Hamas warns of no ceasefire deal if Israeli invasion of Rafah continues

Hamas warns of no ceasefire deal if Israeli invasion of Rafah continues
Hamas official Osama Hamdan called on the international community to pressure Israel to refrain from invading Rafah further after it lost control of the border
23 min read

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan warned on Tuesday that if Israel's military aggression continues in Rafah, there will be no ceasefire deal.

The senior political figure based in Beirut reiterated that "the ball is in Netanyahu's court" as the Palestinian group awaits Israel's decision over a potential truce deal which hung in the balance on Tuesday.

Hamdan's comments were made during a press conference in Beirut as a new round of ceasefire talks took place in Cairo with Egyptian state-linked media reporting that all sides were engaged, including Israel.

CIA director Bill Burns arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night to meet with leaders about the proposal, which could see a 40-day pause in fighting and release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

World leaders and humanitarian agencies on Tuesday expressed grave concern over Israel's initial invasion into eastern Rafah and seizure of the border crossing which serves as the only exit point for Palestinians to leave Gaza.

The White House said that the Kerem Shalom crossing would be reopened on Wednesday after Israel shut it on Sunday following hostilities nearby.

This live blog has now concluded
11:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

Thanks for following The New Arab's live blog on Israel's war on Gaza. We will be back at 8:00 BST.

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US review on Israel's war conduct in Gaza delayed: report
11:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Biden administration's report into whether Israel could have breached international law in its conduct in Gaza will miss its Wednesday deadline, according to a report in US news outlet Politico.

Washington has been conducting a review on whether Israel has violated international humanitarian law in Gaza, where some 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, the majority women and children, and swathes of civilian infrastructure decimated. 

If the report finds Israel liable, the US would be expected to stop sending Israeli military aid, the Politico article notes.

The delay comes as the seventh-month war enters a new chapter with Israel's invasion of the southern city of Rafah, which the US and other allies have warned Israeli leaders not to pursue over fears for the 1.5 million civilians sheltering there.

Palestinians from Rafah put shelters on Khan Younis rubble
11:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

Some of the thousands of Palestinians forced to leave shelters in eastern parts of Rafah on Monday have set up tents on the ruins of their destroyed homes in the neighbouring city of Khan Younis.

Images shared by local sources depict families living among bricks and dirt, having been forced to leave Rafah by Israeli military orders on Monday.

Aid agencies warned that Khan Younis - which was decimated by weeks of Israeli attacks in March and April - is not suitable to host displaced families.

US CIA director to travel to Israel on Wednesday for talks
11:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns will travel to Israel on Wednesday for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials, a source familiar with his travels told Reuters.


Israeli hostage confirmed dead prior to Gaza abduction
10:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli-Argentinian man seized during the October 7 Hamas attack was killed on the same day and his body remains in the Gaza Strip, a hostage families' campaign group said Tuesday.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum said in a statement that it bowed "its head in sorrow" following "the determination that Lior Rudaeff... was murdered on October 7 and that his body was kidnapped to Gaza".

News of his death came as mediators from Qatar, the United States and Egypt were meeting in Cairo with Hamas and Israeli delegations in the latest effort towards a truce in Gaza.

During the attack militants abducted some 250 people, of which Israel estimates 128 are still held in Gaza, including 36 who are dead, according to officials.

"The Israeli government has a profound moral duty to pursue every avenue in the current negotiations to bring Lior home," the forum said.

Israeli army says it destroyed missile launches in Rafah
10:36 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military said on Tuesday that "six projectiles" had been fired from the Rafah area in south Gaza.

It added that another 12 missiles were fired from Rafah towards Israeli territory and five were intercepted by Israel's aerial defence system and "the rest fell in an open area".

On Sunday, Hamas launched several rockets towards an Israeli military base near the Karem Abu Salam border crossing (Kerem Shalom) which killed four soldiers and injured at least 16 others.

'Suspicious aerial target' sighted over Israeli Eilat city
10:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

Residents of Israel's a southern port city on the Red Sea have reported hearing loud explosions and bright streaks in the sky, according to Israeli media reports.

The Israeli army issued a statement on its Telegram channel stating that the "IDF identified a suspicious aerial target that was on its way from the east twoard Israel, adjacent to the city of Eilat".

It said that that the target was intercepted.

