Gaza War: Shelling on Israel from Syria, Lebanon

Gaza War: Shelling on Israel from Syria, Lebanon
Day 4 of Hamas' "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood": Israel has threatened it will strike government buildings in the Gaza Strip, as Hamas warned Israel to stop purposely targeting civilians.
30 min read

A large salvo of rockets fell onto the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Tuesday in what Hamas said was in response to deadly air raids on the Gaza Strip which have killed hundreds of civilians.

Shortly after, missiles were also fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, as the Israeli military responded by shelling border villages.

Hamas had warned Ashkelon's residents to flee hours before the attack on Tuesday. The flareup in southern Lebanon also came a day after several Hezbollah members were pronounced dead in Israeli air raids and artillery.

Israel kept up its deadly bombardment of the impoverished and heavily overcrowded Gaza Strip on Tuesday after Hamas threatened Monday night to execute some of the around 150 hostages it abducted in a weekend assault, if Israeli air strikes continue without warning.

The war - dubbed by Hamas "Operation Al-Aqsa Floods" - has seen the death toll rise in Israel to over 1000, with 830 confirmed dead in Gaza. Thousands on both sides are wounded, some critically.

Also on Tuesday, Israel warned that it would bomb aid convoys travelling from Egypt to Gaza after imposing a full siege on the coastal enclave, Israeli media reported.

Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt - its only one that bypasses Israel - was hit by an Israeli air strike on Tuesday for the second time in 24 hours, AFP reported.

Witnesses said the strike hit the no-man's land between the Egyptian and Palestinian gates, damaging the hall on the Palestinian side.

The United Nations said Tuesday that Israel's siege on Gaza was "prohibited" under international law and called for the establishment of "a humanitarian corridor".

US President Joe Biden later said Hamas' attack was 'sheer evil' but failed to condemn Israel for its devastating bombardment of the Gaza strip that has killed hundreds, mostly civilians.

Rockets and shells were exchanged between Israel and militant groups in Lebanon and Syria, as tensions spread to countries neighbouring occupied Palestine.

11:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live story now concludes. Our coverage resumes from 7 am GMT

11:28 PM

Israel's military on Tuesday said it had responded with artillery fire from the Golan Heights after munitions were launched toward the territory it has occupied since 1967.

"Soldiers are responding with artillery and mortar shells toward the origin of the launching in Syria," an Israeli army statement said, on the fourth day of a war with Gaza-based Hamas militants which has sent regional tensions soaring.

The army said there had been "a number of launches from Syria into Israeli territory".

A military spokesman told AFP it appeared to have been mortar fire.

This was the first exchange of fire between Israel and Syria since Saturday when Hamas carried out an unprecedented assault on Israeli territory from the blockaded Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday Israel also exchanged fire with militants in southern Lebanon.

Israel's 1981 annexation of the strategic Golan Heights is not recognised by the United Nations.

9:45 PM

Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have commented on the situation in Palestine.

Putin voiced concern at the "catastrophic increase" in the number of civilian victims in Israel and the Gaza Strip, after four days of fighting.

During a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "emphasis was placed on the sharply worsening situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict zone", the Kremlin said in a statement.

"Deep concern was expressed about the continuing escalation of violence and the catastrophic increase in the number of civilian casualties," it added.

For his part, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas in its conflict against Israel.

"We are certain that Russia is supporting, in one way or another, Hamas operations", Zelensky said in an interview with the France 2 television channel. "Russia is really trying to carry out destabilising actions all over the world," he added.

8:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday the United States was talking to Israeli officials and others about the idea of a safe passage for Gaza civilians after Israel's air strikes following a Hamas attack that left hundreds dead.

"We are focused on this question, there are consultations going on," Sullivan told reporters in a White House press briefing.

It's not clear how Washington would achieve this and where the civilians of Gaza would go. Israel has earlier bombed Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt and threatened to target aid convoys.

Many fear the the U.S. will give Israel a lot of leeway to bomb Gaza without restraint before bringing real pressure on Tel Aviv to consider the fate of Gaza's civilians.

