Biden orders Gaza aid port, Israel returns 47 dead bodies taken from strip

Biden orders Gaza aid port, Israel returns 47 dead bodies taken from strip
US President Joe Biden has announced the creation of a temporary port in Gaza to allow a large increase in the quantity of aid entering the enclave each day.
28 min read
07 March, 2024

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his military offensive will press ahead across the whole territory including in Rafah, where two million people have sought shelter, despite mounting international criticism of the war.

"Whoever tells us not to operate in Rafah is telling us to lose the war and that will not happen," Netanyahu said in a speech at an Israeli army cadet graduation ceremony in southern Israel on Thursday afternoon.

The premier noted the rising global calls for Israel to row back its offensive over concerns about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where a quarter of the population are believed to be in famine-like conditions.

"There is international pressure and it’s growing, but particularly when the international pressure rises, we must close ranks, we need to stand together against the attempts to stop the war," he said.

Meanwhile, Hamas issued a strong rebuke to Israel's demands during ceasefire talks which will resume next week after the delegation left Cairo for Doha on Thursday.

Senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israel was rejecting Hamas' demands to end its offensive in the enclave, withdraw its forces, ensure freedom of entry for aid and the return of displaced people. 

On the 153rd day of the war, the death toll from the war stands at 30,800 Palestinians killed and 72,298 injured in Gaza, according to the latest figures from the health ministry.

Featured images: Getty

This live blog has now concluded
4:14 AM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Biden says Israel 'must allow more aid into Gaza' in SOTU
3:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Here's an extract from a transcript of US President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, as prepared for delivery and provided by the White House.

"Tonight, I'm directing the US military to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters," Biden says, adding that "no US boots will be on the ground".

"This temporary pier would enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day," he says. "But Israel must also do its part."

He adds that Israel "must allow more aid into Gaza" and "ensure that humanitarian workers aren't caught in the cross fire".

"To the leadership of Israel I say this. Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip," Biden says.

"Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority."

US President Joe Biden giving his State of the Union speech [Chip Somodevilla/Getty]
Biden uses SOTU to demand Israel boost aid into Gaza Strip
3:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden uses his State of the Union to demand Israel boost humanitarian aid into Gaza and says it can't be "a bargaining chip".

'It hurts': Gaza war robs Muslim world of Ramadan joy
3:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

For Muslims worldwide, Ramadan is a time of prayer, reflection, and joyful evening meals, but all Gazans wish for this year is an end to five months of war and suffering.

It is a hope shared widely across the Islamic world, where the thoughts of many are with Gaza ahead of the fasting month which starts with the sighting of the crescent moon on Sunday or Monday.

Amid the ruins of southern Gaza, Nevin al-Siksek sat recently outside her makeshift tent, distracting her young daughter from the carnage around them with a plastic Ramadan lantern.

Siksek and her family, instead of tucking into lamb and sweets at the home they had to flee in northern Gaza, will break their fast in the bare-bones tent they share with other displaced civilians.

If they can find anything to eat, that is.

"We do not have any food to prepare," Siksek said as her husband, Mohammed Yasser Rayhan, nodded in agreement.

In the past during Ramadan, which commemorates the beginning of the Quranic revelation to the Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century, "there was life, joy, spirit, decorations and a beautiful atmosphere", Rayhan said.

"Now Ramadan is coming and we have war, oppression and famine."

Other parts of the Islamic world may be grappling with their own challenges, from conflicts to high inflation. But many Muslims say their thoughts are with Palestinians this year.

"Every time I pray, I always send a prayer for our brothers and sisters in the Palestinian territory," said Indonesian housewife Nurunnisa, 61, in Aceh province in the west of the country with the world's largest Muslim population.

"I can't help them with anything so I can only help them with prayer. I pray the war will be over soon. The people there are suffering so much."

The reports of looming famine in Gaza, where desperate residents have taken to eating slaughtered horses and even leaves, also weigh heavily on Jordanian father-of-five Saif Hindawi, he said as he shopped for rice and oil in Amman.

"Imagine in Jordan, there are high prices, but there is still the ability to buy what is available," said the 44-year-old.

In Gaza, he said, "they have used animal fodder to make bread".

US Congressman Casar wearing ceasefire pin to Biden's SOTU
2:34 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Congressman Greg Casar says he is wearing a ceasefire pin to a major speech by President Joe Biden – the annual State of the Union address.