Eurovision: opening singer Eric Saade wears keffiyeh on arm
10:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

Swedish singer Eric Saade opened the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden on Tuesday evening, while wearing a keffiyeh wrapped around his wrist in a mark of solidarity with Palestinians amid the Gaza war.

The move was quickly criticised by European Broadcasting Union which said they "regret that Eric Saade chose to compromise the non-political nature of the event".

Saade, whose father is Palestinian, had reportedly not worn the black and white scarf in practises prior to his performance.

Eurovision's organisers had come under pressure in the lead up to the event from hundreds of musicians and artists who threatened to boycott the event if Israel was allowed to participate in the wake of the Gaza war.

UK PM Sunak 'deeply concerned' about Israel's Rafah invasion
9:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said earlier on Tuesday that he was "deeply concerned" about the Israeli military invasion into Gaza's southern city of Rafah and that the UK had not yet received plans from Israel in relation to the attack which began yesterday.

Sunak said he had reiterated such concern in past conversations with Israel's prime minister and highlighted that the invasion would worsen humanitarian conditions for the war-torn population.

At a regular briefing in Westminster on Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: "Israel, as the occupying power, has responsibility for ensuring that the civilian population is safe and has access to the food, water, medical care it needs."

"We’ve not seen any plans in relation to the Rafah incursion along those lines, that’s why, as the PM said just yesterday, we remain deeply concerned about the prospect of a military incursion into Rafah given the number of civilians sheltering there and the importance of that crossing for aid."

Jordan says Israel settlers attack aid convoy
9:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan said on Tuesday Israeli settlers attacked a humanitarian aid convoy on its way to Erez crossing in northern Gaza and "tampered with its contents" in the second such incident in less than a week.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sufyan Qudah said the convoy which goes through the Israeli-occupied West Bank from Jordan later managed to continue on its journey and reach its destination in war-devastated Gaza.

"Jordan holds Israel responsible for the attack by extremist settlers ... it constitutes a breach of its legal obligations as an occupying power," Qudah told Reuters.


US completes construction of Gaza aid pier: Pentagon
8:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US military has completed construction of the Gaza aid pier, but weather conditions mean it is currently unsafe to move the two-part facility into place, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

"As of today, the construction of the two portions of the JLOTS -- the floating pier and the Trident pier -- are complete and awaiting final movement offshore," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told journalists, using an acronym for Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore -- the official name for the pier capability.

All parties including Israel agree to resume Gaza talks
8:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

News agency AFP is carrying some updates from the negotiations which have been underway in Cairo with mediators and Hamas officials.

Egyptian state-linked media has reported that all parties, including Israel, have agreed to re-engage in truce talks.

The country is warning Israel against an "escalation" by invading Rafah.

More to come.

White House: Israel closure of Gaza crossings 'unacceptable'
8:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House said Tuesday the closure of border crossings into Gaza was "unacceptable," after Israel sent tanks into the southern city of Rafah and seized control of the crossing with Egypt.

"The crossings that have been closed need to be reopened, it is unacceptable for them to be closed," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing, adding that another crossing, at Kerem Shalom, was expected to reopen Wednesday.

Video shows Israeli tank driving into 'I heart Gaza' sign
7:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military stormed areas of eastern Rafah on Monday and by Tuesday it had taken control of the vital border crossing gate with Egypt.

The international community has expressed concern that with the border closed and in Israeli control, it will cause major disruption to the flow of aid into Gaza, where the population is facing hunger and disease following seven months of fighting.

Footage shared online showed Israeli ground forces moving into deserted streets and taking control of the border area. One video, apparently filmed by an Israeli soldier, shows the tank driving straight into a 'I love Gaza' near the entrance.

Ceasefire talks underway in Cairo with Hamas, mediators
7:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egyptian state-linked media said Tuesday that mediators from Qatar, the United States and Egypt were meeting in Cairo with a Hamas delegation in the latest effort towards a truce in Gaza.

"The Qatari and US delegation continue their discussions with the Egyptian delegation and that of Hamas," said Al-Qahera News, a site linked to Egyptian intelligence services, citing a "senior official".

The report did not mention Israeli participation in the talks.

Hamdan: Rafah will remain 'Egyptian-Palestinian crossing'
6:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

Osama Hamdan, Hamas spokesperson based in Beirut, has been holding a press conference on Tuesday evening. 

Hamdan called on the international community to pressure Israel to stop the further invasion of Rafah, which began on Monday when Israel forced some 100,000 Palestinians to leave the area.

