Israel strikes across Gaza as Ireland joins South Africa at the ICJ

Israel strikes across Gaza as Ireland joins South Africa at the ICJ
Residents across Gaza faced Israeli bombardment as south Lebanon reeled from a deadly attack on a medical centre which killed seven emergency workers.
15 min read
27 March, 2024

Gaza faced a barrage of strikes across the tiny enclave throughout Wednesday with attacks reported in Gaza City and Rafah, killing dozens of civilians and wounding others.

Gaza's authorities issued a warning to citizens against going to collect aid at the Kuwait or al-Rashid roundabouts because of dangers of Israeli attacks. Palestinian news agency Wafa said two people were killed by Israeli forces while collecting aid at the Kuwait roundabout.

South Lebanon reeled from heavy bombardment overnight Tuesday when Israeli jets struck a medical centre in the town of Hebbarieh near the border, which killed seven emergency workers in one of the worst attacks since fighting broke out in October.

The Israeli military said it "struck a military compound" belonging to the Jamaa Islamiya organization "who advanced attacks against Israeli territory".

Mohyddin Kourhani, director of the Emergency and Relief Service of the Lebanese Ambulance Association, told The New Arab that seven bodies of "medical volunteers" were pulled from under the rubble in Habbariyeh.

"They were young men, college students," Kourhani said. "The building is in a residential area, next to the Mukhtar’s office, you can see among the rubble that there is only medical equipment present there."

11:59 PM

Our live coverage of the developments in Israel's war on Gaza has come to an end. Join us again tomorrow at 0800 GMT for the latest updates on the war and its regional and international ramifications.

UK lawmakers call on government to halt Israel arms sales
10:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

Over 130 UK lawmakers have called on the British government to halt arms sales to Israel.

The letter, sent to Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch, said the case for doing so was "overwhelming".

Signatories included Labour MP Zarah Sultana, Stephen Flynn, the head of the Scottish National Party in Westminster, and independent MP and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

They were joined by members of the House of Lords, the UK's upper house of parliament, including Liberal Democrat Jonathan Oates, Conservative Nosheena Mobarik and the Green Party's Natalie Bennett.

Live Story
RSF demands answers from Israel on disappeared journalist
10:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has demanded that the Israeli army shed light on the whereabouts of Gaza journalist Bayan Abusultan.

RSF says Abusultan was last seen on March 19, “among those sequestered in the raid on al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.”

Abusultan has been offline since reporting witnessing her own brother being shot by Israeli forces.

Death toll climbs in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon
9:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least nine people were killed on Wednesday night in two separate Israeli strikes in the south of Lebanon, the country’s state-run National News Agency reported.

Among those killed were four paramedics who work for a local civil defence organisation affiliated with Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has also this evening announced the deaths of three of its fighters via its Telegram channel, without saying, as per usual, how or where the men died.

The killings make today the deadliest for Lebanon since Hezbollah began exchanging fire with the Israeli army on October 8.

US official’s resignation ‘courageous, principled': CAIR
8:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) praised a State Department staffer who resigned to protest US government support for Israel in its war on Gaza.

Annelle Sheline quit as a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

She told CNN: “Whatever credibility the United States had as an advocate for human rights has almost entirely vanished since the war began”.

“We thank Ms Sheline for her courageous and principled stance in defence of human rights for all people, including Palestinians,” said CAIR’s national executive director, Nihad Awad.

“It is the decades-long denial of the humanity of the Palestinians that has resulted in this tragic situation in which our nation is complicit in genocide, ethnic cleansing, and forced starvation of entire populations.”

MSF warns against looming Israeli operation in Rafah
7:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Leo Kanz, head of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) mission in Gaza, has said “any attack on Rafah would be catastrophic, inhumane and would lead to mass human casualties”.

“If the attack occurs in Rafah, we just don’t know where to put the patients. There is no place for the patients to go,” he added in a video posted on X.

“The situation in the Gaza Strip as a whole is a nightmare, to say the least.”

Talks resume to bring Israeli delegation to Washington
6:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

Talks have restarted aimed at bringing top Israeli officials to Washington to discuss potential military operations in Gaza, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a planned visit this week because he was angry about the US vote on a UN ceasefire resolution.

