Gaza war: Freedom Flotilla carrying aid to enclave 'blocked' in Turkey

Gaza war: Freedom Flotilla carrying aid to enclave 'blocked' in Turkey
A flotilla aimed at carrying aid to war-hit Gaza has been blocked in Turkey, as Guinea-Bissau withdrew its flagged vessels.
21 min read
27 April, 2024

A "Freedom Flotilla" aimed at delivering aid to Gaza was blocked in Turkey on Saturday after being denied use of two of its ships, which organisers blame on Israeli pressure.

The coalition of NGOs and other associations said it was unable to set sail after the West African country of Guinea-Bissau withdrew its flagged vessels.

"Sadly, Guinea-Bissau has allowed itself to become complicit in Israel's deliberate starvation, illegal siege and genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said.

"The Guinea-Bissau International Ships Registry (GBISR), in a blatantly political move, informed the Freedom Flotilla Coalition that it had withdrawn the Guinea Bissau flag from two of the Freedom Flotilla's ships, one of which is our cargo ship, already loaded with over 5,000 tons of life-saving aid," their statement said

The group said the Guinea-Bissau authorities made several "extraordinary" requests for information including destinations, potential additional port calls, cargo manifest, and estimated arrival dates and times.

"Normally, national flagging authorities concern themselves only with safety and related standards on vessels bearing their flag," it said, equating it to being asked about destinations when registering a car.

At an Istanbul press conference, about 280 volunteers - activists, lawyers and doctors - who had hoped to join the ships shouted slogans including "Flag the flotilla", "We will sail" and "Free Palestine".

Additionally,  Hamas's armed wing released footage of two hostages - including one Israeli-American national. The released clip comes as Hamas revealed that it is "studying" Israel's latest truce proposal, as mediators attempt to revive ceasefire talks between the two.

1:05 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.

Protesters kick off demonstration outside White House dinner
12:07 AM
The New Arab Staff

Demonstrators  have kicked off protesters outside the White House correspondents dinner, as videos have begun surfacing across social media.

In one clip, pro-Palestine protestors could be seen chanting "Shame on you!" to the members of the US media entering the White House Correspondents' Dinner. 

Police arrest scores of US pro-Palestinian protesters
11:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested on a handful of US university campuses on Saturday, as activists vowed to keep up the movement seeking a ceasefire in Israel's war in Gaza among other demands.

The Indiana University police department in Bloomington said in an emailed statement that 23 protesters were arrested there.

Indiana State Police along with Indiana University police told demonstrators they could not pitch tents and camp on campus. When the tents were not removed, police arrested and transported protesters to the Monroe County Justice Center on charges of criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

"The Indiana University Police Department continues to support peaceful protests on campus that follow university policy," the police statement read.

Pro-Palestinian protests have spread to college campuses across the US, stoked by the mass arrest of over 100 people on Columbia University's campus last week.

Massachusetts State Police said in statement that they helped cleared out a protest encampment at Northeastern University in Boston and that 102 protesters who refused to leave were arrested and will be charged with trespassing.

Northeastern University said in a statement on social media that it decided to call in police as "what began as a student demonstration two days ago was infiltrated by professional organizers with no affiliation to Northeastern."

At Arizona State University, campus police arrested 69 protesters early Saturday, the school said in a statement.

491 Palestinians killed in occupied West Bank since Oct 7
11:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

According to the health ministry of The Palestinian Authority (PA), 491 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

The ministry added the number includes 123 children, five women, five elderly people and 10 who were detained in Israeli prisons.

US officials say Israel may be violating international law
10:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Some senior US officials have advised Secretary of State Antony Blinken that they do not find "credible or reliable" Israel's assurances that it is using US-supplied weapons in accordance with international humanitarian law, according to an internal State Department memo reviewed by news agency Reuters.

Other officials upheld support for Israel's representation.

Under a National Security Memorandum (NSM) issued by President Joe Biden in February, Blinken must report to Congress by May 8 whether he finds credible Israel's assurances that its use of US weapons does not violate US or international law.

By March 24, at least seven State Department bureaus had sent in their contributions to an initial "options memo" to Blinken. Parts of the memo, which has not been previously reported, were classified.

The submissions to the memo provide the most extensive picture to date of the divisions inside the State Department over whether Israel might be violating international humanitarian law in Gaza.

"Some components in the department favored accepting Israel's assurances, some favored rejecting them and some took no position," a US official said.

A joint submission from four bureaus - Democracy Human Rights & Labor; Population, Refugees and Migration; Global Criminal Justice and International Organization Affairs – raised "serious concern over non-compliance" with international humanitarian law during Israel's prosecution of the Gaza war.