It has since pummelled the eastern areas with shelling and taken control of the border crossing with Egypt, which serves as the only exit and entry point for Palestinians in Gaza.

Hamdan also said:

  • "We affirm that the Rafah crossing was and will remain a purely Egyptian-Palestinian crossing, and there is no occupying force."
  • "We confirm that the military operation in Rafah, if the enemy carries out it will not be a picnic for the terrorist occupation army"
  • "We call on the United Nations and the international community to put pressure on the occupation to stop this escalation, which threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians in Rafah and the entire Gaza Strip, and also threatens all efforts of the mediators to stop the aggression and genocidal war."
Hamdan: Netanyahu 'does not care about' lives of captives
6:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

We're bringing you some highlights from Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan's press conference in Beirut this evening, where the political leader spoke about Israel's incursion of Rafah and the border crossing, and the latest on the ceasefire deal.

  • "We affirm that the ball is now first in the court of Netanyahu" and the Americans, Hamdan said of the ceasefire deal, which Hamas approved late on Monday.
  • "The lives of his prisoners are threatened with death daily by missile."
  • Hamdan said Israel's storming of the Rafah border with Egypt was a "dangerous" escalation and a "flagrant violation of all international norms and conventions".


Hamas spokesperson holds press conference in Beirut
6:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

Osama Hamdan, Hamas' chief based in Beirut, is holding a press conference on behalf of the movement.

He is speaking about Hamas' acceptance of the ceasefire proposed by Qatari and Egyptian mediators: "Our acceptance of the recent proposal shows we have exercised flexibility".

Hamdan said that Netanyahu has failed to achieve his objectives in Gaza and that Hamas wants to move forward with the agreed terms in the ceasefire deal.

"We cannot make any further concessions beyond the proposal provided".

White House hopeful Israel, Hamas can close 'remaining gaps'
5:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House said Tuesday it was hopeful Israel and Hamas could "close the remaining gaps" in their ceasefire talks, adding that Israel said its military operation in Gaza's Rafah was "limited".

"A close assessment of the two sides' positions suggests that they should be able to close the remaining gaps, and we're going to do everything we can to support that process," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

US says Israeli operation near Gaza-Egypt border 'limited'
5:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House says the Israeli operation near the Gaza-Egypt border is "limited" and isn't the Rafah assault US President Joe Biden has warned against, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Israel warns will 'deepen' Gaza op if no hostage progress
5:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday Israel was prepared to "deepen" its Gaza operation if truce talks fail to secure the release of hostages held there by militants.

Israel is prepared to "make compromises" to get hostages out of Gaza, Gallant said after touring the Rafah area following an overnight Israeli incursion into the Palestinian territory's south, while stressing in a statement that "if that option is not available, we will go and deepen the operation".

Israel PM Netanyahu says delegation in Cairo for Gaza talks
4:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli negotiators have arrived in Cairo for talks on a truce in Gaza and hostage release, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday in a statement shared by his office.

He said he had instructed the Israeli delegation to "stand firm on the conditions necessary for the release" of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the Hamas-led 7 October attack, and on "essential requirements for guaranteeing Israel's security".

Hamas on Monday said it had accepted a ceasefire plan proposed by mediators Egypt and Qatar.

Macklemore supports Palestinians, campus protests with song
4:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Macklemore has released a new song in support of Palestinians that also praises students across the United States protesting against Israel's war on Gaza.

University students have been mobilising for weeks on campuses over Israel's deadly offensive and its US backing, with police forcibly clearing protest camps – sometimes violently – and arresting more than 2,000 people nationwide.

"If students in tents posted on the lawn / Occupying the quad is really against the law / And a reason to call in the police and their squad / Where does genocide land in your definition, huh?" Macklemore raps in Hind's Hall.

The song is named after the building at Columbia University that students recently occupied and renamed after Hind Rajab, a six-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israel in Gaza.

Macklemore admonishes the US government, telling President Joe Biden "blood is on your hands" and that he won't vote for him in the November election.

Israel is "a state that's gotta rely on an apartheid system to uphold an occupying violent history, been repeating for the last 75" years, Macklemore says in the song.

Police clear pro-Palestinian protesters from Swiss uni
3:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Police began dispersing pro-Palestinian protesters at the Swiss university of ETH Zurich on Tuesday, management said, after student demonstrations spread to campuses in several cities.

Students set up camp at Lausanne University (UNIL) last week and protests have since spread to at least three more sites in Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne.

