Fears of wider regional war grow as Israel pledges response to Iran strikes

Fears of wider regional war grow as Israel pledges response to Iran strikes
Uncertainty reigns on the Middle East following Iran's retaliatory strikes on Israel and Tel Aviv's likely response, as the Gaza crisis continues to deepen.
32 min read

The Israeli army has vowed to respond to Iran's unprecedented attack against the country, even after appeals for restraint poured in from world leaders fearing wider regional conflict.

Tensions were already high before Iran launched its first-ever assault on Israeli territory, firing hundreds of missiles and drones in retaliation for a deadly April 1 Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, which levelled the building and killed several officers and commanders.

Western governments, including those that supported Israel in its defence, have warned against an escalation, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his war cabinet late Monday to discuss next steps, Israeli media reported.

Following the weekend's attacks, Israel's military said it would not be distracted from the ongoing war on Gaza, where at least 33,800 people have been killed, mostly women and children.

Netanyahu had announced on the weekend he was postponing the Rafah ground invasion in the far south of the besieged enclave, where about half of Gaza's population is sheltering.

4:01 AM

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UN to vote Thursday on Palestinian state UN membership
3:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN Security Council will vote Thursday on the Palestinians' application to become a full member state of the United Nations, several diplomatic sources told AFP.

Amid Israel's offensive in Gaza, the Palestinians in early April revived a membership application first made to the world body in 2011, though the veto-wielding United States has expressed opposition to the proposal.

7 killed, including children, in Israeli raid on Rafah
2:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

Seven people, including four children, have been killed in an Israeli air raid on a house in central Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

US CENTCOM forces successfully engage two Houthi UAVs
1:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Wednesday its forces successfully engaged two unmanned aerial (UAV) vehicles in areas controlled by Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen on April 16.

"There were no injuries or damage reported by US, coalition, or commercial ships," CENTCOM said in a statement.

US to impose new Iran sanctions, expects allies to follow
12:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States said Tuesday it will impose new sanctions on Iran's missile and drone program after its weekend attack on Israel, and that it expects its allies and partners to follow with parallel measures.

"These new sanctions and other measures will continue a steady drumbeat of pressure to contain and degrade Iran's military capacity and effectiveness and confront the full range of its problematic behaviors," US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

100 journalists arrested since October 7 by Israeli forces
11:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have arrested some 100 journalists since October 7, The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate stated.

At least 40 of them remain in Israeli custody, the syndicate said. Most of the journalists were beaten and assaulted at the moment of arrest, it added.

According to the syndicate, many of detained journalists were held under administrative detention, a controversial legal process that allows Israel to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for an indefinite period.

UN still facing obstacles in bid to fend off famine in Gaza
11:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations is still struggling to prevent famine in the Gaza Strip and while there had been some improvement in coordination with Israel, aid deliveries in the enclave still faced difficulties, a senior U.N. aid official said on Tuesday.

Andrea De Domenico, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said aid deliveries within Gaza were facing significant checkpoint delays and that last week 41 percent of UN requests to deliver aid to northern Gaza were denied.

"We're dealing with this dance where we do one step forward, two steps backward, or two steps forward, one step backward, which leaves us basically always at the same point," De Domenico told reporters.

"For every new opportunity that we've been given, we will find yet another challenge to deal with," he said. "So it's really, really difficult for us to scale up to where we would like to be."

The UN has long complained of obstacles to getting aid in and distributing it throughout Gaza. But global outrage at the humanitarian crisis in the enclave of 2.3 million people escalated after Israeli airstrikes on April 1 killed World Central Kitchen aid workers.

Yellen says US set to tighten sanctions on Iran soon
10:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Tuesday of further sanctions targeting Iran following its unprecedented weekend attack on Israel, saying she expects Washington will take added action "in the coming days."

US authorities have been using economic tools to counter Iran's activities, taking aim at its drone and missile programs, as well as its financing of groups like Hamas.

But from the weekend's attack to "the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, Iran's actions threaten the region's stability and could cause economic spillovers," Yellen warned at a press briefing.

"I fully expect that we will take additional sanctions action against Iran in the coming days," she said as this week's spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank began in Washington.

The Treasury, Yellen said, will not hesitate to work with US allies to "use our sanctions authority to continue disrupting the Iranian regime's malign and destabilizing activity."

She added that "all options to disrupt terrorist financing" will be on the table.

