Israel's war on Gaza: US, UK launch strikes on Houthis in Yemen

Israel's war on Gaza: US, UK launch strikes on Houthis in Yemen
The US and UK have launched strikes against the Houthis after its attack on Israeli ships in the Red Sea in support of Palestinians in Gaza.
36 min read
11 January, 2024

The United States and Britain have started carrying out strikes against targets linked to Houthis in Yemen, four U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday, the first time strikes have been launched against the Iran-backed group since it started targeting international shipping in the Red Sea late last year.

The Houthis, who control most of Yemen, have been targeting Red Sea shipping routes to show their support for Palestinians as they face relentless, indiscriminate war waged on them by Israel, leaving over 23,400 people dead.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted international commerce on the key route between Europe and Asia that accounts for about 15% of the world's shipping traffic.

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3:58 AM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog is now wrapping up. Thanks to all who followed along. The New Arab will be back at 7am with all the latest news from Gaza. 

Russia calls for Security Council emergency session
3:20 AM
The New Arab Staff

A diplomatic source speaking to Al Jazeera has said that Russia has sent a message to UN Security Council members saying that it considers the use of force in Yemen to be a violation of the United Nations Charter.

The country has called for an emergency session of the Security Council to be held on Friday.

The US and UK initiated a bombing campaign against Houthi targets in Yemen earlier today in response to the Iran-backed group’s attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.

Australia provided personnel support for US-UK strikes
3:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Australia provided personnel support to the U.S. and UK in their strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen, Defence Minister Richard Marles said on Friday.

"Australia's support of these actions came in the form of personnel in the operational headquarters," Marles told a news conference.

"Australia will continue to support any actions which assert the global rules-based order."

The United States and Britain launched strikes from the air and sea against Houthi military targets in Yemen in response to the movement's attacks on ships in the Red Sea, a dramatic regional widening of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

US-led coalition say Yemen strikes were 'self-defence'
2:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

The governments of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, the South Korea, the UK and US just put out a joint statement.

The statement cites the "broad consensus" of the international community against the Houthis, and notes a UN Security Council resolution last month calling on the rebels to halt their attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

The multilateral strikes, says the statement, were conducted "in accordance with the inherent right of individual and collective self-defence".

"These precision strikes were intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of international mariners in one of the world’s most critical waterways."

The allies say "our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea".

Houthis have not retaliated yet - US official
2:16 AM
The New Arab Staff

In a phone briefing with reporters, a senior US official said that there has not yet been any military response from the Houthis' commanders, the BBC reports. 

"As of right now, we have not seen any direct retaliatory action directed towards our US or other coalition members," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We remain prepared, of course to defend ourselves, but we have not seen a response from the Houthis at this time," the official continued.

Saudi Arabia voices 'great concern' over Yemen air strikes
2:02 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Arabia is following US and British air strikes on neighbouring Yemen with "great concern", a foreign ministry statement said on Friday, urging against escalation.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is following with great concern the military operations taking place in the Red Sea region and the air strikes on a number of sites in the Republic of Yemen," the statement said, calling for "self-restraint and avoiding escalation".

Congress reacts to US-UK strikes on Houthis in Yemen
1:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States and Britain launched a series of strikes on Yemen on Thursday aimed at the Iran-backed Houthi militia that started targeting international shipping in the Red Sea late last year in response to Israel's war on Gaza. 

Initial reactions from members of U.S. Congress included:


"While I support these targeted, proportional military strikes, I call on the Biden Administration to continue its diplomatic efforts to avoid escalation to a broader regional war and continue to engage Congress on the details of its strategy and legal basis as required by law."


"I welcome the U.S. and coalition operations against the Iran-backed Houthi terrorists responsible for violently disrupting international commerce in the Red Sea and attacking American vessels. President Biden's decision to use military force against these Iranian proxies is overdue. I am hopeful these operations mark an enduring shift in the Biden Administration's approach to Iran and its proxies."


"This strike was two months overdue, but it is a good first step toward restoring deterrence in the Red Sea. "It is important that we follow this action in close consultation with our Saudi partners to ensure they are with us as the situation develops."

He added: "It is time to dispense with the hollow talk of 'joint resolutions' and 'maritime task forces.' This strike should be a warning to the Houthis and other Iranian proxies that they will suffer catastrophic consequences from escalation in the region."


"The President needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another Middle East conflict. That is Article I of the Constitution. I will stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House."


"These airstrikes have not been authorized by Congress. The Constitution is clear: Congress has the sole authority to authorize military involvement in overseas conflicts. Every president must first come to Congress and ask for military authorization, regardless of party."


"I would not support us being pulled into a broader war."


"The United States cannot risk getting entangled into another decades-long conflict without Congressional authorization. The White House must work with Congress before continuing these airstrikes in Yemen.


Houthis: US, UK will 'pay a heavy price' for Yemen strikes
1:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

Houthis’ deputy foreign minister Hussein al-Izzi has just spoken to Yemeni TV channel Al-Masirah, as reported by the BBC.

