Yemen's Houthis re-designated as 'terrorist' entity by US, as medical aid arrives in Gaza

Yemen's Houthis re-designated as 'terrorist' entity by US, as medical aid arrives in Gaza
Washington re-designated Houthi rebels as a "terrorist" entity on Wednesday, as medical aid destined for hostages and civilians in Gaza arrived in Egypt.
19 min read

The United States announced Wednesday that it will put Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels back on a list of "terrorist" entities due to their repeated attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, as Israel stepped up its strikes across the Gaza Strip.

"The United States will designate... the Houthis as a specially designated global terrorist," a senior US administration official told journalists, noting that the designation does not take effect for 30 days and that it could also be lifted "if the Houthis cease their attacks."

The Houthis say they are carrying out attacks on shipping in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where more than 24,400 people have been killed by Israel's bombardment.

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Meanwhile, aid destined for Israeli hostages and Palestinian residents in the besieged Palestinian territory was arrived in Gaza after being delivered to Egypt earlier on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the Qatari foreign ministry.

The entry of aid into Gaza followed from a deal brokered by both Qatar and France.

A top Hamas official had announced new conditions Wednesday for delivering medicines to hostages held by the group in Gaza, insisting trucks carrying the drugs must not be inspected by Israel.

3:57 AM

The live blog has now ended and will be back at 9am GMT for the latest coverage on Israel's war on Gaza and other developments. 

Australian FM: 'concerned by ongoing settler violence'
3:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong has stated that she is "deeply concerned by ongoing settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. 

"Such violence inflames tensions and undermines stability in the West Bank" she added. 

UN Human Rights office: Unlawful killings must end
2:22 AM
The New Arab Staff

The UN Human Rights Office in Palestine has stated that "unlawful killings of Palestinians must end" after a deadly day in the occupied West Bank which saw Israeli forces kill at least nine Palestinians. 

US forces strike 14 Houthi missiles that posed threat
2:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

American forces carried out strikes on 14 missiles in Yemen that were ready to be launched and posed a threat to civilian and military vessels, the US military said Wednesday.

US forces "conducted strikes on 14 Iran-backed Houthi missiles that were loaded to be fired in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. These missiles on launch rails presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels," Central Command said in a statement on social media.

16 killed in strike on house in Rafah
1:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to Al Jazeera, an Israeli strike on a house in Rafah killed 16 Palestinians, mostly women and children. The strike also resulted in a number of injuries.


Raids ongoing in occupied West Bank, including Tulkarm
12:37 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have stormed a number of Palestinian cities and towns in the occupied West Bank, including raids in and around Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, and Tulkarm, where a raid that began on Wednesday is still ongoing.

According to Al Jazeera, the raid on Tulkarm, which includes Tulkarm refugee camp and Nur Shams refugee camp, has seen firefights and battles between Palestinian fighters with Israeli forces conducting the raids. 25 vehicles and bulldozers were brought in as reinforcements. 


US conducts another round of strikes against Houthis
12:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States conducted another round of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Wednesday, CBS News reported, citing a US official.

The US military said earlier on Wednesday that a drone launched from areas controlled by the Houthi rebels in Yemen had struck a US-owned vessel in the Gulf of Aden.


Cameron meets Amir-Abdollahian, condemns Erbil attack
11:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British foreign secretary David Cameron met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum, UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said in a statement.

Cameron condemned the attacks in Erbil in Iraq, which killed UK-Iraqi dual national Karam Mikhael, the statement added.

Cameron also made it clear that the Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea are "illegal and unacceptable", the FCDO said. The foreign secretary added that Iran must use its influence with the Houthis to prevent further threats. 

He also announced his condemnation of the attacks on X.

(Reuters & The New Arab)

MSF: Nasser hospital running at 300 percent capacity
10:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Doctors without Borders (MSF) have stated that Israel bombed an area close to the Nasser hospital without giving an evacuation order, causing panic amongst patients and displaced persons. 

According to the MSF Head of Mission for Palestine Leo Cans, the hospital is now operating at 300 percent capacity. 

