Gaza: Fears of Gaza famine as aid groups pull support

Gaza: Fears of Gaza famine as aid groups pull support
Following the killing of seven aid workers in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes, charities are being forced to pull out of the enclave.
23 min read

This live blog on Day 180 of Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookX, and Instagram.

Some of Israel's closest allies, including the United States, on Tuesday condemned the killings of seven aid workers in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

Such loss has prompted multiple charities to suspend food deliveries to Palestinians on the brink of starvation. 

World Central Kitchen (WCK), whose workers were killed in an Israeli strike on Monday, said early Tuesday it was immediately pausing operations in the region, delivering a blow to the recently opened sea route for food aid. Ships carrying food sailed away from Gaza after arriving just a day earlier.

The killings of the WCK workers additionally threatened to set back efforts to open a maritime corridor for aid from Cyprus to help ease the desperate conditions in northern Gaza.

Western governments have since faced rising pressure to condemn Israel's latest military action that has hit humanitarian efforts in the besieged Palestinian territory. 

Israel says the strikes were an accident and that officials are investigating. At least 180 humanitarian workers have been killed in the war by Israeli forces, according to UN figures.

Thanks for following
11:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog covering Israel's war on Gaza has ended.

Khamenei says Israel will 'be slapped' for consulate attack
9:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Israel would "be slapped" after an air strike on the Iranian consular annex in Damascus killed seven Revolutionary Guards, two of them generals.

"The defeat of the Zionist regime in Gaza will continue and this regime will be close to decline and dissolution," Khamenei said in a speech to the country's officials in Tehran.

"Desperate efforts like the one they committed in Syria will not save them from defeat. Of course, they will also be slapped for that action," he added.

Palestinian state should be through direct talks, not UN: US
9:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States said on Wednesday that establishing an independent Palestinian state should happen through direct negotiations between the parties and not at the United Nations.

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday asked for renewed consideration of a 2011 application to become a full member of the United Nations. It currently has de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine after the United Nations granted it the status of a non-member observer state in 2012.

When asked if the U.S. would use its Security Council veto to block the Palestinian bid, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said: "I'm not going to speculate about what may happen down the road."

But he added that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel "is something that should be done through direct negotiations between the parties - it's something we are pursuing at this time - and not at the United Nations."

Undelivered Gaza aid returns to Cyprus after workers killed
9:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A sea convoy of undelivered food for Gaza returned to Cyprus on Wednesday after aid workers of World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Monday evening.

A cargo ship carrying 240 metric tons of food that had been destined for the people of the besieged Palestinian enclave sailed back to Larnaca in Cyprus following the deadly attack, dropping anchor just outside the port.

A second ship, the Open Arms owned by a Spanish NGO working with WCK, arrived earlier.

The undelivered aid was part of a consignment of about 340 tons sent to Gaza from Cyprus on March 30. The aid workers killed in Gaza had just finished unloading 100 tons from a barge, also sent from Cyprus.

WCK strike won't affect US efforts to build pier: State Dept
8:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US State Department said the killing of the World Central Kitchen aid workers won't affect US efforts to build the floating pier in Gaza.

Israel's Gantz calls for September election amid Gaza war
7:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel war cabinet member Benny Gantz called for national elections in September on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government faces pressure at home and abroad over its war on Gaza.

"We must agree on a date for elections in September, towards a year to the war if you will," Gantz said in a televised briefing. "Setting such a date will allow us to continue the military effort while signaling to the citizens of Israel that we will soon renew their trust in us."

Chef Andres says Israel targeting of aid workers systematic
7:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Celebrity chef Jose Andres told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that an Israeli attack that killed seven of his food aid workers in Gaza had targeted them "systematically, car by car."

Speaking in a video interview, Andres said the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity group he founded had clear communication with the Israeli military, which he said knew his aid workers' movements.

"This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place," Andres said. "Even if we were not in coordination with the (Israeli army), no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians

Andres said there may have been more than three strikes against the aid convoy. He said he was supposed to be in Gaza with his team but for different reasons "wasn't able to go back again to Gaza."

Andres, who spoke to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, pressured the United States to do more to stop the war.

"The U.S. must do more to tell Prime Minister Netanyahu this war needs to end now," he said.

Andres said his organization was still studying the safety situation in Gaza as it contemplates starting aid deliveries again.

