Gaza war: UNRWA halts food services in Rafah, blames supply shortage and Israeli attacks

Gaza war: UNRWA halts food services in Rafah, blames supply shortage and Israeli attacks
The main UN agency in Gaza has suspended food distribution in Rafah over insecurity concerns, as Israel's offensive pushes into the southern governorate
25 min read

The UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, suspended its food distribution service in the southern city of Rafah on Tuesday, in the latest disruption to aid services in Gaza.

UNWRA said it has run out of food and Israeli attacks on the city have made it too dangerous to operate, forcing it to halt services, which more than half of Gaza's population depend on. 

Israel's incursion into the southern areas has disrupted aid channels after it closed the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border gates, blocking supplies from entering the war-torn enclave for over ten days.

Aid agencies have said the population is at greater risk of famine while medics have said hospitals are rapidly running out of supplies.

Fighting in north Gaza saw Israeli forces push deeper into Jabalia camp in battles with Palestinian militants on Tuesday. Neighbourhoods have suffered major damage and dozens of civilians have been hit.

Residents and medical officials said Israeli tanks were besieging the Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia for the third day, and opened fire against Kamal Adwan hospital in nearby Beit Lahiya town, medics said.

12:50 AM

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Israeli forces continue deadly raid in Jenin, West Bank
12:06 AM
The New Arab Staff

Jenin in the occupied West Bank continued to be rocked by a deadly assault by Israeli forces throughout Tuesday and into the evening, as the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the death toll had risen to eight Palestinians.

Earlier on Tuesday, seven people were killed, including a teacher, medic and children, during the raid on the refugee camp, as violence in the West Bank surges post 7 October.

Palestinian news agency Wafa said six Palestinians were injured by gun shot wounds and another detained, citing medical and security sources.

Read more here.

US-Saudi deal security deal 'more or less complete'
11:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States and Saudi Arabia have reached a near final set of arrangements for a bilateral defence pact that includes a security component and a civil nuclear component, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

The official said the deal was "more or less complete," but cautioned that certain elements, including a credible pathway to Palestinian statehood and steps on stabilizing Gaza, still needed to be completed.

"It requires more work. It is not done. Nobody here is going to say this is, you know, just right around the corner. It is really hard," the official told reporters.

Trump foreign policy adviser urges sanctions on ICC official
11:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States should slap sanctions on International Criminal Court officials who seek an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a top foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Tuesday after meeting the Israeli leader.

Robert O'Brien, who served as Trump's fourth and final national security adviser, made the comments in a Jerusalem interview with Reuters after meeting Netanyahu and other Israeli officials during a multi-day visit to the US ally.

"We can sanction the bank accounts, the travel. We can put visa restrictions on these corrupt prosecutors and judges. We can show some real mettle here," O'Brien told Reuters from Jerusalem.

Ireland to announce recognition of Palestinian state: source
10:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Irish government is to announce the recognition of a Palestinian state on Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter said.

European Union members Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta have indicated in recent weeks that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

The Irish government on Tuesday evening said the prime minister and foreign minister would speak to the media on Wednesday morning but did not say what the topic would be. 


Protesters call Blinken 'war criminal' during Senate session
10:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the chief prosecutor of the world's top war crimes court for seeking the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during  wide-ranging testimony before the Senate Tuesday,

Blinken, speaking to senators about the Biden administration's foreign affairs budget proposal, was repeatedly interrupted by protesters condemning US policy toward its ally Israel and its war against Hamas in Gaza.

The chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Appropriations committees halted the hearings at least six times while Blinken was delivering his opening statements as demonstrators stood up to shout their opposition to the administration’s position and accused him of being a "war criminal" and being responsible for a "genocide" against the Palestinian people.

Several silent protesters held up their hands, stained with red paint or dye, behind Blinken during his appearances.

Read more about the session here.

UN plans new routes for aid deliveries from US-built pier
10:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations is planning new routes to distribute aid from a US-built pier in Gaza, a spokesperson said, after crowds of needy residents intercepted trucks, causing a halt to deliveries that continued for a third day on Tuesday.

The temporary, floating pier is meant to help ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, though aid workers say that only deliveries through land borders can ensure relief on the scale that is needed.

