Gaza: Israel carries out mass arrests of men, death toll passes 17,000

Gaza: Israel carries out mass arrests of men, death toll passes 17,000
Gaza War Day 62: Israeli forces continue to unleash a devastating blitz on the Gaza Strip as part of a second phase of its ground offensive in the besieged territory's southern half.
30 min read
07 December, 2023
Israeli forces continue relentless attacks in the south Gaza city of Khan Yunis [Getty]

This live blog on Day 62 of Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for the latest news.

Israeli forces continued to press their offensive across the besieged territory, as forces attempt to take the heart of southern Gaza's main city on Thursday.

Dozens of men were rounded up by the Israeli army in areas of northern Gaza, including a correspondent for The New Arab's Arabic-language service, Al Araby Al Jadeed. The men were arrested at gunpoint, stripped and transported to an undisclosed location, according to witnesses.

Breaking into Gaza's second largest city, Israeli forces, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers rolled into Khan Younis, forcing already displaced civilians to flee again.

At least 17,177 Palestinians have been killed since then, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures, while 1,200 people were killed in Hamas' incursion into Israel, according to Israeli tallies.

But humanitarian organisations have warned the spread of the war into the south of the Gaza Strip will leave civilians who fled the north, much of which is now destroyed, with nowhere to go.

The humanitarian office of the United Nations said the Khan Younis area, affected by Israel's evacuation order, has evacuated about 178,000 residents that they regarded previously home to and additional 170,000 displaced Palestinians.

"Two months on, the situation in Gaza is becoming apocalyptic. As hostilities expand, people are forced into increasingly confined areas of the south, and meaningful humanitarian efforts become nearly impossible," the agency said on X.

Many civilians fled to Khan Younis following an initial evacuation order by Israel to evacuate the north of the territory earlier in the war.

Much of northern Gaza has already been reduced to rubble by fierce fighting and bombardment, displacing 1.9 million people according to UN figures.

A strike on a residential district in Rafah left 17 dead and dozens injured late Wednesday, the Hamas health ministry said, and an AFP journalist saw the wounded, including children, being taken to a local Kuwaiti hospital.

The war has sparked fears of a wider regional conflict, with near-daily exchanges of fire with Lebanese group Hezbollah across Israel's border with Lebanon and a surge of deadly violence in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian authorities say more than 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire or settler attacks since the war began.

Prominent uni professor killed in Gaza in Israeli strike
12:18 AM
The New Arab Staff

A professor at the Islamic University in the Gaza Strip has been killed by Israeli bombing.

Dr. Rifaat Al-Arair, who teaches English literature, was reported dead on Thursday.

The Al-Aqsa channel announced in a post on Telegram "the martyrdom of Dr. Rifaat Al-Arair, one of the prominent teaching staff in English literature at the Islamic University."

Activists and social media users mourned Al-Arair upon learning of his death. He was the founder of the "We Are Not Numbers" campaign.

UN spokesman 'concerned' about mass arrests in Gaza
12:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, expressed his deep concern on Thursday over the mass arrests of Palestinian men in Gaza by Israeli forces.

Among these arrests was Diaa Al-Kahlout, a correspondent at The New Arab’s Arabic-language service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

"The images we saw this morning are very disturbing, because every person has the basic right to human dignity. These images and the way people are being treated are very disturbing," Dujarric said during a press conference at the UN.

"We have previously emphasised and will continue to emphasise the risks that journalists are exposed to in covering the ongoing conflict. Many of your colleagues have paid with their lives in Gaza," he added.

The spokesman called for the need to "publish information regarding the whereabouts of journalists and the reasons for their arrest as soon as possible."

Dujarric (L) said details on detained journalists needed to be released promptly [Getty]
Ben-Gvir asks prisons to lock up Hamas fighters underground
12:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has instructed the Israeli Prisons Authority to lock up Hamas fighters from elite forces captured by the Israeli army in an underground section.

"After years of not being used, I instructed the prison commissioner to open the underground section for detainees of the elite (forces)," the ultranationalist extremist minister wrote on X.

