Hamas, Israel entrench Gaza truce positions as 16 people die in Israeli airstrikes on Rafah

Hamas, Israel entrench Gaza truce positions as 16 people die in Israeli airstrikes on Rafah
A Hamas official said the group's delegation was leaving Cairo after disagreements with Israel, while 16 have been killed in Israeli air strikes in Rafah.
24 min read
05 May, 2024

A Hamas official said Sunday the group's delegation for Gaza truce talks in Cairo was leaving for "consultations" in Qatar after public disagreement with Israel intensified over demands to end its seven-month war on Gaza.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "surrendering" to a demand to end the war would amount to defeat.

Medics and first responders in Gaza said 16 people were killed in Israeli air strikes in the southern city of Rafah Sunday, hours after Hamas rockets had killed three Israeli soldiers earlier in the day.

"The toll of martyrs in Rafah reached 16," emergency first responders told AFP, adding that seven people from one family and nine from another were killed.

Medical sources confirmed two strikes they said took place at two different locations around the city.

12:07 AM

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WHO: Only third of Gaza's hospitals are functioning
12:01 AM
The New Arab Staff

The World Health Organisation declared that only 33% of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and 30% of primary healthcare centres are functional in the enclave in some capacity, while there are shortages of medical supplies and Israel's attacks on these healthcare facilities.

16 people killed in Israeli air strikes in Rafah
11:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Medics and first responders in Gaza said 16 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern city of Rafah Sunday, hours after Hamas rockets had killed three Israeli soldiers earlier in the day.

"The toll of martyrs in Rafah reached 16," emergency first responders told AFP, adding that seven people from one family and nine from another were killed.

Medical sources confirmed two strikes they said took place at two different locations around the city.

George Washington University president speaks out on protest
11:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

The president of George Washington University, Ellen Granberg, issued a statement on the pro-Palestine encampment at the university, claiming that the encampment is "not a peaceful protest" and has "grown into what can only be classified as an illegal and potentially dangerous occupation of GW property".

Requesting assistance from the police, the university has offered an "alternative demonstration site" with barriers to "contain the protest".

“As a university, we are not equipped to single-handedly manage an unprecedented situation such as this," Granberg said, saying that "when unlawful activities go beyond these limits we [the university] must rely on the support and experience" of the police, who are already providing "increased security presence" on ground.

UN urges Israel to lift ban on Al Jazeera
11:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN Human Rights office is urging Israel to lift its shutdown of Al Jazeera's offices in Israel.

"We regret cabinet decision to close Al Jazeera in Israel. A free & independent media is essential to ensuring transparency & accountability. Now, even more so given tight restrictions on reporting from Gaza. Freedom of expression is a key human right. We urge govt to overturn ban," the office said in a statement on X.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced that Al Jazeera would be banned in Israel, with its offices closed down and equipment confiscated.

Israeli strike on Rafah kills 9 Palestinians
11:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli strike targeting a house in Rafah in Southern Gaza killed nine Palestinians, Gaza health officials said on Sunday.


Students at University of Bologna in Italy join Gaza protest
10:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Students at the University of Bologna in Italy have joined the global student-led movement in support of and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Students in universities around the world have been protesting and setting up encampments urging their institutions to divest from Israel-linked companies while calling for a ceasefire.

Gaza Media Office condemns Al Jazeera shut down
10:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Gaza Media Office has condemned Israel's shutdown of Al Jazeera's offices in Israel.

In a statement, the office called the shutdown a "scandal and a blatant violation of freedom of opinion and expression."

"We condemn the shameful silence of many countries that consider themselves guardians of the world and human rights, while they are engaged in a war of genocide, and participate in the war to silence media professionals, journalists, and their media outlets."

Reporters Without Borders condemns Al Jazeera shutdown
10:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

International organisation, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has "strongly" condemned Israel shutting down Al Jazeera's offices in Israel, saying that this "freedom-threatening legislation that censors a TV network for its coverage of the war in Gaza" - Al Jazeera reports.

RWB focuses on safeguarding, promoting and defending press freedom around the world.

Axios: CIA Director will stay in Qatar
10:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

CIA Director Burns will stay in Doha on Monday for hostage talks and will likely travel to Israel later this week - an Axios reporter says.