The network quotes him as saying the US and UK will “pay a heavy price” for this “blatant aggression”.

Video purports to show huge explosions in Yemeni city
1:05 AM
The New Arab Staff

A video online purports to show the size of some of the strikes launched on Yemen by the US and UK. The brief video, which The New Arab cannot verify, shows large explosions illuminating the dark in Saada, a Houthi stronghold in northwest Yemen. 

'This cannot stand', Sunak says in statement on Yemen raids
12:58 AM
The New Arab Staff

In a statement released at the same time as Biden's, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says that the Royal Air Force participated in the attacks on "facilities used by Houthi rebels in Yemen".

"The United Kingdom will always stand up for freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade," he says.

"We have therefore taken limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence, alongside the United States with non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada and Bahrain against targets tied to these attacks, to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping."

Sunak blamed the Houthis for "a series of dangerous and destabilising attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea, threatening UK and other international ships, causing major disruption to a vital trade route and driving up commodity prices".

"This cannot stand," he continued.

He ends his statement by telling the Houthis that "we urge them to cease their attacks and take steps to de-escalate”.

Biden: 'I will not hesitate to direct further measures'
12:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

In a written statement, Biden said of the strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen: "Today’s defensive action follows this extensive diplomatic campaign and Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels."

He added that the US and its allies "will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes".

He also warned of possible further action.

"I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary," Biden said.

Yemen's cities targeted by US-UK strikes against Houthis
12:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Heavy air strikes pounded rebel-held cities in Yemen early on Friday, the Houthi rebels' official media and AFP correspondents said.

The capital Sanaa, Hodeida and Saada were all targeted, the Houthi official media said, blaming "American aggression with British participation".

Biden: Australia, Bahrain, Canada 'supported Yemen strikes'
12:42 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Joe Biden says strikes in Yemen show US, allies 'will not tolerate' Houthi attacks on shipping. The US president also said that the raids had 'support' from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.

Houthi official confirms scope of US-UK strikes
12:39 AM
The New Arab Staff

Houthi official Abdul Qader al-Mortada has confirmed on X that attacks have been carried out throughout Yemen.

"American-Zionist-British aggression against Yemen launches several raids on the capital, Sanaa, Hudaydah governorate, Saada, and Dhamar," the Houthi official posted.

Yemen strikes launched by aircraft, ships and submarines
12:35 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A US official told Reuters news agency that strikes were carried out by aircraft, ships and a submarine.

On X, formerly Twitter, Yemeni freelance journalist Ali al-Sakani says: "Air strikes on Houthi positions in Sanaa, Saada, Dhamar and Hudaydah governorates, locals told me".

US-UK strikes target more than a dozen sites used by Houthis
12:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

More details on the "massive retaliatory strike" strikes launched by the US and British militaries on the Houthis in Yemen.

Washington and London are bombing more than a dozen sites used by the  Houthis in Yemen on Thursday, using warship-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets, several U.S. officials told The Associated Press. The military targets included logistical hubs, air defense systems and weapons storage locations, they said.

US, UK carry out strikes against Houthis in Yemen
12:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States and Britain have started carrying out strikes against targets linked to Houthis in Yemen, four U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday, the first time strikes have been launched against the Iran-backed group since it started targeting international shipping in the Red Sea late last year.

The Houthis, who control most of Yemen, have been targeting Red Sea shipping routes to show their support of Palestinians in Gaza who face relentless, indiscriminate assault by Israel. The Houthi attacks have disrupted international commerce on the key route between Europe and Asia that accounts for about 15% of the world's shipping traffic.

These are believed to be the first strikes the United States has carried out against the Houthis in Yemen since 2016.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a formal statement was soon expected to detail the strikes.

Earlier on Thursday, the Houthi's leader said any U.S. attack on the group would not go without a response.

The Houthis, who seized much of Yemen in a civil war, have vowed to attack ships linked to Israel or bound for Israeli ports. However, many of the targeted ships have had no links to Israel.

The U.S. military said on Thursday Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden, the 27th attack by the group since Nov. 19. 

About 190 Gazan evacuees to arrive in Turkey - minister
11:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey brought 85 patients and 106 companions as part of a seventh round of evacuations, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday.

Patients will receive medical treatment in Ankara, he said.

"Our efforts in Gaza, where the health system has collapsed, will continue," Koca said on social media platform X on Thursday.

EU considers naval action against Houthis in Red Sea
10:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

As reports from US and UK newspapers claim that military strikes from those two countries on the Houthis could be imminent, another report from US news outlet Bloomberg says that the European Union’s member states are discussing whether there is enough internal support to fund and equip an operation aimed at stopping Houthi attacks on commercial shipping.

Bloomberg said that plans for the operation could be finalised as early as January 22, when European foreign ministers meet in Brussels.

Anger at the Yemeni group has been growing among Western nations in recent weeks, with the US warning of “consequences” should the attacks continue.

