First international UN staff member killed in Gaza attack

First international UN staff member killed in Gaza attack
A United Nations services member was killed in an attack on Monday, making it the first death of an international employee killed in Gaza since 7 October.
16 min read
13 May, 2024

A UN security services member was killed in an attack on a vehicle in Gaza on Monday, a spokesperson said, adding the death was the first international UN employee killed in the Palestinian territory since the current war began.

UN chief Antonio Guterres "was deeply saddened to learn of the death of a United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS) staff member and injury to another DSS staffer when their UN vehicle was struck as they travelled to the European Hospital in Rafah," said his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq.

US President Joe Biden's top national security official said on Monday that The United States does not believe that genocide is occurring in Gaza, but Israel must do more to protect Palestinian civilians.

"We believe Israel can and must do more to ensure the protection and wellbeing of innocent civilians. We do not believe what is happening in Gaza is a genocide," Sullivan told a briefing.

12:06 AM

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14 killed in Israeli bombing of central Gaza
12:01 AM
The New Arab Staff

14 Palestinians were killed after the Israeli military targeted an airstrike at a three-story house in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

Wafa reports dozens have been wounded, and casualties include children.

Blinken: US does not support major Rafah ground operation
11:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Monday, reaffirming that Washington does not support a major military ground operation by Israel in Rafah, the State Department said.


US 'concerned' by report of Israeli prison abuse
11:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States on Monday voiced concern and called on Israel to investigate after a CNN report of Palestinian prisoners being blindfolded, beaten and put in diapers.

Asked about the allegations, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters, "We're concerned by them, and we're looking into these and other allegations of abuse against Palestinians in detention."

He said that the United States has told Israel it has an "obligation to thoroughly investigate" credible allegations of violations of international humanitarian law.

"We've been clear and consistent with any country including Israel that it must treat all detainees humanely, with dignity and in accordance with international law and it must respect detainees' human rights," Patel said.

The US-based network said it spoke to three Israeli whistleblowers at the Sde Teiman base in the Negev desert that holds Palestinians detained or injured during the military operation in Gaza.

Top Biden official doubts Israel can achieve 'total victory'
10:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Biden administration does not see it likely or possible that Israel will achieve "total victory" in defeating Hamas in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said on Monday.

"In some respects, we are struggling over what the theory of victory is," Campbell said at a NATO Youth Summit in Miami. "Sometimes when we listen closely to Israeli leaders, they talk about mostly the idea of....a sweeping victory on the battlefield, total victory," he said.

"I don't think we believe that that is likely or possible and that this looks a lot like situations that we found ourselves in after 9/11, where after civilian populations had been moved and lots of violence that...the insurrections continue."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to achieve "total victory" against Hamas, the Palestinian group that attacked Israel on 7 October.


Israel accuses health ministry of "manipulating" death toll
10:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's spokesperson for Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Hamas of manipulating the death toll figures of the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza.

"They [the figures] are not accurate and they do not reflect the reality on the ground," Oren Marmorstein said on X.

"The parroting of Hamas' propaganda messages without the use of any verification process has proven time and again to be methodologically flawed and unprofessional," he added.

Israeli intelligence officials in January admitted to relying on civilian death toll statistics collated by Gaza's health ministry, despite publicly undermining the ministry's reliability.

Netanyahu: Hamas members comprise almost half of death toll
9:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's prime minister said on a podcast that almost half of those killed in the war on Gaza are Hamas members, playing down a civilian toll that has sparked global outrage.

Benjamin Netanyahu maintained the overall toll is lower than that given by authorities in the Palestinian territory.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, at least 35,091 people have been killed in the territory during more than seven months of Israel's bombardment of the enclave.

But Netanyahu suggested in an interview on the Call Me Back podcast conducted on Sunday that the death toll in Gaza was around 30,000 and that Hamas members accounted for nearly half of that toll.

Netanyahu insisted to podcaster Dan Senor that Israel had "been able to keep the ratio of civilians to combatants killed... (to) a ratio of about one to one".

"Fourteen thousand have been killed, combatants, and probably around 16,000 civilians have been killed," he said.

Ex US military intelligence resigned over war on Gaza
9:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A former US military intelligence official released a letter on Monday that explained to his colleagues at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that his November resignation was, in fact, due to "moral injury" stemming from US support for Israel's war on Gaza and the harm caused to Palestinians.

Harrison Mann, an Army major, would be the first known DIA official to quit over US support to Israel. A US airman, Aaron Bushnell, fatally set himself on fire in February outside Israel's embassy in Washington, and other military personnel have protested.