Qatar official announces aid enters Gaza
10:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Spokesperson for the Qatari ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Majed Al Ansari has announced that aid destined for Israeli hostages and Palestinians living in Gaza has entered into the enclave from Egypt, where it had arrived earlier in the day. 

ICJP to investigate media 'interference'
10:21 PM
The New Arab Staff

ICJP Director Tayab Ali has announced that the organisation will start looking into "interference with out media outlets". 

In a post on X, Ali stated "journalists from some mainstream media outlets have shared their concerns about a 'toxic' atmosphere that suppresses stories that show the situation in Gaza from a Palestinian perspective while those that advocate the Israeli position are being amplified."

He added that anyone who had information or evidence should contact him.


Houthis target US ship in Gulf of Aden with missiles
10:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthi movement targeted on Wednesday the US Genco Picardy bulk carrier with missiles which resulted in a "direct hit", the group's military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said in a statement.

"The naval forces will not hesitate to target all sources of threat in the Red and Arabian sea within the legitimate right to defend Yemen and to continue supporting the oppressed Palestinian people", Sarea added.


Iraqi, Saudi ministers discuss Iranian attack on Kurdistan
10:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Iraqi and Saudi foreign ministers discussed in a phone call on Wednesday the latest regional and international developments, led by the Iranian attack on Iraq's Kurdistan region, the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement.

Iran late on Monday struck Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, with ballistic missiles in what it said was an attack on an Israeli spy headquarters - claims vehemently denied by Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish officials.

The Iranian attacks have caused a rare diplomatic dispute between the two neighbouring countries.

(Reuters & The New Arab)

Reports of clashes, airstrikes in Khan Younis
8:44 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel airstrikes are being reported in Khan Younis, according to The New Arab's Arabic language service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, with Al-Jazeera reporting that clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters are ongoing in the area. 

The reports come as the Israeli military says it killed 30 in fighting in Khan Younis over the past 24 hours.

NetBlocks says Israeli company network downed by hackers
8:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

NetBlocks, a watchdog tracking internet network availability, has announced the network of Israeli company Bazan Group has been disrupted. Hacktivist group Anonymous Sudan has claimed responsibility for the cyberattack. 

Bazan Group is an Israeli oil refining and petrochemicals company located in Haifa bay and operates oil refineries in Israel.

US condemns Iranian strikes on Pakistan, Iraq and Syria
7:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States on Wednesday condemned recent Iranian strikes in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, which Tehran has claimed were carried out against "anti-Iranian terrorist groups."

"So we do condemn those strikes. We've seen Iran violate the sovereign borders of three of its neighbors in just the past couple of days," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.


UKMTO: Incident southeast of Aden
6:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) organization said on Wednesday it has received a report of an incident 60 nautical miles southeast of Yemen's Aden.

The master reported the "vessel has been hit on port side by an uncrewed aerial system," UKMTO said in an advisory note.

"There was a fire onboard which has now been extinguished," it added.


UN coordinator for Gaza in Egypt to help facilitate Gaza aid
6:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN's Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag, is in Egypt in a bid to help facilitate the entry of aid into Gaza.

She stated that "I'm here because of the mandate of the Security Council to see how we can facilitate, accelerate, and expedite all areas of the assistance that is so much needed for the civilians in Gaza". 

Israeli military chief: higher chance of war with Hezbollah
6:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli military chief of staff Herzi Halevi stated during a visit to Israeli soldiers in the country's north that there is a greater chance of war between Israel and Hezbollah than there had been before.

"I don't know when the war in the north [will happen]. I can tell you that the likelihood of it happening in the coming months is much higher than it was in the past," he said to soldiers who were drilling for an offensive in Lebanon.

He also said that the Israel's goal was to ensure the return of 80,000 Israeli's who fled the border area over the ongoing clashes with Hezbollah, and that the lessons learnt from Gaza would be implemented in any war in Lebanon.

Israeli army destroyed residential quarter in Khan Younis
5:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces reportedly blew up a new residential quarter in Khan Younis' Batn al-Sameen neighbourhood on Wednesday.

