Netanyahu threatens Israeli troops will enter Rafah 'with or without' Gaza truce

Netanyahu threatens Israeli troops will enter Rafah 'with or without' Gaza truce
Israel's prime minister has said the Israeli military will storm the Gaza Strip city of Rafah regardless of what happens in ceasefire talks.
30 min read

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the Israeli military will launch a ground offensive in Rafah "with or without" a truce with Hamas in Gaza.

"The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there with or without a deal, in order to achieve the total victory," Netanyahu told representatives of hostages' families, according to a statement issued by his office.

Hamas on Tuesday said it was studying Israel's offer of a 40-day truce in the war on the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of hostages held since the Palestinian group's October 7 attack.

Returning to Qatar after the latest talks in Cairo, the Hamas delegation said it would "discuss the ideas and the proposal... we are keen to respond as quickly as possible," a Hamas source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Egyptian sources told Al-Qahera News that the Hamas delegation would "return with a written response".

Relentless Israeli bombardment has devastated the Gaza Strip, flattening much of the territory and bringing its people to the brink of famine, while threatening to unfurl into a wider regional conflict. More than 34,000 people have been killed in the indiscriminate bombardment, mostly women and children.

3:54 AM

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Police fire tear gas at student protesters in Florida campus
2:48 AM
The New Arab Staff

Police have launched tear gas at student protesters who set up a Gaza solidarity camp at the University of Southern Florida, Tampa, according to videos from journalists and eyewitnesses verified by Al Jazeera.

The videos also show police forces arresting two individuals at the scene.

Police enter Columbia campus, reach barricaded building
2:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

New York police entered Columbia University's campus late Tuesday and were in front of a building barricaded by pro-Palestinian student protesters, an AFP reporter saw.

Dozens of people were around Hamilton Hall, on the Columbia campus in the middle of New York City, as police arrived and began pushing protesters outside, the reporter said.

Police presence at Columbia as unrest rocks US campuses
1:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A heavy police presence was seen at Columbia University on Tuesday, raising fears of a clash with student protesters as administrators struggle to contain pro-Palestinian demonstrations on dozens of campuses around the United States.

The demonstrations -- the most sweeping and prolonged unrest to rock US college campuses since the Vietnam war protests of the 1960s and 70s -- have led to several hundred arrests of students and other activists.

Many of them have vowed to maintain their actions despite suspensions and threats of expulsion.

On Tuesday evening the campus in the heart of New York City, usually accessible to passersby, was sealed off, with police erecting barricades, an AFP journalist saw.

Earlier, students had vowed to fight any eviction from Hamilton Hall, in which demonstrators had barricaded themselves before dawn.

"We will remain here, drawing from the lessons of our people (in Gaza) that stay put, and hold their ground even under the worst conditions," a protester wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh headscarf, who declined to give her name, told reporters outside the hall.

US military says it destroys Houthi uncrewed surface vessel
1:15 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US military said it destroyed on Tuesday an uncrewed surface vessel in an area of Yemen controlled by the Houthis.

WHO chief: Rafah invasion would be humanitarian catastrophe
12:44 AM
The New Arab Staff

World Health Organization director Tedros has warned against Israel's looming invasion on Rafah, saying it would be "a humanitarian catastrophe".

"We appeal to Israel not to proceed. We urge all parties to work for a ceasefire and lasting peace," he said in a statement on X.

France asks Israel to make position public on Lebanon border
12:18 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France's foreign minister called on Israel to make public its position on a proposal that he shared with it aimed at defusing tensions between Israel and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah, as Paris tries to act as an intermediary between the foes.

Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in escalating daily cross-border strikes over the past six months - in parallel with the war in Gaza - and their increasing range and sophistication has raised fears of a wider regional conflict.

"I call on Israeli authorities to take a public position on these French plans that will enable us to move to the next stage," Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday.

Sejourne said earlier in the day that a number of modifications had been put forward to Israel after consultations in Lebanon earlier in the week.

