficult to deliver aid, he said. There has been concern over Palestinians' access to water as well, and Satterfield said that the U.S. is working with the Israeli government to restore water pipelines.

Satterfield said one of the two key pipelines is restored and they are working on the other.

"The people of Gaza need to be able to live secure lives in Gaza and that requires an end to Hamas' ability to govern, to exploit and to dominate with their terror," said Satterfield.

In addition to aid delivery, Satterfield is working on finding ways for Americans and foreign nationals in Gaza to be able to leave.

— Jake Piazza

Sun, Oct 22 2023 4:21 PM EDT

White House confirms there will be 'continued flow' of Gaza humanitarian aid

US President Joe Biden (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meet in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 18, 2023. (Photo by GPO/ Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden on Sunday had a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and the status of Gaza.

Biden and Netanyahu "affirmed that there will now be continued flow" of critical humanitarian assistance into Gaza, the White House said in a statement.

The first wave of humanitarian aid trickled into Gaza on Saturday via 20 trucks that crossed the Rafah border in northern Egypt.

The aid is ready to be deployed according to United Nations World Food Programme Director Cindy McCain, but the trucks have been standing by waiting for clearance to pass through the Rafah crossing.

Civilians in Gaza, caught in the crossfire of the war, have been left without basic necessities like food, water, shelter and medical resources.

While speaking to Netanyahu, Biden also mentioned the ongoing efforts to release American hostages and provide safe passage for U.S. citizens to leave Gaza.

Rebecca Picciotto

Sun, Oct 22 2023 3:37 PM EDT

Mass protests erupt across the globe amid intensifying Israel-Hamas war

Police officers detain a protestor on Potsdamer Platz, during an unannounced pro-Palestinian protest, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 22, 2023.

Protracted conflict and violence amid the Israel-Hamas war have led to mass demonstrations across the globe.

  • On Sunday, thousands of people in Berlin and London took part in vigils to oppose antisemitism and support Israel. The same day, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris and other European cities were demanding a cease-fire and aid for people in the Gaza Strip.
  • On Saturday, nearly 100,000 people joined a pro-Palestinian demonstration in central London, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The demonstration, which was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, moved through London before protesters gathered at the official residence and office of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Pro-Palestinian rallies also took place in Los Angeles and New York on Saturday.
  • On Friday, a wave of demonstrations occurred across the Middle East. Individuals held marches outside Israeli and U.S. diplomatic missions blaming Israel and its allies for the violence and worsening humanitarian conditions in the West Bank, where an increase in violence has been reported against Palestinian residents, as well as Gaza, where Israeli forces continue attacking the enclave. Some burned Israeli flags and stepped on portraits of U.S. President Joe Biden, who has urged Americans to stand by Israel.
  • On Wednesday, hundreds of demonstrators from Jewish advocacy groups in the U.S. marched on Capitol Hill, calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. More than 300 people were arrested for illegally demonstrating.
  • Around the world: Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have also marched in several cities across Ireland, France, Italy, Australia, Germany, Kosovo and Lebanon. Jewish communities in the U.S., France and elsewhere have also held rallies in solidarity with Israel.

— Pia Singh

Sun, Oct 22 2023 2:10 PM EDT

Biden and Pope Francis discuss Israel and Gaza in a call

Pope Francis photographed on August 9, 2023, in Vatican City.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Pope Francis on Sunday and discussed the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the White House said in a statement.

They discussed "the need to prevent escalation in the region and to work toward a durable peace in the Middle East," the White House said.

The Vatican earlier said the call, which lasted about 20 minutes, "focused on conflict situations in the world and the need to identify paths to peace."

Biden also held a call on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the situation in Israel and Gaza, the White House said.

Reuters

Sun, Oct 22 2023 2:05 PM EDT

Gaza death toll climbs to at least 4,651 people; more than 1,400 have died in Israel

The Israel-Hamas war, now in its 16th day, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Palestinian Health Ministry said Sunday the death toll in Gaza had reached at least 4,651 people, with another 14,254 people wounded in the besieged territory.

The ministry said 93 Palestinians were also killed in violence and Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank since Hamas militants stormed into Israel on Oct. 7. More than 1,650 others were wounded, it added.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly in the initial Hamas attack. In addition, 203 people were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, the Israeli military has said.

