Israel targets Gaza 'safe zone' as truce talks continue

Israel targets Gaza 'safe zone' as truce talks continue
Hamas has said the the changes it proposed are 'not significant' and include the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.
17 min read

Mediators are continuing to push Hamas and Israel to agree to a Gaza ceasefire deal, after the Palestinian group submitted amendments to a proposal pushed forward by Washington.

Hamas says the changes are "not significant" and include the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, a senior leader in the group told Reuters on Thursday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Hamas had proposed numerous changes, some unworkable, to the Washington-backed proposal, but that mediators were determined to close the gaps.

The US has said Israel has accepted its proposal, but Israel has not publicly stated this, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he will not commit to ending its campaign before Hamas is eliminated.

4:00 AM

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Israeli forces arrest 13-year-old boy in Jenin
2:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces arrested a 13-year-old Palestinian boy from Jenin late on Thursday, the Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

The child, identified as Tamer Muhammad Sayed Ali, while he was passing through a military checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jenin.

The same sources added that the occupation forces stormed the villages of Zabuba and Rummana, west of Jenin, without any arrests being reported.

Israel bombs al-Mughraqa, central Gaza: Al Jazeera
1:13 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have carried out bombing raids on the al-Mughraqa area and the vicinity of Netzarim Junction, north of the Nuseirat camp, in the central Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera has reported.

Gaza City 'unhabitable' since war: Phillipe Lazzarini
11:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini said Gaza City has now 'become unhabitable' following months of war waged by Israel on the enclave.

The UNRWA official added that the enclave's capital was 'once vibrant', but has since been flattened by Israel's relentless bombardment.

One woman killed by Israeli strike in Lebanon
11:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A woman has been killed and many more wounded in an Israeli raid on the town of Janata, in Lebanon.

Pro-Palestine student protesters thrash university building
10:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

Demonstrators protesting Israel’s war on Gaza have occupied and trashed a building at California State University, Los Angeles.

The CSULA Gaza Solidarity Encampment, a group that has camped near the campus gym for about 40 days, sent an email indicating its members were staging a sit-in in the building. Images from the scene showed graffiti on the building, furniture blocking doorways, and overturned golf carts, picnic tables and umbrellas barricading the plaza out front.

Protesters barricaded the multistorey student services building with university President Berenecea Johnson Eanes and dozens of other employees inside, spokesperson Erik Frost Hollins said.

Houthi missile attack severely injures sailor on cargo ship
9:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two cruise missiles launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels struck a bulk cargo carrier in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday, severely injuring a sailor who was evacuated by American forces, the US military said.

The Houthis have been targeting vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 2023 in attacks they say are in solidarity with Palestinians during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

Although this has caused major disruption to international shipping, casualties have been rare.

The M/V Verbena - a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated ship - "reported damage and subsequent fires on board. The crew continues to fight the fire. One civilian mariner was severely injured during the attack," the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

"Aircraft from USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) medically evacuated the injured mariner to a partner force ship nearby for medical attention," CENTCOM said.

"This continued reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden."

Biden says Hamas remains 'biggest hang-up' to Gaza deal
8:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden said Thursday that "the biggest hang-up so far" to a deal on a Gaza truce and hostage release is the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

"I've laid out an approach that has been endorsed by the UN Security Council, by the G7, by the Israelis, and the biggest hang-up so far is Hamas refusing to sign on even though they have submitted something similar," he told reporters at a G7 summit.

US: Houthi attacks since Gaza war’s affected 65 countries
8:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have launched dozens of attacks on US Navy, coalition and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 19, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) says in a new report.

"The Houthis have conducted dozens of attacks against commercial ships, and they have defied the United Nations and other international organisations that have called for an end to their maritime aggression," the DIA said.

The report said container shipping in the Red Sea has fallen by 90 percent since December 2023, with at least 65 countries having been affected by the attacks.

Moreover, at least 29 shipping and energy companies have altered their routes as a result of the attacks.

West Bank raid death toll climbs to three
8:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

The death toll in Israel's raid in the West Bank town of Qatabiya has risen to three, reports say, with the the killed Palestinian identified as 21-year-old Qais Muhammad Zakarneh.

Israeli forces stormed the town, besieging a house and attacking it with shoulder-fired missiles before a military bulldozer demolished it.

Two Palestinians who are yet to be identified died inside the house as it was demolished.

Colombia to receive, care for wounded Palestinian kids
7:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The government of Colombia, a fierce critic of Israel's atrocities in Gaza, said on Thursday it would receive injured Palestinian children and provide them with medical care.

"We have taken the decision to provide humanitarian support to Palestinian children who will travel with their families to Colombia for rehabilitation," Deputy Minister of Multilateral Affairs Elizabeth Taylor Jay announced.