7:32 PM

President Joe Biden on Tuesday confirmed that US citizens are among the large number of hostages taken by Hamas during its surprise attack on Israel and said that the latest death toll for Americans was now 14.

Biden said at the White House there were "at least 14 American citizens killed" and "we now know that American citizens are among those being held by Hamas."

He described the attack by Hamas on Israel was "sheer evil."

"There are moments in this life -- I mean this literally -- when a pure unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world," he said in a televised speech. "This is an act of sheer evil."

He had no similar words about Israel's bombardment of Gaza's civilians, which he and other Western leaders class as Israeli 'self-defence'

He said the US is ready to move 'additional assets' to back Israel and has Israel's back, after ordering an aircraft carrier group the Eastern Mediterranean.

Biden also said US law enforcement agencies were taking steps to disrupt any domestic threat that may emerge after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas' weekend attack on Israel that left hundreds dead.

The FBI said earlier it was "closely monitoring unfolding events" but added it "does not have specific and credible intelligence indicating a threat to the United States stemming from the Hamas attacks in Israel."

5:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel announces 4 soldiers killed from south Lebanon clashes

The Israeli army announced Tuesday evening that four of its soldiers had died after clashes along the Lebanese border a day earlier.


5:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas, Israel continue to trade fire, Israel strikes south Lebanon after rockets

Hamas continued firing rockets into the Israeli city of Ashkelon Tuesday night as Israel conducted air strikes in the densely populated coastal enclave.

A large fire broke out in Ashkelon as a result of Hamas' rocket fire.

In southern Lebanon, the Israeli army struck areas along the frontier with artillery and phosphorus bombs after missiles were fired into northern Israel's Western Galilee.

Reports Tuesday night said the Israeli army targeted Hezbollah sites in Lebanon's south, a day after clashes in the area left a number of Hezbollah members and Israeli soldiers killed.

Israel's military intercepts Hamas rockets from Gaza [Getty]
5:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian rights groups call for intl intervention to end Israeli massacres

Three Palestinian human rights organisations have strongly condemned Israel's ruthless bombardment of the Gaza Strip and its targeting of civilian populations.

"Al-Mezan, Al-Haq, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights strongly condemn Israel’s widespread and systematic targeting of civilians in the Gaza Strip, which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, warranting the intervention of the international community to ensure accountability," they said in a joint statement.

The groups listed some of Israel's biggest attacks between 8 and 9 October in the coastal enclave, where more than 800 people have died.

"Our organisations call for respect for the principles of international humanitarian law and to refrain from targeting civilians under all circumstances, including targeting the civilian economic infrastructure damaging civilian livelihoods, and preventing the provision of humanitarian supplies," the three groups said.

They renewed their call for the International Criminal Court to expedite their investigations into possible war crimes in Palestine.

Israel has battered the Gaza Strip with airstrikes [Getty]
5:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar says 'too early' for any Israel-Hamas prisoner talks

Qatar said Tuesday it was too soon to start brokering talks on a potential prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas after the Palestinian group seized around 150 hostages in a shock weekend attack.

Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majed bin Mohammed Al-Ansari said it was "too early" for mediation when asked about the prospects for a potential prisoner exchange.

"At this moment, it is a very difficult point to say that any party can start with mediation. I think we need to see developments on the ground," he told reporters.

Concerns for the safety of those abducted to Gaza took on added urgency on Monday as Hamas threatened to start executing its prisoners if Israel carried out air strikes on Gaza without prior warning.

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On Monday, an informed source told AFP Qatar - which has hosted a Hamas political office for more than a decade - was spearheading efforts to negotiate an exchange of prisoners with talks making "some headway".

Late on Monday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani held a call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, whose government is a supporter of Hamas.

"We have discussed with all those we have contacted the need to contain this escalation within the current parameters and for it not to become a regional confrontation with other players," the ministry spokesman said, expressing particular concern over the situation in southern Lebanon.

5:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's allies in Iraq, Yemen threaten U.S. over intervention in Israel

Senior Iraqi and Yemeni leaders aligned with Iran and in charge of heavily armed groups have threatened to target U.S. interests if Washington intervenes to support Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

The comments come amid strong support by the United States for Israel's response to the attacks and a U.S. pledge to rapidly provide additional munitions to Israel and deploy a carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean.

In Yemen, the leader of the powerful Houthi Movement warned on Tuesday that the group would respond to any U.S. intervention in Gaza with drones, missiles and other military options.

He said the group was ready to coordinate intervention with other members of the so-called "Axis of Resistance" which encompasses Iranian-backed Shia Muslim factions in Iraq and Lebanon's Hezbollah group, which has already entered the fray.

In Iraq, Hadi Al-Amiri, a powerful Iraqi politician close to Iran and a key figure in the cross-party alliance backing the Baghdad government, also threatened to target American assets, in comments made during a tribal gathering in the capital.

"If they intervene, we would intervene...If the Americans intervened openly in this conflict..., we will consider all American targets legitimate..., and we will not hesitate to target it," Al-Amiri said on Monday.

He leads the Badr Organisation, a Shia political group supported by Iran that comprises a large part of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces, the state paramilitary organisation that contains many Iran-backed factions.

Pro-Palestine rally in Sanaa, Yemen [Getty]
4:21 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza death toll rises to 830: health ministry

The health ministry in the Gaza Strip has confirmed that 830 people have so far died in the enclave with 4,250 wounded.

4:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah holds funeral for members killed in Israeli shelling

A funeral was held in the town of Hanawi in south Lebanon on Tuesday for Ali Hadrouj, one of the four Hezbollah fighters killed in Israeli air strikes a day earlier.

Mourners beat their chests and cried as they carried the body of the 27-year old, vowing "Death to Israel and Death to America." Speakers at the funeral also extolled the heroism of Hezbollah and Hamas fighters against Israel.

"On Saturday, the occupation suffered a strategic surprise equal to the 1973 war — but this time it was an even greater defeat. It proved that Palestinians are more powerful and capable … than the Zionists," Hassan Ezzedine, a Hezbollah MP from Tyre district, said at the funeral.

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Residents of Hanawi told The New Arab that they were not scared, but rather wanted a war with Israel.

"We hope a war will begin, but [Hezbollah chief] Sayyed Nasrallah won’t be dragged into war until he assess when it's appropriate," a woman from Hanawi, who asked not to be named, told The New Arab.

She further said that in her view, Hezbollah was attacked by Israel and that it was just defending itself.

On Tuesday, a cautious calm prevailed over the border, with UNIFIL saying the situation was "stable, but fragile."

3:46 PM
The New Arab Staff

Rockets fired from south Lebanon land in Israel

A number of rockets fired from Lebanon landed in Israel's Western Galilee Tuesday, as the Israeli army responded by shelling border villages.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

The rocket attack from southern Lebanon came in coordination with a large salvo of missiles fired by Hamas from Gaza, targeting the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

The strikes on Ashkelon resulted in some material damage.

3:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas launches massive salvo of rockets on Ashkelon

Hamas' military wing Al-Qassam Brigades says it fired a large barrage of rockets onto Ashkelon in Israel after Israel's killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Alaraby TV said more than 100 rockets were fired in only 3 minutes.

Videos shared on social media showed the rockets being launched from Gaza and Israel's air defense system intercepting some of the missiles.

2:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has right to defend its people: Labour Party leader

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said Tuesday that his party wanted to a see a two-state solution in Palestine and Israel, but condemned Hamas' weekend attack.

"This action by Hamas does nothing for Palestinians," he said during his party's conference.

"Israel always has a right to defend its people," he added.

The New Arab senior news editor Paul McLoughlin is in Liverpool covering the party's conference.

2:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli death toll surpasses 1,000

The Israeli embassy in Washington has said that the death toll from Hamas' attack has exceeded 1,000 people.

2:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas calls for international mobilisation on Friday for Gaza

Hamas on Tuesday called for a 'general mobilisation' of the Arab, Islamic and free world on Friday to show support for Gaza, where over 770 people have been killed under heavy Israeli bombardment.