Biden to speak with Netanyahu on Thursday: Axios reporter
7:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. President Joe Biden will speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, according to an Axios reporter on social media platform X.

Poll finds most UK voters back banning arms sales to Israel
6:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

Most voters in Britain support banning arms sales to Israel, a poll by market research company YouGov has shown, reported The Guardian.

The poll shows that among all voters in the UK, a majority of 56% are in favour of a ban on exporting arms to Israel, and a majority of 59% say Israel is violating human rights in Gaza.



UN observers in Lebanon not hit by 'direct or indirect fire'
6:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations' peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon said on Wednesday that an incident at the weekend in which three U.N. observers and their translator were wounded was not caused by "direct or indirect fire".

Andrea Tenenti, spokesperson for the U.N. peacekeeping mission UNIFIL, said its "preliminary investigation showed that the incident was not caused by direct or indirect fire onto the group of UNTSO observers and their translator."

"The investigation to determine the exact cause of the blast is ongoing," he told Reuters.

The observers were from Chile, Australia and Norway while the translator was Lebanese.

UN rights council to consider call to halt Israel arms sales
6:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN Human Rights Council on Friday is set to consider a draft resolution calling for a cessation of arms sales to Israel, nearly six months into the war on Gaza.

If the text is adopted, it would mark the first time that the United Nations' top rights body has taken a position on Gaza's bloodiest-ever war.

The draft resolution circulated on Wednesday condemns the "use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in Gaza" and demands Israel "uphold its legal responsibility to prevent genocide".

The draft resolution was brought forward by Pakistan on behalf of 55 of the 56 UN member states in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) - the exception being Albania.

The text is co-sponsored by Bolivia, Cuba and the Palestinian mission in Geneva.

UN suspends aid movements at night in Gaza
6:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations has suspended movements at night in Gaza for at least 48 hours to evaluate security issues following the killing of staff working for the World Central Kitchen food charity, U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday.

He said the suspension started on Tuesday. The World Food Programme is continuing operations during the day, including daily efforts to send convoys to the north of Gaza "where people are dying," Dujarric said.

"As famine closes in we need humanitarian staff and supplies to be able to move freely and safely across the Gaza Strip," he told reporters.

Bodies of slain foreign aid workers taken out of Gaza
6:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The bodies of six foreign aid workers killed in an Israeli strike were on Wednesday taken out of Gaza to Egypt for repatriation, a security source said, as Israel faced a chorus of outrage over their deaths.

The remains of the six international staff, who were killed alongside one Palestinian colleague, were taken in ambulances to the Rafah crossing to Egypt, where they were handed over to representatives of their respective countries, the security source said on condition of anonymity.

Spain: Netanyahu reply to aid worker deaths 'insufficient'
5:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Wednesday the response of his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to an air strike that killed seven aid workers was "insufficient" and "unacceptable".

"We are waiting for a much more detailed clarification of what the causes have been, bearing in mind that the Israeli government knew about the actions and the itinerary of this NGO on the ground in Gaza," Sanchez told a Doha news conference at the end of a three-nation tour of the Middle East.

"It seems to me absolutely unacceptable, insufficient," he added when asked about Netanyahu's statements about the tragedy.

US-based World Central Kitchen -- founded by Spanish-American celebrity chef Jose Andres -- said a "targeted attack" by Israeli forces on Monday had killed the seven aid workers, a group that included Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian employees.

Netanyahu later admitted Israel's military had "unintentionally" killed them in an air strike.

He said it was a "tragic case" that would be investigated "right to the end" but stopped short of apologising for the deaths.

The Israeli army said Tuesday it would hold an investigation into the air strike and pledged to "share our findings transparently".

The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sanchez [Getty]
UK faces pressure to stop selling weapons to Israel
5:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The three main British opposition parties and some lawmakers in the governing party on Wednesday said the British government should consider suspending arm sales.

The Liberal Democrats called for arms exports to Israel to be suspended, while the Scottish National Party also backed that move and said parliament should be recalled from its Easter break to discuss the crisis.

The main opposition Labour Party, who polls suggest will form the next government later this year, adopted a nuanced approach, saying the government should suspend arms sales if lawyers have found Israel had broken international law.

"It's important now that, that advice is published so that we can all be clear that if there has been a breach in international humanitarian law -and I must say that I do have very serious concerns - that arm sales are suspended," said David Lammy, the Labour foreign policy chief, told reporters.