Two children killed in Israeli strike on Rafah: Wafa
11:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two children were killed and others were injured by Israeli airstrikes late on Tuesday targeting a house in the Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Among those killed were a young boy and his baby sister, as confirmed by the Palestinian news agency Wafa


New Yorkers march in support of students protesting for Gaza
11:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Residents of New York City are marching in support of student protesters, stopping at a number of university campuses.

The march began at New York University, where dozens were arrested last week after the school administration called for police to break up pro-Palestine demonstrations.

The march will end at Columbia University where earlier today, students occupied a building belonging to the university, saying they would not leave until their demands – divestment of the university from Israel, financial transparency from the university, and amnesty for students so-far disciplined in pro-Palestine protests – are met.

Brown University reaches deal with student protesters
10:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Brown University on Tuesday reached an agreement with students protesting the war in Gaza that would see them remove their encampment from school grounds in exchange for the institution considering divesting from Israel.

The move represents a first major concession from an elite American university amid relentless student protests that have paralyzed campuses across the country, divided public opinion and led to hundreds of arrests.

In a statement, Brown President Christina Paxson said students had agreed to end their protests and clear their camp by 5:00 pm local time Tuesday and "refrain from further actions that would violate Brown's conduct code through the end of the academic year."

In turn, "five students will be invited to meet with five members of the Corporation of Brown University in May to present their arguments to divest Brown's endowment from 'companies enabling and profiting from the genocide in Gaza'."

Student protesters jumped for joy upon hearing the news of the deal and chanted "with love not fear, divestment is getting near" before beginning to remove their tents.

"We are ending (the encampment) knowing that we made a huge victory for divestment at Brown, for this international movement and a victory for the people of Palestine," said Brown student Leo Corzo-Clark.

Israel Rafah operation would be 'tragedy beyond words': UN
10:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A ground operation by Israeli troops in the southern Gaza city of Rafah would be a "tragedy beyond words", the UN's humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The simplest truth is that a ground operation in Rafah will be nothing short of a tragedy beyond words. No humanitarian plan can counter that," Griffiths said, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to launch an offensive on Rafah.

UN aid chief warns Rafah assault 'on immediate horizon'
9:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths warned on Tuesday that despite global calls for Israel to spare Rafah in the Gaza Strip, "a ground operation there is on the immediate horizon."

He also said in a statement that Israeli improvements to aid access in Gaza "cannot be used to prepare for or justify a full-blown military assault on Rafah." 

Law enforcement response to US protesters 'disproportionate'
8:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN has voiced concerns regarding the treatment of pro-Palestine protesters at US universities, calling police response to student protesters "disproportionate". 

"We are concerned that some of law enforcement actions across a series of universities appear disproportionate in their inputs," the spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Marta Hurtado said.

Protests have swept through US higher education institutions, with many erecting tent encampments on campus grounds in solidarity with Gaza.

Hundreds of protesters across the country have been arrested since April 18, when over 100 student demonstrators were detained at Columbia Univeristy.

Columbia threatens occupying protesters with expulsion
8:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Columbia University said on Tuesday that students occupying a campus building as part of pro-Palestinian protests face being expelled from their academic programs, the latest move in a standoff with school officials.

"Students occupying the building face expulsion," Columbia's office of public affairs said in a statement, adding that the protesters were provided "the opportunity to leave peacefully" but instead declined and escalated the situation.

The prestigious school in New York City, which had already begun temporarily suspending students who refused to comply with dispersal orders, said it had been "very clear" that it will not tolerate repeated interruptions by protesters violating campus rules.

"Continuing to do so will be met with clear consequences. Protesters have chosen to escalate to an untenable situation - vandalizing property, breaking doors and windows, and blockading entrances - and we are following through with the consequences we outlined yesterday," university spokesperson Ben Chang said in the statement.

College Democrats of America praises US campus protests
7:52 PM
The New Arab Staff

The College Democrats of America, the Democratic Party’s national organisation presiding over hundreds of campuses across the US, has praised pro-Palestinian protests that have swept university campuses across the country in recent weeks.

In a statement, it described actions taken by students at several schools as "heroic:, saying they had the "moral clarity to see this war for what it is: destructive, genocidal, and unjust".

It also slammed the response of school administrations for "arresting, suspending, and evicting students" protesting against the universities' links with Israel and the war in Gaza.