"This is an appeal to our Palestinian people and the masses of the Arab and Islamic world and people of the free world, we are announcing the general mobilisation on Friday in order to support Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the struggling Gaza," Hamas said on Telegram.

They said Friday would be an opportunity to show love and support for the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian group also called on the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem’s "revolutionary youth" to clash with Israeli soldiers.

The Palestinian health ministry announced Tuesday that another 18 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank.

Pro-Palestine rallies have already taken place in multiple cities around the world.

Pro-Palestine rally in Toronto, Canada [Getty]
1:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel says it has assassinated two senior Hamas officials

Israel said it killed two senior Hamas officials in an airstrike on Gaza Tuesday.

It announced the killing of Zakaria Abu Muammar and Jawad Abu Shamaly.

1:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas tells Ashkelon residents to leave town before 5 pm

Spokesperson for Hamas' military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, has told the residents of Ashkelon in Israel - within Gaza's periphery - to evacuate before 5 pm local time.

"In response to the crime of the enemy displacing our people and forcing them to flee their homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, we give the residents of the occupied city of Ashkelon a deadline to leave it before five o’clock this evening," the group said.

Ashkelon, Ashdod, Sderot and other Israeli towns and settlements around Gaza have come under Hamas rocket fire.

Ashkelon like other Israeli settlements have come under rocket fire [Getty]
1:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Britain must take responsibility for what it has done: Palestinian journalist

Janna Jihad, the child Palestinian journalist, urged Britain to take action to put a stop to Israeli violence against Palestinians.

"As Britain you must take responsibility as this is the aftermath of British imperialism, this is what we have been put through because of British imperialism," she told a Labour Party conference on Tuesday.

"I am not calling on you just to call for peace and justice, but to take tangible action to see tangible peace, justice and equality... You must hold Israel to account."

Jihad is the cousin of Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian activist who gained international attention for her brave activist work against the Israeli occupation.

Labour MP John McDonnell said the new blockade of Gaza is an intensification of a siege that has happened for years

"The people who have suffered the most are men, women, and children," he said.

Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Ben Jamal said the war in Gaza has shifted the political reality in Palestine and even in the UK.

"I urge you to call for self determination of Palestine in best and most peaceful way," Secretary-General for the trade union ASLEF Mick Whelan told the conference.

1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli ally the UAE warns Syrian regime of intervening in Gaza war

The United Arab Emirates has warned  the Syrian regime not to intervene in the Hamas-Israel war or to allow attacks on Israel from Syrian soil, reported Axios Tuesday, quoting two sources familiar on the matter.

Emirati officials have sent their messages to high-level Syrian officials and briefed the US administration about their communication with Damascus, according to the two sources, Axios said.

The UAE normalised ties with Bashar al-Assad last year.

Abu Dhabi on Monday announced full support for Israel – which it normalised ties with in 2020 – and had condemned Hamas’ weekend attack.

12:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli, Palestinian FMs set to address EU meeting

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he has invited the top diplomats from Israel and the Palestinian Authority to address an emergency meeting Tuesday of the bloc's foreign ministers.

Borrell said Israel's Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, and his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Maliki, were asked to participate in the hybrid video and in-person talks after the surprise Hamas assault.

The EU has strongly condemned the attack by Hamas on Israel but has sent out mixed messages over the future of its development aid to the Palestinians.

Brussels rowed back comments from neighbourhood commissioner Oliver Varhelyi on Monday that the 27-nation bloc was immediately suspending "all payments" to the Palestinians.

The EU's executive arm said it was reviewing hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) of development aid from the EU, the biggest donor to the Palestinians, but that payments were not suspended.

The European Commission said it was checking if the funding was indirectly enabling "any terrorist organisation to carry out attacks against Israel".

Emergency humanitarian aid continues to flow to the Palestinians, the bloc said.

EU nations are split over development aid for the Palestinians.

Economist powerhouse Germany has already said it has temporarily suspended its owns development aid to the Palestinians, while France said it was opposed to halting EU funds.

