Gaza: US, Israeli negotiators expected in Cairo as war nears six-month mark

Gaza: US, Israeli negotiators expected in Cairo as war nears six-month mark
Talks between Israel and the US are expected to take place this weekend, in a bid to reach a ceasefire deal between Tel Aviv and Hamas.
13 min read

US and Israeli negotiators are expected in the Egyptian capital Cairo over the weekend for a renewed push to reach a ceasefire-captive deal in a war that has raged for nearly half a year, which has killed over 33,000 Palestinians.

Ahead of the talks, US President Joe Biden wrote to the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, urging them to dial up pressure on Hamas to “agree to and abide by a deal”, a senior administration official told the AFP news agency.

The White House confirmed that negotiations would occur this weekend in Cairo, but would not comment on US media reports that CIA director Bill Burns would be attending, along with Israel spy chief David Barnea, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

Despite the potential ceasefire talks and calls for a truce in Gaza, Israeli forces carried out a series of strikes in the early hours of Saturday near Gaza City, killing at least three people and injuring 10, according to the Palestinian Wafa news agency.

Israeli shelling also hit homes in numerous areas of central Gaza, causing more injuries in the neighbourhoods of Mughraqa, Zahra, and near Nuseirat camp.

12:02 AM

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

Israel launch strikes on Lebanon's Bekaa: security sources
11:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Israel launched air strikes on Lebanon's Bekaa early on Sunday, two Lebanese security sources told news agency Reuters, a few hours after the downing of an Israeli drone over Lebanon.

Lebanon's armed group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for downing the drone in a statement. 

Israeli officials criticise Tel Aviv protests
11:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli communications minister Shlomo Karhi criticised the ongoing demonstrations in Tel Aviv and wrote on X that the "deterioration" of the protests that spurred into violence was "led by the leaders of the left, inside and outside the coalition."

The Likud member added that it "does not help anyone and tears us apart in the midst of a war. This is in stark contrast to the spirit of our warriors."

This comes as clashes were reported between protesters and police- as well as a car-ramming incident that hit five protesters.

Israeli transport minister Miri Regev, another Likud party member, condemned the protesters and accused that there are those who are planning to assassinate Netanyahu.

A woman gets a head injury after a person drives his car into the protesters [Getty]
Israel fighting 'bloody and difficult war': president
11:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel is fighting a "bloody and difficult war", President Isaac Herzog said in a statement to mark the conflict reaching its half-year mark on Sunday.

"Half a year since this crime against our sisters and brothers, against our state, this crime against humanity. Six months of a bloody and difficult war," said the president, whose role is largely ceremonial.

Herzog's remarks come after the army announced it had recovered the body of Elad Katzir, a hostage who was said to killed during his captivity in Gaza in January.

They also came as tens of thousands of Israeli protested against right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the war.

Israeli president Isaac Herzog releases statement on six month mark of Gaza war [Getty]
'Terrible' Gaza war 'must end': UK's Sunak
10:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Saturday said the "terrible" war in Gaza since October 7 as "must end", six months on from the start of the conflict.

Sunak reiterated his support for Israel's right to defend itself and "defend their security", however he added that "the UK is shocked by the bloodshed" in a statement.

"This terrible conflict must end. The hostages must be released. The aid -- which we have been straining every sinew to deliver by land, air and sea -- must be flooded in," he said.

Sunak said the children of Gaza needed a "humanitarian pause immediately, leading to a long-term sustainable ceasefire".

"That is the fastest way to get hostages out and aid in, and to stop the fighting and loss of life.

"For the good of both Israelis and Palestinians -- who all deserve to live in peace, dignity and security -- that is what we will keep working to achieve," he added.

Sunak's comments come after the British government on Friday called for "utmost transparency" and a "wholly independent review" into the killing of seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip.

British prime minister Rishi Sunak calls for an end to the war on Gaza [Getty]
Israeli forces arrest 45 Palestinians in occupied West Bank
10:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

The PA Commission for Detainees Affairs has reported that three women and former prisoners have been detained by Israeli forces.

The commission issued a statement that the arrests took place mainly in occupied East Jerusalem who were said to be worshippers who were leaving Al Aqsa Mosque.

Others were also reported to be detained in Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Tourism Ramallah, Jericho and Tulkarem.

“Since October 7, more than 8,080 Palestinians in total have been detained,” said the commission in a statement.

Protesters hit during car-ramming incident in Tel Aviv
9:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli news publication Haaretz has reported that five protesters who took part in Saturday's demonstration in Israel's Tel Aviv were hit by a car by a driver who was said to refuse to obey police instructions.

Haaretz said that emergency medical teams evacuated those wounded to Ichilov Hospital- as one person was reported to be in a serious condition.

Missile attack misses ship off Yemen coast: UK agency
9:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A missile missed a vessel southwest of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, British maritime security agency UKMTO said Saturday, noting that both the vessel and its crew were safe.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations reported two missiles in the vicinity of the vessel.

"The first was intercepted" by US-led coalition forces, it said.

"The second impacted the water a distance from the vessel," it added, noting that "the vessel reports no damage and the crew are reported safe".