Netanyahu says nothing will stop Israel defence
9:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced a "volcano of anti-Semitism" and international criticism of Israel's war in Gaza, insisting that no pressure would stop it from defending itself.

"If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," Netanyahu said.

Speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, he lamented that when the Nazis killed six million Jews during World War II, his people "were totally defenceless against those who sought our destruction.

"No nation came to our aid," he said as the Israeli flag billowed at half mast and survivors of the Holocaust prepared to light torches.

"Today, we again confront enemies bent on our destruction," Netanyahu told the large crowd gathered for the ceremony.

Israeli settlers storm Bedouin community near Jericho
9:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli settlers stormed the Arab Al-Malihat Bedouin community northwest of Jericho again on Sunday - Wafa reports.

The general supervisor of the Al-Baidar organization for defending the rights of Bedouins, Hassan Malihat, told the agency that many settlers stormed the community accompanied by agricultural vehicles, terrorising children and women.

Israeli airstrike kills several Palestinians near school
9:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli airstrike killed and injured several Palestinians near a school housing displaced civilians in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday - Anadolu reports.

Witnesses say fighter jets attacked the entrance of the Al-Jaouni school in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

Axios: CIA Director expected to visit Israel tomorrow
9:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

CIA director Bill Burns is expected to visit Israel tomorrow to meet with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials to discuss a hostage deal - according to Axios, citing two Israeli officials. 

Israel army says 3 soldiers killed in Gaza attack
8:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military announced that three soldiers were killed in the Hamas-claimed rocket attack in the border area of Kerem Shalom.

Israel's military said a barrage of rockets fired earlier Sunday from the besieged Gaza Strip towards the Kerem Shalom border crossing killed three soldiers and wounded a dozen others.

Three of the 12 wounded were in serious condition, the military told AFP. The armed wing of the Palestinian group Hamas earlier claimed the rocket attack which led Israeli authorities to close the crossing used to deliver aid into Gaza.

Israeli military strikes UNRWA facility
8:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military said with Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, they targeted an airstrike on Sunday at a facility belonging to the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), claiming that the site was used by Hamas to attack Israeli soldiers in the Netzarim Corridor and against humanitarian aid deliveries.

In a joint statement, they said the attack was done "to avoid as much harm as possible to uninvolved [civilians]."

Israel has been attacking many aid agencies' facilities, claiming that they are harbouring Hamas members, despite aid groups coordinating their locations with the Israeli military.

Islamic Cooperation denounces Gaza genocide
8:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday denounced a "genocide" in Gaza, urging its 57 member countries to impose sanctions on Israel in a resolution adopted at the end of its Gambia summit.

The organisation called on its members to impose "sanctions on Israel, the occupying power, and halting the export of weapons and ammunition used by its army to perpetrate the crime of genocide in Gaza".

Sunday's resolution, seen by AFP, urged members "to exercise diplomatic, political and legal pressure and to take any deterrent measures to stop the crimes of the Israeli colonial occupation, and the genocidal war it is waging against the Palestinian people, including by imposing sanctions".

It also called for "an immediate, permanent and unconditional ceasefire".

Founded in 1969 after the burning of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the OIC aims to increase Muslim solidarity, support the Palestinian struggle and defend Muslim holy sites.

Israeli strike kills 4 civilians in southern Lebanon
8:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli airstrike Sunday in the town of Mays al Jabal in south Lebanon killed four civilians and wounded several others, Lebanese state media and the town's municipality reported.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported that the strike took place "while a number of the town’s residents were inspecting their homes and shops and the damage they sustained" in previous strikes. Those attacks came over seven months of near-daily clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces against the backdrop of Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Israeli military said its jet targeted military infrastructure in the southern Lebanese town belonging to Hezbollah, which has clashed with Israeli troops since 8 October.

UN accuses Israel of denying Gaza aid access
7:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A top UN official on Sunday accused Israel of continuing to deny the United Nations humanitarian access in the Gaza Strip, where the UN food chief warned a "full-blown famine" has taken hold in the north of the enclave of 2.3 million people.

While not a formal famine declaration, World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain said - in an NBC News interview broadcast on Sunday - that based on the "horror" on the ground: "There is famine, full-blown famine, in the north, and it's moving its way south."