Borrell and a number of foreign ministers are currently in Oman's capital, Muscat, for a long-planned meeting with Gulf counterparts.

12:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli strikes hit Gaza homes, schools, sieges 'illegal': UN rights chief

Israeli air strikes, in retaliation for Hamas' surprise attacks on Israel over the weekend, struck residential buildings and schools across Gaza, the United Nations Human Rights chief said on Tuesday, warning that "sieges" were illegal under international law.

Volker Turk also condemned what he called the "horrifying mass killings by members of Palestinian armed groups" and said the militants' abduction of hostages was forbidden under international law.

Israel's air attacks - the worst in the 75 years - also hit "premises of the UN relief and works agency, UNRWA," a U.N. rights office statement said, adding that civilians were among the dead and injured.

Turk said Israel's "imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law."

"This risks seriously compounding the already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the capacity of medical facilities to operate, especially in light of increasing numbers of injured," he said, adding that a siege may amount to "collective punishment".

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Such acts may amount to a war crime, U.N. Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani later clarified in a Geneva press briefing. The U.N. rights office's findings were based on a review of available material, including from its own monitors on the ground, she said.

Some 187,500 people have fled their homes in Gaza, a U.N. humanitarian office offices spokesperson said at the same briefing, warning of shortages of water and electricity.

World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jašarević said that 13 attacks on health facilities in Gaza had been confirmed by its monitoring service since hostilities began, without giving details.

It was working on a humanitarian corridor for the Gaza strip, but stores of medical supplies had already run out, he said.

12:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

Netanyahu coalition partners green-light possible emergency government

All partners in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition approved on Tuesday a proposed expansion of the government to include politicians now in the opposition, a statement from his Likud party said.

Since the shock weekend Hamas attack from Gaza and Israel's build-up for war, some centre-left parties have offered to join Netanyahu in government.


12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian in occupied West Bank

A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces in the village of Beit Amra in the southern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The ministry had announced earlier that the victim was wounded after being shot in the head.

There were reports of clashes in the area between the Israeli army and Palestinian residents of Beit Amra, as well as confrontations in other parts of the West Bank.

At least 19 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces since the war in and around Gaza erupted on Saturday.

12:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel threatens to strike Egypt fuel deliveries to Gaza: media

The Israeli army has threatened to bomb any fuel deliveries being sent to the Gaza Strip from Egypt, Israel's Channel 12 reported.

Israel has already cut off all supplies to Gaza, including electricity and water.

Relentless Israeli bombardment has left entire neighbourhoods in ruins and has killed nearly 800 people in the coastal enclave.

12:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Cautious calm in south Lebanon, Hezbollah response not ruled out

A cautious calm prevailed on the Lebanese-Israeli border on Tuesday, after heavy bombardment from Israeli airplanes on the border the night prior. Pro-Iran group Hezbollah responded by targeting Israeli military barracks in the upper Galilee overnight, but no incidents have been recorded since.

The region is waiting for Hezbollah’s next steps, as a further escalation between the two parties could spark an all-out war between Lebanon and Israel.

The US significantly raised the cost of escalation on Monday night, placing an aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean and warning Hezbollah "not to open a second front with Israel."

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Lebanon’s Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said that he does "not want Lebanon to enter the ongoing war," while urging a halt to all Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty. He announced a cabinet meeting on Thursday at 4 pm to discuss the "current developments" without specifying what items might be on the agenda.

Residents of the southern city of Tyre told The New Arab that they had seen a continuous flow of residents displaced from border towns heading north for safety. "Those with children are leaving, but otherwise, they’re staying in their towns," a Tyre shop owner said.

Others expressed optimism that the worst of the fighting was over. A security official in Sour, said that they did not expect things to escalate further, but just in case, they had sent their children north.

11:21 AM
The New Arab Staff

75% of Israelis have fled Galilee, heading south: Israeli media

Around 75 percent of people living in northern Israel’s Galilee region have fled their homes and are moving southwards in fear of a possible escalation on the northern frontier with Lebanon, the Israeli Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

Channel 12’s reporter even said the number could be as high as 90 percent.

