Israel 'to step up' air strikes on Gaza as UN calls for humanitarian ceasefire, further aid access

Israel 'to step up' air strikes on Gaza as UN calls for humanitarian ceasefire, further aid access
Israel late on Saturday said it would step up its strikes on Gaza in a bid to 'pressure' Hamas, following two weeks of relentless bombardment which has killed at least 4,385 Palestinians.
28 min read
21 October, 2023
Israel's war on Gaza has been ongoing for two weeks, further killing its population and devastating its infrastructure [Getty]

Israel said it would step up its strikes in Gaza in a means to pressure Hamas, its military spokesperson said, after two weeks of indiscriminate shelling of the enclave which has killed nearly 4,400 people.

Israel has also massed tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks along the Gaza border for a widely anticipated ground invasion.

Gazans have had their homes, hospitals, schools and places of worship relentlessly bombarded since October 7.

Meanwhile, many UN bodies have urged a ceasefire and unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza after 20 trucks carrying a shipment of aid reached the enclave through the Rafah crossing.

"We call for a humanitarian ceasefire, along with immediate, unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza to allow humanitarian actors to reach civilians in need, save lives and prevent further human suffering," the joint statement from the UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP and WHO said.

Some 20 trucks of desperately needed humanitarian aid entered Gaza on Saturday through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, according to Palestinian security sources and local eyewitnesses.

Security sources said the drivers of the trucks arrived at the Palestinian Rafah border to be emptied of their aid, which will be handed over to the UN's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

An official from the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip told The New Arab that the aid which came in from Egypt was not enough.

"Such a limited convoy will not be able to change the humanitarian catastrophe that the Gaza Strip is experiencing," Salama Maarouf said.

5:54 AM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's live blog has now ended, and will resume tomorrow at 7am GMT.

Follow The New Arab on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news on Israel's war in Gaza.

5:19 AM
The New Arab Staff

Over 50 killed in Israeli strikes across Gaza on Saturday

Over 50 Palestinians have been killed in a number of Israeli strikes across Gaza, Palestinian media sources said, on Saturday night.

Palestinians were killed in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood of eastern Gaza, with five members of the Yassine family losing their lives.

Another strike killed at least eight victims after it targeted a restaurant in the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza.

Another 11 Palestinians were killed in western Rafah, with many more injured.


4:14 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US sending air defence systems to Israel, Pentagon says


The United States will send an Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and additional Patriot air defense missile system battalions to the Middle East, the Pentagon said on Saturday, in response to recent attacks on U.S. troops in the region.

"Following detailed discussions with President (Joe) Biden on recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East Region, today I directed a series of additional steps to further strengthen the Department of Defense posture in the region," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

Austin said he was placing additional troops on prepare-to-deploy orders, but did not say how many.


3:22 AM
The New Arab Staff

Protests in support of Gaza around the world

Thousands of demonstrators around the world took to the streets on Saturday to protest Israel's war on Gaza, which has now entered its sixteenth day.

Protests were held in the UK capital London, the US, France and South Korea, where people could be seen brandishing the Palestinian nation flag and shouting pro-Palestinian slogans.

Attendance in the British capital was as high as 300,000, organisers said.

Pro-Palestinian protest in London, UK
Reports said that over 300,000 people protested in support of Palestine in London, UK, on Saturday [credit: Abdelrahman Fares]

A massive protest also took place in the French city of Lyon, despite a ban on pro-Palestinian protests imposed by President Emmanuel Macron.

Hundreds of people in France have been fined with dozens arrested since October 12.


1:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

Premature babies 'at risk' in Gaza as fuel supplies wane

The depleting fuel supplies in the war-torn, besieged Gaza Strip are putting the lives of 130 premature babies at risk, doctors have warned.

"The lives of 130 premature babies in #Gaza are in imminent danger due to the lack of fuel. The world cannot simply look on as these babies are killed by the siege on Gaza...," Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) warned.

In a statement, MAP CEO Melanie Ward called on world leaders to "demand that Israel urgently allow fuel in to Gaza’s hospitals."

"A failure to act is to sentence these babies to death," she added.

