Israel bombards Gaza camps, as Rafah invasion intensifies

Israel bombards Gaza camps, as Rafah invasion intensifies
Israeli forces hit central Gaza overnight, killing three and wounding dozens, as tanks advanced into Rafah.
19 min read
20 June, 2024

Israeli forces pounded areas in the central Gaza Strip overnight, killing three people and wounding dozens of others, according to medics, while tanks deepened their invasion into Rafah in the south, residents said.

Israeli planes struck a house in Al-Nuseirat camp, killing two people and wounding 12 others, while tanks shelled areas in Al-Maghazi and Al-Bureij camps, wounding many other people, health officials said. Nuseirat, Maghazi, and Bureij are three of Gaza's eight historic refugee camps.

In Deir al-Balah, a city packed with displaced people in the central Gaza Strip, an Israeli air strike killed one Palestinian and wounded several others on Thursday, medics said.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday forces were continuing their operations across the enclave targeting militants and military infrastructure in what it described as "precise, intelligence-based" activities.

More than eight months into the war in Gaza, Israel's advance is now focused on the two last areas its forces had yet to storm: Rafah on Gaza's southern edge and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the centre.

The operations have forced more than a million people to flee since May, the vast majority already displaced from other parts of the enclave.

In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, Israeli tanks stationed deep in the western and central areas of the city stepped up bombardment, forcing more families living in the far coastal areas to flee northward.

Some residents said the pace of the raid has been accelerated in the past two days.

4:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's live blog on Israel's war in Gaza has now ended, and will resume at 09:00 am tomorrow. Thank you for following.

UN expert calls on arms companies to stop exports to Israel
3:47 AM
The New Arab Staff

The UN special rapporteur for the right to food, Michael Fakhri, has called on arms companies to "cease all arms exports to Israel now", as the deadly war in Gaza persists.

"They are complicit in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide," Fakhri wrote in a post on X.

Fakhri’s comments come following a call from the UN for the US, Germany, the UK and arms manufacturers – including Boeing and Lockheed Martin – to halt weapons exports to the country, saying they "risk complicity in violations of international law".

US destroys six Houthi drones in Red Sea
3:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US military said Thursday that it had destroyed four Houthi nautical drones and two aerial ones over the Red Sea off Yemen.

The Iran-backed Houthis have launched scores of drones and missiles at commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November, describing the attacks as being in support of Palestinians during the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

The United States and its allies, particularly Britain, have responded with an increased naval presence to defend shipping in the vital waterway and with retaliatory strikes on Houthi targets.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement Thursday night that its forces had "destroyed four Iranian-backed Houthi uncrewed surface vessels (USV) in the Red Sea and two uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) over the Red Sea" in the past 24 hours.

CENTCOM said the day before that it had destroyed "one ground control station and one command and control node" in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

Israeli army shoots three people during raid in Ramallah
2:33 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have shot three people during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, leaving one man in critical condition, the Wafa news agency said early on Friday.

Israeli forces prevented paramedics from reaching the critically injured man, who was wounded in the city’s Qaddoura refugee camp, according to Wafa.


CAIR denounces US ‘complicity’ in torture of Gazan detainees
12:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organisation has called on the Biden administration to condemn growing reports of the systematic torture of Palestinian detainees by Israeli forces.

It cited allegations by Mohammed Saber Arab, a correspondent for Al Araby TV. He was detained at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City in March by Israeli troops. Detainees are blindfolded and handcuffed 24 hours a day and subjected to continuous torture, physical and sexual abuse and humiliation, said Arab.

“Because the Biden administration is complicit in the far-right Israeli government’s genocide, forced starvation and ethnic cleansing, it is also complicit in the torture of Palestinian detainees,” said Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director, in a statement.

Earlier this week, CAIR also called on the Biden administration to demand that Israel’s far-right government explain why Dr. Iyad Rantisi died under interrogation a week after he was detained by Israeli intelligence services.

Israel army raids villages south of Nablus: Al Jazeera
11:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli soldiers have stormed the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, footage shared online shows.

The footage shows Israeli army vehicles and infantry forces on the streets, Al Jazeera reported.