"As your Congressman, I'm advocating for an immediate, lasting ceasefire in Gaza to guarantee the release of all hostages, and safety for both Palestinians and Israelis," Casar posts on X, formerly Twitter.

The Democratic lawmaker attaches a photo of himself wearing a pin reading "ceasefire" in red capital letters.

Gaza ceasefire protesters gather for Biden's SOTU address
2:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Thursday sparked pockets of protest across the United States, with activists asking him to push for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza war and do more to curb Israel's attacks in the strip.

Protesters blocked traffic in Boston and Los Angeles. Over 50 arrests were made in Boston, according to one activist group and a local media report.

Ahead of Biden's speech, dozens gathered near the White House, prompting the police to block off a nearby road.

"We are here today because enough is enough," said Ahmad Abuznaid, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group said the speech was Biden's "best and perhaps last chance" to announce steps to reduce Palestinian suffering in Gaza and win back support of Arab, Palestinian, and anti-war Americans disappointed with his policy.

Senior US administration officials said beforehand that Biden would discuss US plans to build a port in Gaza to ship in humanitarian aid.


Gaza aid by air, sea not 'substitute' for land deliveries
1:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza by airdrops or sea cannot sufficiently "substitute" land deliveries, the UN aid coordinator for the Palestinian territory said Thursday after a closed-door Security Council meeting.

Sigrid Kaag said her message to the UN Security Council was that the international community must "flood the market in Gaza with humanitarian goods" and "re-energise the private sector" so more commercial goods can enter to meet civilians' needs.

She said diversifying the supply routes via land was the best solution.

"It's easier, it's faster, it's cheaper, particularly if we know that we need to sustain humanitarian assistance to Gazans for a long period of time," she said.

Her remarks came after the White House on Thursday announced plans to build a port in Gaza to get more humanitarian aid in and after several countries, including the United States, have dropped aid from airplanes in recent days.

Kaag welcomed the airdrops, which she said were a "symbol of support for the civilians in Gaza" and a "testimony to our shared humanity."

"But it's a drop in the ocean, it is far from enough," said the former Dutch finance minister, who was appointed in December following a Security Council resolution calling for "large-scale" aid for Gaza.

Sigrid Kaag is a former Dutch finance minister [Fatih Aktas/Anadolu/Getty-archive]
Israel artillery targets Khan Younis in south Gaza
1:22 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli artillery has targeted different areas of the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, Palestinian media report.

UN aid chief posts 'six facts that should keep us all awake'
12:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths posts "six facts [that] should keep us all awake at night" to social media after Israel's war on Gaza began its sixth month.

The list posted to X, formerly Twitter, includes the fact that over half a million people are on the verge of famine, with children dying of hunger; that last month Israel facilitated just half of the 224 aid missions planned; and that the remaining hostages have not yet been freed.

He also mentions "six things that would make a difference".

These include "a ceasefire and full adherence to the rules of law"; "additional entry points, supply routes, and storage capacity in Gaza"; and "better protection for aid convoys".

Israeli air raid on Sheikh Zayed area in north Gaza
11:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel launched an air raid on the Sheikh Zayed area in north Gaza, without any reports of injuries, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Dutch FM says Israel settlement plans 'should be reversed'
11:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

Netherlands Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot calls for the reversal of an Israeli decision to greenlight plans to greatly expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"Actions like these further inflame tensions and pose a threat to the two-state solution," she says on X, formerly Twitter.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now has said 3,426 housing units have been advanced through a planning committee, across Maale Adumim, and Kedar, east of Jerusalem, and Efrat, south of the city.

Agencies contributed to this update.

Injuries after Israel strikes home in Gaza City
10:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

A number of people have been injured after Israeli forces struck a home in Gaza City's Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, Palestinian media report.

Islamic Jihad says fires rockets at Sderot, Gaza envelope
10:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian Islamic Jihad says it has attacked the city of Sderot and the Gaza envelope, an area of Israel near Gaza.

The group's armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, says it targeted the areas with rocket fire.

Israel says Eurovision accepts entry after lyrics edit
9:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel said on Thursday its entry "Hurricane" had been approved for the popular Eurovision Song Contest, appearing to end a dispute over political content.

The European Broadcasting Union informed Israeli public broadcaster Kan that the song, performed by 20-year-old Russian-Israeli singer Eden Golan, was being giving the green light "after discussing the lyrics of the song… and listening to its performance", Kan said in a statement.