US to query Israel about 6-year-old's killing in Gaza
10:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US State Department will ask Israel for more information about the January death of 6-year-old Palestinian Hind Rajab in Gaza, spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday, calling for a full investigation into the matter after a Washington Post report cast doubt on Israel's earlier explanation.

The terrified girl trapped in a car in Gaza with her dead family had begged for help in a phone call to rescuers, in which gunfire could be heard as she described Israeli forces drawing near.

Relatives found her body 12 days later along with those of her aunt, uncle and their three children in their car near an ambulance and two dead ambulance workers who had tried to save her.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that an investigation had found Israeli armored vehicles were present in the area, contrary to the Israeli Defense Forces' claim that a preliminary investigation had found its forces were not within firing range of the car in which she was trapped.

"We're going to go back to the government of Israel and ask them for further information," Miller said at a press briefing, calling Hind Rajab's death "an unspeakable tragedy, something that never should have occurred and never should occur."

US uni pulls student speech after Jewish groups object
9:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A top US university has canceled its plans for a graduation speech by a Muslim student over what it says are safety concerns, after pro-Israel groups criticized her selection.

The decision by the University of Southern California is the latest controversy to roil American higher education since the conflict between Israel and Hamas erupted in October.

Asna Tabassum, who has been attacked online for "antisemitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric," had been selected as class valedictorian -- an honorary role whose holder traditionally gives an address in front of up to 65,000 people.

But on Monday the university's provost, Andrew Guzman, announced the May 10 ceremony would go ahead without the speech.

"Unfortunately, over the past several days, discussion relating to the selection of our valedictorian has taken on an alarming tenor," Guzman said in a statement.

"The intensity of feelings, fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, has grown to include many voices outside of USC and has escalated to the point of creating substantial risks relating to security."

Guzman's statement gave no specifics, but the Los Angeles Times quoted Erroll Southers, the university's associate senior vice president for safety and risk assurance, as saying the institution had received threats by email, phone and letter.

Britain condemns West Bank killings, calls to 'restore calm'
9:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Britain condemns the killing of Israeli teenager Binyamin Achimair and is alarmed by the "shocking levels of violence" in the occupied West Bank after his death, the country's defence department said in a statement on Tuesday.

"These killings, and subsequent actions, are escalating violence in the Occupied West Bank and the wider region at a critical time. It is vital that Israeli authorities restore calm and conduct urgent and transparent investigations into all deaths", the statement added.

No reports of drones launched from Iraq during Iran attack
8:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on Tuesday said Iraq has not received any reports or indications that missiles or drones were launched from Iraq during Iran's attack on Israel.

Iraq is a rare ally of both Washington and Tehran. Iraqi airspace was a main route for Iran’s unprecedented drone and ballistic missile attack on Israel, and Iraqi officials say Iran informed them, as well as other countries in the region, ahead of the attack.

"Our position is clear, and we will not allow Iraq to be thrown into the arena of conflict," al-Sudani said in a statement.

Iran on Saturday launched more than 300 drones and missiles against Israel, its first direct attack on the country, in retaliation for a suspected Israeli air strike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 11 that killed elite military officers. )

Palestine bid for full UN membership not yet agreed on
8:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A United Nations Security Council committee considering an application by the Palestinian Authority to become a full UN member "was unable to make a unanimous recommendation" on whether it met the criteria, according to the committee report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority is still expected to push the 15-member Security Council to vote - as early as this week - on a draft resolution recommending it become a full member of the world body, diplomats said.

Such membership would effectively recognise a Palestinian state. The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the 193-member UN General Assembly in 2012.

But an application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the Security Council, where Israel ally the United States can block it, and then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly.

The United States said earlier this month that establishing an independent Palestinian state should happen through direct negotiations between the parties and not at the United Nations.

The UN Security Council has long endorsed a vision of two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, all territory captured by Israel in 1967.

Little progress has been made on achieving Palestinian statehood since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the early 1990s.

The Palestinian push for full UN membership comes six months into a war waged by Israel in the Gaza Strip Gaza, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Google employees protest tech giant's ties with Israel
8:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Google employees are protesting the company’s ties with Israel, having entered the company's offices in California and New York City.

The protesters at the California office say they will not leave until Google pulls out of a $1.2 billion contract it shares with Amazon, that would see it provide the Israeli government with cloud services and data centres.

Some at the company have long opposed the contract, known as Nimbus, but the conflict within the tech giant has expanded since Israel began its assault on Gaza.

