Israel-Hamas war: Evacuations begin in Gaza; Biden says there should be a humanitarian ‘pause’ in Israel-Hamas war

Amanda Macias
Melodie Warner
Ruxandra Iordache

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

Injured civilians from the Gaza Strip entered Egypt, crossing the Rafah border, for the first time since the terror attacks carried out by Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel on Oct. 7, NBC News reports.

More than 500 foreign nationals are expected to enter the Rafah crossing, the secretary-general of the Red Crescent in North Sinai told NBC News. The White House confirmed that U.S. citizens are expected to leave as well. It is the first time foreign passport holders have been allowed to leave the territory since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Until now, the Rafah crossing has primarily facilitated truck deliveries of humanitarian aid to the embattled and resource-deprived Gaza enclosure, where hostilities continue.

On Tuesday, dozens of people were reportedly killed and injured after an airstrike on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. The Hamas-run Health Ministry and the director of the nearby Indonesian hospital said at least 50 people were killed in the blast. CNBC was unable to independently verify the number of casualties.

An IDF spokesperson said the Israeli military killed senior Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari, one of the architects of the Oct. 7 terror attack, during the deadly strike. CNBC was not able to confirm his death.

Amid hostilities, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday warned, "We are in a difficult war. This will be a long war."

Elsewhere, Bolivia announced it has severed diplomatic ties with Israel as a result of civilian losses caused by its war campaign. Chile and Colombia have recalled their ambassadors to the Middle Eastern country for consultations.

More CNBC coverage of the Israel-Hamas war

Thu, Nov 2 2023 1:22 AM EDT

Blinken to travel to Tel Aviv and Amman

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Tel Aviv, Israel and Amman, Jordan in the coming days.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves farewell before departure from the airport in Amman on October 13, 2023 on his way to Qatar. Blinken began on October 12 a tour of Arab capitals as he seeks to build pressure on Hamas while Israel readies a likely massive offensive on the Gaza Strip following the militants' attacks. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The department said the secretary will reiterate U.S. support for Israel and discuss efforts to safeguard U.S. citizens, secure the release of hostages, increase aid entering Gaza and preventing the conflict from spreading.

Blinken is also expected to discuss in Jordan resuming essential services and "ensuring that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced outside of Gaza." The department said he will also talk about efforts to "reduce regional tensions, and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to working with partners to set the conditions necessary for a durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East, to include the establishment of a Palestinian state."

— Christine Wang

Wed, Nov 1 2023 8:41 PM EDT

Biden says there should be a humanitarian 'pause' in Israel-Hamas war

U.S. President Joe Biden holds an event about American retirement economics in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, October 31, 2023.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday he thinks there should be a humanitarian "pause" in the Israel-Hamas war in order to get "prisoners" out.

Biden was speaking at a fundraiser for his 2024 reelection campaign when a protester interrupted him, calling for a ceasefire.

"I think we need a pause," Biden said in response. "A pause means give time to get the prisoners out."

Israeli ground troops have advanced to Gaza City in heavy fighting with militants following Hamas' killing of roughly 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7.

Associated Press

Wed, Nov 1 2023 8:51 PM EDT

Biden says more work needs to be done to 'significantly step up the flow of critical humanitarian assistance into Gaza'

Children of Palestinian families take shelter in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) refugee camp located in Khan Yunis, Gaza on November 01, 2023. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden cheered regional partners for their help paving the way for some wounded Palestinians and foreign nationals, including some U.S. citizens, to escape Gaza.

"I personally spent a lot of time speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and President Sissi of Egypt and others, to make sure that we could open this access for people to get out," Biden said during a visit Wednesday to Northfield, Minn. "I want to thank our partners, in particular Qatar, who worked so closely with us to support negotiations to facilitate the departure of these citizens."

Biden said more work needs to be done to "significantly step up the flow of critical humanitarian assistance into Gaza."

Biden reiterated that he backs Israel's right to defend itself "in a manner that is consistent with international humanitarian law." But he also acknowledged the suffering endured by Palestinians during the Israeli operations.

"We've all seen the devastating images from Gaza," Biden noted. "Palestinian children crying out for lost parents ... writing on their hands and legs to be indemnified if the worst happens."

Associated Press

Wed, Nov 1 2023 6:43 PM EDT

Biden administration announces 'first-ever U.S. national strategy to counter Islamophobia'

The Biden administration announced a "first-ever U.S. national strategy to counter Islamophobia" as tensions from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas intensify in Gaza.

"Today's announcement is the latest step as part of President Biden's directive last year to establish an interagency group to increase and better coordinate U.S. government efforts to counter Islamophobia, Antisemitism and related forms of bias and discrimination within the United States," White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre wrote in a statement.

"There is no place for hate in America against anyone. Period," she added.

— Amanda Macias

Wed, Nov 1 2023 5:09 PM EDT

Biden discussed getting humanitarian aid quicker into Gaza with Jordanian king

An aid convoy truck loaded with supplies is seen at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. 

The White House said that President Joe Biden discussed ways to expedite critical humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza with the King of Jordan.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that additional trucks carrying aid arrived in Gaza but that the assistance so far is "still not enough."