In late February, Israel said it would not take part in the competition if organisers rejected its entries – "October Rain" and "Dance Forever" – which reportedly referenced victims of Hamas's 7 October attack on southern Israel.

Eurovision rules ban political content.

Then, on Sunday, Israel said it had asked lyricists to revise its proposed entry.

One line from the original lyrics of "October Rain" read: "They were all good children, every one of them."

"There is no air left to breathe, There is no place for me," the song ends, according to Kan, which published the lyrics in full on its website.

"Hurricane" features the same music as "October Rain" but has different lyrics, Kan said.

Sanders welcomes Biden port order, wants firmer US stance
9:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

US Senator Bernie Sanders welcomes President Joe Biden's decision to order the creation of an emergency port to provide Gaza with large amounts of relief, but calls for a firmer stance towards Israel.

Sanders says in a statement that the port move is "a necessary step to respond to the horrific humanitarian crisis unfolding there and address the widespread starvation, disease, and desperation caused by this war and Israel's restrictions on humanitarian aid entering the area".

He adds: "But let's be clear about why this extraordinary step is necessary: Despite months of increasingly urgent requests from the very highest officials in the US government, Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and his extreme, right-wing government have refused to let in sufficient humanitarian aid."

Sanders, who represents Vermont in the US Senate, ran to be the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nominee in a contest ultimately won by Biden.

"Hundreds of thousands of people are starving to death – President Biden is right to act decisively to prevent a further catastrophe," Sanders says.

"But the United States provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid every year, and Congress is considering another $14 billion this year.

"It's time we stop asking Israel to do the right thing and start telling Israel what must happen if they want the support of the United States."

Bernie Sanders is a US senator who represents Vermont [Kevin Dietsch/Getty-archive]
Some airdropped Gaza aid requires microwave, aid worker says
8:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Some aid airdropped on Gaza requires the use of a microwave, an aid worker has said, despite the strip suffering from a shortage of electricity.

Mahmoud Shalabi, who is in northern Gaza, works for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP).

He said that, according to eyewitnesses, people he knows, and some of his neighbours, the food parcels being airdropped are enough for just two to three people for under two or three days.

"Some of them even contain meals that need microwaving and we don't even have electricity right now," he said in a voice recording posted on X, formerly Twitter, by MAP.

"Whatever is entering Gaza right now is depriving the people, the Palestinian people living inside the north of Gaza, [of] their dignity."

Routes confirmed for UK march for Palestine on Saturday
8:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

The routes for the UK's national pro-Palestine march set to take place in London on Saturday have been confirmed, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) says.

"The march will assemble at Hyde Park Corner at 12 noon and march to the US embassy," the PSC posts on X, formerly Twitter.

"The accessible route will assemble at Bessborough Gardens from 1pm and join the march."

World Food Programme calls for more entry points to Gaza
7:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) calls for more entry points into Gaza as it war, saying hunger is "rampant" in the strip.

"Disease and malnutrition are accelerating," the humanitarian organisation says on X, formerly Twitter.

"We must act now to prevent famine. We need more entry points, more trucks, and unhindered humanitarian access."

In images included in WFP's post, the organisation says hunger has "reached catastrophic levels" in northern Gaza.

"Children are now dying of hunger-related diseases," it adds.

"To prevent famine WFP needs to significantly scale up humanitarian assistance."

WFP lists three things it "urgently needs", including the opening of Israel's Ashdod port for humanitarian supplies.

"Facilitate entry of [a] minimum of 300 trucks per day into Gaza," it says, "including through the Karni border crossing".

Canada's Trudeau says no decision yet on UNRWA funding
7:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said Ottawa had not decided whether it would resume funding to the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA after Israel claimed some staff had been involved in the 7 October Hamas attack.

Earlier this week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Associated Press cited unnamed government sources as saying Canada would reverse its 26 January decision to pause any additional funding to the agency.

But Trudeau, asked directly whether this was the case, said Ottawa was waiting for the results of an internal United Nations probe into the Israeli allegations that 12 UNRWA staff had been involved in the attack.

"We're not making any announcements today… we will continue to look at this situation. We will continue to watch the UN as it looks into what's happening within this organisation," he told reporters in Toronto.

