Gaza: Blinken in Qatar to seek 'enduring end' to war

Gaza: Blinken in Qatar to seek 'enduring end' to war
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is hoping to shore up support for a truce deal hashed out in Paris in January, but not yet agreed to by Hamas or Israel.
14 min read
06 February, 2024

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

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Qatar on Tuesday as part of a Middle East crisis tour seeking a new truce and "an enduring end" to the Gaza war.

It comes after Blinken arrived in Egypt earlier on Tuesday, the day after he held talks in Riyadh with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The trip, Blinken's fifth to the region since the start of the nearly four-month-long war, will also see the top US diplomat travel to Israel.

Blinken's diplomatic push has been given fresh urgency as Israeli forces press further south towards Rafah, a Palestinian city on the southern border with Egypt where more than half the population of the Gaza Strip has taken shelter. There have long been fears Israel will use the war to push Palestinians into Egypt.

Shellings and raids continued Tuesday morning amid Israel's relentless deadly war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

"No place is safe, no place at all, where shall we go?" Palestinian Mohamad Kozaat said after six members of his family, including his daughter, were injured in an Israeli strike on the border town.

Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed at least 27,585 people, according to the health ministry in the enclave.

The latest toll includes 107 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, while a total of 66,978 people have been wounded in Gaza since the war broke out on 7 October.

Blinken is hoping to shore up support for a truce deal hashed out in Paris in January, but not yet signed off on by either Hamas or Israel.

Featured images: Getty

This live blog has now concluded
6:41 PM
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, X, and Instagram.

IN PICTURES: 123rd day of Israel's war on Gaza
6:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

Here are some images from Gaza on the 123rd day of Israel's war on the Palestinian enclave.

All three photos are credited to MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty.

Qatar says Hamas 'positive' on Gaza war pause deal
6:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar said on Tuesday that Hamas has delivered a "positive" response to a proposal to free hostages in return for pausing the Gaza war, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will take to Israel.

"We have received a reply from Hamas with regards to the general framework of the agreement with regards to hostages. The reply includes some comments, but in general it is positive," Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said after meeting Blinken in Doha.

The Qatari prime minister – who took part in talks a week ago in Paris with Israel, Egypt, and the CIA that came up with the proposal – said he was "optimistic" but declined to discuss the Hamas reply in detail, citing the "sensitivity of the circumstances".

Hamas confirmed that it submitted its response to Egypt and Qatar.

Blinken, on his fifth tour of the region, said that he would discuss the proposal on Wednesday in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced pressure from hardliners against perceived concessions to Hamas.

"There's still a lot of work to be done. But we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and indeed essential, and we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it," Blinken said.

Blinken said that the deal "offers the prospect of extended calm, hostages out, more assistance in".

"That would clearly be beneficial to everyone, and I think that offers the best path forward," Blinken said.

Antony Blinken (left) and Mohammed Al Thani (right) [MARK SCHIEFELBEIN/POOL/AFP/Getty]
Armed confrontation intensifies on Lebanon front
5:41 PM
The New Arab Staff

The cross-border armed confrontation between Israeli forces and Lebanese group Hezbollah has continued apace today.

Israeli aircraft attacked a two-storey house in the Toufa area this morning, completely destroying it without any causing casualties.

Hezbollah announced it targeted Israel's Ramim barracks with two missiles, with the militant group saying it hit the site directly.

Israel attacks towns in south Lebanon
5:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli aircraft have targeted the Labouneh area and the outskirts of the town of Ramyah in southern Lebanon, local media reports.

The reports say Israel also attacked the town of Tayr Harfa for the second time today.


Hezbollah targets two Israeli sites in Shebaa Farms
5:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanese group Hezbollah announces it has targeted two Israeli sites in the occupied Shebaa Farms.

Hezbollah says the attacks resulted in direct hits.

18-year-old Palestinian killed by Israel forces near Nablus
4:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have killed an 18-year-old Palestinian man near Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority's health ministry says on Telegram that it has been informed by the General Authority of Civil Affairs of Mohammed Saud Abdullah Titi's death.

