Our live coverage of Israel's war against Hamas has moved here.
At least 70 people were killedin an Israeli attack at the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Sunday, according to the strip's Hamas-run health ministry.
A video posted by the Palestinian Red Crescent shows several wounded people from the camp being taken into ambulances.
"What is happening at the Maghazi camp is a massacre that is being committed on a crowded residential square," spokesperson Dr. Ashraf Al-Qidra said in a Telegram post on the ministry's account.
In response to a CNN inquiry, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had received reports of an incident at the camp, which it was reviewing.
"Despite the challenges posed by Hamas terrorists operating within civilian areas in Gaza, the IDF is committed to international law, including taking feasible steps to minimize harm to civilians," the IDF said.
Some context: The IDF says that Hamas hides terrorist infrastructure in and around civilian institutions in Gaza, including refugee camps and hospitals, and has repeatedly denied targeting civilians. Despite growing international criticism from some of Israel’s staunchest allies overthegrowing civilian toll inGaza, Israel has not changed course in its military pursuit of Hamas.
Pope Francis said themessage of Jesus’ birth is being rejected by war as he began Christmas celebrations in the Vatican on Sunday.
“Tonight, our hearts are in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace is once more rejected by the futile logic of war, by the clash of arms that even today prevents him from finding room in the world,” the 87-year-old pontiff said during a Christmas Eve midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
With heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza,Christmas celebrations have been effectivelycanceledin Bethlehem, located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The pope, who has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, tonight stressed that the birth of Jesus offered a stark contrast to the “power of the world” and the desire for “might, fame, and glory.”
Francis pointed out that when Jesus is born “none of the powerful take notice of him” and urged believers not to see God in “pagan terms” as “a powerful potentate in the sky” who is linked to “power, worldly success and the idolatry of consumerism.”
He said that God is instead marked by “closeness, compassion and tenderness” and does not “burst on the scene with limitless power” but instead “descends to the narrow confines of our lives.”
The pope’s celebration of midnight Mass was attended by an estimated 6,500 inside St. Peter’s Basilica along with cardinals, bishops, and priests.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF)on Sunday disclosed new information about an underground Hamas tunnel network which the IDF said itrecently demolished following the recoveryof the bodies of five Israeli hostages.
The hostages – who CNN previously reported on in mid-December are: Ziv Dado,Eden Zecharya, Ron Sherman, Nik Beizer and Elia Toledano.
Zecharya and Toledano were civilians, Dado, Sherman and Beizer were IDF soldiers.
Citing recent operations over the past few weeks in “the area of the Jabalya camp” which the IDF calls “one of Hamas' operational centers in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF on Sunday said in a statement it "exposed a strategic tunnel network that served as Hamas' northern headquarters in Gaza. The underground headquarters, which included two levels … with many routes, was used for directing combat and the movement of terrorists.”
“The network was connected to a shaft leading to the residence of the Commander of Hamas' Northern Brigade,” Ahmed Ghandour, who the IDF previously identified as “a leading figure in the planning and execution of the October 7th massacre.”
In late November, the IDF said Ghandour– and four other “senior commanders” were killed in IDF operations.
“He initiated, promoted, and approved terrorist activities and attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF troops. These included shootings, bombings, rocket launches, and terror attacks,” they said in a November 26statement.
In their Sunday statement, the IDF saidthe underground network, used by Hamas, “also passed beneath a school and a hospital.” CNN has not independently verified details of the tunnel network's location.
After the bodies of the five Israeli hostages were recovered, the IDF says itdismantled the “subterranean headquarters,” according to the statement.
“The demolition of the headquarters in Jabalya is part of the effort to deal with Hamas' tunnel infrastructure and to strike at its senior commanders and its strategic capabilities,” the IDF said in Sunday’s statement.
“This effort is continuing at all times and is now being carried out in Khan Yunis and the southern Gaza Strip,” they said.
In late December, Hamas released a video that showed EliaToledano,NikBeizerand Ron Sherman while they were alive and still in Hamas in captivityin what appears to bean underground tunnel.
CNN is not showing theHamasvideo or images from the video because the men were likely speaking under duress.
In the city of Rafah, Gaza, gunfire broke out near the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs headquarters, as captured in video obtained by CNN.
The footage depicts hundreds of individuals in the street, some fleeing, with many carrying relief aid under the echo of gunfire.
Additional footage from the vicinity shows several roads blocked by burning tires
Currently, the source of the gunfire in the video remains unclear. At this time no casualties have been reported.
