Gaza war: 92 killed in past 24 hours as Hamas considers ceasefire proposal

Gaza war: 92 killed in past 24 hours as Hamas considers ceasefire proposal
Israel continues its relentless Gaza assault as fears grow over a push into the south of the enclave, while Hamas considers a new ceasefire proposal.
14 min read
04 February, 2024

Scores were reported killed in overnight strikes across the Gaza Strip on Sunday, after Hamas said it needed more time to consider a proposal that would halt the war in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Gaza's health ministry said early Sunday that at least 92 people had been killed overnight, including in what the group's media office said was an Israeli bombardment of a kindergarten in Rafah where displaced people were sheltering.

According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, at least two children were killed in the Israeli attack.

Concerns over a potential Israeli ground incursion into the southern border city have mounted in recent days, with hundreds of thousands of displaced seeking refuge from the fighting there in makeshift shelters and encampments.

A representative of the UN humanitarian agency OCHA has called Rafah "a pressure cooker of despair", expressing concern for what might happen next.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned on Thursday that the military -- which began its ground invasion in the territory's north and has gradually advanced south -- "will also reach Rafah".

6:01 PM

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


White House: More steps to US response to Jordan deaths
5:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday there would be more steps in the US response to the deaths of three US troops in Jordan a week ago but he would not describe US strikes as an open-ended military campaign.

"What happened on Friday was the beginning, not the end, of our response, and there will be more steps - some seen, some perhaps unseen," Sullivan told US broadcaster CBS' Face the Nation programme.

"I would not describe it as some open-ended military campaign." 

Netanyahu hits back at Ben-Gvir criticism of US war backing
5:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back on Sunday at a controversial far-right minister in his cabinet who said Washington has not fully backed Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir told the Wall Street Journal that US President Joe Biden had not given Israel sufficient support.

"Instead of giving us his full backing, Biden is busy with giving humanitarian aid and fuel (to Gaza), which goes to Hamas," Ben-Gvir told the newspaper in an article published on Sunday.

"If (former US president Donald) Trump was in power, the US conduct would be completely different."

Netanyahu appeared to respond to the interview ahead of a cabinet meeting on Sunday, saying: "We greatly appreciate the support that we have received from the Biden administration since the outbreak of the war."

"I don't need help to know how to navigate our relations with the US and the international community, while standing firm on our national interests," he said.

"We make our own decisions, even in those cases where there is no agreement with our American friends."

The United States is Israel's main international ally, providing billions of dollars each year in military support.

US: Gaza humanitarian issues will be a top Blinken priority
5:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Humanitarian issues in Gaza will be a top priority for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his current trip to the region, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.

Blinken was en route to the Middle East in a trip that will include stops in Israel, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the West Bank this week.

A top priority for Blinken on this trip will be to get humanitarian help for Gaza Palestinians who are in dire straits after months of military aggression from Israel.

"The needs of the Palestinian people are something that are going to be front and center," Sullivan told the CBS program Face the Nation.

The United States believes it is vital to secure a deal to release the remaining hostages Hamas took during its attack, including American hostages, and an accompanying humanitarian pause, Sullivan said.

"This is in the national security interest of the United States. We are going to press for it relentlessly," Sullivan said. "So this is a paramount priority for us."

The ball is in the court of Hamas when it comes to such a deal, Sullivan said, noting that the Israelis have put forth a proposal.

Houthi: More US-British aggression will achieve nothing
4:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Continued US-British aggression in Yemen will not achieve any goal for the aggressors and will not affect Yemen’s decision to show its support for Gaza, Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam said in a statement on Sunday.

Abdulsalam added that it will not be easy to destroy Yemeni military capabilities, which have been rebuilt during years of tough conflict. 

French top diplomat: We must prepare for PA's return to Gaza
4:07 PM
The New Arab Staff

The meeting between French diplomat Stephane Sejourne and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as well as Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, saw the French foreign minister emphasising the need to prepare for a return of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza.

President Sisi’s office also said that the meeting with Sejourne discussed Egypt’s collaborative efforts to bring forth a ceasefire and deliver humanitarian relief to Gaza.

“We stand in favour of a ceasefire, but we also need to prepare for the return of Palestinian Authority in Gaza, with a renewed governance,” Sejourne told reporters following his meetings.

“Its legitimacy will also depend on the aspect of effectiveness of the prerogatives, especially by the Israelis."

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) meets with French Foreign Minister [Getty]
Israeli far-right minister Ben-Gvir criticises Biden
3:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that US president Joe Biden has been hampering Israel's efforts in its military offensive in Gaza. 

“Instead of giving us his full backing, Biden is busy with giving humanitarian aid and fuel (to Gaza), which goes to Hamas,” Ben-Gvir told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

“If (former US president Donald) Trump was in power, the US conduct would be completely different.”

PRCS: Two wounded in Israeli attack on Al-Amal Hospital
3:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) have issued an update on X, stating that Israeli forces have targeted the vicinity of Gaza's Al Amal that led to two Palestinians being injured. 