They "do not have the right to a ray of sun while our hostages sit in the tunnels of hell," he said, referring to Israeli captives still in Gaza.

Iran involved in planning, executing Houthi attacks: US
10:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States believes that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is helping to plan and carry out missile and drone attacks by Yemen's Houthis on Israel and ships in the Red Sea, a top White House aide said on Thursday.

"We believe that they are involved in the conduct of these attacks, the planning of them, the execution of them, the authorisation of them and ultimately they support them," deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told the Aspen Security Forum.

Iran denies involvement in the missile and drone attacks by the Houthis on Israel and vessels in the Red Sea.

Israel agreed to open Kerem Shalom crossing: US official
10:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has agreed, at the US' request, to open the Kerem Shalom border crossing for screening and inspection of humanitarian aid into Gaza, a senior US official has said.

UAE asks Security Council to vote Friday for Gaza ceasefire
10:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Arab Emirates has asked for the U.N. Security Council to vote Friday morning on a draft resolution that demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza war, diplomats said.

To be adopted, a resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, France or Britain. The U.S. has said it does not support any further action by the council at this time.

The renewed push for a ceasefire was made by Arab states after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a rare move on Wednesday to formally warn the 15-member Security Council of a global threat from the Gaza war.

Biden says more assistance needed in Gaza
9:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday held separate calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah, and said more assistance was needed for civilians in Gaza, according to the White House.

Biden "emphasised the critical need to protect civilians and to separate the civilian population from Hamas including through corridors that allow people to move safely from defined areas of hostilities," the White House said.

Biden stressed to the Israeli leader that "much more assistance was urgently required across the board."

Hezbollah says killed 2 Israeli soldiers along border
8:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanon’s Hezbollah announced Thursday evening the killing of two Israeli soldiers along the border.

Hezbollah said the soldiers were installing military devices used for intelligence on a crane in Al-Raheb site before being targeted by the group.

An Israeli farmer was also reportedly killed by a missile strike from Lebanon on Thursday.

Also this evening, an Israeli air raid was reported between the south Lebanon villages of Majdal Zoun and Al-Mansouri.

Some reports had said there were casualties in that strike, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

Cross-border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel are ongoing.

US has not given Israel firm deadline to end Gaza ops: WH
8:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States has not given Israel a firm deadline to end major combat operations against Hamas in Gaza, and if the war ended now, "the Islamist group would continue to pose a threat," White House national security aide John Finer said on Thursday.

Addressing the Aspen Security Forum, Finer said the United States believes that many security targets for Israel remain in the enclave's south.

UN sees 'promising signs' of Gaza aid access via Israel
7:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said he saw promising signs Thursday that the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into the Gaza Strip might be opened soon to allow aid in.

The checkpoint was responsible for 60 percent of goods getting into the besieged Palestinian territory before October 7 and the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Griffiths said that in recent days there had been signs that key countries - notably Gaza's neighbours Israel and Egypt - have become much more open to the idea of gradually reopening Kerem Shalom.

"We're still negotiating, and with some promising signs at the moment, access through Kerem Shalom... that that may be able to open soon," Griffiths told a press conference in Geneva.

"We have been arguing for the opening of Kerem Shalom, not just as an opening to allow trucks to go there, to then go through Rafah and then up into Gaza - but to go straight through Kerem Shalom up into the northern parts of Gaza, or wherever the need is greatest," Griffiths said.

"If we get that - it will be the first miracle we've seen for some weeks - but it will be a huge boost to the logistical process... it would change the nature of humanitarian access."

Deal on pause in Israel-Hamas war not close: White House
7:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House said on Thursday that Israel and Hamas are not close to another deal on a new humanitarian pause in their ongoing conflict.

Jewish extremists' march in Jerusalem blocked by police
6:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

A march that was previously planned by Jewish extremists in Jerusalem's Old City has been blocked by the Israeli police, The New Arab's correspondent said.