According to a report released Thursday by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), approximately 2.2 million residents of Gaza are currently facing acute hunger.
In the last 24 hours, 166 people have died and 384 people were injured in Gaza, according to a statement published by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in the enclave on Sunday.
The ministry also reported that since October 7, the death toll has risen to 20,424, with an additional 54,036 people injured.
CNN cannot independently verify the numbers.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Sunday that its ground, aerial, and naval forces struck approximately 200 targets in Gaza over the past day.
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sent a letter to Pope Francis on Saturday requesting his help for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
“Your Holiness, I asked you for your personal intervention in this matter. Please use your influence to demand the unconditional release all the hostages without delay,” the letter said.
She asked Pope Francis to call on the Red Cross to visit the hostages in Gaza and deliver medicine to them. “Your intervention can tilt the balance and save precious lives,” the letter said.
She also sent letters to the wives of 33 world leaders as part of “diplomatic efforts” to release the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7.
Letters were sent to US first lady Jill Biden and the wives of the leaders of Great Britain and France, according to a statement from Sara Netanyahu’s office.
Israeli forces are "intensifying" operations inside the Gaza Strip and will continue to fight until victory over Hamas is achieved, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement released Sunday.
"Citizens of Israel, we are intensifying the war in the Gaza Strip. We will continue to fight until absolute victory over Hamas. This is the only way to return our hostages, eliminate Hamas and ensure that Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel," Netanyahu said.
"This will take time, but we are united – the soldiers, the people and the government. We are united and determined to fight until the end," he said.
Netanyahu also talked about theIsraeli soldiers, who were killed during military operations in Gaza.
"The war has a price, a very heavy price in the lives of our heroic soldiers, and we will do everything to safeguard the lives of our soldiers. However, there is one thing we will not do: We will not stop until we achieve victory," he said
Netanyahu's statement comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday during a news conference that the conflict "needs to move to a lower-intensity phase."
At least 15 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers were killed in Gaza since Friday, according to the IDF.
A total of 154 IDF soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, the IDF reports.
On Saturday, the IDF said 10 soldiers were killed in battles in Gaza, making it one of the deadliest days for Israeli troops since the conflict began.
The update comes as the Israeli military said it expanded the ground operation of its forces in the southern and northern Gaza Strip and engaged in fierce battles over the weekend.
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Israel's War Against Hamas
The recent events in Israel and Gaza have garnered significant international attention. Here's a breakdown of the key concepts and events mentioned in the provided article:
Israeli Attack at Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp:
- At least 70 people were killed in an Israeli attack at the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Sunday, according to the strip's Hamas-run health ministry [].
- The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated that it had received reports of the incident at the camp and was reviewing the situation. The IDF emphasized its commitment to international law, including taking feasible steps to minimize harm to civilians [].
Pope Francis' Christmas Message:
- Pope Francis expressed concern over the rejection of the message of Jesus' birth due to ongoing war, particularly referencing the heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He emphasized the contrast between the "power of the world" and the message of peace brought by Jesus' birth [].
IDF's Disclosure of Information on Tunnel Network:
- The IDF disclosed new information about an underground Hamas tunnel network, which it claimed to have recently demolished following the recovery of the bodies of five Israeli hostages. The network was described as a strategic tunnel network used by Hamas for directing combat and the movement of terrorists [].
Unrest in Gaza and Relief Aid Turmoil:
- Video footage showed unrest in Gaza near the Rafah crossing, with gunfire and individuals carrying relief aid. The source of the gunfire remained unclear at the time, and no casualties had been reported [].
Casualties and Intensification of Operations:
- The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health reported that 166 people had died and 384 were injured in Gaza in the last 24 hours. The IDF stated that its ground, aerial, and naval forces had struck approximately 200 targets in Gaza over the past day [].
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the intensification of operations inside the Gaza Strip, emphasizing the determination to fight until victory over Hamas is achieved. He also mentioned the heavy price in the lives of Israeli soldiers and the commitment to safeguard their lives while pursuing victory [].
Diplomatic Efforts for Hostage Release:
- Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel's Prime Minister, sent a letter to Pope Francis requesting his help for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Similar letters were also sent to the wives of 33 world leaders as part of diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the hostages [].
These events reflect the ongoing conflict and humanitarian concerns in the region, prompting international attention and diplomatic efforts for resolution and relief aid.
If you have further questions or need more detailed information on any specific aspect, feel free to ask!