Associated Press

Sun, Oct 22 2023 1:58 PM EDT

Blinken says U.S. is 'ready' to respond if Israel-Hamas war escalates, targets American forces

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media before leaving Cairo, Egypt, on Oct. 15, 2023.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the United States expects the Israel-Hamas war to escalate by proxies of Iran directed against American armed forces and personnel, and that the U.S. is prepared to respond in the event that happens.

"We are taking steps to make sure that we can effectively defend our people and respond decisively if we need to. This is not what we want, not what we're looking for. We don't want escalation." Blinken said at an appearance during NBC’s "Meet the Press." "We don't want to see a second or third front develop. We don't want to see our forces or our personnel come under fire. But if that happens, we're ready for it."

The U.S. had announced Sunday that non-essential staff at its embassy in Iraq should leave the country.

— Pia Singh

Sun, Oct 22 2023 12:46 PM EDT

Gulf markets fall amid concerns of persistent conflict in region, U.S. rate hikes

Stock markets in the Gulf declined on Sunday amid concerns about an escalation in the Israel-Hamas war and additional interest rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

  • Saudi Arabia's benchmark index was down for a third consecutive session, ending 1.5% lower, as of October 22. Al Rajhi Bank, a Saudi Arabian bank which is the world's largest Islamic bank by capital, lost 2.1%.
  • The Qatari index continued its five-day streak of losses, ending 0.9% lower, with Industries Qatar dropping 2.2% and Qatar Navigation sliding 3%. The Qatar National Bank declined by 2.1%.
  • The Dubai Financial Market General Index, Dubai's main share index, retreated 1.5%.
  • Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index gained 2.4%.

Monetary policy in the Gulf Cooperation Council is usually guided by the Federal Reserve's policies as most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar. The Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, has six members: Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

— Pia Singh

Sun, Oct 22 2023 12:39 PM EDT

Hezbollah and Israel exchange fire and warnings of a widened war

Women carry the pictures of Hezbollah members Ali Ftouni and Hussam Ibrahim, who died during Israeli shelling on south Lebanon yesterday, during their funeral in Khirbit Silm, in southern Lebanon October 10, 2023.

Hezbollah announced the deaths of five more militants as clashes along the Lebanon-Israel border intensified and the Israeli prime minister warned Lebanon on Sunday not to let itself get dragged into a new war.

The tiny Mediterranean country is home to Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim political party with an armed wing of the same name. Israeli soldiers and militants have traded fire across the border since Israel's war with the Palestinian group Hamas began, but the launches so far have targeted limited areas.

Hezbollah has reported the deaths of 24 of its militants since Hamas' bloody Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel. At least six militants from Hamas and another militant group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and at least four civilians have died in the near-daily hostilities.

Hezbollah has vowed to escalate if Israel begins a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, which is likely, and Israel said it would aggressively retaliate.

"If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will miss the Second Lebanon War. It will make the mistake of its life," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday as he visited troops stationed near the border with Lebanon. "We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine, and the consequences for it and the Lebanese state are devastating."

Associated Press

Sun, Oct 22 2023 12:14 PM EDT

Gaza fuel supply will run out in just days — limiting humanitarian aid, U.N. warns

Palestinians queue as they wait to fill cans with fuel, amid shortages of fuel, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, at a petrol station in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 15, 2023.

The fuel supply in Gaza will run out in three days, further limiting humanitarian aid to the enclave's residents, a top United Nations official said in a statement on Sunday.

"In three days, UNRWA will run out of fuel, critical for our humanitarian response across the Gaza Strip," Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, said. "Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries. Without fuel, aid will not reach many civilians in desperate need. Without fuel, there will be no humanitarian assistance."

A 20-truck humanitarian aid convoy — the first since the war started — was sent to the Gaza Strip on Saturday through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. The limited amount of aid sent included food, water and medicine but no fuel supplies, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The decision to exclude fuel from the first aid delivery was a concession to Israel over worries that Hamas could use it for military purposes, according to a Washington Post report.

Egypt's state-run media has reported that 17 more trucks were crossing into Gaza on Sunday, but the United Nations said none had crossed. "Until now, there is no convoy," a spokeswoman for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said.

— Pia Singh

Sun, Oct 22 2023 10:38 AM EDT

Defense secretary says the U.S. 'won't hesitate' to act if war escalates

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown (not seen) hold a joint press conference after attending the NATO Defense Ministers Meeting in Brussels, Belgium on October 11, 2023. 