1:22 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli strikes kill two Palestinians in Jenin

Israeli aircraft killed two Palestinians and wounded several others the Jenin refugee camp, occupied West Bank early on Sunday, Palestinian medics said.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the air strike, which is at least the second to hit the West Bank in recent days.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said the strike hit an area near al-Ansar Mosque in Jenin refugee camp. Jenin has been subject to numerous raids and attacks by Israeli forces this year, while an uptick in violence has been witnessed due to anger and protests over Israel's war in Gaza.


12:33 AM
The New Arab Staff

Over 1,600 children killed by Israel in Gaza war

Israel has killed over 1,661 children during its war on the besieged Strip ongoing for two weeks, the Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) NGO said on Saturday, as cited by the Palestinian official news agency Wafa.

Israel has launched relentless strikes on the enclave since October 7, in retaliation for a cross-border attack carried out by Hamas on October 7. Overall, at least 4,385 have been killed in the devastating war.

During the same period, an additional 27 children were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. 

Children make up a large quantity of casualties in Israel's war on Gaza [Getty]
12:06 AM
The New Arab Staff

At least 11 killed in Israeli strike on Khan Younis cafe

At least 11 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli strike late on a cafe in Khan Younis on Saturday, local media said.

According to the Quds News Network outlet, many Gazans were taking refuge in the cafe.

11:43 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli army denies considering those who don't evacuate northern Gazan as 'terrorists'

The Israeli army denied that it will tell those not yet evacuating northern Gaza that they will be considered as 'terrorists'.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the army said: "The translation from Arabic that has now spread across platforms is imprecise." "To clarify, the IDF, has no intention of considering those who have yet to evacuate as a member of a terrorist group."

The army went on to say that those who have yet to evacuate Gaza are "endangering themselves".

11:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas says Israel declined to receive two hostages intended for release

Hamas claimed that the group had wanted to release two more hostages on humanitarian grounds but that Israel declined to receive them.

Abu Ubaida, spokesman for Hamas' armed wing, said it informed Qatar of the group's intention to release the two additional people on Friday, the same day it freed Americans Judith Tai Ranaan and her daughter Natalie.

In a later statement, Abu Ubaida said Hamas was ready to free the two people on Sunday "using the same procedures" involved in the release of Judith and Natalie.

The Palestinian group captured around 210 people during its deadly assault in southern Israel on Oct. 7. Qatar, which helped mediate Friday's release, had no immediate comment.

Israel reacted, saying Hamas' claims were 'propaganda'. In a brief statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said: "We will not refer to false propaganda by Hamas."

The statement added: "We will continue to act in every way to return all the kidnapped and missing people home."


10:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Biden 'talking to the Israelis' on Gaza offensive delay

US President Joe Biden said on Saturday that he was talking to the Israelis, when asked whether he his encouraging them to delay an invasion of Gaza.

"I'm talking to the Israelis," Biden told reporters


9:37 PM
William Christou

Israeli jets strike Lebanon, five Hezbollah fighters killed

Israeli jets carried out a barrage of air strikes in southwest Lebanon on Saturday night, killing at least five Hezbollah fighters and marking the first time that Israeli jets struck Lebanese territory since the start of border clashes on 8 October.

Read more from our Levant correspondent William Christou.

Clashes have increased along the Israel-Lebanon border since the war in Gaza began [Getty]
9:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

Tunisian NGOs rejecting Western funding over Gaza stance

NGOs in Tunisia are reportedly boycotting Western funders due to their position on the Palestinian cause amid Israel's war on Gaza, Tunisia expert Mohamed Dhia Hammami said.

One organisation, I WATCH, which aims to fight corruption and enhance transparency, said it would be rejecting  Western funders based on the US's decision to veto a United Nations Security Council on a humanitarian pause allowing access to aid in Gaza.

Many left-leaning organisations are boycotting the Germany-based Rosa Luxemburg Foundation over its "both sides" rhetoric that it has employed since Israel's war in Gaza began on October 7.

In an official statement, the NGOs condemned the German organistion for its "equation of the barbaric Zionist executioner with Palestinian victims dispossessed from their land and rights."

8:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Situation in Gaza 'catastrophic': five UN agencies

The statement by the UN agencies came as the first aid trucks arrived in Gaza from Egypt Saturday.

"More than 1.6 million people in Gaza are in critical need of humanitarian aid," said the statement from agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, the children's agency.

"Children, pregnant women and the elderly remain the most vulnerable. Nearly half of Gaza's population are children," it added.

