Famine fears heighten as maritime aid corridor could open at weekend

Famine fears heighten as maritime aid corridor could open at weekend
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen expressed hope Friday that a humanitarian aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza will open this weekend.
23 min read

The head of the European Commission said on Friday a maritime aid corridor could start operating between Cyprus and Gaza this weekend, part of accelerating Western efforts to relieve the humanitarian crisis in the war-ravaged Palestinian enclave.

Ursula von der Leyen's comments came a day after President Joe Biden announced plans for the US military to build a "temporary pier" on Gaza's Mediterranean coast, amid UN warnings of famine among the territory's 2.3 million people.

Senior US administration officials said the effort announced by Biden builds upon the maritime aid corridor proposed by Cyprus- the closest European Union member to Gaza.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned of looming famine in Gaza, and von der Leyen described the situation as "dire... a humanitarian catastrophe".

Negotiations on a possible ceasefire in Israel's war in Gaza, now in its fifth month, remained deadlocked in Cairo, with time running out to reach a truce in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, expected to begin on Sunday.

12:22 AM

TNA’s live coverage of the latest from the war on Gaza concludes for today. Join us again at 0800 GMT for updates from the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Turkey charges six people with spying for Israel's Mossad
12:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Turkish authorities have arrested six people and charged them with spying for Israel's Mossad intelligence service, Turkey's intelligence agency (MIT) said on Friday.

On Tuesday, MIT had said police detained seven people, including a private detective, for selling information to Mossad. It said on Friday that six of them had been arrested, and one had been released on bail.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

A Turkish court in January ordered the arrest of 15 people and the deportation of eight others suspected of having links to Mossad and targeting Palestinians living in Turkey.

Last month, Turkey detained seven others suspected of selling information to Mossad.

Turkish and Israeli leaders have traded public barbs since Israel's war in Gaza.

Turkey has warned Israel of "serious consequences" if it tries to hunt down Hamas members living outside the Palestinian territories, including in Turkey. 

Peru arrests Iranian accused of planning attack on Israeli
11:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Police in Peru on Friday announced the arrest of an Iranian citizen who was purportedly a member of the Iranian Quds Force and had allegedly planned to kill an Israeli citizen in the South American country.

Gen. Óscar Arriola, Peru's police chief, said in a press conference that Majid Azizi, 56, was arrested in Lima Thursday along with two Peruvian citizens.

Arriola said authorities thwarted the attack against the Israeli. He did not identify the intended target for security reasons.

Police are still looking for a third Peruvian they think was in charge of killing the Israeli man, he said.

Arriola said Azizi entered Lima on March 3, and they were alerted about him by foreign intelligence offices.

Iranian authorities have yet commented on Azizi's arrest. It has not been confirmed whether he is a member of the Quds Force. 

This is the first time Peruvian authorities have announced the arrest of an alleged member of that group.

Arriola said Azizi was captured after withdrawing money from an ATM and, along with the two Peruvians arrested, will remain in prison for an initial 15 days under terrorism charges.

The general said the man intended to return to Iran the same day he was captured.

Al- Qassam Brigades claims drone attack on Israeli forces
11:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas' armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, has claimed a drone attack against Israeli military bases in Gaza. 

A rare launch- it said that its fighters dropped two antipersonnel mines from a drone on "enemy army headquarters", which was located in northern Gaza's east of Beit Hanoon.

Hamas added that a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier in Beit Hanoon on Thursday, as fighters killed six Israeli troops inside a residential apartment in southern Gaza's Hamad City in in close-range combat.

Expanding Israeli settlements a 'war crime': UN
10:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories constitutes "a war crime" and risks eliminating any likelihood of a viable Palestinian state, the UN rights chief warned on Friday.

Volker Turk said there had been a drastic acceleration in Israeli illegal settlement building in the occupied West Bank as it wages a relentless war in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

The UN high commissioner for human rights said creating and expanding settlements amounted to the transfer by Israel of its own civilian population into occupied territories.

"Such transfers amount to a war crime that may engage the individual criminal responsibility of those involved," Turk said in a report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Reported Israeli plans to build another 3,476 settler homes in the West Bank colonies of Maale Adumim, Efrat and Kedar "fly in the face of international law", he said.