Israel's government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on McCain's remarks.


Netanyahu uses Holocaust ceremony to brush off Gaza pressure
7:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected international pressure to halt the war on Gaza in a fiery speech marking the country's annual Holocaust Memorial Day, declaring: “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

The message was aimed at the growing chorus of world leaders who have criticised the heavy toll caused by Israel's military offensive on Gaza and have urged the sides to agree to a ceasefire.

“I say to the leaders of the world: No amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum will stop Israel from defending itself,” he said. “Never again is now.”

Yom Hashoah, the day Israel observes as a memorial for the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany and its allies in the Holocaust, is one of the most solemn dates on the country’s calendar, and speeches at the ceremony generally avoid politics.

CPJ condemns Israel's decision to shut down Al Jazeera
7:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned Israel's decision to shut down Al Jazeera's operations in Israel, warning that the vote "could set a dangerous precedent for other international media outlets working in Israel."

"CPJ condemns the closure of Al-Jazeera’s office in Israel and the blocking of the channel’s websites," said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna in New York. 

"This move sets an extremely alarming precedent for restricting international media outlets working in Israel. The Israeli cabinet must allow Al-Jazeera and all international media outlets to operate freely in Israel, especially during wartime."

International journalists have been calling on Israel and Egypt for access into Gaza since Israel’s war on Gaza broke out on 7 October; only a handful of foreign journalists have been allowed access but are being “embedded” with the Israeli army.

FPA slams Israel's decision to close Al Jazeera
7:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) has slammed Israel's decision to close Al Jazeera in Israel, calling it a "concern for all supporters of a free press".

“With this decision, Israel joins a dubious club of authoritarian governments to ban the station. And the government may not be done. The prime minister has the authority to target other foreign media that he deems to be ‘acting against the state,'” the FPA says in a statement.

“This is a dark day for the media. This is a dark day for democracy.”

The FPA represents foreign media in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Los Angeles police make no arrests clearing USC encampment
6:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Los Angeles police made no arrests on Sunday while clearing a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Southern California, following arrests and turmoil at universities across the country over Israel's war on Gaza.

Other universities with graduation ceremonies on Sunday were bracing for more protests after dozens were arrested the previous day.

After USC requested assistance, police entered the encampment about 5 a.m. local time (1200 GMT) and worked with campus police to remove tents as students peacefully left the area, police said.

Campus protests have emerged as a new political flashpoint during a hotly contested and deeply divisive US election year. Police have arrested over 2,000 protesters at dozens of colleges around the country.


AXIOS: US put a hold on an ammunition shipment to Israel
6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Biden administration had reportedly put a hold on a shipment of US-made ammunition to Israel last week - two Israeli officials told Axios.

The officials said the incident raised concerns within the Israeli government and sent officials to understand why this had happened. 

The US has been a staunch supporter of Israel and has sent weaponry to Israel to help its war on Gaza.

Hamas's armed wing claims rockets at Gaza crossing
6:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas's armed wing on Sunday claimed rocket fire at a key crossing between Israel and Gaza, saying militants had targeted troops in the border area of Kerem Shalom.

"The (Ezzedine) al-Qassam Brigades struck at enemy forces gathering at Kerem Shalom and its surroundings with short-range rockets," the group said in a statement, released along with a video that showed a barrage of rockets being fired. The Israeli army earlier said the crossing had closed due to the attack.

CIA chief to meet Qatar PM in Doha on mediation talks
5:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

CIA Director William Burns is traveling to Doha to hold an emergency meeting with Qatar's prime minister, an official briefed on the talks said on Sunday.

"Burns is on his way to Doha for an emergency meeting with the Qatari Prime Minister aimed at exerting maximum pressure on Israel and Hamas to continue negotiating," the source added.

Prospects for a Gaza ceasefire appeared slim as Hamas reiterated its demand for an end to the war in exchange for the freeing of hostages, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flatly ruled that out.


UNRWA chief denied entry to Gaza for second time
5:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has denied entry to Gaza for the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency for a second time since the outbreak of the war, adding to a series of restrictions and threats imposed on humanitarian workers.