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the U.S. is positioning troops and preparing to defend itself if other Middle Eastern countries escalate the Israel-Hamas war.

"If any group or any country is looking to widen this conflict and take advantage of this very unfortunate situation, see our advice is: Don't," Austin said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "We maintain the right to defend ourselves and we won't hesitate to take the appropriate action."

On Thursday, the U.S.S. Carney, a U.S. naval ship, shot down three missiles fired by pro-Iranian Houthi forces, which the Pentagon said could have been directed at Israel.

"I applaud the work of the crew of the Carney," said Austin. "They demonstrated what our very capable United States Navy can do and will do if challenged."

Throughout the week, several U.S. bases in the Middle East were attacked. There is some speculation that Iran-backed militant groups launched those attacks.

Austin also addressed the civilian lives that have been lost in the crossfire of the war. He said that the U.S. has been urging Israel to stay within the bounds of wartime law and that each potential attack target should be "carefully assessed" to minimize the threat to civilian lives.

Rebecca Picciotto

Sun, Oct 22 2023 10:15 AM EDT

UN director says 40 more trucks of humanitarian aid expected in Gaza tomorrow

This aerial view shows humanitarian aid trucks crossing into the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with northeastern Egypt's North Sinai province, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023. 

Cindy McCain, the director of the United Nations World Food Programme, reported that a trickle of 17 trucks of humanitarian aid arrived in Gaza on Sunday with 40 more are expected tomorrow.

Yesterday, 20 trucks of aid got through to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing in northeastern Egypt. McCain said those convoys were able to serve 200,000 people at dinner last night, which, she added, is nowhere close to enough.

"This dribbling system is not going to work," McCain said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

More convoys of aid are ready to be deployed and are just waiting to get the clearance to cross the Rafah border. For reference, McCain said that there were 400 trucks crossing the Rafah border prior to the war beginning.

"This is a war zone and things are very fluid so that's why we have to be able to get these trucks safely and sustainably," said McCain.

Rebecca Picciotto

Sun, Oct 22 2023 9:51 AM EDT

Israeli Prime Minister warns Hezbollah to stay out of the war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops stationed near the border with Lebanon, where the Israeli army and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants also have traded fire during the Hamas-Israel war.

A top official with Iran Hezbollah vowed Saturday that Israel would pay a high price whenever it starts a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and said Saturday that his militant group based in Lebanon already is "in the heart of the battle."

Speaking to troops in the north on Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel would react more fiercely than it did during its short 2006 war with Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon.

"If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will miss the Second Lebanon War. It will make the mistake of its life. We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine and the consequences for it and the Lebanese state are devastating," the Israeli leader said.

Associated Press

Sun, Oct 22 2023 9:48 AM EDT

Blinken says Israel has 'no intent' of governing Gaza

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference, Thursday Oct. 12, 2023, in Tel Aviv.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Israel's exit strategy does not involve reclaiming governance of Gaza.

"What I've heard from the Israelis is absolutely no intent, no desire to be running Gaza themselves," Blinken said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

At the same time, he noted that Israel will not accept returning to the status quo of Hamas' control of Gaza. He said that while Israel does not want to govern Gaza, the country also does not want to live with the threat of another fatal attack like the one Hamas launched on Oct. 7.

Blinken also said that Israelis have made it clear to him that they do not want any escalation in the region. He said that it is not in anyone's interest for a second or third front to form in Lebanon, northern Israel, southern Lebanon or elsewhere.

That's why, he added, the U.S. has sent aircraft battle groups to the region: "Not to provoke, but to deter, to make clear that if anyone tries to do anything, we're there."

Blinken also addressed the hostage situation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Two U.S. hostages, Natalie and Judith Raanan, were released yesterday. Blinken said he did not have intel as to why Hamas chose to release them first. He also said that "some significant number" of the 10 unaccounted-for Americans are being held hostage, but he does not know how many nor which ones.

Blinken said that more convoys of humanitarian aid are set to move into Gaza today after the first waves of assistance trickled into the region yesterday.

"This is a work in progress," he said.

Rebecca Picciotto

Sun, Oct 22 2023 7:53 AM EDT

Egyptian media report a second convoy has entered Gaza

A convoy of 17 trucks bringing aid to besieged Palestinians crossed into Gaza on Sunday, Egypt's state-run media reported.

The delivery would be the second shipment into the territory in the past two days.

