PA urges probe into Gaza field executions as UN chief slams Israel for blocking aid

PA urges probe into Gaza field executions as UN chief slams Israel for blocking aid
Palestinian officials call for an international investigation, as thirty bodies were discovered in body bags were discovered in northern Gaza school
25 min read
31 January, 2024

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The dead bodies of some 30 Palestinians have been found in a school in north Gaza after the Israeli military’s withdrawal, following weeks of heavy fighting which has laid waste to the area and cut off civilians from communication and aid.

The bodies were discovered in the Khalifa bin Zayed school in Beit Lahia in north Gaza – an area which had been besieged for weeks.

Additionally, Hamas said on Tuesday it had received and was studying a new proposal for a ceasefire and release of hostages in Gaza, presented by mediators after talks with Israel, in what appeared to be the most serious peace initiative for months.

A senior Hamas official told news agency Reuters the proposal involved a three-stage truce, during which the group would first release remaining civilians among hostages it captured on October  7, then soldiers, and finally the bodies of hostages that were killed.

Hamas leader Haniyeh said he was studying the ceasefire proposal. The priority for Hamas was to end the Israeli offensive and secure a full troop withdrawal, he said.

The diplomatic advances were announced hours after Israeli commandos, disguised as medical workers and Muslim women, stormed into a hospital in the West Bank in an undercover raid. The raid, in which three Palestinians were killed, drew accusations of war crimes.

Palestinian officials said the three were not engaged in fighting, and called the raid a violation of humanitarian law which protects hospitals.

"We, at the hospital, are still in shock. Although the hospital has been targeted by occupation forces before, by firing tear gas or blocking the entrance, never before did [the Israelis] assassinate someone inside one of the hospital's rooms", a Ibn Sina hospital spokesperson told The New Arab.

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The New Arab Staff

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US 'actively pursuing' the creation of a Palestinian state
10:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States is actively pursuing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel and exploring options with partners in the region, the State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Matthew Miller declined to give details on the department's internal work on the issue, but told a news briefing the effort has been an objective of President Joe Biden's administration.

"We are actively pursuing the establishment as an independent Palestinian state, with real security guarantees for Israel, because we do believe that is the best way to bring about lasting peace and security for Israel, for Palestinians and for the region," Miller said.

"There are any number of ways that you could go about accomplishing that. There are a number of sequencing of events that you can carry out to accomplish that objective. And we look at a wide range of options and we discuss those with partners in the region as well as other partners inside the United States government," Miller said.

Chicago latest US city to approve Gaza ceasefire resolution
10:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Chicago’s City Council narrowly approved a resolution Wednesday calling for a permanent ceasefire in Israel's war on Gaza, with Mayor Brandon Johnson casting the tie-breaking vote.

The symbolic declaration in the nation's third-largest city follows weeks of rowdy public meetings with disruptions from demonstrators, including on Wednesday when things became so boisterous the first-term mayor had to temporarily clear the council chambers. The resolution, approved 24-23, includes a call for humanitarian aid and the the release of all hostages. Supporters in the chambers included the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Chicago is latest U.S. city to approve such a non-binding resolution, following Atlanta, Detroit and San Francisco in recent months.

Yemen's Houthis say they targeted US merchant vessel
8:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis on Wednesday said their naval forces carried out an operation targeting an "American merchant ship" in the Gulf of Aden hours after firing missiles at U.S. Navy destroyer Gravely.

They targeted the "American merchant ship KOI ... with several appropriate naval missiles," Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said in a statement.

The Liberian-flagged container ship KOI is operated by UK-based Oceonix Services. The company's fleet includes the oil tanker Marlin Luanda, which was damaged by a missile on Saturday, shipping data showed.

Facing massacre in Gaza, MSF laments limited ability to help
8:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Just arrived back from war-torn Gaza, the head of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for the Palestinian territories told AFP of the dire situation, labelling it a massacre and lamenting the charity's limited ability to help.

Leo Cans, who returned from Gaza last week, said that since the start of the war on October 7, hospitals and ambulances have been targeted by the Israeli army.

