Egypt joins ICJ case as Israel pounds Rafah

Egypt joins ICJ case as Israel pounds Rafah
Israel continues its onslaught on the Jabalia refugee camp, killing 19 people, while Egypt will be intervening to support the ICJ case against Israel.
15 min read

On day 219 of Israel's war on the besieged Gaza Strip, Israel sent tanks into eastern Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip early on Sunday, after a night of heavy aerial and ground bombardments, killing 19 people and wounding dozens of others, health officials said.

Late on Saturday, the Israeli military said forces operating in Jabalia are preventing Hamas, which controls Gaza, from re-establishing its military capabilities there.

Egypt has announced it will officially be intervening in support of South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

Egypt's foreign minister said the intervention "comes in light of the worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the continued perpetration of systematic practices against the Palestinian people, including direct targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Strip, and pushing Palestinians to flee".

3:50 AM

This live blog has now ended and will be back at 9am BST. You can read The New Arab's coverage of Israel's war on Gaza here

Blinken speaks to Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant
3:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Yoav Gallant, with the a spokesperson for the State Department writing on X that Blinken spoke to Gallant to "reaffirm the US position on a major operation in Rafah and urge the expansion of entry points for humanitarian aid into Gaza."

Senior member of DFLP killed by Israel Gaza
2:53 AM
The New Arab Staff

A senior member for the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Talal Abu Zafira, was killed in an Israeli attack on the Sabra neighbourhood in Gaza City, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.


Israel conducts intensive bombardment of Rafah
1:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, Israeli aircraft are bombing the Brazil neighbourhood east of Rafah, wounding a number of people. 

In addition Israeli aircraft are bombing the al-Salam, at-Tannour and al-Shawka neighbourhoods. 


Hezbollah claim attacks on Israeli positions
12:25 AM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanese armed group Hezbollah have said that its carried out three strikes against Israeli positions on Sunday, including against intelligence-gathering equipment in al-Malkiyya. 


Trinity College Cambridge to divest from arms companies
11:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

Trinity College Cambridge is set to divest from all arms companies, including Israel's Elbit Systems which it had invested £61,735 in, according to Middle East Eye.

The decision comes after the college council, responsible for financial decisions, voted to remove investments from all arms companies earlier in March, according to three sources who spoke to the publication.



CENTCOM says destroyed Houthi aerial system in Gulf of Aden
11:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

US Central Command (CENTCOM) have announced the destruction of a Houthi uncrewed aerial system over the Gulf of Aden, noting the system presented an "imminent threat to both coalition forces and merchant vessels in the region." 

UK Labour Party calls for halt Israel arms sale over Rafah
10:53 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UK Labour Party has called for a halt to arms sales to Israel over it's assault on Rafah, according to The Telegraph.

The Telegraph reported that Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy called on the government to suspend the sale of weapons that could be used in Israel's ongoing assault on Rafah, who added that Labour was also calling on the government to publish the legal advice previously give on the issue.

PRCS: Four killed, 10 wounded in shelling of Al-Zawaida
10:43 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society announced the killing of four and wounding of 10 children in Israeli shelling of a home in the Al-Zawaida area of the Gaza Strip.

Viewers may find the footage below distressing:

Israel conducts airstrikes on south Lebanon
9:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army announced it conducted airstrikes against two Hezbollah positions in south Lebanon's Halta and Kafarhamam. In addition, two other sites were struck in raids in the Kherbe area. 

Sullivan calls Israeli counterpart Hanegbi
8:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi on Sunday, in a statement released by Sullivan's office. 

According to the statement Sullivan offered his condolences Israel's Memorial Day and emphasised an "ironclad" commitment to Israel.

He also added that the US was concerned about Israel's ongoing operation in Gaza's southern city of Rafah and discussed "alternate courses of action to ensure the defeat of Hamas everywhere in Gaza." 

According to the statement, the two will have an in-person meeting in the near future.

UN's Lazzarini: all that's left in Gaza is 'broken lives'
8:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Chief of the UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, has commented that all that's left in Gaza is "broken lives and broken futures", noting that "no words are left that can do any justice to the people of Gaza" as Israel renews its assaults across the enclave. 

Qassam Brigades claim attacks on Israeli army in north Gaza
7:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas' armed wing the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades have claimed a number of attacks against Israeli forces in northern Gaza following renewed Israeli operations.

This includes an attack against Israeli soldiers and vehicles in the al-Mabhouh area east of the Jabalia refugee camp with mortars.

It also said that it shelled Israeli soldiers in eastern Jabalia.

US CENTCOM commander in Israel
6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military announced that US CENTCOM commander General Michael Erik Kurilla is in Israel and has met with Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

According to the military the two "held an operational situation assessment, discussed the operational developments and the strengthening of coordination and cooperation between the armies." 

It comes following Gen. Kurilla's visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday and Friday. 

Blinken: Israel offensive on Rafah would not eliminate Hamas
6:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An all-out Israeli offensive on the Gaza city of Rafah would provoke "anarchy" without eliminating Hamas, the US secretary of state said Sunday, while agreeing that Israeli forces had killed more civilians than Hamas members.