Operations at the pier began on Friday and the UN said 10 truckloads of food aid - transported from the pier by UN contractors - were received at a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in Deir El Balah in Gaza. But on Saturday, only five truckloads made it to the warehouse after 11 others were intercepted.

Distribution was then paused as logistics teams planned new routes and coordination of deliveries in an effort to prevent more aid being intercepted, said Abeer Etefa, a WFP spokesperson in Cairo.

"The missions were planned for today using the new routes to avoid the crowds," she said. "Up until now we haven't heard that they moved."


North Gaza hospitals barely operational, say medics and WHO
9:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

North Gaza's last two functioning hospitals, Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan, are barely operational, doctors and the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

Hospital officials said Israeli forces had fired on the facilities and that snipers had been deployed near one of them.

"Today marks the third day of the siege on Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza," the hospital's acting director Dr Mohammad Saleh told AFP.

He reported that Israeli forces had been "firing at the hospital buildings" and that "snipers" have taken up position in nearby houses.

Dr Saleh said the "southern wall" of the hospital "has been destroyed" and "all medical staff and patients" are inside the hospital wards.

Medics from Kamal Adwan Hospital near Jabalia were forced to evacuate patients after a missile strike on Tuesday. 

White House says Israel reversal on AP followed phone call
9:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

A White House official told CNN that it spoke to Israeli government officials to express "serious concern" about the confiscation of The Associated Press' equipment earlier today by Israeli authorities which shut down its Gaza video stream.

AP is an American news agency and streams live feeds of Gaza's northern front to its thousands of clients globally.

Read more here.

Blinken says some countries may play role in post-war Gaza
9:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said a number of countries could play an instrumental role, "at least on an interim basis," if needed in helping provide security for post-war Gaza.

Speaking at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Blinken made the comments when asked if he thought that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had the capability or the will to run the Gaza Strip.


Aid is being moved from pier to warehouses in Gaza: Pentagon
9:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that new routes for the movement of aid in Gaza had been created after some aid trucks had been intercepted, adding that aid was now moving from assembly areas to warehouses in Gaza.

"As we work out processes and procedures, alternative routes for the safe movement of that cargo have been established. And aid is now being taken from those assembly areas to warehouses for further distribution throughout Gaza," Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters. 


Israel backtracks on AP equipment confiscation after outcry
8:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's communications minister Shlomo Karhi said late on Tuesday that The Associated Press news agency will have their equipment returned, after it was seized earlier and their Gaza feed shut down.

Israeli authorities claimed the agency was breaching its new law by supplying now banned network Al Jazeera with footage and posing a security risk Israeli troop movements in Gaza.

The move was denounced globally and prompted Washington to get involved.

In a statement, Karhi said: "Since the Ministry of Defense wishes to examine the matter of the broadcasts from these locations in Sderot regarding the risk to our forces, I have now ordered a cancellation of the operation and return the equipment to AP, until a different decision is made by the Ministry of Defense."

PA condemns Israeli assault on Jenin in occupied West Bank
8:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Authority (PA) condemned Israel's attacks in the West Bank city of Jenin that killed seven Palestinians and caused widespread destruction during its weekly meeting in Ramallah, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa held a meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan this week to urge the US to pressure Israel to end its aggression in Gaza and the West Bank, and to release overdue PA tax funds.

The cabinet also discussed the government's preparations for the post-war period and economic recovery plans, according to Wafa.

Staff, patients forced to evacuate Kamal Adwan Hospital
7:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza was forced to evacuate medics and patients after Israeli shells hit the emergency service department of the hospital, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

Around 150 medical staff, as well as 150 patients including new born babies are being treated at the hospital.

Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia has also come under fire and on Monday it said the hospital had run out of drinking water and people were trapped inside because of fighting in the vicinity.

Throughout the seven-month war, Israeli forces have repeatedly attacked hospitals, rendering 22 non-operational and leaving 14 others partially operating.

Read about Israel's targeting of Gaza's health system here.

Egypt will use 'all scenarios' to preserve security: source
6:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt's respect for treaties does not prevent it from using "all scenarios to preserve its national security and the historical rights of Palestinians", the state-affiliated Al Qahera News TV quoted what it termed a high-level source as saying on Tuesday.

Tensions have been mounting between Israel and Egypt over the invasion of Rafah and Israel's seizure of the crossing which borders the fragile Northern Sinai region.

