Israel returns dozens of exhumed bodies as Gaza aid blocked for seventh day

Israel returns dozens of exhumed bodies as Gaza aid blocked for seventh day
The hospital raid comes as Israeli forces continue near nightly raids across the occupied West Bank since 7 October, killing at least 307 Palestinians.
14 min read
30 January, 2024

Palestinians buried dozens of bodies in a mass grave in southern Gaza on Tuesday, after officials said Israel returned remains it had exhumed from the territory.

Gazans were moving the bodies in blue plastic shrouds from a truck towards the newly dug mass grave east of Rafah.

Health ministry employees wearing white protective clothing lowered them into the ground, near the tents of people displaced by Israel's onslaught.

A Palestinian source at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt told AFP the bodies returned had been "stolen by the occupation (Israeli) army during its incursion" into Gaza.

A second source told AFP that Israel "stole them from Bani Suheila cemetery, east of Khan Yunis" around two weeks ago.

Continued Israeli airstrikes across Gaza killed dozens of Palestinians, with one air strike in the Sabra neighbourhood of Gaza City killing at least 20 people, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Since 7 October Israel's war on Gaza has killed 26,751 Palestinians, with a further 65,636 wounded according to Gaza's health authorities. At least 370 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have also been killed.

5:57 PM

The live blog has now ended and will be back at 9am GMT. You can read more of The New Arab's coverage of Israel's war on Gaza here.

'Multiple actions' likely after Jordan attack: White House
5:36 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Joe Biden is considering "multiple" actions going beyond one-off strikes in response to a drone attack that killed three US troops in Jordan, the White House said Tuesday.

"It's very possible that what you'll see is a tiered approach here, not just a single action but potentially multiple actions," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Israel bombs Hezbollah positions in south Lebanon
5:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military has bombed areas of southern Lebanon, saying that it struck Hezbollah targets. 

Lebanese publication L'Orient Today reported Israeli artillery struck the village of Aita al-Shaab, adding that Israeli jets carried our strikes on an area between Beit Lif and Yater, Bint Jbeil district, and a house in Mais al-Jabal in Marjayoun district. 

Sweden to pause funding for UNRWA
5:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sweden will pause funding for the UN refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) as several other countries have done over allegations some of its staff were involved in the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel, Swedish news agency TT said on Tuesday.

"The money... will go instead to other humanitarian organisations," TT quoted Johan Forssell, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, as saying. 


Iraq, Jordan stress need to distance from military threats
5:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, in a phone call with his Jordanian counterpart on Tuesday, condemned an attack on a US military outpost on Jordanian territory, Iraqi state media reported.

Hussein and Ayman Safadi stressed the need to distance the two countries and the region from military threats by any side, state media added.


Israel says it has flooded some Hamas tunnels in Gaza
5:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has destroyed some Hamas tunnels in Gaza by flooding them, the military said on Tuesday.

"During the war, the [Israeli army] has implemented new capabilities to neutralize underground terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip by channelling large volumes of water into the tunnels," the military said in a statement.


Canada to provide C$40 mln funding for Gaza assistance
4:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Canada on Tuesday announced new C$40 million ($29.8 million) funding to provide food, water, and other humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

The funds will be allocated to international agencies including the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

The announcement comes days after Canada and several other countries paused funding to the UN refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA).

Hamas: Gaza ceasefire proposal involves three stages
4:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A proposal for a new ceasefire in Israels war on Gaza would involve three stages, including the release of hostages held by the Islamist group and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, a senior Hamas leader told Reuters on Tuesday.

Women, children, the elderly and wounded would be released in the first stage, the Hamas leader said.

(Reuters & The New Arab)

PRCS: Israeli army storms Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis
3:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has said that the Israeli army "recently stormed the PRCS and Al-Amal Hospital building front yard in Khan Younis under the threat of weapons, gunfire and shelling".

"Displaced individuals and PRCS teams are being demanded to evacuate the building under the threat of arms, coupled with a disruption in communication via VHF waves.

"PRCS teams and displaced individuals are currently in severe danger," PRCS added.

Biden has decided on how to respond to attack on US troops
3:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he has decided how to respond to a drone attack that killed US service members in Jordan, but did not elaborate.

Biden, speaking to reporters as he left the White House on a campaign trip to Florida, also said the United States does not need a wider war in the Middle East.


Ibn Sina hospital staff detail Israeli undercover execution
3:34 PM
Qassam Muaddi
West Bank

Staff at Jenin's Ibn Sina Hospital are "still in shock" after Israeli undercover forces, dressed as doctors and civilians, killed three Palestinians as they slept inside the hospital on Tuesday morning.

The victims were identified as brothers Basel and Mohammad Ghazawi, 19 and 24 years old, and Mohammad Jalamneh, 28 years old.