Jay did not say how many children would be taken in by Colombia, nor how they would be removed from war-torn Gaza.

Gustavo Petro, Colombia's first-ever leftist president, has repeatedly criticized Israel's armed response to the Hamas attack, and last week suspended coal exports to the country.

G7 urges Hamas to accept Gaza ceasefire deal
6:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

G7 leaders on Thursday called on Palestinian group Hamas to accept a roadmap towards a ceasefire in Gaza announced by US President Joe Biden in May.

The UN Security Council had supported the plan and "now it is important that everyone implements it," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the Group of Seven summit in Italy.

"We therefore call on Hamas in particular to give the necessary consent so that this can now work," he said.

Biden launched a new US effort late last month to secure a truce and hostage release.

However the deal remains uncertain as Hamas officials have insisted that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee a permanent end to the war - a demand Israel has rejected.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is hosting the summit, said she confirmed "the unanimous support for the US mediation proposal for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza".

Biden at G7: Hamas has to move on Gaza ceasefire
6:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden said on Thursday he has not lost hope of getting agreement on a Gaza ceasefire but called on the Palestinian Hamas group to step up.

Biden, asked if he was confident there will be a ceasefire deal between Hamas in Israel soon, he said, "No," adding, "I haven’t lost hope, but it's going to be tough."

"Hamas has … to move," he told reporters.

Israeli bombs kill four Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza City
6:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least four Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and dozens injured this afternoon in a series of bombardments on the cities of Gaza and Rafah in the enclave on Thursday.

Local sources reported that one citizen was killed and others were injured in an Israeli drone strike on a group of people on Kashko Street in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, the Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Israeli warplanes bombed the Al-Shuja'iya, in eastern Gaza City, resulting in the killing of one Palestinian and injuries to four others.

Additionally, two Palestinians were killed and several others were injured due to an Israeli airstrike on the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood in western Rafah.

Two Palestinians killed in Israeli raid on Qatabiya, W. Bank
6:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in raid in the West Bank, and detained several others.

The West Bank has been the target of intensified raids in the wake of Israel's war in Gaza, where thousands have been detained and over 500 Palestinians killed. 

Israeli war cabinet to meet for discussions tonight
5:54 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation has announced that the cabinet will meet later tonight to discuss intensifying escalations in northern Israel.

This comes after Hezbollah has pledged to increase its attacks on Israel after its military killed one of its senior commanders.

In response, Israeli officials vowed to restore security in the north either diplomatically or militarily, as the US is reportedly attempting to defuse the hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel.

Blinken: US to consider options if Gaza ceasefire talks fail
5:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to American broadcaster NBC on Thursday that that achieving a cease-fire agreement is the "best way" to secure the release of American captives.

When questioned whether the US would negotiate for the release of Hamas-held American captives, Blinken replied, "when I was in Israel a couple of days ago, I met with the families of the American hostages. There are eight families. I've met with them repeatedly. President Biden has met with them; Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor, has met with them.

"And our commitment, my commitment, my priority is always going to be on American citizens wherever they're in harm's way. If they're being unjustly detained, if they're being held hostage, my number-one responsibility is to do everything I can to get them out of harm's way," Blinken continued.

Blinken also said that with a ceasefire agreement, it is "the fastest way to do it. If the agreement doesn't work, we'll always be looking at what we can do, if there's anything we can do to get our people home."


Gaza's media office says north suffering from starvation
4:53 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's government media office says in a statement that Palestinians in the coastal enclave are suffering from "an escalation of the war of starvation."

The statement added that the issue is concerning particularly in northern Gaza, following Israel's shutdown of crossings and limiting the amount of humanitarian aid trucks entering the Strip.

"The Zionist occupation’s brutal use of starvation, thirst, and denial of medical care as a weapon during this barbaric aggression is a proven and complex war crime, and confirmation of its continuation of its greatest crime of genocide against our people in the Gaza Strip," the statement said.

"We also call on international and humanitarian organisations to take urgent action and provide the necessary food and humanitarian aid to our people in Gaza, and to intensify their efforts to force the occupation to bring in aid."

The media office emphasised that the international community including the UN must "intervene immediately."

Pro-Palestine protesters take over Cal State LA building
4:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pro-Palestine demonstrators took over a building Wednesday at California State University, Los Angeles, where campus police were monitoring the situation as employees inside shelter in place, an official said.

University spokesperson Erik Frost Hollins said a group of 50 to 100 people barricaded exits on the first floor and blocked paths around the building, so the university asked employees to shelter in place, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The university president’s office is in the building, but he wouldn’t confirm whether she was one of the people inside.

The university posted a “protest action alert” on its website announcing that all main campus classes and operations would be remote until further notice and asking people not to go to the main campus.