Officials from both nations have blamed each other for the continued closure of the border which serves as the only pedestrian exit from Gaza and has become a vital aid entry point.


RSF slams 'outrageous' Israel decision to cut AP video
6:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders denounced Israel's decision to shut down an Associated Press live video feed of war-ravaged Gaza on Tuesday, describing it as "outrageous censorship".

"After banning Al Jazeera, Israel goes after AP. RSF denounces the seizure of a news agency's camera and the shut down of a live feed showing a view of Gaza... this is outrageous censorship," RSF said on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel decision to cut AP video feed 'shocking': UN
6:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's decision to shut down an Associated Press live video feed of war-torn Gaza on Tuesday was "shocking," the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

"Frankly, it's quite shocking," Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "The Associated Press, of all news organizations, should be allowed to do its work freely and free of any harassment."

Sullivan, Israeli officials discuss Rafah ops alternatives
4:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli officials briefed White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday about "new alternative approaches" to Rafah operations that aim to address U.S. concerns, the White House said in a statement.

Sullivan told the officials that Israel and Egypt talks on reopening the Rafah crossing are crucial to ensuring the flow of humanitarian assistance, according to the statement.

Sullivan met on Monday with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and opposition leader Yair Lapid, among other Israeli officials.

Gaza truce still possible but set back by ICC move: Blinken
4:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that a Gaza ceasefire deal was still possible but he charged that an International Criminal Court arrest bid for Israeli leaders was setting back efforts.

Blinken was opening two days of testimony before Congress that were immediately disrupted by protesters, with two demonstrators shouting that the top US diplomat was a "war criminal" over support to Israel as they were escorted out by police.

Blinken credited Qatar and Egypt with assisting the "extensive effort" to secure a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in return for the release of hostages.

"I think we've come very, very close on a couple of occasions," Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We remain at it every single day. I think that there's still a possibility," he said.

"But it's challenged by a number of events and I have to say, yes the extremely wrongheaded decision by the ICC prosecutor yesterday - the shameful equivalence implied between Hamas and the leadership of Israel - I think that only complicates the prospects for getting such an agreement," Blinken added.

WHO asks Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza medical aid
4:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the World Health Organization called on Tuesday for Israel to lift restrictions on aid into Gaza saying that the primary pipeline for emergency medical aid into the enclave from Egypt had been cut off.

"At a time when the people of Gaza are facing starvation, we urge Israel to lift the blockade and let aid through. Without more aid flowing into Gaza we cannot sustain our lifesaving support of hospitals," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference in Geneva.

Netanyahu, Hamas leaders comparison unacceptable: Polish PM
4:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Portraying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as equivalent to the leaders of Hamas is unacceptable, Poland's prime minister said on Tuesday, after the International Criminal Court prosecutor requested arrest warrants for both Israeli and Hamas leaders.

"An attempt to show that the prime minister of Israel and the leaders of a terrorist organisations are the same, and the involvement of international institutions in this, is unacceptable," Donald Tusk told a news conference.

Israel shutting AP's Gaza video is 'concerning': White House
4:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House expressed concern Tuesday after US news agency The Associated Press said that Israel had shut down its live video feed of war-torn Gaza.

"Obviously this is concerning and we want to look into it," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on President Joe Biden's plane as he traveled to New Hampshire.

UNRWA suspends food distribution in Rafah over 'insecurity'
3:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday that food distribution in Gaza's southern city of Rafah were currently suspended due to lack of supplies and insecurity.

UNRWA said in a statement on X that only seven out of its 24 health centres were operational and that it had not received any medical supplies in the past 10 days due to "closures/disruptions" at the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings into Gaza.

US sanctions have worsened aviation safety: Lavrov on Raisi
2:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, when commenting on the helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, said on Tuesday that US sanctions had worsened aviation safety.

Scholz sends 'condolences' to Iran over Raisi death
2:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday offered condolences to Iran over the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

"Our condolences go to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the families of those killed in the crash," Scholz said in a message addressed to Iran's Vice President Mohammad Mokhber.

Israel officials seize AP equipment citing 'new media law'
2:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli officials seized a camera and broadcasting equipment belonging to The Associated Press in southern Israel on Tuesday, accusing the news organisation of violating the country’s new ban on Al Jazeera.

The Qatari satellite channel is among thousands of clients that receive live video feeds from the AP and other news organisations. The AP denounced the move.