Qatar surprised as US congressman threat to revaluate ties
7:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Qatari embassy in the US issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was surprised by comments made by US Congressman Steny Hoyer and his threat to "reevaluate" the US relationship with Qatar, adding his comments were not constructive.

Yesterday, Hoyer released a statement calling on Qatar to put pressure on Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal that is acceptable to the Israeli government, and threatened to reassess ties between the US and Qatar if it does not do so.

"Hamas has also sought to use its intermediary Qatar – which has long helped finance, back, and house the terrorist organization – to exact greater concessions from Israel", Hoyer’s statement read.

The Qatari embassy said that it "shares" Hoyer’s frustration at the slow progress of truce talks, but stressed that "Israel and Hamas are entirely responsible for reaching an agreement".

EU working to expand Iran sanctions after attack on Israel
7:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Tuesday that Brussels was starting work on expanding sanctions on Iran after its attack on Israel.

Speaking after an emergency online meeting of EU foreign ministers, Borrell said the bloc would look to toughen measures against Iran's supplies of weaponry -- including drones -- to Russia and Tehran's proxies around the Middle East.

Slovenia, Spain prioritize recognition of Palestinian state
7:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Slovenia and Spain agree on the need to formally recognize a Palestinian state as a way to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the leaders of the two countries said on Tuesday.

They must also act to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza amid the war between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian enclave, they said.

"The most important thing is that we have addressed a whole series of questions - when, not if, but when is the best moment to recognize Palestine," Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob said at a joint news conference with Spain's Pedro Sanchez.

Golob gave no timeline, saying the matter did not depend on Slovenia and Spain alone but on other international factors. But Slovenia would vote in the United Nations Security Council for full membership of a Palestinian state, he said.

Spain, long a champion of Palestinian rights, last month agreed with the leaders of Ireland, Malta and Slovenia to take the first steps towards recognizing a Palestinian state.

The efforts come as the death toll in Gaza from Israel's war in Gaza neared 34,000. Much of the territory has been flattened by Israeli bombardments, leaving most of the people destitute while a famine looms.

EasyJet suspends Tel Aviv flights until October
6:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British airline easyJet said Tuesday it had suspended its flights to Tel Aviv until October 27 over safety concerns in Israel, as regional tensions flare.

On Monday, the airline said it was pausing its flights until April 21 following Iran's attack on Israel on Saturday night. A new statement Tuesday extended that suspension for another six months.

"As a result of the continued evolving situation in Israel, easyJet has now taken the decision to suspend its flights to Tel Aviv for the remainder of the summer season until 27 October," easyjet said in a statement sent to AFP.

"Customers booked to fly on this route up to this date are being offered options including a full refund."

Israel and Iran traded threats on Tuesday following Tehran's first ever direct attack on its arch foe, which sharply heightened regional tensions.

Iran said Saturday's large-scale attack was an act of self-defence following a deadly Israeli air strike on its consulate in Syria, and that it would consider the matter "concluded" unless Israel retaliated.

Sunak to Netanyahu: 'Escalation is in no one's interest'
6:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu that escalation in the Middle East was in no one's interest in a call after Britain helped Israel repel a direct aerial attack by Iran on Saturday.

"(Sunak) stressed that significant escalation was in no one’s interest and would only deepen insecurity in the Middle East. This was a moment for calm heads to prevail," Sunak's office said in a readout of the call.

UN to launch $2.8 billion global appeal for Gaza, West Bank
5:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations said it will launch a $2.8 billion global appeal for Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Erdogan says Netanyahu to blame for Iran's attack on Israel
5:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the main one to blame for Iran's first-ever direct attack on Israel.

"The main one responsible for the tension that gripped our hearts on the evening of April 13 is Netanyahu and his bloody administration", the Turkish leader said in televised remarks.

Hundreds of Gazans queue for bread at reopened bakery
5:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hundreds of Palestinians queued for bread at a reopened bakery in Gaza City, after fresh supplies arrived in a heavily blockaded area that has suffered months of deprivation.

They waited for hours in the streets of Gaza's biggest city this week as the bakery turned out bags of subsidised bread after the World Food Programme was able to resupply it.

Children stood patiently in line alongside young men and elderly people.

Israel's war and siege of Gaza has triggered a dire humanitarian crisis, with desperate shortages of food, water, medicines and fuel, helped only by sporadic aid deliveries.