Israel gave the go-ahead for the new homes fewer than two weeks after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said any settlement expansion would be "counterproductive to reaching enduring peace" with the Palestinians.

Turk said that during the period covered by his report- November 1, 2022, to October 31, 2023- some 24,300 housing units were added to existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

That marks the largest number on record since monitoring began in 2017. It includes nearly 9,700 units in east Jerusalem, the UN rights office said.

Turk's report found that the Israeli government's policies "appear aligned, to an unprecedented extent, with the goals of the Israeli settler movement to expand long-term control over the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and to steadily integrate this occupied territory into the State of Israel".

UNRWA: Israel coerced agency employees to claim Hamas links
10:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said some employees released into Gaza from Israeli detention reported having been pressured by Israeli authorities into falsely stating that the agency has Hamas links and that staff took part in the October 7 attacks.

The assertions are contained in a report by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) dated February 2024 which detailed allegations of mistreatment in Israeli detention made by unidentified Palestinians, including several working for UNRWA.

UNRWA communications director Juliette Touma said the agency planned to hand the information in the 11-page, unpublished report to agencies inside and outside the UN specialised in documenting potential human rights abuses.

"When the war comes to an end there needs to be a series of inquiries to look into all violations of human rights," she said.

The document said several UNRWA Palestinian staffers had been detained by the Israeli army, and added that the ill-treatment and abuse they said they had experienced included severe physical beatings, waterboarding, and threats of harm to family members.

"Agency staff members have been subject to threats and coercion by the Israeli authorities while in detention, and pressured to make false statements against the Agency, including that the Agency has affiliations with Hamas and that UNRWA staff members took part in the 7 October 2023 atrocities,” the report says.

In addition to the alleged abuse endured by UNRWA staff members, Palestinian detainees more broadly described allegations of abuse, including beatings, humiliation, threats, dog attacks, sexual violence, and deaths of detainees denied medical treatment, the UNRWA report said.

UKMTO says no 'collateral damage' by attack off Yemen
10:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) has issued an update following a ship attacked near Yemen- stating that it has escaped unscathed.

UKMTO previously said that a vessel passing through the Gulf of Aden reported twin blasts off its bow.

"The master reports two explosions ahead of the vessel. The vessel and crew are reported as safe," the agency said earlier.

"Vessels are advised to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity to UKMTO."

The agency said the blasts were reported some 50 nautical miles south-southeast of the government-controlled Yemeni port city of Aden.

Three additional children died due to hunger: ministry
10:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

The health ministry in Gaza has announced the deaths of three more children due to dehydration and malnutrition at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

23 Palestinians have died in Gaza's hospitals as a result of dehydration and malnutrition, according to the ministry. died of malnutrition and dehydration at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital, according to the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave.

The current toll is due to confirmed cases that have reached hospitals, as the ministry stated that "dozens" of other Palestinians are dying of starvation in silence that has been enforced by Israeli forces.

Biden presses Netanyahu on Gaza after hot mic moment
9:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden said Friday that Benjamin Netanyahu must allow more aid into Gaza, after he was caught on a hot mic saying he would confront the Israeli premier over the conflict.

Biden was overheard saying after his State of the Union speech on Thursday that he'd told Netanyahu they would have a "come to Jesus" meeting, reflecting growing frustration with Israel.

"Yes he does," Biden told reporters when asked, in the wake of the recorded comments, if Netanyahu needed to do more to let in relief to the Palestinian territory amid UN warnings of looming famine.

Asked by reporters why he had said a meeting was necessary, Biden added that "I didn't say that in the speech," referring to his State of the Union address Thursday night, and then said that "you guys (were) eavesdropping (on) things."

The hot mic comments after his State of the Union speech reinforced the impression of a growing rift with Netanyahu, as Israel and Hamas fail to agree a ceasefire.

Biden was recorded while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives to Senator Michael Bennet, saying: "I told him, Bibi -- and don't repeat this -- but you and I are going to have a 'come to Jesus' meeting."