Eight killed in Israeli bombing on house in Zeitoun area
10:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli airstrike has killed eight Palestinians and injured others in the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City on Thursday evening, the Palestinian Wafa agency said.

 Israeli warplanes reportedly targeted a house in the neighbourhood.

The fatalities and casualties were rushed to al-Ahli Arab Hospital, known as al-Ma‘madani, in the city, Wafa said.

Palestinian journalist killed in Israeli bombing of Gaza
9:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

Another Palestinian journalist, Salim al-Sharafa, has been killed by Israeli bombing in the war-hit Gaza Strip some time agon, broadcaster Al-Aqsa TV announced via Telegram on Thursday. 

According to Gaza’s Government Media Office, al-Sharafa’s death raises the tally of media workers killed in Gaza since October 7 to at least 152.

PRCS delivers humanitarian relief to south Gaza
9:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that its crews transferred humanitarian aid from the occupied West Bank to the Gaza Strip, and that it will be distributed to "displaced and affected families in central and southern Gaza".

"PRCS volunteers will distribute the meat over three consecutive days to thousands of families, in coordination with local community bodies and committees, to alleviate the suffering of the citizens in Gaza", the NGO said on X.

The delivery of humanitarian aid has been strained ever since Israel seized control and closed the Rafah border crossing with Egypt at the beginning of May.

Israelis protest outside of Netanyahu's home on gov't, Gaza
8:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

Large groups of Israelis have gathered outside of the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Caesarea, in the north of the country.

They are denouncing his government and its policy in the war on Gaza, and demanding early elections to replace him.

The footage shows the heavy presence of Israeli security personnel in the vicinity of the Israeli prime minister’s house.

Israel needs US ammunition in 'war for its existence': PM
7:32 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday the country needs ammunition from the United States in "the war for its existence", directly addressing the White House after it criticised him for complaining about arms deliveries related to the Gaza war.

"I am prepared to suffer personal attacks provided that Israel receives the ammunition from the US that it needs in the war for its existence," he said in a statement.

The Israeli leader's comments came after he angered Washington with a video statement this week accusing it of "withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel".

US officials have said they were not aware of what Netanyahu was referring to.

"Those comments were deeply disappointing and certainly vexing to us, given the amount of support that we have and will continue to provide," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists earlier on Thursday.

Any threat against Cyprus is a threat against EU, bloc says
7:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

"Any threat against one of our member states is a threat against the EU," the bloc's spokesperson Peter Stano said after the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened the island nation if it opened its airports or bases to Israel "to target Lebanon".

Stano made the comments as Cyprus is an EU member state.

Qassam Brigades shell Israeli army position in northern Gaza
6:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The armed wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, says on its official Telegram channel that it has attacked an Israeli army "command and control position" in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighbourhood with mortar fire.

It said the attack caused casualties and its fighters observed Israeli army medical evacuation teams landing to extract the "dead and wounded".

Lebanese officials work to maintain relations with Cyprus
6:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanese government officials worked Thursday to maintain friendly relations with Cyprus a day after the Hezbollah group threatened to attack the Mediterranean island if it allows Israel to use its territories to attack Lebanon.

Lebanon's state news agency said Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib told his Cypriot counterpart that Beirut relies on the positive role that Cyprus plays in support of stability in the Middle East.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Cyprus in a rare threat not to allow Israel’s military to use its airports on the island to bomb Lebanon should a full-blown war break out between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Some Lebanese media outlets reported earlier Thursday that the Cypriot embassy was closed but the mission later clarified that they were not accepting visa applications for administrative updates and the embassy will be introducing an appointments-based system as of Monday for visa applications.

Palestinians say Israeli troops kill teen in West Bank
5:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, amid escalating Israeli attacks in the territory since October 7.

The Israeli military has not immediately responded following the boy's death.

Naeem Abdullah Samha, 15, was killed "by occupation (Israeli army) bullets" in the city of Qalqilya, the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah said in a statement.

The Palestinian official news agency Wafa, citing local sources, reported that Samha was shot in the chest.

He was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead of his wounds there, the agency said, which gave no reason for the shooting.

Netanyahu criticism on weapons deliveries 'vexing': W. House
5:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism this week over US weapons deliveries to his country is "vexing," the White House said on Thursday.