The United Nations has warned that the Gaza war and siege have caused "the highest levels of catastrophic hunger in the world".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to push ahead with the war despite the opposition.

10 Houthi drones, 4 missiles destroyed since mid-Feb: EU
5:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The EU's Red Sea naval mission says it had destroyed 10 drones and intercepted four ballistic missiles launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels since mid-February.

Saudi FM calls for de-escalation, ceasefire in Gaza
4:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Saudi foreign minister said on Tuesday that international efforts towards a Gaza ceasefire were wholly insufficient and called for de-escalation efforts, in a press conference with his Pakistani counterpart during a visit to Islamabad.

Iran's actions could cause global 'economic spillovers': US
4:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Tuesday of potential global economic damage from rising tensions in the Middle East and pledged that the U.S. and its allies won't hesitate to use their sanctions powers to address Iran's "malign and destabilising activity" in the region.

She made her remarks ahead of this week's spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, saying Iran's weekend missile attack on Israel "underscores the importance of Treasury’s work to use our economic tools to counter Iran’s malign activity."

She added: "From this weekend’s attack to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, Iran’s actions threaten the region’s stability and could cause economic spillovers."

Israel army confirms killing Hezbollah commander in strike
4:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli army has confirmed killing a local Hezbollah commander in a strike in southern Lebanon on Tuesday.

"Earlier today, an IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft struck and eliminated Ismail Yusef Baz, the commander of Hezbollah's coastal sector... in Lebanon," the army said in a statement, adding he was killed in the area of Ain Baal.

70,000 sign petition calling on UK to stop Israel arms sales
4:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

A petition calling on the UK government to halt arms exports to Israel has been handed in at 10 Downing Street by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a cross party group of MPs. Nearly 70,000 people have signed so far.

Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, was recorded at an event saying: "The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law, but the government has not announced it."

Yesterday in the Commons, Zarah Sultana MP asked the Prime Minister, "Was the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee telling the truth - yes or no?" Rishi Sunak refused to deny the Foreign Office has received such legal advice, saying only that "Israel is committed and capable of complying with international humanitarian law."


Portugal urges Iranian ambassador to release container ship
4:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Portugal's foreign ministry summoned Iran's ambassador on Tuesday to condemn Saturday's attack on Israel by Tehran and to demand the immediate release of a Portuguese-flagged container ship, the MSC Aries, that was seized by Iran on April 13.

The ministry said in a statement after the meeting that it "will await the results of this formal measure and evaluate any additional steps, depending on those".

It said Portugal had demanded the release of the crew "as explanations provided so far have not been considered consistent", and urged de-escalation in the Middle East.

Tehran said on Monday that Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized the cargo vessel - allegedly linked to Israel - in the Strait of Hormuz for "violating maritime laws."

MSC, which operates the Aries, has said it is working "with the relevant authorities" for the vessel's safe return and the wellbeing of its 25 crew.

MSC leases the Aries from Gortal Shipping, an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime. Zodiac is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

Israeli strike hits 2 cars in Al-Shehabiyeh, south Lebanon
3:43 PM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli drone strike has targeted two vehicles in the south Lebanon village of Al-Shehabiyeh, following an earlier drone attack which killed a Hezbollah field commander in the village of Ain Baal.

The strike on Al-Shehabiyeh also killed two Hezbollah members, a security source and a civil defence official said.

Source close to Hezbollah says Israel killed local commander
3:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A source close to Lebanon's Hezbollah said a local commander within the Iran-backed armed group was killed Tuesday in an Israeli strike on the country's south.

"The field commander in charge of the Naqoura region has been martyred in an Israeli strike," the source told AFP, with the state-run National News Agency reporting one dead in an Israeli strike on a car in Ain Baal, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the border.

Israel demolishes family home of slain Palestinian
3:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

The family home of a slain Palestinian man allegedly behind an attack in Jerusalem in October last year was blown up by Israeli forces on Tuesday.

Videos shared online showed the moment Khaled Al-Mohtaseb's family home was demolished in Beit Hanina in northern Jerusalem.

Al-Mohtaseb, 21 at the time, had reportedly opened fire at an Israeli police station, injuring two officers before being shot dead. This happened less than a week after the start of the Gaza war on October 7.

The Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine said he was one of its members and was secretary of its student branch at Bethlehem University, where he was studying.

