Ceasefire deal up in the air as Israeli attacks in Gaza ongoing

Ceasefire deal up in the air as Israeli attacks in Gaza ongoing
Top US diplomat Antony Blinken has been meeting with officials in the region to hammer out a ceasefire plan which Hamas said it is ready to accept.
14 min read

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the US was working on a post-war plan for Gaza, as Hamas said urged the diplomat to encourage Israel to accept a deal.

Consulting with key mediator Qatar on the Hamas response to the plan outlined by US President Joe Biden, Blinken said the Palestinian group could have given a "clear and simple yes" but voiced guarded hope for moving forward.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Hamas urged Blinken to press Israel into a deal, saying it had always responded "positively" towards the ceasefire proposals while Israel had not done the same.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said about 160 rockets were launched from Lebanon into northern Israel on Wednesday, after an Israeli strike killed a senior Hezbollah commander in south Lebanon the previous day.

Hezbollah identified the commander as Taleb Sami Abdallah, also known as Abu Taleb and born in 1969.

A Lebanese military source said the commander was "the most important in Hezbollah to be killed up to now since the start of the war".

Gaza's population faces mounting humanitarian collapse with aid supplies still disrupted leaving residents struggling to find food and sufficient medicines. The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that some 8,000 children under the age of five have been treated for malnutrition.

12:28 AM

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Shelling reported across Gaza, casualties
12:01 AM
The New Arab Staff

Neighbourhoods are reporting intensive air strikes overnight Wednesday, The New Arab's Arabic language sister outlet Alaraby Aljadeed has reported.

Israeli warships are targeting the coast near Gaza City while there have been a number of casualties in Zeitoun neighbourhood.

Al Jazeera network is reporting shelling in al-Mawasi on the southern coastal area, which marks a so-called safe zone for Palestinian civilians who were forced to flee shelters in Rafah.

Hamas urges US to pressure Israel in effort to reach cease
11:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas said on Wednesday it has shown "full positivity" in efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement with Israel in the Gaza Strip conflict.

In a statement, the Palestinian group said it urged the US, Israel's biggest ally, to pressure Israel to accept a deal leading to a permanent ceasefire in the enclave.

Hamas said that while US officials have said Israel has accepted a ceasefire proposal outlined by President Joe Biden on May 31, "we have not heard any Israeli official confirm this acceptance."

The group also said it had accepted the ceasefire proposal of 5 May just one day later, but that Israel had not responded but instead intensified its assault on the southern Rafah governorate. 

It said it also expressed positivity towards the plan outlined by US President Joe Biden on 31 May, but that Israel had yet to respond in full.

Meetings have been held this week between top US diplomat Antony Blinken and Qatari, Israeli and Egyptian officials.

Israel's Ben-Gvir slams Prime Minister Netanyahu
10:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

In the latest sign of discontentment with Israel's leadership, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir dug in at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for excluding him from a security meeting following Hezbollah's large-scale attack.

Ben-Gvir, writing in a post on social media site X, said that Netanyahu must stop excluding him from meetings.

"You are the prime minister, and you can’t even hide behind [Benny] Gantz and [Gadi] Eisenkot anymore,"  he said, referring to the National Unity party members.

Alongside other ultranationalist ministers, Ben-Gvir has repeatedly called for Israel to enter a full-blown war with the Lebanese militia group.

UNICEF official says medicine truck 'turned away'
10:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder has said a truck carrying medicines and nutrition supplements for 10,000 children was turned back in Gaza on Wednesday, adding that he faced eight hours at checkpoints, as humanitarians face increasingly complex conditions in the war-ravaged enclave.

Writing on social media site Instagram, Elder listed five features of his day in Gaza which included a "13 hour mission to go just 40km" and "8 hours held at checkpoints".

Notably, he also said that "two fishermen, seeking food for their families, shot dead on the beach in front of us."

His comments come as video footage, obtained by Al-Jazeera network, emerged of Israeli forces executing unarmed Palestinians on Al-Rashid coastal road in Gaza.