"Those comments were deeply disappointing and certainly vexing to us, given the amount of support that we have and will continue to provide," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists.

In a video statement, Netanyahu said that while he appreciated America's support during the Gaza war, "it's inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel."

The United States however has said that there is only one shipment of 2,000 pound bombs that is under review because of concerns about their use in densely populated areas.

Kirby separately said that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is due to meet his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer on Thursday.

Washington is Israel's main military backer, but the White House has voiced frustration over the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, where Israel has conducted more than eight months of operations against Hamas.

Netanyahu to make first Israeli media appearance since Oct 7
4:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli news outlet The Times of Israel reports that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to make his Hebrew-language media appearance tonight on Israeli broadcaster Channel 14.

Said to be his first interview for Israeli media since October 7, Channel 14 is considered a mouthpiece for Netanyahu as he has previously not spoken to any outlets in Israel amid its relentless assault in Gaza. 

UN: Arms suppliers to Israel may be complicit in abuses
4:07 PM
The New Arab Staff

UN experts warn arms makers against supplying Israel, citing potential complicity in human rights abuses and international law violations.

They urge halting weapon transfers, even under existing licenses, to avoid aiding violations.

The group consisted 30 experts, including several UN Special Rapporteurs, said that manufacturers who are sending arms to Israel must halt their transfer of weapons "even if they are executed under existing export licenses."

"These companies, by sending weapons, parts, components, and ammunition to Israeli forces, risk being complicit in serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws," the experts said in a statement.

Israel has yet to comment, maintaining that it has not carried out violations against international law during its conduct in Gaza.

Israeli army: Friendly fire caused many 7 October casualties
3:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli army investigation suggested many casualties on 7 October were due to friendly fire.

The probe, reported by Israeli news outlet N12, cited multiple incidents of Israeli forces firing on each other during operations against Hamas in southern Israel.

Brigadier General Barak Hiram's expected appointment as head of the Gaza Division is likely delayed, pending an investigation into events at Kibbutz Beeri, where several Israeli captives were killed in crossfire.

According to the report, witnesses reported that the Israeli military launched a rocket-propelled grenade at a house, and Hiram instructed his men to "break in, even at the cost of civilian casualties."

Israeli officials to meet top White House adviser: official
3:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two top advisers to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday amid tensions between the two allies over Israel's war in the Gaza Strip, a US official told news agency Reuters.

Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Ron Dermer, Israel's minister for strategic affairs, will meet Sullivan as a larger, more formal "strategic dialogue" meeting was being rescheduled, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The White House official said the wider meeting has not been canceled but that details were being finalized.

"In the meantime, meetings with Israeli officials are being held throughout the week at expert and senior levels on a range of topics," the official said.

Hezbollah names fighter killed in Israel drone attack
2:46 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Lebanese group Hezbollah said its fighter Abbas (Fadel) Ibrahim Hamzeh Hmadeh was killed by an Israeli drone strike earlier today.

The Israeli military issued a statement confirmed it carried out the attack, and also named its target as Fadel Ibrahim.

According to the military, it said the Hezbollah member commanded the group’s ground forces in the Jouaiyya area and assisted in launching attacks against Israel.

Hezbollah fires rockets at Israel after fighter killed
2:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah said it fired "dozens" of rockets into northern Israel Thursday in retaliation for a deadly strike in south Lebanon, a day after a fiery speech from the group's leader.

Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) had reported one dead after an "enemy drone" struck a vehicle in south Lebanon's Deir Kifa area.

Hezbollah announced that one of its fighters had been killed. A source close to the group, requesting anonymity, told news agency AFP he was killed in the Deir Kifa strike.

The Israeli military said an air strike "eliminated" a Hezbollah operative in the Deir Kifa area, saying he was "responsible for planning and carrying out terror attacks against Israel and commanding Hezbollah ground forces" in south Lebanon's Jouaiyya area.

Elsewhere, Israeli fighter jets struck "a Hezbollah surface-to-air missile launcher that posed a threat to aircraft operating over Lebanon", the army statement added.

China, Malaysia call for permanent ceasefire
1:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Malaysia and China have called for an immediate, permanent ceasefire as the two countries expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Chinese premier Li Qiang emphasised the need to protect civilians under international law, as well as bringing unhindered humanitarian aid, as well as safeguardian relief and medical supplies.