The assessment from the four bureaus said Israel's assurances were "neither credible nor reliable." It cited eight examples of Israeli military actions that the officials said raise "serious questions" about potential violations of international humanitarian law.

These included repeatedly striking protected sites and civilian infrastructure; "unconscionably high levels of civilian harm to military advantage"; taking little action to investigate violations or to hold to account those responsible for significant civilian harm and "killing humanitarian workers and journalists at an unprecedented rate."

The assessment from the four bureaus also cited 11 instances of Israeli military actions the officials said "arbitrarily restrict humanitarian aid," including rejecting entire trucks of aid due to a single "dual-use" item, "artificial" limitations on inspections as well as repeated attacks on humanitarian sites that should not be hit.

Biden to speak at White House dinner, protests planned
9:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden will speak on Saturday night at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, with protests against his staunch support for Israel's war on Gaza expected to follow him to the black-tie event.

At the century-old event, often referred to as Washington's "nerd prom," hundreds of journalists, politicians and celebrities will rub elbows in a massive hotel banquet hall at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

It often features friendly jabs from the president in a closing speech that takes aim at reporters and other guests in the audience. This year it will be hosted by Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost.

Grassroots movement CODEPINK is expected to march to the prestigious venue from a nearby park, as "the United States media perpetuates anti-Palestinian narratives and ignores Israeli war crimes," it wrote on its website.

A growing movement against the war in Gaza has dogged Biden this year including at a $250-per-ticket March fundraiser at New York's Radio City Music Hall, where protesters disrupted the event for the US handling of the crisis in Gaza.

Recently, that movement has expanded to college campuses in the US, signifying a growing revolt inside the Democratic base that Biden needs to defeat Republican frontrunner and former President Donald Trump.

Kelly O'Donnell, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, declined to comment on security measures for the dinner.

Pro-Palestine protest continues in London
8:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

The British capital have continued to protest against Israel's relentless war on Gaza- with the likes of Husam Zomlot, Palestine’s ambassador to the UK, and former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

Organised by activist groups such as Friends of Al Aqsa, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the Palestinian Forum in Britain and Stop the War coalition. 

Israeli army says it hopes Gaza aid pier ready by early May
8:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli army said Saturday it hoped a pier to deliver aid to Gaza would be ready by early May, as it pushes ahead with its assault on the Palestinian territory.

Israel's more than six-month offensive has triggered a humanitarian crisis and it has faced growing pressure to enable more aid deliveries as the UN warns of imminent famine.

On Thursday, the Pentagon said the US military had begun construction of the pier meant to boost aid deliveries, also saying it was set to be operational in early May.

"We will be working with our partners on this endeavour... in the upcoming weeks, hopefully to make it fully functional early May," Israeli army spokesman Major Nadav Shoshani told an online briefing on Saturday.

Tel Aviv protests call for Netanyahu resignation, elections
7:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israelis are taking to the streets of Israeli city Tel Aviv to demonstrate against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.

Protesters are calling for a ceasefire deal to be reached in order to bring back Israeli captives held by Hamas and immediate elections in Israel.

Israeli forces kill two Palestinians near Jenin: army
7:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian men at a military post near the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the army and Palestinian officials reported.

Palestinian authorities in Ramallah identified the two men killed at the military post as Mustafa Sultan Abed, 21, and Ahmed Muhammad Shawahna, 20.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Israeli forces withheld their bodies after denying medics access to them, adding two other men had been hospitalised after being wounded.

"I am proud of my son's martyrdom... but the pain I feel in my heart as a father is impossible to comprehend or bear," said Sultan Abed's father.

Israeli military releases footage of Gaza aid construction
7:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military has released a video showing a floating pier under construction on the coast of the central Gaza Strip.

The US-led project aims to bring aid to the Palestinian enclave, as the military says the Israeli navy will secure the pier until the project ends.

"The area of the project covers about 67 acres [27 hectares], which are allocated for the operation and the passage of large amounts of goods to the field," the Israeli military said on its official Telegram channel.

"In addition, a remote-controlled hydraulic gate system is being built, allowing for operational and logistical flexibility. Extensive electrical work is being done to support the facility and to accommodate the arrival of aid, both by land and by sea."

UK ship sets sail to help building of Gaza aid jetty
6:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A British ship to house hundreds of US troops building a jetty to boost aid deliveries to Gaza has set sail from Cyprus, a UK defence source said Saturday.

Royal Navy support ship Cardigan Bay will assist the international effort to construct the temporary floating pier, which is set to be completed early next month, the Pentagon said.

The pier will initially facilitate the delivery of 90 truckloads of international aid a day into Gaza, rising to up to 150 truckloads once fully operational, according to US estimates.