No date has been finalised for strategic affairs minister Ron Dermer and national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi to come to Washington, two officials said.

Blinken to discuss Gaza with Macron in Paris
6:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss support Gaza during talks in Paris next week with French President Emmanuel Macron, the State Department announced on Wednesday.

"Secretary Blinken will meet with French President Macron to discuss support for Ukraine, efforts to prevent escalation of the conflict in Gaza and a number of other important issues," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

France has advocated for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, whereas the United States, Israel's main ally, recently let pass a UN Security Council resolution that calls for a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan.

Another US gov employee quits over Israel’s war on Gaza
5:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A US State Department staffer resigned because of continuing American government support for Israel’s war on Gaza.

Annelle Sheline, 38, quit after a year as a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the Washington Post reports.

Sheline told the daily she repeatedly raised concerns, but concluded it was pointless “as long as the US continues to send a steady stream of weapons to Israel”.

In October, Josh Paul resigned from the State Department in protest against American support for Israel’s attack.

Gaza authorities: aid collection roundabouts too dangerous
5:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's health ministry warned people not to go to al-Rashid or Kuwait Roundabout in a statement on Wednesday, citing the danger of Israeli attacks.

The ministry asked people not to crowd around lorries carrying relief boxes but to wait for aid to be distributed through "popular committees" in a statement on Telegram.

There have been multiple incidents of Israeli forces open firing on crowds of civilians collecting aid in north Gaza, where residents are said to be facing famine-like conditions.

The ministry said that the health system in central and northern Gaza can no longer treat the scores of wounded people and urged the international community to intervene in the al-Shifa hospital raid.

Netanyahu tells White House to reschedule cancelled meeting
4:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the White House it wants to reschedule a cancelled meeting on a planned military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, NBC said on Wednesday, citing a US official.

Netanyahu had abruptly cancelled a delegation's trip to Washington after the US chose to abstain to allow the ceasefire motion at the UN Security Council to pass on Monday.

Earlier on Wednesday Netanyahu said he had done so to show Hamas that international pressure will not deter them from continuing the war in Gaza.

"I thought the US decision in the Security Council was a very, very bad move," he said.

“The worst part about it was that it encouraged Hamas to take a hard line and to believe that international pressure will prevent Israel from freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas,” the Israeli prime minister said in videoed comments at a meeting with visiting US Senator Rick Scott.

Relations between the two allies have been souring in recent weeks as Washington grows frustrated at the brutality of Israel's offensive.

Major fashion retailer H&M faced delays from Red Sea crisis
4:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European fashion retailer H&M said it was forced to postpone the start of some of its Spring/Summer campaigns to adjust to shipping delays caused by the Red Sea crisis, the CEO said on Wednesday.

CEO Daniel Erver told news agency Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that the company had to make sudden changes in light of the disruption to the shipping lane, which has been caused by missile strikes from Yemen's Houthi militant group.

"We have made some short-term adaptation on the starting date and the launch date of campaigns," Erver said.

Houthis began attacking the international shipping lane between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in October, in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. The disruption has seen prices surge and delayed goods in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Ireland to join South Africa in ICJ Israel genocide case
3:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ireland said on Wednesday it would intervene in South Africa's genocide case against Israel, marking the first European nation to join South Africa at the International Court of Justice.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said that while it was for the World Court to decide whether genocide is being committed, he wanted to be clear that Hamas' Oct. 7 attack and what is happening in Gaza now "represents the blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale."

"The taking of hostages. The purposeful withholding of humanitarian assistance to civilians. The targeting of civilians and of civilian infrastructure. The indiscriminate use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The use of civilian objects for military purposes. The collective punishment of an entire population," Martin said in a statement.

Ireland has long been a backer of Palestinian rights and last week joined Spain, Malta and Slovenia in taking the first steps toward recognising statehood declared by the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

Lebanese medic: Israeli 'crime' on ambulance centre
2:46 PM
William Christou
South Lebanon

The head of emergency services of Lebanon's ambulance association deplored the Israeli airstrikes that hit a medical centre and killed seven people in south Lebanon earlier on Wednesday.