"ETH Zurich sees itself as a place where different opinions and perspectives can and should be expressed openly. However, unauthorised actions are not accepted at ETH Zurich," ETH university said, adding that protesters had been repeatedly asked to leave the building before police arrived.

Video footage of the protest on social media earlier showed seated protesters with keffiyehs and Palestinian flags chanting "free, free Palestine" and "viva, viva Palestina".

Protests also began in University of Geneva and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne on Tuesday, according to students' social media posts.

At UNIL, hundreds of students chanted "we are all the children of Gaza" on Monday as a single security agent looked on. Management asked them to move, a UNIL statement showed, but they remained in the building on Tuesday.

Some academics have sided with students.

"We consider the steps they've taken to be peaceful and good natured aimed at bringing to the public's attention a dramatic situation," UNIL political science professor Bernard Voutat said on Monday.

"We teachers cannot remain silent."

Hamas official: Cairo talks 'last chance' to free hostages
3:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A senior Hamas official said on Tuesday that a delegation from the Palestinian group was due to leave for Gaza truce talks in Cairo, warning it would be Israel's "last chance" to release its hostages.

The official, requesting anonymity to discuss the negotiations, warned that "this will be the last chance for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the families of the Zionist prisoners to return their children".

Egypt hosts Qatar, US, Hamas teams in bid to reach truce
3:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Cairo is hosting delegations from Qatar, the United States, and the Palestinian group Hamas in order to reach a comprehensive truce in Gaza, Egypt's state-affiliated Al-Qahera News TV said on Tuesday, citing a high-ranking source.


AAMB says fights Israel forces in eastern Rafah
2:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

A Palestinian armed group says it is fighting Israeli forces and their military vehicles in the eastern Rafah neighbourhood Al-Shouka.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades says it is using machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

UN chief Guterres urges Israel to halt escalation
2:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday called for crossings into Gaza to be reopened immediately and urged Israel to "stop any escalation" after it sent tanks into Rafah.

"I am disturbed and distressed by the renewed military activity in Rafah by the Israeli Defense Forces," he said, referring to Israel's army.

"The closure of both the Rafah and Karem Shalom [Karm Abu Salem] crossings is especially damaging to an already dire humanitarian situation. They must be re-opened immediately.

"I urge the government of Israel to stop any escalation, and engage constructively in the ongoing diplomatic talks."

António Guterres is the UN's secretary-general [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty-file photo]
Egypt warns Israel's Rafah op threatens ceasefire efforts
1:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt warned on Tuesday that Israel's operation in Gaza's Rafah city threatens ceasefire efforts, shortly after the Israeli military took control of the vital Rafah border crossing between the Palestinian enclave and Egypt, according to the foreign ministry.


Turkey says Israel's Rafah operation another war crime
1:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli operation in Gaza's Rafah city a day after Hamas accepted a ceasefire deal marks another war crime by Israel, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz said on Tuesday.

"By carrying out a ground attack on Rafah, just a day after Hamas approved Qatar and Egypt's proposal for a ceasefire deal, Israel has added another to the war crimes it has committed in Palestinian territories since October 7," Yilmaz said on social media platform X.

Ankara would continue working for the Israeli leadership to be legally punished, he added.


'We are literally trapped,' Palestinian journalist says
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian journalist Hind Khoudary says "we are literally trapped" as the Israeli military says it has taken operational control of the Palestinian side of Gaza's southern Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Reuters contributed to this update.

A look at Gaza's destruction in numbers
1:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

As well as killing more than 34,000 people and causing catastrophic levels of hunger and injury, the seven-month Gaza war has also caused massive material destruction in the Palestinian enclave.

"The rate of damage being registered is unlike anything we have studied before. It is much faster and more extensive than anything we have mapped," said Corey Scher, a PhD candidate at the City University of New York, who has been researching satellite imagery of Gaza.

As Israel launches an offensive on Rafah, the last population centre in Gaza yet to be entered by its ground troops, here's a look at the territory's shattered landscape seven months into the war.

Live Story
Israel hostage families urge foreign pressure for Gaza truce
12:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Families of hostages being held in Gaza called on the United States and other governments with citizens among the captives to pressure Israel to strike a deal with Hamas for their return.

Following indications on Monday of progress in talks towards a truce in the seven-month war, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said it had appealed to a number of countries to "exert your influence on the Israeli government" and push for an agreement.