Maritime security firm Ambrey also said "a vessel was targeted... southwest of Hodeidah," but did not provide additional details.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the reported attack, which coincides with a campaign by Yemen's Houthi rebels against ships linked to Israel, Britain or the United States.

Israelis take part in mass demonstrations in Tel Aviv
8:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

The families of Israeli hostages and supporters have rallied outside Tel Aviv’s Democracy Square to demand early elections and the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

The ongoing demonstrations have been in response to the Israeli prime minister’s handling of the negotiations around the captives held in Gaza, as well as in Jerusalem since the war erupted.

Saturday's protests come as ceasefire talks are set to take place in Egypt's capital- which includes Hamas representatives and will be mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the US.

rotesters set a fire and hold flame torches during a demonstration in Tel Aviv [Getty]
UN chief calls Gaza war 'betrayal of humanity': statement
7:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations' under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Martin Griffiths, on Saturday decried Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza as a "betrayal of humanity."

In a statement on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the war, the outgoing humanitarian official called for a "collective determination that there be a reckoning for this betrayal of humanity."

German military vessel intercepts Houthi missile in Red Sea
7:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Union's naval mission in the southern Red Sea said on Saturday it had intercepted a Houthi missile to protect merchant ships.

The EU's mission, known as Aspides, said in a press release that the German frigate "Hessen" had intercepted a missile attack from Houthi controlled territories.

"The action performed by Hessen was effective, avoiding any damage to seafarers and merchant shipping", it added.

Aspides was launched in February to help protect the key maritime trade route from drone and missile attacks by Yemen's Houthis, who say they are retaliating against Israel's war on Gaza. 

Iranian commander vows to revenge Israeli strike in Syria
7:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A top military commander Saturday renewed Iran's promise to retaliate after an airstrike earlier this week widely blamed on Israel destroyed Iran’s consulate in Syria, killing 12 people, including two elite Iranian generals.

Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, Iran’s joint chief of staff, told mourners gathered for the funeral of Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahdi that Iran will decide when and how to stage an "operation" to take revenge. Zahdi was the highest ranking commander slain in Monday’s attack.

“The time, type, plan of the operation will be decided by us, in a way that makes Israel regret what it did," he said. "This will definitely be done."

The attack on an Iranian diplomatic compound was a significant escalation in a long-running shadow war between the two archenemies, and Israel has been bracing for an Iranian response.

In all, 12 people were killed in the strike: Seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard members, four Syrians and a Hezbollah member.

Israel's Yair Lapid set to make US visit
6:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Several Israeli news outlets have reported that Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid is set to leave for Washington on Sunday to meet US administration officials in the White House and the State Department.

Lapid will also meet with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Ben Cardin, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Lindsey Graham.

What appeared to be a confirmation from the politician, Lapid reposted an Israeli news article on his X social media account regarding the latest news.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid is set to make US visit this Sunday [Getty]
UK monitor says vessel attacked southwest of Hodeidah
5:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British maritime security firm Ambrey said on Saturday that it had received information that a vessel was targeted approximately 61 nautical miles southwest of Hodeidah in Yemen.

Iran-aligned Houthis have staged attacks on shipping in the Red Sea region for months in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war.

Nine rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon: Haaretz
5:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel is saying that nine rockets fired into the territory, some intercepted and some falling in open areas, following sirens in the north of the country, reported Haaretz.

Jordan: Invasion of Rafah 'must not be allowed'
4:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has said that an invasion of Rafah "must not be allowed", after several UN agencies have "spoken of the horror Israel brought on Gaza".

"It’s time their call for ending this brutality was heeded. UNICEF is now focusing on the fear for the lives of 600,000 boys and girls in Rafah if an invasion is allowed. It must not be allowed," Safadi said.

His statement on X came in response to UNICEF spokesman James Elder saying that hundreds of thousands of children are trapped in Rafah "with nowhere safe to go."

Al-Shifa Hospital ‘an empty shell with human graves’: WHO
4:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital has become an "empty shell with human graves after the latest siege", World Health Organization chief Tedros said, in a statement on X.

"Most of the buildings in the hospital complex are extensively destroyed and the majority of assets damaged or reduced to ash," he said.

"WHO and partners’ recent effort to support the revival of basic services at Al-Shifa are now lost, and people are once again deprived of access to lifesaving health care services".

Israeli army strikes several areas in south Lebanon
3:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army has carried out attacks on several 'Hezbollah terror infrastructure' in the areas of Aita al-Shaab, Arnoun and Tayr Harfa in southern Lebanon.

The army said it also hit the areas of Alma ash-Shaab and Souaneh overnight.

The attacks come after the army said five rockets were launched from Lebanon into northern Israel overnight.

45 Palestinians arrested in past 24 hours: Prison Society
2:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have arrested at least 45 Palestinians in the past 24 hours, the Palestinian Prisoners Society sad on Saturday.

Many of those arrested were worshippers leaving Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem after Friday prayers.

Others were arrested in the occupied West Bank governorates of Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Tubas, Ramallah and el-Bireh, Jericho, and Tulkarm, the group said, adding that three women were among those apprehended.