Palestinians must determine future of Gaza: Egypt FM
6:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt wants to see the Palestinian Authority govern Gaza but it is too early to discuss details of arrangements for the future of the strip, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in Washington on Thursday ahead of a Friday meeting between Arab states' top diplomats and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Shoukry, reiterating Arab leaders' calls for an immediate ceasefire, said governance of Gaza is up to the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization are the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and "should be accorded the ability to govern both the West Bank and Gaza," Shoukry said during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

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It was premature to discuss details of Gaza's future governance since the outcome of Israel's military campaign was uncertain, he said.

"I think we have to wait and see what is the consequences of this military operation and the conditions that exist in Gaza and then proceed to address the political relationships," Shoukry added.

Shoukry said the appropriate response from the international community would be to first call for a cessation of hostilities and then seek a political resolution of the conflict, an indirect criticism of Washington's rejection of calls for a ceasefire.

"I would like to have seen a ceasefire yesterday, actually 60 days ago," Shoukry said.

Muslim nations contact group for Gaza talks in US on Friday
6:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will travel to Washington on Friday along with counterparts in a so-called contact group of Muslim countries to discuss the situation in Gaza, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The contact group was formed last month at a joint summit of the Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the fighting in Gaza. It includes officials from Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Palestinian Authority and the OIC.

Saudi-Israel normalisation players may resume plan
5:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

There is still willingness among the key players of the US-led talks to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel to restart the process even after the October 7 attack by Hamas, US Deputy Secretary of State nominee Kurt Campbell said on Thursday.

"I think we can be carefully encouraged by some of the discussions that we've had to date that indicate that there still is a willingness among the key players to restart this process and continue it," Campbell told senators during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"I think it is understandable that at this moment, some of those discussions are quiet and they are difficult," Campbell said, adding that Washington's ultimate goal would be to "entrench Israel diplomatically" in the region.

Saudi Arabia put US-backed plans to normalize ties with Israel on ice, sources familiar with Riyadh's thinking told Reuters nearly two months ago, as the war by Israeli forces continues to escalate.

Biden and Netanyahu spoke by phone: White House
5:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a White House official said, as the two leaders continue to confer over Israel's war in Gaza.

The official had no immediate details of the call. A statement is expected later.

Son of Israeli minister killed in Israeli battle: statement
5:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The son of Israeli cabinet minister and former military chief Gadi Eizenkot was killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip, Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity Party, said on Thursday.

Party members Eizenkot and Gantz, also a former army chief, joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government shortly after Hamas' October 7 attack.

Israeli forces did not provide precise details about the death of Gal Meir Eisenkot, 25, other than to say he was killed in combat in the northern Gaza Strip.

More than 17,000 Palestinians have been brutally killed in Gaza since October 7, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry there, and around 1.9 million people, 85% of the population, have been displaced.

Criticism mounts after Israel defends Gaza aid efforts
5:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has defended its efforts to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, following sharp criticism of its handling of the humanitarian crisis unfolding inside the besieged Palestinian territory.

The Israeli siege has limited the supplies of food, water, fuel and medicines entering Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of displaced residents are massing around the southern cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis after fleeing intense combat in the north.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that conditions in the territory are "deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications".

Israeli NGO B'Tselem has also accused Israel of "deliberately starving the population" to pressure Hamas.

Elad Goren, an officer with the Israeli defence ministry body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, COGAT, insisted Israel was making every effort to get aid in.

Gaza conflict to 'severely depress' Palestinian economy
4:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is expected to "severely depress" the Palestinian economy, the IMF said Thursday.

"We do expect the conflict to severely depress economic activity in both the West Bank and Gaza, where even before the conflict GDP growth was set to decline over the medium term," the International Monetary Fund communications chief, Julie Kozack, told reporters.

She added that while the economies of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel will be the hardest-hit, "the ultimate impact will depend on the duration and intensity of the conflict."

The IMF announced last week that it will revise its economic outlook for countries in the Middle East and North Africa due to the conflict, warning it will have wide-ranging consequences for "both people and economies" in the region.

BREAKING: Israeli forces detain TNA Arabic reporter
4:36 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces in Gaza arrested journalist Diaa Al-Kahlout, a correspondent for The New Arab's Arabic service, along with others, including his relatives, in Beit Lahia.