Images from the scene showed graffiti on the building, furniture blocking doorways and overturned golf carts, picnic tables and umbrellas barricading the plaza out front.

The CSULA Gaza Solidarity Encampment, a group that has camped near the campus gym for about 40 days, sent an email indicating that members were staging a sit-in in the building, Hollins said. Campus police “are aware and they are in the area,” he said.

Erdogan urges US and UN to pressure Israel for Gaza truc
3:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called on members of the United Nations Security Council, particularly the United States, to pressure Israel into a ceasefire in Gaza after the Council backed a US proposal earlier this week.

Speaking in Madrid alongside Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Erdogan said Ankara welcomed any ceasefire proposals that would end the Gaza war, adding Washington's stance on Israel's operations there were "truly upsetting" Turkey.

Hezbollah: 9 Israeli military sites attacked with rockets
3:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Thursday it had launched rockets and weaponised drones at nine Israeli military sites in a coordinated attack, ramping up hostilities on Lebanon's southern border for the second consecutive day.

The attacks were made in retaliation for an Israeli strike on Tuesday that killed a senior Hezbollah field commander.

The group said in a statement it had fired volleys of Katyusha and Falaq rockets at six Israeli military locations. Its Al-Manar television reported more than 100 rockets fired at once.

Hezbollah's statement said it had also launched attack drones at the headquarters of Israel's northern command, an intelligence headquarters and a military barracks.

A security source told news agency Reuters that involved firing at least 30 attack drones at once, making it the group's largest drone attack to date in the eight-month-old war.

US very concerned about escalation on Israel-Lebanon border
3:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 The United States is very concerned about an escalation on the Israel-Lebanon border leading to a full-out war, a senior US official told news agency Reuters, adding specific security arrangements are needed for the area and a ceasefire in Gaza is not enough.

Israel vows to respond forcefully to Hezbollah attacks
3:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel vowed to respond forcefully to all Hezbollah attacks after the Iran-backed Lebanese group fired a barrage of rockets across the border for the second successive day on Thursday.

"Israel will respond with force to all aggressions by Hezbollah," government spokesman David Mencer said during a press briefing, adding that "whether through diplomatic efforts or otherwise, Israel will restore security on our northern border."

Israeli attacks in Rafah after Blinken's truce remarks
2:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli helicopters struck Gaza's Rafah on Thursday, residents said, with Hamas militants reporting street battles in the southern city after top US diplomat Antony Blinken said a truce was still possible.

Israeli ground forces have been operating in Rafah, near the Egyptian border, since early May,  despite widespread international alarm over the fate of displaced people crowded into the city.

Western areas of Rafah came under heavy Israeli fire from the air, sea and land, residents said.

"There was very intense fire from warplanes, Apaches (helicopters) and quadcopters, in addition to Israeli artillery and military battle ships, all of which were striking the area west of Rafah," one of them told news agency AFP.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said its fighters were battling Israeli troops on the streets of the same area.

Hezbollah says it attacked six Israeli military sites
2:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Thursday it launched an attack with rockets and drones on six Israeli military sites in retaliation for an Israeli strike which killed a senior Hezbollah field commander. 

Israel: Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iran responsible for flare-up
2:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel said on Thursday that Hezbollah, its Iranian patron and the Beirut government bore "full responsibility" for spiralling violence across the Israel-Lebanon border, and hinted that escalation could be in the works.

"Lebanon and Hezbollah, under the guidance of Iran, bear full responsibility for the deterioration of the security situation in the north," government spokesperson David Mencer said.

"Whether through diplomatic efforts - or otherwise - Israel will restore security on our northern border." 

UKMTO says it received report of incident northwest of Yemen
2:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said on Thursday it has received a report of an incident 82 nautical miles northwest of Yemen's Hodeidah. 

Turkey's Erdogan thanks Spain for Gaza stance
1:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday hailed Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez for his stance on the Gaza war which has seen the Spanish leader emerging as an outspoken critic of Israel.

"Mr Sanchez has pursued a principled and consistent policy from day one (of the war) and has a special place in the hearts of the entire Turkish nation," Erdogan said, hailing the Spanish leader for his approach to the ongoing conflict.

"In the name of my people, I congratulate" Sanchez for his attitude, he said on an official visit to Spain as the two leaders opened an economic forum in Madrid.

Erdogan, who has taken a very strong stance in support of the Palestinians and Gaza's Hamas leader, once again accused Israel of committing "genocide" in the tiny territory which "hurts everyone with a conscience".

"We are faced with an (Israeli) arrogance that responds even to ceasefire calls with bloodshed," he said.

On May 28, Spain formally recognised Palestinian statehood in a coordinated move with Ireland and Norway, in a decision slammed by Israel as a "reward" for Hamas.