A total of 16 donors, including the US and UK, have controversially paused their funding to UNRWA amid widespread hunger in Gaza.

"The ongoing humanitarian crisis and disaster in Gaza is heart wrenching for everyone. We know how important it is to get aid into Gaza," said Trudeau, saying people in the enclave faced starvation.

Trudeau said no one could remain indifferent to the suffering in Gaza and noted "Canadians have very strong feelings about the conflict".


Justin Trudeau is the prime minister of Canada [Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty-archive]
Israel welcomes US 'temporary dock' Gaza aid plan: official
6:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel welcomes a US plan to build a "temporary dock" on the Gaza coast to deliver humanitarian aid by sea and will coordinate development of the project with the United States, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

Israel "fully supports" creation of such a facility, the official said on condition of anonymity after US officials said President Joe Biden would announce in his State of the Union speech that the US military will construct a port to receive food, medicine, and other supplies for civilians in the besieged Palestinian enclave.


Israel has mounted 'starvation campaign' in Gaza: UN expert
6:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A UN expert said on Thursday that Israel was destroying Gaza's food system as part of a broader "starvation campaign" in its war in the strip and berated a UN human rights body for not doing more.

"The images of starvation in Gaza are unbearable and you are doing nothing," Michael Fakhri, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council.

Fakhri told the council that Israel was "destroying the food system in Gaza".

"Israel has mounted a starvation campaign against the Palestinian people in Gaza," he added, saying that included targeting small-scale fishermen.

Several other countries have criticised Israel for the growing hunger in the enclave, including Egypt and Iraq.

Yeela Cytrin, a legal adviser at the Israeli mission to the UN, called the allegations against it a "blatant lie".

"Israel utterly rejects allegations that it is using starvation as a tool of war," she told the council and then walked out in protest.


Any avenue to get more aid to Gaza 'obviously good': UN spox
6:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The international community's focus should be on increasing the large-scale distribution and entry of aid into Gaza by land, but any way to get more relief into the enclave is "obviously good", UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric tells reporters.

"Any way to get more aid into Gaza, whether by sea or airdrop, is obviously good," Dujarric says.

Entry of aid by land, however, is cost- and volume-effective, and "we need more entry points and we need a larger volume of aid to come in by land", he adds.


More missiles fired by Houthis since October than Yemen war
6:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Yemen's Houthi group has launched more missiles since it began attacking international ships in the Red Sea in October than during its eight-year war with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Speaking in a televised address on Thursday, Houthi leader Abdel-Malik al-Houthi said that its "unprecedented" use of missiles and drones had displayed its dedication to the Palestinian cause.

Yemen has seen huge protests in support of Gaza and the Palestinian cause since the start of Israel's offensive in Gaza.

"We seek to offer more to Palestine than we have given to ourselves, our country, and our people," he said, calling Yemenis to demonstrate on Friday.

Spain pledges extra 20 mln euros in aid to UNRWA
5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Spain will give the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA an additional 20 million euros ($21.88 million) in aid, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Thursday.

This will be on top of the 3.5 million euros the country has already pledged in February.

The new funds are aimed at "supporting the organisation in its humanitarian work in Gaza and meeting the food, education and health needs of the nearly six million Palestinian refugees in the region," Albares said after meeting UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini in Madrid.

US to build port in Gaza for sea aid arrivals
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The US will build a pier to allow for the arrival of sea aid into Gaza following Cyprus' plan to transfer aid from Lanarca to Gaza which was backed by the EU this week.

Senior US officials told reporters that the construction will take a few weeks to complete and will enable large ships carrying food, water, medicine and shelters to arrive directly into Gaza.

President Joe Biden is due to make the announcement during his State of the Union address later on Thursday.

Read about what a maritime corridor to Gaza could look like in The New Arab's explainer.

Hamas official: Israel not agreeing to key parts of deal
4:30 PM
The New Arab

A Hamas official said on Thursday that Israel is not agreeing to key parts of the ceasefire deal including allowing free movement of aid, enabling displaced to return to homes in northern Gaza or considering the reconstruction of Gaza post-war.

Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, told Al Jazeera network that the lives of Palestinians suffering in Gaza must be prioritised, as well as the 10,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.

Badran also accused the US of bias towards Israel and not being a fair mediator. "The US is supporting Netanyahu politically, militarily, and financially," he said.