"Gaza was a desperate humanitarian situation before the most recent hostilities," it added.

"It is now catastrophic. The world must do more."

The other three agencies to sign the statement were the World Food Programme, the development agency UNDP and the UNFPA, the population fund.

8:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish pianist's concerts cancelled in Switzerland over Israel criticism

World-renowned Turkish composer and pianist Fazil Say has said his concerts planned next week in Switzerland were cancelled by organisers over his social media posts criticising Israel's war in Gaza.

Say was due to perform with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Zurich, Bern, Geneva and Lucerne from Monday to Thursday.

But he says he was removed from the lineup of the planned concerts organised by the event unit of the retail company Migros.

"Officials from MIGROS cited the ideas I expressed on the Israel-Palestine tension on my social media as the reason," Say posted on his official social media account on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

"Everything I've written remains on my social media without any changes," he said.

In one of his comments, Say responded to a message posted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on X where he accused Israel of a rocket strike on a hospital in Gaza this week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Netanyahu should stand trial for war crimes, genocide and massacres," Say commented.

The pianist has also criticised Hamas, saying in an October 13 video on Instagram that "nobody in the world would approve innocent people being attacked with weapons, thousands of people dying".

Fazil Say is a world-renowned Turkish pianist [Getty]
7:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar says mediation will lead to Hamas hostage releases 'very soon'

Qatar, a key power in the efforts to release hostages seized by Hamas from Israel, believes they can be released "very soon" thanks to ongoing discussions, a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman told the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper Saturday.

Doha's mediation played a key role in the release on Friday evening of two American hostages who had been held since the Palestinian militant group's attack against Israel on October 7, with the Gulf state adding that it was in talks with Israel and Hamas.

"I can't promise you this will happen today or tomorrow or after tomorrow. But we are taking a path that will very soon lead to release of the hostages, especially civilians," Majed Al-Ansari said.

"We are currently working on an agreement under which all civilian hostages will be initially released," he added.

7:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel to 'step up' strikes on Gaza: military spokesperson

Israel is to step up its relentless and indiscriminate strikes in Gaza to increase pressure on Hamas, a military spokesman told a press conference on Saturday.

Israel has launched devastating air and ground bombardments of Gaza for two weeks, killing 4,385 Palestinians and wounding over 13,000.

Thousands of residential buildings and key infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed, including churches and hospitals.

Israel has also massed tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks along the Gaza border for a widely anticipated ground invasion.

"We have to enter the next phase of the war in the best conditions, not according to what anyone tells us. From today, we are increasing the strikes and minimising the danger," military spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari told a press conference.

His comments came hours after the first international aid to reach Gaza since October 7 crossed the border from Egypt into the besieged Palestinian territory.

6:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Liverpool fans wave Palestinian flags despite ban

Liverpool FC fans attending the club's game against Everton on Saturday were seen waving Palestinian flags from the stands despite the English Premier League placing a ban on such.

Fans brandished the national flag of Palestine and lifted several banners containing pro-Palestinian messages, such as "For God's Sake Save Gaza," as they watched the Reds play against their rivals from at Anfield.

Earlier this week, the Premier League said both Palestinian and Israeli flags were banned from football matches in a bid to "avoid any potential incidents."

5:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah says fighter killed in exchange of fire with Israel

After reports earlier of an exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah at the border, a fighter from the Lebanese group has been killed in the fighting, according to the Iran-linked group. 

A security source in Lebanon said the fighter was killed in the Lebanese area of Hula, which lies opposite Margaliot on the Israeli side which Israel said was the target of an anti-tank missile attack. The Israeli army said it fired back.


5:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel and Hezbollah exchange fire along border

Casualties were reported along the Israel-Lebanon border Saturday as the army traded fire with Hezbollah amid fears of a new front opening as Israel wages war on the Gaza strip.

Israel already ordered the evacuation of Kiryat Shmona, a border town which is home to some 25,000 people, as the border area has come fire from Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah said one of its fighters had been killed while in Israel, two Thai farm workers were wounded, emergency services said.

A senior Hezbollah official warned that the movement stood ready to step up its involvement as Israel masses troops on the Gaza border, vowing to destroy Palestinian militant group Hamas in response to its shock cross-border attacks on October 7.

