Gaza: US, Egypt agree deal for 20 humanitarian aid trucks to enter for Palestinians

Gaza: US, Egypt agree deal for 20 humanitarian aid trucks to enter for Palestinians
World leaders have condemned the horrific attack which hit a hospital in Gaza last night housing hundreds of patients and those internally displaced by Israel's bombing. At least 471 have perished by the latest official count.
31 min read

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and US President Joe Biden have agreed in a phone call to bring humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip "in a sustainable manner", the Egyptian presidency said in a statement late on Wednesday.

An Egyptian presidency spokesman also said the two countries were coordinating with international humanitarian organisations under the supervision of the United Nations to secure the arrival of aid. 

It came hours after the US vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have called for humanitarian pauses in the war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.

The vote on the Brazilian-drafted text was twice delayed in the past couple of days as the United States tries to broker aid access to Gaza. Twelve members voted in favor of the draft text on Wednesday, while Russia and Britain abstained.

Israel last week ordered some 1.1 million people in Gaza - almost half the population - to move south as it prepares for a ground offensive in retaliation for Hamas' surprise attack on October 7.

It was the worst attack on Israel ever, where 1,400 were killed and about 200 were captured by Hamas.

Israel has put Gaza under a total siege and subjected it to intense bombardment, killing over 3,000 people and wounding over 12,000 others, most of whom have been women and children.

A Tuesday night strike on a Gaza hospital compound blamed on Israel which health officials said killed at least 471 people has provoked outrage and condemnation from around the world. It was the deadliest single attack on Gaza ever.

Palestinians in Gaza accused Israel of being behind the strike. Israeli officials claimed that a misfired rocket attack by the Islamic Jihad group caused the massacre.

However, no rocket ever launched by Palestinian groups has ever had such a deadly effect and both Islamic Jihad and Hamas have described the Israeli claims as "lies".

The horror of the massacre at Ahli Arab Hospital and the swift backlash threatened to derail US President Joe Biden's high-stakes visit to the Middle East.

Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday where he met Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, but a four-way summit that was scheduled to be hosted in Amman the same day by the Jordanian monarch and gather the US, Egyptian and Palestinian presidents was cancelled.

12:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands rallied across the Arab and Muslim world on Wednesday to protest the deaths of hundreds of people in a strike on a Gaza hospital.


10:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jewish protesters have occupied a building of the US Congress on Wednesday urging lawmakers and Joe Biden's administration to push for a ceasefire in Gaza, which has been under Israeli airstrikes since a deadly Hamas attack.

Read more

8:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has agreed to allow 20 humanitarian aid trucks into Gaza, US President Joe Biden says.

This comes after the US vetoed a UNSC resolution that would have allowed for humanitarian pauses.

More to follow...

6:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian envoy to the UN has slammed Israel's repeated denials that it was behind the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital massacre.

“Israel will deny its responsibility for the massacre … like it did with [Al Jazeera journalist] Shireen Abu Akleh. It will blame the Palestinians for their own death,” Riyad Mansour told the UN Security Council.

His comments come shortly after the US vetoed a resolution that would have condemned violence against all civilians in the Israel-Hamas war and called for a humanitarian pause.

“If anyone thinks this is a situation under control, they are making false and irresponsible assumptions,” Mansour warned. “This is the kind of war where you know how it starts but you have no clue how it ends. It should be stopped immediately.”

5:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

Rockets fired from Gaza intercepted over Tel Aviv

Sirens sounded in Tel Aviv as rockets were fired towards the city but intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome.

5:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel army said it intercepted missiles targeting Qiryat Shmona from Lebanon

The Israeli army said it intercepted 4 out of 9 missiles launched from south Lebanon at the border settlement of Qiryat Shmona on Wednesday evening.

At least one missile landed in an open area inside the settlement without causing any injuries or damage, the army said.

It was not clear where the rest landed.