The Galilee is home to about 1.6 million people.

"Those who feel they cannot deal with the tension…were advised two days ago that they should take their things and slowly, carefully head south," the broadcaster’s report said, according to Channel 12, without specifying who gave this advice.

"Many have headed south toward the centre" of Israel, he added.

He also said that residents were asking the Israeli army to hand out weapons to them.

11:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestine football team quits Malaysia cup over Israel-Gaza war

The Palestine football team has pulled out of a tournament in Malaysia, the Southeast Asian nation's football association said Tuesday, citing the war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

"The Palestinian team had to withdraw from participating... because they could not fly to Kuala Lumpur due to the tense situation... at the moment," the Malaysian football association said in a statement.

The team was due to play in the Merdeka Cup friendly tournament in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, but the opening match against Tajikistan set for Friday has been cancelled.

The cup, which runs until October 17, will now feature only three teams with Tajikistan, who will get a bye to the final, joined by Malaysia and India.

The Palestine team is due to play qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup against Australia and Lebanon next month.

It has also qualified for the regional Asian Cup tournament in Qatar, which begins in January.

11:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Kremlin rejects Zelenskiy claim that Russia wants to inflame war in Middle East

The Kremlin said on Tuesday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's suggestion that it was in Russia's interests to stoke war in the Middle East to weaken global unity had no basis in fact.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the conflict was long-standing, with very deep roots, adding that Russia was in contact with both Israel and the Palestinians.

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Russia has longstanding, historical ties with the Palestinians and has lots in common with Israel, including the fact that many Israelis are former Russian citizens, Peskov told a regular news briefing.

Moscow intends to keep up its diplomatic efforts and play a role in seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians, he added.


11:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's Khamenei denies involvement in Hamas attack on Israel

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday denied any Iranian involvement in Hamas's shock weekend attack on Israel despite its strong support for the Palestinian militant group.

"The supporters of the Zionist regime (Israel) and some people in the usurping regime have been spreading rumours over the past two or three days, including that Islamic Iran was behind this action. They are wrong," Khamenei said in a speech at a military academy.

"Of course, we defend Palestine, we defend the struggles," he added, urging "the whole Islamic world" to "support the Palestinians."

Khamenei said Israel has suffered an "irreparable failure" on both "military and intelligence" fronts.

"Everyone has spoken of the failure, I put the emphasise on its irreparability," he said.

11:08 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

WHO calls for humanitarian corridor into Gaza Strip

The World Health Organization called Tuesday for a humanitarian corridor to be established into and out of the Gaza Strip, which has been placed under total siege by Israel.

Israel has cut off the water supply, food, electricity and other essential supplies as it bombed targets in the crowded Palestinian enclave in response to the Hamas surprise assault on Saturday.

The WHO said its supplies in the Gaza Strip were already running out, as it said patients in the territory's hospitals desperately needed those supplies.

Health facilities must be protected and safeguarded, the UN health agency said.

"WHO is calling for an end to the violence... a humanitarian corridor is needed to reach people with critical medical supplies," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a press briefing in Geneva.

"We need supplies to come in: hospitals cannot run without fuel, without electricity.

"The supplies that we have pre-positioned are already running low so we need those supplies to come.

11:04 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN says nearly 200,000 displaced in Gaza, water shortages expected

The United Nations humanitarian office said on Tuesday that nearly 200,000 people or nearly a tenth of the population, have fled their homes in Gaza since the start of hostilities and is poised for shortages of water and electricity due to a blockade.

"Displacement has escalated dramatically across the Gaza strip, reaching more than 187,500 people since Saturday. Most are taking shelter in schools," Jens Laerke, OCHA spokesperson, told a Geneva briefing, saying further displacement was expected as clashes continue.

A World Health Organization spokesperson said it had reported 13 attacks on health facilities in the Gaza strip since the weekend and said that its medical supplies stored there had already been used up.


11:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza death toll reaches 770, 18 dead in West Bank

Authorities in Gaza said the death toll in the enclave from Israeli bomardement has reached 770 with thousands others wounded.

