Gaza war: Israeli tanks advance in Rafah as deadly airstrikes intensify

Gaza war: Israeli tanks advance in Rafah as deadly airstrikes intensify
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Israel is continuing its military operation in Rafah in violation of an International Court of Justice order urging to halt any attacks, with more strikes reported overnight on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Israeli army has increased the intensity and scale of the attacks, forcing scores of displaced Palestinians to flee to other parts of the enclave amid Israeli threats, dangerous conditions and a lack of food and other necessities.

Strikes in Rafah, where thousands of Palestinians are sheltering, Khan Younis, and the enclave's Jabalia camp, were reported.

At least 21 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday, including 13 women and girls, in a strike  on a tent camp housing displaced families in al-Mawasi, near Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, drawing condemnation and anger from several nations.

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Early on Wednesday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urged for a ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip, where residents are faced with dire humanitarian conditions.

Israel went on to deny responsibility for the attack, while its long-term ally the US said the current strikes don't constitute a "major ground operation", and has not changed its policy regarding Rafah.

The continued attacks on Rafah come as Spain, Ireland and Norway officially recognised the State of Palestine on Tuesday, much to Israel's ire.

Macron urges PA 'reform' with 'prospect of recognition'
6:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron urged Palestinian Authority chief Mahmud Abbas to "implement necessary reforms", offering the "prospect of recognition of the state of Palestine" during a phone call Wednesday, his office said.

Macron "highlighted France's commitment to building a common vision of peace with European and Arab partners, offering security guarantees for Palestinians and Israelis," as well as "making the prospect of recognition of a state of Palestine part of a useful process", Macron's Elysee Palace said.

Israel has 'tactical control of Gaza-Egypt border corridor'
5:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli military official said on Wednesday Israeli forces had achieved tactical control over the Philadelphi Corridor that runs along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

"It doesn't mean that we have boots on the ground across all of the corridor but it means we can control and we have the ability to cut off the oxygen line that Hamas has used for replenishing and movement in and around that area," the official said, referring to the Palestinian Islamist militant group.

The official said that the Israeli military's operation in the Rafah area has in 10 days discovered 20 tunnels that cross into Egypt and that this information was passed on to Egypt.

Israel needs post-war plan 'as quickly as possible': Blinken
4:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Israel needed a post-war plan as soon as possible after a senior official predicted the fighting against Gaza would last until the end of the year.

"In the absence of a plan for the day after, there won't be a day after. And this is where we need to go, and (what) we need to get, as quickly as possible," Blinken told reporters on a visit to Moldova.

World Central Kitchen stops work in Rafah after attacks
4:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The World Central Kitchen nonprofit, which provides meals in war-torn Gaza, said it had stopped its operations in the Palestinian territory's southern city of Rafah due to "ongoing attacks" in the area.

The US-based charity was founded by celebrity Spanish-American chef Jose Andres to provide food to communities facing humanitarian crises and disasters.

"In the face of Israeli operations in Rafah, countless families are being forced to flee once again," the charity said on social media platform X late on Tuesday.

"Ongoing attacks have forced us to pause work at our main kitchen in Rafah and relocate many of our community kitchens further north."

The charity had recently resumed its work in Gaza after suspending operations in April following the killing of seven of its workers in three air strikes by an Israeli drone.

The deaths -- of an Australian, three Britons, a North American, a Palestinian and a Pole -- had triggered a global outrage over Israel's military operations.

An internal Israeli military inquiry found that the drone team had made an "operational misjudgement" after spotting a suspected Hamas gunman shooting from the top of an aid truck.

In recent weeks, fighting in Rafah has intensified after the Israeli military began its ground assault there on May 7 after seizing control of the crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

Houthi rebels say attacked Greek-owned ship off Yemen
3:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels said on Wednesday they attacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier and several other vessels in response to Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

The bulk carrier Laax, a Marshall Islands-flagged and Greek-operated vessel, reported being hit by three missiles on Tuesday, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM) and maritime security firms.

The ship was damaged but continued its voyage, according to CENTCOM and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which is run by Britain's Royal Navy.

The Joint Maritime Information Centre (JMIC), run by a Western-led naval task force in the region, said "one crew member was reportedly injured" in the attack.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree, in a post on Wednesday on social media platform X, said the Laax was "directly hit and severely damaged".

He said the rebels also attacked five other ships.

The strikes were "in response to the crimes of the Zionist enemy against the displaced in Rafah", Saree said, after a series of Israeli strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Brazil has recalled its ambassador to Israel
3:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Brazil has recalled its ambassador to Israel and will not immediately appoint a replacement, a diplomatic source told AFP Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries over Israel's war in Gaza.

The nearly eight-month-old conflict has soured Israel's diplomatic ties with several nations, including Brazil, whose President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in February accused the country's government of "genocide."