"Israel's on the trajectory, potentially, to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas left or, if it leaves, a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy and probably refilled by Hamas," Secretary Antony Blinken told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Asked on CBS whether the US concurred with a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israeli forces had killed more civilians than Hamas members since the war on Gaza, Blinken simply replied, "Yes, we do."

He also confirmed that the hold President Joe Biden has placed on weapons to Israel, as the US continues pressing it to do more to protect civilians and to avoid an all-out invasion of Rafah, remained limited to 3,500 "high-capacity" bombs.

Israeli military says it opened a new aid crossing into Gaza
5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said on Sunday it opened a new humanitarian aid crossing into the Gaza Strip in coordination with the United States.

The crossing, called 'Western Erez', was opened in the northern Gaza Strip in order to transfer humanitarian aid, the military said in a statement. 


Donors pledge over $2 bn for Gaza at Kuwait conference
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A conference of international donors in Kuwait on Sunday pledged over $2 billion to aid the devastated Gaza Strip over seven months into the war on Gaza.

The conference, organised by the International Islamic Charitable Organisation (IICO) and the UN's humanitarian coordination agency OCHA, said the funds would be dispersed over two years, with the possibility of extension, in efforts to support life-saving humanitarian interventions in the Palestinian territory.

Blinken: Israel lacks 'credible plan' to safeguard Rafah
4:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday defended a decision to pause a delivery to Israel of 3,500 bombs over concerns they could be used in the Gazan city of Rafah, saying Israel lacked a "credible plan" to protect some 1.4 million civilians sheltering there.

Speaking to ABC News' This Week, Blinken said that President Joe Biden remains determined to help Israel defend itself and that the shipment of 3,500 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs was the only US weapons package being withheld.

That could change, he said, if Israel launches a full-scale attack on Rafah, which Israel says it plans to invade to root out fighters of Hamas.


Hamas says Biden remarks on Gaza hostages 'setback'
4:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Remarks by US President Joe Biden that a ceasefire in Gaza would be possible if Hamas released its hostages are a "setback" to negotiations, the Palestinian group said Sunday.

"We condemn this position by the US president, we consider it a setback from the outcomes of the latest round of negotiations, which led to the movement's agreement to the proposal put forward by mediators," Hamas said in a statement.

It added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had "rushed to overturn" the talks by launching an offensive in Rafah.

Protesters march in Australia for Gaza
3:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters are marching up Broadway to the Sydney University encampment in Sydney, Australia, calling for an end to the war on Gaza.

Protesters can be heard chanting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and "Free, free, free Palestine" while carrying Palestine flags.

Al-Araby journalists detained by Israeli forces in Tel Aviv
3:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces arrested journalists from The New Arab's sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, last night during protests calling for a hostage deal in Tel Aviv - according to Israeli media.

The journalists were arrested on the grounds of suspicion they may be working for Al Jazeera, which Israel shut down in May. 

Israeli journalist Oran Ziv shared videos of the journalists being questioned after the authorities reportedly saw live footage of the protest being broadcast on Al Jazeera.

Egypt to join South Africa in Israel genocide case at ICJ
2:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Egypt said on Sunday it was formally supporting South Africa in its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice at The Hague in which Israel is on trial for genocide.

Egypt's foreign ministry said in a statement that Israel's conduct in Gaza is "in flagrant violation of the provisions of international law, international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War".

It said that the worsening and scope of attacks on civilians in Gaza, including forced displacement, and destruction of civilian infrastructure throughout seven months of war had prompted Cairo's intervention in the case.

Egypt's proximity to the Gaza Strip and historic relations with Israel, have given Cairo a pivotal role in the region's affairs. 

South Africa took Israel to the The Hague at the end of December in which it accused Israel of acts of genocide against Palestinians in its war on Gaza.

Protesters in Portugal march for Palestine
2:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Activists in Europe are marching the streets of Portugal in solidarity with the people of Palestine, calling for an end to the war on Gaza.

Protesters can be seen waving the Palestine flag, wearing keffiyehs and holding a banner saying "PALESTINA LIVRE".

Israeli attacks disrupt internet in Gaza
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) reported that Israeli attacks have disrupted the Internet in the southern areas of Gaza.

"Our people in the Gaza Strip. We regret to announce the interruption of fixed Internet services in the areas of the southern Gaza Strip, due to the ongoing aggression. Our crews are working hard to restore services as quickly as possible," Paltel said in a statement.

People in the enclave have been facing a series of internet and communication cuts due to heavy Israeli bombing since 7 October.

UN: Full-scale Rafah offensive 'cannot take place'
1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A full-scale Israeli assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah "cannot take place", the UN human rights chief insisted Sunday, saying it could not be reconciled with international law.

"The latest evacuation orders affect close to a million people in Rafah. So where should they go now? There is no safe place in Gaza!" Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement.

"These exhausted, famished people, many of whom have been displaced many times already, have no good options.

The Israeli military on Saturday expanded an evacuation order for eastern Rafah and said 300,000 Palestinians had left the area.

Britain FM: Banning arms to Israel would strengthen Hamas
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Stopping British arms sales to Israel if it launches a ground assault on Rafah in the Gaza Strip would strengthen Hamas, Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Sunday.