Diaa Al-Kahlout, a correspondent for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, was arrested alongside his brothers, relatives, and other civilians, from the market street in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza.

Al-Kahlout was among dozens of Gaza residents arrested by Israeli forces in Gaza and were forced to strip off their clothes and were searched and humiliated before they were taken to an unknown location, according to eyewitness reports.

Images circulating on social media platforms showed Israeli forces had rounded up dozens of men, stripped down to their underwear, blindfolded and with their hands behind their backs.

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Iran's Raisi tells Putin that West backs Gaza 'genocide'
4:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi accused the West on Thursday of supporting "genocide" by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, at the start of talks in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin.

Putin said it was very important to discuss the situation in the Middle East, especially in the Palestinian territories.

Raisi responded via a translator: "What is happening in Palestine and Gaza is of course genocide and a crime against humanity." He said it was "even more sad" that this was supported by the United States and the West.

Blinken urges Israel to do more to protect civilians in Gaza
4:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer on Thursday, a senior State Department official said, and conveyed that Israel needs to do more to protect civilians in its offensive in southern Gaza.

Blinken also urged Dermer to let Israel to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza while welcoming its decision to let more fuel into the densely-populated enclave.

UN aid chief sees 'promising signs' of Gaza access
4:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said Thursday that he saw promising signs that the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into the Gaza Strip might be opened soon to allow aid in.

"We're still negotiating, and with some promising signs at the moment, access through Kerem Shalom... that that may be able to open soon," Griffiths told a press conference in Geneva.

Putin hails ties with Iran in meeting with Raisi
4:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised his country's relations with Iran at a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, as the two discussed the Israel's war on Gaza.

The two also discussed the two-month long war, which has drastically ratcheted up tensions between Israel and Arab states in the Middle East.

"It is very important for us to exchange views on the situation in the region, especially with regard to the situation in Palestine," Putin said.

Amnesty calls for US to call for immediate Gaza ceasefire
3:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

Human rights organisation Amnesty International said that the US, and other members of the Security Council must support a UN Security Council resolution that demands an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Amnesty's plea comes after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the Council to declare a ceasefire.

Ahead of her meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken today, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said, "There must be an urgent and binding UN Security Council resolution for an immediate ceasefire."

"The Security Council must play the role for which it was established."

"The US and all other members of the UN Security Council must act now to stop the unimaginable suffering in Gaza and to ensure that the conflict does not further spiral out of control – setting ablaze the Middle East region and spreading far beyond," Callamard added.

Lebanon to add report on journalist killing in UN complaint
3:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Lebanese prime minister has commented on the recent investigation conducted by rights groups and media outlets such as AFP and Reuters that killed a journalist and wounded others. 

Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a Lebanese government statement that “Israeli criminality has no limits.”

Mikati's response follows Lebanon submitting a complaint to the UN that says Israel has killed civilians in south Lebanon amid ongoing hostilities between Israel and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

Gaza has gone 'far beyond' a humanitarian crisis: MSF
2:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Thursday that Gaza faces a catastrophe extending far beyond a humanitarian crisis, describing the situation in the densely populated enclave as chaotic.

"My people on the ground keep updating me on the situation, and I can tell you that it has gone far beyond the humanitarian crisis," Dr. Christos Christou, international president of Doctors Without Borders, told reporters in Geneva.

"It is a humanitarian catastrophe. It is a chaotic situation, and I'm extremely worried that very soon people will be in a mode of just trying to survive, which will come with very severe consequences."

The United Nations and aid organisations have said that nowhere is safe in Gaza.

"The people have been asked to be squeezed in a very small area," Christou said. "My teams on the ground keep saying to me that it is unbearable. It is unsustainable ... There is no safe place."

Misbar debunks claims on Palestinian child detainee
2:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

Arabic fact-check platform Misbar has issued a report that debunks Israeli claims that Palestinian child Mohammad Nazzal sustained no fractures while in detention. 

Nazzal was freed as part of the weeklong exchange deal between Hamas and Israel during the brief ceasefire, that was mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the US.