"Both countries expressed full support for the resumption of the political settlement process based on the two-state solution, and for promoting a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date," a joint statement said.

Families of captives tell Netanyahu time is running out
12:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

The families of Gaza-held captives have issued a statement addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to immediately return the hostages to Israel by emphasising that "time is running out."

This comes after earlier reports detail that 50 out of 120 detainees held by Palestinian groups in Gaza "are still alive."

On social media platform X, the Families Forum said that Israel is obligated to bring back all abandoned detainees since October 7, responding to the latest US news reports.

"This sacred duty makes no distinction between the return of detainees alive for rehabilitation and the return of the deceased for burial." 

The group added that "Israel is obligated to repatriate all detainees to their homeland" and that it was "violating this sacred principle constitutes a breach of trust and undermines the established Israeli spirit of mutual guarantee."

"The international community must work towards the return of all 120 detainees and support Netanyahu's deal."

Cyprus denies Hezbollah claims of supporting Israeli army
12:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides has denied Hezbollah's allegations that Cyprus allowed Israel to use its airports and bases for military exercises.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Cyprus on Wednesday that such actions would be seen as participation in the conflict, prompting Hezbollah to respond accordingly if Lebanon were attacked from Cypriot territory.

However, Christodoulides dismissed claims that Cyprus had any involvement in the months-long devastating conflict in Gaza.

"I want to make it clear once again that Cyprus has absolutely no role and is not part of any problem," he said in a statement.

"On the contrary, our actions demonstrate that we are part of the solution," he added, referring to Cyprus's role in helping to establish a maritime aid route to Gaza.

"The Republic of Cyprus is not part of the problem, the Republic of Cyprus is part of the solution," Mr Christodoulides said. "And our role, as manifested, for example, through the humanitarian corridor [to Gaza] is being recognised not only by the Arab world, but by the entire international community."

Asked if he had any concerns about Nasrallah's accusations, the Cypriot president said that "the statements are not pleasant, but they do not correspond in any way to what is alleged, that is, to present the image that Cyprus is involved in the war activities. That is not the case at all."

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides on June 17 [Getty]
As few as 50 captives remain alive in Gaza: report
12:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

As few as 50 of the nearly 120 Israeli captives in Gaza are believed to be alive, according to US news outlet Wall Street Journal.

This aligns with Hamas claims that 70 captives died from Israeli airstrikes or lack of medicine.

Israel has confirmed 41 deaths so far.

Hamas captured about 250 people on October 7, releasing 109 mainly through exchange deals.

Additionally, Israel's military has rescued seven captives.

Israeli drone attack kills one in southern Lebanon: report
11:39 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to Lebanon’s National News Agency and Annahar reports that an Israeli drone attack, which fired a series of missiles at a vehicle travelling towards the town of Srifa, killed one person.

This comes as the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that there would be "no place" anywhere in Israel that would be safe if a wider war ensues.

Health ministry in Gaza says war death toll at 37,431
11:36 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said Thursday that at least 37,431 people have been killed in the territory during more than eight months of war in the Gaza Strip.

The toll includes at least 35 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding 85,653 people had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 attack.

Israeli attacks target targets Gaza City road: AJE
10:29 AM
The New Arab Staff

News publication Al Jazeera English has reported that Israeli forces have conducted an attack on a road south of Gaza City, leading to the killing of one person and injuring others.

The bombardment targetted Gaza's Road 8 which follows a series of deadly attacks in central Gaza which includes eastern Deir el Balah and the Nuseirat refugee camp.

Al Araby TV journalist describe torture in Israeli detention
10:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

Al Araby TV journalist Mohammed Saber Arab recounted instances of torture, abuse, and rape at the Israeli Sde Teiman detention camp.

Speaking to his lawyer, the Palestinian journalist was arrested at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza during a large-scale Israeli assault in March and also described detainees being kept blindfolded, handcuffed, and deprived of basic needs.

He said detainees endured constant torture, physical and sexual abuse, and humiliation, resulting in deaths.