Basel Ghazawi was receiving medical treatment at the Ibn Sina Hospital since 25 November for wounds caused by an Israeli drone strike in Jenin. His brother Mohammad Ghazawi and a friend Mohammad Jalamneh were accompanying him.

"Around 5:30 am, a group of individuals entered the hospital together, some dressed as regular civilians and some as medical staff. We learned later that they were occupation soldiers under cover", a spokesperson for the Ibn Sina hospital, who asked not to be named, told The New Arab.

Read more about the operation in Ibn Sina hospital from The New Arab's West Bank correspondent here.

Gallant: Israel to operate in Gaza like occupied West Bank
3:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant has said that Israel intends to retain military control over Gaza with the freedom to conduct raids like those in the occupied West Bank. 

Speaking to members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Gallant said "After the war, when it's over, I think it's completely clear that Hamas won't control Gaza. Israel will control [it] militarily but won't control it in a civilian sense".

"When we're talking about military freedom of operation, look what happened tonight in Jenin," referring to an Israeli operation where Israeli forces infiltrated the Ibn Sina hospital dressed as doctors and nurses and killed three Palestinian fighters.

This is military freedom of operation at the highest level, and yet we don't control the area in a civilian sense," he said, adding "This is achievable [in Gaza as well], and it will take time."

PRCS: Israel tanks kill one, injure nine, near headquarters
3:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has said that Israeli tanks have been firing near the Al-Amal hospital, which is also the headquarters of the organisation.

"One displaced woman has been martyred, and 9 others have been injured so far" PRCS said on X.

Warning, some viewers may find the video below distressing.

PIJ: Wont engage in hostage deal without ceasefire
3:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian Islamic Jihad will not engage in any understandings regarding Israeli hostages without ensuring a comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, the group's secretary general Ziad al-Nakhala said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Houthis ready for 'long-term confrontation' with US, UK
2:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis are ready for a "long-term confrontation" with the US and UK, commander of the Houthi forces Mohamed al-Atifi said in a statement on Tuesday.

"(...) We are prepared for a long-term confrontation with the forces of tyranny. The Americans, the British, and those who coordinated with them must realize the power of the sovereign Yemeni decision and that there is no debate or dispute over it," he said.


Netanyahu rules out Gaza withdrawal, mass prisoner release
2:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out withdrawing from Gaza or releasing thousands of Palestinian prisoners -- both key demands from Hamas for a ceasefire deal.

Palestinians in Gaza's Rafah have nowhere to go
1:37 PM
Sally Ibrahim

As the mediation efforts between Hamas and Israel for a ceasefire continue, the Israeli military has expanded its attack on the Gaza Strip, gradually getting closer to the city of Rafah in the south of the besieged coastal enclave.

For Palestinians trapped in the territory, there is nowhere else to go. 

Separately speaking to The New Arab, they stress that they do not know where they should flee if the Israeli army decides to expand their military invasion in Rafah.

"We do not have any chance to survive this time if Rafah will be the next target for Israel," Safaa Abu Abdu, a Palestinian woman from Gaza, remarked to TNA

To remain informed of the current news, the 45-year-old mother of six is forced to walk every day for at least two hours to reach the tents of journalists established beside al-Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah. 

Read more about the situation in Rafah from The New Arab's Gaza correspondent here.

Baroness Warsi: 'time for sanctions' on Israel over Gaza
1:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Baroness Warsi, a Conservative member of the UK House of Lords, has called for the UK to impose sanctions on Israel following the statements of Israeli ministers speaking at a conference calling for the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and the reestablishment of illegal settlements in the enclave. 

Warsi said that "for the current Israeli government - who do not even recognise a Palestinian state and now openly reject the two State solution - it's always been about expanding the occupation, ethnically cleansing Gaza, and persecuting the Palestinians so that it's intolerable for them to remain in their homeland."

"It's time for sanctions, an end to arm sales and diplomatic consequences - this Israeli government must go and we need to muster the moral courage to say so" she added.

Israeli army withdraws armoured brigade from Gaza
1:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military has withdrawn the Kiryati Brigade, an reserve armoured brigade that had been fighting Khan Younis in recent weeks, from the Gaza Strip.

The brigade has been replaced by other forces according to the military.

UNRWA: 260 attacks against premises have killed 360 people
1:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

UNRWA has released footage of one of its schools in Gaza in a post on X, and has announced that at least 260 attacks have been carried out against its facilities in Gaza and that 360 people have been killed as a result. 

"Sad reality is Gazans have nowhere to go & are not safe anywhere: not at home, not in hospitals, not in UN shelters," the post said.

PRCS shares audio of moment Israeli forces shoot teen
12:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has released an audio recording of a call that details the moment Israeli forces fired on a car that killed 15-year-old Layan Hamadeh as well as 5 others.

A 6-year-old girl named Hind survived the incident, although PRCS has lost contact with the ambulance it had sent out to rescue her. 