"We know, we need to do more. We're continuing to work with our partners in the region to do that," Kirby told reporters on Air Force One.

— Amanda Macias

Wed, Nov 1 2023 4:15 PM EDT

The most senior official to visit Gaza from the U.N. calls for a humanitarian pause and fuel

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini visits UNRWA building in Rafah, Gaza, makes statements to the press members on November 01, 2023.

Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, visited with civilians and humanitarian workers in Gaza.

"Philippe is the most senior official to be allowed into Gaza since the war began," United Nations Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric said during a daily press briefing.

"He said the staff told him that fuel is very much needed for Gaza and that, more than ever, a humanitarian pause is also needed," Dujarric said.

Dujarric added that UNRWA has lost 70 colleagues since the hostilities began on Oct. 7.

— Amanda Macias

Wed, Nov 1 2023 2:32 PM EDT

The Israel-Hamas war has soared into the top issues for Iowa GOP voters

A picture taken from southern Israel on November 1, 2023 shows smoke rising over buildings in the Gaza Strip during an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas is expected to play a big role in how voters approach the Iowa Republican caucuses on Jan. 15.

More than half of Iowa Republicans ranked the Israel-Hamas war as "extremely important" to them, according to the new NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll.

Read the full story on NBC News here.

— Amanda Macias

Wed, Nov 1 2023 1:56 PM EDT

No plans to put U.S. troops on the ground, White House says

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby takes questions on the situation in Israel as he joins White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11, 2023.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the Biden administration has no plans to put U.S. troops on the ground in Israel.

"No plans or intentions to put U.S. troops on the ground," Kirby told reporters on Air Force One en route to Minneapolis.

He added that the U.S. was discussing its future force posture plans with allies in the region for when the conflict in Gaza ends.

— Amanda Macias

Wed, Nov 1 2023 1:52 PM EDT

White House confirms some U.S. citizens are expected to leave Gaza today

A US citizen holds his passport while waiting at the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt in Rafah. Injured Palestinians, Palestinians with second passports and foreign nationals can be evacuated through the Rafah border crossing. Photo: Mohammed Talatene/dpa (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The White House confirmed that U.S. citizens are alongside foreign nationals who are expected to leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.

"A handful of Americans are expected to leave Gaza today," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Air Force One en route to Minneapolis. He added that more Americans are expected to leave in the coming days. Kirby said the Biden administration is hopeful that all Americans will be able to depart Gaza.

Kirby had previously told reporters that Hamas had been blocking foreign nationals from transiting through the border crossing.

— Amanda Macias

Wed, Nov 1 2023 11:53 AM EDT

Delta extends cancelation of JFK to Tel Aviv flights through Nov. 21

Delta Airlines planes sit at Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

Delta Air Lines extended its cancellation of flights between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport through Nov. 21 because of the ongoing conflict in the region. 

Last month, the airline said it would suspend its nonstop flights to and from Tel Aviv through at least the end of October.

Delta said in a statement Wednesday it has also canceled all remaining service between Tel Aviv and Atlanta and Boston.

— Melodie Warner

Wed, Nov 1 2023 11:26 AM EDT

Secretary Austin meets with Saudi defense minister at the Pentagon

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomes Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on November 1, 2023.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud at the Pentagon.

The two are expected to discuss a number of issues facing the bilateral relationship including the ongoing situation in Gaza.

Minister bin Salman and his Saudi Arabian delegation met with President Joe Biden's top national security adviser at the White House earlier in the week.

— Amanda Macias

Wed, Nov 1 2023 11:18 AM EDT

Jordan recalls its ambassador to Israel

Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel as its expression of condemnation over the ongoing war in Gaza, NBC News reported.

Ayman Safadi, who serves as Jordan's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said in a statement that the return of the ambassador was contingent on Israel halting the war and ending "the humanitarian crises it had caused."

The statement added that Israel's ambassador to Jordan, who has been away from the country, would only be allowed to return on the same terms, according to the NBC News report.

— Melodie Warner

Wed, Nov 1 2023 11:13 AM EDT

Evacuations begin in Gaza as Rafah border crossing into Egypt opens

NBC's Jay Gray reports on the evacuation of people trapped in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing for the first time since Israel imposed a siege on the Palestinian enclave after the Hamas attack.

Wed, Nov 1 2023 10:47 AM EDT

Cornell University junior charged for threatening to stab and rape Jewish students, prosecutors say

A New York State Police Department cruiser is parked in front of Cornell University's Center for Jewish Living, in Ithaca, NY, Monday, Oct 30, 2023.

A 21-year-old Cornell University junior was charged Tuesday for making online threats to Jewish students at the Ivy League school, NBC News reported.

Federal prosecutors in the Northern District of New York said Patrick Dai, a junior at Cornell, allegedly threatened to "shoot up" a campus building. In another post, he said he would "stab" or "slit the throat" of Jewish men, and rape or throw off a cliff Jewish women he encounters on campus, according to the prosecutors.