"The Associated Press decries in the strongest terms the actions of the Israeli government to shut down our longstanding live feed showing a view into Gaza and seize AP equipment," said Lauren Easton, vice president of corporate communications at the news organisation.

"We urge the Israeli authorities to return our equipment and enable us to reinstate our live feed immediately so we can continue to provide this important visual journalism to thousands of media outlets around the world."

Officials from the Communications Ministry arrived at the AP location in the southern town of Sderot on Tuesday afternoon and seized equipment. They handed the AP a piece of paper, signed by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, alleging it was violating the country’s new foreign broadcaster law .

Israel demolishes Palestinian home in Jenin without warning
2:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli bulldozers have demolished the home of a privately-owned Palestinian family in Jenin without any warning, giving them no time to remove their belongings, the Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

The home belongs to Hani Baraket, who said her husband has been detained by Israel for six months and whose son was killed by an Israeli attack on the Jenin camp in March.


Germany: ICC arrest warrants for Hamas leaders is 'logical'
1:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 A request by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for arrest warrants for Hamas leaders is "logical and no comparisons" can be made with Israel's prime minister and defence minister, for whom warrants are also being sought, a German government spokesperson said.

“The accusations of the chief prosecutor are serious and must be substantiated,” said the spokesperson on Tuesday.

He added that Germany assumed Israel’s democratic system and rule of law with a strong, independent judiciary would be taken into account by judges deciding whether to issue the warrants.

Police break up pro-Gaza camp at the University of Michigan
1:36 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Police broke up a pro-Palestinian encampment Tuesday at the University of Michigan, with officers showing up in helmets with face shields to clear the Diag, known for decades as a site for campus protests.

Video posted online showed police using what appeared to be an irritant to spray people, who were forced to retreat.

The encampment had been set up in late April near the end of the school year in the backdrop of the widespread US college campus protests for Gaza.

Student protesters made demands that the school’s endowment stop investing in companies with ties to Israel. Though the university insists it has no direct investments and less than $15 million placed with funds that might include companies in Israel. 

After the camp was cleared, nearby buildings, including the undergraduate and graduate libraries, were closed, and police turned away students who showed up to study.

Cyprus says maritime aid shipments to Gaza 'on track'
1:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four ships from the United States and France are transporting aid from Larnaca port to the Gaza Strip amid the spiralling humanitarian crisis there, the Cyprus presidency said on Tuesday.

Victor Papadopoulos from the presidential press office told state radio 1,000 tonnes of aid were shipped from Cyprus to the besieged Palestinian territory between Friday and Sunday.

He said the vessels were shuttling between Gaza and the east Mediterranean island, a distance of about 360 kilometres (225 miles).

Large quantities of aid from Britain, Romania, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and other countries have accumulated at Larnaca port.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides told reporters on Tuesday the maritime aid effort was "on track".

"We have substantial assistance from third countries that want to contribute to this effort," he said.

Israel Women's Euro match to be played behind closed doors
1:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Scotland's Women's Euro 2025 qualifiers against Israel will be played in empty stadiums following intelligence over "planned disruptions", Scottish football chiefs announced on Tuesday.

The matches are at Hampden Park in Glasgow on May 31, with the "away" fixture due to be played in Hungary on June 4.

The decision comes against the background of the bloodiest-ever Gaza war, which has killed at least 35,647 people.

"Due to updated intelligence and following extensive security consultations with all key parties, the Scottish FA regrets to confirm that the forthcoming qualifier between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park on May 31 will now be played behind closed doors," said a statement from the Scottish Football Association.

It added: "The stadium operations team were alerted to the potential for planned disruptions to the match and as a consequence we have no option but to play the match without supporters in attendance."

Israeli troops push into northern Gaza's Jabalia camp
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces thrust deeper into the Jabalia camp in northern Gaza on Tuesday, laying waste to residential districts with tank and air bombardments, residents said.

The Israeli army used bulldozers to clear shops and property near the local market, residents said, in a military operation that began almost two weeks ago.

The health authorities and Gaza Civil Emergency Service said dozens of bodies remained trapped under rubble of houses and on the roads in Jabalia, but rescue teams have been unable to reach them.

