Head of UN inquiry accuses Israel military of 'extermination' of Palestinians

Head of UN inquiry accuses Israel military of 'extermination' of Palestinians
Israel has carried out deadly attacks across the Gaza Strip, with eight people killed in the so-called Al-Mawasi 'safe zone'.
8 min read
19 June, 2024

Israeli strikes on the so-called Al-Mawasi "safe zone" in southern Gaza and on a neighbourhood in Gaza City have killed 14 people.

The bombing of tents for displaced people in Al-Mawasi, which was previously designated a safe area, killed eight people and injured dozens of other people, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported. 

One person was killed after an Israeli drone strike on the Oreiba area north of the city of Rafah, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

In Gaza City, six people were killed in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood after Israeli bombing. Two others were killed and more injured in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp following an Israeli attack, Al Jazeera Arabic reported.

Featured image: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty

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6:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

People killed, injured in Israel bombing of Salah Al-Din Rd
6:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces bombed a gathering of people on Salah Al-Din Road in southern Gaza, Palestinian media reports.

People were killed and injured, according to the reporting.

Hamas say launched suicide drone at Israel forces in kibbutz
5:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas's armed wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, says it launched a Zawari suicide drone towards Israeli forces in the Holit kibbutz.

Hezbollah chief Nasrallah threatens Cyprus over Israel
4:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday threatened the nearby island of Cyprus if it opened its airports and bases to Israel in the event of total war with his armed movement.

"Opening Cypriot airports and bases to the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon would mean that the Cypriot government is part of the war, and the resistance will deal with it as part of the war," Nasrallah said in a televised address.

Hassan Nasrallah (screen) is the head of Hezbollah [ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty-archive]
PIJ says shells Israeli forces in Gaza's Al-Zeitoun
4:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian Islamic Jihad's armed wing says it shelled Israeli forces in the area around a mosque in Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City.

Al-Quds Brigades say they used mortars.

Four dead bodies arrive at Rafah's Nasser Hospital
3:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

Four dead bodies arrived at the Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza's Rafah, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Israeli drone opens fire on Al-Zeitoun, causing injuries
3:41 PM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli quadcopter drone opened fire on Gaza City's Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood, leading to a number of injuries, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Hezbollah fires more projectiles at Israel as tensions spike
3:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah fired a fresh barrage of projectiles into northern Israel on Wednesday, the Israeli army said, a day after Israel warned of a "total war" with the Iran-backed militant group.

"Approximately 15 projectiles were identified from Lebanon toward the area of Kiryat Shmona, several of which were intercepted by [army] aerial defence array," the military said in a statement.

"[Army] artillery struck the sources of fire," it said, adding the incoming fire did not cause any casualties.

The military said its warplanes also struck a Hezbollah military structure in the area of Tyre and infrastructure in Khiam in Lebanon.

Hezbollah said on Wednesday it fired "dozens of Katyusha rockets and artillery rounds" at a barracks in Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel in retaliation for the "Israeli enemy attacks" on Yarun and Khiam.

Lebanon's official National News Agency reported Israeli strikes on several areas in south Lebanon on Wednesday, including on the villages of Yarun and Khiam.

The Shia Muslim movement, which also claimed a drone attack on troops in Metula in northern Israel, said four of its fighters had been killed.

Palestinian girl with shelling burns hopes for treatment
2:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The disfiguring facial burns of 10-year-old Hanan Akel show how Israel's military campaign in Gaza is not only causing thousands of deaths but terrible injuries afflicting both old and young.

Hanan lay in a hospital cot in Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza Strip, struggling to move her mouth as she spoke and with her eyes partly shut, patches of her forehead still raw and stitched scars across her nose and lips.

When her mother Walaa Akel tried to clean her, she wailed.

Hanan was out walking in Al-Bureij refugee camp where the family had taken shelter after leaving their home when she was caught in Israeli shellfire, her mother Walaa said.

Instead of spending the Eid Al-Adha festival playing with friends, she has spent it in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital being treated for second and third degree burns on her face and limbs.

"I used to go with my friends. Play, buy things, eat and celebrate Eid. We were happy. We used to play on the swings and we used to wear our Eid clothes. We used to wear nice new shoes," she said.

Now she hopes for treatment and for her face to heal.

"I want to go back to what I was like before," she said.

Since Israel expanded its offensive last month to include the southern city of Rafah, where the border post to Egypt is located, the frontier has been closed and Gaza residents have been unable to go abroad for medical help.

Doctor Mahmoud Mahani, the plastic surgeon treating Hanan at the hospital, said she needs urgent treatment somewhere with more advanced equipment.

Walaa Akel said her daughter used to be "as beautiful as the moon". Now, Hanan often wants to look at videos and pictures of what her face was like before.