One of Israel's key demands has been for Hamas to provide a list of the remaining hostages in Gaza, but the Palestinian group have said such a task is impossible considering the chaos and destruction caused by Israel's bombardment of the Strip.

Israel returns 47 dead bodies it had taken from Gaza
4:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinians buried 47 bodies in a mass grave on the beach in Gaza on Thursday after Israel had exhumed them from graves in the occupied territory, Gaza's government media office said.

The bodies were delivered through the Kerem Shalom border crossing and buried by medical personnel in hazmat suits and watched by a crowd of mourners who held prayers.

Israeli forces have destroyed and desecrated more than 2,000 graves during the war and dug up bodies of Palestinians and have been accused of stealing organs.

The military has previously said it has only dug up graves "in the specific locations where information indicates that the bodies of hostages may be located".

WFP urges Israel to allow aid to Gaza through Ashdod port
3:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The World Food Programme said on Thursday that it was pressing Israel to allow it to use its Ashdod port to make it easier to reach starving Palestinians.

"We have several requests with the Israelis," WFP Deputy Executive Director Carl Skau told AFP in Rome, after its latest failed attempt to get food to northern Gaza.

"We want to use the Ashdod port, which would be much more efficient than going through Jordan or even Egypt," Skau said.

"In order to avert a famine, we need huge volumes of assistance. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people. Airdrops are not an option for averting famine," he added.

Israeli forces have previously blocked UN aid at the Port of Ashdod, some 30 kilometres north of Gaza.

Netanyahu: Israel will push on with offensive against Hamas
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel will push on with its offensive against Hamas despite growing international pressure, including into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.

"There is international pressure and it's growing, but particularly when the international pressure rises, we must close ranks, we need to stand together against the attempts to stop the war," he said.

The military would operate against Hamas all through the Gaza Strip, he said, "including Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold."

"Whoever tells us not to act in Rafah is telling us to lose the war and that will not happen."


UN expert: Israel destroying Gaza's food system
3:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A UN expert said on Thursday that Israel was destroying Gaza's food system as part of a broader "starvation campaign" in its war against Hamas militants.

"Israel is not only denying and restricting the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Israel is destroying the food system in Gaza," Michael Fakhri, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, said in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Israel has mounted a starvation campaign against the Palestinian people in Gaza," he added, saying that included targeting small-scale fishermen.

Fakhri, a Lebanese-Canadian law professor, is one of dozens of independent human rights experts mandated by the United Nations to report and advise on specific themes and crises.

He alleged that Israel is targeting small-scale fishers by denying them access to the sea and destroying boats and shacks.

Around 80 percent of Gaza's fishing sector has been destroyed since 7 October, he said, adding that every boat had been demolished by Israeli forces in the main port of Gaza City.


US and Jordan airdrop more food packages into Gaza
2:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

The US military has carried out more aid drops in to Gaza in a collaboration with Jordan on Thursday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a post on X.

A joint operation with US Air Force and Jordanian Air Force dropped over 38,000 meals into the war-ravaged strip to provide "life-saving humanitarian assistance in northern Gaza, to enable civilian access to critical aid".

"These airdrops are part of a sustained effort and we continue to plan follow on aerial deliveries" CENTCOM aid.

It is the second airdrop of food parcels the US has conducted in the past week, a move which humanitarian officials have said is not sufficient or practical in addressing the dire needs of the 2.3 million in Gaza where famine is said to be imminent.

Videos shared by Palestinians on social media showed the inside of the packages to include packets of sweets and hot sauce.

Hezbollah and Israel exchange rocket fire
1:45 PM
The New Arab

Israeli army jets struck south Lebanon on Thursday in the areas of Aitaroun and Ayta ash Shab following further strikes late on Wednesday.

Lebanese group Hezbollah launched attacks on northern Israel in the area of Rosh HaNikra, Ya'ara and the Upper Galilee, triggered sirens to warn Israeli civilians of the incoming attack, the Israeli army said.

Hezbollah said in a statement it launched an attacks in retaliation for "the enemy's attacks on the southern villages and civilian homes...and the martyrdom of a citizen".

Israel killed three paramedics and wounded two others in a strike on a Hezbollah-affiliated medical centre in southern Lebanon on Monday.

Hamas fighters ambush 30 Israeli soldiers in Hamad
1:20 PM
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed Arabic edition

Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement who are supporting Hamas in its fight against Israeli forces, said on Thursday that it had carried out an ambush on a convoy of Israeli military vehicles southeast of the Zeitoun neighbourhood in north Gaza.