Three MSF employees were killed in the Gaza Strip by airstrikes, as well as the daughter of an employee after an NGO building was hit by a shell. The international organisation has around 300 employees in the Gaza Strip.

US forces say they destroyed a Houthi surface-to-air missile
8:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US forces struck and destroyed a Houthi surface-to-air missile which was prepared to launch, the Central Command said in a statement on Wednesday.

"US forces identified the missile in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that it presented an imminent threat to US aircraft," it added.

Intense fighting top challenge for aid distribution: Blinken
8:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the challenge of deconfliction across Gaza, where the Israeli military has intensified its campaign, was the top obstacle to ensuring humanitarian aid reaches people in need.

Speaking in a hybrid town hall for State Department employees worldwide that Reuters observed, Blinken said Washington was pushing the Israelis "every day" to get more aid into the densely populated enclave and better protect civilians.

"Within the south, the single biggest problem is deconfliction: Making sure that the humanitarians know that they can go some place safely, to get the aid that's gotten into Gaza to places in Gaza that actually need it," Blinken said in response to a question.

"That's an ongoing effort and an ongoing push. We're pushing on every single one of these lines every day. And we're also intensely pushing on the need to better protect civilians."

Netanyahu claims UNRWA 'totally infiltrated' by Hamas
7:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the UN agency for Palestinian refugees had been "totally infiltrated" by Hamas, after several countries suspended funding over Israeli claims some UNRWA staffers participated in the October 7 attack.

"UNRWA is totally infiltrated with Hamas," Netanyahu told a meeting of UN ambassadors in Jerusalem, adding that "we need to get other UN agencies and other aid agencies replacing UNRWA".

US says 'Islamic Resistance in Iraq' attacked base in Jordan
7:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House said Wednesday that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq group was behind a drone attack that killed three American soldiers at a base in Jordan.

The "attribution that our intelligence community is comfortable with is that this was done by the umbrella group" Islamic Resistance in Iraq - a coalition of Iranian-backed militias - said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

South Africa says Israel is already ignoring UN court ruling
6:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has ignored the ruling by the U.N.'s top court last week by killing hundreds more civilians in a matter of days in Gaza, South Africa’s foreign minister said Wednesday, adding that her country has asked why an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been issued in a case South Africa filed at the separate International Criminal Court.

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said South Africa would "look at proposing other measures to the global community" in a bid to stop Israel killing civilians during its war in Gaza against Hamas, but didn't go into details.

US raised issue of Gaza buffer zone with Israel: State Dept
6:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States has raised with Israel the issue of the establishment of a buffer zone in Gaza, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters, adding that Washington opposes any reduction in the size of Gaza territory.

Asked about the raid on a hospital in Jenin and the destruction of a university in Gaza, Miller said he had no update on an assessment of the raid but that the US had raised the issue of demolition of sites and Israel reported they were conducted only when they were sites from which "terrorist activities" were launched, plotted or planned.

Gaza's economy could take decades to recover: UN trade body
6:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

It could take until the closing years of the century for Gaza's economy to regain its pre-conflict size if hostilities in the Palestinian enclave were to cease immediately, the U.N. trade body said in a report published on Wednesday.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said the conflict had precipitated a 24% contraction in Gaza's GDP (gross domestic product) and a 26.1% drop in GDP per capita for all of 2023.

UNCTAD said that if the military operation were to end and reconstruction to start immediately - and if the growth trend seen in 2007-2022 persisted, at an annual average rate of 0.4% - Gaza could restore its pre-conflict GDP levels in 2092.

UN says Gaza war leaves enclave 'uninhabitable'
6:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's war on Gaza has damaged around half of all its buildings and rendered the Palestinian territory uninhabitable, with tens of billions of dollars needed to rebuild it, the UN said Wednesday.

Since the war erupted on October 7, the United Nations said the decline in living conditions in Gaza had been "precipitous".

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that by late November, 37,379 buildings - the equivalent of 18 percent of the Gaza Strip's total structures - had been damaged or destroyed in Israel's military offensive.