The Palestinian health ministry said 18 Palestinians have also been killed in the occupied West Bank.

10:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel says no aerial infiltration from Syria or Lebanon after alert

The Israeli military said on Tuesday it had found no aerial infiltration from Syria or Lebanon after scrambling forces in response to a report it had received.


9:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France against suspending aid for Palestinians: ministry

France on Tuesday said it was against suspending aid that "directly" benefits the Palestinians, after the European Union said it was reviewing development help following Hamas' attack on Israel.

Hungary's Oliver Varhelyi, the EU commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, had said that support had already been suspended, although the bloc later clarified that this was not the case.

France is "not in favour of suspending aid which directly benefits the Palestinian populations", the foreign ministry said, adding that it had "made this known to the EU Commission".

"This aid is focused on supporting the Palestinian populations, in water, health, food security and education," added the ministry.

Distributed through the United Nations, it "directly benefits the Palestinian people" and is "fully in line with the engagements of France", the ministry added.

In a social media post, Varhelyi said 691 million euros in aid had been suspended pending a review of EU support for Palestinians.

A later statement from the European Commission confirmed a review would be carried out.

But, pointedly, it added: "In the meantime, as there were no payments foreseen, there will be no suspension of payments."

Officials also stressed that the review applies only to development funding, not to the separate EU humanitarian aid budget for Palestinians.

9:47 AM
The New Arab Staff

Aircraft enters Israeli airspace from Lebanon: Israeli army

The Israeli army said Tuesday that an "enemy aircraft" had entered Israel's airspace from Lebanon.

There were no further reports on the incident.

9:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Too soon to talk about prisoner swap: Hamas official

Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Alaraby TV on Tuesday that it was too soon to talk about a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.

Hamas is believed to have snatched around 150 people from Israel after its surprise land, air and sea attack on Saturday.

"We warned the Israeli occupation about their ongoing attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque," Radwan told Alaraby TV.

He added that multiple sides have tried mediating efforts to stop the fighting, but Hamas informed them Israel must first stop its violations against Al-Aqsa in occupied East Jerusalem.

Radwan (2nd L) speaks during a 2017 protest [Getty]
9:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Spain opposes suspending aid to Palestinian territories

Spain opposes the proposed suspension of European Union aid to the Palestinian territories, the Spanish Acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Tuesday.

Indeed, Palestinian territories will likely need more aid in the near future after Hamas' Saturday attack on Israel and Israel's subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip, he said.

"This cooperation must continue; we cannot confuse Hamas, which is in the list of EU's terrorist groups, with the Palestinian population, or the Palestinian Authority or the United Nation's organisations on the ground," Albares said in an interview with Spanish radio Cadena SER.

EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss the issue on Tuesday after European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said on Monday on social media platform X that all payments had been suspended.

The European Commission contradicted Varhelyi's statement, saying that payments were not suspended and that it was merely reviewing aid to Palestinian territories.

Even though countries such as Austria have announced the end of funding to Palestinian territories, others such as Spain consider the aid flow crucial for the civilian population.

Suspending aid would be "counterproductive", Albares said.

In a separate interview with TV channel Antena 3, the minister said the country was preparing a military plane to evacuate Spaniards who wanted to leave Israel.

Several international airlines have reduced or suspended flight services with Tel Aviv, affecting hundreds of flights.

IAG-owned Iberia and Vueling cancelled their flights to Tel Aviv until Sunday.

Air Europa, another Spanish airline, cancelled a flight to Israel scheduled for Tuesday and plans to evaluate whether to resume flying from Wednesday.


9:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Three Palestinian journalists killed in Israel Gaza strike: media union

Three Palestinian journalists were killed early Tuesday in an Israeli air strike that hit a residential building near Gaza City's fishing port, a media union and an official said.

The journalists' syndicate announced "the martyrdom of three journalists in the Gaza Strip in the ongoing Israeli aggression".

The head of Gaza's Hamas-run government's media office, Salameh Maarouf, identified the three as Said al-Taweel, Mohammed Sobboh and Hisham Nawajhah.