The army added that it carried out a drone strike in south Lebanon in retaliation, targeting a cell used to fire mortar shells into northern Israel.

4:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Fiji embassy opening in Israel faces potential delay amid Israel-Hamas war

Fiji could delay opening its embassy in Israel, the Pacific Island nation's deputy prime minister said on Wednesday, amid fears the war between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas could destabilise the region.

"Until things stabilise, we probably won't be ... having an embassy there soon," Manoa Seru Kamikamica told Reuters in Abu Dhabi, where he was attending a United Nations investment conference.

"There is certainly a commitment by the government of Fiji," he said, "but now we will have to just monitor and evaluate."

Kamikamica, who also serves as trade minister, said Fiji had yet to decide where it would locate its embassy "because of the sensitivities" and that it was considering both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The minister said the cabinet would likely make a decision on the location within the next six to twelve months.

Fiji had committed to opening an embassy in Israel next year and initially said it would be in Jerusalem. If opened, it would be one of a few nations alongside the U.S. with an embassy in Jerusalem.

4:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli airstrikes kill dozens in central Gaza Strip

Israeli airstrikes continued to pound different parts of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, including the Nuseirat camp, Deir al-Balah, and Al Mughraqa, killing dozens of people.

4:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French court states that pro-Palestinian protests should be banned case by case

France's highest administrative court stated on Wednesday that pro-Palestinian protests must be banned on a case-by-case basis, while upholding the validity of an instruction from the French interior minister banning all pro-Palestinian protests.

In a note sent to regional police authorities, dated Oct. 12, the interior minister had ordered that "pro-Palestinian protests, because they are likely to generate disturbances to public order, must be banned".

The appeal on the blanket ban instruction was brought by the organisation Comite Action Palestine, arguing that a total and absolute ban is not justified and encroaches on freedom of expression and assembly.

The Conseil d'Etat upheld the validity of the note but said that local authorities could not ban a protest based solely on the note or the fact that a protest is in support of Palestinians.

The Conseil d'Etat said in its decision that while the judges regret the approximative wording of the minister's note, it's intention was to instruct authorities to "ban all protests that support the Palestinian cause, that publicly justify or valorise, directly or indirectly, terrorist acts like those committed in Israel on October 7 by Hamas members."

It added that given the tensions and rise in antisemitism in France, protests that "support Hamas (...) are of a nature to provoke disturbances to public order."

Vincent Brengarth, lawyer for Comite Action Palestine, said "it is a victory because it has swept away the systematic ban, now we will need to challenge bans on a case-by-case basis when they come."

On Wednesday a few hours before the ruling, the police authorities of Marseille said two pro-Palestinian protests were to be banned for "risks to public order in the current context."

4:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel to allow aid into Gaza via Egypt: PM office

Israel would let aid enter Gaza via Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced Wednesday, saying only "food, water and medicine" would be allowed into the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

"In light of (US) President (Joe) Biden's demand, Israel would not foil the supply of humanitarian aid via Egypt," the prime minister's office said, announcing a cabinet decision.

The statement noted that aid to civilians in the southern Gaza Strip would be allowed "so long as these supplies do not reach Hamas" which rules Gaza.

4:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Biden warns Israel not to repeat US 'mistakes' in 9/11 'rage'

US President Joe Biden cautioned Israelis not to be blinded by rage after suffering their deadliest ever attack, warning that the United States made mistakes after September 11.

"I caution this while you feel that rage, don't be consumed by it. After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice we also made mistakes," Biden said on a visit to Tel Aviv.

3:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah says it is' stronger than before' as border clashes rage

Lebanon's Hezbollah warned its adversaries on Wednesday it was "thousands of times stronger" than before, as its fighters exchanged fire at the border with Israeli forces in violence fuelled by the war between Hamas and Israel.

Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine, in a speech to thousands of supporters in a suburb south of Beirut, said U.S. President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and "malicious Europeans" should be careful.

"The response to the mistake you might make with our resistance will be resounding," he said.