The Houthis have remained defiant, saying they any attack on them will be met with a severe response. 

WFP chief says it was able to deliver food to Gaza City
9:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that it was able to deliver food aid to the centre of Gaza City for the first time in several weeks.

“For the first time in weeks, @WFP was able to deliver crucial food assistance to thousands of people facing catastrophic hunger in the center of #Gaza city,” the groups director in Palestine said in a social media post on Thursday.

“Safe and sustained access is essential to ensure continuous food aid reaches those in need."

South Africa allegedly to sue US for Gaza genocide support
9:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

There is talk on social media that South Africa has informed the Biden administration that it will sue the US for its support for genocide in Gaza. The US is Israel's primary supplier of the weaponry that Tel Aviv has used in its unprecedented war on the Palestinian enclave, while Washington also provides its ally with major diplomatic cover at the UN.

The New Arab could not verify this. 


A post shared by Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour)

Houthi leader: Any U.S. attack would not go without response
8:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

With reports of the US and UK preparing to attack Houthi targets in Yemen, the group's leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said on Thursday in a televised speech that any U.S. attack on Yemen's Houthis will not go without a response, t

He said any such response would be bigger than the recent strike in which its drones and missiles targeted a U.S. ship in the Red Sea.

"Any American attack will not remain without a response. The response will be greater than the attack that was carried out with twenty drones and a number of missiles," he said.

Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi militants have stepped up attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea in protest against Israel's war in Gaza. Various shipping lines have suspended operations, instead taking the longer journey around Africa.

"We are more determined to target ships linked to Israel, and we will not back down from that," al-Houthi said. 

US, UK preparing to attack Houthis in Yemen: report
8:41 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UK government is holding a full cabinet meeting ahead of possible air raids against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, reports The Times.

The British daily says that there are plans for the targeting of Houthi bases and boats. The Yemeni group, which controls much of the country’s heavily populated northwest, has been firing at ships it says are linked to Israel travelling through the Red Sea, in support of the Palestinians in Gaza.

The Wall Street Journal has also reported that Western diplomats have told shipping companies that the attacks are likely to target the Yemeni cities of Hodeidah and Hajjah, and possibly even the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa.

The WSJ reported that the Houthis have moved some of their weapons in anticipation of an attack. The Iran-allied group weathered years of attacks by a Saudi-led coalition during the war in Yemen, which is ongoing, but has been relatively quiet since 2022.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for the Houthis to immediately halt attacks on Red Sea shipping.

PRCS: 9 killed in Israeli strike on Rafah
7:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Nine people have been killed in an Israeli bombardment targeting a house in Rafah in southern Gaza Strip, a statement from the Palestinian Red Crescent  said on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.

We'll bring more details on this when we get them.

Oxfam: Israel killing 250 Palestinians per day in Gaza
7:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

This rate of killing makes Israel’s war the deadliest conflict in the 21st century, the humanitarian organisation has said in a recently published report.

The daily death rate in Gaza is higher than that seen in the conflicts in Syria (96.5 deaths per day), Sudan (51.6), Iraq (50.8), Ukraine (43.9) Afghanistan (23.8) and Yemen (15.8), according to the report.

“The scale and atrocities that Israel is visiting upon Gaza are truly shocking. For 100 days the people of Gaza have endured a living hell. Nowhere is safe and the entire population is at risk of famine,” said Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Middle East director.

US says no injuries or damage from Houthi missile attacks
7:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday but the attack did not cause injuries or damage, the US military said.

The missile was seen hitting the water by a commercial vessel, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement, adding that it was the 27th attack by the Iran-backed Houthis on international shipping since Nov. 19.

US Congressman slams Netanyahu for 'brutal' war on Gaza
7:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan says while Hamas must be held to account for the events of October 7, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has initiated a brutal response, using collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza (& the West Bank)”.

“Neither acts in the US interest,” Pocan wrote in a social media post.

Iraq backs South Africa’s case against Israel at ICJ
7:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Iraqi foreign ministry has lauded South Africa’s position in a brief statement, accusing Israel of carrying out “unprecedented” killings and destruction against Palestinians in Gaza.

Several Arab and Muslim countries have voiced support for the ICJ case that charges Israel with violating the Genocide Convention.

PRCS posts video of bombed ambulance Israel denies bombing
6:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Yesterday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) announced that one of its ambulances had been targeted by an Israeli strike, resulting in the deaths of four of its crew members and two injured Palestinians they were transporting.

Earlier today, the Israeli army denied involvement in the bombing, telling AFP news agency that “A review was conducted based on the details provided to the [Israeli military] which shows no strike was carried out in the described area.

Israel barred from ice hockey events over safety concerns
6:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) stated that it "has decided to restrict the Israeli National Team from participating in IIHF Championships until the safety and well-being of all participants, (including Israeli participants), can be assured."

Three months of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has killed over 23,400 Palestinians, as Tel Aviv faces a charge of genocide brought against it by South Africa at the International Court of Justice. 