Mohyddin Kourhani, director of the Emergency and Relief Service of the Lebanese Ambulance Association, told The New Arab that seven bodies of "medical volunteers" were pulled from under the rubble in Habbariyeh.

"They were young men, college students," Kourhani said. "The building is in a residential area, next to the Mukhtar’s office, you can see among the rubble that there is only medical equipment present there."

The medic added that the association only moved to the town, which is a few miles from the Israeli frontier, at the end of 2023 in light of the Israeli attacks.

Israel claimed to have targeted a cell from al-Jamaa al-Islamiya which had been planning "an infiltration attack on the border".

UN expert Albanese on Israeli genocide: 'I receive threats'
2:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Francesca Albanese, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza, said on Wednesday that she had received threats throughout her mandate.

The UN expert presented a report entitled "Anatomy of a Genocide" to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, which Israel said it "utterly rejects".

Asked whether her work on the report had caused her to receive threats, Albanese said: "Yes, I do receive threats. Nothing that so far I considered needing extra precautions. Pressure? Yes, and it doesn't change either my commitment or the results of my work."

Albanese, who has held the position since 2022 and has been a vocal critic of Israel's occupation and oppression, did not elaborate on the nature of the threats, nor did she say who had issued them.

Majority of Americans disapprove of war on Gaza: poll
2:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

Over half of Americans disapprove of Israel's war on Gaza, according to a new survey by pollster Gallup.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they disapprove of the military offensive, with 36 percent approving. This marks a considerable difference compared to the last survey in November which found 50 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved.

As Israel's war on Gaza has dragged on, public opinion in the US has shifted and there is growing criticism of Israel's policies, with approval ratings among Democrat and Republican voters dropping.

US looking into Israeli compliance with international law
1:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

The United States is still looking into Israel's compliance with international law as it comes under scrutiny for weapons sales during the war on Gaza.

President Joe Biden had said that all countries receiving US weapons must follow international law which ensures the free flow of humanitarian assistance.

The US issued a memorandum to Israel in February which ordered the provision of credible assurances that it was following Biden's criteria. While Israel completed the task, senior US officials have said it failed to meet the "credible and reliable" maxim demanded, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

Pope appeals to grieving Palestinian, Israeli fathers
1:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pope Francis appeared in better health on Wednesday, walking into the Vatican audience hall on his own with a cane for his weekly general audience and delivering his prepared text with a clear voice as Holy Week gets underway in Christian countries.

During his sermon, Francis renewed his appeal for peace and an immediate stop in ongoing conflicts and noted that there were two people in the Vatican's Paul VI audience hall — "two fathers" — and that one was Palestinian, the other Israeli.

He said that both of them had lost their daughters over the course of the Middle East conflict, "and they are both friends."

"They do not look at the enmity of war," Francis said. "They look to the friendship of two men who care about each other and have experienced the same crucifixion".

The Vatican press office said Bassam Aramin's daughter Abir was killed in 2007 by an Israeli soldier as she left school; Rami Elhanan's daughter Smadar was killed in 1997 in an attack in Jerusalem.

Israel says hostage sexual assault account 'wake up call'
12:32 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's military on Wednesday said an Israeli woman's first-hand account of sexual assault in Gaza captivity requires international "pressure" on Palestinian militant group Hamas to free the remaining hostages.

Amit Soussana's testimony published on Tuesday by the New York Times appears to be the first time a survivor has spoken out publicly. Soussana, an Israeli lawyer, was abducted from Kfar Aza near the border and taken to Gaza, where she was held for more than 5o days.

A UN report in early March found "reasonable grounds to believe" rapes were committed on October 7, in a deadly attack that triggered the ongoing war, and that hostages taken to Gaza have also been raped.

The New York Times has faced scrutiny for publishing unverified sexual violence allegation against Israeli women in Kibbutz Be'eri during the Hamas-led 7 October attack, which prompted the outlet to row back on its own story earlier this week.

UNICEF: 13,750 children killed in Gaza
12:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

The United Nations children's agency said 13,750 children have now been killed in Gaza in nearly six months of war.

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said on Tuesday that Gaza has "shattered humanity's records for its darkest chapters."

"Humanity must now urgently write a different chapter".