Houthis target Tutor ship in Red Sea: spokesperson
9:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis targeted 'Tutor ship' in the Red sea, the Iran-aligned group's military spokesman Yahya Saree said in a televised speech on Wednesday.

The ship was hit and it is facing the danger of sinking, Saree added.

They also carried out a joint military operation with Islamic Resistance in Iraq targeting sites in Israel's Ashdod and Haifa.

Shops 'empty' in north Gaza, calls for aid
8:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinians in north Gaza are facing little supplies with shops empty and basic foods unavailable "for weeks", a Palestinian journalist in Gaza said on Wednesday.

Hossam Shabat said in a post on X that "starvation" had returned to the north and called for aid.

"Vegetables, meat, and chicken haven't been available for weeks now. The only thing available is flour, and it's barely available. Many kids are already malnourished, and not having access to nutritious food is making them extremely sick."

The northern governorate has been the most vulnerable in recent months after Israeli forces cut off access and took control of a central corridor. UN agencies have reported difficulties and obstruction from Israeli forces in carrying out missions to the north.

Hezbollah: launched 'squadron of attack drones'
8:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah said it targeted an Israeli military barracks with a "squadron of attack drones" on Wednesday in response to the heavy attack by Israel yesterday that killed a senior Hezbollah commander.

In a statement on the group's Telegram channel, it said it had "the Islamic Resistance launched an air attack with a squadron of attack drones on Habushit Barracks".

The barracks belong to 810th Hermon Brigade, the statement added, referring to Israel's new 'Alpinist' mountain unit.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli military said its jets intercepted aerial targets near the Hermon area.

Israeli army says intercepted 'aerial targets' from Lebanon
6:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said on Wednesday that its air force intercepted "two suspicious aerial targets" from Lebanon near the area of Hermon at the Israeli/Syrian/Lebanese border point.

It added that fires broke out as a result of "fragments" from falling in the area and near Safed northern Israel.

Merchant ship hit in Red Sea off Yemen: monitors
6:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A merchant ship was struck in the Red Sea off Yemen on Wednesday, monitors said, in what appeared to be the latest attack by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The ship was hit about 68 nautical miles southwest of the rebel-held port city of Hodeida, maritime security firm Ambrey said.

The company "assessed the vessel aligned with the Houthi target profile at the time of the incident", it said in a statement, without giving further details.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by Britain's Royal Navy, said a ship was "hit on the stern by a small craft" 66 nautical miles southwest of Hodeida.

In a statement, UKMTO said the ship was taking on water and not under the crew's command.

WHO says 8,000 under-5s treated for malnutrition in Gaza
5:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

More than 8,000 children aged under five have been treated in the Gaza Strip for acute malnutrition since war broke out, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 28 of those children had died and a significant proportion of Gaza's population was now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food," he told a press conference.

Tedros said the UN health agency and its partners had attempted to scale up nutrition services in the besieged Palestinian territory.

"Over 8,000 children under five years old have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition," he said.

Among them, he said 1,600 were suffering from severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting -- the most deadly form of malnutrition.

However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilisation centres for severely malnourished patients can currently operate, Tedros added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children," he said.

"There have already been 32 deaths attributed to malnutrition, including 28 among children under five years old."

Tedros said there was also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, with attacks on healthcare, and movement restrictions, obstructing access to health services.

He said that since the Gaza war started, the WHO had documented 480 attacks on healthcare facilities and personnel in the West Bank, resulting in 16 deaths and 95 injuries in the Palestinian territory.

The WHO's surveillance system for attacks on healthcare does not attribute responsibility.

"In the West Bank, as in Gaza, the only solution is peace," said Tedros. "The best medicine is peace."

Hamas official denies putting forward new ideas for deal
4:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas official Osama Hamdan denied on Wednesday that the Palestinian group had put forward new ideas for the US-backed proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Hamdan, speaking to The New Arab's sister broadcaster Al-Araby TV, also said that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was "part of the problem, not the solution" in the Gaza war.

Earlier, Blinken said that Hamas had suggested numerous changes, some unworkable, to the Gaza ceasefire proposal, though he also said mediators remained determined to close the gaps.