The ministry adds that he was killed by gunfire from Israeli forces at the Beit Furik checkpoint, east of Nablus.

Israel's carrier El Al cancels summer flights to Morocco
4:51 PM
Basma El Atti

Israeli Airlines El Al will not restart its direct flights to Morocco for the coming summer season, citing changes in customer demands since Israel launched its war on Gaza, reported Reuters on Monday.

Last October, El Al suspended its direct flights to and from Marrakech after the Israeli government recommended its citizens avoid travelling to Morocco for security reasons.

During the same month, Israeli diplomats left Rabat following raging anti-normalisation protests in the North African kingdom prompted by Israel's mass killing of civilians in Gaza.

Other direct flights operated by the Israeli company have also been suspended in this context, including the route to Dublin, launched in March last year and halted since November.

Read more from The New Arab's Morocco correspondent Basma El Atti

Live Story
Lebanon hands UK envoy protest note over Cameron visit
4:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib summoned the British ambassador and handed him a note of protest regarding UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron's visit to Beirut, Lebanese state news agency NNA said on Tuesday.

There were no further details on the reason for the note of protest.

British embassy sources said that Cameron and UK Middle East Minister Tariq Ahmad were "pleased to have constructive meetings with the [Lebanese] caretaker Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Chief of Defence".

The sources added: "We had hoped to see the Foreign Minister during our meeting with the PM but we understand this was not possible.

"We look forward to continuing to engage with the Government of Lebanon in our joint efforts to protect regional security."

(Reuters, The New Arab)

Israel kills six securing aid truck, say ministry, witnesses
3:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza health ministry said Israeli forces on Tuesday killed six Palestinian police officers, who witnesses told AFP had been securing the passage of an aid truck.

"Six Palestinian police officers killed as a result of the Israeli occupation targeting their vehicle in the Khirbat al-Adas neighbourhood in Rafah," a ministry statement said.

Blinken in Qatar on tour to seek 'enduring end' to Gaza war
3:32 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Qatar on Tuesday on his latest Middle East crisis tour, seeking a new ceasefire and "an enduring end" to the Gaza war.

The US top envoy was later bound for Israel, hoping to shore up support for a truce deal that was hashed out in Paris in January but has not yet been signed off on by either Hamas or Israel.

Israel forces arrest two Red Crescent volunteers in Gaza
2:52 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces arrested two Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) volunteers in Gaza yesterday, the humanitarian organisation announces.

"The occupation forces arrested PRCS volunteers Tamer Mohammed Hussein Shahin and Hamdan Samer Abu Khattar yesterday while they were passing through the humanitarian corridor for displaced persons at al-Amal Hospital," PRCS posts on X.

The medical facility is located in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Houthis 'will further escalate' if attack on Gaza continues
2:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The leader of Yemen's Houthis, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, said on Tuesday that the group "will further escalate" if the Israeli attack on Gaza does not stop.

Iran-aligned Houthis have been targeting commercial vessels with drones and missiles in the Red Sea since mid-November, in what they describe as acts of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.


Argentina plans to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem: Milei
2:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Argentina's President Javier Milei arrived in Israel on Tuesday and immediately announced a plan to relocate his country's embassy to Jerusalem.

"My plan is to move the embassy to West Jerusalem," the libertarian head of state told Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on the tarmac of the airport near Tel Aviv.

The move, which comes amid Israel's war on Gaza, is likely to prove highly controversial.

Most countries – with the notable exception of the US – maintain their embassies in or around Tel Aviv, to avoid giving support to Israeli claims of sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Israel captured occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and illegally annexed it in 1980.

Netanyahu 'orders Israel army to present UNRWA alternatives'
1:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his country's army to present alternatives that would quickly remove the need to rely on UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA for transferring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Israel's public broadcaster quoted senior officials in the political and security ministerial council as saying Netanyahu requested military Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi to present these alternatives within a week.

Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel's prime minister [Kena Betancur/Getty-archive]
Intense shelling near al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis: PRCS
1:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Intense shelling has hit near al-Amal Hospital in southern Gaza, the Palestine Red Crescent Society says, adding that there has been "continuous gunfire".

The humanitarian organisation adds on X that this has led to "shrapnel hitting the hospital", located in Khan Younis.

Israel tightens siege of Nasser Medical Complex: ministry
12:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces are tightening their siege of Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza, a spokesperson for the enclave's health ministry says.

Ashraf al-Qidra says Israel is intensively targeting the surroundings of the facility, endangering the lives of 300 medical staff, 450 wounded people, and 10,000 displaced.

He says there is a severe shortage of medical supplies in the hospital and that electrical generators there will stop within four days due to a lack of fuel.

The medical staff, wounded, and displaced people are in the hospital without food, al-Qidra says.

Nasser Medical Complex is located in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israel envoy arrives at Russia for. ministry after remarks
12:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's ambassador to Russia, Simona Halperin, arrived at the Russian foreign ministry on Tuesday, state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported, a day after authorities said she would be summoned over "unacceptable comments" in an interview .

In the interview with the Kommersant newspaper, Halperin accused Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of playing down the importance of the Holocaust and said Russia was being too friendly with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.


14 dead arrive in Khan Younis hospitals
11:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Fourteen people killed in Gaza have been brought to hospitals in the city of Khan Younis since this morning, Palestinian media cited medical sources as saying.

Islamic Jihad says blows up Israel military vehicle in Gaza
11:46 AM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian Islamic Jihad's armed wing, al-Quds Brigades, says it blew up an Israeli military vehicle in northern Gaza.

The incident took place near the Haidar roundabout, al-Quds Brigades says.

4,895 students killed since start of Gaza war: ministry
11:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Gazan education ministry says 4,895 students have been killed since the start of Israel's war on the strip.

The ministry says 400 schools have been subjected to bombing and destruction, The New Arab's Arabic edition al-Araby al-Jadeed reports.

What is the point of Iran striking Iraq and Syria?
11:10 AM
A correspondent in Iran

Amid Israel's ongoing war on Gaza, which has claimed over 27,400 lives, tensions in the region have rapidly escalated with multiple attacks by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on targets in Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan, Iranian-backed groups carried out a deadly drone attack on US troops in Jordan.

The tit-for-tat strikes between Iraqi paramilitaries and US forces have persisted since October when groups labelled by Iranian officials as "the Axis of Resistance" in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen declared their support for Palestinians in the Gaza war.

However, the heightened intensity of recent US forces' retaliatory strikes on 85 targets in Iraq and Syria raised concerns about the escalating risk of a broader military confrontation between Iran and the US. Analysts suggest that one of the factors for the mounting tensions is the mid-January IRGC attacks on targets in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.

While not the first instance of the IRGC striking outside Iran's territory, the intensity, targets, and timing of these attacks prompted scrutiny of Tehran's objectives and potential miscalculations by IRGC commanders regarding the likely responses.

Read more from a correspondent in Iran.

Live Story
UNRWA says report into claims about staff due in early March
10:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA expects its preliminary report into Israeli claims that a dozen of its employees took part in the 7 October attack on Israel to be ready by early next month, its representative in Lebanon says.

Dorothee Klaus tells reporters in Lebanon that the agency expects donors who suspended their funding after the claims emerged to review their decisions based on the probe.


Biden threatens veto of House's 'political ploy' Israel bill
10:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden's administration said on Monday he would veto a standalone bill backed by House of Representatives Republicans that would provide aid to Israel, as the White House pushes for a broader measure providing assistance to Ukraine and Israel, and providing new funds for border security.

"The Administration strongly encourages both chambers of the Congress to reject this political ploy and instead quickly send the bipartisan Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act to the President’s desk," the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

Officials from the Democratic president's administration have been working for months with Senate Democrats and Republicans on legislation unveiled on Sunday combining an overhaul of US immigration policy and new funding for border security with billions of dollars in emergency aid for Ukraine, Israel, and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

The $118 billion spending measure also would provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by global conflicts.