Misbar pointed out that during television interviews conducted by the child, he appeared "visibly displaying fractures and bruises resulting from severe beatings endured before his release from Israeli prisons."

The investigation also corroborated Nazzal's injuries with verified medical examination reports and photos that were exclusively provided by his family.

To read more on the report, click here.

PSC mourns death of pioneering poet Benjamin Zephaniah
1:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) issued a statement, following the announcement of renowned British poet, author and activist Benjamin Zephaniah's passing.

"Devastating to hear that Benjamin Zephaniah has passed. As a writer, activist and patron of PSC he always stood steadfast with the Palestinian people and fought against racism and for justice for all his life," the Palestinian rights group wrote on X.

Through Zephaniah's life and career, he fiercely fought against racism, the legacy of the British Empire and the class system. 

The poet and writer, whose work was greatly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica, also turned his hand to acting when he appeared in series six of the hit series Peaky Blinders as the character Jeremiah Jesus.

Israel bars freed Palestinian boy from returning to school
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has said a Palestinian teenager who was among the youngest prisoners and detainees it freed under a Gaza truce cannot return to his former school in Jerusalem until at least mid-January after a period of probation.

Ahmad Salaymeh's family sees in the ban a violation of his rights as well as a reminder of Israeli control over Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Salaymeh, 14, was arrested in July, with police accusing him of stone-throwing, grievous bodily harm and property damage. The boy denies any wrongdoing.

"I am sad because I can’t see my friends and I am missing classes, so I have to study again, and I may need to repeat the school year," Salaymeh told news agency Reuters. "I lost this year."

Israel's Education Ministry said Salaymeh would be kept from school at least through Jan 10, the end of the winter vacation, which begins on Dec 23.

Salaymeh said he wants to be a star student "so I can become a lawyer and benefit my country". 

'Clear shift' in West Bank gunshot victim injuries: MSF
1:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian gunshot victims in the occupied West Bank are now being shot more often in the head and torso rather than the limbs, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Thursday.

The medical charity's international president, who recently returned from the West Bank, said that since Israel's war on Gaza, there had been a "clear shift" in the injuries being witnessed by MSF staff in West Bank hospitals.

"The type of trauma they are dealing with has changed completely," Christos Christou told reporters at MSF's headquarters in Geneva.

"In the past, the mechanism of the shooting was different. They were targeting the limbs," he said.

"Instead of having injuries in the limbs, they have gunshot wounds in the abdomen, the trunk and the head. This is a clear shift.

"When you see that shift in the trauma, you will see more and more dead people."

MbS, Putin share ‘deep concern’ over Gaza during meeting
1:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

Saudi state news agency SPA is reporting that the Saudi crown prince and the Russian president shared their “deep concern” over the ongoing humanitarian issue in Gaza during their meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday.

Mohammed bin Salman and Vladimir Putin “stressed the need to stop military operations in the Palestinian territories, and the need to protect civilians in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law”, a joint statement read.

SPA added that the leaders concluded that the only way for the conflict to find a resolution is by proposing a two-state solution.

“To enable the Palestinian people to achieve their legitimate rights to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” it said.

Russia's President Putin met with Saudi's MbS in Riyadh on December 6 [Getty]
Gaza death toll exceeds 17,000
1:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has announced that the total number of Palestinians who were killed by Israel since October 7 has reached 17,177, with more than 46,000 others deemed injured.

In the past 24 hours, 350 Palestinians have been killed, the ministry also reported.

Israeli spokesman denies Israeli tank killing journalist
1:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli government spokesperson said on Thursday he was not aware of investigators' findings that Israeli tank fire had killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and wounded six other journalists in Lebanon but denied Israeli forces targeted non-combatants.

"We do not target civilians," spokesperson Eylon Levy said in a televised briefing, when asked about the findings in reports from Reuters and Agence France-Presse- as well as rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

"We've been doing everything possible to get civilians out of harm's way." 

Two Israeli strikes on 13 October in Lebanon which killed Abdallah and injured six others were "deliberate attacks on civilians" tantamount to a war crime, investigations concluded earlier by the media agencies and human rights organisations.