Meanwhile Hamas' al-Qassam brigades said it captured 20 Israeli soldiers in an ambush on Wednesday, detonating explosive devises on their position in Hamad, in south Gaza, The New Arab's Arabic language sister paper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Israeli army announced the death of one its soldiers while 12 others were wounded in fighting on Wednesday.

Indian navy rescues stricken ship after Houthi strike
1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

India's navy evacuated all 20 crew from a stricken vessel in the Red Sea on Thursday, after a Houthi attack killed three seafarers in the first civilian fatalities from the Yemeni group's campaign against the key shipping route.

Houthi militants fired a missile at the Barbados-flagged, Greek-operated True Confidence on Wednesday about 50 nautical miles off the port of Aden, setting it ablaze.

In a statement, the owners and manager said all 20 crew and three armed guards on board were taken to hospital in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa by an Indian warship.

Two of the dead were Filipino nationals, while the third was Vietnamese, the owners and managers said.

27 Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces died in captivity
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

An investigation by Israeli newspaper Haaretz has found that 27 Palestinians died in Israeli custody after being arrested in Gaza and taken to security facilities in Israel.

Since the start of the war, Israeli forces have arrested hundreds of people across Gaza, blindfolding and stripping civilians and sharing shocking images of half naked blindfolded men with hands tied, which triggered worldwide condemnation.

Released detainees have reported horrific abuse and torture, including beatings, sexual assault and blocking access to doctors or lawyers. Israel amended a law during the war to allow detainees to be held for 75 days without access to a judge.

Read the write up from our West Bank correspondent Qassam Muaddi here.

UN to test Israeli military road to get aid to Gaza's north
12:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN will assess on Thursday how it can use an Israeli military road bordering the Gaza Strip to deliver aid to hundreds of thousands of desperate civilians in the north of the Palestinian enclave, Jamie McGoldrick, U.N. aid coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory said.

McGoldrick told reporters that the UN had been pushing Israel for weeks to use the Gaza border fence road and had received much more cooperation from Israel in the past week.

"Since the incident last week, I think Israel saw quite clearly how difficult it is to deliver assistance," McGoldrick said, adding that the UN had seen "much more cooperation from Israel as a result of that realization."


Israel likely fired machine gun at reporters in Lebanon
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

A new investigation has revealed that Israeli forces likely fired machine guns at a group of journalists in Lebanon after targeting them with tank shells in a deadly strike in October.

The report by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) analysed shrapnel, the flak jackets of three journalists present, and audio and video evidence.

The TNO report concluded that a tank in Israel fired two 120 mm tank rounds from a distance of 1.3 kilometres at reporters while they filmed clashes from the other side of the border, killing Issam Abdallah from Reuters, and severely wounding Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Christina Assi.

Read more about the findings and about the Syndicate of Lebanese Press Editors' push to bring a case against Israel at the International Criminal Court in this article by William Christou The New Arab's correspondent in Beirut.

US govt approved 100 'secret' arms deals to Israel amid war
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

The US government approved 100 'secret' arms deals to Israel during its war on Gaza, despite concerns that Israeli army could be committing war crimes in the territory, a new report said.

The arms are said to include precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs, bunker busters, small arms, and other lethal aid, according to US daily The Washington Post.

The sales have led to accusations of Washington attempting to obscure its complicity in the massive destruction and loss of human life caused by Israel in Gaza, which the UN’s top court ruled amounted to plausible acts of genocide in January.

Read more about it here.

Eighty-three Palestinians killed in past day in Gaza
11:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has killed 83 Palestinians in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 30,800 with 72,298 injuries, the health ministry in Gaza reported on Thursday.

Around 70 percent of the total casualties have been women and children while another 8,100 people are missing under rubble of destroyed buildings.

Surge in cases of stillborn babies in Gaza
10:45 AM
The New Arab

The catastrophic humanitarian situation in northern Gaza has caused a surge in cases of stillborn babies.

International NGO ActionAid said on Thursday that the high levels of malnutrition in the population were causing women to give birth to stillborns.

Dr Mohammed Salha, director of Al-Awda, ActionAid’s partner in northern Gaza said that more than 95 percent of women being treated at his hospital are suffering from anemia, caused by an iron deficiency.

