Fighting in Rafah intensifies amid renewed assault on Gaza City

Fighting in Rafah intensifies amid renewed assault on Gaza City
Israeli airstrikes on Rafah killed two medics from the Palestine Red Crescent Society, amid renewed attacks on Gaza city
16 min read
30 May, 2024

Heavy clashes are continuing inside Rafah city following a renewed Israeli assault on the city, amid relentless shelling.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that they retrieved the bodies of two paramedics who were killed in an Israeli strike in Tel Sultan, west of Rafah, bring the total number of PRCS medics killed in the war to 19.

Israel's assault on Gaza has also continued in the north where its forces have pushed into Gaza City's Zeitoun neighbourhood. 

According to Palestinian news agency WAFA 3 civilians were killed by Israeli snipers in Tal Al-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza city.

Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed 36,171 Palestinians, mostly women and children, with a further 81,420 wounded.

3:30 AM

The New Arab's live blog on Israel's war in Gaza has now ended, and will resume tomorrow at 0900 am.

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Air strikes hit several sites in Yemen: witnesses, UK
12:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Joint US-British air strikes hit several sites in Yemen including the capital Sanaa and a key port city overnight Thursday to Friday, witnesses and UK authorities said.

AFP journalists heard loud explosions in Sanaa and in the port city of Hodeida.

The rebel Houthi-controlled channel Al-Masirah said strikes also targeted telecoms infrastructure in the town of Taez.

It reported that "several" people were killed or injured in the strikes.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the claim.

The British defence ministry said in a statement that its planes launched strikes in "a joint operation with US forces against Houthi military facilities to degrade their ability to persist with their attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden".

Hundreds protest Netanyahu interview broadcast in France
11:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied late Thursday outside a top French television station to protest the broadcast of an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the Gaza war.

Wearing black and white keffiyeh scarves and waving Palestinian flags, protesters gathered peacefully outside the offices of private broadcaster TF1 in the western Paris suburbs.

Kept away from the building by a heavy police presence, the protesters chanted: "Gaza, Paris is with you," "Immediate ceasefire!" and "Israel, murderer."

In the interview broadcast on TF1's news channel LCI, Netanyahu defended his country's devastating offensive in Gaza.

In the interview, Netanyahu told LCI "the number of civilian losses compared to losses of (Palestinian) combatants is the lowest rate we have seen in an urban war."

He rejected claims that Israel was targeting civilians or deliberately trying to cause a famine as "antisemitic slander".

NY Palestinian nurse fired for calling Gaza war genocide
10:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A New York City hospital fired a Palestinian American Muslim nurse after she called Israel's war in Gaza a "genocide" during an acceptance speech for an award for her work with bereaved mothers who lost their children during pregnancy and childbirth.

A spokesperson of the hospital, NYU Langone Health, said on Thursday that labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr had previously been warned not to bring her views "on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace."

Jabr posted on Instagram that she was awarded on May 7, when she made her remarks, adding that she was handed a termination letter later in the month.

In a portion of her acceptance speech, she spoke about mothers who had lost babies during the war in Gaza, saying the award was "deeply personal" to her.

"It pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses themselves during the current genocide in Gaza," Jabr said in the video of her speech that she posted online.

The hospital's spokesperson in an email said Jabr had been warned in December, "following a previous incident, not to bring her views on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace.

"She instead chose not to heed that at a recent employee recognition event that was widely attended by her colleagues, some of whom were upset after her comments," the spokesperson said without providing details about the earlier incident.

"As a result, Jabr is no longer an NYU Langone employee."

US State Department official resigns, says US report on Gaza
10:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A US State Department official who quit this week said on Thursday her resignation was precipitated by an administration report to Congress that she said falsely stated Israel was not blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, prompting her to resign in protest of President Joe Biden's Israel policy.

Stacy Gilbert, who served in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, was a subject matter expert working on the report.

"There is so clearly a right and wrong, and what is in that report is wrong," Gilbert said in an interview.

The United Nations and aid groups have long complained of the dangers and obstacles to getting aid in and distributing it throughout Gaza.

As the Palestinian death toll in Gaza has exceeded 36,000 and a humanitarian crisis has engulfed the enclave, human rights groups and other critics have faulted the U.S. for providing weapons to Israel and largely defending Israel's conduct.