The Israeli strike on the convoy of people working for aid group World Central Kitchen killed citizens of Australia, Britain and Poland as well as Palestinians and a dual citizen of the US and Canada.

WCK said its staff were travelling in two armoured cars emblazoned with the charity's logo and another vehicle, and had coordinated their movements with the Israeli military.

British PM Sunak: Arms sales to Israel kept under review
5:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sunak on Wednesday resisted calls to immediately suspend weapons sales to Israel. He said that arms exports to the country are kept under review.

"We've always had a very careful export licensing regime that we adhere to," Sunak said in an interview with the Sun newspaper. "There are a set of rules, regulations and procedures that we'll always follow."

A majority of people in Britain back a ban on weapon sales to Israel, according to a poll published in The Guardian.

Fifty-six percent of people are in favour of a ban compared with 17% opposed, the poll found.

The British government has sold weapons and military components worth more than 570 million pounds ($719 million) to Israel since 2008.

Defence minister Grant Shapps told parliament in November that defence exports to Israel were "relatively small" at 42 million pounds in 2022, the last full-year data available.

Military exports to Israel, which included components for explosive devices, assault rifles, and military aircraft, were about 0.4% of Britain's total global defence sales that year.

During a previous conflict in Gaza in 2014, the British government said it would suspend some arms exports to Israel if hostilities continued. But ultimately, arm sales were not restricted during that conflict.

Qatar PM: Dispute in Gaza ceasefire negotiations continue
4:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar's prime minister said on Wednesday the main point of dispute in negotiations on a Gaza ceasefire is over the return of displaced people to different parts of the Palestinian territory.

Fatah says Iran trying to spread chaos in occupied West Bank
4:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The main Palestinian faction in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday accused Iran of trying to spread chaos in its territory and said it would oppose operations from outside that had nothing to do with the Palestinian cause.

Fatah, the movement that controls the Palestinian Authority, said it would not allow "our sacred cause and the blood of our people to be exploited" and said it would act against any interference from outside aimed at harming security forces or national institutions.

Israel has long accused Iran of helping Palestinian armed groups including Hamas, the group in Gaza which led the October 7 attack on Israel.

In the past, Iran has not denied providing support to the armed groups, saying whatever backing it gives is at the request of the Palestinians.

The statement from Fatah came as the Palestinian Authority has asked the United Nations Security Council to vote this month to make it a full UN member, a move that would add to mounting global pressure for a two state solution with Israel.

Al Shifa Hospital patients will die if not evacuated: WHO
4:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The destruction of Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza will require more medical evacuations and ultimately cause more deaths if these are not carried out swiftly, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Israeli forces, who left the hospital in Gaza City on Monday after a two-week operation, detained hundreds of Palestinians and left a swathe destroyed buildings in their wake.

"The people who need medical evacuation will increase, and medical evacuation is already slow," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"People will die because they will not get the services either from Shifa or because of slow evacuation, because they cannot be evacuated."

 Hamas and medical staff deny fighters were present.

"The process for the evacuation has to be expedited," he said. "Otherwise we will lose many people. We will lose many lives."

Only 10 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are still able to function even partially, Tedros said.

He said WHO was seeking to visit the place where Al Shifa stood to speak to staff and see what could be saved, but that the situation on the ground looked "disastrous".

Poland summons Israeli envoy to discuss 'responsibility'
4:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Poland's deputy foreign minister on Wednesday said he had summoned Israel's ambassador for talks over the death of a Polish aid worker killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza.

"I want to talk to the ambassador about the new situation in Polish-Israeli relations and about the moral, political and financial responsibility for the event that recently took place in the Gaza Strip", Andrzej Szejna told the Polish state news agency PAP.

Hamas chief says group will maintain ceasefire conditions
4:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Wednesday that the Palestinian movement was sticking to its conditions for a ceasefire in Gaza, including an Israeli military withdrawal.

"We are committed to our demands: the permanent ceasefire, comprehensive and complete withdrawal of the enemy out of the Gaza Strip, the return of all displaced people to their homes, allowing all aid needed for our people in Gaza, rebuilding the Strip, lifting the blockade and achieving an honourable prisoner exchange deal," Haniyeh said in a televised speech marking Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

The exchange he referred to would be a release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli hostages being held by members in Gaza since October 7.