Last year, the IIHF used similar safety and security language to justify its decision to suspend all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from participating in international events across every age category following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The Ice Hockey Federation of Israel was not immediately available to comment.

Amnesty calls ICJ move ‘vital step’ to protect Palestinians
6:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International has welcomed the beginning of the ICJ hearings, saying that the proceedings can help end the “man-made humanitarian catastrophe in the occupied Gaza Strip”.

“The ICJ’s examination of Israel’s conduct is a vital step for the protection of Palestinian lives, to restore trust and credibility in the universal application of international law, and to pave the way for justice and reparation for victims,” Agnes Callamard, secretary-general for the group, said in a statement on Thursday.

In February 2022, Amnesty joined a growing number of human rights organisations that have concluded that Israel is imposing a system of apartheid on the Palestinians.

US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib shows supports for ICJ case
5:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian-American member of Congress Rashida Tlaib and progressive Congresswoman Cori Bush have published a statement in solidarity with the recently launched ICJ case by South Africa against Israel for crimes of genocide.

The politicians said that the United States has had a “devastating role in the ongoing violence in Gaza”.

“As one of the countries that has agreed to the Genocide Convention, the US must stop trying to discredit and undermine this case and the international legal system it claims to support,” the joint statement read.

“Our commitment to supporting the human rights of all people must be unconditional.”

Netanyahu slams South Africa for launching genocide case
5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed South Africa for launching a landmark genocide case against Israel at the top UN court, saying it was Israel that was fighting "genocide" committed by Hamas.

"The State of Israel is accused of genocide at a time when it is fighting genocide," Netanyahu said in a statement after South Africa lodged an urgent appeal at the International Court of Justice accusing it of breaching the UN Genocide Convention.

"A terrorist organisation carried out the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and now someone comes to defend it in the name of the Holocaust? What brazen gall. The world is upside down."

Qatari PM meets with PLO secretary-general in Doha
4:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

Qatar's Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani has met with Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

A statement from the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs was issued, detailing how the two officials have ongoing Israeli attacks against Palestinians, efforts to end the conflicts and a political solution in accordance to international legitimacy and international law.

Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed has also confirmed Qatar will continue its role as a meditator and said it was important to protect civilian life in the Gaza Strip- as well as delivering humanitarian aid without any delays.

Israel bombs Khan Younis, several killed
4:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli bombardments have struck the al-Manara neighbourhood in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis that has led to the killings of multiple Palestinians, Al Jazeera English reports.

The final death toll has not been confirmed and there will be further updates to come.

Desmond Tutu statue wearing a kuffiyeh to be mounted in SA
4:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

The foundation of  South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has announced that a life-sized statue will be unveiled in Cape Town, emphasising his legacy of solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said that the statue will remain in place “until the bombing of Gaza stops”.

“He was an outspoken critic of the State of Israel’s policies and treatment of Palestine and Palestinians, which he likened to the policies and actions of apartheid South Africa,” the foundation said in a statement.

Daily death rate in Gaza higher than other major conflicts
4:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Oxfam has said the death toll of Palestinians on a daily basis is higher than any other major conflict in the 21st century.

“Israel’s military is killing Palestinians at an average rate of 250 people a day, which massively exceeds the daily death toll of any other major conflict of recent years,” Oxfam said in a statement.

The international aid organisation released a list of the average daily death tolls in various conflicts since the 2000s: 96.5 in Syria, 51.6 in Sudan, 50.8 in Iraq, 43.9 in Ukraine, 23.8 in Afghanistan, and 15.8 in Yemen.

It added that the lives of Palestinians in Gaza are at risk due to hunger, diseases and cold, as well as Israeli bombardments, and reiterated that only 10 percent of the needed food can enter the enclave.

 “The scale and atrocities that Israel is visiting upon Gaza are truly shocking. For 100 days the people of Gaza have endured a living hell. Nowhere is safe and the entire population is at risk of famine," Oxfam’s Middle East Director Sally Abi Khalil said.

“It is unimaginable that the international community is watching the deadliest rate of conflict of the 21st century unfold, while continuously blocking calls for a ceasefire.”

Israeli attacks have destroyed 380 masjids: media office
3:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's media office has issued a statement to share the destroyed masjids across Palestine that date back over 1000 years.

“The crime of bombing and destroying mosques led to the disappearance of the call to prayer from dozens of neighborhoods spread throughout the governorates of the Gaza Strip, as well as the stopping of the ringing of church bells”, the statement said.

It also added that three churches have been destroyed by attacks led by Israeli forces. The media office also implored for religious bodies globally to condemn the destruction of places of worship.

Corbyn: Provisional order in UN court to be "made very soon"
3:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

Former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that he believes “there will be a provisional order made very soon” at the end of the UN court case accusing Israel of genocidal crimes by South Africa.

“The demand made and the last part of the South African presentation made this morning was in order for the court to give an interim order,” Corbyn told Anadolu Agency at The Hague.