Israel ordered Palestinians to evacuate more of the southern city on Saturday in an indication it was pressing ahead with its plans for a ground attack, despite US President Joe Biden's threat to withhold the supply of some weapons if it did so.

Cameron said he did not support an operation in Rafah in the absence of a plan to protect hundreds of thousands of civilians sheltering in the southern border city.


GHM: 35,034 Palestinians killed since 7 Oct
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Gaza Health Ministry has reported that as of today, at least 35,034 Palestinians have been killed, and 78,755 have been injured since 7 October.

Students in US protest during graduation in Boston
11:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Students at Northeastern University in Boston, US, protested during their graduation ceremony, highlighting Northeastern University’s complicity in the ongoing war on Gaza. 

Some graduates waved banners and flags, while others painted their hands red.

US students make camp at UNC Chapel Hill's bell tower
11:01 AM
The New Arab Staff

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US have formed a Palestine solidarity encampment at the institution's famous bell tower, where many graduates will want to take their graduation photos.

Students across the US and the world have been setting up camps at their universities, calling for their schools to disclose their investments, divest from Israel and end their complicity in the war on Gaza.

Israel expands ground assault on Jabalia refugee camp
10:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces are continuing its onslaught on Jabaila refugee campAl Jazeera reports that Israeli military tanks have now started to go deeper into the camp.

Wafa reported that Israeli fighter jets “carpet-bombed” the camp in northern Gaza, killing and wounding several Palestinians, destroying residential houses and attacking evacuation centres.

The Israeli military had passed an evacuation order for residents of the camp and in the central areas of Rafah to launch "military operations against Hamas", despite claiming they have defeated the group in northern Gaza.

Britain's FM rejects Rafah offensive without 'clear plan'
10:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Britain's foreign minister, David Cameron, on Sunday said Israel should not carry out an offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah without a "clear plan" to protect people.

"For there to be a major offensive in Rafah, there would have to be an absolutely clear plan about how you save lives, how you move people out the way, how you make sure they're fed, you make sure that they have medicine and shelter and everything," he told Sky News television.

"We have seen no such plan ... so we don't support an offensive in that way," he added.

Israel launched more strikes in Gaza on Sunday after it expanded an evacuation order for eastern Rafah. It said 300,000 people had fled the city in the Palestinian territory since the army urged people to leave.

MSF responds to Biden report on war on Gaza
9:33 AM
The New Arab Staff

Rights group Doctors without Borders (MSF) has responded to Biden's report on whether Israel is violating international law.

The US Department of State's report concluded that it is "reasonable to assess" that Israel has violated international humanitarian law in Gaza, though there is not enough information available to verify if any US weapons were used in specific incidents that contravened the law or US weapons policy.

"The Biden administration's analysis of Israel's war in Gaza has not proceeded as a good faith effort to uphold US law. Instead, excuses about the impossibility of monitoring the deployment of American assistance serve to deflect responsibility," Avril Benoît, executive director of MSF USA, said in a statement.

"As the leading provider of military and financial support to Israel, the US has an obligation to assess if the conduct of the war is consistent with international and US laws designed to protect civilians and to apply the appropriate legal procedures."

Uncrewed aerial system launched from Yemen's Houthi area
9:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An uncrewed aerial system was launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen into the Gulf of Aden on Friday, with no injuries or damage reported by US, coalition, or commercial ships, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Saturday.

CENTCOM later said it had destroyed three aerial systems launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen into the Red Sea.

Houthis have vowed to continue striking Israeli and US interests in the Middle East until Israel’s onslaught on Gaza stops.


UN chief calls for 'immediate' Gaza ceasefire
8:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged an immediate halt to war on Gaza, the return of hostages and a "surge" in humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory.

"I repeat my call, the world's call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages and an immediate surge in humanitarian aid," Guterres said in a video address to an international donors' conference in Kuwait.

"But a ceasefire will only be the start. It will be a long road back from the devastation and trauma of this war", he added.

2 doctors killed by Israeli airstrike on central Gaza
8:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel launched strikes on Gaza on Sunday after it expanded an evacuation order for Rafah.

Gaza's civil defence agency said two doctors were killed in the central town of Deir al-Balah, in a central area of the Palestinian territory.

"The bodies of Doctor Muhammad Nimr Qazaat and his son, Doctor Youssef, were recovered (as they were killed) because of an Israeli raid on the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, and they were transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah," the agency said in a statement.

Israel strikes Gaza after fresh Rafah evacuation order
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel launched strikes on Gaza on Sunday after it expanded an evacuation order for Rafah, with the United Nations warning an outright invasion of the crowded southern city risked an "epic" disaster.

Witnesses said Israel had carried out strikes in Rafah near the crossing with Egypt on Saturday, and AFP images showed smoke rising over the city.

Israeli troops defied international opposition this week and entered eastern areas of the city, effectively shutting a key aid crossing and suspending traffic through another.

Israel expanded an evacuation order for eastern Rafah after saying 300,000 people had fled the city since the army urged people to leave earlier in the week.