Philippe Lazzarini said in a post on X on Sunday that Israel denied his entry into Gaza where he had planned to work with UNRWA teams on the front lines.

He said it added to a systemic blockade of UNRWA's vital work in Gaza where it serves as the main aid agency operating in the war-torn enclave.

"Only in the past 2 weeks, we have recorded 10 incidents involving shooting at convoys, arrests of UN staff including bullying, stripping them naked, threats with arms & long delays at checkpoints forcing convoys to move during the dark or abort," Lazzarini wrote on X.

Hamas negotiators to return to Cairo Tuesday for truce talks
5:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Hamas delegation at Gaza truce negotiations in Cairo has left and will return for more talks on Tuesday, Egyptian state-linked media said on Sunday.

"The Hamas delegation has left Cairo this evening (Sunday) for Doha in order to conduct consultations, and will return Tuesday to conclude the negotiations" towards a truce in the war with Israel, said Al-Qahera News, a site linked to Egyptian intelligence services, citing an unidentified "informed source".

The negotiators for the Palestinian group arrived in Cairo on Saturday.

US airdrops food aid into Gaza
4:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Two US air force planes dropped more than 25,000 'Meals Ready to Eat' over Gaza, in the latest airdrop for civilians in the war-torn Strip, US Central Command said on Sunday.

"During today's mission seven bundles landed in the sea. USCENTCOM does not assess civilian harm or damage to infrastructure at this time but continues to monitor the situation," it said in a post on X.

CENTCOM added that the US so far has dropped nearly 1,170 tons of humanitarian assistance in to Gaza.

The airdrops have been criticised for being more of a PR stunt than as an effective method to provide aid.

Hamas official says Cairo truce meeting ends
4:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Hamas official told AFP that the group's negotiators in Cairo were leaving for Doha Sunday after talks ended in the Egyptian capital, part of mediation efforts towards a truce in Gaza.

"The meeting with the Egyptian intelligence minister has ended and the Hamas delegation is leaving for Doha for further consultations," said the official, who is close to the negotiations, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to publicly discuss the talks.

Macron urges Netanyahu to reach truce deal with Hamas
4:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in telephone talks to reach a deal in negotiations with Palestinian militant group Hamas on a ceasefire in the Gaza war.

"The president encouraged Prime Minister Netanyahu to successfully complete these negotiations which could lead to the release of hostages, the protection of civilians through a ceasefire and regional de-escalation," the French presidency said in a statement.

Al Jazeera goes off-air in Israel
3:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Al Jazeera network went off the air in Israel Sunday, AFP correspondents said, after the government announced a decision to shut the Qatar-based broadcaster's operations following a long-running feud.

Hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government announced the closure order for an initial period of 45 days, the screen on Al Jazeera's Arabic and English channels went black with a message in Hebrew saying they had "been suspended in Israel", the correspondents said.

"We condemn and denounce this criminal act by Israel that violates the human right to access information," Al Jazeera said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, in Arabic.

Israel's Gallant: Rafah invasion 'in the very near future'
3:25 PM
The New Arab Staff
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday threatened that an invasion into Gaza's southern city of Rafah would happen "in the very near future" as the prospects of the two warring parties reaching a ceasefire agreement faded.

"We have clear goals for this war: we are committed to the elimination of Hamas and the release of the hostages. We have given [negotiations] a certain period of time… with a specified delay in operational action," Gallant said, in comments carried by Times of Israel.

He added: "We have identified alarming signs that Hamas actually does not intend to go for any agreement framework with us. What this means is an operation in Rafah and the entire Gaza Strip in the very near future."

UN condemns Israeli decision to shut down Al Jazeera
3:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN Human Rights Council has denounced Israel's decision to shut down Al Jazeera's office in Israel on Sunday, during Tel Aviv to overturn the ban.

"We regret cabinet decision to close Al Jazeera in Israel. A free & independent media is essential to ensuring transparency & accountability. Now, even more so given tight restrictions on reporting from Gaza. Freedom of expression is a key human right. We urge govt to overturn ban," the UN body said on X

Israeli forces raid Al Jazeera office
2:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have raided Al Jazeera’s office in occupied East Jerusalem, confiscating its filming devices and production equipment and shut the office down, according to videos shared on social media outlets.