"Because what we have is faith, and God is stronger than you, all your battleships, and all your weapons," he said, speaking at a rally called in response to a strike that killed hundreds of people at a Gaza hospital.

3:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Arabia calls on nationals to leave Lebanon: embassy

Saudi Arabia has advised its nationals in Lebanon to leave the country immediately, its embassy in Beirut said on its X account on Wednesday.

"The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Lebanon is closely following the developments of the current events in the southern Lebanon region, calling on all citizens to adhere to the travel ban and to leave Lebanese territory immediately for those who are currently in Lebanon," it said.

3:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US vetoes UN Security Council action on Israel, Gaza

The United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Wednesday that would have called for humanitarian pauses in the war between Israel and Hamas to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.

The vote on the Brazilian-drafted text was twice delayed in the past couple of days as the United States tries to broker aid access to Gaza. Twelve members voted in favour of the draft text on Wednesday, while Russia and Britain abstained.

Washington traditionally shields its ally Israel from any Security Council action.

The US vetoed the UN resolution to allow for a humanitarian truce in Gaza [Getty]
3:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Jewish Israeli settlers occupiers, not civilians: Al-Azhar

Al-Azhar Fatwa Global Center – Islam’s highest religious authority based in Egypt - said Wednesday that Jewish Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territories are not civilians, "but rather occupiers and usurpers."

These settlers are insulting "the path of the prophets, attacking religious sites – both of Islamic and Christian heritage," the statement said.

3:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands protest across Egypt in solidarity with Gaza: media

Thousands of people demonstrated across Egypt Wednesday in solidarity with Gaza after 12 days of Israeli bombardment, Egyptian media reported,

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had said that if he called for protests in support of the Palestinian cause, "you would see millions" on the streets of Egypt - where protests are banned.

On the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, an AFP correspondent reported aid workers - who have been waiting for six days to deliver relief supplies to the besieged territory - performed prayers for the hundreds of Palestinians killed in a strike on a Gaza hospital on Tuesday.

3:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel evacuates staff from Morocco, Egypt embassies

Israel's foreign ministry has evacuated the staffs of the Israeli embassies in Morocco and Egypt due to the demonstrations there over the war on Gaza, Israeli media reported.

The evacuation joins the high alert announced in all Israeli embassies around the world, additional security and the transfer of envoys from sensitive countries to safer countries.

Diplomatic staff have been told not to leave their homes beyond what is necessary, reports said.

3:16 PM
Basma El Atti

Algerians to rally for Palestine following protest ban

Algerians will take to the streets on Thursday to rally in solidarity with Palestine, following an initial ban on protests prompted by state censorship on public demonstrations.

The rally will be held following a deadly attack on the Al-Ahli Al-Arab hospital in Gaza, which killed close to 500 people in a strike blamed on Israel, on Tuesday evening.

Read more from our North Africa reporter, Basma El Atti.

3:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel kills two Palestinians in occupied West Bank

Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian teenagers near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday after protests against Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said.

The deaths brought the toll of Palestinians killed in the latest flare-up of Israeli violence in the West Bank to at least 64, a sharp uptick in fatal clashes with the army and settlers.

A statement from the Palestinian Authority's health ministry said Israeli forces shot 15-year-old Khalil Shalash and 17-year-old Qais Shalash in the village of Shuqba west of Ramallah. It did not elaborate.

Residents told Reuters the two boys were trying to light tyres in protest against Israel when they were shot.

3:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US sanctions 10 Hamas affiliates as Israel's war on Gaza rages

The US Treasury announced sanctions on 10 Hamas members, operatives and financial facilitators Wednesday, as Israel's war in Gaza rages.

The new sanctions target individuals based in Gaza and elsewhere, including Sudan, Turkey, Algeria and Qatar, the department said in a statement.

"The United States is taking swift and decisive action to target Hamas's financiers and facilitators following its brutal and unconscionable massacre of Israeli civilians, including children," said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a statement.