"The Administration strongly opposes this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin's aggression, fails to support the security of American synagogues, mosques, and vulnerable places of worship, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of whom are women and children," the statement said.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson announced on Saturday that the House would reject the bipartisan Senate bill, and instead vote this week on a measure providing aid only to Israel.

"The president’s veto threat is an act of betrayal," Johnson said in a statement on Monday evening. "In threatening to veto aid to Israel and to our military forces, President Biden is abandoning our ally in its time of greatest need."

Republicans are bitterly divided over the legislation, with Donald Trump – the frontrunner for his party's presidential nomination – and his closest allies loudly voicing opposition, calling the Senate plan insufficiently tough.

Trump has made security at the border with Mexico a major talking point in his campaigning against Biden ahead of the November election.

The Republican-majority House passed an Israel-only bill in November, but it was never taken up in the Democratic-led Senate, as negotiators worked on Biden's request for Congress to approve a broader emergency security package.


Yemen's Houthis say fired missiles at two ships in Red Sea
10:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Houthis fired missiles at two vessels in the Red Sea, they said on Tuesday, causing minor damage to a cargo ship that was sailing off the coast of Yemen's Hodeidah.

The group's military spokesman said it fired naval missiles at the Morning Tide and Star Nasia, identifying the Barbados- and Marshall Islands-flagged ships, respectively, as British and American.

British maritime security firm Ambrey said a Barbados-flagged, general cargo ship owned by a British company suffered damage from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) while sailing south east through the Red Sea.

No injuries were reported. The ship performed evasive manoeuvres and continued its journey, Ambrey said.

The owner of the Morning Tide, British firm Furadino Shipping, told Reuters the ship was currently sailing without problems, but gave no further information.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said just after midnight GMT on Tuesday that it had received a report of a projectile fired at the port side of a ship located 57 nautical miles west of Hodeidah and that a small craft was seen nearby.

The projectile passed over the deck and caused slight damage to the bridge windows, but the vessel and crew were safe and proceeded on the planned passage, UKMTO added.

LSEG ship-tracking data showed the Morning Tide was sailing down through the Red Sea having come through the Suez Canal on Friday. Its most recent signal shows it sailing out of the Red Sea through the Bab al-Mandab Strait.


Red Crescent continues to ask: 'Where is Hind?'
9:44 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) continues to ask about the whereabouts of a six year-old girl now missing for over a week.

Little Hind, as the young Palestinian child has become known, disappeared in Gaza alongside two PRCS ambulance workers who went to rescue her on 29 January after Israeli tanks targeted the car she and her family were traveling in.

"Where is Hind? Where are Yousef and Ahmed? Are they still alive? We want to know their fate," PRCS says on X.

The humanitarian group adds the the fate of its colleagues Yousef Zeino and Ahmed al-Madhoon, who went to rescue Hind, "remains unknown for 8 days".

Israel says kills 'dozens of gunmen' in Gaza in past 24hrs
9:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces have killed dozens of Palestinian gunmen and captured scores in operations throughout the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, the military said in a statement on Tuesday, describing southern Khan Younis as a focus of the fighting.

It said around 80 suspects were taken into custody in Khan Younis, including some accused of taking part in the 7 October attack in southern Israel.


Gaza death toll reaches 27,585: health ministry
9:16 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The death toll from Israel's war on Gaza has reached 27,585 people, the enclave's health ministry says in a statement posted on Facebook today.

The figure includes 107 deaths over the past 24 hours, the ministry statement says, while a total of 66,978 people have been wounded in Gaza since the war broke out on 7 October.

8,000 displaced people evacuated from medical facilities
9:10 AM
The New Arab Staff

Some 8,000 displaced people were evacuated from two medical facilities in the southern Gaza yesterday.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said they were evacuated from al-Amal Hospital and its headquarters in Khan Younis.

"Only forty elderly displaced individuals and around 80 patients and wounded, and a hundred administrative and medical staff remain," the PRCS posted on X.