"At this crucial moment, while a tangible opportunity for the release of the hostages is on the table, it is of the utmost importance that your government manifest its strong support for such an agreement," the group said in a message sent to the ambassadors of all countries with citizens among the hostages seized by Palestinian militants on 7 October.

"This is the time to exert your influence on the Israeli government and all other parties concerned to ensure that the agreement comes through which will finally bring all our loved ones home."

During the Hamas-led 7 October attack, Palestinian militants seized around 250 hostages, who included foreigners and dual nationals, among them US, Thai, French, British, and Russian citizens.

Israel estimates 128 hostages remain in Gaza, including 35 the military says are dead.

Hostage families have been among those pressing through repeated protests for Israel to reach a deal with Hamas to bring home the captives.

Tuesday's message came after Hamas announced late on Monday that it had accepted a ceasefire plan proposed by Egyptian and Qatari mediators, saying the ball was now in Israel's court.

Israel said Monday it would examine the truce proposal accepted by Hamas.

But at the same time, it sent tanks into Rafah and seized control of its border crossing with Egypt, the main entry point for aid to Gaza.

Berlin police break up pro-Palestinian student camp
12:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Berlin police break up a pro-Palestinian student camp at the city's Free University as protests over the Gaza war spread, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Protesters bring killed Palestinians' names 'to UK FM door'
11:41 AM
The New Arab Staff

Protesters in the UK performed a funeral procession in Oxfordshire to deliver banners with the names of 11,500 Palestinians killed in Gaza to British Foreign Secretary David Cameron's door, according to a press release about the action.

The banners, borrowed from the group Naming the Dead, measure some 200 metres but represent under a third of the overall number of Palestinian's killed during Israel's war on Gaza, the press release said.

There are 4,227 names of children listened, though the number of children killed is now more than 14,500, the release adds.

The banners were held across the gates to Cameron's home, according to the press release.

The UK's former prime minister, who was made foreign secretary in November, recommended Britain carry on selling Israel arms in April, the Guardian newspaper reported last week.

Israel forces used US arms in deadly Lebanon strike: HRW
11:14 AM
The New Arab Staff

US arms were used in a deadly Israeli strike on an emergency and relief centre in Lebanon in March, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

The rights group says in a press release that the 27 March incident was an "unlawful attack on civilians that failed to take all necessary precautions".

"If the attack on civilians was carried out intentionally or recklessly, it should be investigated as an apparent war crime," HRW adds.

"The strike, using a US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kit and an Israeli-made 500-pound (about 230-kilogram) general purpose bomb, killed seven emergency and relief volunteers from the town of Habbarieh, five kilometres north of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights."

Ramzi Kaiss, Lebanon researcher at HRW, says the aid workers were "merely doing their jobs".

"Israel's assurances to the United States that it is abiding by the laws of war ring hollow. The US needs to acknowledge reality and cut off arms to Israel," he adds.

AAMB says attacks Israel forces at Karm Abu Salem crossing
10:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

A Palestinian armed group says it has shelled Israeli forces at the Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) military site.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades say they fired a barrage of high-calibre mortars.

UN says just one day of fuel in Gaza for humanitarian ops
10:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli authorities have denied the UN access to the closed Rafah crossing, the main entry point for humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, the United Nations said on Tuesday .

Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA, said there was only a one-day buffer of fuel to run humanitarian operations inside the besieged Palestinian territory.

"We currently do not have any physical presence at the Rafah crossing as our access... has been denied by COGAT," he said, referring to the Israeli agency that oversees supplies into Gaza.

"We have been told there will be no crossings of personnel or goods in or out for the time being. That has a massive impact on how much stock do we have.

"There's a very, very short buffer of one day of fuel available.

"As fuel only comes in through Rafah, the one-day buffer is for the entire operation in Gaza."

If no fuel comes in, "it would be a very effective way of putting the humanitarian operation in its grave", said Laerke.

"Currently, the two main arteries for getting aid into Gaza are currently choked off," he said, referring to the Rafah crossing from Egypt and the Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing from Israel.

UN says its access to Rafah crossing 'denied' by Israel
10:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations has had its access to the closed Rafah crossing into southern Gaza denied by the Israeli authorities, a spokesman for the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA said on Tuesday.

"We currently do not have any physical presence at the Rafah crossing as our access… has been denied by COGAT," Jens Laerke told a press conference in Geneva, referring to the Israeli agency that oversees supplies into Gaza.