Conversations between detainees are prohibited, with severe beatings as punishment. Some detainees had limbs amputated and bullets removed without anesthesia. Surrounded by police dogs, detainees are given minimal toilet access and sleep on the ground using their shoes as pillows.

Hamas denounces 'vindictive' re-arrest of speaker Dweik
9:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas has condemned the re-arrest of Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Aziz Dweik by Israeli forces in Hebron.

The group called the arrest "vindictive" and held Israel responsible for his safety.

Dweik, 77, was detained without trial for nearly nine months before his release last week.

In an Al Jazeera interview, he accused Israeli forces of abusing Palestinian prisoners, including food deprivation and medical neglect.

Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council [Getty]
US military's stop-start Gaza pier to resume operations
9:02 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US military's on-again, off-again floating pier in Gaza is expected to resume operations on Thursday to unload sorely needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the pier had been re-attached to the shore on Wednesday after being temporarily removed last Friday due to poor sea conditions.

Aid began arriving via the US-built pier on May 17, and the UN said it transported 137 trucks of aid to warehouses, some 900 metric tons.

But then rough seas damaged the pier, forcing repairs, and poor weather and security considerations have limited the number of days it has been operational.

US President Joe Biden announced in March the plan to put the pier in place for aid deliveries as famine loomed in Gaza, an enclave of 2.3 million people, during the war between Israel and the Palestinian militants.

The US military estimates the pier will cost more than $200 million for the first 90 days and involve about 1,000 service members.

It is unclear how much longer it will be operational.

Speaking at the Pentagon on Tuesday, spokesperson Air Force Major General Patrick Ryder declined to say when the military might halt its pier operations altogether. He said the pier has so far allowed for a total of over 3,500 metric tons of aid to reach Gaza's shores.

"With the caveat that this has always been intended to be a temporary pier, I'm not aware at this point of any established date of: 'This is when we're going to stop,'" he told reporters.

"And again, taking a step back here, the big picture: Whether it be by land, sea or air, (the United States is) employing all avenues to get assistance into Gaza."

Hezbollah's Nasrallah warns archenemy Israel about wider war
8:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Lebanon’s Hezbollah has new weapons and intelligence capabilities that could help it target more critical positions deeper inside Israel in case of an all-out war, the group's leader warned on Wednesday.

Hassan Nasrallah’s comments came as the monthslong cross-border conflict simmering between Hezbollah and Israel appears to be reaching a boiling point and a day after a top US envoy met Lebanese officials in his latest attempt to ease tensions.

"We now have new weapons. But I won’t say what they are," he said in a televised address commemorating a top Hezbollah commander killed in an Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon last week. "When the decision is made, they will be seen on the front lines."

Nasrallah said a wider war with Lebanon would have regional implications and that Hezbollah would attack any other country in the region backing Israel, citing Cyprus, which has hosted Israeli forces for training exercises.

Israel army spokesman says Hamas can't be eliminated
8:24 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's top army spokesman said Wednesday that Hamas cannot be eliminated, prompting a knee-jerk reaction from the government which quickly reiterated it remains committed to the Palestinian group's destruction.

More than eight months of war since the unprecedented October 7 attack have failed to oust the group from Gaza but have brought widespread devastation.

"To say that we are going to make Hamas disappear is to throw sand in people's eyes. If we don't provide an alternative, in the end, we will have Hamas," Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told Israel's Channel 13 broadcaster.

"Hamas is an ideology, we cannot eliminate an ideology."

His comments were quickly rebuffed by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose cabinet has stated its Gaza offensive will not end until Hamas is defeated.

"The political and security cabinet headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu defined as one of the goals of the war the destruction of Hamas' military and governmental capabilities," his office said in a statement.

In a separate statement on its Telegram channel, the military clarified that Hagari had addressed Hamas "as an ideology... and his statements were clear and explicit".

"Any other claim is taking the statement out of context."

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari (L)
US military says strikes hit targets in Houthi-run area
8:16 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US military said on Wednesday it had destroyed one ground control station and one command and control node in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

In a statement, the US military's Central Command added its forces also destroyed two Houthi drone boats in the Red Sea.

The Iran-aligned Houthis first launched drone and missile strikes in the key waterway in November in what they say is solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. In over 70 attacks, they have sunk two vessels, seized another and killed at least three seafarers.