“I hope they do anything that can hold the bombing. Anything that can save life in Gaza has got to be worthwhile.

"There was incredibly strong evidence of the way in which civilian population is being killed.”

Hezbollah fires rockets into northern Israel
3:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli news publication The Times of Israel have reported over 10 rockets were fired from Lebanon into the towns of Kiryat Shmona and Margaliot in Israel, however there have not yet been any casualties.

Hezbollah-affiliated Islamic Health Authority said that an Israeli strike led to the killing of two people and the destruction of an ambulance vehicle.

 "Direct Israeli bombardment on an emergency centre in the town of Hanin" killed two male unit members," the statement said.

US envoy calls for 'diplomatic solution' in Lebanon, Israel
3:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

A US envoy called for a diplomatic deal to end hostilities on the Lebanon-Israel border where Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged fire for three months, amid fears the Gaza war could spread.

"We need to find a diplomatic solution that will allow for the Lebanese people to return to their homes in south Lebanon... as the people of Israel need to be able to return to their homes in their north," Amos Hochstein told reporters in Beirut.

Hochstein is US President Joe Biden's special coordinator for global infrastructure and energy security.

Last October, he brokered what Biden called a "historic" maritime accord between Israel and Lebanon, which have no diplomatic relations, paving the way for both countries to exploit offshore gas reserves.

"We're living in a crisis moment where we would like to see a diplomatic solution and I believe that both sides prefer a diplomatic solution," Hochstein said, adding: "It's our job to get one".

Escalating tensions have prompted a succession of Western diplomats to converge on Beirut to urge restraint and discuss potential solutions- including land border talks.

Irish politician says genocide claim against Israel is clear
3:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Irish MEP Clare Daly has spoken out since her attendance at The Hague, following the first set of legal proceedings at the ICJ earlier, as South Africa accused Israel of war crimes such as genocide.

"It is very important for us to be here in person, to represent the people of Ireland who are really distraught about what is happening in Gaza," Daly told British news publication The Guardian.

"International law is on trial, just as much as Israel is. There is a huge amount riding on this case."

"If one looks objectively at the facts of this case, it is a very clear textbook definition of genocide, but often political pressure can be brought to bear and we believe it is extremely important to be here at the ICJ to lend a counterweight to any such pressure," she continued.

"We also want to show solidarity with the people of Palestine."

Smotrich attacks South Africa's genocide claim
3:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli far right minister Bezalel Smotrich has reacted to the case brought forward by South Africa to the ICJ- alleging that its claim of genocide by Israel is hypocritical.

“The Hague Court, like other international tribunals, are political bodies plagued with anti-semitism and are exposed time and time again in stunning shows of hypocrisy,” he said.

“The countries that sent the judges to the Hague are being exposed today in all their hypocrisy. Somalia, Uganda, Lebanon and other countries that ‘care’ for the people of Gaza – all you need to do to assist them is to open the gates of your countries, allow those who want to get out of Hamas prison in Gaza and take them in your countries.”

Yemen's Houthis leader: US attack would not go without reply
3:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Any US attack on Yemen's Houthis will not go without a response, the group's leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said on Thursday in a televised speech.

He said any such response would be bigger than the recent strike in which its drones and missiles targeted a U.S. ship in the Red Sea.

"Any American attack will not remain without a response. The response will be greater than the attack that was carried out with twenty drones and a number of missiles," he said.

Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthis have stepped up attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea in protest against Israel's war in Gaza. Various shipping lines have suspended operations, instead taking the longer journey around Africa.

"We are more determined to target ships linked to Israel, and we will not back down from that," al-Houthi said. 

Wael Dahdouh rejects Israel claims on son Hamza
3:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh has rejected claims by the Israeli army that two journalists it killed in a Gaza air strike were "terror operatives".

Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who worked for several news organisations, were killed on Sunday while they were on an assignment for the Qatar-based channel in the city of Rafah.

On Wednesday the Israeli army said the two men were "members of Gaza-based terrorist organisations actively involved in attacks against IDF (Israeli) forces".

"Prior to the strike, the two operated drones, posing an imminent threat to IDF troops," Israeli forces said.

Wael al-Dahdouh, who is also Hamza's father and veteran journalist denied the claims.

"These are fabrications. It is clear that they (army) are attempting to defend themselves, justify what is happening and derail the issue," Dahdouh told French news agency AFP.

"It (Israeli forces) wants to give excuses. This is clear (even) to children here," he said, adding that Hamza had been an experienced journalist.

"In this war, journalists can barely do their work, given that they are homeless and displaced," Dahdouh said.

Blinken ends regional tour
1:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ended a days-long regional tour aimed at preventing Israel's war in Gaza from spreading.

His final stop in Egypt coincided with a hearing at the UN's top court over an urgent appeal for Israel to immediately suspend its military operations in the Gaza Strip.

In Cairo, Blinken met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose country is a mediator in the Gaza war now in its fourth month.