The State Department submitted the 46-page unclassified report earlier this month to Congress as required under a new National Security Memorandum that Biden issued in early February.

Among other conclusions, the report said that in the period after October 7 Israel “did not fully cooperate” with U.S. and other efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Hezbollah claims attack on Israeli military position
9:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah says that its fifth attack of the day on Israeli positions targeted the Zarit barracks with artillery shells, achieving a direct hit.

The Lebanese group’s attacks earlier today targeted Israeli forces in the Shebaa Farms and Kfarchouba among other places, using rockets, missiles and mortar shells.

MSF forced to close medical facility near Rafah
8:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

The NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says that it has been "forced" to close another primary care facility in Gaza, as a result of Israel’s military operation on the southern city of Rafah.

"This is the second health facility we have been forced to close this week and another step in Israel’s systematic dismantling of Gaza’s health system. Since February, we have treated over 33,000 patients at the health centre," MSF stated on X.

The facility impacted by the closure in the al-Mawasi area.

MSF has been forced to leave 14 medical facilities in Gaza since October, the NGO said.

32,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah over past 2 days: UNRWA
8:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least 32,000 people have fled Rafah over the past two days, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA,  said in a statement on X.

"Families look for safety, but damage & destruction is their only horizon in the Gaza Strip. No place is safe from endless bombardment. People forced to leave everything behind; their lives at risk every day,| the agency said.

Algeria's proposed UN action on Rafah is 'not balanced': US
7:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Algeria's proposed draft UN Security Council resolution, which demands a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages held by Hamas while asking Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah, is not balanced, a US State Department spokesperson said on Thursday. 

Hamas ready to reach 'agreement' incl. hostages if war ends
7:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas said they informed ceasefire talks mediators that they are ready to reach a "complete agreement" including a comprehensive hostages/prisoners exchange deal if Israel "stops its war and aggression against people in Gaza," a statement from the group said on Thursday. 

Israel 'hopes' Slovenia rejects recognising Palestine state
7:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Thursday that he hoped Slovenian lawmakers will reject recognising a Palestinian state, saying a yes vote next week would be a "reward" to Hamas.

"The Slovenian government's decision to recommend that the Slovenian parliament recognise a Palestinian state rewards Hamas... I hope the Slovenian parliament rejects this recommendation," Katz said on X.

Slovenian lawmakers are to vote Tuesday on whether to recognise the State of Palestine, days after Spain, Norway and Ireland recognised it in a coordinated decision.

Iran using Swedish gangs to target Israel, Sweden intel says
6:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran is recruiting members of Swedish criminal gangs, some of them children, as proxies to commit "acts of violence" against Israel and others in Sweden that Tehran considers a threat, Sweden's intelligence agency said Thursday.

The announcement came two weeks after night-time gunfire was reported outside Israel's embassy in Stockholm, and three months after police found a live grenade lying on the grounds of the Israeli compound.

"The Swedish Security Police notes that the Iranian regime is using criminal networks in Sweden to carry out acts of violence against other states, groups or people in Sweden that it considers a threat," the intelligence service, commonly known as Sapo, said in a statement.

It cited in particular "Israeli and Jewish interests, targets and operations in Sweden".

Tensions have flared between Israel and Iran since the start of the war in Gaza on October 7.

In a dramatic escalation after a years-long shadow war of killings and sabotage attacks between the arch-foes, Iran in April fired 350 drones and missiles at Israel, most of which were intercepted.

"Iran has previously used violence in other countries in Europe in a bid to silence critical voices and perceived threats against its regime," it said.

Biden adviser sees path to Israel-Lebanon land border accord
6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A land border agreement between Israel and Lebanon implemented in phases could dampen the simmering and deadly conflict between the two countries, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden said on Thursday.

Attacks between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon have led to worries of a deeper war across the Middle East. The two sides have been engaging in regular exchanges of missile fire and airstrikes since the start of the war in Gaza last October.

"I'm not expecting peace, everlasting peace, between Hezbollah and Israel," Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to Biden for energy and investment, said in an interview with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"But if we can reach a set of understandings and ... take away some of the impetus for conflict and establish for the first time ever, a recognized border between the two, I think that will go a long way."

Hochstein brokered an Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary agreement in late 2022, after two years of talks, that opened the way for both countries to develop natural gas and other resources in the region. Hochstein has been working on a demarcation of the land border between the two countries that could have a number of phases.