"We lost contact with them about 18 hours ago, and we still remain unaware of their fate and whether they succeeded in evacuating her or not."

Warning, some viewers may find the audio recording below distressing.

Ben-Gvir threatens government over any 'reckless' Gaza deal
11:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Givir threatened on Tuesday to quit Netanyahu's government over any attempt to enter a "reckless" deal with Hamas to retrieve hostages held by the Palestinian militants.

"Reckless deal = dismantling of the government," Ben-Gvir, of the Jewish Power party, posted on X, amid media reports that Israel was considering a long-term halt, brokered by Qatar an Egypt, to its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Jewish Power accounts for six of the 64 seats that Netanyahu's far-right coalition held in the 120-seat parliament before the Gaza war. After the war erupted, he brought the 12-seat centrist party National Unity into an emergency cabinet.


Amnesty: states must reverse 'cruel' UNRWA funding pull outs
11:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

Amnesty International has called the decision by several states to pull funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) "cruel" and urged states to reverse the decision.

Amnesty International's Secretary General Anges Callamard said "it is deeply shocking - indeed inhumane - that several governments have taken decisions that will cause further suffering to two million Palestinians, who are already facing the risk of genocide and an engineered famine just days after the International Court of Justice ruling concluded that the survival of Palestinians in Gaza is at risk."

Criticism of Amnesty International Germany in Ramallah visit
11:08 AM
Qassam Muaddi
West Bank

Criticism erupted in Palestinian public opinion against Amnesty International's German branch after a visit to Ramallah by a delegation of the human rights organisation.

On Tuesday, 29 January, a delegation of Amnesty International visited Ramallah in the occupied West Bank and met several Palestinian human rights organisations. The delegation included several senior directors of the organisation and members of its German branch.

The visit followed meetings between the delegation, Israeli NGOs and other Israeli groups. Multiple sources in Palestinian NGOs, all of whom asked not to be named, told The New Arab and other media outlets, before the visit, that it was the delegation had planned only to visit Israel and that the Palestinian territories were only included later. 

TNA also learned from another source that at least one Palestinian NGO decided not to participate in the meetings because of previous public positions by the German branch of Amnesty.

Read more about the visit here.

Ismail Haniyeh says Hamas has received ceasefire proposal
11:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday that the group had received a ceasefire proposal put forward after talks in Paris and would study it, adding he would visit Cairo for discussions on the plan.

Haniyeh said the group's priority was to end Israel's military offensive and a full pullout of Israeli forces from Gaza.


Kremlin calls for all sides to de-escalate regional tension
10:56 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Kremlin, asked on Tuesday about potential US strikes on Iranian interests, said tensions in the Middle East were high and that steps were needed to de-escalate rather than destabilise the wider region.


Israel hands over bodies of Palestinians killed in Gaza
10:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel on Tuesday handed over to Palestinian authorities the bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza in recent weeks, health officials in the Palestinian enclave said.

The bodies, which had been held in Israel, were handed over through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing and will be buried in mass graves in the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, the officials said.

The health ministry in Gaza did not immediately say how many bodies had been handed over.

Israel did not immediately comment on the handover.


114 killed by Israel in Gaza over last 24 hours, 249 injured
10:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza's health authorities have stated that within the last 24 hours 114 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in Gaza, with a further 249 people injured.

The latest announcement brings the death toll to 26,751 Palestinians killed and 65,636 wounded. 

China warns of 'cycle of retaliation' after US troop deaths
9:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China on Tuesday warned against a "cycle of retaliation" in the Middle East after the United States vowed to respond to a drone attack on a base in Jordan that killed three American troops, which it blamed on Iran-backed militants.

Beijing said Tuesday it had "noted reports of casualties caused by the attack on a US military base".

"We have also noted that Iran stated that it had nothing to do with the attack," foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.

"We hope that all relevant parties will remain calm and restrained... in order to avoid falling into a vicious cycle of retaliation and prevent further escalation of regional tension," he added.

"The situation in the Middle East is currently highly complex and sensitive," Wang said.

UN chief to meet UNRWA donors
9:10 AM
The New Arab Staff

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet with UNRWA's donors on Tuesday in a bid to discuss funding for the organisation, according to his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

As well as the meeting between Guterres and donors, the issue of UNRWA funding will also be discussed by Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag who is set to brief the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

PRCS: lost contact with ambulance retrieving 6-year-old
9:05 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has stated that it has lost contact with an ambulance team that was deployed yesterday to rescue a 6-year-old girl who was trapped in her family vehicle after it was fired on by Israeli forces near the Fares petrol station.

According to PRCS, six members of her family including her mother and father were killed in the incident that occurred on Monday evening.

New Zealand to cut UNRWA aid
8:57 AM
The New Arab Staff

New Zealand has become the latest country to cut funding to the UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announcing that the pause would occur until the agency investigated Israeli allegations against its staff.