Al-Awda Hospital – the only hospital with maternity services in northern Gaza - was supplied three days ago with fuel by the World Health Organization as part of a small convoy which gained access to the devastated north, but ActionAid said it is only enough for two weeks.

Read The New Arab's interview with Dr Haya Hijazi, a gynaecologist and obstetrician from Gaza here to learn more. 

Houthis: US to blame for Red Sea shipping disruption
10:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

A Houthi official said on Thursday that the US was responsible for the turmoil which has enveloped the Red Sea international shipping lane over the past months.

Since the war in Gaza, the Yemeni group has been conducting missile and drone strikes on shipping vessels around the Gulf of Aden which has triggered global security concerns. In response the US and UK governments have ordered strikes on Houthi assets in Yemen.

"We [the Houthis] hold America responsible for the repercussions of everything that happens in the Red Sea,” spokesperson Abdul Salam said in a post on X.

"The world must not forget the genocidal crimes committed by Israel against the people of Gaza, with full American support".

No Hamas-Israel ceasefire yet, talks to resume next week
10:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, said on Thursday that Israel had "thwarted" all mediators' efforts to reach a Gaza ceasefire agreement.

Hamas' delegation has left Cairo with Gaza ceasefire talks expected to resume next week, Egyptian media reported on Thursday.

He told Reuters that Israel was rejecting Hamas' demands to end its offensive in the enclave, withdraw its forces, ensure freedom of entry for aid and the return of displaced people. 

Israel's offensive in Gaza has killed 30,800 Palestinians and injured 72,298 in five months of war and officials have been attempting to ensure a ceasefire before the start of Ramadan next week.

Global condemnation for Israeli settlement plans
9:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Several countries have condemned Israel's plans to build 3,500 new settler homes on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

Germany, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia called on the Israeli government to withdraw its plans announced by Minister of Settlements Orit Strock on Wednesday.

Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "It is not enough for the international community to refer to the occupation activities in the West Bank as 'illegal settlements'. What is in question is the forcible confiscation by Israel of land that legally belongs to the Palestinian people".

China calls war in Gaza 'a disgrace to civilisation'
9:15 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China described the war in Gaza as a "disgrace to civilisation" and called on Thursday for an immediate ceasefire.

"It is a tragedy for humankind and a disgrace for civilisation that today, in the 21st century, this humanitarian disaster cannot be stopped," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a news conference in Beijing.

The minister also told members of the UN Security Council to stop blocking Palestine from becoming a member of the United Nations.

China, historically sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, has been calling for a ceasefire since the war between Hamas and Israel erupted in October. 

Read The New Arab's analysis on how China could emerge as an unlikely mediator here.

Sweden asks Israel to meet in urgent Gaza aid call
9:00 AM
The New Arab

Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Thursday that he has called for an urgent meeting with Israel’s Foreign Ministry and other European Union country’s to address the dire humanitarian needs in Gaza.

“The life and health of children in Gaza must be protected,” Kristersson wrote on X.

Sweden, alongside other European nations, paused funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA over unproven allegations aired by Israel that its staff were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack.

Earlier this week, UNRWA head warned of "a deliberate and concerted campaign" to end the agency which provides vital support to Palestinian refugees.

Two women arrested by Israeli forces in West Bank raids
8:45 AM
The New Arab

Two women were arrested by Israeli forces in raids on the West Bank city of Ramallah overnight on Wednesday. Journalist and former detainee Bushra al-Taweel was arrested by Israeli forces when they stormed her family home, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

A second woman was also reportedly arrested by Israeli forces.

Reporter for local news agency Aneen Al-Qaid Media Network Al-Taweel has been repeatedly arrested by Israel and held without trial or charge.

Nine people were arrested by Israeli forces in the towns of Tubas and Tammoun during overnight raids.

Three crew members killed in Houthi ship strike
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Three crew members of a merchant vessel were killed by missile strikes from Yemen’s Houthi group, in the first fatalities from such an attack, the US military said overnight on Wednesday.

The Philippine government confirmed the death of two of its nationals onboard the Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned vessel on Thursday and said two more were “severely injured”.

Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree wrote on social media that the True Confidence was targeted in the Gulf of Aden with multiple missiles "after the ship's crew rejected warning messages".

In response, the US CENTCOM said it carried out strikes against two drones in a Houthi controlled area of Yemen.