The sanctions come as President Joe Biden visits Tel Aviv on Wednesday in a show of support to Israel, Washington's biggest ally.

"The US Treasury has a long history of effectively disrupting terror finance and we will not hesitate to use our tools against Hamas," Yellen added.

She said that Washington will "continue to take all steps necessary" to deny Hamas the ability to raise funds for carrying out "atrocities."

2:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hundreds protest in occupied West Bank over Gaza hospital strike 

Palestinian protesters took to the streets in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, blaming Israel for a strike on a hospital in war-torn Gaza that over 400 people.

Hundreds of protesters in Nablus, many draped in Palestinian flags, chanted slogans against Israel and its ally the United States.

"Free, free Palestine," they chanted.

Others derided Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah movement is Hamas's rival and has been criticised by Palestinians over its collaboration with Israel.

"Down, down with Abbas," they shouted.

Palestinian security forces fired tear gas at protesters as they marched out of the city centre.

"I care about my people, I care about my city, I care about Gaza and Gaza people. So this is why I, perhaps in years I haven't spoken out, I'm speaking now," said Ferial, 50-year-old Nablus resident, who only provided her first name.

A similar sized protest took place in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, where the crowd chanted in support of Hamas and against "security coordination" with Israel.

During the demonstration, a small group of Palestinians with covered faces blocked a road and set tyres ablaze near a group of Israeli soldiers. Some threw stones, while others cobbled together Molotov cocktails.

2:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanese protesters clash with security forces near US embassy

A number of protesters were reportedly injured on Wednesday as they clashed with riot police near the US embassy in Lebanon.

The protest was in condemnation of the strike blamed on Israel which killed hundreds of people at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at the protesters who waved Palestinian, Lebanese and party flags.

2:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah fires at Israeli military site, Israel responds with shelling

The Israeli military shelled south Lebanon border villages Wednesday after Hezbollah targeted one of its sites.

Footage shared by pro-Hezbollah media purportedly shows a guided missile targeting an Israeli military site in the Israeli area of Zar'it, opposite to the Lebanese village of Rmaysh.

It was not clear if there were any casualties.

Israel responded by shelling Rmaysh and the neighbouring Ayta al-Shaab.

Separately on Wednesday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said that continued aggression against Gaza could ignite a "fire that could consume the whole region".

Speaking at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Bou Habib warned against sparking tensions "that could lead to an uncontainable escalation".

2:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah says two members killed

Hezbollah on Wednesday announced the killing of two more of its fighters.

The party announced the deaths of Ali Adnan Shokeir from Mais al-Jabal, and Mahdi Mohammad Atwi from Kounin, both villages in south Lebanon.

It added that they died performing their "jihad duties," without specifying when and where.

The two will be laid to rest on Thursday.

Around a dozen Hezbollah fighters have died in clashes with the Israeli army along the Lebanese-Israeli border since October 7.

2:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey to declare 3 days' mourning over Gaza hospital strike

Turkey will declare three days' mourning over a deadly strike on a hospital in war-torn Gaza that killed hundreds, a Turkish official told AFP on Wednesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause, has accused Israel of "striking a hospital sheltering women, children and innocent civilians" and urged the world to stop the tragedy in Gaza.

"Turkey will declare three days national mourning," the official who wished to remain anonymous told AFP.

1:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands protest in Jordan outside Israel embassy

Around 5,000 Jordanians gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Amman Wednesday to protest the deaths of hundreds of people in a strike on a Gaza hospital they blame on Israel.

Security forces blocked off roads leading to the embassy but the size of the demonstration looked set to swell amid a wave of anger in Jordan, home to many Palestinian refugees.

Despite strong denials from the Israeli army, which has blamed a misdirected Islamic Jihad rocket for the hospital deaths, the Jordanian government has said Israel "bears responsibility for this grave incident".

12:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

Pro-Palestine demo near Beirut as Hezbollah blames US, Israel for hospital strike

Huge crowds gathered in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Wednesday to protest the Tuesday night hospital strike blamed on Israel which Gaza officials have said killed 500 people.

Protesters waved Hezbollah, Lebanese and Palestinian flags among others.

Head of Hezbollah's executive council Hashem Safieddine condemned the "massacre" caused by the strike, as he also blamed US President Joe Biden for his support of the "Zionist entity," Israel.

"We understand that the entire Israeli military and security leadership is confused and weak, and that the Americans came to calm its fears down," Safieddine said.

"We are all with you Gaza!" crowds chanted as he spoke.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has noticeably not made any statements or appeared in public since Hamas launched 'Operation Al-Aqsa Flood' on 7 October. It is still unclear to what extent Hezbollah will get involved in the fight against Israel.

There have been casualties in both southern Lebanon and northern Israel from border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel since the Hamas attack.

12:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands in Tunisia protest against Israel outside French embassy

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters rallied in Tunisia on Wednesday outside the French embassy, condemning Western support for Israel which they blamed for a deadly strike on a Gaza hospital.

Some protesters were waving Palestinian flags while others demanded the ambassador be expelled, accusing France of being among the Western "allies of the Zionists," AFP journalists reported.

12:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Dozens hurt in anti-Israel protests in Istanbul: official

Dozens of people, including police officers, were injured during anti-Israel protests in Istanbul after a deadly strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip, authorities said Wednesday.

Sixty-three people including 43 police officers were hurt during the protests outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul late on Tuesday, the governor's office said.

The scuffles broke out between police and protesters when several demonstrators tried to overcome security barricades in order to enter the consulate building.

Police detained five people.

The governor's office said a 65-year-old man had a heart attack during the protests and later died in hospital.

Large crowds joined the demonstrations in Istanbul and the Turkish capital Ankara, shouting pro-Palestinian chants.

Israel has told its citizens to leave Turkey "as soon as possible" amid fears of reprisal attacks.

12:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hospital was warned 3 days before Tuesday night strike: Anglican Church

The Anglican Church in Gaza which runs the hospital that was bombed Tuesday night said the hospital received a warning to evacuate three days before the attack.

During a press conference on Wednesday, church officials said different sides got in touch with them following the Tuesday night horror except Israel.

They added that they were staying in Gaza and were "not scared," but that around 1,000 Christians in the enclave under Israeli siege were facing very difficult circumstances.

Separately on Wednesday, the spiritual leader of the Anglican church also called for restraint in placing blame for the attack until the facts are clear.

"This atrocity violates the sanctity and dignity of human life. It is a violation of humanitarian law, which is clear that hospitals, doctors and patients must be protected," Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a statement.

"For this reason, it's essential that we exercise restraint in apportioning responsibility before all the facts are clear."

12:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

After Gaza hospital strike, Moroccans vow to stay in streets until Israeli office gone

Hundreds of people in Morocco took to the streets late on Tuesday, 17 October, after reportedly an Israeli strike killed at least 500 people in a hospital in Gaza. The protesters are vowing not to leave until the Israeli liaison office in Rabat is gone. 

"We will not leave the streets until they close the Israeli liaison office in Rabat," said a "Moroccan Group Against Normalisation" member during the sit-in in the capital.

At 9 p.m., hundreds appeared before the Moroccan parliament, holding Palestinian flags and demanding that authorities revoke the normalisation deal with Israel. This demand has been echoing in the Moroccan streets for the past three years but has become louder and firmer since the start of the "Al-Aqsa flood" on 7 October. 

Read the full article here.

11:58 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China 'shocked by and strongly condemns' Gaza hospital strike

China's foreign ministry said Wednesday it was "shocked by and strongly condemns" a strike on a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds, calling for an "immediate ceasefire".

"China is shocked by and strongly condemns the heavy casualties caused by the attack on a Gaza hospital," Beijing's foreign ministry said, adding: "China calls for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the war".

