Gaza war: Guterres expected to visit border as Israeli strikes hit Rafah

Gaza war: Guterres expected to visit border as Israeli strikes hit Rafah
Guterres is expected to push for a ceasefire in war-battered Gaza during his visit, while Netanyahu has vowed to launch a ground attack on Rafah
7 min read

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to visit Egypt's border with Gaza on Saturday, after Israel vowed to launch a ground invasion of Rafah, even without United States support.

During his visit, Guterres plans to reiterate his call for a humanitarian ceasefire, though renewed international pressure has so far failed to dissuade Israel from the planned attack on Rafah, the southernmost territory of the Gaza Strip where most of the devastated territory's population has taken shelter.

Despite warnings that such an operation would cause mass civilian casualties and worsen the humanitarian crisis gripping the territory, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will press ahead with the attack.

Early on Saturday morning, at least four children were killed in Israeli air strikes on Rafah.

Medical sources reported that Israeli warplanes bombed a two-story house in the Mirage area, north of the city, killing five civilians and and wounding several others.

Israeli fighter jets also carried out air strikes on the town of Al-Qarara, north of Khan Younis.

6:09 PM

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UN chief heartbroken by patients’ accounts at Egypt hospital
4:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

UN chief Antonio Guterres says it is "impossible not to feel heartbroken" after visiting and listening to accounts of Gaza residents at a hospital in El Arish, Egypt, where survivors of Israel’s war are being treated.

"It’s time to silence the guns," he said, in a statement on X.

Guterres stressed the need for a humanitarian ceasefire in the territory.

Israel military signals extended operation at Gaza hospital
4:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A top Israeli commander has said troops will continue their operation at Gaza's largest hospital Al-Shifa until the last militant is "in their hands".

"We will finish this operation only when the last terrorist is in our hands - alive or dead," Southern Command chief Major General Yaron Finkelman said in comments released on Saturday.

Guterres says intervention in Rafah would be a 'catastrophe'
3:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Answering questions from reporters at El Arish airport, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a ground intervention in Rafah would be a "humanitarian catastrophe".

"It is time to ensure that a humanitarian ceasefire takes place," he said, adding that it was also time for all captives to be released and for a Palestinian state to be created.

Video of Israeli drone killing 4 Palestinians disturbing: US
3:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

A US State Department spokesperson has called on Israel to investigate "credible allegations of law of war violations" after a video aired by Al Jazeera showed the moments when four apparently unarmed Palestinians were killed by Israeli air attacks.

The strikes are believed to have happened in early February.

The Israeli military claimed the footage was from an "active combat zone in Khan Younis" in southern Gaza and that it is investigating the incident.

Nine people waiting for aid killed by Israel in Gaza's north
2:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli fire on Saturday killed nine people and wounded dozens more as they were waiting at an aid distribution point in the territory's north.

"At least nine martyrs and dozens injured by Israeli occupation army tank fire and shells. They were waiting for aid trucks at the Kuwait roundabout" on the outskirts of Gaza City, a health ministry statement said.

Katz calls UN 'anti-Israeli body' amid Guterres Gaza visit
2:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's foreign minister said the United Nations had become an "anti-Israeli body" under Antonio Guterres, as the UN chief called for a ceasefire on a visit to Gaza's border Saturday.

"Under his leadership, the UN has become an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli body that shelters and emboldens terror," Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on X, formerly Twitter.

5 patients die at Gaza's besieged Al Shifa hospital
1:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Five of the wounded Palestinians at the Gaza Strip's Al Shifa hospital, which is being besieged by Israeli forces, have died, the enclave's health ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The medical facility is under siege for the sixth day in a row with no water, food nor health services, the ministry added

End 'non-stop nightmare', UN chief says at gates of Gaza
12:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN chief Antonio Guterres, on a visit to the doorstep of war-ravaged Gaza, on Saturday said the world has seen enough of its horrors and appealed for a ceasefire to allow in more aid.

"Palestinians in Gaza - children, women, men - remain stuck in a non-stop nightmare," he said on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing. "I carry the voices of the vast majority of the world who have seen enough".

Gaza death toll reaches 32,142, with 72 killed overnight
12:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that at least 32,142 people have been killed in the territory during more than five months of war waged by Israel.

The toll includes at least 72 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 74,412 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began.

Israel strikes southern Lebanon with artillery shelling
12:14 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has targeted Wadi Saluki in southern Lebanon with artillery shells, according to the country's official National News Agency.

Earlier, the agency reported a separate Israeli artillery attack on the outskirts of the villages of Aita al-Shaab and Ramyah.

15 Palestinians arrested in West Bank raids
11:54 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army has arrested 15 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight, the Palestinian Prisoners Club has said.

The arrests took place in the governorates of Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tubas, Nablus, and Jerusalem.

Israel threatens to destroy Al-Shifa Medical Complex
11:10 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army has threatened to destroy the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in northern Gaza with medical teams and patients inside, media office in the enclave said on Saturday.

"We received testimonies from inside Al-Shifa Medical Complex indicating that the Israeli occupation army threatened the medical staff and the displaced people sheltering there that it would destroy the hospital buildings with them inside," Gaza media office said in a statement.

"The army demanded that the Palestinians inside the hospital “head out for torture, investigation, and execution," it added.

UN's Guterres arrives in El Arish for Gaza talks
9:37 AM
The New Arab Staff

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has arrived at El Arish airport in North Sinai, Egypt.

Images showed him walking with North Sinai Governor Major General Mohamed Abdel-Fadel Shousha at the airport.

Guterres is scheduled to visit the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza to call for a truce in the war in the enclave.

Guterres will visit the Rafah border crossing during his visit [Getty]
Israel FM urges more countries to cut UNRWA funding
8:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz has urged "more countries to follow the US and ban funding" to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

His remarks come after the funding of UNRWA was banned in the US as part of a $1.2 trillion spending package that passed in the Congress overnight.

"The historic ban on US funding to UNRWA that passed today with an overwhelming bipartisan support, demonstrates what we knew all along: UNRWA is part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution. UNRWA will not be a part of Gaza’s landscape in the aftermath of Hamas," Katz said on X.

"Thousands of UNRWA employees are involved in Hamas terror activities and their facilities were used for terrorist purposes," he claimed.

"I urge more countries to follow the US and ban funding to this organization."

Five children killed in Israeli strike on Rafah
8:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

Five civilians, including children, were killed in an Israeli airstrike that targeted the north of the city of Rafah at dawn, the Palestinian official agency Wafa said.

Medical sources reported that Israeli warplanes bombed a two-story house in the Mirage area, north of the city of Rafah, killing civilians and injuring scores more.

UNSC vote on new Gaza ceasefire text postponed to Monday
8:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A vote at the UN Security Council on a new text calling for an "immediate" ceasefire in Israel's war in Gaza was postponed to Monday, diplomatic sources told AFP, after a separate, US-lead draft resolution was vetoed.

The United States, Israel's main ally and military backer, had put forward a resolution mentioning "the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire" and condemning the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Russia and China on Friday vetoed that resolution, which was also opposed by Arab states for stopping short of explicitly demanding Israel immediately end its campaign in Gaza.

The new ceasefire text was meant to go to a vote on Saturday, but was pushed back to allow further discussions, the diplomatic sources said.

The new, tougher draft resolution, seen by AFP, "demands an immediate ceasefire" for the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan that leads "to a permanent sustainable ceasefire" respected by all sides.