Israel launches air raid on Rafah's Al-Salam neighbourhood
9:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has launched an air raid on the Al-Salam neighbourhood in eastern Rafah, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Hamas says fires rockets at Israel troops at Karm Abu Salem
9:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas's armed wing said it fired rockets at Israeli troops on Tuesday at the key Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing between Israel and Gaza, already closed after previous rocket fire over the weekend.

The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, which claimed a rocket attack on the crossing on Sunday that killed four Israeli soldiers, said in a statement that it had "targeted the gathering of enemy forces" at Karm Abu Salem in the latest attack.

Saudi Arabia warns of dangers of Israel targeting Rafah
9:11 AM
The New Arab Staff

Saudi Arabia has warned Israel of the dangers of targeting Rafah as part its "bloody campaign" to "storm all areas of the Gaza Strip and displace its residents towards the unknown".

The Saudi foreign ministry said it affirms Riyadh's "categorical rejection" of Israeli forces' "continued blatant violation of all international resolutions calling for the cessation of these massacres and their violation of international law and international humanitarian law without deterrence, which exacerbates the humanitarian crisis and limits international peace efforts".

"The ministry renewed the kingdom's demand for the international community to intervene immediately to stop the genocide carried out by the occupation forces against defenceless civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories," it added.

China urges Israel to 'stop attacking Rafah'
9:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China on Tuesday urged Israel to "stop attacking Rafah", after the Israeli army said it took "operational control" of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

"China… strongly calls on Israel to heed the overwhelming demands of the international community, stop attacking Rafah, and do everything it can to avoid a more serious humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian said.

Israel carried out strikes on the Gazan city of Rafah overnight as it sought to put "pressure" on Hamas ahead of talks in Egypt on Tuesday aimed at sealing a truce proposal endorsed by the Palestinian group.

An AFP correspondent in the city reported heavy bombardment throughout the night.

Israel's army then said Tuesday ground troops were carrying out an operation in eastern Rafah.

Beijing on Tuesday said China "expresses grave concern over Israel's planned launch of a ground military operation against Rafah".

"War and violence cannot fundamentally solve the problem and cannot bring about true security," Lin said.

Gaza death toll reaches 34,789, health ministry says
8:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza health ministry said on Tuesday that at least 34,789 people have been killed in the Palestinian enclave as Israel's war on the strip entered its eighth month.

The tally includes at least 54 killed in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 78,204 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since Israel's war began in October.

More civilians will be killed in Rafah offensive, EU says
8:24 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's offensive on Rafah will likely kill more civilians and is being carried out despite explicit warnings against it from European Union member states and the United States, the EU's top diplomat said on Tuesday.

"The Rafah offensive has started again, in spite all the requests of the international community, the US, the European Union member states, everybody asking [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu not to attack," Josep Borrell told journalists.

"I am afraid that this is going to cause again a lot of casualties, civilian casualties. Whatever they say," he said, adding: "There are no safe zones in Gaza."


Qatar says Hamas response to truce proposal is positive
8:18 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas sent on Monday to mediators its response to a truce proposal which could be described as positive, a spokesperson for Qatar's foreign ministry said early on Tuesday.

A Qatari delegation will head to Cairo on Tuesday to resume indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas through the mediators, Majed Al-Ansari added in a statement.

Qatar, which alongside Egypt and the United States has played a mediation role in the talks, said it hoped the negotiations would culminate in an agreement for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Hamas on Monday agreed to a Gaza ceasefire proposal from mediators, but Israel said the terms did not meet its demands.


Israeli forces say in control of Gaza side of Rafah crossing
8:17 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said that its forces had taken control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing to Egypt and would deepen their incursion in the area.

The Palestinian crossing's authority said that movement of people and humanitarian aid at the crossing had stopped.

Israel says it will continue Gaza truce talks
8:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel said it would send a delegation for further talks and continue military operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah after Hamas announced on Monday that it had accepted a proposal by Egyptian and Qatari mediators for a truce in the Gaza war.

An announcement posted on social media platform X by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that though "the Hamas proposal is far from Israel's necessary demands, Israel will send a working-level delegation to the mediators to exhaust the possibility of reaching an agreement on terms acceptable to Israel".

The statement said that the war cabinet had unanimously decided to "continue the operation in Rafah in order to exert military pressure on Hamas with the aim of advancing the release of our hostages and the rest of the war aims".