11:52 AM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas rejects Israeli claims over Palestinian responsibility for hospital strike

Hamas has rejected Israeli claims that Palestinian resistance groups were responsible for the attack on the Al-Ahli hospital Tuesday night in Gaza.

Israel has blamed the massacre on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which has fought alongside Hamas.

"Compare the impact of Hamas rockets in occupied Palestine to what we saw on the hospital in Gaza, the impacts are different," said Hamas spokesperson in Lebanon Osama Hamdan during a press conference from the Press Syndicate in Beirut.

Hamdan said that Israel is bombing hospitals with the ultimate aim of displacing Palestinians from Gaza, adding that "all options are on the table" going forward.

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He added that the US and all Western countries that support Israel "hold full responsibility for the war against civilians in Gaza".

Hamdan pointed to an Israeli warning which had been issued to evacuate five hospitals in Gaza, saying Israeli claims that the hospitals had Hamas fighters in them were false as "there were videos showing they were all civilians."

"When Shireen Abu Akleh was killed the Israelis had four different explanations and until today there are no results from the investigations. Israelis hit 75 different locations in Gaza including 25 ambulances and two civil defence centres in Gaza," he said.

He underlined the differences between Hamas' rockets dropped on Israeli settlements and the Israeli strikes used in Gaza, stressing that Israel only wanted to displace Palestinians from their land, but that "the idea of displacement will not succeed."

11:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Spain to add 4 mln euros in humanitarian aid to Palestinian territories this year

Spain's acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Wednesday his country would boost humanitarian aid to Palestinian territories this year by 4 million euros to a total of 21 million euros.

In an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Albares made the announcement after saying his government had woken up "in shock" after a strike at a hospital in Gaza left hundreds dead.

11:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN's Guterres denounces 'collective punishment' of Palestinians

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that attacks by militant group Hamas on Israel did not justify the "collective punishment" of Palestinians, and called for an immediate ceasefire.

Speaking at an economic forum in China, Guterres condemned the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel that killed more than 1,400 people as "acts of terror" that could not be justified.

"But those attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people," Guterres said.

He appealed for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, reiterating what he called "two urgent humanitarian appeals".

Guterres called on Hamas for the "immediate and unconditional release of hostages".

Hamas says it captured between 200 and 250 hostages on October 7, some of which have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Guterres also called on Israel to "immediately allow unrestricted access of humanitarian aid to respond to the most basic needs of the people of Gaza, the overwhelming majority of whom are women and children".

"I call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to provide sufficient time and space to help realise my two appeals and to ease the epic human suffering we are witnessing," Guterres said.

"Too many lives and the fate of the entire region hang in the balance."

11:25 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US allows non-essential embassy staff to leave Lebanon

The United States authorised non-essential personnel and their families to leave their embassy near Beirut on Tuesday, citing the unpredictable security situation in Lebanon due to the Israel-Hamas war.

The State Department also raised its travel advisory for Lebanon from level three, issued in July, to the highest available level four, as it told Americans to avoid the country.

"Do not travel to Lebanon due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah or other armed militant factions," the State Department said in a statement Tuesday.

France has also urged its citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon, while several Western airlines have suspended flights.

Britain's foreign office has told its nationals in Lebanon to "consider whether you need to remain and, if not, leave by commercial means while they are still available."

Canada, Spain, Germany and Australia have also issued travel warnings.

11:21 AM
The New Arab Staff

UNIFIL denies leaving areas of operation in south Lebanon

The UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon known as UNIFIL has denied reports that it left its areas of operation.

"UNIFIL peacekeepers remain in their positions an on task. Our work continues, including regular activities like rotation of troops in an out of Lebanon. We have no plans to leave and we are doing our utmost 24/7 to defuse tensions and prevent further deterioration of the situation," it said in a statement.

Hezbollah and Palestinian militants have traded fire and clashed with the Israeli army for 11 days on the Lebanese-Israeli border. 

11:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia calls Gaza hospital blast 'crime'

Russia said on Wednesday that a blast at a Gaza hospital compound that health officials said killed hundreds of people was a "crime" and an "act of dehumanisation".

"Regarding our assessment, we certainly qualify such an act as a crime, as an act of dehumanisation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, without saying who she thought was responsible.

She said that Russia had been following official statements from Israel, which denies it was involved, and that it now needed to provide proof.

"If there are serious intentions ... to prove it was not involved and is innocent, then it needs not only to comment in the media and on social networks, but to provide facts," she said.

"Please provide satellite images, and it would be nice if the American partners did, that show the geography of flights, with all the details that were available at that time," she added.

11:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK PM Sunak set to visit Israel this week: Sky News

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to visit Israel this week, Sky News reported on Tuesday without citing sources.

A Downing Street spokesperson declined to confirm the report, saying Sunak's travel plans would be confirmed in the usual way.

Last week, foreign minister James Cleverly travelled to Israel to show solidarity with the Israeli people following attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

On Monday Sunak told parliament that he supported absolutely Israel's right to defend itself, to go after Hamas, take back hostages and strengthen its long-term security.

"This must be done in line with international humanitarian law, but also recognising that they face a vicious enemy that embeds itself behind civilians," Sunak said.

"As a friend, we will continue to call on Israel to take every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians."

10:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Biden backs Israel account of Gaza hospital strike, denounces Hamas

US President Joe Biden on a solidarity visit to Israel Wednesday backed the ally's account that Palestinian militants caused a devastating hospital strike in Gaza, adding Hamas had brought "only suffering."

"I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday. And based on what I've seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you," Biden said as he opened a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.

"But there's a lot of people out there not sure so we have to overcome a lot of things," Biden said.

"We have to bear in mind that Hamas does not represent all the Palestinian people and has brought them only suffering," Biden said.

He said he was encouraging Netanyahu to ensure "life-saving capacity to help the Palestinians who are innocent and caught in the middle of this".

In announcing Biden's visit, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Israel had agreed to work with the United States on a plan to let aid into Gaza, which has been besieged and bombarded for 12 days and under an Israeli blockade for 16 years.

Israel is threatening a ground invasion following the devastating October 7 assault by Hamas militants.

Biden said he was "proud" to visit Israel.

"I want to say to the people of Israel - their courage, their commitment and their bravery is stunning," Biden said.

Netanyahu had eagerly invited Biden, who until recently had openly criticised some moves by Israel's hard-right government.

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Netanyahu hailed Biden - who has faced accusations from the rival Republican Party that he is insufficiently pro-Israel - for paying "the first visit of an American president in Israel in a time of war".

"There's only one thing better than having a true friend like you standing with Israel and that is having you standing in Israel," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, opening the talks with Biden, called for global unity against Hamas.

"Just as the civilised world united to defeat the Nazis and united to defeat ISIS, the civilised world must unite and defeat Hamas," Netanyahu said.

"I can assure you, Mr. President, Israel is united to defeat Hamas and we will defeat Hamas and remove this terrible threat."

10:49 AM
The New Arab Staff

More than 3,300 killed in Gaza: health ministry

The Gaza Strip's health ministry says more than 3,300 people have died so far from Israel's bombardment of the enclave.

It was not clear if the death toll included those who perished in the strike on the Al-Ahli hospital Tuesday night.

9:54 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah calls for 'day of rage' over Gaza hospital strike

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement Tuesday called for a "day of rage" to condemn a strike on a Gaza Strip hospital as hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the French and US embassies in protest.

Hezbollah, an ally of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, blamed the hospital attack on Israel, calling it a "massacre" and a "brutal crime", while Israel's army blamed a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based militant group.

"Let tomorrow, Wednesday, be a day of rage against the enemy," Hezbollah said in a statement, calling on fellow Muslims and Arabs to "move immediately to streets and squares to express intense anger".