Israel had said it is interested only in a temporary truce to free hostages, while Hamas says it will let them go only as part of a deal to permanently end the war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel will push its invasion into Rafah at the southern end of Gaza, where 1.5 million people have sought shelter.

White House: US frustrated by Israel strike on aid workers
3:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States does not expect the Israeli strike that killed seven World Center Kitchen workers in Gaza to impact talks on an Israel-Hamas ceasefire and releases of hostages and Palestinian prisoners, the White House said on Wednesday.

"The ceasefire and hostage negotiations are ongoing," White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a briefing. "I wouldn't anticipate any particular impact on those discussions as a result of the strike yesterday."

John Kirby, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications in the White House [Getty]
Toll rises to 16 in Israeli strike on Iranian consulate
3:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Wednesday that the death toll from an Israeli air strike on Iran's consulate in Damascus this week had risen to 16.

The raid destroyed the consular annex of the embassy, with Iran's Revolutionary Guard saying two of its high-level commanders were among seven of its personnel killed.

"The death toll from Israeli strikes on the Iranian embassy annex has risen to 16," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the British-based Observatory, which had previously given a toll of 14.

He said the dead included eight Iranians, five Syrians and one member of Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group -- all of them fighters.

Two civilians, a woman and her son, were also killed, the Observatory added.

The Observatory said one of the dead, named as Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, had served as leader of the Revolutionary Guard Corps' overseas Quds Force for Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

The Damascus strike was the fifth in a week to hit Syria, whose President Bashar al-Assad is supported by Iran, Israel's long-time arch-foe.

Red Sea attacks undermining Yemen peace process: US official
3:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis are undermining the war-torn country's peace process by attacking ships in the Red Sea, US special envoy Tim Lenderking said on Wednesday, urging them to stop.

Attacks by the Iran-backed rebels are also preventing humanitarian aid from getting to their own people and to the Gaza Strip, Lenderking said following visits to Saudi and Oman.

The Houthis, who control much of Yemen including the capital Sanaa, are fighting a Saudi-led coalition in a conflict that has caused one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

"The Houthi must immediately halt their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden because they are undermining progress on the Yemen peace process and complicating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Yemenis and others in need, including the Palestinian people," Lenderking told a virtual briefing.

UK organisation accuses Foreign Office of Gaza war crimes
2:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) has alleged that the Foreign Office (FCDO) violated its own regulations, following the killing of seven aid workers, including three British citizens, by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

"By continuing to permit the export of arms to Israel, despite reported internal legal advice suggesting the illegality of such a decision, the Foreign Office (FCDO) has violated its own regulations," ICJP wrote in a statement.

"This would mean FCDO and Business and Trade Department (DBT) officials may be aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza. ICJP are writing to FCDO and DBT to demand an immediate end to arms export licenses to Israel in the wake of Israel’s flagrant violations of international law."

The statement added that the three strikes which killed the aid workers could have implemented British-made components using an Elbit Systems Hermes 450 drone. 

NGOs demand global intervention on Gaza 'atrocity crimes'
2:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

13 human rights and humanitarian organisations, such as Amnesty, Save the Children and ActionAid have issued a statement to call on UN member states to take immediate action against increasing Israeli military operations in Rafah.

The statement says that states should act in accordance to UN Security Council's call for an immediate ceasefire and the ICJ's provisional measures in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.

"Humanitarian and human rights organizations have repeatedly warned that the planned Israeli ground incursion into Rafah promises to decimate life and life-saving assistance for the more than 1.3 million civilians, including at least 610,000 children, who are now in the direct line of fire," the statement read.

The statement also that if the Israeli military conduct a ground invasion on Rafah, there would be "no feasible evacuation plan or conditions that would protect civilians".

"States must now take urgent action to ensure the immediate implementation of a permanent ceasefire and explore all available options to protect civilians, in line with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.

"This includes immediately halting the transfer of weapons, parts, and ammunition where there is a risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law."

Belgium to consider Palestinian statehood when moment comes
1:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said on Wednesday her country would consider recognising Palestine as a sovereign state "when the moment comes". 

Addressing a NATO summit, Lahbib also shared her concern about the international response to the Gaza war, stating the UN Security Council Resolution that called for an "immediate ceasefire" in March has shown to be toothless.

Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib pictured during the NATO flag-raising ceremony [Getty]
Germany questions Israel's legislation on closing Al Jazeera
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

Germany has questioned a legislation that has paved the way for the closure of news publication Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel- which was backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

 Germany's foreign ministry states that it views the new legislation "with concern", according to spokesperson Sebastian Fischer, after Israel's parliament passed the law on Monday.