Israel reacted furiously, declaring the Brazilian leader "persona non grata."

Israel had previously summoned the South American country's ambassador Frederico Meyer to a meeting at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem, which the Brazilian source said "was a humiliation to which (Meyer) was subjected."

In response, Brazil recalled Meyer for consultations, and in turn, summoned Israel's representative in Brasilia.

The source said conditions had not been met for Meyer "to return" to Israel.

Nikki Haley meets with Defence Minister Gallant in Israel
3:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Former US ambassador to the UN and failed US presidential candidate Nikki Haley met with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday, amid her visit to the country.

Gallant said he discussed "the importance of strong US-Israel ties" in the face of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah".

Haley came under fire for signing Israeli rockets with the message "finish them" earlier, despite the exasperating  Palestinian death toll in Gaza.

15 Palestinians killed in Rafah on Wednesday: Al Jazeera
2:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least 15 people have been killed in Rafah today, following an intensification of Israeli military operations in southernmost city in Gaza.

Al Jazeera reported that smoke was visible from a blown-out residential building. The Qatari network added that injured Palestinians were seen in Rafah Tal al-Sultan area.

WHO delivers aid to north of Gaza for 1st time in 2 weeks
2:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A World Health Organization mission reached the north of Gaza for the first time in more than two weeks, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

The mission delivered fuel, hospital beds, medicines and other medical supplies to the Al-Ahli hospital, Tedros announced on X.

"Amid ongoing intense hostilities, @WHO and partners still managed to reach Al-Ahli Hospital in #Gaza city. First mission to the north of the Strip since 13 May," said Tedros.

He said the supplies were enough to cover the needs of 1,500 people but insisted that much more was needed.

"Al-Ahli hospital is serving twice the number of people it is designed for, lacking essential surgical supplies, and salaries for the staff," said Tedros.

"No lifesaving surgery can be performed in the evening due to the lack of specialised staff."

Tedros said the WHO was trying to deploy "an emergency medical team" there.

Aid deliveries to the northern Gaza Strip has been insufficient [Getty]
China 'deeply pained by severe' Gaza situation: President Xi
1:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Xi Jinping told his Egyptian counterpart on Wednesday that China was "deeply pained" by the "extremely severe" situation in Gaza, according to state media.

"The current round of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has caused a large number of innocent Palestinian civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation in Gaza is extremely severe. China is deeply pained," Xi told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Far-right Spain MP sparks row with surprise Israel trip
1:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Spain's far-right Vox leader came under fire Wednesday following surprise talks in occupied Jerusalem with Israel's premier to denounce Madrid's recognition of Palestinian statehood, with the government accusing him of "fuelling war".

The unexpected trip was only publicised on Tuesday night when Santiago Abascal published photos on X of himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The meeting took place on the same day that Spain, Ireland and Norway recognised Palestinian statehood, sparking Israeli fury and hiking diplomatic tensions, notably with Madrid.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has been sharply critical of the spiralling Palestinian death toll amid the war waged by Israel for almost eight months.

The far-right Vox and the right-wing opposition Popular Party (PP) have both slammed Sanchez for recognising Palestinian statehood.

According to Vox, Abascal hailed Israel's "firmness" in the Gaza war and told Netanyahu that the Spanish premier "was ready to do anything to cover up his own political and economic corruption".

Abascal said he told Netanyahu "the real reason" for the Palestinian statehood move was Sanchez trying to divert attention from a graft probe into his wife.

His post sparked a backlash with Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares accusing Abascal of inflaming the situation.

"Abascal is embracing the policy of falsehoods, slander and insults coming from the most extreme elements of Netanyahu's government," he told RTVE public television late Tuesday.

"While some people are fuelling wars, others are trying to find solutions for peace."

War in Gaza will continue for at least 7 months: Israel
1:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

Tzachi Hanegbi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, said that he expects fighting in Gaza to continue throughout "2024 at least".

 

Iran made ballistic missiles available to Houthis: media
12:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday that Tehran's sea-launched ballistic missile Ghadr has been made available to Yemen's Houthis.

"Iran's sea-launched ballistic missile, named Ghadr, now has been made available to Yemen's (Houthi) fighters," - reported Tasnim, which is believed to be affiliated to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

"Now, the missile has become a weapon capable of presenting serious challenges to the interests of the United States and its main ally in the region, the Zionist regime," Tasnim said.

PA's Mustafa in Madrid after Spain recognises Palestine
12:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa and leading officials from several Middle Eastern countries in Madrid on Wednesday after Spain, Ireland and Norway recognised a Palestinian state .

The diplomatic move by the three western European nations on Tuesday was interpreted as a victory for the Palestinians and could encourage other Western countries to follow suit.

More than 140 countries recognize a Palestinian state — more than two-thirds of the United Nations.