Following Hezbollah's call, hundreds of demonstrators scuffled with Lebanese security forces outside the US embassy in the Beirut suburb of Awkar, where protesters hurled stones and set a building on fire, according to AFP correspondents.

Police fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters, with medics rushing in to treat cases of suffocation.

"Death to America" and "death to Israel", the protesters chanted, many of them covering their faces with Palestinian keffiyeh scarves, the correspondents said.

Hundreds also gathered at the French embassy in Beirut, raising Hezbollah flags and also hurling stones which piled up at the embassy's main entrance.

Palestinian refugee camps in the southern cities of Sidon and Tyre erupted in anger as Palestinian factions in Lebanon called for mass rallies on Wednesday to condemn the hospital strike.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.

9:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pope Francis deplores 'desperate' situation in Gaza

Pope Francis deplored the "desperate" situation in Gaza on Wednesday as he urged the faithful to take "only one side" in the Israel-Hamas conflict, the side "of peace."

Speaking during his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, Francis did not mention the deadly Gaza hospital strike, for which Israelis and Palestinians are blaming each other.

"War does not solve any problem, it only sows death and destruction, increases hatred, multiplies revenge. War erases the future," he said.

"I urge believers to take only one side in this conflict, that of peace, but not with words but with prayer and total dedication," Francis added.

The pope pleaded for all possible efforts "to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," and announced special prayers for peace in St Peter's Basilica at 6:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) October 27.

He said October 27 would be a "a day of fasting, prayers, penance", and invited all Christians, followers of other religions and those who care for world peace to join in.

9:50 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

'No excuse for hitting a hospital' in Gaza: EU chief

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said there is "no excuse for hitting a hospital full of civilians" in Gaza, but did not apportion blame for the blast.

The European Commission president told EU lawmakers the "facts need to be established" on the overnight strike on the Gaza hospital which killed at least 200.

Israel and Palestinians accuse each other for the blast, which has triggered street protests in the Middle East against Israel.

Von der Leyen, speaking before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, said the overnight explosion turned the hospital into "a hell of fire".

"All those responsible must be held accountable," she said.

9:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza exodus to Egypt would risk West Bank displacement to Jordan: Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned Wednesday of the dangers of "forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt", saying it would set a precedent for "the displacement of Palestinians from the West Bank into Jordan".

Sisi, who has rejected calls to allow large numbers of refugees from Gaza into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, said the goal of "the Palestinian state" would be "eradicated".

"If it came to it, I could call on the Egyptian people to come out and express their rejection of this proposal, and you would see millions of Egyptians" in the street, he told reporters.

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He said that Palestinians could be moved to the Negev desert in southern Israel "till militants are dealt with."

Sisi also said that Egypt "did not close" the only border crossing with Gaza not under Israel's control, blaming Israeli bombardments for it not operating.

"Developments on the ground and the repeated bombings by Israel of the Palestinian side of the crossing have prevented operations," Sisi told reporters.

9:06 AM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza health ministry says hospital strike killed 471

The health ministry in the Gaza Strip has confirmed that around 471 people died in the Tuesday night strike on the Al-Ahli hospital.

9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

Biden arrives in Israel

US President Joe Biden has arrived in Israel where he will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials.

It is not clear whether Biden will still visit Jordan on Wednesday, after Amman cancelled a summit which was supposed to bring together Jordan's King Abdullah and the US, Egyptian and Palestinian presidents.

9:02 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Situation in Gaza 'spiralling out of control': WHO chief

The situation in the Gaza Strip is spiralling out of control, the head of the UN health agency warned on Wednesday, following a blast at a hospital that killed hundreds of people.

"The situation in #Gaza is spiralling out of control," the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X, formerly Twitter. "We need violence on all sides to stop."

"Every second we wait to get medical aid in, we lose lives," he added. "We need immediate access to start delivering life-saving supplies."