Mann said he kept quiet about his motives for resigning for months out of fear.

"I was afraid. Afraid of violating our professional norms. Afraid of disappointing officers I respect. Afraid you would feel betrayed. I'm sure some of you will feel that way reading this," Mann wrote in a letter shared with colleagues last month and published on his LinkedIn profile on Monday.

The Defense Intelligence Agency did not respond to a request for comment.


UN: Not all Gazan bodies have been identified
8:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Farhan Haq, spokesperson for the United Nations, said while the Gaza death toll is over 35,000, not all the bodies have been identified.

"There's about another 10,000 plus bodies who still have to be fully identified, and so then the details of those - which of those are children, which of those are women - that will be re-established once the full identification process is complete," Haq told reporters in New York.

Has also reflected a breakdown of the 24,686 deaths of "people who have been fully identified."

US: We do not believe genocide is occurring in Gaza
8:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday that President Joe Biden's administration did not view the killings of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel in its war on Gaza as a genocide.

Sullivan, speaking to reporters at the White House, said the United States wants to see Hamas defeated, that Palestinians caught in the middle of the war were in "hell," and that a major military operation by Israel in Rafah would be a mistake. 


US: Raised protesters blocking aid for Gaza to Israel
7:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States on Monday raised with Israel an incident of protesters blocking aid trucks headed for Gaza, US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Monday, adding that humanitarian assistance into the enclave should not be impeded.

Israeli protesters blocked aid trucks headed for Gaza on Monday, strewing food packages on the road in the latest in a series of incidents that have come as Israel has pledged to allow uninterrupted humanitarian supplies into the besieged enclave.


Hezbollah: Displaced Israeli northerners won't return home
7:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Monday that residents of northern Israel would not be able to return home for the start of the next school year if their government pressed on with its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah has been exchanging fire with the Israeli military across Lebanon's southern border in parallel with the war on Gaza. The armed group has said it is launching rockets at Israel both to support its ally, the Palestinian group Hamas and to deter Israel from launching an attack on Lebanon.

In a televised address on Monday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah repeated that his group would keep fighting as long as Israel continued its assault on Gaza.

"The link between the supportive Lebanese front and Gaza is definitive, final and conclusive," he said. "No one will be able to de-link them."


Greek PM tells Erdogan "let's agree to disagree" on Gaza war
6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Greece and Turkey cannot agree on all issues related to the war on Gaza, but they can agree that violence must end and a long-term ceasefire is needed, Greece's prime minister said after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Monday.

"Let's agree to disagree," Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, responding to Erdogan, who said that he was saddened by the Greek view that deems Hamas a terrorist organisation. 

NATO member Turkey has condemned Israel over its war on Gaza, with Erdogan calling Hamas a liberation group as opposed to a "terrorist organisation" and Ankara recalling its ambassador to Israel.


UN condemns killing of staffer in Gaza
5:55 PM
The New Arab Staff
The deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq has confirmed reports that a UN staff member was killed and another injured when their vehicle was hit in Rafah on Monday.
Haq said: "the Secretary-General condemns all attacks on UN personnel and calls for a full investigation. He sends his condolences to the family of the fallen staff member."
The victims were from the UN's Department of Safety and Security.
Reports from local media sources in Gaza said a UN marked vehicle was hit by Israeli shelling in Rafah.
Four Israelis arrested over aid convoy blocking, say police
5:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four protesters, including a minor, were arrested at the protest, at Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the Israeli occupied West Bank, according to a statement from lawyers representing the protesters.

"In light of incidents of disorderly conduct which occurred today, law enforcement has initiated an investigation culminating in the arrest of multiple suspects," the Israeli police said in a statement. "The investigation is actively ongoing."

Videos circulated on social media showed protesters throwing supplies from the trucks on to the ground, with the contents of opened cartons lying spilled across the road.

Read more about Israel's far-right groups blocking aid deliveries into Gaza here.

Erdogan: over 1,000 Hamas members hospitalised in Turkey
5:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that "more than 1,000 members" of the Palestinian militant group Hamas were being treated in Turkish hospitals amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Erdogan, a vocal critic of Israel's war in the Palestinian territory since Hamas's attacks on October 7, made the announcement to reporters, adding that he considered Hamas "a resistance organisation".

UN vehicle hit by gunfire, passenger and driver hit: reports
4:44 PM
The New Arab Staff

A United Nations marked vehicle travelling near the Rafah crossing point was hit by gunfire on Monday, according to reports in Israeli and Palestinian media.