The aid will be pre-screened in Cyprus and delivered directly to Gaza via the pier off the coast or via Ashdod Port, which Israel has said it will open to aid vessels.

"It is critical we establish more routes for vital humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza and the UK continues to take a leading role in the delivery of support," Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Israeli FM says says hostage deal defers Rafah operation
6:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Israel's foreign minister said on Saturday that a planned incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah could be suspended should there be a deal to secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

"The release of the hostages is the top priority for us," said Foreign Minister Israel Katz during an interview with local Channel 12 television.

Asked if that included putting off a planned operation to eliminate Hamas battalions in the city of Rafah, Katz answered, "Yes."

He went on to say: "If there will be a deal, we will suspend the operation."

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz [Getty]
Seven killed in Israeli strike on Rafah neighbourhood
5:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least seven Palestinians were killed and several others injured this evening as Israeli warplanes bombed a house northeast of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Wafa news agency said.

Dozens more were injured in the airstrike carried out by Israeli warplanes targeting a house in the Al-Nasr neighbourhood northeast of the city.

Additionally, Israeli artillery shelled land in the midst of the town of Khuza'a, east of Khan Yunis in the south of the enclave.

Hamas armed wing releases footage of two hostages
5:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The armed wing of Palestinian militant group Hamas released video footage on Saturday of two men held hostage in Gaza and seen alive in the footage.

Campaign group the Hostages and Missing Families Forum identified the two in a statement as Omri Miran and Keith Siegel who were abducted by militants during the attack on Israel on October 7.

Hezbollah says fires drones and guided missiles at Israel
5:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement said on Saturday it had targeted northern Israel with drones and guided missiles after Israeli strikes on "civilian homes" killed three people, including two of its members.

A Hezbollah statement said the group "launched a complex attack using explosive drones and guided missiles on the headquarters of the Al Manara military command and a gathering of forces from the 51st Battalion of the Golani Brigade".

Houthis claim downing US drone, release clip showing wreck
4:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday claimed shooting down another of the US military's MQ-9 Reaper drones, airing footage of parts that corresponded to known pieces of the unmanned aircraft.

The Houthis said they shot down the Predator with a surface-to-air missile, part of a renewed series of assaults this week by the rebels after a relative lull in their pressure campaign over Israel's war in Gaza.

Officials at the Pentagon, US Central Command and the US Air Force did not immediately return requests for comment Saturday over the Houthi footage. However, CBS News on Friday quoted an anonymous US military official acknowledging a drone had crashed in Yemen.

The Houthis described the downing as happening on Thursday over their stronghold in the country's Saada province.

Footage released by the Houthis included what they described as the missile launch targeting the drone, with a man off-camera reciting the Houthi's slogan after it was hit: "God is the greatest; death to America; death to Israel; curse the Jews; victory to Islam."

The footage included several close-ups on parts of the drone that included the logo of General Atomics, which manufactures the drone, and serial numbers corresponding with known parts made by the company.

Gaza’s Health Ministry warns over spread of diseases
3:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's health ministry has warned of a spread in diseases in the enclave as a result of sewage overflows, the piling up of waste in streets and camps for displaced people and the spread of insects.

Amid rising temperatures, such a mix of elements threatens a health disaster", the ministry said.

"We appeal to all concerned, international and humanitarian institutions to intervene quickly," it added.

Gaza 'Freedom Flotilla' blocked in Turkey
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A "Freedom Flotilla" aimed at delivering aid to Gaza was blocked in Turkey Saturday after being denied use of two of its ships, which organisers blame on Israeli pressure.

The coalition of NGOs and other associations said it was unable to set sail after the West African country of Guinea-Bissau withdrew its flagged vessels.

"Sadly, Guinea-Bissau has allowed itself to become complicit in Israel's deliberate starvation, illegal siege and genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said.

"The Guinea-Bissau International Ships Registry (GBISR), in a blatantly political move, informed the Freedom Flotilla Coalition that it had withdrawn the Guinea Bissau flag from two of the Freedom Flotilla's ships, one of which is our cargo ship, already loaded with over 5,000 tons of life-saving aid," their statement said

The group said the Guinea-Bissau authorities made several "extraordinary" requests for information including destinations, potential additional port calls, cargo manifest, and estimated arrival dates and times.

"Normally, national flagging authorities concern themselves only with safety and related standards on vessels bearing their flag," it said, equating it to being asked about destinations when registering a car.

At an Istanbul press conference, about 280 volunteers -- activists, lawyers and doctors -- who had hoped to join the ships shouted slogans including "Flag the flotilla", "We will sail" and "Free Palestine".