"Israel is destroying the camp on the heads of the people, the bombardment never stops, and the world is calling for more food to enter Gaza. We want to spare lives not extra food," said Abu El-Nasser, a resident of Jabalia, who fled to nearby Gaza City.

Gaza war death toll at 35,647: health ministry
12:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza Strip's health ministry said Tuesday that at least 35,647 people have been killed in the territory during more than seven months of Israel's offensive.

The toll includes 85 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 79,852 people have been wounded in the enclave since the war began on October 7.

Qatar says Gaza truce talks remain 'close to stalemate'
12:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar's foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said on Tuesday the Gaza ceasefire and hostage release talks between Israel and Hamas remain "close to a stalemate."

Asked about the International Criminal Court prosecutor's decision to seek arrest warrants against some Israeli and Hamas leaders, Al-Ansari said it was too early for Qatar to comment directly on that but that all states and organisations should be "held responsible for the killing of civilians".

Israel-Saudi normalisation needs Gaza quiet: US envoy
12:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Forging formal Israeli-Saudi relations as part of an emerging trilateral deal involving Washington would require a calming of the Gaza war and a discussion of prospects for Palestinian governance, the U.S. envoy to Jerusalem said on Tuesday.

"There's going to have to be some period of quiet, I think, in Gaza, and there's going to have to be a conversation about how do you deal with the question of the future of Palestinian governance," Ambassador Jack Lew said.

"My view is, that strategic benefit is worth taking the risk of getting into that conversation about. But that's a decision that the government of Israel will have to make and the people of Israel will have to make," he told a conference hosted by the Israel Democracy Institute think-tank

Keir Starmer faces Jewish anti-war independent in UK polls
12:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Camden Town resident and former South African ANC MP Andrew Feinstein declared on Tuesday that he will be standing as an independent MP in a London borough at the UK general election, expected no later than the end of January 2025.

The Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor, Feinstein is a writer and anti-corruption campaigner who has lived with his family in Camden for 23 years.

He made the announcement at an event in the constituency this morning, declaring that the area "needs an MP who represents the views, aspirations and needs of the people of Camden."

Speaking today, Andrew said: "Keir Starmer represents everything that is wrong with British politics, UK politicians and the Westminster elite. The people of Camden need an MP who will stand up for the values of opportunity, equality and fairness and an end to never-ending wars."

"Their MP, Keir Starmer, doesn’t talk about the housing crisis in Camden, poverty, the state of our NHS, the climate emergency, or the genocide happening before our eyes in Gaza. Local people are crying out for change, not more of the same from Labour and the Tories."

Aid entering Gaza via pier 'barely 5% of what's needed'
11:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US Central Command on Tuesday said more than 569 metric tons of humanitarian assistance has been delivered so far across a temporary floating pier to Gaza, but not all the aid has reached warehouses.

However the amount entering the besieged and bombed out enclave is far from what's needed for the territory's more than 2 million residents, over half of them displaced.

FMs from Iran's partners hold minute's silence for Raisi
10:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Foreign ministers and diplomats from around a dozen of Iran's political and economic partners paid tribute to late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at a meeting of a China-led regional bloc on Tuesday.

Envoys from Russia, China, India and Pakistan were among those who stood for a minute's silence at the start of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

"Despite these difficult times, Iranian representatives are taking part in this ministerial council for the first time," Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a statement released by his office.

Israel defence minister says ICC arrest bid 'despicable'
10:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant described as "despicable" Tuesday a push by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor for warrants to arrest him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

"The attempt made by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, to turn things around will not succeed -- the parallel he has drawn between the Hamas terrorist organisation and the State of Israel is despicable," Gallant said in his first reaction to Khan's bid at the ICC.

"Prosecutor Karim Khan's attempt to deny the state of Israel the right to defend herself and ensure the release of the hostages held in Gaza must be rejected explicitly," Gallant said in a statement.

Turkish president announces day of mourning over Raisi death
9:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday his country would observe a day of mourning over the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

"During our cabinet meeting, we have decided to declare a day of mourning in our country to share the deep pain of the Iranian people," Erdogan said during a televised speech.

"We once again offer our condolences to our Iranian brothers," added Erdogan, who earlier called Raisi a "dear colleague and brother".

Ankara, which deployed a drone to the crash zone on Sunday evening to help with the search after the accident, also said Monday that its device had made it possible to locate the wreckage.