Dai faces a charge of posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications and was slated to make an initial appearance in Syracuse federal court Wednesday. If convicted, he would face a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The threats alarmed students on the university's campus in Ithaca, New York, and put more national attention on the reported rise in antisemitism in the U.S. since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

— Melodie Warner

Wed, Nov 1 2023 10:21 AM EDT

Israel's 'second phase' of war appears deliberately ambiguous

Israel's military is expanding its operations in the Gaza Strip, but has avoided calling it a "ground invasion" despite sending tanks into the territory. A key reason for the ambiguity in what appear to be smaller land operations, rather than a full-scale land assault, is to throw off the enemy, analysts say.

"They seem to want to keep Hamas guessing if this is really it or just a short, sharp strike op," a former British army intelligence officer, who spoke anonymously due to professional restrictions, told CNBC.

Another reason is optics. Israeli strategists are wary of triggering a major response from its enemies Iran and Hezbollah, the well-armed Iranian-backed militant organization in Lebanon on Israel's northern border, says Ryan Bohl, a senior Middle East and North Africa analyst at Rane.

Read the full report here.

— Natasha Turak

Wed, Nov 1 2023 10:19 AM EDT

Norwegian Cruises canceling all Israel calls as conflict escalates

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has canceled and is redirecting all of its cruises to Israel and the surrounding region through 2024 due to the escalating conflict with Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The company said in a statement it will continue to closely monitor and evaluate future sailings and adjust as needed.

Before the war broke out, some 7% of Norwegian's cruising capacity in the fourth quarter of 2023 and 4% of capacity for the full year 2024 involved stops in the Middle East, Norwegian noted.

— Robert Hum

Wed, Nov 1 2023 9:15 AM EDT

U.S. citizens among civilians to exit Gaza Strip

A US citizen holds his passport while waiting at the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt in Rafah. Injured Palestinians, Palestinians with second passports and foreign nationals can be evacuated through the Rafah border crossing. Photo: Mohammed Talatene/dpa (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Some U.S. nationals will be able to depart the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing and enter Egypt on Wednesday, an U.S. official told NBC News.

Fewer than 10 such civilians are expected to make the journey on Wednesday, with more Americans set to depart on Thursday, the official added. It was not immediately clear if the tally included holders of dual citizenship. The State Department has said that as many as 600 Americans are stuck in Gaza.

This is the first time that U.S. and foreign nationals are able to leave the embattled and besieged Gaza Strip since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Roughly 500 foreign passport holders will be allowed to cross into Egypt, according to NBC News.

Ruxandra Iordache

Wed, Nov 1 2023 9:17 AM EDT

WHO says Egypt to receive 81 injured and sick civilians from Gaza Strip

Ambulances from Egypt wait to pass through Rafah border crossing to transport seriously wounded Palestinians after Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on November 01, 2023. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The World Health Organization welcomed Egypt's decision to accept 81 injured and sick civilians from the Gaza Strip for treatment, it said in a statement.

WHO is cooperating with both the Egyptian Ministry of Health and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society to assist in providing care.

The organization said that the first point of referral for civilian patients from the Gaza Strip would be the al-Arish hospital in Arish, northern Egypt. The facility "has fully equipped resuscitation and intensive care facilities, and a range of surgical teams to manage severe injuries, including major trauma and burns."

Onward referrals to secondary hospitals are also in place, and there are currently 65 ambulances waiting to attend the injured.

An injured man lies inside an ambulance waiting at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before receiving medical care in Egypt on November 1, 2023.

On Wednesday, civilians began to cross into Egypt for the first time since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, leaving behind the heavily bombarded and besieged Gaza Strip. Electricity and fuel shortages in the region have greatly crippled the local healthcare system, the Gaza health ministry and WHO have previously said.

"Thousands more people inside the Gaza Strip continue to need access to urgent and essential health services amid shortages of medicines, health supplies and other aid such as fuel, water and food," WHO said Wednesday.

Ruxandra Iordache

Wed, Nov 1 2023 8:42 AM EDT

Injured civilians enter Egypt from Gaza Strip

Ambulances from Egypt pass through Rafah border crossing to transport seriously wounded Palestinians after Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on November 01, 2023. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Injured civilians have entered Egypt from the Gaza Strip for the first time since the terror attacks carried out by Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel on Oct. 7, NBC News reports.

The number of those who have traversed the crossing was not immediately clear.

More than 500 foreign nationals are expected to enter the Rafah crossing, the secretary-general of the Red Crescent in North Sinai told NBC News. It is the first time foreign passport holders have been allowed to leave the territory since the start start of the Israel-Hamas war.

The blockaded and bombarded Gaza Strip has been receiving humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing in recent week.

Ruxandra Iordache

Wed, Nov 1 2023 8:35 AM EDT

A convoy of ambulances passes through the Rafah border from Egypt to transport wounded Palestinians

Ambulances from Egypt pass through the Rafah border crossing to transport seriously wounded Palestinian people.

Ambulances from Egypt pass through Rafah border crossing to transport seriously wounded Palestinians after Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on November 01, 2023.
Ambulances from Egypt pass through Rafah border crossing to transport seriously wounded Palestinians after Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on November 01, 2023. 

-Getty Images

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