With Spain and Ireland, there are now nine members of the 27-nation European Union that officially recognise a Palestinian state. Norway is not an EU member but its foreign policy is usually aligned with the bloc.

Israel controlling 75% of buffer zone on Gaza-Egypt border
11:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's military was in control of 75 percent of the Phildelphi corridor, a buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said on Wednesday.

"Inside Gaza, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is now in control of 75% of the Philadelphi corridor and I believe it will be in control of it all with time. Together with the Egyptians, we must ensure weapon smuggling is prevented," he told Israel's public broadcaster Kan.

Hanegbi added that he expected fighting in Gaza to continue throughout 2024 at least.

Erdogan says 'spirit of United Nations dead in Gaza'
11:12 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday hit out at the United Nations and called on the "Islamic world" to react after the latest deadly Israeli strikes in Gaza.

"The UN cannot even protect its own staff. What are you waiting for to act? The spirit of the United Nations is dead in Gaza," Erdogan told lawmakers from his AKP party.

Erdogan's comments came as the UN Security Council met to discuss a deadly Israeli attack on a displacement camp west of Rafah on Tuesday that killed 21 people, according to a civil defence official in the enclave.

The Turkish premier also hit out at fellow Muslim-majority countries for failing to take common action over the Israeli strike.

"I have some words to say to the Islamic world: what are you waiting for to take a common decision?" Erdogan, who leads a Muslim-majority country of 85 million people, told lawmakers from his AKP party.

"Israel is not just a threat to Gaza but to all of humanity," he said.

Gaza death toll increases to 36,171, with 81,420 injured
10:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip said 36,171 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war in the enclave on October 7, with 81,420 confirmed injuries.

UK police arrest 40 after pro-Palestinian rally
9:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK police on Wednesday said that 40 people had been arrested and three officers injured after protesters refused to disperse following a demonstration in London over Israel's latest deadly offensive in Gaza.

The British capital's Metropolitan Police Service said the individuals were arrested late on Tuesday for offences including breaching public order conditions, obstructing roads and assaulting emergency workers.

It said two officers sustained minor injuries after being assaulted while a third, who was struck by a bottle thrown from within the crowd, suffered a "serious facial injury".

The Met said an investigation was under way to identify who threw the bottle.

Police had approved plans for the early evening protest - organised by a coalition including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign - outside the gates of Downing Street in central London.

But it imposed conditions including that the rally end by 8:00pm (1900 GMT).

Up to 10,000 people attended, and the "vast majority" had left by the required time, but a group of around 500 remained to continue protesting, according to police.

Up to 10,000 protesters attended the protest in London [Getty/file photo
Three Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza: military
9:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said three of its soldiers have been "killed in combat" in southern Gaza.

Hamas rejects talks as Israel's offensive continues
9:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

A senior Hamas official has said that his group will not re-engage in ceasefire talks while Israel is continuing its military offensive in Rafah.

"We delivered a clear message to the mediators that what is happening on the ground in terms of killing, death, destruction and genocide cannot be compatible with negotiations, and I think they clearly understood our position," Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas's political bureau, told Al Arabiya TV on Tuesday.

"Our position is clear, the continuation of negotiations while massacres and daily killings are being committed is unacceptable," Hamad said.

He stressed that the group "wants a text that guarantees Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza". In response to a question about reports that Israel has sent a new proposal to Egypt and the US, Hamad said that Hamas "has not received any new proposals".

Hamas urged the international community and the Security Council to take "clear and conclusive steps to stop the escalating aggression and the invasion of the city of Rafah" in  a statement on Tuesday.

US weapons used in Rafah massacre: CNN report
8:51 AM
The New Arab Staff

Weapons made in the US were used in Israel's deadly massacre in Rafah on Sunday which killed 45 people, CNN has reported following an investigation.

CNN's analysis indicated that tails of several US weaponry were visible following the deadly strike, after footage emerged online.

Among them was the GBU-39 small diameter bomb (SDB), a Boeing-manufactured high-precision munition "designed to attack strategically important point targets". 

Sunday's massacre drew worldwide condemnation. The missiles targeted a tent for displaced people, with a fire caused by the ammunition spreading across the makeshift homes, burning people alive.

Horrifying images of charred, dismembered and beheaded children emerged on social media following the attack, prompting global outcry.

Palestinian killed, several wounded in bombing on east Rafah
8:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli strikes have killed at least one Palestinian man, with others injured in a bombing that targeted a gathering of citizens near the Kaf al-Mashrou area, east of Rafah, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Oman condemns 'continued Israeli aggression' on Rafah
8:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

Oman's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement denouncing the "continued Israeli aggression targeting displaced camps" in Rafah, which were carried out on Wednesday as part of its military operation in Gaza's southernmost city.

In a statement posted on X, Muscat called on the international community to take immediate action to "stop the systematic and ongoing war crimes and genocide committed against the Palestinian people".

 

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