Erdogan praised the "active role" played by the Turkey in the search.

Yemen's Houthi rebels claim they shot down another US drone
9:34 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed on Tuesday they shot down an American drone over the impoverished Arab county. The U.S. military did not immediately acknowledge the claim.

If confirmed, this would be the second MQ-9 Reaper drone downed by the Houthis over the past week as they press their campaign over Israel's war on the Gaza Strip.

Funeral procession for Iranian president starts
9:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands of Iranians walked sombrely through the streets on Tuesday for the funeral procession of President Ebrahim Raisi and seven members of his entourage who were killed in a helicopter crash.

Waving Iranian flags and portraits of the late president, the mourners set off from a central square in the northwestern city of Tabriz, where Raisi was headed when his helicopter crashed on Sunday.

Italy says 'unacceptable' to put Israel, Hamas on same level
8:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Italy's foreign minister said on Tuesday it was "unacceptable" and "absurd" to compare Israel and Hamas after the International Criminal Court's prosecutor applied for arrest warrants for leaders on both sides.

"It is completely unacceptable that Hamas and Israel are put on the same level - the leaders of the terrorist group that started the war in Gaza by massacring innocent citizens and the leaders of the government elected by the people of Israel," Antonio Tajani said in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The minister, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the G7 this year, described the parallel as "absurd", adding: "In no way can one even imagine such an equivalence.

"Be careful not to legitimise anti-Israeli positions that can fuel anti-Semitic phenomena."

France backs ICC as it seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu
8:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France backs the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the 'fight against impunity', its foreign ministry said after the court's prosecutor sought an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others for alleged war crimes.

"France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations", the foreign ministry said in a statement late on Monday.

While US President Joe Biden called the legal step against Israeli officials "outrageous", the French foreign ministry took a different stance.

It reiterated both its condemnation of what it called Hamas' "anti-Semitic massacres" on October 7, as well as its warnings over possible violations of international humanitarian law by Israel's invasion of the Gaza strip.

"As far as Israel is concerned, it will be up to the court's pre-trial chamber to decide whether to issue these warrants, after examining the evidence put forward by the prosecutor ... ," the ministry said.

China says hopes ICC will be 'objective'
8:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China said Tuesday it hoped the International Criminal Court would uphold an "objective" position after a prosecutor requested arrest warrants for leaders from Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian movement Hamas.

"It is hoped that the ICC will uphold its objective and impartial position and exercise its powers in accordance with the law," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, while calling for an end to the "collective punishment of the Palestinian people".

Israeli forces kill 7 Palestinians in West Bank raid
8:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces raided the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, killing at least seven Palestinians, including a doctor, according to local authorities, in some of the deadliest violence in the territory since October 7.

The military said its forces struck "militants" during an operation in Jenin, a city in the northern West Bank. The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least seven Palestinians were killed and another nine wounded. Their identities were not immediately known.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group said its fighters battled with Israeli forces.

However, according to Wissam Abu Baker, the director of Jenin Governmental Hospital, the medical center's surgery specialist Ossayed Kamal Jabareen was among the dead. He was killed on his way to work, Abu Baker said.

Israel says retrieved hostages' bodies were in Gaza tunnels
8:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli army said Monday that the bodies of four hostages retrieved from Gaza last week were found in tunnels under Jabalia, where there has been fierce fighting in recent days.

The army said last week it had recovered the bodies of Ron Benjamin, Yitzhak Gelerenter, Shani Louk, and Amit Buskila, all of whom it said had been killed in Hamas' October 7 attack in southern Israel.

Their remains were recovered "from underground tunnels in Jabalia in northern Gaza", the army said late Monday in a statement.

Biden says Israel's Gaza offensive 'not genocide'
8:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden denied Monday that Israel's war in Gaza was genocide, as he slammed an "outrageous" request by the International Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecutor for an arrest warrant for Israeli leaders.

"What's happening is not genocide," Biden told a Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House as he discussed the war.

He also amped up his criticism of the ICC, saying that "we reject" ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan's bid to arrest Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its defense minister.

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"Whatever these warrants may imply, there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas," Biden told the audience in the Rose Garden of the White House.

Biden pledged "ironclad" support for Israel, adding that "we stand with Israel to take out Sinwar and the rest of the butchers of Hamas."

The US president further vowed to free hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 attack "come hell or high water."