The driver was reportedly killed by the gunfire and an aid worker critically injured, but it is not yet clear which agency the vehicle belonged to or the nationalities of the victims.

Hamas: lost contact with members guarding four hostages
4:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas' armed wing Al Qassam Brigades have lost contact with militants guarding four Israeli hostages in Gaza, including Hersh Golberg-Poline, they said in a statement on Monday.

Israel believes that Hamas and other Palestinian groups are holding 132 people hostage in Gaza, some of whom are believed to be dead.

Israeli-American Golberg-Poline, 23, appeared in a video published by Hamas two weeks ago, raising hopes that he is still alive.

Far-right Israelis vandalise aid convoys heading to Gaza
3:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Videos surfacing online from Israeli journalists are showing groups of Israelis attacking trucks carrying boxes and sacks of food supplies for Gaza on Monday.

Apparently from the Israeli Tzav 9 right-wing extremist group, the activists gathered at the Tarqumiyah checkpoint in Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where the trucks from Jordan were due onwards to Gaza.

Tzav 9, or Ninth Order, have been destroying aid and blocking trucks on multiple occasions throughout the war. Last week, six protesters were arrested by Israeli police for blocking aid trucks heading to Gaza.

The protesters believe that aid should not be allowed into Gaza until Israeli hostages are returned.


Health ministry: 57 killed in past day in Gaza
2:46 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least 57 people have been killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday in its daily update.

Since October, 35,091 Palestinians have been killed and 78,827 wounded in seven months of war between Israel and Hamas.

Health authorities in the strip estimate that there could be some 10,000 dead bodies trapped under rubble across Gaza.

Rafah border closure means 'more unnecessary patient deaths'
2:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Medical Aid for Palestinians, a UK-registered NGO working in Gaza, shared some updates with The New Arab on the dire situation for health services in south Gaza.

  • Five MAP-supported medical points, set up to provide basic healthcare services to displaced people, have been forced to suspend services and relocate due to insecurity.
  • There is also a huge problem in transportation due to fuel access, so even medical points in other locations are not easily reachable as people are moving in waves away from Rafah.
  • For MAP a lack of fuel has meant we have not been able to provide transportation for all medical staff from our supported medical points.
  • The Rafah border crossing closure continues to mean that patients cannot be medically evacuated.
  • We expect this to result in more unnecessary patient deaths as they are not able to access appropriate treatment in Gaza.
European Hospital in Khan Younis out of fuel 'in blackout'
2:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

Health services in south Gaza are facing severe issues amid a shortage of fuel in Gaza after Israel blocked two aid entry points last week.

The European Hospital in south Gaza near Khan Younis has run out of fuel and "in blackout", according to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

On Monday, medical staff at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah were ordered to evacuate by the Israeli army, leaving thousands in the area without access to health services as bombing continues.

"If the hospital is forced out of action, this could mean the complete collapse of the limited healthcare system in Rafah," a spokesperson for Medical Aid for Palestinians told The New Arab.

Only 12 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are "partially functioning" according to the WHO. A number of field hospitals and temporary medical points in the south are also under threat.

Beit Lahiya and Jabalia in north Gaza under attack
1:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Beit Lahiya and Jabalia in north Gaza are undergoing intensive air and ground attacks, according to residents and local journalists.

Beit Lahiya has been hit by Israeli warplanes with footage shared online showing billows of smoke above the neighbourhood skyline and casualties also being reported.

In Jabalia, intensive clashes between Hamas fighters and Israeli army were reported as hundreds of civilians have fled the area.

Gaza: 500 health workers killed since October
12:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's health ministry announced on Sunday that at least 500 medical personnel, including 138 nurses, have been killed in Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip since 7 October last year.

Health ministry spokesperson Khalil Al-Dakran said that 312 other medical workers had been detained by Israel and a further 1,500 wounded, adding huge strain to healthcare services in Gaza.

The territory's health system has been repeatedly attacked by Israeli forces and some of Gaza's main hospitals have been sieged and destroyed, including al-Shifa Hospital and Nasser Medical Complex.

Hundreds of bodies have been uncovered in mass graves at the two hospitals.

Read more here.

Israel's Gallant briefs Blinken on 'precise' Rafah operation
12:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant briefed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about Israel's military operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah and takeover of the nearby border crossing into Egypt, Gallant's office said on Monday.

In an overnight phone call, Gallant and Blinken "discussed developments in Gaza ... and the precise operation in the Rafah area against remaining Hamas battalions, while securing the crossing," the statement said. 