Blinken said during his visit to the Egyptian capital that a movement towards a Palestinian state, alongside a rapprochement between Israel and Arab countries, is the way to isolate Iran.

"There's a path that brings Israel's needs and desires for integration," he said. "If you make the necessary commitment to security and you move down the path to a Palestinian state, it's the single best way to isolate Iran and the proxies."

Blinken later  told reporters on the airport tarmac at the end of his brief Cairo stop that he did not believe the Middle Eastern conflict could escalate.

"Israel doesn't. Lebanon doesn't. I actually don't think Hezbollah does," he said referring to the Lebanese movement that has exchanged regular fire with Israeli forces over their border.


US Secretary of State Blinken (L) meets with Egypt's President al-Sisi [Getty]
Iran navy says seized oil tanker off Oman: state media
1:36 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's navy has seized an oil tanker in Gulf of Oman waters following "a court order" authorising the move, state media reported on Thursday.

"The Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran seized an American oil tanker in the waters of the Gulf of Oman in accordance with a court order," the official IRNA news agency said.

Prior to Iran's confirmation, an oil tanker once at the center of a crisis between Iran and the United States was boarded in the Gulf of Oman by “unauthorized” people in military uniforms earlier this morning, an advisory group run by the British military and a private security firm warned.

The apparent seizure also comes after weeks of attacks by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthis on shipping in the Red Sea, including their largest barrage ever of drones and missiles launched late Tuesday- in response to Israel's war on Gaza.

Two killed in Israeli strike in south Lebanon: Al Araby
1:26 PM
The New Arab Staff

According to our Al-Araby Al-Jadeed Lebanon correspondent, two people have been killed during an Israeli strike on a civil defence centre in south Lebanon.

Hezbollah has also issued a statement following the suspected attacks.

“The Israeli enemy recently targeted a civil defense centre affiliated with the Islamic Health Authority in the town of Hanin, southern Lebanon, which led to two martyrs and a number of wounded who were present in the center,” the group said.

Hezbollah added that "what happened was a blatant attack on a center that serves Lebanese citizens, providing relief, and providing care to the wounded and injured as a result of the ongoing Israeli aggression against our country and our people, and a continuation of the aggressive Zionist policy that is based on murder and terrorism."

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

Palestinian foreign ministry, Hamas react to genocide case
1:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian foreign ministry in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of Ramallah and Hamas have reacted to the proceedings that took place at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague earlier today.

"South Africa's case before the International Court of Justice... is a historic event in the process of the joint Palestinian and South African struggle in the face of the injustice and genocide," a statement by the Palestinian foreign ministry said."

"Holding Israel, the illegal occupying power, accountable, using all legal tools, and through international justice institutions and international law enforcement, is the main focus of the legal strategy of the State of Palestine, and the core of the diplomatic and international movement.

"...What encouraged Israel and its various tools, including government officials, military personnel, and colonialists, to commit crimes, leading to the commission of, and incitement to commit, the crime of genocide, is due to international failure, the failure to take practical steps to hold it accountable... and supplying Israel with various types of lethal weapons and political support," it continued.

Meanwhile, Hamas official Basem Naim and the group's spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri have also issued their responses.

 "We welcome the convening of the (case)...on the accusation of ethnic cleansing and genocide. We are looking forward to seeing a decision by the court that would achieve justice for the (Palestinian) victims, end the aggression on Gaza, and hold the war criminals accountable," Naim said.

"The Palestinian people are following the court session in The Hague with great concern and interest ... We urge the court to reject all pressure and take a decision to criminalise the Israeli occupation and stop the aggression on Gaza," Abu Zuhri added.

Israel denies bombing ambulance, killing medics
1:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military on Thursday denied it was behind the bombing of an ambulance in the central Gaza Strip a day earlier which killed four medics and two other people.

A statement was issued to French news agency AFP where Israeli forces claimed that "no strike was carried out in the described area."

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society had said six people were killed Wednesday in an Israeli strike on their ambulance at the entrance to the Deir al-Balah area of central Gaza.

The roof of the ambulance was completely destroyed and part of the vehicle crushed, as seen in various photos that have since surfaced.

Before Wednesday's ambulance strike, the health ministry said more than 120 ambulances had been destroyed and at least 326 healthcare workers killed since the start of the conflict.

Gaza death toll rises as ICJ genocide case adjourns
1:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

23,469 Palestinians have been killed and 59,604 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza.

South Africa's hearing in ICJ genocide case adjourned
12:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa's hearing in its ICJ genocide case against Israel has concluded.

ICJ president Joan Donaghue has announced that today's hearing is adjourned until tomorrow (at 10:00 local time or 09:00 GMT), where Israel's arguments will be presented.

Follow our ongoing coverage at The New Arab for more updates following today's hearing and the pro-Palestine protests.

Provisional measures outlined by SA ambassador
12:36 PM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa's ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela reads out a request for provisional measures from the ICJ.

"The state of Israel shall immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza," he begins.