Death toll from Israeli attacks in West Bank rises to 10
5:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces killed 10 people in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry and the Israeli army said, as violence in the territory sees no let-up.

Five people were killed inside Tulkarem refugee camp, the ministry said.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society and an official at the camp said Israeli strikes had killed multiple people.

A separate incident near Balata refugee camp, east of the city of Nablus, killed five fighters with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahomud Abbas's Fatah party, it said in a statement.

AFP journalists rally for blocked Gaza colleagues
5:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

AFP journalists around the world staged rallies Wednesday to show solidarity with nine colleagues in Gaza, with agency chiefs calling on Israel to ensure their safety and let them leave the war-torn territory.

Journalists and other AFP staff in Paris and bureau across AFP's global network gathered with portraits of Gaza colleagues who have been unable to leave since the start of the war on October 7.

The demonstration was organised by AFP's management, with unions and the Journalists' Association (SDJ).

AFP employees in Gaza include journalists Mahmud Hams, Yahya Hassouna, Bilal al-Sabbagh, Mohammed Abed, Saïd Khatib, Adel Zaanounn, Mai Yaghi, technician Ahmed Eissa and office manager Mohanad Shahwan. The team also includes freelance videographer Youssef Hassouna and administrator Zuhair Abuatila.

Aid for Israeli hostages, Gaza civilians arrives at border
5:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Aid destined for Israeli hostages and Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip was delivered to Egypt on Wednesday for transfer across the border, following a deal brokered by Qatar and France.

Two Qatari planes arrived in El Arish in the north of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where supplies were unloaded and transferred to the Rafah border crossing with Gaza about 28km (17 miles) away to the east, Egyptian security and Red Crescent officials said.

One of the planes was carrying medical packages for 45 hostages still held in Gaza.

Houthi Red Sea strikes to continue despite US designation
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US designation of Yemen's Houthis as a terrorist group will not affect their operations to prevent Israeli ships or ships heading to Israel from crossing the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Bab al-Mandab Strait, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam told Reuters on Wednesday.

British-Palestinians urge UK govt. to call for ceasefire
4:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

British Palestinian families have called for urgent and immediate intervention in Gaza due to the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in the enclave as a result of more than three months of Israeli bombardment.

"The British Palestinian community is reeling from the devastating impact of an ongoing genocide in Gaza. Our loved ones are trapped in a relentless onslaught," read a statement released by the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians on behalf of the British Palestinian Family group.

"We call upon the UK Government to urgently exert its influence to secure an immediate and permanent ceasefire; it’s the first step towards any solution to alleviate the suffering of all."

"There must be immediate and unconditional restoration of water and electricity, as well as the rehabilitation of medical facilities. Lastly, but no less importantly, we call for the implementation of UK Family Reunion scheme for our beloved ones in Gaza."

UN chief warns Israel-Lebanon war would be 'disaster'
3:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday warned that a "full-fledged confrontation" between Israel and Lebanon would be a "total disaster" amid fears of a wider war.

"The spillover that is already taking place, the risk of a full-fledged confrontation in Lebanon, it would be a total disaster. We need to avoid it at all cost," Guterres said.

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Accusing Israel of genocide crosses moral threshold: France
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France does not back a case against Israel at the UN's top court accusing the country of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, the French foreign minister said on Wednesday.

"Accusing the Jewish state of genocide crosses a moral threshold. The notion of genocide cannot be exploited for political ends," Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne told parliament.

Gaza post-war housing reconstruct. to cost at least $15 bln
3:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

At least $15 billion would be needed to rebuild housing in the Gaza Strip, Palestine Investment Fund chairman Mohammed Mustafa said on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum, after much of the besieged enclave was flattened by Israel's bombardment.

The Palestinian leadership would, in the short-term, continue to focus on humanitarian aid including food and water but eventually the focus would shift to reconstruction, Mustafa said.

"If the war in Gaza continues, more people are likely to die of hunger or famine than war," Mustafa said.

The first steps should be to bring food, medicine, water and electricity back to the besieged enclave, he added.