And since then, satellite data indicates swelling destruction, according to Rami Alazzeh, an UNCTAD economist focused on assistance to the Palestinian people, who co-authored the report.

"The new data says that 50 percent of the structures in Gaza are (damaged or) destroyed," he told AFP, warning that "the longer these (military) operations in Gaza go on... the more severe the impact will be".

Nobel Peace Prize nominations close with Gaza on agenda
6:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The doors close Wednesday on nominations for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize, with peace activists connected to the wars in Gaza and Ukraine among the known entries.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee keeps the nominations secret, but those with nomination rights sometimes make their picks public.

Attempts to find an end the war in Gaza have been a theme for some of the announced nominations.

Academics at the Free University Amsterdam said they have nominated the Middle East-based organizations EcoPeace, Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun for peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians.

“They are bringing communities together to build peace in the Middle East with a special focus on the role of women and climate justice,” the university’s Peace and Conflict Studies department wrote.

Norwegian lawmaker Ingvild Wetrhus Thorsvik told newspaper VG that she had nominated Palestinian video journalist Motaz Azaiza for documenting conditions in Gaza.

The prestigious prize typically attracts more than 300 entries from academics connected with peace studies, lawmakers of national parliaments, former winners and others with nomination rights.

Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza, known for his the Gaza war coverage [Getty]
US city councils increasingly call for ceasefire: analysis
6:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Some 70 US cities have passed resolutions on the Israel-Gaza war with most calling for a ceasefire, according to news agency Reuters, whose analysis of city data has shown.

It has since placed more pressure on President Joe Biden ahead of November's general election to help end Israeli aggression in Gaza.

At least 47 cities have passed symbolic resolutions calling for a halt to Israel's Gaza bombardment, with six others passing resolutions advocating more broadly for peace.

At least 20 have passed resolutions condemning Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel.

Most of the ceasefire resolutions have passed in Democratic states like California, though at least 14 have passed in swing states like Michigan that could be decisive in Biden's re-election bid against Republican former President Donald Trump.

Biden's administration has rebuffed calls for a ceasefire, something supported by a majority of Americans.

Critics of the city resolutions say they have no tangible effect on national policy and distract from domestic issues.

New H&M CEO Daniel Ervér 'concerned' about Red Sea attacks
5:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

H&M's new CEO on Wednesday said Red Sea disruptions to shipping are a concern for the fashion retailer, but that higher transport rates are not yet hitting profit.

"Of course, given that we want to be really relevant on time and have the best products at the right time for the customer, we are concerned about the situation," Daniel Ervér told news agency Reuters in an interview after he took the reins at H&M.

He added that increased transport rates are not having a major impact on profitability "at this point", but that the company is reviewing what it needs to transport via air freight, which is more costly.

"We have improved our speed of supply chain, which is a really good thing," said Ervér, "but it makes us a little bit more vulnerable to disruptions."

Daniel Erver, head of the H&M brand, addresses a press conference [Getty]
Yemeni university professors rally for Palestine
5:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

University professors in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa have rallied in support of Palestinians in Gaza- as well as US and UK airstrikes on Yemen's Houthis, who say they have launched attacks on ships in opposition of the war on the besieged territory.

The professors showed solidarity by waving Palestinian flags and chanting in support of Palestine.


Yemenis including university academics and students protest against the Gaza war [Getty]
UN relief chief briefs Security Council on Gaza situation
4:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

British diplomat Martin Griffiths has briefed he council on the Gaza humanitarian aid crisis in Gaza, during a meeting that was initiated by Algeria.

One of the various points Griffiths highlighted is that 14 of the 36 hospitals in Gaza are only partially functioning in Gaza- while also facing severe hostages of staff members and hospital supplies. 

The UN relief chief also said his organisation believes 75 percent of the total population in Gaza have become displaced and their living conditions are worsening daily.

Griffiths added that clean water is almost entirely inaccessible, curable diseases are increasing due to lack of healthcare- which is said to be a main killer among Gazans.