Other preliminary measures Madonsela requests the ICJ order include both South Africa and Israel taking "all reasonable measures within their powers to prevent genocide" in relation to the Palestinian people.

He also asks the court to order that Israel desist from acts including killing Palestinians, and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about their people's physical destruction in whole or part.

More from Lowe
12:34 PM
The New Arab Staff
  • "This case concerns Israel’s actions in Gaza, which is the territory that, three weeks ago, the UN Security Council stressed is “an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967” by Israel."
  • "As the court will understand, Hamas is not a state and cannot be a party to the Genocide Convention and cannot be a party to these proceedings."
  • "There are other bodies and processes that can address the questions of steps to be taken with respect to past atrocities against other actors."
  • "As a matter of law under the convention, South Africa cannot request an order from this court against Hamas."
Dutch police filmed blocking pro-Palestine protesters
12:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Dutch civil rights group Workers for Palestine Netherlands has issued a series of updates from the ongoing pro-Palestine protest at The Hague.

In an Instagram reel, the organisation wrote that Dutch police forces have attempt to "divert pro-Palestine groups to a different route" while en route to the ICJ.

In a later post, WFP said that Dutch police are "threatening to arrest and beat up all pro-Palestine protesters in front of the ICJ".

The group added that they are encircled by fences and have not caused any harm.

Watch the South Africa v Israel genocide hearing live
12:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's Arabic language TV channel Al Araby is broadcasting the ICJ genocide proceedings against Israel.

To watch live, click here.

ICJ hears request for relief
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lawyer Vaughan Lowe hands over to South Africa's agent, its ambassador to Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela, to read out the request for relief.

New lawyer representing South Africa takes the floor
12:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

Vaughan Lowe, another lawyer speaking for South Africa, says this is not a time for the ICJ to be silent.

"This is not a moment for the court to sit back and be silent. It's necessary that it assert its authority and itself order compliance with the obligations under the Genocide Convention," he says.

"Indeed, it's hard to think of a case in recent history which has been so important for the future of international law, and of this court."

Lowe also addresses the ICJ's jurisprudence that outlines five requirements for emergency measures and argued how South Africa met those requirements.

Ghralaigh shows photo of same whiteboard after Israel strike
12:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa's lawyer Blinne Ni Ghralaigh shows a second photo of the same whiteboard at the hospital after an Israeli strike on the facility on 21 November.

It shows the whiteboard damaged and amid what appears to be rubble on the floor.

Ghralaigh says the strike killed the author of the message on the board, Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila, along with two of his colleagues.

'We did what we could. Remember us': hospital whiteboard
11:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa's lawyer Blinne Ni Ghralaigh shows the ICJ judges a photo of a whiteboard at a hospital in northern Gaza.

She says it is "one of the many Palestinian hospitals targeted, besieged, and bombed by Israel over the course of the past three brutal months".

"The whiteboard is wiped clean of no longer possible surgical cases, leaving only a handwritten message by a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor, which reads: 'We did what we could. Remember us,'" she adds.

Blinne Ni Ghralaigh: 'Urgent need' for provisional measures
11:46 AM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa's lawyer Blinne Ni Ghralaigh says there is an "urgent need" for provisional measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza from the "irreparable prejudice caused by Israel's violations of the Genocide Convention".

She adds: "The United Nations secretary-general and its chiefs describe the situation in Gaza variously as a 'crisis of humanity', a 'living hell', a 'bloodbath', a 'situation of utter deepening and unmatched horror where an entire population is besieged and under attack, denied access to the essentials for survival on a massive scale.'

"As the United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs stated last Friday, and I quote, 'Gaza has become a place of death and despair.'"

Du Plessis says SA decided not to make ICJ 'theatre'
11:31 AM
The New Arab Staff

Du Plessis says South Africa has decided to avoid showing graphic footage and pictures in its speeches before the ICJ today.

"It has decided against turning this court into a theatre for spectacle. It knows as well as your excellencies the temptation for both sides in a dispute to parade pictures to shock," he adds.

"But South Africa's application in this court today is built on a foundation of clear legal rights, not images."

It follows reports that Israel plans to show at the UN's top court part of a video compilation depicting the 7 October attack carried out by Hamas and other Palestinian militants.

Max Du Plessis says Gazans 'entitled to exist'
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa's lawyer Max Du Plessis tells the judges of the ICJ that Gazans are entitled to exist.

"Palestinians in Gaza, as a very substantial and important part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnical group, simply but profoundly are entitled to exist," he says.

"What is happening in Gaza now is not correctly framed as a simple conflict between two parties.

"It entails instead destructive acts perpetrated by an occupying power, Israel, that has subjected the Palestinian people to an oppressive and prolonged violation of their right to self-determination for more than half a century.

"And those violations occur in a world where Israel, for years, had regarded itself as beyond and above the law."

ICJ resumes hearing in genocide case
11:14 AM
The New Arab Staff

The International Court of Justice has resumed its hearing of South Africa's arguments in the genocide case against Israel.