Delogu says waving Palestinian flag was protest at massacre
6:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A left-wing French lawmaker sanctioned for raising a Palestinian flag in parliament on Tuesday said he would "rather be on the right side of history than stick to the rules of the National Assembly".

The lower house of parliament voted to suspend Sebastien Delogu, a deputy for the La France Insoumise (LFI) party, for 15 days and to halve his pay as a lawmaker over two months, the harshest sanction possible.

"It's the first time that a foreign flag has been raised in the assembly, but it's appropriate given what's at stake, when you have people, who are like us, on the other side of the Mediterranean being massacred," Delogu told Reuters at a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris on Wednesday evening.

LFI has positioned itself as a defender of the Palestinians, making the issue central to its campaign for the June 9 European Parliament election.

Delogu raised the flag during a session of questions to the government, while another LFI deputy questioned a minister about the situation in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave devastated by Israeli bombardment and invasion since October 7.

US to meet Egyptian, Israeli officials in Cairo next week
5:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

US officials are set to meet Egyptian and Israeli counterparts in Cairo next week in a bid to discuss the reopening of the Rafah border crossing and plans for the securing of the Gaza border, according to a report from Axios.

The report said that the meeting was agreed upon between US President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.


Communication services cut off in Gaza's Rafah
5:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Communication services have been cut off in Rafah in Southern Gaza due to 'the ongoing aggression', Palestinian telecommunications company Jawa said in a statement on Thursday.


Palestinian Islamic Jihad releases video of Israeli hostage
4:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian Islamic Jihad have released a second 30-second video of Israeli hostage Alexander Trufanov, following the release of a three-minute video on Tuesday.


Slovenia's government recognises Palestinian state
3:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Slovenian government on Thursday approved a decision to recognise an independent Palestinian state, Prime Minister Robert Golob said, following in the steps of Spain, Ireland and Norway.

"Today the government has decided to recognise Palestine as an independent and sovereign state," he said at a news conference in Ljubljana.

The parliament of the European Union member country must also approve the government's decision in coming days.


Israeli forces conduct scale raid in Jenin, wound six
3:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Six Palestinians have been wounded during an Israeli raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA

As well as raiding the city, Israeli forces raided Jenin camp, with surveillance aircraft also participating in the raid.

Houthis vow to escalate military operations in Gaza support
3:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis will continue their military operations and escalate them "in quality and quantity" in support of Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, the Iran-backed group's leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday.

The group have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November, forcing shippers to re-route cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa. The group later expanded the scope of its attacks to the Indian Ocean and said it would also target any ships heading towards Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea.


Israel's Gantz moves to dissolve parliament
2:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz's centrist party has proposed holding a vote to dissolve parliament in a bid to bring about an early election, his party said in a statement on Thursday.


Police dismantle Gaza protest camp at Wayne State University
2:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Police broke up a pro-Palestinian encampment Thursday at Wayne State University in Detroit and arrested eight people after organizers turned down offers to meet with school officials and refused to leave.

President Kimberly Andrews Espy cited health and safety concerns and disruptions to campus operations. Staff were encouraged to work remotely this week, and in-person summer classes were suspended.

“No individual or group is permitted to claim campus property for their own use and deny others access to that property,” Espy said.

The camp, she added, "created an environment of exclusion — one in which some members of our campus community felt unwelcome and unable to fully participate in campus life."

Television video showed Wayne State and Detroit police in riot gear tearing down fencing and breaking down tents erected May 23 on green space near the undergraduate library.

The protesters chanted, "There’s no riot here, why are you in riot gear?"

Eight people were arrested: six for trespassing, one for resisting and one for assaulting a police officer, Wayne State spokesperson Matt Lockwood said.

Wayne State has 16,000 undergraduate students but fewer during the summer term. The protesters have demanded that the school divest from weapons manufacturers supplying Israel, provide a full disclosure of investments and cease delegation trips to Israel.

US Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, had visited the encampment to offer support to the protesters.

Ali Hassan, who represents WSU Students for Justice in Palestine, told WXYZ-TV this week that he believed the university’s shift to remote learning means the administration is taking notice of the student protests.

"The reason that they went remote is because we have put pressure on them," he said.