Gaza under longest internet blackout since war began
3:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A telecommunications blackout in the besieged Gaza Strip has entered its sixth day, the longest continuous outage since the war began, internet monitor NetBlocks said Wednesday.

"The disruption, now entering its sixth day, is the longest sustained telecoms outage on record since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war," NetBlocks said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Palestinian telecoms provider Jawwal blamed Israel's "heavy bombardment" of the territory for a previous blackout.

Hamas condemns Germany for sending shells to Israel
2:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas has denounced Germany’s move to agree to send about 10,000 tank shells to the Israeli military.

In a statement, Hamas said the decision “makes Germany a direct partner in the war against our people in Gaza”, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Germany “bears full political and moral responsibility for the war crimes committed by the Nazi Zionist government and the genocidal war against our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip”, the statement continued.

On Tuesday, the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that government agencies in Germany had approved an Israeli request to obtain 10,000 precision-guided 120mm artillery shells.

'Everyone will be harmed if Gaza war doesn't stop': Iran FM
1:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Wednesday that "everyone will be harmed" if Israel's crimes in Gaza do not stop immediately.

He added that attacks by the "axis of resistance" - referring to Iran and Shia militia groups in backs in the region - against Israel and its interests will end if the Gaza war ends.

Iran says it shared intelligence on Mossad with Iraq
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Wednesday that Tehran shared intelligence with Iraq about what it said were activities of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in the Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Iran has said its Revolutionary Guards attacked Israel's "spy HQ" in Iraq in the city of Erbil on Monday. Iraq later denied that there was any such spy centre in the country.

India holding talks with Iran over Houthis' Red Sea attacks
1:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

India is holding diplomatic talks with Iran and taking other measures to help shield its exporters from the impact of attacks on ships in the Red Sea by the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen, a government source said on Wednesday.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held talks in Iran on Monday which he said had touched on the Red Sea situation.

"The defence ministry has improved surveillance (in the region) and the ministry of external affairs is diplomatically negotiating this very well," said the government source, who requested anonymity.

UNRWA chief warns of bleak post-war future for Gazans
1:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, warned Wednesday of the bleak future facing Gazans after the war there ends.

Following his fourth visit to the enclave since October 7, the UNRWA chief said many residents are no longer able to see "the future in the Gaza Strip".

"You have hundreds of thousands of people living now in the street, living in these plastic makeshift (tents), sleeping on the concrete," Lazzarini told journalists in Jerusalem.

"The north for us is a pocket of humanitarian catastrophe," the UNRWA chief said.

"Would you even encourage anyone to go to the north when we know the north is infested by UXOs - unexploded ordnance - and rubble, and non-functioning services?" he asked.

Arab League to hold emergency meeting over Iran attack
12:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Arab League will hold an emergency meeting over Iran's attack on the Iraqi city of Erbil, Iraq's state news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the foreign ministry.

The agency did not mention the date of the session.

A foreign ministry statement said it had filed a complaint against Tehran at the UN Security Council over Iran's "aggression."

1,300 arrested in West Bank since Oct 7: Prisoners' Club
12:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has arrested about 1,300 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since October 7, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club said Tuesday.

The group said the region which witnessed the highest number of arrests was the Hebron governorate in the southern West Bank.

Hepatitis A spreading in Gaza: health ministry
10:58 AM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza’s health ministry said Wednesday that Hepatitis A was quickly spreading in areas which residents have been displaced to in the enclave, as a result of overcrowding and poor levels of hygiene.

Sanitation and healthcare services have collapsed in Gaza as a result of Israel’s bombardment and siege.

World needs a quick end to Gaza war: UN envoy to Syria
10:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations special envoy for Syria, Geir Otto Pedersen, said on Wednesday the world needs a quick end to the Gaza war.

Speaking at the Word Economic Forum in Davos, Pedersen said he was extremely worried about the conflict because the "war is spreading and there have been escalations".

UN chief says parties to Gaza war 'trampling' on int'l law
10:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that parties to the conflict in Gaza were "trampling" on international law and urged them to implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Guterres said the warring parties were "ignoring international law, trampling on the Geneva Conventions, and even violating the United Nations Charter".