Pro-Palestine protests continue outside the ICJ
10:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

Several pro-Palestinian demonstrators have gathered outside the ICJ, as proceedings continue.

A large group of demostrators can be seen in video clips chanting  “Stop, stop genocide”, “We are all Palestinians” and “Boycott Israel."

“I’m here because we just can’t assist this genocide every day on social media and not do anything,” a protestor Wouters who travelled rom Brussels for the demonstration told Al Jazeera English.

“We need to continue showing that people care and will not let it slide and to put pressure on our governments to take real actions,” she added. “Israel has breached every international convention, this disgusting impunity has to stop. Western governments are complicit in this ongoing situation by not taking sanctions for so long.”

Judges go on break
10:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Proceedings inside the world court have paused for a “coffee break”. 

More updates to come.

More on Dugard
10:52 AM
The New Arab Staff

Here is more on what has been said during Dugard's address:

  • “South Africa has a long history of close relations with Israel. For this reason, it did not bring the dispute immediately to the attention of the court"

  • “It watched with horror as Israel responded to the terrible atrocities committed against its people on October 7 with an attack on Gaza that resulted in the indiscriminate killing of innocent Palestinian civilians, most of whom were women and children.”


    Dugard also said that South Africa attempted to reach out to Israel multiple times to stop its relentless attacks in Gaza but did not receive a reply- resulting in a claim sent to the ICJ

Professor John Dugard takes the floor
10:51 AM
The New Arab Staff

The lawyer says he will address the question of jurisdiction.

He added that obligations under the Genocide Convention are “erga omnes, obligations owed to the international community as a whole”.

“State parties to this convention are obliged not only to desist from genocidal acts but also to prevent them,” Dugard said.

More from Ngcukaitobi
10:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa's lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told the judges earlier that one percent of the Palestinian population in Gaza has been "systematically decimated".

He added that there is an "extraordinary feature in this case".

"Israel's political leaders, military commanders, and persons holding official positions have systematically and in explicit terms declared their genocidal intent," he said.

"And these statements are then repeated by soldiers on the ground in Gaza as they engage in the destruction of Palestinians and the physical infrastructure of Gaza."

ICJ proceedings update so far
10:40 AM
The New Arab Staff
  • South African ambassador to the Netherlands addresses the court to express his "gratitude to the court for convening this hearing on the earliest possible date to entertain South Africa’s requests"
  • South African justice minster Ronald Lamona has delivered opening remarks, highlighting that "the Palestinians have experienced systematic oppression and violence for the last 76 years."
  • Adila Hassim: “South Africa contends that Israel has transgressed Article 2 of the convention by committing actions that fall within the definition of genocide. The actions show systematic patterns of conduct from which genocide can be inferred.”
  • Tembeka Ngcukaitobi: “Israel’s political leaders, military commanders and persons holding official positions have systematically and in explicit terms declared their genocidal intent"

ICJ genocide case heads to 10-minute break
10:34 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The International Court of Justice has headed to a 10-minute break in its hearing of South Africa's arguments in the genocide case against Israel.

Blinken arrives in Cairo on final leg of regional tour
10:33 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Cairo on Thursday for the final leg of a regional tour aimed at averting the spread of the Israel-Hamas war.

Blinken flew in from Israel for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Genocide hearing has begun
9:09 AM
The New Arab Staff

 ICJ proceedings have begun.

ICJ president Joan Donoghue has introduced South African Judge Dikgang Ernest Moseneke and Israeli Judge Aharon Barak who have already taken their oaths as ad hoc judges for the case.

Ronald Lamona, South Africa’s justice minister, will deliver the opening remarks. Today’s hearing is set to last three hours.

Red Crescent says Israeli strike on Gaza ambulance kills 6
9:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said an Israeli strike on an ambulance in the central Gaza Strip late Wednesday killed four medics and two other people inside the vehicle.

The organisation said in a statement there were "six martyrs" as a result of "the IDF (Israeli forces) targeting of a PRCS ambulance in Deir al-Balah," adding that four were emergency team members.

The Red Crescent had initially said four people had died but revised the figure, saying "two individuals who were in the ambulance at the time of the targeting sustained injuries and were later martyred".

Jagan Chapagain, the head of the International Federation for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, called the attack "unacceptable" in a social media post and said "I strongly condemn their killing."

He added: "Protection of patients and health care workers is not negotiable. They must never be targeted."

The Israeli military has not immediately comment on the incident.

Top UN court opens hearings on South Africa's claim
8:57 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations' top court opens hearings Thursday into South Africa's allegation that Israel's war in Gaza amounts to genocide against Palestinians, a claim that Israel strongly denies.

South Africa is initially asking the International Court of Justice to order an immediate suspension of Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip as part of a case that is likely to take years to resolve.

A team of lawyers representing South Africa will present three hours of arguments in the court's wood-paneled Great Hall of Justice. Israel's legal team will have three hours Friday morning to respond.

A protestor holds a Palestinian flag at a demonstration during ICJ hearing [Getty]