Residents of Gaza have been under an Israeli blockade that cut off food, water, medicine and electricity since Hamas militants rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The more than 2 million residents of the territory have been struggling under Israeli airstrikes and with dwindling resources since then.

Associated Press

Sun, Oct 22 2023 7:27 AM EDT

U.S. beefs up Mideast military assets as Israel pounds Gaza, targets in Syria, Lebanon

This photograph taken on May 24, 2023 shows the US aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford cruising near Jeloya island, in Moss, south of Oslo. The ship is the world's largest warship and will be in port in Oslo for four days.

Concerns about the risk of wider Middle East conflict triggered by the Israel-Hamas war rose on Sunday with the U.S. dispatching more military assets to the region as Israel pummelled targets in Gaza and Hamas supporters in Lebanon and Syria.

Medical sources in Gaza said more than 50 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes overnight on the enclave, to which Israel laid "total siege" after a cross-border Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas militants that has traumatized Israelis.

In neighboring Syria — where Hamas's main regional backer Iran has a military presence — Israeli missiles hit Damascus and Aleppo international airports early on Sunday, killing at least two workers, according to Syrian state media.

In south Lebanon, where the Iran-backed Hezbollah has been exchanging cross-border fire with Israel in support of Hamas, Israel said its aircraft bombed Hezbollah targets on Saturday. Hezbollah said six of its fighters were killed.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cautioned Lebanon's caretaker prime minister that the Lebanese population would be affected if his country were drawn into the Israeli-Hamas war, the State Department said.

Reuters

Sun, Oct 22 2023 5:51 AM EDT

UN agency says sustainable aid supply needed to avoid Gaza 'catastrophe'

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said Sunday that the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip is "terrible," with humanitarian supplies "very limited" and food and drinking water scarce.

The agency called for the continuous supply of vital aid supplies to avoid an even greater humanitarian disaster.

"We need a sustainable supply line of aid to avoid catastrophe in the Strip," the UNRWA director said in a statement.

— Sam Meredith

Sun, Oct 22 2023 4:59 AM EDT

Images of daily life in Gaza

Images published Sunday by Getty Images showed black smoke billowing in the southern Gaza Strip after Israeli airstrikes overnight.

Palestinians in Gaza could be seen evacuating destroyed buildings and inspecting the damage at a time when Israel has vowed to step up its bombardment of the beseiged enclave.

Smoke billows after an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 22, 2023 amid the ongoing battles between Israel and Palestinian groups.
A Palestinian man helps evacuate a woman from a damaged building after overnight Israeli strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 22, 2023 amid the ongoing battles between Israel and Palestinian groups.
A man rides his bicycle past a fire truck in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip October 22, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
Palestinians inspect the damage after overnight Israeli strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 22, 2023 amid the ongoing battles between Israel and Palestinian groups.

— Sam Meredith

Sun, Oct 22 2023 4:12 AM EDT

Israel's military says strike on mosque in the occupied West Bank contained a 'terror cell'

Palestinians inspect the damage inside a mosque following Israeli air strikes at Jenin refugee camp.

Israel's military said Sunday it launched an air strike on an underground compound at a mosque in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank that allegedly contained a "terror cell" of operatives from Palestinian militant group Hamas and a second Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad.

The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Securities Authority said in joint statement that the operatives "were responsible for several terror attacks over the last months, and were organizing an additional imminent terror attack."

CNBC could not independently verify this claim.

"Intel was recently received which indicated that the terrorists, that were neutralized, were organizing an imminent terror attack. The mosque was used by the terrorists as a command center to plan the attacks and as a base for their execution," the joint statement said.

— Sam Meredith

Sun, Oct 22 2023 3:51 AM EDT

Israel tells Gazans to move south or risk being seen as 'terrorist' partner

Palestinians said they had received renewed warnings from Israel's military to move from north Gaza to the south of the strip, with the added warning that they could be identified as sympathisers with a "terrorist organisation" if they stayed put.

The message was delivered in leaflets marked with the Israel Defense Forces name and logo from Saturday and sent to people via mobile phone audio messages across the Gaza Strip, a narrow territory that is just 45 km (28 miles) long.

"Urgent warning, to residents of Gaza. Your presence north of Wadi Gaza puts your life in danger. Whoever chooses not to leave north Gaza to the south of Wadi Gaza might be identified as an accomplice in a terrorist organisation," the leaflet said.

— Reuters

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