"Let's be clear, as events unfold, if something comes up that calls for greater intervention by us, we will do so," said Hezbollah number two Naim Qassem.

In northern Israel, a strike in the Margaliot area of the border wounded two Thai farm workers, Israel's Magen David Adom emergency medical service said.

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One was wounded in the chest, the other sustained a limb injury, the service said.

There are around 30,000 Thai labourers in Israel, many working in the agricultural sector.

Since October 7, exchanges of fire across the border have killed at least four people in Israel -- three soldiers and one civilian.

In southern Lebanon, at least 23 people have been killed. Most have been combatants, but at least four civilians, including a Reuters journalist, have also been killed.

Saturday's exchanges came as Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant visited the northern border, where he called on troops to remain "vigilant".

"Hezbollah has decided to participate in the fighting, and is paying a price for it. We must be vigilant and prepare for every possible (scenario). Great challenges await us," Gallant said.

5:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas commander and his family killed in Israeli air raid

A Hamas military commander has been killed in an Israeli air raid on his house in central Gaza, Al Jazeera reported this afternoon.

Talal al-Hindi, an al-Qassam Brigades commander, was killed along with his wife, Fadwa, daughter, Isra, and niece, Bara’.

Dozens of people remain under the rubble of their home after the attack, witnesses say.

5:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel doubles number of Palestinian prisoners to 10,000

Israel has doubled the number of Palestinians in its custody over the past two weeks, arresting thousands of people since its bombardment on the Gaza Strip began.

There were about 5,200 Palestinians in Israeli prison prior to October 7 when Hamas launched an attack on Israel and, according to Palestinian officials, that number has now risen to more than 10,000 people.

Israel has arrested around 4,000 labourers from Gaza who were working in Israel and is holding them in military bases.

It has also arrested 1,070 Palestinians in overnight army raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

5:14 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel says 'private homes' can now be designated as 'legitimate targets'

A senior Israeli military official says there is a change in what they consider to be a "legitimate target" in Gaza, as reported by the Israeli media. 

The official said that the definition of what constitutes a “legitimate target” has changed, because the alleged use of civilian infrastructure by Hamas “turns a private home into a legitimate target ... And anyone who supports that home is a legitimate target."

Targeting civilians or known civilian areas under any circumstances is considered to be a war crime. 


4:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel telling Gaza City residents that they will be considered a 'terrorist' and 'bear the consequences' if they do not leave

Palestinians in Gaza City are receiving threatening messages from Israel telling them that if they do not leave their homes for the south they will be "treated as collaborators" and "terrorists and "bear the consequences", according to Al Jazeera's Gaza City correspondent Youma ElSayid.

"Since the morning, we are getting calls on our mobile phones with a recording by the Israeli army. It says any person who has returned to or is still in Gaza City is a terrorist and is considered a collaborator," she wrote. 

There have also been unconfirmed images on social media of leaflets dropped by Israel on Northern Gaza with the same message, namely that anyone left in the North will be considered an enemy combatant. 

It is illegal under international law to arbitrarily redefine the difference between civilians and combatants in combat situations. 


4:07 PM
The New Arab Staff

Only 3 percent of required medical aid entered Gaza today

Only 3 percent of the medical aid necessary to meet the humanitarian needs of the Gaza Strip has entered the besieged coastal enclave today, the health ministry says.

Only 20 trucks of humanitarian aid were allowed into Gaza via the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, as reported earlier. 

The New Arab's Egypt correspondent also reported that the crossing would close for the rest of the day. 

Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, told DW news that it made a difference to the few people who receive it, but called it a “drop in the bucket”.

3:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas says it won't discuss fate of Israeli army captives until end of 'aggression' on Gaza

Hamas said on Saturday it won't discuss the fate of Israeli army captives until Israel ends its "aggression" on the Gaza strip.

"Our stance with regards to Israeli army captives is clear: it's related to a (possible) exchange of prisoners, and we will not discuss it until Israel ends its aggression on Gaza and Palestinians," Hamas official Osama Hamdan, speaking from Lebanon, told a televised presser.

On Friday, it was confirmed that Hamas had freed two US hostages after mediation provided by Qatar.

(The New Arab Staff and Reuters)


3:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK FM Cleverly calls for restraint from Israel military

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Saturday he had spoken to the Israeli government about its duty to respect international law and to preserve civilian lives in Gaza, calling for its military to show restraint.