A presidential aide spotted the camera and approached Biden to warn him.

Biden then left the huddle which included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, saying "I'm on a hot mic here. Good. That was good."

Biden says Gaza ceasefire by Ramadan 'looking tough'
9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden warned Friday that it would be "tough" to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas by the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"It's looking tough," Biden told reporters when asked if a deal to halt the five-month-old conflict could be achieved by Ramadan, which is due to start as early as Sunday depending on the sighting of the moon.

Biden added that "I sure am" worried about the possibility of violence in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as Ramadan approaches, adding to a similar warning earlier this week.

Israeli attack near Khan Younis wounds several Palestinians
8:36 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

News publication Al Jazeera English has reported an Israeli-launched attack near the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.

According to Al Jazeera, Israeli forces targeted a car in al-Thawabta neighbourhood when the wounded were later transported to the European Gaza Hospital as seen in a video that has been shared on social media. 

Canada to resume funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency
8:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Canada will resume funding to the UN Palestinian refugee agency, International Aid Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement on Friday, but did not give a timeline.

Ottawa had announced a pause on Jan 26 after Israel alleged some of the staff at the agency had been involved in the October 7 Hamas attacks.

Biden predicts "come to Jesus" meeting with Netanyahu
8:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 President Joe Biden said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the two of them were headed for a "come to Jesus" meeting over the issue of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, according to a video clip posted on Friday.

Biden was recorded making the comment on Thursday night while on Capitol Hill for his State of the Union speech in what appeared to be a further sign of his frustration at dealing with Netanyahu over the issue of Gaza.

In the clip, posted on social media by Democratic consultant Sawyer Hackett, Biden can be seen talking to Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennett, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Bennett can be heard telling Biden that there was a need to keep pushing Israel to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The United States has been air dropping crates of aid into Gaza and is organizing construction of a temporary pier to allow for maritime deliveries since Israel has slowed truck deliveries.

"I told him, Bibi, and don't repeat this, but you and I are going to have a 'come to Jesus' meeting," Biden said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. "I'm on a hot mic here. Good. That's good."

"Come to Jesus" is an American expression for having a blunt conversation.

US says temporary port for Gaza aid to take 'several weeks'
8:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A temporary port that the United States is seeking to build to speed up aid to Gaza will take "several weeks" in planning and execution, a Pentagon spokesperson told reporters on Friday, adding that the US eventually aimed to provide 2 million meals to Gazans daily.

The process may involve 1,000 U.S. forces, but U.S. troops will not be put on the ground, the Pentagon said. It said Washington was working through the details with partner nations in the Middle East.

US aid policy on Gaza 'absurd', UN official says
7:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 UN expert on Friday criticised US efforts to boost humanitarian aid to Gaza, such as plans for a temporary port and recent air drops, which he said were "absurd" and "cynical" methods so long as military aid to Israel continues.

Amid warnings of looming famine five months into Israel's campaign in Gaza, the US military has carried out air drops of meals into Gaza and plans a temporary port for aid imports on its Mediterranean coast.

Air drops in particular "will do very little to alleviate hunger malnutrition, and do nothing to slow down famine," Michael Fakhri, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, told reporters in Geneva.

He warned of chaos as starving people joust for supplies. As for the port, he said no one had asked for it. He called the port and air drops methods of "last resort".

"The time when countries use air drops, and these maritime piers, is usually if not always, in situations when you want to deliver humanitarian aid into enemy territory," he said.

Fakhri, a Lebanese-Canadian law professor mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to document and advise on global food security, said such methods made little sense while Washington continues to provide military support to Israel.

"That's more than allyship. That's a marriage ... It's almost incomprehensible," he said of US support to Israel, calling the recent aid measures a "performance to try to meet a domestic audience with (US presidential) elections around the corner".

"That's the only rational coherent interpretation (for these aid announcements) because ...from a humanitarian perspective, from an international perspective, from a human rights perspective, it is absurd in a dark, cynical way," he said.

Fakhri on Thursday told the Geneva Human Rights Council that Israel was destroying Gaza's food system as part of a broader "starvation campaign".

Israel's envoy has denied restricting aid into Gaza.