Israeli ministers heckled at Memorial Day events
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's leaders commemorated Memorial Day, known as Yom HaZikaron, on Monday, a usually sombre holiday that this year was almost entirely absorbed by the ongoing war in Gaza.

At 11:00 AM, sirens announced two minutes of silence, and a formation of four fighter planes then flew over Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

At a ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed once again to defeat Hamas, a promise he has made repeatedly during Israel’s brutal seven month war with the militant group.

Government ministers were heckled by members of the public at events around the country, Israeli media reported, as calls for an election and ousting of Netanyahu have grown louder in the past weeks.

Four Israeli soldiers injured by Hezbollah missile hit
11:03 AM
The New Arab Staff

Four soldiers were injured from two anti-tank missiles on an Israeli military position near the town of Yiftah, along the Lebanese frontier, Israeli said on Monday.

"As a result, three IDF soldiers were lightly injured and one IDF soldier was moderately injured. The soldiers were evacuated to a hospital to receive medical treatment and their families have been notified," the military said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

Lebanon's Shia Muslim group Hezbollah claimed the attack saying in a statement that the "Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance targeted them at 12:00 noon on Monday".

Israel orders evacuation of Rafah's Kuwaiti hospital
10:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military ordered the evacuation of the last functioning hospital in Rafah on Monday as its army pushes further into the city.

Last week, staff and patients from the Abu Youssef al-Najjar hospital were forced to evacuate after it was in the area which Israel said would be facing imminent danger.

The small Kuwaiti hospital had been the only option for the hundreds of sick and wounded in the southern governorate.

Gaza's health system 'a few hours' from collapse
10:08 AM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's health system is "a few hours" from collapse from lack of fuel supplies which are needed to power hospital generators and ambulances, the Palestinian ministry of health said on Monday.

Israel closed the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings since last week which has meant fuel supplies have been scarce inside Gaza.

The World Health Organisation director-generator warned on Friday that a shortage of fuel supplies were risking imminent collapse.

Gaza's health system has come under repeated strain throughout the war and less than a third of its hospitals are functioning.

Hamas welcomes Egypt move to back ICJ case against Israel
9:47 AM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas has welcomed an announcement by Egypt that it will move to support South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In a Telegram statement on Sunday, Hamas called on Arab and Islamic countries and all states to join the ICJ case against "the criminal Zionist entity, sever any relations with it, isolate it internationally, and seek to hold it and its terrorist leaders accountable for their systematic crimes against our children and people in Gaza".

Live Story
Rafah and Kerem Shalom aid crossings still shut
9:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's vital border points at Rafah and Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) are closed for the seventh day in a row, which continues to disrupt aid channels in the war-ravaged Strip.

The Israeli military seized the Rafah crossing last week and sealed it shut. It has blocked the exit of sick and wounded Palestinians who are waiting to be evacuated to hospitals outside the territory, health authorities in Gaza have said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Israel to reopen the crossings "immediately"

"Closing the two crossings at the same time is particularly harmful to the already desperate humanitarian situation, and they must be reopened immediately," Guterres said.

UNRWA: 360,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah
9:06 AM
The New Arab Staff

The UN Palestinian Refugee Agency, UNRWA, said on Monday that nearly 360,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in the past week following Israel's military directive on 6 May.

Palestinians have been forced to move repeatedly throughout the war to escape fighting and humanitarian agencies have maintained that there is nowhere safe in Gaza, despite Israel saying otherwise.

Over the past week, thousands of civilians, including the sick and elderly, left parts of east Rafah and travelled to Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah where they resorted to putting up shelters on rubble or sandy wastelands.

Drone attack from Lebanon, sirens sounding Israel says
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said on Monday that two explosive drones launched from Lebanese territory exploded around Beit Hillel in northern Israel.

"As a result of the explosion, a fire broke out at the scene and was extinguished shortly afterward," the military said in an update, adding that no injuries were reported.

Air raid sirens have been sounding in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip as well as in northern Israel throughout Monday morning, as part of Israel's defence warnings against incoming attacks from Hezbollah in the north, or Hamas in the south.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed by a Hezbollah drone attack last week.

Fierce battles between al-Qassam Brigades and Israeli forces
8:30 AM
The New Arab

Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said its fighters were locked in "complex" operations with Israeli forces in and around Jabalia camp in north Gaza on Monday.

It targeted an Israeli Merkava tank with shells and booby-trapped a house with explosives which killed one soldier and left others wounded, Hamas said in updates on its telegram channel.

Fighting has resurged in the north Gaza months after the Israeli army claimed to have cleared out Hamas' battalions there.