Israeli defense minister threatens to bomb Lebanon
12:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has issued remarks amid increasing tensions between Israeli forces and Hezbollah- as he states that Israel plans to escalate attacks if his forces and Hezbollah do not reach a 'diplomatic resolution'.

"We don’t want war, but if we get to a situation where we need to establish security here, we will not hesitate- just as we did not hesitate in the south,” Gallant said in a local council meeting on Wednesday.

 “Every person in Lebanon can take the map, the aerial photograph of Gaza, place it on an aerial photograph of Beirut, and ask themselves if this is what they want to happen there.”

Over 1,000 workers have blockaded 4 arms factories across UK
12:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Workers and protesters have been reported to shut down four arms factories in the UK, following the named companies having sent supply components for the F-35 stealth fighter jet that Israel uses in its heavy bombardments in Gaza.

The four arms factories include Eaton Mission Systems in Bournemouth, BAE Systems at Samlesbury Aerodrome in Lancashire, L3Harris factory in Brighton, and the BAE Systems Govan site in Glasgow. 

Its company website details that the L3-Harris’ systems are instrumental to several US combat aircrafts such as the F-22, F/A-18 and F-35. It also detailed that it manufactures bomb-release mechanisms for the F-35 combat aircraft and Reaper drone- which which are used by Israel. 

Al Jazeera network condemns killing of reporter’s family
11:46 AM
The New Arab Staff

Al Jazeera Media Network has condemned the Israeli bombardment of Gaza which it said led to the killing of 22 family members of one of its reporters.

In a statement echoing its usual anti-Israeli tone yesterday, the network said it would take the appropriate legal measures to hold accountable those responsible for the “crime”.

It also called on the international community and organisations defending the rights of journalists to work on putting an end to “the massacres” as soon as possible.

Read the full story here.

Austria ends its suspension of aid to Palestinians
11:35 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Austria has said it was ending a suspension of aid to Palestinians since a review had found no indication funds were being used to fund or promote terrorism, according to Austria's allegations.

Soon after Austria's announcement on October 9 that it was freezing aid pending the review, neighbouring Germany said it was also reviewing aid to the Palestinians.

The European Union ordered its own review, and said last month there was no evidence of funds going to Hamas and assistance would continue.

"There is no indication that Austrian development projects funded by the ADA (Austrian Development Agency) were misused to fund or promote terrorism or to spread anti-Semitic content," Austria's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Austria's conservative People's Party (OVP) that leads Austria's ruling coalition has recently positioned the neutral country as one of the most pro-Israel members of the European Union.

Most Palestinians going full day and night without food: WFP
11:25 AM
The New Arab Staff

The United Nations World Food Programme has issued a report that emphasised widespread hunger impacting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip- adding that households in northern Gaza are currently “experiencing alarming levels of hunger”.

WFP also highlighted that at least 97 percent of Palestinian households in northern Gaza have “inadequate food” to meet the necessary requirement. 

Additionally, at least nine out of 10 people are going one full day and night without food.

Meanwhile, in southern Gaza, WFP said that a third of the households have been detailed to experience high levels of severe or very severe hunger, while 53 percent of Palestinians are facing moderate hunger.

Senior UN official denounces 'blatant disregard' in Gaza war
11:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees told news agency The Associated Press there is no safe haven in besieged Gaza for civilians- not even in UN shelters and so-called “safe zones” designated by Israel.

Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency, also known as UNRWA, said in an interview with the AP that since the outbreak of Israel's war on Gaza, more than 80 UN facilities in the Gaza Strip have been hit.

The UN facilities hit “directly or indirectly” in Gaza include sites that have been sheltering civilians, Lazzarini said. UNRWA has said that more than 220 Palestinians were killed in such strikes, and that 130 of its employees also lost their lives in the war.

“There is absolutely no safe place in the Gaza Strip,” Lazzarini said, speaking to the AP in Beirut.