"The world is standing by as civilians, mostly women and children, are killed, maimed, bombarded, forced from their homes and denied access to humanitarian aid," he said.

"I repeat my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, and a process that leads to sustained peace for Israelis and Palestinians, based on a two-state solution."

Jordan says its Gaza hospital damaged by Israeli shelling
10:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Jordanian army said on Wednesday its military field hospital in the city of Khan Younis in Gaza was badly damaged as a result of Israeli shelling in the vicinity.

In a statement, the army said it held Israel responsible for a "flagrant breach of international law."

Tearing up Iran nuclear agreement was big mistake: Blinken
9:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

"I think it was a big mistake to tear up the Iran nuclear agreement," US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said from Davos on Wednesday.

Pope condemns Iran strike on Iraq, calls for calm
9:43 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the Iranian missile attack on the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, and urged all parties to avoid an escalation of conflicts in the Middle East.

"I express my closeness and solidarity with the victims, all civilians, of the missile attack that hit an urban area of Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan," Francis said during his weekly audience at the Vatican.

"Good relations between neighbours are not built with similar actions, but with dialogue and collaboration. I ask everyone to avoid any step that fuels tension in the Middle East and other war scenarios," he added.

Francis called for prayers for the "many victims of war", mentioning specifically Ukraine, Gaza and other Palestinian territory, and Israel.

Iraqi Kurdish PM cancels meeting with Iran after attack
9:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani cancelled a planned meeting with Iran's foreign minister at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland in protest over Iranian missile strikes on the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil earlier this week, a source said on Wednesday.

Four Palestinians killed in Israeli shelling in Tulkarm camp
9:28 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four Palestinians were killed in Israeli shelling in Tulkarm camp in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement.

Real question on Gaza is can Israelis be contained: Blinken
9:25 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday described the war in Gaza as "gutwrenching" and said what was needed was a Palestinian state "that gives people what they want and works with Israel to be effective".

"The suffering breaks my heart," he said in a speech at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. "The question is what is to be done."

He added that the world needs to quickly end the war, but the real question is whether Israelis "can be contained."

Two Israeli soldiers killed in battle in northern Gaza
9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

Another two Israeli soldiers were killed, and more were wounded in battle in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli media said Wednesday.

According to The Times of Israel, a total of 522 soldiers, reservists and local security officers have died and another 2,536 have been wounded since October 7.

Of them, 188 have so far been killed and 1,113 wounded since the start of the ground offensive in Gaza.

Gaza death toll reaches 24,448: health ministry
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's health ministry said the number of people killed since Oct. 7 has reached 24,448, with more than 61,500 wounded.

Telecoms, internet still down in Gaza 6 days on
8:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

Communications and internet services were still down across the Gaza Strip for the sixth consecutive day on Wednesday.

The Palestinian News Agency Wafa had previously said more than 80% of Gaza’s telecommunications sector had been damaged by Israel’s bombardment.

Heavy airstrikes on Khan Younis
8:54 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli airstrikes, heavy artillery and clashes continue in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip's south. 

Israel army claims top 'militant' killed in West Bank strike
8:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli army claimed it killed a top Palestinian "militant" in an air strike in the occupied West Bank early Wednesday, averting an attack he was allegedly planning.

Ahmed Abdullah Abu Shalal had allegedly been responsible for a number of attacks over the past year, including one in annexed east Jerusalem, the army said.

He was "eliminated in a precision airstrike," it said in a statement that had a video link showing the strike on a vehicle. His car was hit as he drove near the Blata refugee camp, east of Nablus, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Shalal's vehicle was struck in an airstrike in the Blata refugee camp [Getty]
Israel kills 6 fighters, including Hamas spy-catcher: army
8:43 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip have killed six Palestinian fighters, including the southern district Hamas officer in charge of interrogating suspected spies, the military claimed on Wednesday.

In a statement summarising operations in recent hours, it said the killing of counter-espionage officer Bilal Nofal significantly impacts the organisation's "capacity to develop and enhance its capabilities".