Palestinians in Gaza struggle to mark Eid as Israeli bombing ongoing

Palestinians in Gaza struggle to mark Eid as Israeli bombing ongoing
Palestinians gathered to mark the holy festival of Eid al-Adha on Sunday as Israeli shelling was reported across the territory.
8 min read
16 June, 2024

Palestinians in Gaza gathered to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha on Sunday in prayers and public gatherings despite the destruction of dozens of mosques throughout Israel's eight-month long onslaught.

Israeli military attacks were reported across the territory, including dozens of explosions in western Rafah, following a deadly day for Israel's military when eight troops were killed in Tal as-Sultan.

The military said it would hold tactical pauses in fighting to allow aid supplies for Palestinians to enter through the Karam Abu Salam (Kerem Shalom) border crossing, following weeks of severely disrupted distribution that has seen hunger and disease cases surge.

Ceasefire talks, led by US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators remain stalled, with Israel refusing to sign off on Hamas' key demands for a full military withdrawal from Gaza.

5:32 PM

The New Arab's coverage of the war in Gaza has concluded for the day.

We will be back at 0800 BST tomorrow with the latest.


Israeli military chief calls for ultra-Orthodox recruits
5:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military chief of staff Herzi Halevi said that the military is in urgent need of the recruitment of ultra-Orthodox communities as the war in Gaza and fighting on Israel's northern front has battered resources.

Under Israeli regulation, ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities are exempt from military conscription, but their exemption has caused ire throughout the war and there are growing calls for a regulation change.

"The recruitment of ultra-Orthodox Jews is an urgent need," Halevi said in a video posted on social media site X.

"I know this, especially for those who are outside their homes for eight months and performing service in the reserve ranks alongside work and family … This is something that is not implicitly understood … and I want you to know that we are making a great effort to take care of the rights of these people."

Earlier on Sunday, Israel agreed to raise the retirement age for reservist soldiers, despite a public backlash.

Israel holding 9,300 Palestinians in prisons: PPS
4:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel is holding 9,300 Palestinians in prisons and detention centres, including around 250 children and 75 women, the Palestinian Prisoner's Society said on Sunday.

The PPS said that the number includes thousands of Palestinians detained from the Gaza Strip, where Israel has carried out a brutal war since October. 

More than 3,400 of the total number of prisoners are held under 'administrative detention', a procedure that allows Israeli authorities to hold alleged suspected for six months at a time, which can be extended indefinitely.

Read more here.

Is the US lying about Hamas blocking Gaza ceasefire deal?
3:26 PM
The New Arab Staff

On 31 May US President Joe Biden announced what he described as a "comprehensive Israeli proposal" for bringing an end to its war on Gaza.

Biden outlined a three-phase proposal that would see a captive exchange deal that would allow for the end of military operations in Gaza and the withdrawal of its forces from the enclave.

Ever since then, there has been widespread confusion regarding whether the proposal was actually an Israeli one, given Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately undermined the central basis of the deal, namely that Israel had agreed to a permanent ceasefire.

The US has set out to blame Hamas for the failure of its ceasefire proposal, and The New Arab looks into whether Washington's claims are true.

Read more here.

Israeli protesters announce week of action
3:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Thousands of Israelis took part in nationwide protests on Saturday, announcing a week of resistance over the failure of the government to secure the release of Israeli captives held in Gaza.

Saturday's protests were centred around Tel Aviv, including outside the city's defence headquarters, Hostage Square and Democracy Square.

Former war cabinet member Benny Gantz, who resigned from Benjamin Netanyahu's war time government on 9 June, was also present at the protests.

Read more here.

Gaza's health authorities say 41 killed in past 24 hours
2:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's health authorities have said that 41 Palestinians have been killed in the past 24 hours, with an additional 102 being injured.

The announcement also saw the overall death toll rise to 37,337 Palestinians killed since 7 October, with an additional 85,299 wounded.

Israeli high court order suspension of 7 October probe
2:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's high court has issued a suspension of an ongoing probe by Israel's State Comptroller into the failures by the military and Shin Bet security services on 7 October.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman began an investigation into the failings back in December, although this was criticised by a number of organisations including good-governance watchdogs and army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.


UN welcomes Israel announcement of Gaza 'pauses' for aid
1:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN on Sunday welcomed an Israeli decision to "pause" fighting around a south Gaza route daily for aid deliveries, but urged more "concrete measures" to unblock the humanitarian response in the Palestinian territory.

"We welcome this announcement," UN aid agency spokesman Jens Laerke said in an email to AFP, noting though that "this has yet to translate into more aid reaching people in need".

"We hope this leads to further concrete measures by Israel to address longstanding issues preventing a meaningful humanitarian response in Gaza."