Blinken says US will try to bridge Israel-Hamas gaps on deal
4:32 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed Wednesday to work to seal a Gaza ceasefire agreement, saying not all Hamas demands were acceptable but voicing hope gaps could be closed.

Consulting with key mediator Qatar on the Hamas response to the plan outlined by US President Joe Biden, Blinken said the Palestinian group could have given a "clear and simple yes" but voiced guarded hope for moving forward.

"We believe that some of the requested changes are workable and some are not," Blinken told reporters in Doha.

"And so we have to see on an urgent basis over the course of the coming days whether those gaps are bridgeable."

But he said the onus was on Hamas, describing the rest of the world as united in seeking an end to the eight-month war.

"We're determined to try to bridge the gaps. And I believe those gaps are bridgeable," Blinken said.

"That doesn't mean they will be bridged because, ultimately, Hamas has to decide," he said.

"The longer this goes on, the more people will suffer, and it's time for the haggling to stop."

He added: "I believe it's absolutely necessary to try our hardest to do it. But there's no guarantee."

Erdogan meets UNRWA commissioner in Turkey's Ankara
3:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met the head of the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, in Ankara.

The meeting between Erdogan and Philippe Lazzarini took place in the presidential complex, state news agency Anadolu's correspondent said.

Killed, injured in Israeli raid in northern Gaza
3:21 PM
The New Arab Staff

A number of Palestinians have been killed and injured following an Israeli raid targeting a group of civilians in the Al-Mughraqa area in northern Gaza, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Gaza deal would help lower Israel-Lebanon tensions: Blinken
2:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed calls Wednesday for a diplomatic solution between Israel and Lebanon and said a Gaza ceasefire deal would have a major effect lowering tensions.

"What I've heard from everyone concerned," Blinken told reporters in Doha, "is there's a strong preference for a diplomatic solution".

"There's no doubt in my mind that the best way also to empower a diplomatic solution to the north – in Lebanon – is a resolution of the conflict in Gaza and getting a ceasefire," he said.

"That will take a tremendous amount of pressure out of the system," Blinken said.

Blinken's remarks came at the end of a regional tour during which he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has talked tough against Hezbollah.

The Lebanese group on Wednesday fired barrages of rockets on northern Israel after an Israeli strike killed a senior commander.

Blinken said any resolution needed to ensure people can return to their homes in both northern Israel and southern Lebanon.

Antony Blinken is the US secretary of state [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP/Getty-archive]
Blinken: US to lay out 'concrete' post-war Gaza proposals
2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington will present "concrete ideas" on post-war Gaza, as it presses Israel for a plan.

Speaking in Qatar, Blinken said the United States "in the coming weeks" will present "key elements of the day-after planning including concrete ideas for how to manage governance, security, reconstruction".

Blinken: Some of Hamas ceasefire proposal changes workable
1:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the war in Gaza would go on after Hamas proposed "numerous" changes to a US-backed ceasefire plan, some that he said were "workable" and some not.

He did not spell out what the changes were. Speaking to reporters in Qatar, Blinken said the US and other mediators will keep trying to "close this deal".

US military says destroyed two missile launchers in Yemen
1:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US military said on Tuesday that its forces had destroyed two anti-ship cruise missile launchers in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

US Central Command said on the social media platform X that the missile launchers "presented an imminent threat to US and coalition forces and to merchant vessels transiting the region".


Gaza toll rises to 37,202 killed, 84,932 injured: ministry
1:26 PM
The New Arab Staff

The number of Palestinians killed in Israel's war on Gaza has risen to 37,202, with 84,932 injured, the territory's health ministry says.

The ministry says Israel has carried out three "massacres against the families in the Gaza Strip" with 38 killed and 100 injured people arriving at hospitals in the past 24 hours.

Hamas seeking US guarantees over Gaza truce plan: sources
12:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas wants written guarantees from the United States for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip in order to sign off on a US-backed truce proposal, two Egyptian security sources said.