And last week, Madrid said it would join South Africa's case at the International Court of Justice, the UN's top court, in which Pretoria has accused Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza.

"Turkey is a key economic partner for Spain and a key player in the geostrategic context," said Sanchez, describing Spain as "Turkey's best ally in Europe".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez (2L) [Getty]et
More than half of cropland in hungry Gaza is damaged: UN
12:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

More than half of Gaza's agricultural land, crucial for feeding the war-ravaged territory's hungry population, has been degraded by conflict, satellite images analysed by the United Nations show.

The data reveals a rise in the destruction of orchards, field crops and vegetables in the Palestinian enclave, where hunger is widespread after eight months of Israeli bombardment.

The World Health Organisation warned on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

Using satellite imagery taken between May 2017 and 2024, United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that 57% of Gaza's permanent crop fields and arable lands essential for food security had shown a significant decline in density and health.

"In May 2024, crop health and density across the Gaza Strip showed a marked decline compared to the average of the previous seven seasons," UNOSAT said on Thursday.

"This deterioration is attributed to conflict-related activities, including razing, heavy vehicle movement, bombing, and shelling."

The decline, UNOSAT said, marked a 30% increase in damaged agricultural land since it published its last analysis in April.

G7 summit to discuss Gaza ceasefire
12:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

According to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden is set to continue backing Gaza ceasefire negotiations and calling on Hamas to accept the UN-backed ceasefire plan.

Opening today, the Group of Seven summit includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Italy, which is hosting the summit, has invited several African leaders — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune , Kenyan President William Ruto and Tunisian President Kais Saied.

Other guests include Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva , Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fresh off his own election, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

AP has also contributed to this report.

Suspected Houthi missile hits ship in Gulf of Aden: official
12:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 A suspected attack Thursday by Yemen's Houthi rebels saw a missile strike a ship in the Gulf of Aden, authorities said, the latest such assault in their campaign over the Gaza war

The attack happened in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen, the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said, without elaborating.

The private security firm Ambrey said a merchant vessel made a radio distress call saying it had been struck by a missile.

The ship “was en route from Malaysia to Venice, Italy,” Ambrey said. It added the ship was “aligned with the Houthi target profile,” without elaborating.

The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge Thursday's attack, but it typically takes the rebels hours or even days to claim them. The attack follows the Houthis launching a boat-borne bomb attack against a commercial ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday.

UK's Labour Party calls to recognise Palestinian state
12:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK's opposition Labour Party has officially declared its recognition of a Palestinian state to push for a renewed peace progress.

Reiterating its focus for "long term peace and security in the Middle East", Labour has pledged in its election manifesto  that it aims to support a Palestinian state that "results in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state."

"Labour will continue to push for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, the upholding of international law, and a rapid increase of aid into Gaza. Palestinian statehood is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people.

"It is not in the gift of any neighbour and is also essential to the long-term security of Israel."

Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer [Getty]
Gaza death toll at 37,232 and 85,037 wounded: ministry
11:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza's health ministry said Thursday that at least 37,232 people have been killed in the besieged territory since October, when Israel began its latest military onslaught.

The toll includes at least 30 deaths during the past 24 hours, the ministry statement said, adding 85,037 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip.

Key developments on the Israel-Lebanon front
11:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

Key developments on the Israel-Lebanon front:

- Hezbollah launches an attack with a swarm of drones on Israel's Habushit barracks

- Shells fired from Lebanon fell in the Shtula area of Western Galilee

-Hezbollah's commander of the Nasr Unit killed in Jouya, southern Lebanon, Israeli army says

- Israeli firefighting crews work to extinguish the fires in the north

- Israeli army says it hit 5 rocket launchers

- 160 rockets launched from Lebanon, Israeli army says

Fires broke out in northern Israel after one of Hezbollah's heaviest attacks [Getty]
Injuries after Israeli drone attack on Gaza's Al-Rashid stre
9:22 AM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian media reported that a number of Palestinians were injured after an Israeli army drone bombed Al-Rashid Street.

Nearly 330,000 tonnes of waste amassed in Gaza: UNRWA
9:18 AM
The New Arab Staff

UNRWA has warned that nearly 330,000 tonnes of waste has piled up in Gaza’s areas, with a collapse in civic services.

The UN agency said the waste is posing a further threat of disease to Gaza's residents, particularly children who scour through it.


Sullivan insists Israel 'behind' Gaza truce proposal at G7
9:02 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel is standing behind a ceasefire proposal for the eight-month-old war in the Gaza Strip, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Thursday, and the goal is to bridge gaps with Hamas and get to a deal soon.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Group of Seven (G7) meeting of leaders in southern Italy, Sullivan said the world should encourage the Palestinian group to accept the proposal and avoid stalemate.