Russia spy chief meets Sisi, discuss Mideast tensions: RIA
2:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia's spy chief Sergey Naryshkin met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Tuesday and discussed recent tensions in the Middle East, the Russian RIA news agency reported.

Putin urges restraint in call with Iran's Raisi
2:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that further escalation in the Middle East could have "catastrophic consequences," during a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

"Vladimir Putin expressed hope that all sides would show reasonable restraint and prevent a new round of confrontation fraught with catastrophic consequences for the entire region," the Kremlin said in a readout of the call.

"The escalating situation in the Middle East following the Israeli airstrike on the Iranian diplomatic mission in Damascus and the retaliatory measures taken by Iran were discussed in detail," it added.

Iran working to safeguard oil exports in region: official
2:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Morteza Shahmirzaei told a conference in Moscow via video link on Tuesday that his country was working to ensure that energy exports in the Middle East region are carried out without interruption after an attack on Israel.

All countries and players should adhere to the principles of "non-harm" to energy producers to ensure stability, he also said through an interpreter.

"We continue to do everything to ensure that energy exports in our region are carried out without problems; we are committed to stabilising the energy market," Shahmirzaei said.

"We will ensure the stability of the energy market. All countries and players need to adhere to the principles of non-harm to energy producers to ensure stability."

Israel army says Iran won't get off 'scot-free' after attack
2:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's army said on Tuesday that Iran will not get off "scot-free" after the Islamic republic launched an unprecedented wave of missiles and drones at Israel last weekend.

"Iran will not get (off) scot-free with this aggression," military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters at Julis military base while displaying the remains of an intercepted missile.

"We will not allow this aggression in the region," Hagari said, speaking in English.

He said that, even as the world was talking about the "nuclear threat from Iran," the Islamic republic was "building a conventional threat, meaning to create a ring of fire across Israel".

Israeli tanks push back in north Gaza, warplanes hit Rafah
2:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli tanks pushed back into some areas of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday which they had left weeks ago, while warplanes conducted air strikes on Rafah, the Palestinians' last refuge in the south of the territory, killing and wounding several people, medics and residents said.

Residents reported an internet outage in the areas of Beit Hanoun and Jabalia in northern Gaza. Tanks advanced into Beit Hanoun and surrounded some schools where displaced families have taken refuge, said the residents and media outlets of the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

"Occupation soldiers ordered all families inside the schools and the nearby houses where the tanks had advanced to evacuate. The soldiers detained many men," one resident of northern Gaza told Reuters via a chat app.

Hezbollah commander killed in south Lebanon strike: reports
2:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

A Hezbollah commander has reportedly been killed in an Israeli drone strike on a village in south Lebanon.

Reports said one person was killed and another was wounded in the attack on a car in Ain Baal in the Tyre district.

The Mossad Commentary page on X said he was a "senior member of Hezbollah."

Lebanon's Hezbollah claims drone attack on Israel
2:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah has claimed an attack on Israel using two explosive drones, which Israeli local authorities said wounded three people.

The Israeli military said "two armed" drones entered from Lebanon and exploded near a town in northern Israel, Beit Hillel, adding that "the incident is under review".

Hezbollah fighters launched an "air attack with suicide drones in two phases... striking the Iron Dome (air defence system) platforms and their crew", the group said in a statement.

The Israeli local regional council said that three people were wounded in the explosion.

No air raid sirens were heard at the time of the incident.

Car in Ain Baal, south Lebanon, hit in drone attack
1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

A car in the southern Lebanese village of Ain Baal was reportedly struck by an Israeli drone.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

3 wounded in 2 drone attacks in Beit Hillel, northern Israel
12:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

Three Israelis were wounded when two drones exploded in the Beit Hillel settlement in northern Israel's Galilee region, Israel's Channel 12 reported.

Israel fighting Hamas 'without mercy': Netanyahu to recruits
12:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told new army recruits on Tuesday that Israel was fighting Hamas "without mercy", according to a statement from his office.

"You are joining the IDF (army), the splendid combat positions in order to repel a brutal enemy ... We are striking them back without mercy and we will defeat them," he said.

Netanyahu escalating with Iran to distract from Gaza: Jordan
12:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday the international community should stop Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from "stealing" attention away from Gaza by escalating his confrontation with Iran.

In remarks during a press conference with his German counterpart in Berlin, Safadi said Iran had responded to the attack against its consulate and had announced that it did "did not want to escalate further".