9:25 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi prince says working to contain Israel-Gaza fighting

Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas he was working to prevent "an expansion" of conflict after the surprise Hamas attack on Israel, Saudi state media said early Tuesday.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also told Abbas the Gulf kingdom continued "to stand by the Palestinian people to achieve their legitimate rights to a decent life, achieve their hopes and aspirations, and achieve just and lasting peace," the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Mohammed has also spoken about the crisis by phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah II, SPA reported.

The spiralling violence kicked off amid speculation that Saudi Arabia, which has never recognised Israel, would agree to normalise ties as part of a deal in which it would obtain security guarantees from the United States as well as assistance developing a civilian nuclear programme.

However Prince Mohammed told Fox News last month that the Palestinian issue was "very important" for Saudi Arabia, home to the holiest sites in Islam in Mecca and Medina.

"We need to solve that part. We need to ease the life of the Palestinians," Prince Mohammed said.

Analysts say any progress towards normalisation has now been dealt a heavy blow by the ongoing fighting.

9:24 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US, France, Germany, Italy, UK will help Israel 'defend itself': joint statement

The leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Britain pledged in a joint statement Monday to "support Israel in its efforts to defend itself."

9:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany, Austria suspend bilateral aid to Palestinians after Hamas

Austria and Germany said on Monday they were suspending aid worth tens of millions of euro to Palestinians in response to Hamas' deadly weekend attack on Israel "to ensure funds were not flowing into the wrong hands."

Both countries said they wanted to review their engagement with the Palestinian territories and discuss that with Israel and international partners.

European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation, including reviewing aspects of development aid, the EU's top diplomat said on Monday.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said the country was suspending aid totalling around 19 million euros ($20 million) for a handful of projects.

Schallenberg did not distinguish between Hamas-ruled Gaza and the much larger occupied West Bank run by the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah movement leader President Mahmoud Abbas.

Neutral Austria's ruling conservatives have adopted one of the most pro-Israel stances in the European Union in recent years. The Israeli flag has been hoisted above the chancellor's office and the Foreign Ministry after the shock Hamas assault launched from the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

The Israeli flag has been hoisted above the chancellor's office [Getty]
9:03 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli air force sends planes to Europe to bring back reservists

Israel's air force said on Tuesday it had sent transports to Europe to fly back hundreds of Israelis there who will serve as military reservists in the Gaza war raging since the weekend.

In a social media post, the corps said its Hercules planes had taken part in the emergency airlift. It did not elaborate on where in Europe the reservists had come from.


9:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli military revises call on Gazans to flee to Egypt

The Israeli military revised on Tuesday a recommendation by one of its spokespeople that Palestinians fleeing its air strikes in the Gaza Strip head to Egypt, saying in a follow-up statement that the main crossing on that border was currently closed.

Briefing foreign reporters, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht said he would advise Palestinian refugees to "get out" through the Rafah crossing on Gaza's southern border with Egypt.

His office then issued a statement. "Clarification: The Rafah crossing was open yesterday, but now it is closed," it said.

On Monday evening, Egyptian security sources and a witness said operations at Rafah had been disrupted by what they described as a strike on the Gaza side.


8:56 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Around 1,500 bodies of Hamas militants found in Israel, claims Israeli army

Around 1,500 bodies of Hamas militants have been found in Israel around the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army claimed on Tuesday, as it pummelled the Palestinian enclave with air strikes.

"Approximately 1,500 bodies of Hamas (fighters) were found in Israel around the Gaza Strip," military spokesman Richard Hecht told reporters, adding that security forces had "more or less restored control over the border" with Gaza.

"Since last night we know that no one came in... but infiltrations can still happen."

The army had "nearly completed" evacuation of all the communities around the border, he added.

Hecht said the military had deployed 35 battalions to the border area.

"We are building infrastructure for future operations," he said.

Before dawn on Tuesday, the Israeli military struck what it said were Hamas targets in Gaza, especially in the Rimal neighbourhood and in the southern city of Khan Yunis.