The United Nations' Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri [Getty]
Israel Olympics sanctions 'out of the question': IOC
7:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The International Olympic Committee has no plans to sanction Israel ahead of the Paris Olympics over its war in Gaza, a top official said Friday.

Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, the head of the IOC coordination committee for Paris 2024, said the conflict in Gaza and Russia's war in Ukraine, for which Moscow was suspended by the IOC, were "different situations".

"It's out of question to imagine sanctions (on Israel) right now," Beckers-Vieujant told reporters on Friday at the end of a three-day trip to the French capital.

"The reasons that led the IOC to sanction Russia initially and then the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) are very specific."

He said: "Russia and more recently the ROC undermined essential parts of the Olympic charter.

"That's not the case for the Palestinian Olympic Committee, nor the Israeli Olympic Committee... which co-exist in peace together. It's entirely clear that these are different situations."

Four days after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the IOC urged all international sports federations to exclude Russia and Belarusian athletes from their competitions and cancel forthcoming events in Russia.

Some Palestinian activists, as well as a collective of left-wing French MPs, have called for Israel to be sanctioned by the IOC over the war in Gaza, as Israel has killed at least 30,878 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.

Belgian businessman Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, Chair of the IOC [Getty]
US military airdrops more aid to Gaza: US official
7:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US military carried out its fourth airdrop of aid into Gaza on Friday, a US official told news agency Reuters, amid an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in the crowded coastal enclave.

The Israeli offensive in Gaza, which is supported by the United States, has displaced most of the enclave's 2.3 million people and led to critical shortages of food, water and medicine.

The US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not offer more details on the airdrop, including its location or number of meals delivered.

US President Joe Biden, who first announced the airdrop campaign last week, announced on Thursday that the US military will also build a temporary port in the coming weeks on Gaza's Mediterranean coast to enable delivery of humanitarian aid by sea. 

Blinken says 'ball in court' of Hamas on ceasefire
7:02 PM

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that it remained up to Hamas to accept a ceasefire with Israel, as hopes dimmed for a new truce in the five-month-old war.

"The issue is Hamas," Blinken said, a day after President Joe Biden called in his State of the Union address for an "immediate" six-week truce that would allow humanitarian aid into war-ravaged Gaza and free hostages.

"The ball is in their court. We're working intensely on it," Blinken said as he met Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.

"But there's no doubt in my mind that getting to this ceasefire with the release of hostages would be a profound benefit to everyone involved," he said.

Mediators had been scrambling to lock in a truce before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is set to begin as early as Sunday depending on the lunar calendar.

On Thursday, Hamas's delegation voiced dissatisfaction with Israeli responses to its demands and left the latest round of talks in Cairo for consultations with the movement's leadership in Qatar.

Turkish Foreign Minister Fidan (L) meets with US Secretary of State Blinken (R) [Getty]
Hamas armed wing says 'no compromise' in Gaza truce talks
6:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas's armed wing said Friday there would be no compromise on the movement's demand that Israel withdraw from Gaza to secure the release of hostages seized in the October 7 attack.

"Our top priority to reach a prisoner exchange deal is the complete commitment for the halt of aggression and an enemy withdrawal, and there is no compromise on this," Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said in a televised statement.

Hamas also wants "relief for our people, the return of the displaced and reconstruction," Abu Obeida said, amid warnings of looming famine in the war-ravaged territory.

The statement came as hopes dimmed for a new truce in the five-month-old war in Gaza. 

Mediators had been scrambling to lock in a truce before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is set to begin as early as Sunday depending on the lunar calendar.

On Thursday, Hamas's delegation voiced dissatisfaction with Israeli responses to its demands and left the latest round of talks in Cairo for consultations with the movement's leadership in Qatar.

Hamas has been demanding that Israel withdraw from Gaza, which Israel has refused to do.

Blinken says the ball is in Hamas' court on Gaza ceasefire
4:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday it was up to Hamas to agree to a ceasefire that would allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza and allow for talks on an "enduring resolution" to the conflict.

"The ball is in their court. We're working intensely on it, and we'll see what they do," Blinken said ahead of a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.