Al Jazeera bureau calls closure political and 'dangerous'
1:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of Al Jazeera in Israel and the Palestinian territories described an Israeli government decision on Sunday to shutter the Qatari-owned station's local operations as "dangerous" and motivated by politics rather than professional considerations.

Al Jazeera's legal team was preparing a response, Walid Omary told Reuters, in a possible anticipation of a court appeal against the decision.


Hamas fires rockets at Israel-Gaza border area
1:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's army said on Sunday that it had closed Kerem Shalom, the key border crossing into southern Gaza, to aid trucks after rockets were fired towards the gateway.

"Approximately 10 projectile launches were identified crossing from the area adjacent to the Rafah Crossing toward the area of Kerem Shalom," the army said in a statement, adding that the "Kerem Shalom Crossing is currently closed to the passage of humanitarian aid trucks".

Hamas on Sunday claimed responsibility for an attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing and local media reported it resulted in Israeli casualties.

Hamas' Haniyeh accuses Netanyahu of truce talks sabotage
1:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday accused Israel's prime minister of sabotaging efforts by mediators involved in ongoing talks aimed at a truce and hostage exchange in Gaza.

Qatar-based Haniyeh said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to "invent constant justifications for the continuation of aggression, expanding the circle of conflict, and sabotaging efforts made through various mediators and parties."

Read more about the ceasefire talks in The New Arab here.

Hezbollah says it fired 'dozens of rockets' at Israel
12:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanon's Hezbollah group said it launched dozens of rockets at Israel in response to the deaths of civilians in south Lebanon on Saturday.

In a statement on the group's Telegram channel, it said it launched "dozens of Katyusha and Falaq rockets" at the town of Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, at least one rocket fell and damaged a property in the town.

Four civilians were killed by an Israeli airstrike in a southern Lebanese village on Saturday afternoon.

Israel's Al Jazeera ban 'will go into effect immediately'
12:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi has said that the government's orders to close down Al Jazeera "will go into effect immediately".

"Our orders will go into effect immediately. Too much time has passed and too many unnecessary legal hurdles for us to finally be able to stop Al Jazeera's oiled incitement machine that harms the security of the country," Karhi wrote in a post on social media site X.

The network's Arabic and English channel will close down in Israel, alongside its offices, while equipment could be confiscated and the network's website will be inaccessible from within the country. Any TV channel which transmits the network will be liable.

According to Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, it is still unclear how long this ban will be imposed for, but it is wide-ranging.

Netanyahu: Israel 'cannot accept' Hamas demand of ending war
12:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel is willing to pause fighting in exchange for hostages, but cannot accept demands for an end to the war and withdrawal of forces from Gaza that would leave Hamas in power.

In a video published on the prime minister's X account, Netanyahu said that his government is  "making every effort to release all our abductees, but we will not surrender to Hamas".

"The State of Israel cannot accept this," he said. "We are not ready to accept a situation in which the Hamas battalions come out of their bunkers, take control of Gaza again, rebuild their military infrastructure, and return to threaten the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu told the cabinet, according to a statement by his office.

His comments come as fragile truce talks between Palestinian officials and mediators in Cairo enter a second day. Netanyahu has also been facing pressure in recent days from the Israeli public to ensure the safe return of hostages.

Israeli strike kills four civilians in south Lebanon
12:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A local official in southern Lebanon said an Israeli strike on a village Sunday killed a couple and their child, the latest deadly incident in the border region.

"The dad, the mother and their little son were martyred", according to the Mays al-Jabal municipality chief Abdelmoneim Chukair.

The death toll later increased to four people, according to Lebanese newspaper L'Orient Today. All those killed were members of the same family who had been shopping at the village supermarket when the strike happened.

Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah group have exchanged regular cross-border fire since Hamas's October attack on southern Israel sparked the war in Gaza.

At least 25 arrested across the occupied West Bank
11:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces arrested at least 25 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, including children and former prisoners, in a string of raids on Saturday, according to prisoner commission groups.

The Commission for the Affairs of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners and the Palestinian Prisoners Society said on Sunday people were detained in the governorates of Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, Qalqilya, Jerusalem, and Tulkarm, and in the town of Deir Al-Ghusun, where a major hours-long raid took place and saw several people killed.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement that the Israeli military continues "to implement systematic arrest campaigns" at an unprecedented level since 7 October and the start of the war in Gaza.