"She says to me 'mama, I wish I could walk. Mama, I wish I could stand. I wish I could play with my siblings'," said Walaa.


Head of UN inquiry accuses Israel military of extermination
2:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of a UN Commission of Inquiry, Navi Pillay, repeated findings from a report published last week that both Israel and Hamas militants have committed war crimes but said that Israel alone was responsible for the most serious abuses under international law known as "crimes against humanity".

She said at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that the scale of Palestinian civilian losses amounted to "extermination".

"We found that the immense numbers of civilian casualties in Gaza and widespread destruction of civilian objects and infrastructure were the inevitable result of an intentional strategy to cause maximum damage," said Pillay, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Syria army officer killed in Israel strike: official media
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Syrian army officer was killed Wednesday in an Israeli airstrike in the country's south, the regime's official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source.

"The Israeli enemy carried out an aggression using drones against two military positions of our armed forces in the provinces of Quneitra and Daraa," the agency said, adding the attack resulted in the death of the officer and material damage.

Hamas says bombs Israel forces southeast of Al-Zeitoun
12:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas's armed wing says it bombed Israeli forces southeast of Gaza City's Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood.

Al-Qassam Brigades say they used high-calibre mortars.

Israeli helicopters fire on Gaza City's Al-Zeitoun
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Apache helicopters opened fire on the eastern parts of Gaza City's Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood.

Hezbollah says Israeli strikes kill three fighters
11:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon killed three Hezbollah fighters on Wednesday, the militant group said, as a US envoy tasked with avoiding a devastating regional war returned to Israel after meeting officials in Lebanon.

Lebanese state media reported multiple Israeli strikes along the border and in an area north of the coastal city of Tyre, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the frontier.

The Israeli military said two Hezbollah launches damaged several vehicles in northern Israel.

Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden, was back in Israel after meetings in Lebanon on Tuesday. There has been no word on whether he has made progress in his efforts to avoid a wider war.

Israeli air raid on Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood
10:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli air raid targeted Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Artillery shelling targets Al-Sabra neighbourhood in Gaza
10:51 AM
The New Arab Staff

Artillery shelling targets the southern parts of Al-Sabra neighbourhood northeast of Gaza City, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Gaza toll rises to 37,396 killed, 85,523 injured: ministry
10:25 AM
The New Arab Staff

The number of people killed in Gaza since Israel's war on the strip began has increased to 37,396, the Palestinian enclave's health ministry says.

It adds that 85,523 people have been injured.

The ministry says Israel carried out three "massacres against the families in the Gaza Strip" with 24 killed and 71 injured arriving at hospitals in the last 24 hours.

Number killed in Israeli bombing of Al-Mawasi rises to eight
9:27 AM
The New Arab Staff

The number of people killed in the Israeli bombing of tents for displaced people in Al-Mawasi in southern Gaza has risen to eight, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Europe must host Gaza children impacted by war: Greek FM
9:03 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Europe has a duty to host children hurt and traumatised by war in Gaza for as long as the fighting continues, Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis told Reuters on Wednesday.

Gerapetritis is seeking partners in what he hopes would be a project to temporarily bring the children to the European Union, and said he discussed the idea with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa this week.

"We need to face this tragedy very clearly," Gerapetritis said. "Europe should be open to injured people from [Gaza] but also to children who are now facing famine or other sorts of dangers."

Greece was elected as a member of the United Nations Security Council for 2025–2026 earlier this month, and Gerapetritis believes the country's historical ties with the Arab world give it credibility to act as a peace broker.

The 56-year old, who has held the post for a year, did not say how many people could be hosted by Greece or the EU but said the issue was under discussion with Palestinian authorities.

Gerapetritis stressed that the initiative was not linked to regular migration, which has become politically sensitive in Europe and strongly opposed by a resurgent right.

"This is an obvious call of humanitarian assistance. We're not talking here about economic migrants or other types of irregular migration," he said, days after far-right parties surged in European parliamentary elections.


George Gerapetritis is Greece's foreign minister [ARIS OIKONOMOU/SOOC/AFP/Getty]
Israel may have broken laws of war in Gaza: UN rights office
8:42 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces may have repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war and failed to distinguish between civilians and fighters in their Gaza Strip military campaign, the United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday.

In a report assessing six Israeli attacks that caused a high number of casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, the UN human rights office said Israeli forces "may have systematically violated the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautions in attack".

"The requirement to select means and methods of warfare that avoid or at the very least minimise to every extent civilian harm appears to have been consistently violated in Israel's bombing campaign," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk.

Israel's air and ground offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in the Palestinian territory, according to health authorities there.

Last week the UN human rights office said the killing of civilians during an Israeli operation to free four hostages could amount to war crimes, but so might Palestinian militants' holding of captives in densely populated areas.