Ai Weiwei: West's Gaza censorship like 'Mao's China'
2:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

The popular Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei has likened pro-Palestinian censorship in the West to political suppression during the Mao Zedong era, in a new interview with broadcaster Sky News on Sunday. 

Ai, known for being outspoken in support of the Palestinian cause, said that political censorship in the West is "exactly the same" as that in China under Chairman Mao – when he was exiled alongside his family during the 1950s and 1960s.

The artist's comments came in response to a question in the Sky News interview on the cancellation of his exhibition in London in November after he had posted against Israel's deadly war in Gaza.

To read the full report by The New Arab, please click here.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei criticised pro-Palestinian censorship in the West [Getty]
EU's top diplomat urges no Middle East escalation
1:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on all parties to avoid further escalation in the Middle East after US strikes.

"Everybody should try to avoid that the situation becomes explosive," Borrell said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Borrell said the US response was expected after Biden signalled that Washington would hit back.

"Certainly every attack contributes to the escalation, and the ministers have expressed their serious concern for this process," he said following the meeting.

"We can only call on everybody to understand that at any moment from this series of attacks and counter attacks, a spark can produce a greater incident."

Borrell said that in a bid to calm the spiral of violence the EU would launch a naval mission in the Red Sea this month to help protect international vessels from attacks by Yemen's Houthis.

Borrell said the mission would be "defensive" and not conduct any attacks on land against the Yemeni rebels.

Iraq summons US charge d'affaires in protest over airstrikes
1:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 The Iraqi foreign ministry on Saturday summoned the US chargé d'affaires in Baghdad to deliver a formal memorandum of protest over US airstrikes in Iraq, the state news agency INA reported.

"Iraq reiterated its refusal that its lands be an arena for settling scores or showing force between warring countries," the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement.

France aims for two-state solution, humanitarian ceasefire
1:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

Stephane Sejourne, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, has made a visit to Egypt- what is his first stop of his tour in the Middle East.

Sejourne issued a post on X in both Arabic and French, which described his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The minister emphasised France’s commitment to “a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and restarting talks for a … two-state solution”.

UK's Sunak says targets on Houthis to protect lives
1:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a statement on X, stating that Britain's joint attacks with the US were aimed to halt continued Houthi attacks on shipping that those affected.

“Recent attacks on UK and international vessels are unacceptable. It’s our duty to protect innocent lives and preserve freedom,” he wrote in a post.


UN's Lazzarini says no evidence proven for UNRWA claims
12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

UNRWA commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini said that Israel has yet to corroborate its claims that around a dozen URNWA personnel had taken part in the October 7 attacks. 

Lazzarini said that while the organisation has been taken the allegations seriously, there was no update on the progress of the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services investigation.

In an interview with The Financial Times (FT), he stated that they had seen the intelligence assessment that had not provided evidence- including a claim that a staff member kidnapped a woman.

Israel says struck more than 3,400 targets in Lebanon
12:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has attacked more than 3,400 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon since the war in Gaza began in October, Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said Saturday.

"From the beginning of the war, we attacked over 3,400 targets of Hezbollah in all of southern Lebanon," Hagari told reporters, adding that more than 200 Hezbollah members and commanders "had been killed.

German FM Baerbock warns against Israeli plans for Rafah
11:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has condemned Israel's military offensive in southern Gaza- stating that it would "not be justifiable." 

"Taking action now in Rafah, the last and most overcrowded place, as announced by the Israeli defense minister, would simply not be justifiable," Baerbock said in an interview with German newspaper RND

"The majority of the victims are women and children. Let's just imagine they are our children.

"Together with our American partners, I have been making it clear to the Israeli government for some time that the people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air."

Air strikes and tank fire have rocked Khan Younis, southern Gaza's main city that has been the focus of Israel's offensive.

Hundreds of thousands of Gaza's 2.4 million people displaced by the fierce fighting have fled to Rafah during the war. 

The city that had been home to 200,000 people now hosts more than half of Gaza's population, the United Nations said.

Two Israelis arrested for spitting on Christian abbot
11:29 AM
The New Arab Staff

Two Israelis were placed under house arrest on suspicion of spitting at a German Christian abbot in Jerusalem.

Nikodemus Schnabel was spat on by two perpetuators near Jerusalem's Old City's Zion Gate, as seen in a recently viral video on social media.

One of those arrested was identified as a 17 year old.

The two, one of whom is a 17-year-old, were seen spitting and cursing at Schnabel near Jerusalem’s Old City’s Zion Gate.

Schnabel was filmed requesting the men in English not to touch him before passers-by intervened in the confrontation and lead the two away.

German ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert has denounced the behaviour of the two men by referring to as “appalling” in a post on X.

"Appalling behaviour from these young guys, but what really makes me furious are those who teach them that Judaism means despising Christians or any other religion. This must stop," he wrote.

Oman expresses concern over regional escalation
11:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Oman has expressed its "grave concern" over "continuous escalation" as Iran-affiliated groups have entered the fray from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

Oman Foreign Minister Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Busaidi said that "Oman has grave concerns over the continuous escalation in the region."