Israeli army: intercepted 'suspicious aerial target' Lebanon
12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said on Sunday that its air defence system intercepted a "suspicious aerial target over southern Lebanon".

In a statement released via Telegram, the army said its fighter jets struck "Hezbollah military structure" in Yaroun near Bin Jbeil, as well as artillery fire towards the area of Amra.

It said no injuries were reported.



UN: 'very real' risk of miscalculation on Lebanon border
12:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

UN officials in Lebanon have warned of the "very real" risk of miscalculation between Hezbollah and Lebanon as attacks along the border have intensified in recent days.

In a joint statement to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Lt. Gen. Aroldo Lázaro said they were "deeply concerned" about the escalation.

"The danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflict is very real, and we continue to engage with the parties and urge all actors to cease their fire and commit to working toward a political and diplomatic solution - which is the only lasting solution," the statement released on Saturday evening read.

Israeli aerial attacks on southern Lebanon killed two women on Thursday and injured 20 others, in one of the largest strikes since October. In response, Hezbollah have struck sites in northern Israel with drones and surface to air missiles

Israeli ministers push back against army tactical aid pause
11:03 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military announcement of a "tactical military pause" to allow aid through the Karam Abu Salam crossing has triggered a backlash from some cabinet members who have described it as "delusional" and "evil".

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said that the move was "delusional", claiming that aid is still falling into the hands of a Hamas. 

The sudden announcement on Sunday morning has been clarified by the Israeli army who said it does not mean hostilities will cease in Rafah. It stated that the 'tactical pause' will take place from 8am to 7pm local time and allow aid trucks to travel along the Salah al din Road to the northern areas.

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also took issue with the announcement, while Israeli media reported that defence minister Yoav Gallant had not been briefed on the decision.

Israeli military says two reservists killed in explosion
10:26 AM
The New Arab Staff

Two reservist soldiers were killed in an explosion in northern Gaza over the weekend, the Israeli military said on Sunday.

The soldiers' tank came under attack in northern Gaza which was beset by heavy fighting with Palestinian militants in May. The army said the soldiers, who were from the 8th Reserve Armored Brigade’s 129th Battalion, were killed by an explosive device attached to the tank which also injured two other troops.

The deaths follow a large incident in southern Gaza when eight troops were killed by an explosion near Rafah on Saturday, marking one of the heaviest losses for Israel in a single day.

Hamas chief: Israel has 'failed to achieve any of its goals'
9:41 AM
The New Arab Staff

Senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday that Israel had failed to "achieve any of its goals" in its war on Gaza, during a speech to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.

Doha-based Haniyeh noted the weakened state of Israel's government, which has been mired by cabinet resignations and ongoing disagreements led by ultranationalist members.

Haniyeh also said that an outcome to the war can only be achieved through negotiations "no matter how much the enemy evades and disrupts access to it".

Commenting on the latest ceasefire proposal, he said Hamas's response is "consistent" with the principles put forward by US President Joe Biden's plan on 1 June.

Eid al-Adha prayers at Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City
9:09 AM
The New Arab Staff

Muslims in Gaza gathered to mark Eid al-Adha on Sunday morning, praying at the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City.

The festival is one of the most important in the Islamic calendar with celebrations observed for three days, characterised by a sheep slaughter ritual, family gatherings and meals.

It is the second time Palestinians are marking Eid under war, after Eid al-Fitr and Ramadan in March.

[Images: Dawoud Abo Alkas/Anadolu via Getty Images]

Two explosions near vessel off Yemen's coast: agency
8:50 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said on Sunday a vessel 40 nautical miles south of al Mukha in Yemen had reported two explosions nearby, adding that the vessel and its crew were safe and proceeding to their next port of call.

Authorities are investigating, UKMTO said.

Houthi militants, who are backed by Iran, have been targeting vessels off the Yemen's coast in what they said is a show of solidarity with the Palestinians being killed in Israel's war on Gaza.

Earlier on Sunday the US Naval Forces Central Command said that it had rescued crew from the Liberian-flagged Greek-owned bulk carrier M/V Tutor struck by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis on 12 June in the Red Sea.

Israeli military announces tactical pauses in Gaza for aid
8:35 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said on Sunday it would hold daily tactical pauses in military activity in parts of southern Gaza to allow more aid to flow into the enclave, where international aid organisations have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis.

Fighting in the city of Rafah, where Israel is targeting the remaining brigades of the militant Islamist Hamas movement, would continue, the military said.

It said military activity would be paused from 0500 GMT until 1600 GMT daily until further notice along the road that leads from the [Karam Abu Salam] Kerem Shalom Crossing to the Salah al-Din Road and then northwards.