Fischer added that a free and diverse media landscape is a core aspect of a liberal democratic state and "and Israel understands itself as a liberal democracy".

Fischer also indicated that Germany does not agree with Netanyahu's labelling of the news outlet as a "terror channel".

"We have regularly given interviews on Al Jazeera and wouldn’t do that if Al Jazeera were a terror channel from our point of view."

Ambulances carrying aid workers arrive at Gaza-Egypt border
1:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ambulances arrived Wednesday at Gaza's border crossing with Egypt carrying the remains of foreign aid workers killed in the territory in an Israeli strike, according to news agency AFP.

Once the six charity workers' remains arrive in Egypt, the transports are to be met by representatives from their home nations and are then to be repatriated.

30 Palestinians under arrest by Israeli forces in West Bank
12:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have arrest 30 people, including a journalist, across the occupied West Bank since Tuesday evening, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Wafa additionally reported that the majority of arrests took place in Jerusalem and Ramallah governorates while others were in Hebron, Bethlehem, Tubas, Jenin, Qalqilya and Jericho governorates.

The total number of Palestinians jailed since October 7 has since risen to 7,990, Wafa reports.

Lebanese official says landmine wounded UN observers
12:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An ongoing investigation by the Lebanese army has found that a landmine wounded three UN military observers and a translator in the south last week, a judicial official said Wednesday.

"Preliminary results of a Lebanese army investigation have found that the observers were wounded by a landmine," the official told news agency AFP, adding that the probe was continuing and the source of the mine had yet to be determined.

Canada's Joly wants full investigation into Gaza killings
12:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Canada's Foreign Affairs minister Melanie Joly called on Wednesday for a full investigation into the killing of aid workers in Gaza, amongst whom a Canadian citizen, by an Israeli airstrike.

Speaking on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, she said Israel needed to respect international law, adding Canada would make sure it does. 

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly attends the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting [Getty]
Sunak tells Netanyahu that Gaza crisis is 'unbearable'
12:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday following the killing of foreign aid workers in Gaza, including three British citizens, that he is "appalled".

"Too many aid workers and innocent civilians have lost their lives in Gaza, the situation is becoming unbearable," a government statement quoted Sunak as saying.

"The UK expects to see immediate action by Israel to end restrictions on humanitarian aid, deconflict with the UN and aid agencies, protect civilians, and repair vital infrastructure like hospitals and water networks."

UNRWA: Israel continues to block aid access to north Gaza
11:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has issued its latest update on the ground in Gaza and stated that Israel has continued to deny the agency from bringing food and other necessities.

Bodies of foreign aid workers killed to be repatriated
11:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The bodies of six foreign aid workers killed in a Gaza strike were expected to be transported out of the war-torn Palestinian territory on Wednesday as Israel faced a chorus of outrage over their deaths.

Israeli bombardment killed seven staff of the US-based food charity World Central Kitchen on Monday in an attack that UN chief Antonio Guterres labelled "unconscionable" and "an inevitable result of the way the war is being conducted".

The remains of the six international staff, who were killed alongside one Palestinian colleague, were set to be taken out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, said Marwan Al-Hams, director of the city's Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital.

Polish prosecutors launch probe into aid worker killing
11:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prosecutors in Poland's Przemysl, where deceased aid worker Damian Sobol is from, are set to launch an independent investigation into how he was killed in Gaza, Deputy District Prosecutor Beata Starzecka has told Poland’s PAP press agency.

Sobol, 35, was among seven aid workers killed by a succession of Israeli air strikes on their convoy in an attack that Poland’s prime minister Donald Tusk said were straining ties between the two countries.

Four officers injured in Israel car-ramming attack: police
11:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four Israeli police were injured in a car-ramming attack at a checkpoint in the centre of the country, police said Wednesday, adding that the assailant was killed after being accused of trying to stab other security forces.

The 26-year-old allegedly crashed into four police officers at a checkpoint in the town of Kochav Yair, which borders the occupied West Bank and sits northeast of Tel Aviv.

The officers suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital, Israeli police said in a statement. The statement added that he was "neutralised" by security agents and later died at the scene.