Universities such as Columbia, Northeastern and Yale have seen several protests and encampments in solidarity with Gaza.

US has not seen a credible Israeli plan for Rafah operation
7:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States has not seen a credible Israeli plan for a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah that would address its concerns, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Tuesday vowed to go ahead with the operation despite international concern over the fate of more than 1 million Palestinians sheltering there.

Israel Rafah offensive would be 'unbearable escalation':: UN
6:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged Israel not to invade southern Gaza's Rafah city, after the Israeli prime minister said an offensive would go forward regardless of a pending hostage deal with Hamas.

With the war roiling the region, international outrage mounting over the human toll, and mediators ramping up diplomatic efforts to ease the crisis and reach a truce, Guterres implored Israel not to go ahead with its operation.

"A military assault on Rafah would be an unbearable escalation, killing thousands more civilians and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee," the secretary-general told reporters.

Such an operation "would have a devastating impact on Palestinians in Gaza, with serious repercussions on the occupied West Bank and across the wider region," he added.

"All members of the Security Council, and many other governments, have clearly expressed their opposition to such an operation. I appeal for all those with influence over Israel to do everything in their power to prevent it."

The latest Guterres warning follows Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promise that the Israeli army will launch a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip's far-southern city of Rafah "with or without" a truce deal being agreed with Hamas.

Google firings for protesting Israel contract 'illegal'
6:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A group of workers at Alphabet Inc's Google have filed a complaint with a U.S. labor board claiming the tech company unlawfully fired them for protesting its cloud contract with the Israeli government.

The complaint was filed late Monday with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), according to No Tech For Apartheid, a group affiliated with some of the workers. The group said the complaint alleges that by firing the workers, Google interfered with their rights under US labor law to advocate for better working conditions.

Reuters could not immediately obtain a copy of the complaint. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google this month said it had fired 28 employees who disrupted work at unspecified office locations while protesting Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract jointly awarded to Google and to supply the Israeli government with cloud services.

The workers claim the project supports Israel's development of military tools. Google has said the Nimbus contract "is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services."

Portuguese-flagged ship hit far in Arabian Sea
6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Portuguese-flagged container ship came under attack by a drone in the far reaches of the Arabian Sea, corresponding with a claim by Yemen's Houthi rebels that they assaulted the ship there, authorities said on Tuesday.

The attack on the MSC Orion, occurring some 600 kilometers (375 miles) off the coast of Yemen, appeared to be the first confirmed deep-sea assault claimed by the Houthis since they began targeting ships in November. It suggests the Houthis — or potentially their main benefactor Iran — may have the ability to strike into the distances of the Indian Ocean as the rebels previously threatened in their ongoing campaign over Israel's war in the Gaza Strip .

The attack happened last Friday, according to the Joint Maritime Information Center, which operates as part of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East. After the attack, the crew discovered debris apparently from a drone on board, the center said.

The ship "sustained only minor damage and all crew on board are safe," the center said. Ship-tracking satellite data analysed by The Associated Press put the container ship, bound for Salalah, Oman, in the area of the attack on Saturday.

Blinken arrives in Israel to push for Gaza ceasefire deal
6:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on Tuesday to push for a much awaited ceasefire between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza.

Blinken, who is on regional tour, demanded earlier in Amman that Hamas accept a proposal for a ceasefire and release hostages it holds in the Palestinian territory since the war broke out on October 7.

Gaza boycott continues to weigh on McDonald's sales
5:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

McDonald's reported a modest increase in quarterly profits Tuesday despite a boycott stemming from Israel's war on Gaza expected to drag on sales for the foreseeable future.

While the boycott is not "getting worse," Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski does not have a timeframe for a return to normal conditions.

"We're not expecting to see any meaningful improvement in the impact... until the war is over," he told analysts on a conference call.

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Sales of McDonald's were dented after its Israel franchise in October announced it had given thousands of free meals to the Israeli army.

That move was followed by relief pledges to Gaza from McDonald's Kuwait and McDonald's Qatar, both of which are managed separately from the Israeli business.