While the circumstances of those strikes are difficult to investigate amid the ongoing conflict, he said, “I do believe that the blatant disregard of U.N. premises … will require an independent investigation in the future.”

Egypt says it is pushing to accelerate Gaza aid delivery
11:14 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt is still pushing to accelerate the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip, the state information service said on Thursday, after the amounts of relief getting through to the besieged enclave dipped with the end of a truce on December 1.

The government body reiterated that Egypt would never allow the emptying of the Gaza Strip of its residents as they are pushed southwards towards the border with Egypt.

US, UK nationals to exit Gaza via Rafah crossing
10:54 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Gaza-based General Authority for Crossings and Borders has announced that a number of foreign nationals, including 63 Americans and 10 Britons, will leave the Gaza Strip via Rafah crossing today.

The Rafah border crossing - the only land crossing out of Gaza not controlled by Israel - opened on 1 November to allow some foreign nationals and wounded Palestinians into Egypt after an agreement negotiated by Qatar, was reached between Israel, Hamas and Egypt.

The crossing has been used by Gaza residents and foreign nationals to flee the war and for the delivery of humanitarian aid - which has been hampered by the hostilities.

Arab group at UNSC to push for draft resolution on ceasefire
10:51 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Arab group at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is pushing for a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the delivery of more humanitarian aid to the strip.

In a press conference at the UN yesterday, Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour appeared standing alongside the Arab Group's representatives, and called on the UNSC to assume its responsibilities and stop the hostilities in Gaza.

He also called on the US to "play a role" in order to reach a ceasefire and allow Qatar and Egypt to resume negotiations for the release of captives in Gaza.

Mansour said the group urged the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan to "expedite the process of investigation" into Israeli "war crimes".

Gaza journalist and family confirmed dead: local media
10:43 AM
The New Arab Staff

Local Palestinian media outlets have reported that journalist Saeed Al-Shorbaji and his family were killed in an Israeli raid targeting the city of Khan Yunis.

Videos have also surfaced online of close associates to the deceased journalist who bid farewell and mourned their collective loss at Al-Nasser Hospital.

The distressing images is advised to be viewed with caution.

Attacks on Gaza has made situation ‘desperate’: UN agency
10:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has issued a latest update- following increasing Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The UN agency has stated that ongoing bombardments have made the situation “desperate”.

“Conditions required to deliver aid do not exist. UNRWA shelters are overflowing,” the UN agency wrote on X.

“There is not enough aid to meet the overwhelming needs. UNRWA operations are being strangled.”

US tells Israel not to respond to Houthi drones: WSJ
10:34 AM
The New Arab Staff

The US has told Israel not to respond to missile and drone attacks by the Houthis in Yemen, according to US media outlet the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Houthi forces has attacked Israel for weeks using been firing drones and ballistic missiles- which was mostly shot by Israel and the US.

The US has told Israel to let the American military to conduct responses to the Houthis and added that an Israeli offensive that could exacerbate the conflict, US and other government officials said, the WSJ reports.

Al Jazeera: Al-Shifa has no electricity, first aid only
10:18 AM
The New Arab Staff

Maher Shamiyeh, the assistant undersecretary for Gaza’s health ministry, tells news publication Al Jazeera that al-Shifa Hospital has only been able to administer first aid and clinical care.

The largest hospital in the Gaza Strip has not functioned since Israeli forces targeted the medical complex last month.

“Al-Shifa Medical Complex used to represent 40 to 50 percent of the total capacity of operations for the health ministry [before the war], but now it does not have electricity and is filled with thousands of displaced people,” Shamiyeh said.

“Yesterday we received 200 killed and 200 wounded,” he added. “Most of those injured need complicated surgeries.”

The majority of medical staff have moved to southern Gaza and cannot come back to Gaza City or northern Gaza, he said.

This follows Israeli forces evacuating civilians to the south initially, where they have prevented communities from returning amid heavy bombardments.

Jordan send humanitarian aid to Gaza
10:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Jordanian air force declared that they have dropped their fourth humanitarian aid delivery “to our people in Gaza,” the Jordan News Agency has reported.

The aid was sent to a hospital in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.