"The UK is clear and has been consistently clear that Israel has the right to self defence and the right to secure the release of those who are kidnapped on 7 October," Cleverly told the Cairo Peace Summit hosted by Egypt.

"We are also clear that we must work and they must work to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza, and that their actions are in accordance with international law.

"Despite the incredibly difficult circumstances, I have called for discipline and professionalism and restraint from the Israeli military," he added. 

3:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza children 'developing serious trauma symptoms' say psychiatrists as Israeli bombardment rages

Gaza's children are showing ever more signs of trauma two weeks into Israel's intense bombardment, parents and psychiatrists in the tiny, crowded enclave say, with no safe place to hide from the falling bombs and little prospect of respite.

Children make up about half of Gaza's 2.3 million population, living under near constant bombardment with many packed into temporary shelters in U.N.-run schools after fleeing their homes with little food or clean water.

"Children ... have started to develop serious trauma symptoms such as convulsions, bed-wetting, fear, aggressive behaviour, nervousness, and not leaving their parents' sides," said Gaza psychiatrist Fadel Abu Heen.

More than 4,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza so far, including more than 1,500 children, while 13,000 people have been injured according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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Conditions in makeshift shelters in United Nations schools, where more than 380,000 people are camped out in hope of escaping the bombardment, only compound the problem.

There are sometimes 100 people sleeping in each classroom, which all require continuous cleaning. There is little electricity and water so bathrooms and toilets are very dirty.

"Our children suffer a lot at night. They cry all night, they pee themselves without meaning to and I don't have time to clean up after them, one after the other," said Tahreer Tabash, a mother of six children sheltering in a school.

Even there, they are not safe. Such schools have been hit several times, the United Nations has said, and Tabash has seen strikes hitting nearby buildings. When her children hear so much as a chair being moved, they jump in fear, she said.

"That lack of any safe place has created a general sense of fear and horror among the entire population and children are most impacted," said Abu Heen.

"Some of them reacted directly and expressed their fears. Although they may need immediate intervention, they may be in a better state than the other kids who kept the horror and trauma inside them," he said.


2:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

Thousands attend Palestine solidarity mach in London

Tens of thousands of people from across the UK are today marching from Marble Arch to 10 Downing Street in a display of solidarity with the Palestinian people, as well as "demanding an end to Israel’s ongoing war crimes and violations of international law in Gaza," the group Friends of Al-Aqsa said in a statement.

“As we stand united in our thousands on the streets of London, this marks a watershed moment, a turning point in the history of British solidarity with Palestine” says Dr Ismail Patel of Friends of Al-Aqsa said in the statement, 

“The climate surrounding Palestine is shifting. Today, the British people are standing in solidarity with Palestinians like never before. Communities from across the UK have come together to send a clear message to the British government: the era of complicity in Israeli war crimes must end. Political and economic sanctions must be imposed on the apartheid state. We will not stop until Israel has stopped violating international law and Palestine is free", the statement added. 

2:46 PM
The New Arab Staff

Exclusion of fuel from Gaza aid could lead to 'more victims' dying in hospitals

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has issued a statement emphasising that the exclusion of fuel from the 20 trucks of humanitarian aid that were allowed into the enclave today will put the lives of the sick and wounded in further danger.

“We appeal to the international community and Egypt to work immediately to bring in fuel and emergency health needs before more victims are lost in hospitals,” the statement said.

2:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN agency says 17 staff killed since start of 'vicious' Gaza war

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said Saturday at least 17 of its staff had been killed in the Gaza war, warning that the death toll would likely rise.

"To date, 17 of our colleagues have been confirmed killed in this vicious war. Very sadly, the actual numbers are likely to be higher," UNRWA said in a statement.

2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Bodies of 43 Palestinians 'buried in mass grave'

The bodies of at least 43 unidentified Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have been buried in a mass grave, the government media office in Gaza said on Saturday.

“This is the second time that dozens of unidentified Palestinians have been buried since the beginning of the war," Salama Marouf, the head of the media office, told Anadolu.

The accumulation of bodies in the courtyards, rooms and refrigerators of hospitals prompted residents of the besieged strip to dig mass graves in the gardens of their homes, according to an Anadolu correspondent.

2:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

80% of burns victims are children, but dressings are unavailable

In an update on the lack of medical supplies in Gaza, surgeon Ghassan Abu Sitta has said on X that medical workers in the besieged and bombarded enclave have run out of burns dressings. He also said that 80% of burns victims are children.

1:13 PM
The New Arab Staff

Rafah aid deliveries to Gaza 'a drop in the ocean'

Marc Owen Jones,  Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies and Digital Humanities at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Doha, has told The New Arab that the aid delivered to Gaza via Rafah earlier today is completely inadequate.

"20 trucks is less than food for a week for half a million people, never mind the 2 million people in Gaza and it doesn't even include fuel," Professor Owen Jones said.

Fuel is of particular importance, given its is required to pump the water supply and to power generators used for operating crucial facilities such as hospitals in Gaza. 

"Its a drop in the ocean, and complete token gesture that will do little to alleviate suffering", Owen Jones continued.

"Add to that the Israelis are still bombing Gaza indicating future aid convoys are going to be complicated by a clear lack of faith on the Israeli part," he concluded. 

12:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza death toll rises to 4,385

This is latest update by Gaza's Ministry of Health:

4,385 people have been killed so far in Israeli attacks, including 1,756 children and 967 women.

Another 13,561 people have been wounded.

70 percent of victims of Israeli attacks are children, women and the elderly.

51 medical staff have been killed, with 87 others wounded.

A large number of people are still missing and under rubble.

12:41 PM
The New Arab Staff

UNICEF aid plane arrives at Arish Airport from the UAE, in preparation for entry to Gaza

This Saturday morning, a humanitarian aid plane from the United Nations organization UNICEF arrived at Arish International Airport, coming from the United Arab Emirates, according to a source who spoke to The New Arab's Egypt correspondent.

This is the fourth batch of humanitarian aid from UNICEF arriving from the UAE at Arish Airport.

The Egyptian Red Crescent in North Sinai received the humanitarian aid, in preparation for its entry to Gaza once the Rafah international crossing is opened later on. Dr. Khaled Zayed, the head of the Egyptian Red Crescent in North Sinai said they were awaiting permission to bring the humanitarian and medical aid into Gaza in due time.

Earlier this morning, the Rafah crossing was opened to allow the entry of 20 aid trucks to Gaza. 

12:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

'We can relate to what is happening to Palestinians’: South African president

Cyril Ramaphosa also addressed the Cairo Peace Summit.

“As South Africa, we hold the firm view that the attack on civilians in Israel, the ongoing siege in Gaza and the decision to move the people of Gaza together with the indiscriminate use of force through bombing and destruction of infrastructure … are violations of international law,” the South African president said, as reported by Al Jazeera.

“As South Africans, we can relate to what is happening to Palestinians. Our people waged a brave and courageous struggle to achieve their freedom and were subjected to untold suffering just like Palestinians are going through. But we had courageous leaders who were able to set aside their differences for peace and bring the system of apartheid to an end,” he added.

“We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, for the release of hostages, the lifting of the siege of Gaza, and for opening humanitarian corridors, so that basic necessities such as food and medicines, can go through … for the people of Palestine.”

12:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN chief urges ceasefire to end Gaza's 'godawful nightmare'

UN chief Antonio Guterres pleaded Saturday for a "humanitarian ceasefire" in the war between Israel and Hamas militants that has devastated much of Gaza, demanding "action to end this godawful nightmare".

Addressing a Cairo summit as the conflict raged into its third week, Guterres said the Palestinian enclave of 2.4 million people was living through "a humanitarian catastrophe" with thousands dead and more than a million displaced.

"We meet in the heart of a region that is reeling in pain and one step from the precipice," he told the meeting that included the leaders of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as well as of Italy and Spain and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

12:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

'We will remain on our land,' Palestinian President Abbas tells Cairo Peace Summit

Also speaking at the Cairo Peace Summit was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who told attendees during his opening speech that: "we won't leave, we will remain on our land". 

We will never accept relocation, we will remain on our land whatever the challenges,” Abbas said before calling for sustained aid to be allowed into the besieged enclave, according to Al Jazeera.

“We also oppose the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he added.

11:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt’s Al-Sisi says agreement reached with US to operate Rafah border ‘continuously’

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has begun his speech at the opening of the Cairo Peace Summit.