Death toll rises to five of Palestinians of faulty air drop
4:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A medic at Gaza's largest hospital said Friday a humanitarian airdrop in the north of the Palestinian territory killed five people and wounded 10.

The casualties were taken to Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital, the emergency room's head nurse, Mohammed al-Sheikh, told AFP.

Sheikh said the deadly airdrop occurred north of the coastal Al-Shati refugee camp.

Yemen stages demonstration in support of Gaza
3:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Marchers in Yemen are starting to protest in support of Gaza in Al-Sabeen Square in the capital, Sanaa.

Israeli army 'did fire' at civilians in Gaza aid massacre
3:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

An internal review by the Israeli military announced on Friday that its troops did fire at civilians during the aid massacre in north Gaza on February 29 which saw 114 Palestinians killed and hundreds more injured.

The military said that soldiers "did fire at a number of suspects," claiming that civilians who approached their forces "posed a threat to them".

Read more about the review in The New Arab's article here.

UK Palestine activist group deface portrait of Lord Balfour
2:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

A UK pro-Palestine activist group defaced a portrait of Lord Arthur Balfour, the signatory of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, at the University of Cambridge of Friday.

The portrait was covered in red spray paint and slashed with a sharp object by members of Palestine Action. Balfour agreed to allow land in Palestine to become "a national home for the Jewish people" which led to the creation of the state of Israel and subsequent expulsion of Palestinians from their land.

"Palestine Action spray and slash a historic painting of Lord Balfour in Trinity College, University of Cambridge," the group wrote on X.

"Written in 1917, Balfour’s declaration began the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by promising the land away — which the British never had the right to do".


Women in Cairo march in solidarity for Palestinian women
2:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Women in Egypt marched the streets of Cairo to mark International Women's Day, chanting in solidarity with Palestinian women.

The protesters also called for the opening of the Rafah crossing.

UK's Cameron says temporary Gaza harbour will 'take time'
2:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British foreign minister David Cameron said on Friday the U.S.-led plan to build a temporary harbour in Gaza to bring aid into the enclave would take time, reiterating his call for Israel to open the port of Ashdod in the meantime.

"It's going to take time to build," Cameron told UK broadcasters of the harbour.

"So the crucial thing is today the Israelis must confirm that they'll open the port at Ashdod."


UN expert examines treatment of Palestinian detainees
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations expert on torture, Dr Alice Jill Edwards, said on Friday she was investigating allegations of torture and mistreatment of Palestinian detainees in Israel and was in talks to visit the country.

"I'm looking into that as we speak and carrying out a fact-finding investigation," said Edwards, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"I'm calling on...Hamas, the state of Palestine, Israel to put their torture tools down, to really have a focus on peace and a prospect of living side-by-side as neighbours in the future."

EU chief hopes aid route from Cyprus to Gaza to open Sunday
1:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said she hopes a humanitarian aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza will open this weekend amid fears of famine in the Palestinian territory.

"We are very close to opening this corridor, hopefully this Sunday," von der Leyen said after a visit to the Cypriot port of Larnaca with Cyprus's President Nikos Christodoulides.

EU: aid ship to leave Cyprus for Gaza to test sea corridor
12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Commission president said on Friday that a charity ship will leave for Gaza for a pilot operation to test a new humanitarian sea corridor delivering aid directly from Cyprus to the Palestinian enclave.

Ursula von der Leyen said the EU, together with the US, the United Arab Emirates, and other involved partner countries, is launching the sea corridor to deliver large quantities of aid to Gaza, which faces a "humanitarian catastrophe."

She told reporters in a joint news conference with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides that the corridor will open as early as Sunday, preceded by the charity Open Arms's pilot voyage on Friday.

Several Palestinians killed by air-dropped aid in Gaza
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Several Palestinians have been killed by air-dropped humanitarian aid in Gaza.

On X, Hamdah Salhut notes others were also injured when parachutes attached to the aid failed to open correctly.

Israeli troops arrest and beat worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

On Friday, witnesses reported Israeli forces assaulted worshippers at the Asbat Gate, one of the main entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem, first reported by Wafa​​​​​​.