He added that heavy rains flood makeshift tent camps for displaced Palestinians have additionally forced parents, children and elderly people to sleep in the mud.

Concluding the meeting, Griffiths emphasised that those displaced from Gaza must be "given the right to voluntarily return as international law demands."

He said that humanitarian aid that has reached Gaza has been "grossly inadequate"- reiterating the positions of other UN humanitarians that relief attempted to enter Gaza continues to be denied.

Griffiths called the reasons for such rejection are "unclear and inconsistent".

UNRWA: Investigation is 'extremely important'
4:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said on Wednesday that it is "extremely important" to conduct an independent investigation into Israeli allegations that 12 of its employees were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack against Israel.

Important donors- among them Britain, Germany and Japan and the United States- have announced their suspension of aid to UNRWA following Israel's allegations.

"We have 33,000 people... so it is extremely important for us to really have an independent investigation into these specific individual cases that Israel brought to our attention," UNRWA spokesperson Tamara Alrifai told French news agency AFP.

"We received allegations from the Israeli government over 12 names in Gaza, we had to check those names against our records of 13,000 staff in Gaza, and we were able to match eight of these names," Alrifai said.

6,420 Palestinians in West Bank detained since October 7
4:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

Prisoners rights group Addameer has said that the majority of arrests have taken places in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, where 215 women, 400 children, 51 journalists and 3,000 who are detained under administrative detention (held without charge).

In addition, Addameer said that 7 Palestinian detainees died in prison.

The organistion said that the recent statistics excludes Gazan detainees, as Israeli authorities have blocked access to information regarding them. 

“The total number of detainees in Israeli prisons stands at 8,800 including more than 3,290 administrative detainees,” Addameer said.

Israeli group condemns hospital killings of Palestinians
3:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli rights group Physicians for Human Rights Israel has denounced the recent military operation that saw Israeli forces disguised as civilians storm into a hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin- that killed three Palestinians. 

The rights group issued in a statement, where it declared that Israeli forces who were seen impersonating physicians and nurses “undermines the protections afforded to medical personnel in armed conflicts”.

The group added: “The military’s decision to disguise its forces as medical personnel is a direct extension of Israel’s disregard for the medical profession, exemplified by its destruction of Gaza’s healthcare system in recent months.”

Red Sea container shipping down 30% over attacks: IMF
3:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Container shipping through the Red Sea has dropped by nearly one-third this year as attacks by Yemen's Houthis continue, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.

"Container shipping... has declined by almost 30 percent," said Jihad Azour, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department, adding that "the drop in trade accelerated in the beginning of this year".

The Houthis have launched more than 30 attacks on commercial shipping and naval vessels since November 19, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The IMF's PortWatch platform indicates that the total transit volume through the Suez Canal was down 37 percent this year through January 16 compared with the same period a year earlier.

"The level of uncertainty is extremely high and the developments will determine the extent of change and shift in trade patterns in terms of volume but also in terms of sustainability," Azour told reporters in an online briefing.

"Are we on the verge of major change in trade routes or is it temporary because of the increase in costs and the deterioration of the security costs?"

EU's Borrell says UNRWA aid delivery is 'irreplaceable'
3:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

The European Union's foreign policy chief has said that the UNRWA's work in providing humanitarian aid and relief to Palestinians in Gaza is “critical to preserve”.

Borrell's comments comes after Israel accused at least a dozen UNRWA staff members of taking part in the October 7 attacks that led to funding being halted by several countries.

Red Crescent team buries 45-day-old baby and elderly woman
3:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) have released a video showing its medical team in Al-Amal Hospital who were burying a 75-year-old woman and an infant baby that was only 45 days old in the hospital's yard.

Gaza population 'starving to death': WHO
3:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The population of Gaza is starving to death due to constraints imposed on humanitarian aid, the World Health Organization's emergencies director Michael Ryan said on Wednesday.

"This is a population that is starving to death, this is a population that is being pushed to the brink and they are not parties to this conflict... and they should be protected, as should be their health facilities," Ryan told a press conference.