"We are against escalating. Netanyahu wants to draw attention away from Gaza and focus on his confrontation with Iran," Safadi added.

UN agency finds unexploded 1,000-pound bombs in Gaza schools
12:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday it had found unexploded 1,000-pound bombs inside schools after Israel pulled troops out of southern Gaza's main city Khan Younis.

UN agencies led an "assessment mission" in Khan Yunis after Israeli forces withdrew from the embattled city last week, UNRWA said.

It found "significant challenges in operating safely due to the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXOs), including 1,000-pound bombs inside schools and on roads".

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Earlier this month, the United Nations said it would take "millions of dollars and many years to decontaminate the (Gaza) Strip from unexploded munitions".

"We work off the rule of thumb that 10 percent of ordnance doesn't function as designed," UN Mine Action Service chief Charles Birch said in a statement earlier this month.

"We estimate that, to begin the clearance of Gaza, we need around $45 million."

Germany seeks further EU sanctions against Iran drones
12:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany's foreign minister called Tuesday for the European Union to impose fresh sanctions on Iranian drone technology after Tehran's weekend attack on Israel.

"I campaigned in late autumn together with France and other partners within the European Union for this drone sanctions regime to be extended further... I hope that we can now finally take this step together," Annalena Baerbock said in a joint press conference in Berlin alongside her Jordanian counterpart, ahead of a visit to Israel later Tuesday.

Israel sentences Layan Nasir to 4 months in admin. detention
12:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

Layan Nasir, a Palestinian woman who was arrested by Israel in 2021 when she was still a university student, has been ordered to serve another four months in administrative detention, an Israeli practice frequently slammed by rights organisations.

No charges have reportedly been presented against her.

The administrative detention system allows Israel to detain individuals without formal charge or trial, based on the premise that they might pose a future threat.

Egypt's FM to visit Turkey to discuss Middle East tensions
11:24 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is expected to discuss developments in the Middle East and the situation in Gaza with his Turkish counterpart during a visit to Turkey at the weekend, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Tuesday.

Shoukry and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will also evaluate the latest developments in negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza, the source said.

Israel army says Hamas holding hostages in Gaza's Rafah
11:23 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel said Sunday that Hamas is holding hostages in Rafah in southern Gaza, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to launch a ground invasion despite international outcry.

"Hamas is still holding our hostages in Gaza... We also have hostages in Rafah, and we will do everything we can to bring them back home," Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said at a briefing.

In a separate statement, the army said it was calling "approximately two reserve brigades for operational activities on the Gazan front".

It did not specify whether the brigades would be deployed inside Gaza.

The move comes just days after the army pulled out all troops from southern Gaza's main city of Khan Younis, leaving just one brigade to carry out operations across the Palestinian territory.

UN commission accuses Israel of obstructing Oct. 7 probe
11:18 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A U.N.-mandated commission of inquiry that probes violations of international human rights law on Tuesday accused Israel of obstructing its efforts to collect evidence from the victims of the attack by Hamas in southern Israel on October 7.

"So far as the government of Israel is concerned, we have not only seen a lack of cooperation, but active obstruction of our efforts to receive evidence from Israeli witnesses and victims to the events that occurred in southern Israel," said Chris Sidoti, one of three members of a commission of inquiry into abuses committed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

"We have contact with many, but we would like to have contact with more."

Sidoti appealed to the government of Israel, as well as victims and witnesses of the attack, to aid the commission in conducting its probe.

EasyJet suspends flights to Israel until late October
11:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British budget airline EasyJet on Tuesday suspended flights to Israel until Oct. 27 citing the security situation in the Middle East.

"As a result of the continued evolving situation in Israel, easyJet has now taken the decision to suspend its flights to Tel Aviv for the remainder of the summer season," a spokesperson said in a statement, after the airline on Sunday paused flights to the Israeli city.

"Customers booked to fly on this route up to this date are being offered options including a full refund."

US Treasury preparing new Iran sanctions after attack: Axios
11:16 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is preparing fresh sanctions on Iran in response to Iran's attack on Israel, Axios reported on Tuesday, citing a copy of her remarks.

"Treasury will not hesitate to work with our allies to use our sanctions authority to continue disrupting the Iranian regime's malign and destabilizing activity," Yellen is prepared to say Tuesday, as per the Axios report.

"The attack by Iran and its proxies underscores the importance of Treasury's work to use our economic tools to counter Iran's malign activity," she will further say, Axios reported.