In a statement, he criticized the effectiveness of retaliatory US attacks in Iraq and Syria, noting that "such actions compromise the region's safety, stability, and efforts to tackle challenges like violence and extremism." 

 The United States and Britain launched strikes against 36 Houthi targets in Yemen, in the second day of major US operations against Iran-linked groups following a deadly attack on American troops last weekend.

Omani Foreign Minister Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud al-Busaidi (L) [Getty]
Hashed chief calls withdrawal of US-led coalition from Iraq
10:42 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of Iraq's pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi alliance on Sunday demanded the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces from the country following deadly strikes.

"They targeted administration offices, a (Hashed) hospital, they struck forces tasked with protecting the borders," Faleh al-Fayyad said at a funeral ceremony for members of the group killed in the US strikes.

"Targeting the Hashed al-Shaabi is playing with fire," he warned.

On Friday US strikes in the west of Iraq struck positions manned by pro-Iran groups, in response to an attack in January on a base in Jordan that killed three US soldiers.

The Hashed al-Shaabi, mainly pro-Iran paramilitaries now integrated into Iraq's regular security forces, said 16 of its fighters were killed in Friday's strikes and 36 people wounded.

"We urge the prime minister to do everything in his power to defend the sovereignty and dignity of Iraq. And this can only be done with the departure of all coalition forces from Iraq," Fayyad said.

Gaza rendered 'unlivable'
10:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Experts and rights groups told French news agency AFP that Israeli forces have systematically destroyed buildings near the border in an attempt to create a buffer zone inside the Palestinian territory.

Israel has not publicly confirmed the plan, which Nadia Hardman, a refugee rights expert at Human Rights Watch, said "may amount to a war crime".

"We are seeing mounting evidence that Israel appears to be rendering large parts of Gaza unlivable," she said.

Adi Ben Nun, a professor at Jerusalem's Hebrew University who has carried out an analysis of satellite imagery, said more than 30 percent of structures inside Gaza with a kilometre (0.6 miles) of the Israeli border have been damaged or destroyed during the war.

Scores including children killed in Israeli strikes on Rafah
10:27 AM
The New Arab Staff

At least 92 civilians were killed on Sunday, including in what the Gaza's media office said was an Israeli bombardment of a kindergarten in Rafah where displaced people were sheltering.

Palestinian news agency Wafa also reported that the multiple casualties include two young children and dozens who were wounded after Israeli warplanes targeted the kindergarten. 

Gaza health ministry says death toll at 27,365
9:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said Sunday at least 27,365 people have been killed in the territory during Israel's war on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The latest toll includes 127 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, while a total of 66,630 people have been wounded in Gaza since the war broke out on October 7.

Iran says Yemen strikes 'contradict' US, UK policy
9:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran on Sunday denounced the latest US and UK strikes on targets in Yemen saying they "contradict" their declared intention of avoiding a wider Middle East conflict.

These attacks are "in clear contradiction with the repeated claims of Washington and London that they do not want the expansion of war and conflict in the region," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, said in a statement.

He accused the United States and Britain of "fuelling chaos, disorder, insecurity and instability" by supporting Israel in its war in the Gaza Strip.

Further strikes on Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels in response to the group's attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea is "a threat to international peace and security", Kanani said.

Houthis threaten response after US, UK strikes
8:41 AM
The New Arab Staff

Yemen’s Houthis have issued a statement that said that the recent US and UK led air strikes “will not deter us”, vowing a response after dozens of targets were conducted in Yemen on Saturday night in response to repeated attacks on shipping by the group.

The joint air raids followed another series of unilateral US strikes against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria in retaliation to a drone attack that killed three US soldiers in Jordan.

Yahya Saree, a Houthi military spokesperson,  said the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, and other Houthi-held areas were targeted.

Saree added a total of 48 air raids were used and wrote on X that “these attacks will not deter us from our … stance in support of the steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip” where Israel’s war has raged since early October.

US, UK continue strikes on Yemen
8:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States and its coalition partner Britain said they struck dozens of targets in Yemen on Saturday night in response to repeated attacks on shipping by Houthis.

US forces also struck an additional anti-ship missile in Yemen on Sunday morning that the US Central Command said was ready to be launched towards the Red Sea.

The joint air raids came after a separate wave of unilateral American strikes against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria that were carried out in response to the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan on January 28.

The war on Gaza has sent regional tensions soaring, with a surge in attacks by Iran-backed groups in solidarity with Palestine triggering counterattacks by key Israel ally the United States.

US: Blinken will make make fifth visit to Middle East
8:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East in the coming days to press a new proposal involving the release of Israeli hostages and a pause in the fighting, the State Department said.

Blinken will visit mediators Qatar and Egypt as well as Israel, the occupied West Bank and Saudi Arabia starting Sunday, it added.

His fifth trip since the war broke out comes after Qatar said there were hopes of "good news" soon about the negotiations.

A Hamas source said the group had been presented with a plan involving an initial six-week pause that would see more aid delivered into Gaza and exchanges of some Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UN humanitarian for Gaza Sigrid Kaag [Getty]