Worshipers were also prevented from entering the mosque for prayers, and two were beaten and arrested.

Worshipers were assaulted and prevented from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers [GETTY]
Israel 'welcomes' planned opening of Gaza maritime aid route
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel says it"welcomes" a humanitarian aid corridor from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip, an initiative backed by the US and which the EU hopes can open Sunday.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said on X: "Israel will continue to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip in accordance with the rules of war and in coordination with the United States and our allies around the world."

MSF 'deeply concerned' for staff member detained by Israel
11:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said they are"deeply concerned" about a staff member whom Israeli soldiers detained after being forced to flee Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis last month.

They were trying to leave Nasser's hospital in Gaza on 15 February.

On X, MSF said: "We call on them to treat him with dignity & ensure his wellbeing" on Friday.

6 soldiers were killed in a resistance ambush in Hamad Town
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Six soldiers of the Israeli army were killed in a resistance ambush in Hamad Town, north of the city of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, soldiers were engaging from "point zero" in a "tight" ambush inside a residential apartment.

Israeli settlements expand by record amount, UN rights chief
11:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN Human rights chief said on Friday that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories have expanded by a record amount and risk eliminating any practical possibility of a Palestinian state.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said that the growth of Israeli settlements amounted to the transfer by Israel of its population, which he reiterated was a war crime.

The report, based on the UN's monitoring and other sources, documented 24,300 new Israeli housing units in the occupied West Bank from one year through to the end of October 2023, which it said was the highest on record since monitoring began in 2017.


UN: Israeli offensive in Rafah 'cannot be allowed to happen
10:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations human rights office said on Friday that an Israeli offensive in Gaza's border town of Rafah could not be allowed to happen because it would cause massive loss of life.

"Should Israel launch its threatened military offensive into Rafah, where 1.5 million people have been displaced in deplorable, subhuman conditions, any ground assault on Rafah would incur massive loss of life and would heighten the risk of further atrocity crimes," said Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office.

"This must not be allowed to happen."


Britain to work with US on Gaza maritime aid corridor
10:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK foreign minister David Cameron said on Friday that Britain would work alongside the United States to open a maritime corridor to deliver aid directly to Gaza.

"Alongside the US, the UK and partners have announced we will open a maritime corridor to deliver aid directly to Gaza," Cameron said on social media.

"We continue to urge Israel to allow more trucks into Gaza as the fastest way to get aid to those who need it."


Israeli jets destroy house in southern Lebanon
10:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanese state media have said Israeli warplanes have raided a house in southern Lebanon.

The National News Agency said that the house located between the villages of al-Mansouri and Majdal Zoun was destroyed in a report.

Both villages are located only several kilometres away from the border with Israel.

Israeli warplanes raided a house in southern Lebanon [GETTY]
370 Palestinian paramedics killed, 99 detained
9:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces have killed 370 paramedics working for the Palestine Red Crescent Society since 7 October. The humanitarian organisation told Al Araby TV. 

Another 99 have also been detained by invading troops operating inside the Gaza Strip.

Israel says Eurovision accepts new entry after lyrics edit
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Broadcasting Union informed Israeli public broadcaster Kan that the song, performed by 20-year-old Russian-Israeli singer Eden Golan, was being given the green light "after discussing the lyrics of the song... and listening to its performance", Kan said in a statement.

In late February, Israel said it would not take part in the competition if organisers rejected its entries, "October Rain" and "Dance Forever", which reportedly referenced Hamas's attack on the Nova Music festival on 7 October.

Eurovision rules ban political content.

Then, on Sunday, Israel said it had asked lyricists to revise its proposed entry.

According to Kan, the song ends with "There is no air left to breathe, There is no place for me." The lyrics were published in full on Kan's website.

"Hurricane" features the same music as "October Rain" but has different lyrics, Kan said.

War on Gaza death toll increases to 30,878 in Gaza
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

78 people have been killed in eight Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the last 24 hours, increasing the total number of deaths to 30,878 since October 7 - according to The Health Ministry in Gaza.

The total number of wounded has risen to 72,402 after the Israeli army injured 104 over the past day.