Mediators Qatar and Egypt said Hamas had responded on Tuesday to the phased ceasefire plan for an end to the eight-month war on Gaza, without giving details.

The plan was made public at the end of May by US President Joe Biden.

It includes the gradual release of Israeli captives held in Gaza and pullback of Israeli forces over two phases, as well as the freeing of Palestinian prisoners, with the reconstruction of Gaza and return of the remains of deceased captives in a third phase.


Hamas says shells Israel forces east of Al-Zeitoun
12:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas's armed wing says its fighters attacked Israeli forces east of the Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City with mortars.

Israel military confirms killed senior Hezbollah commander
11:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military confirmed on Wednesday that it had killed senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah as well as three other Hezbollah fighters in a strike on a command and control centre in southeastern Lebanon.

In response to Abdallah's killing, Hezbollah had fired dozens of missiles towards northern Israel in a significant escalation of the fighting which has seen near daily exchanges of fire since October.


Israel military says it hit launch sites in southern Lebanon
10:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli jets hit a number of launch sites in southern Lebanon on Wednesday after projectiles were fired towards northern Israel, the Israeli military said.

It said the jets had hit a launcher in the area of Hanine, while a separate strike had hit four infrastructure sites in the area of Yater.


Hezbollah says fired dozens of rockets at Israeli posts
10:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Wednesday it had fired dozens of rockets at Israeli military posts and a military factory in northern Israel in retaliation for the killing of a senior commander.


Palestinians recount horrors of Nuseirat camp massacre
9:26 AM
The New Arab Staff

Rami Kamal, a Palestinian from Nuseirat camp, describes his psychological shock and fear during an Israeli raid to free captives, detailing how he and his family hid in their bathroom amid violent shelling and armed soldiers.

"I heard the sounds of numerous people running up the stairs of the building. I thought that the building would be evacuated of its residents, so I opened the door of the apartment to find out what was happening, and I was shocked to find several armed men wearing military vests and glasses and speaking in Hebrew," Kamal said.

"I was terrified. I didn't know what to do. I ran into the apartment without even being able to close the door. Using sign language, I asked my wife and children to follow me (...) We fled to the bathroom to seek refuge there, hoping it would protect us from any raids," he added.

Read the full story here.

Live Story
Eric Clapton backs pro-Palestinian UK election candidate
9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

Superstar musician Eric Clapton has backed a pro-Palestinian candidate at the UK's upcoming general election.

"Along with my dear friend Roger Waters, I stand in support of Andrew Feinstein, independent candidate for Holborn and St Pancras, in his fight for the children of Gaza, for the freedom of the people of Palestine, and for the soul of the human race," Clapton says on social media platform X.

"Against the genocide in Gaza... For love and Truth... Eric C."

Feinstein, a Jewish former MP in South Africa under Nelson Mandela, is running against Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.

Labour is widely expected to win a majority at the election on 4 July, deposing the ruling Conservatives from power.

Merchant vessel 'reports being struck near Yemen's Hodeidah'
9:02 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British security firm Ambrey said on Wednesday a merchant vessel has reported being struck approximately 67.7 nautical miles southwest of Yemen's Hodeidah.

"Ambrey assessed the vessel aligned with the Houthi target profile at the time of the incident," the firm said in its advisory note.


UN probe accuses Israel of crimes against humanity in war
8:36 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A UN investigation concluded on Wednesday that Israel has committed crimes against humanity during its war on Gaza, including that of "extermination", while saying Israeli and Palestinian armed groups have both committed war crimes.

The independent Commission of Inquiry's report is the United Nations' first in-depth investigation into the events of the war that began in October.

It found that Israel had committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL).

The report noted "a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population in Gaza."

"The commission found that the crimes against humanity of extermination; murder; gender persecution targeting Palestinian men and boys; forcible transfer; and torture and inhuman and cruel treatment were committed," it added.

Israel rejected the conclusions by accusing the UN commission of "systematic anti-Israeli discrimination".

The commission found that in that in a 7 October attack, members of the military wings of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups and Palestinian civilians committed war crimes, as well as violations and abuses of IHL and IHRL.