Since then, a total of 8,575 arrests have been made including people taken from homes, at checkpoints and later detained without charge.

Read about the horrific conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jails in The New Arab here.

Israeli government votes to ban Al-Jazeera network
11:34 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his government has voted unanimously to shutter the offices of the Qatar-owned broadcaster Al Jazeera in Israel.

Details on when it would go into effect or whether it was permanent or temporary were not immediately clear. Netanyahu announced the decision on X, formerly Twitter.

Netanyahu pledged in April to enact a law to enforce a ban on the network, which marks an escalation in deeply strained ties between Israel and Qatar, which have worsened during the war against Hamas.

Al Jazeera has accused Israel of systematically targeting its employees in the Gaza Strip, several of whom have been killed or injured during the conflict.

Israeli army says it killed a Hamas battalion commander
10:48 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said on Sunday that it killed Saleh Jamil Muhammad Amad a senior Hamas commander of the Bureij battalion in an airstrike, along with several other fighters in a series of air and ground attacks.

It said airstrikes also killed a number of Hamas fighters from the Nukhba elite unit "who took part in the October 7th" attacks and struck infrastructure and "weapons storage facilities".

Israel claims to have killed some 13,000 Hamas fighters since the start of the war in October, but it does not disclose how it calculates the figure nor individual names.

Palestinians demonstrate in Rafah calling for ceasefire
10:17 AM
The New Arab Staff

A small group of Palestinians gathered on Saturday night to stage a demonstration calling for the ceasefire to take effect and to be able to return to homes in the north.

Photographs taken by Doaa Albaz from Anadolu Agency showed dozens of men standing and cheering. Since the start of the war there have been only sporadic and small protests among tired citizens demanding a return and end to the fighting.

Family of doctor killed while in Israeli jail speak out
9:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

The wide and son of renowned Palestinian doctor Adnan al-Bursh who died while in Israeli detention have called for the support of international organisations to see justice for al-Bursh's death.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera network, Yazan al-Bursh said the news was a shock and that his father had been transferred several times between the prisons of Negev, Ofer and Ashkelon before he was killed under torture.

Al-Bursh, 50, was head of orthopaedic medicine at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital and educated at King's College London, and had been held in Israeli detention since December, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said. 

His death was reported on Thursday and made global headlines.

Christians mark Orthodox Easter in the rubble of Gaza
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Christian families in Gaza celebrated Easter Sunday against the backdrop of Israeli attacks with some 100 families gathering at the Orthodox Catholic Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza City.

The church has become a refuge for displaced families but came under attack in October when Israel bombed the church, killing 18 civilians and devastating the ancient building.

Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem's Old City from where the sacred Holy Fire is traditionally transported from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre across the territory also marked a quieter day than previous years, as worshippers held thoughts and prayers for the suffering in Gaza.

Read about Gaza's Palestinian Christian community in The New Arab here.

Latest round of Gaza truce talks expected in Egypt
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Talks to strike a Gaza truce were expected to resume on Sunday after Hamas rejected any deal that failed to end the war in the Palestinian territory and accused Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu of "personally hindering" an agreement.

Negotiators seeking to halt the devastating seven-month war have proposed a 40-day pause in the fighting and an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners, according to details released by Britain.

Qatari, Egyptian and US mediators met a Hamas delegation in Cairo on Saturday and a senior Hamas source close to the negotiations told AFP there would be "a new round" of talks on Sunday.

Each side blamed the other for stalled negotiations, with a senior Hamas official insisting late Saturday that the group would "not agree under any circumstances" to a truce that did not explicitly include a complete end to the war, including Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.

Anti-government protests sweep Tel Aviv
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Thousands of Israelis reportedly took to the streets of Tel Aviv and west Jerusalem Saturday night in protests against the Netanyahu government and to put pressure on Israel to reach a ceasefire deal to release hostages held in Gaza.

For months there has been mounting anger among the Israeli public over the premier’s apparent refusal to prioritise the safe return of the 130 hostages believed to be in Gaza and instead pushing ahead with plans for a major offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite international concerns.