US targets Iranian, Hezbollah financial network: Treasury
3:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on three entities and one individual in Lebanon and Turkey for "providing critical financial support" to a financial network used by Iran's Quds Force and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, the Treasury Department said.

The entities "have generated hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of revenue from selling Iranian commodities, including to the Syrian government," the department said in a statement. 

'Dangerous object' destroyed at Israel embassy in Stockholm
3:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Swedish police said Wednesday that they had destroyed a "dangerous object" found by staff inside the premises of the Israeli embassy in Stockholm, without specifying what the object was.

"We were alerted at 1:08 pm (1208 GMT) by the embassy that they had found an object they believed to be dangerous," Daniel Wikdahl with the Stockholm police told AFP, adding that the national bomb squad had been called to scene and destroyed the object.

UN chief: Israel has prevented most aid entering north Gaza
3:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that most humanitarian aid has continued being blocked from entering northern Gaza, which has also been backed by other UN humanitarians.

Guterres previously said that as a result “the long shadow of starvation” affects Gazans.

 He also called his organization's Palestinian refugee agency the "backbone" of Gaza aid- after several countries suspended funding over Israeli claims 12 UNRWA staffers participated in the October 7 attacks.

"Yesterday, I met with donors to listen to their concerns and to outline the steps we are taking to address them... UNRWA is the backbone of all humanitarian response in Gaza," Guterres told a UN committee on Palestinian rights.

Palestinians in Gaza say Israel not abiding with ICJ order
2:03 PM
Sally Ibrahim

Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave accused Israel of not abiding by the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) ruling on South Africa's genocide case, which explicitly ordered Israel to prevent genocidal acts in the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, 26 January, the ICJ in The Hague delivered a ruling on South Africa's genocide case against Israel, ordering Israel to take all possible measures to prevent genocide acts in Gaza and demanding Israel to report on implementing the measures within one month.

The court, however, did not order Israel to suspend its military operations in Gaza, one of the main requests submitted by South Africa, while also calling on Hamas to release all Israeli hostages.

But on the ground, for many Palestinians in Gaza, the Israeli army forces are still committing genocidal crimes without taking into account the decision of the ICJ. These sentiments were shared by Palestinians in Gaza to The New Arab

To read the full report by The New Arab's Gaza correspondent Sally Ibrahim, please click here.

The rubbles of destroyed buildings due to ongoing Israeli attacks [Getty]
Palestinian officials condemn prisoner deaths in Beit Lahia
1:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have issued a statement that called for an international investigation into the killing of handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinians in Gaza's Beit Lahia. 

This comes as accusations against Israeli forces have intensified that they are executing prisoners in Gaza.

“According to testimonies of Palestinian citizens, more than 30 decomposing bodies of Palestinian martyrs were discovered buried in the northern Gaza Strip,” the ministry said.

“They were killed while blindfolded and with their hands tied, as clear evidence that they were executed… in the most horrific forms.

“The ministry believes that the discovery of this mass grave in this brutal form reflects the scale of the tragedy to which Palestinian civilians are exposed, the mass massacres and executions of even detainees, in flagrant and gross violation of all relevant international norms and laws.”

Dozen of bodies found in Gaza schoolyard: report
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least 30 bodies were found dumped inside a schoolyard in northern Gaza, news publication Al Jazeera English reports.

The media outlet said it interviewed witnesses who uncovered the dead bodies and identified its whereabouts.

“As we were cleaning, we came across a pile of rubble inside the schoolyard. We were shocked to find out that the dozens of dead bodies were buried under this pile,” a man told AJE.

“The moment we opened the black plastic bags, we found the bodies, already decomposed. They were blindfolded, legs and hands tied. The plastic cuffs were used on their hands and legs and cloths straps around their eyes and heads.”

South Africa accuses Israel of spreading fake news
12:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Vincent Magwenya, the spokesperson for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, has responded to accusations against South Africa, that have surfaced since its claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)- that accused Israel of genocide.