Israel yet to respond to French Lebanon proposals: French FM
2:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has not given a response to France on Paris' proposals to reduce tensions between Israel and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah, France's foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in escalating daily cross-border strikes over the past months - in parallel with the war in Gaza - and their increasing range and sophistication has raised fears of a wider regional conflict.

France has historical ties with Lebanon and has proposed written proposals to both sides that would see Hezbollah's elite unit pull back 10 km (6 miles) from the Israeli border, while Israel would halt strikes in southern Lebanon.

Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne went to both Lebanon and Israel in April to push France's efforts, and Israel's foreign minister was in Paris earlier this month. Lebanon's foreign minister was in Paris for talks on Wednesday.

"We have had a relatively positive response from the Lebanese, but I think we have not had any return from Israel at this point," Christophe Lemoine told reporters in a daily briefing.

The written proposal also looks at long-term border issues and had been discussed with partners including the United States, which has its own efforts to ease tensions and exerts the most influence on Israel.

Nine killed in Israeli attack on Beit Hanoon
1:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Nine people have been killed in an Israeli attack on a home in Beit Hanoon, with more people wounded, according to a report from Al-Jazeera

Hezbollah says targets Israeli soldiers in northern Israel
12:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah announced that it had targeted Israeli soldiers in Har Addir with artillery shells, according to Lebanon's National News Agency.


UNRWA: 16,000 people living in school in Deir al-Balah
12:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Revealing the dire conditions faced by people in Gaza the UN's agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reports that over 16,000 people are now sheltering in a UNRWA school in Gaza's Deir al-Balah.

"The living conditions are dire, with scarce resources, insufficient sanitation facilities & very limited supplies."

Gaza aid departing Cyprus by sea while landing pier fixed
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Humanitarian aid for Gaza is continuing to depart Cyprus by sea and will be held in floating storage off the coast of the enclave until a US-built military pier undergoes repairs, a Cypriot government official said on Thursday.

Cyprus Government Spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis said offloading aid had slowed down, but the sea corridor had not ceased operating.

"The mechanism surrounding how the floating pier works allows for the possibility of floating storage off Gaza, with offloading to resume when conditions allow," he said, blaming the problem on rough seas.

Eleven ship-shuttles of aid had left Cyprus since the operation started, with enough aid already disbursed to "provide food to tens of thousands of non-combatants for a month", Letymbiotis said.

"The aim of offering humanitarian aid to 500,000 people a month is possible," he said.


Gaza's health ministry: 53 killed, 357 wounded in 24 hours
11:40 AM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's ministry of health has announced that 53 people have been killed and 357 injured in Israel's assault on Gaza in 24 hours.

It added that 36,224 people have been killed since 7 October, with a further 81,777 wounded.

Israel messaged Iran to avoid response to embassy attack
11:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel sent messages to Tehran through Egypt that it will compromise in Gaza to avoid Iran's response to the attack on its embassy in Syria, Iran's Tasnim news agency said, citing the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force. 


Israeli strike in north Gaza kills seven
10:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

At least seven people have been killed in an Israeli airstrike on a centre for displaced people in north Gaza, according to reports by The New Arab's sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed


UN's OCHA: Gaza aid dropped 67 percent since Rafah assault
10:08 AM
The New Arab Staff

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that since 7 May humanitarian supplies into Gaza have dropped by 67 percent, with the OCHA sighting the closure of the Rafah crossing inconsistent aid deliveries from Israel as primary reasons.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) only the Emirati Hospital remains partially functional in Rafah, with the OCHA adding that "military operations continue to cause scores of casualties, including among women and children, just as access to basic health services is shrinking."

UNRWA: 'Gaza facing unprecedented health emergency'
9:33 AM
The New Arab Staff

The UN agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reaffirmed that Gaza is facing an "unprecedented health emergency".

"Every day, people go through injured, trauma, scarce hygiene, the spread of infectious diseases, lack of sufficient food & water, and limited access to medicines & healthcare," UNRWA said. 

PRCS: Medics killed in strike arrive at Nasser Hospital
9:24 AM
The New Arab Staff

Two Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) medics who were killed last night in an Israeli airstrike have ben brought to the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.


US: Gaza pier to be repaired in Ashdod
8:19 AM
The New Arab Staff

The US announced that it would repair Gaza's pier following damage it sustained on Saturday in Ashdod where US Central Command will conduct repairs. 

The US also announced that the repairs will take a week and will be re-anchored in Gaza.