Three of the flotilla's ships have been docked for a week at the port of Tuzla, south of Istanbul. They had planned t

Lebanon to accept ICC jurisdiction for crimes on its soil
2:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon has moved towards accepting the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to prosecute violations on its territory since October, in what Human Rights Watch said was a "landmark step" towards justice for war crimes.

Lebanon has accused Israel of repeatedly violating its sovereignty and committing breaches of international law over the last six months, during which the Israeli military and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah have traded cross-border fire ion the backdrop of Israel's war in Gaza

That cross-border shelling has killed at least 70 civilians, including children, rescue workers and journalists, among them Reuters reporter Issam Abdallah.

Lebanon’s caretaker cabinet voted to instruct the Foreign Ministry to file a declaration with the ICC accepting the court’s jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes committed on Lebanese territory since October 7.

Turkish FM to visit Saudi for Gaza truce talks
2:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will hold talks in Saudi Arabia Sunday and Monday as part of efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza, Turkish diplomatic sources said.

Fidan will meet members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League in Riyadh, as well as foreign ministers from several Western countries, the sources said on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The United Nations Security Council had approved a resolution on March 25 calling for an immediate ceasefire but it has never been enacted.

Fidan recently visited Qatar, which has been mediating between Israel and Hamas to try to put an end to the war that has killed over 34,000 Palestinians in over six months.

Fidan also recently hosted his Egyptian counterpart and was present when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received an official visit by Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on April 20 in Istanbul.

Blinken due in Saudi for summit on global economy, Gaza
1:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Washington's top diplomat is among leaders expected at a Saudi-hosted economic summit set to begin on Sunday with a strong focus on the grinding war in Gaza, organisers said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be "coming in directly from his visits in China and on his way to Israel," Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum (WEF), told a press conference on Saturday in Riyadh.

Other participants at the two-day WEF special meeting include Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and foreign ministers and prime ministers from across the Middle East and Europe.

These include foreign ministers from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the EU and prime ministers from Qatar, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, according to a WEF press release.

A total of 12 heads of state and government feature among the more than 1,000 participants, Brende said on Saturday.

British troops may be tasked with delivering Gaza aid: BBC
1:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British troops may be tasked with delivering aid to Gaza from an offshore pier now under construction by the US military, the BBC reported Saturday. UK government officials declined to comment on the report.

According to the BBC, the British government is considering deploying troops to drive the trucks that will carry aid from the pier along a floating causeway to the shore. No decision has been made and the proposal hasn’t yet reached Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the BBC reported, citing unidentified government sources.

Britain is already providing logistical support for construction of the pier, including a Royal Navy ship that will house hundreds of US soldiers and sailors working on the project.

In addition, British military planners have been embedded at US Central Command in Florida and in Cyprus, where aid will be screened before shipment to Gaza, for several weeks, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Friday.

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr backs US pro-Palestine protests
12:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraqi religious leader Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday expressed his support for pro-Palestinian encampments at universities in the United States and called for an end to police action against them.

"We call for a halt to the crackdown on voices advocating for peace and freedom," Sadr said in a statement.

"The voice of American universities demanding an end to Zionist terrorism is our voice."

Protests and encampments have taken place at campuses across the United States, Israel's largest military supplier.

Student protesters are demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, where the death toll since October 7 is at least 34,388, according to the health ministry.

Israeli forces detain at least 20 in West Bank raids
12:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have detained at least 20 Palestinians in multiple raids across the occupied West Bank on Friday and Saturday, according to local and security sources, as cited by the Palestinian official news agency Wafa.

Among those detained were a woman, several minors and former prisoners in raids across the districts of Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarem, Jenin and Jerusalem.

Israeli forces also detained and beat up a young man in Tulkarem. 

X suspends Mandela grandson's account as he heads to Gaza
12:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

X, formerly known as Twitter, has seemingly suspended the account belonging to Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela.

Mandela joined the Freedom Flotilla earlier this week to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Three dead in Israeli strikes on south Lebanon: report
11:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Three people were killed Saturday in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon, including two members of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed movement and official media said.

Hezbollah has intensified its targeting of military sites in Israel since tensions soared between Israel and Iran over the bombing of Tehran's Damascus consulate on April 1, widely blamed on Israel.

In two separate statements, Hezbollah mourned the deaths of two fighters from the villages of Kafr Kila and Khiam.

It said they had been "martyred on the road to Jerusalem", the phrase it uses to refer to members killed by Israeli fire.

Lebanon's official National News Agency said "Israeli occupation aircraft carried out two raids today at dawn on the towns of Kafr Shuba and Shebaa", leading to the death of "citizen Qasim Asaad in the town of Kafr Shuba".