This included Israeli outlets that alleged major South African banks are providing funds to Palestinian group Hamas.

"The fight back has started with fake news and lies, as the President warned yesterday," Magwenya said in a post on X.

“We are expecting more, but none of it will deter South Africa from the pursuit of seeing a free Palestine, free from occupation and genocidal attacks."

Norway warns of 'consequences' from UNRWA funding cuts
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Norway, one of the few major donors to have maintained aid to the embattled UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, warned other donors Wednesday of the consequences of suspending funding.

"We urge fellow donor countries to reflect on the wider consequences of cutting their funding to UNRWA," Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said in a statement to French news agency AFP.

"UNRWA is a vital lifeline for 1.5 million refugees in Gaza," he said, adding that "to avoid collectively punishing millions of people, we need to distinguish between what individuals may have done and what UNRWA stands for".

Thirteen countries, including major donors such as the United States, Germany, Britain and Sweden, have suspended funding to the UN agency over accusations that 12 on its staff members were involved in the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide speaks at UN headquarters [Getty]
PRCS: Al Amal Hospital remains under military siege
11:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) issued a statement that said that Al-Amal Hospital continues to remain encircled by Israeli forces.

Earlier on, the medical group stated that a security guard was killed by Israeli gunfire.

"Security personnel at PRCS Al-Amal Hospital, in #KhanYunis was killed due to the [Israeli] occupation forces firing at him while he was standing near the rear door of the hospital," PRCS wrote in a post on X.

"Intense and ongoing targeting in the vicinity of Amal Hospital and the launch of smoke grenades."

Additionally, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that both Al-Amal and the Nasser medical complex are targeted.

According to a source who told WAFA, “armoured tanks continue to intensively target and surround Al-Amal hospital for the tenth day, amid constant shooting to prevent any movementon the ground.”

Israeli forces arrest 15 Palestinians in occupied West Bank
10:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have arrested three people in Qalqilya while three others were also detained in Nablus and four in Bethlehem, as reported by Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The news outlet added that a Palestinian man was detained in the Qalandia camp, located in the north of occupied East Jerusalem- while three more were arrested by Israeli forces in Jerusalem.

One person from the village of Kharbatha Bani Harith in west of Ramallah was arrested, according to WAFA.

Israel forces says strikes Syria army targets
10:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said on Wednesday its warplanes struck Syrian army infrastructure overnight in response to rocket fire from the country.

"Last night, a number of launches from Syria toward the southern Golan Heights were identified," the military said in a statement.

"In response, IDF (Israeli) fighter jets struck military infrastructure belonging to the Syrian regime in the area of Daraa overnight."

It did not offer details of any casualties or damage caused by the strikes on southern Syria.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes during more than a decade of civil war in Syria, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces as well as Syrian army positions.

On Monday, Israeli strikes in Syria killed eight people, including pro-Iran fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

Humanitarian group condemn Israeli airstrike on medical team
10:21 AM
The New Arab Staff

International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) have condemned an Israeli airstrike that targeted a Gaza based compound housing medical teams affiliated with both organisations. 

In a statement issued by both the IRC and MAP, the groups said that "the alleged ‘safe zone’ – in Gaza on 18 January, which caused injuries to several team members, significant damage to the building, and required the withdrawal of the six international members of the EMT from Gaza."

The statement added that a GBU32 (MK83) missile package had caused the damage, while emphasising that the attack had led to the suspension of medical work at Khan Younis' Nasser Hospital- that is currently under siege by Israeli forces.  

"The IRC and MAP repeat that it is the responsibility of all parties to the conflict to uphold the protection of civilians, as obligated by international humanitarian law," the statement wrote.

"We remain committed to serve the humanitarian imperative according to principles of impartiality, neutrality, and independence by delivering essential life-saving services to civilians who continue to bear the brunt of the fighting.

"At the moment this is a losing battle, however, as no person or place is safe in Gaza."