For months UN agencies have warned that more lives will be lost unless there is an immediate ceasefire and aid supplies are ramped up.

"Before this war, child wasting in the Gaza Strip was rare with less than one per cent of children under 5 years of age acutely malnourished. Today one in three children under 2 years are acutely malnourished," Elder said during a press briefing.


Occupied West Bank: 20 Palestinians arrested
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have arrested 20 people across the occupied West Bank as part of its ongoing raids which have killed three people and wounded dozens this week.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said that 20 people were arrested on Monday from the governorates of Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus, Salfit, Tulkarm, and Jenin.

Since the war between Gaza and Israel broke out in October, the number of arrests in the West Bank has surged with Israeli authorities holding 3,558 people in administrative detention, meaning they are held without charge or trial.

Israeli shelling kills two near Bureij in central Gaza
11:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's military has killed two Palestinians in an attack near the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, Al Jazeera Arabic reported on Wednesday.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said its teams were rushing to rescue three wounded and transport one dead from the camp.

Many Palestinians who were sheltering at the Al Shifa hospital have fled to Deir al Balah and Bureij in the centre of the tiny enclave following Israel's week-long siege of the hospital.

Gaza health ministry: 76 killed and 102 injured in past day
10:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's health ministry reported another 76 deaths and 102 injuries in the territory over the past 24 hours in a statement on Wednesday.

It brings the total to 32,490 Palestinians killed and 74,889 injured in Israel's military offensive in Gaza since Oct. 7. Over two-thirds of casualties are women and children.

Health workers have said that the death toll is likely to be higher considering the ministry only records deaths registered at hospitals. Around 7,000 people are missing under the rubble 

Ben-Gvir accuses president Biden of siding with Hamas leader
9:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said US President Joe Biden is taking sides with senior Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar instead of with Israel's prime minister, in the latest sign of growing tensions between the two allies.

In comments to The New York Times published on Tuesday, the far-right minister criticised the Biden administration and American-Palestinian politician Rashida Tlaib. "Presently, Biden prefers the line of Rashida Tlaib and Sinwar to the line of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir," he said.

"I would have expected the president of the United States not to take their line, but rather to take ours," he added.

Israel's war in Gaza has strained relations with its closest allies in Washington while also creating domestic pressure for the Israeli prime minister and his coalition.

Man killed in northern Israel from Hezbollah rocket attack
9:20 AM
The New Arab Staff

A 25-year-old man named in local media as from a Druze village of Ein Qiniyyeh in the occupied Golan Heights was killed in the rocket attack by Hezbollaah on Wednesday morning after one of the strikes hit an industrial building.

The Shia Lebanese group fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel on Wednesday at 8:00am local time targeting the city of Kiryat Shmona, the group said in a statement.

The attack came in response to Israeli air strikes on a health centre in south Lebanon overnight Tuesday which killed seven Lebanese medical workers, in the most deadly attack on health workers since cross-border fighting between Hezbollah and Israel broke out in October.


Occupied West Bank: Israeli drone strikes, raids kill three
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Three Palestinians were killed, and four others wounded by Israeli fire during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin overnight, the Palestinian health ministry said on Wednesday.

Two Palestinians were killed by drone strikes in two separate incidents during incursions by Israeli forces around Jenin early on Wednesday, marking a growing increase in Israel’s use of drones to attack people in the West Bank.

Israeli military fatally shot a 19-year-old man during a raid into the city of Jenin overnight on Tuesday, with four men wounded by Israeli gunfire in Qabatiya, south of Jenin.

Since the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel in October, Israel has intensified raids and incursions across cities in the occupied West Bank, killing and detaining hundreds of Palestinians.


Hezbollah condemns Israeli attack
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah said on Wednesday that Israel’s air strike on a medical centre in south Lebanon which killed seven people was a "heinous criminal aggression".

"Hezbollah strongly condemns the sinful aggression and the heinous crime committed by the Zionist occupation forces," the Shia militia political group said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

The medical centre belonged to Lebanon's Jamaa Islamiya, a small Sunni political group which is allied with Hamas and has factions in south Lebanon.

"This aggression will not pass without a response or punishment," the statement added.