McDonald's has described the boycott's greatest impact as in the Middle East, while also pointing to effects in markets like Malaysia and Indonesia and in parts of France where the Muslim population is higher.

First Jordan aid trucks for Gaza through Erez: Blinken
5:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday saw off a first Jordanian truck convoy of aid heading to Gaza through the Erez crossing reopened by Israel.

"Right here in Jordan, we're seeing a dierct route from Jordan to northern Gaza through Erez. The first shipments are leaving today," Blinken told reporters as he saw the supplies.

"It is real and important progress, but more still needs to be done," he said.

UN chief calls for 'independent' probe over Gaza mass graves
5:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres expressed alarm Tuesday over reports of mass graves discovered in Gaza including at two hospitals and allegations those buried there were unlawfully killed, as he demanded an independent investigation.

"It is imperative that independent international investigators with forensic expertise are allowed the immediate access to the sites of these mass graves to establish the precise circumstances under which the Palestinians lost their lives and were buried or reburied," Guterres said.

Protesters call for limited Israel participation in Olympics
5:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters gathered near the Paris Olympics organizers' headquarters on Tuesday and called for limiting Israel's participation at the Summer Games in the French capital.

About 300 people attended the rally at the headquarters of the Paris Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the suburb of Saint-Denis, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against Israel’s “institutional participation” in the Games because of the war in Gaza.

Protesters chase EU diplomats from Palestinian Museum
5:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Protesters from a Palestinian university chased a group of European diplomats out of a museum in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday over what activists said was their position on the Gaza war.

A source present at the scene said the crowd had been looking for a diplomat from Germany, which is among European states that have come under fire recently for supporting Israel in the Gaza war.

In the video shared online, one man could be heard shouting "Out!".

Blinken demands 'no more delays' by Hamas on truce deal
5:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanded Tuesday that Hamas accept a proposal for a Gaza ceasefire and release of hostages as the Palestinian group prepared its response.

"No more delays, no more excuses. The time to act is now," Blinken told reporters on the outskirts of Amman.

Trucks bringing bodies, detainees into Gaza hold up aid: UN
5:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Trucks bringing both bodies and detainees from Israel back to Gaza through the main crossing point of Kerem Shalom regularly hold up aid deliveries, the head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini told journalists on Tuesday that aid supplies into Gaza had improved in April but listed a series of ongoing difficulties including regular crossing closures "because they (Israel) are dumping released detainees or dumping sometimes bodies taken to Israel and back to the Gaza Strip."

Asked for more details, UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma said that Israel had sent 225 bodies to Gaza in three containers since December that were then transported by the U.N. agency to local health authorities for burial, shutting the crossing temporarily. She did not have details of the circumstances of their deaths and said it was not UNRWA's mandate to investigate.

On the detainee transfers, some of which have been previously reported by Reuters, she said that they had been transferred from Israel back to Gaza "dozens of times".

On aid deliveries, he said: "Mr. Lazzarini is deflecting from UNRWA's own failures and responsibilities. Again today, there was a backlog of more than 150 trucks screened by Israel in Kerem Shalom not picked up by U.N. agencies."

Blinken says he'll bring list of Gaza aid measures to Israel
5:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that he will take to Israel's leaders a list of measures they still need to take to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, ahead of meetings in Israel on Wednesday.

Blinken, speaking to reporters at a warehouse of Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization where aid shipments from U.S.-based charities are gathered, also said the first shipments of aid directly from Jordan to northern Gaza's Erez crossing would leave on Tuesday.

Guterres: 'incremental progress' toward averting Gaza famine
5:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said there has been "incremental progress" toward averting "an entirely preventable, human-made famine" in the northern Gaza Strip, but much more is urgently needed.

He specifically called on Israel to follow through on its promise to open "two crossing points between Israel and northern Gaza, so that aid can be brought into Gaza from Ashdod port and Jordan."

Guterres also told reporters that a major obstacle to distributing aid across Gaza is a lack of security for aid workers and civilians.

"I again call on the Israeli authorities to allow and facilitate safe, rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers, including UNRWA, throughout Gaza," he said.