The aid drop includes key supplies such as medical materials, medicines, dialysis treatments, food parcels, ready-made meals, clothing, health kits, baby formula, and additional specialised medical items for children.

Israel's defence ministry to provide weapons to civilians
9:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel’s Ministry of Defence has permitted the distribution of weapons and other combat equipment to civilians, according to Israeli media.

The program is said to include of 12 groups of civilians being armed every week, starting from those living close to the besieged Gaza Strip, then local authorities in areas will follow.

The latest decision was made to “allow better conditions for the return of the residents to their communities in the upcoming weeks”, read a statement.

US, Israel discuss notional timeline for Gaza operation
9:36 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States has discussed with Israel its timeline for military operations in Gaza and "how this falls into a longer-term strategy for addressing this issue that goes beyond just military means," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has  said.

“We have talked to them about timetables. I don’t want to share that because Israel has already kind of telegraphed precisely the location of its ground operation and I don’t want to be the one telegraphing timetables," Sullivan told news agency Reuters in a telephone interview devoted largely to Ukraine's defense industry.

"I will just say that we’ve talked through with them what they’re thinking in terms of the duration and how this falls into a longer-term strategy for addressing this issue that goes beyond just military means," he said. 

G7 leaders urge two-state solution to Gaza war
9:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

G7 leaders reaffirmed their support for a two-state solution to the long-running Israel-Palestinian conflict in a statement issued after a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

"We remain committed to a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution that enables both Israelis and Palestinians to live in a just, lasting, and secure peace," they said.

MbS: Coordinating with Russia removes Middle East tensions
9:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman praised in a meeting with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday joint coordination between the two countries "that helped remove tensions in Middle East," the Saudi state news agency SPA said.

"We share many interests and many files that we are working on together for the benefit of Russia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and the world as well," the agency quoted the crown prince as saying.

Israeli forces kill 4 West Bank Palestinians: ministry
9:26 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces shot dead four Palestinians, two of them teenagers, in the north of the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Sixteen-year-old Omar Abu Bakr was killed by "a bullet to the chest fired by soldiers from the occupation (Israel) in Yabad", the health ministry said in a statement.

Abdul Nasser Mustafa Riyahi, 24, succumbed to his wounds after being shot in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, according to the ministry.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Israeli forces had burst into the camp in the morning and surrounded a house.

"Confrontations broke out during which the soldiers opened live fire at the Palestinians injuring four. One of them later died of his wounds," it said.

Journalists should be allowed in and out of Gaza: RSF
9:22 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged Israeli and Egyptian authorities on Thursday to allow journalists to move freely across the Gaza Strip's southern border crossing into Egypt.

The Rafah crossing was shut after Israel declared war in Gaza following Hamas' October 7 attack.

While it has intermittently opened in recent weeks, only people whose names were on approved lists have been allowed out.

In a statement, RSF called for the Rafah crossing to be opened "so that journalists can finally come and go on both sides of the border".

Palestinian journalists who, like other civilians in Gaza, have had to flee their homes in the north of the Gaza Strip "are now being told by Israel to assemble at the border with Egypt, with no possibility of crossing", RSF said.

"Conversely, international reporters are prevented from entering."

RSF says Israel monitors all activities at the southern border. Gaza's only other official border crossing, which links the besieged territory to Israel, has also been shut.

US has always wanted to see Saudi-Israel normalisation
9:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 US energy envoy Amos Hochstein said on Thursday his country has always wanted to see normalisation between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Hochestein said he did not think hope should be lost and that the goal remains the same, adding that the U.S. remains committed to regional integration but it has to be broader than Saudi-Israel.

Israel strike on journalists in Lebanon warrants 'war crime'
9:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli strike that killed one journalist and injured six others merits a "war crime" investigation, rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch told French news agency AFP on Thursday.

Issam Abdallah, 37, was killed instantly in the strike. The others present -- two other Reuters journalists, two from Al Jazeera, and two from AFP -- were all injured.

AFP photographer Christina Assi, 28, was seriously wounded, later had a leg amputated and is still in hospital.