UN warns Gaza faces humanitarian 'collapse'
10:15 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN agency chiefs said a bitter row over the main aid agency for Palestinians could "have catastrophic consequences for the people of Gaza".

Major donors, including Israel's top ally the United States and Germany, have suspended funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, over accusations that several staff members were involved in the October 7 attack that sparked the war.

Withholding the funds was "perilous and would result in the collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza", the heads of the UN agencies said in a joint statement.

Gaza health ministry says death toll is at 26,900
9:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has said that the death toll in Israel's war in Gaza has risen to 26,900, while 65,949 have been injured since October 7th.

The ministry added that Israeli forces have killed 16, in attacks that targeted families in the Gaza Strip, that has led to the killings of 150 Palestinians and 313 injured in the past 24 hours.

Israeli forces pounds northern, southern Gaza
9:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's bombardment continued on Wednesday in parts of the city of Khan Younis in the south and in districts of Gaza City, according to residents.

Israeli planes were also said to have bombed areas in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

In Khan Younis, residents reported heavy fighting around the Al-Nimsawi residential area. In the centre of the city, Israeli forces blew up a cluster of houses in a residential area, residents said.

Tanks continued to bomb areas around Nasser Hospital, the largest hospital still functioning in southern Gaza, as local media outlets said 17 Palestinians had been killed in Khan Younis since late Tuesday.

Netanyahu rules out large prisoner release in hostage deal
8:40 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel would not withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip or agree to a large-scale release of Palestinian detainees as part of a deal for the release of Israeli captives held there.

The remarks came amid stepped up diplomatic contacts involving the US, Qatar and Egypt for a new agreement on a truce in the Gaza war and an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

“We will not withdraw the [Israel forces] from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists,” Netanyahu said while visiting a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, adding that Israel’s war against Hamas would not end before “total victory.”

The far right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, had warned earlier that he would take his party out of the ruling coalition and bring down the government if Netanyahu agreed to a “reckless deal.”

Body of dead Israel policeman remains in Gaza: police
8:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli police announced Wednesday the death of a policeman in the October 7 Hamas attack and said his body is being held by Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip.

Ran Givili was said have been killed during clashes " in the battle of (kibbutz) Alumim on October 7," the force said in a statement.

Gvili's death brings to 29 the number of dead hostages whose bodies remain in the besieged Palestinian territory, according to Israeli officials. 

During the attack, the militants seized about 250 hostages. Israel says around 132 remain in Gaza.

Israel's relentless air and ground offensive since October 7 has killed at least 26,751 people in Gaza, mostly women, children and adolescents, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

EU's Borrell hopes lead of EU red sea mission to be updated
8:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday he was hopeful it could be decided later in the day which member state could lead the upcoming EU mission to protect vessels in the Red Sea, adding this operation could de launched before mid-February.

"We have to decide which country will take the command, where the headquarters will be and what navy assets the member states will provide," he said before the start of an EU Defence ministers meeting, adding he hopes that today it will be decided who will take the lead.

"Not all member states will be willing to participate but no one will obstruct (..) I hope that on the 17th of (February) the mission can be launched," Borrell said.

He added the operation will be named Aspires, "which means protector". 

US Navy destroyer shoots down a Houthi-claimed missile
8:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 A US Navy destroyer in the Red Sea shot down an anti-ship cruise missile launched by Yemen's Houthi group , the latest attack targeting American forces patrolling the key maritime route, officials said Wednesday.

The attack late Tuesday night targeted the USS Gravely, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the U.S. military's Central Command said in a statement.

“There were no injuries or damage reported,” the statement said.

A Houthi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, claimed the attack in a statement Wednesday morning, calling it “a victory for the oppression of the Palestinian people and a response to the American-British aggression against our country.”

Saree claimed the Houthis fired “several” missiles. something not acknowledged by the US Navy. Houthi claims have been exaggerated in the past, and their missiles sometimes crash on land and fail to reach their targets.

The Houthis claimed without evidence on Monday to have targeted the USS Lewis B. Puller, a floating landing base used by the Navy SEALs and others. The US said there had been no attack.