Israeli forces joining settlers in attacks on Palestinians
11:12 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN voiced grave concern Tuesday over escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, demanding that Israeli security forces "immediately" stop supporting settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied territory.

"The Israeli security forces must immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks on Palestinians," rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

"Israeli authorities must instead prevent further attacks, including by bringing those responsible to account."

Israel still imposing unlawful restrictions on Gaza aid: UN
11:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel is still imposing "unlawful" restrictions on humanitarian relief for Gaza, the U.N. human rights office said on Tuesday, despite assertions from Israel and others that restrictions have eased.

Gaza death toll reaches 33,843: health ministry
11:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that at least 33,843 people have been killed in the territory during more than six months of Israel's offensive.

The toll includes at least 46 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 76,575 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip.

Israel says consulate strike victims 'engaged in terrorism'
9:23 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's army said Monday that those killed in a strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus had engaged in "terrorism against Israel", in the first official comment on the April 1 attack.

"To the best of my knowledge those who were killed in Damascus were members of the Quds Force. These were people who engaged in terrorism against the State of Israel," military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said when asked at a briefing about the strike.

"Among these terrorist operatives there were Hezbollah members and Iranian helpers. There was not a single diplomat there as far as I know. I don't know of any civilian who was killed in this attack," he said.

Thani, Erdogan call for cooperation to stop Israeli attacks
9:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani about increasing efforts of the Muslim world to stop attacks by Israel, Erdogan's office said on Monday.

The two leaders discussed Israel's attacks on Gaza and the humanitarian situation as well as bilateral relations, regional and global issues, according to the statement his office posted on social media platform X.

Erdogan stated that it is vital to restrain Israel immediately and act with common sense to prevent the tension from spreading across the region, the statement said.

China willing to work with Riyadh to avoid further tensions
9:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China is willing to work together with Saudi Arabia to avoid further escalation of confrontation in the Middle East, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said to his Saudi counterpart over a phone call.

China appreciates Saudi Arabia's emphasis on resolving the issue of the attack on Iran's embassy in Syria through diplomatic means, the official Xinhua said.

Lebanese officials charge Mossad killed 'Hamas financier'
9:03 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Lebanese minister and two senior officials said preliminary findings suggest Israel's Mossad spy agency was behind the killing of a US-sanctioned Lebanese man accused of sending Iranian money to Hamas.

The body of Mohammad Srour, 57, was found riddled with bullets in a villa in the Lebanese mountain town of Beit Mery last Tuesday.

Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi told Al-Jadeed TV late Sunday that, "according to the data we have so far, (the killing) was carried out by intelligence services".

Asked whether he was referring to Mossad, Mawlawi confirmed.

Israeli settlers kill 2 in West Bank: Palestinian officials
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli settlers killed two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Monday, Palestinian officials said.

The Palestinian health ministry named the victims of the attack near Nablus as Abdulrahman Maher Bani Fadel, 30, and Mohammed Ashraf Bani Jameh, 21, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The mayor of Aqraba, Salah Bani Jaber, told AFP "dozens of settlers attacked" the nearby hamlet of Khirbet al-Tawil late on Monday.


Portugal PM says not ready to recognise a Palestinian state
8:58 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Portugal is not ready to recognise a Palestinian state without a concerted EU approach, its new premier said Monday in Madrid after meeting his Spanish counterpart who is seeking support for the cause.

Portuguese Prime Minister Luis Montenegro, who took office in March, said his government would wait for the European Union and the United Nations to work out a common position on the issue before advancing.

"We don't go as far as other governments do with regard to recognising the state of Palestine," he told a joint news conference in Madrid as he stood alongside Sanchez.

"We believe that this understanding should be built on a multilateral basis within the European Union and the United Nations."

Gaza officials: 150 detainees freed by Israel speak of abuse
8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza's Crossings Authority said Israel released dozens of Palestinian detainees into the territory on Monday, who speak about the abuse and mistreatment they faced in Israeli detention.

"Since the early hours of the morning, 150 prisoners from various parts of the Gaza Strip who were detained by the Israeli occupation have been released," via the Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to Crossings Authority spokesman Hisham Adwan.

"It is very noticeable that there is severe mistreatment of these prisoners, as a number of them were sent to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital for treatment" in Rafah, a city in Gaza's far south, he added.

One of those released on Monday told AFP he and a friend were beaten and tortured in Israeli detention.