He told the gathered leaders that he invited leaders to come to agreement for a roadmap to end the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and revive a path to peace, reports Reuters.

He says he has agreed with US President Joe Biden to operate the Rafah crossing “continuously” under the supervision of the United Nations and the Palestinian Red Crescent, according to Al Jazeera

“Egypt didn’t close the Rafah crossing at any moment,” Al-Sisi said.

He added the repeated Israeli bombardment on the Palestinian side had curtailed humanitarian agencies from reaching the enclave.

11:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

King Abdullah calls what Israel is doing in Gaza a 'war crime' - Cairo summit

Jordan's King Abdullah said in his opening speech at the Cairo Peace Summit on Saturday said that Israel is committing a war crime in Gaza, while also saying that the forced internal or external displacement of Palestinians by Israel would be a war crime too.

Speaking to the summit, Abdullah said:

"The relentless bombing of Gaza is cruel on every level.

It is a flagrant violation of international and humanitarian law, it is a war crime, yet the deeper crisis cuts of cruelty the less the world seems to care.

“Anywhere else attacking civilian infrastructure and deliberately starving an entire population of food, water, electricity and basic necessities would be condemned, accountability would be enforced immediately, unequivocally. It has been done before, recently, in another conflict, but not in Gaza," the King continued.

11:13 AM
The New Arab Staff

Update on re-closing of the Rafah crossing with Gaza after entry of 20 agreed-upon aid trucks

It looks like the 20 aid trucks that entered Gaza earlier are all the enclave could be getting for today.

An Egyptian security source told The New Arab's Egypt correspondent that 20 trucks of humanitarian and medical aid were allowed entry from the Rafah land crossing on the Egyptian side to Gaza. 

As soon as the twenty trucks finished crossing and unloading their cargo inside the Rafah crossing on the Palestinian side, they returned to the Egyptian side and the Rafah land border crossing was closed again, the source said. It will remain closed until new instructions for its reopening are received.

It is expected that the Rafah crossing will be reopened tomorrow, Sunday, to continue the crossing and entry of the remaining trucks, the source told The New Arab.

10:57 AM
The New Arab Staff

Egyptian authorities 'shut down' Rafah crossing again

Following the entry of 20 aid trucks into Gaza earlier today, Egyptian authorities have allegedly shut the crossing down again, according to local sources who spoke to The New Arab's Egypt correspondent.

10:46 AM
The New Arab Staff

WHO: Four aid trucks 'en route' to Gaza

The WHO has said in a post on X that has four aid trucks heading to Gaza via the Rafah crossing in Egypt. The besieged enclave is in dire need of aid and usually hundreds of aid trucks would enter it every day during peacetime. Analysts and officials on the ground in Gaza have said today's aid is a drop in the ocean compared to the enclave's needs. 

10:26 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thirteen killed in Israeli air raid in Deir el-Balah: Report

At least 13 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air raid in Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, the Shehab news agency has reported.

The attack struck a single residential unit, the report said.

10:18 AM
The New Arab Staff

Aid into Gaza won't change 'humanitarian catastrophe', say Hamas

Hamas have said that the 20 truckloads of humanitarian aid that entered Gaza today through the Rafah crossing from Egypt is not enough for locals suffering from the devastating consequences of the current conflict with Israel.

“The humanitarian aid includes medicines, medical equipment, and some food supplies,” Salama Maarouf, the head of the Hamas-run government office in Gaza, said in a brief statement sent to The New Arab.

Maarouf said that “such a limited convoy will not be able to change the humanitarian catastrophe that the Gaza Strip is experiencing.”

He stressed that “it is important to establish a safe corridor that works around the clock to provide humanitarian and service needs that no longer function.”

“Moreover, we need to allow the wounded and injured to exit to receive appropriate medical care in light of the current inability to provide it from the health system,” he explained.

8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

20 Trucks of humanitarian aid enter Gaza through Rafah border crossing

About 20 trucks of humanitarian aid entered on Saturday to the besieged coastal enclave through the Rafah border crossing, controlled by Egypt, according to Palestinian security sources and local eyewitnesses.

Palestinian security sources told The New Arab's Gaza correspondent that “the drivers of the trucks arrived in the Palestinian Rafah border to be ready from their aid to be handed over to the United Nations Relief of Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).