The latest arrests bring the total number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since October 7 to 8,080, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, as part of what it called a "systematic arrest campaign".

UN rights chief calls Gaza war 'betrayal of humanity'
1:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations' under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Martin Griffiths, on Saturday decried Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza as a "betrayal of humanity."

In a statement on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the war, the outgoing humanitarian official called for a "collective determination that there be a reckoning for this betrayal of humanity."

Hamas says refuses to 'back down' on Gaza ceasefire demands
1:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian movement Hamas refused to "back down" on Saturday from its demands for a Gaza ceasefire, but agreed to send a delegation for renewed talks in Cairo over the weekend.

"Hamas confirms its adherence to the position it presented on March 14 ... and we will not back down from this position," it said in a statement.

The group also reiterated its series of demands.

"The demands ... are complete ceasefire, withdrawal of the occupation forces from Gaza, the return of the displaced to their residential areas, freedom of movement of the people, offering them aid and shelter, and a serious hostage exchange deal," it said.

Negotiators were expected in Cairo over the weekend for a renewed push to strike a ceasefire and hostage exchange deal with the war in Gaza set to reach the six-month mark on Sunday.

Hamas delegation to head to Cairo April 7 for Gaza ceasefire
12:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Hamas delegation headed by the group's deputy chief in Gaza, Khalil Al-Hayya, will head to Cairo on April 7 for Gaza ceasefire talks, the group said on Saturday.

Gaza war death toll reaches 33,137: Health Ministry
12:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that at least 33,137 people have been killed in the territory during nearly six months of war in the enclave.

The toll includes at least 46 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 75,815 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since Israel's war began.

Israeli army says body of hostage recovered from Gaza
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's army said on Saturday its troops recovered the body of a hostage abducted by a Palestinian militant group on October 7.

"The body of the abductee Elad Katzir, who according to intelligence was murdered in captivity by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation, was rescued overnight from Khan Yunis and returned to Israeli territory," the army said in a statement.

Israeli academic: Israel are 'murders in the Gaza Strip'
11:08 AM
The New Arab Staff

Prominent Holocaust researcher and Israeli academic Yehuda Bauer said Israeli forces "are murders in the Gaza Strip, in an interview with the Israeli news website Kan.

Bauer added that Israel's war in Gaza "was not justified".

Five detained in Hebron following Israeli army raids
10:39 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel forces arrested five Palestinians on Saturday in Hebron governorate, according to Palestinian security and local sources, as cited by the Wafa agency.

Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the town of Dura, two others from the town of Beit Ummar, and one citizen from the town of Yatta, after raiding and searching their homes.

16 arrested by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa Mosque
9:10 AM
The New Arab Staff

Police arrested 16 people at dawn prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, the Times of Israel reported.

The arrests took place during the Laylat al-Qadr, considered by Muslims to be the holiest night of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Tensions have been running high at the site as Israeli authorities have denied entry to the mosque to the vast majority of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank during Ramadan.

Israel has a track of record of prohibiting the entry of worshippers to the holy site - particularly during Ramada -, as well as carrying out violence  by arresting and assaulting worshippers.

Moroccan protesters denounce 'massacres' in Gaza
8:54 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands of people protested in Morocco's commercial capital Casablanca late on Friday against the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, as well as against the country's normalisation of ties with Israel.

Demonstrations also took place in the capital Rabat and the port city of Tangier.

"Normalisation is a hoax!" and "Down with the occupation!", protesters chanted in Casablanca, with the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas about to enter its seventh month.

"We came to say 'no' to the barbaric massacres Israel is committing against Palestinians, to the destruction in Gaza... and to the silence of the Arab states," protest organiser Mohammed Riahi told AFP.

Young Palestinian shot by Israeli forces in West Bank raid
8:29 AM
The New Arab Staff

A young  Palestinian man was injured by Israeli forces' gunfire during confrontations that erupted amid an Israeli military raid into the village of Kafr Ein, northwest of Ramallah, on Saturday.

The young man was shot in the foot with live ammunition during the violence that broke out in the village, the Palestinian news agency Wafa said, citing local sources. He was subsequently taken to hospital for treatmen.

Israel info on aid worker death 'not sufficient': Australia
8:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Saturday that information from Israel about the death of an Australian aid worker killed in a Gaza air strike was "not sufficient".

US-based World Central Kitchen -- founded by Spanish-American celebrity chef Jose Andres -- said a "targeted attack" by Israeli forces on Monday had killed seven aid workers.

The group included 43-year-old Australian national Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom, as well as British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian employees.

After being briefed by Israeli authorities, Australia had "made clear that we have not yet received sufficient information to satisfy our expectations" about Frankcom's death, Wong told reporters.

"We expect full accountability for her death and for the World Central Kitchen colleagues who also perished with her," Wong said.

"We believe these deaths are utterly inexcusable and clear practical action is needed to ensure these tragedies are never repeated."

Wong acknowledged that Israel has confirmed that two individuals involved in the air strike have since been "stood down".

"We reiterate that appropriate action must be taken against the individuals who are responsible for these tragic accidents," she added.