Hamas remains barrier to Gaza hostage deal, US says
8:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has moved in a "significant way" but Hamas is the barrier to a deal that would see fighting in Gaza paused and hostages released, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday.

Hamas rejected the latest proposal for a deal and has said any new hostage deal must bring about an end to the Gaza war and withdrawal of all Israeli forces.

"Israel moved a significant way in submitting that proposal. And there was a deal on the table that would achieve much of what Hamas claims it wants to achieve, and they have not taken that deal," Miller told a press briefing.

The United States is still pursuing a deal that would allow for a ceasefire lasting at least six weeks and allow more aid into Gaza, Miller added.

Japan called on Iran to exercise restraint: Japanese FM
8:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Japan urged Iran to exercise restraint following its attack against Israel during a telephone call between the two countries' foreign ministers, the Japanese foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Japan Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa also urged that the safety of navigation be ensured in the region's waters in the call with her Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Japanese government said.

Iran-Israel fears push European equities down at open
8:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Europe's major stock markets sank Tuesday at the open, mirroring losses elsewhere, after Israel's army chief vowed a response to Iran's attack on his country.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies fell 1.4 percent to 7,857.23 points.

In the eurozone, the Paris CAC 40 index sank 1.5 percent to 7,926.58 points and the DAX in Frankfurt shed 1.3 percent to 17,787.70.

Asian stocks also fell on Tuesday and oil prices climbed on intensifying fears of a broader war in the Middle East.

"The ongoing uncertainty has left its mark on stocks across the globe, with the effect of fear being compounded by a mixed start to earnings season," noted Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown.

Iran warns 'severe response' in any action against interests
8:50 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran will respond to any action against its interests, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Tuesday, according to the Iranian Student News Agency, a day after Israel warned it will respond to Tehran's weekend drone and missile attack.

"We categorically declare that the smallest action against Iranian interests will certainly be met with a severe, widespread and painful response against any perpetrator," Raisi told the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Iran able to 'handle situation well': China FM
8:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China said it believed Iran will be able to "handle the situation well and spare the region further turmoil" while safeguarding its sovereignty and dignity, referring to an attack on Iran's embassy in Syria and its retaliatory strike over the weekend.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on a phone call that China appreciated Iran's emphasis on not targeting regional and neighbouring countries, according to the official Xinhua news agency on Tuesday.

IAEA worried Israel could strike Iran nuclear facilities
8:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations nuclear watchdog chief said on Monday he is concerned about Israel possibly targeting Iranian nuclear facilities, but that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of Iranian facilities would resume on Tuesday.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said Iran closed its nuclear facilities on Sunday over "security considerations" and that while they reopened on Monday, he kept IAEA inspectors away "until we see that the situation is completely calm."

"We are going to resume tomorrow," Grossi told reporters in New York. "This has not had an impact on our inspection activity."

When asked about the possibility of an Israel strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, Grossi said: "We are always concerned about this possibility." He urged "extreme restraint." The IAEA regularly inspects Iran's main nuclear facilities like its enrichment plants at Natanz that are at the heart of the country's nuclear programme.

Netanyahu urges int'l community to 'unite' against Iran
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Iran threatens world peace and the international community must stand united to face the Islamic republic's aggression.

"The international community must continue to stand united in resisting this Iranian aggression, which threatens world peace," he said in a statement released by his office on X, after Iran carried out a direct attack on Israel over the weekend using hundreds of drones and missiles.

Iraqi Airways announces resumption of Iraq, Iran flights
8:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraqi Airways announced the resumption of flights between Iraq and Iran, starting Tuesday, Iraqi state news agency said on Monday.

Iraq had announced shutting down its airspace and suspending all air traffic on Saturday, Iraq's transport minister was quoted as saying.

Iran attack 'will be met with response': Israeli army chief
8:42 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's army chief Herzi Halevi, addressing troops on Monday at a military base hit in Iran's unprecedented strike, said Israel will respond.

"This launch of so many (Iranian) missiles, cruise missiles, and UAVs into the territory of the State of Israel will be met with a response," Halevi said when he visited Nevatim base in the country's south, according to a statement issued by the army.

Iran did not provide US with attack warning or targets: WH
8:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran did not provide warnings to the United States last week about its timeframe for launching an attack on Israel or its potential targets, the White House said on Monday.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the United States did exchange messages with Iran but that there were never any messages regarding Iran's timeframe or targets for its weekend attack.