Multiple villages in southern Lebanon had been hit by Israeli strikes in recent hours, leaving damage to homes and property, NNA said.

Abbas, int'l leaders to hold Gaza talks in Riyadh this week
11:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and several international officials will be in Riyadh this week for talks aimed at pushing for a peace agreement in Gaza to be held on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting, the WEF's president said on Saturday.

"We do have the key players now in Riyadh and hopefully the discussions can lead into a process towards reconciliation and peace," Børge Brende said at a news conference in Riyadh, adding that Gaza's humanitarian crisis would be on the agenda.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend the meetings alongside regional leaders including Qatar's prime minister, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Oman's crown prince and Bahraini officials, Brende said.

Egypt's foreign minister, Brende said, would be there to update officials on a round of talks Egyptian negotiators held in Israel on Friday in an effort to restart stalled efforts to end the war in Gaza and return the remaining Israeli hostages.

"There is now a bit of momentum for negotiations on the hostages and also a possible ceasefire," Brende said.

32 killed overnight in Israel strikes on Gaza: MoH
10:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that at least 34,388 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory during more than six months of Israel's war in the enclave.

The tally includes at least 32 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 77,437 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the start of Israel's military onslaught.

Iran says crew of Israel-linked ship to be released
9:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran’s foreign minister said the crew of a seized Portuguese-flagged ship linked to Israel have been granted consular access and are expected to be freed, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized the container vessel MSC Aries with a crew of 25 in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13, days after Tehran vowed to retaliate for a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus. Iran had said it could close the crucial shipping route.

Recent attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis, claiming solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza during Israel's war with Hamas, have affected global shipping.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told his Portuguese counterpart Paulo Rangel in a telephone call that the “humanitarian issue of the release of the ship's crew is of serious concern to us", Iranian media said.

He was quoted as saying the crew would be turned over to their ambassadors in Tehran. The reports did not say when this would occur.

Gaza aid from Cyprus resumes after aid worker killings pause
8:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Aid shipments to Gaza from Cyprus resumed late on Friday, a Cypriot source said, with a ship carrying food to the besieged Palestinian enclave after a pause following Israel's killing of seven aid workers.

The World Central Kitchen NGO paused aid to review its activity in the territory after the early April attack, halting the direct shipments into Gaza from Cyprus.

A small cargo vessel left the port of Larnaca on Friday night with aid donated by the United Arab Emirates, a Cypriot source said.

Hamas studying new Israeli truce proposal
8:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas said it was studying on Saturday the latest Israeli counterproposal regarding a potential ceasefire in Gaza, a day after a delegation from mediator Egypt reportedly arrived in Israel in a bid to jump-start stalled negotiations.

The signs of fresh truce talks came alongside ongoing Israeli preparations for a military push into Gaza's southern city of Rafah and as spillover from the war led to continued attacks across the region.

"Today, the Hamas movement received the official Zionist occupation response to the movement's position, which was delivered to the Egyptian and Qatari mediators on April 13," Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas's political arm in Gaza, said in a brief statement early Saturday.

"The movement will study this proposal, and upon completion of its study, it will submit its response."

Hamas had previously insisted on a permanent ceasefire, something rejected by Israel.

Palestinian athletes to be invited to Paris Olympics: IOC
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Between six and eight Palestinian athletes are expected to compete at the Paris Olympics, with some set to be invited by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) even if they fail to qualify, its head Thomas Bach said.

Bach told AFP on Friday that qualification events for the Paris Games, which start on July 26, were ongoing for a number of sports.

"But we have made the clear commitment that even if no (Palestinian) athlete would qualify on the field of play ... then the NOC (National Olympic Committee) of Palestine would benefit from invitations, like other national Olympic Committees who do not have a qualified athlete," he said in an interview at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Bach said that the International Olympic Committee "from day one of the conflict" in Gaza had "supported in many different ways the athletes to allow them to take part in qualifications and to continue their training."

Israel kills two Palestinians in Jenin, West Bank
8:25 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians  in Jenin, northern West Bank, the military said on Saturday.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said security officials confirmed two deaths and the health ministry said two other men were wounded.

The men have been identified as 22-year-old Mustafa Sultan Abed from the village of Kafr Dan and 21-year-old Ahmad Mohammad Shawahneh from Silat al-Harithiya village

There was no other immediate comment from Palestinian officials in the West Bank, where violence has intensified amid Israel's war in Gaza and anger concerning the military onslaught.

The West Bank and Gaza, territories Israel captured in the 1967 war, are among the territories which the Palestinians seek for a state. U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed a decade ago.