Israel army implicates Hezbollah in UN peacekeepers wounding
10:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's military said Wednesday it had obtained information that indicated a Hezbollah explosive charge caused the blast that wounded UN peacekeepers in Lebanon last week.

The UN peacekeeping force said three military observers and a translator were wounded in Saturday's blast in south Lebanon, where Israel and Hezbollah militants trade frequent cross-border fire.

"According to information available to the (army), the explosion that occurred on March 30... occurred after a UNIFIL patrol passed over a charge that had been previously placed by Hezbollah in the area," army spokesman Avichay Adraee said on X.

The military observers, from Australia, Chile and Norway, and a Lebanese language assistant were on patrol near the so-called Blue Line- the UN-demarcated border between Israel and Lebanon.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported an "enemy (Israeli) drone" raided the Rmeish area of southern Lebanon where the incident is said to have occurred.

UAE pauses aid to Gaza by sea after Israeli strike
10:26 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Arab Emirates is pausing humanitarian aid efforts through a maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza pending further safety guarantees from Israel and a full investigation into the deaths of aid workers in Gaza, a UAE official told news agency Reuters on Tuesday.

The official, who was said to not be identified, gave no detail on the safety guarantees the UAE wants from Israel.

An Israeli strike killed seven people working for the World Central Kitchen aid group in Gaza.

The UAE has financed the aid shipments by sea to Gaza and WCK has organised them.

A UAE foreign ministry statement condemned the deaths of the aid workers and called for an "urgent, independent and transparent investigation." The UAE said it holds Israel responsible.

32,975 Palestinians killed in Israeli offensive on Gaza
9:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

At least 32,975 Palestinians have been killed and 75,577 have been injured in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Some 59 Palestinians were killed and 83 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry added. 

Pope expresses 'deep sorrow' for killed Gaza aid workers
9:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pope Francis expressed his "deep sorrow" Wednesday for the deaths of seven charity workers killed by an Israeli strike while they were delivering aid in Gaza.

"I express my deep sorrow for the volunteers killed while they were distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza," the 87-year-old pontiff said during his weekly audience at the Vatican.

"I pray for them and their families."

He renewed his appeal for access to humanitarian aid for the "exhausted and suffering civilian population" of Gaza, and for the hostages taken by Hamas to be released.

Polish PM says Gaza killings caused 'understandable anger'
9:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday that a deadly Israeli strike on aid workers in Gaza that killed a Polish citizen, and the government's reaction to the incident, were straining ties between the two countries.

Directly addressing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel's envoy to Warsaw, Tusk posted on X: "Today, you are putting this solidarity to the test."

"The tragic attack against volunteers and your reaction are generating an understandable anger," he wrote.

The strike killed seven aid workers in Gaza, including Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff, after the employees had just unloaded humanitarian food aid in the war-torn territory.

UK charity says Gaza healthcare system is dismantling
9:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

British organisation Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has issued a statement following the end of Israeli forces' two-week long siege in Gaza's largest hospital, Al Shifa.

MAP said that the destruction of Al Shifa is the "latest evidence of Israel’s systematic dismantling of Gaza’s health system."

"The hospital’s main surgery building, its intensive care unit, and emergency, general surgery, and orthopaedic departments have all been destroyed," the group wrote.

"Israeli forces killed hundreds of Palestinians around Shifa, including at least two doctors, Dr Ahmad al-Maqadmeh and his mother Yusra, while they were at their home in an area nearby the hospital.

"Dr Ahmad was a promising young plastic surgeon who had worked with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s team in Gaza and completed MAP’s general surgery programme."

Australian PM reiterates outrage over killings to Netanyahu
8:07 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he had “expressed Australia’s anger and concern” to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, following the killing of seven aid workers in Gaza- including Australian woman Zomi Frankcom.

He told reporters on Wednesday that he emphasised in his phone call with Netanyahu the importance of "full accountability and transparency" on the ongoing investigation.

“I conveyed to Prime Minister Netanyahu in very clear terms that Australians were outraged by this death, by this tragedy, of this fine Australian,” Albanese said.

“This is an Australian who we can all be proud of, someone who not only was in Gaza assisting people in need, but had in the past provided support for people in Bangladesh, in Pakistan, here in Australia after the bushfires. This was someone who was clearly committed to benefit her fellow humanity, and someone ... whose loss is very deeply felt by her family, but I think felt by Australians as well,” Albanese added.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks at Parliament House on March 18 [Getty]