US-built Gaza aid pier to be ready within days: Cyprus
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US forces were expected to complete a floating pier on Gaza's coast later this week, allowing more aid deliveries into the besieged Palestinian territory, the president of Cyprus said Tuesday.

The Mediterranean island nation hopes to be a hub for a "maritime corridor" to ship relief goods to the more than 2 million people of Gaza.

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides told reporters that the United States had informed his government that the floating dock would be ready by Thursday, roughly in line with earlier US timelines.

But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said from Amman on Tuesday that the pier will be ready "a week from now."

ICC arrest warrants would be 'historic' scandal: Netanyahu
3:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said if the International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for government officials on charges related to the conduct of its war against Hamas - as Tel Aviv claims - it would be a "scandal on a historic scale."

"The possibility that they will issue arrest warrants for war crimes against IDF (Israel Defence Force) commanders and state leaders, this possibility is a scandal on a historic scale," Netanyahu said.

"I want to make one thing clear: no decision, neither in The Hague nor anywhere else, will harm our determination to achieve all the goals of the war - the release of all our hostages, a complete victory over Hamas and a promise that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel."

New aid crossing to open in northern Gaza this week: US
3:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel will open a new crossing into northern Gaza this week after U.S. President Biden requested it in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said on Tuesday, adding that more than 200 aid trucks are entering each day.

Columbia protesters' building takeover 'wrong approach': WH
3:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden opposes the seizure of a Columbia University campus building by pro-Palestinian protesters, the White House said Tuesday as demonstrations raged at colleges across the country.

"The president believes that forcibly taking over a building on campus is absolutely the wrong approach," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told an online briefing.

"That is not an example of peaceful protest."

Israeli military says fired on suspects near Egypt border
3:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said on Tuesday its forces opened fire on a group of suspects in the area of Mount Harif, around halfway down its border with Egypt, wounding a number of them.

It gave no further details.

'We are with them': Lebanon students rally for Gaza
2:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hundreds of university students in Lebanon protested on Tuesday against Israel's bombardment of Gaza, inspired by recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have rocked US and European campuses.

Dozens of students gathered at the prestigious American University of Beirut (AUB), some wearing the traditional Arab keffiyeh scarf that has long been a symbol of the Palestinian cause.

"We are Palestine's neighbours. If we do not stand with them today, who will?" asked AUB student Zeina, 23, declining to provide her surname.

At the nearby Lebanese American University (LAU), dozens of students gathered, raising Palestinian flags and burning an Israeli one.

"We want to convey a message to our people in Gaza: we are with them... We have not forgotten them," Lara Qassem, 18, told AFP.

UNRWA chief seeks probe into Israeli treatment of Gaza staff
2:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) called on Tuesday for countries to back an independent investigation into alleged killings and detentions of its staff and damage to its premises once Gaza war ends.

After briefing U.N. member states in Geneva, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini told reporters he wanted the countries to back an independent investigation "to look into this blatant disregard of the United Nations in order to avoid that this becomes also in the future the new standard."

Lazzarini said Israel blocked him from entering Gaza last month, and that he plans to visit again on Sunday. He voiced hope that Israel would let him in.

ICJ throws out Nicaragua's 'genocide' request against Berlin
2:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN's top court Tuesday threw out Nicaragua's request for emergency measures against German military supplies to Israel, saying "circumstances were not such" to accuse Germany of violating a genocide convention.

International Court of Justice presiding judge Nawaf Salam said the circumstances presented to the court did not warrant "provisional measures".

Israel to wait till 'Wednesday night' for Hamas reply
2:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A top Israeli official said the government will wait until Wednesday night for a Hamas response to a Gaza truce proposal before deciding whether to send envoys to Cairo for ceasefire talks.

"Israel will make a decision once Hamas provides their answer," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that "we will wait for answers until Wednesday night and then decide".

Pro-Palestinian protesters occupy building at Columbia: CNN
1:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University were occupying a building on the New York City campus on Tuesday as officials limited access to students who live there and essential employees.

The protesters who were occupying Hamilton Hall displayed banners from a window reading "Intifada," the Arabic word for an uprising, CNN reported, citing a video.

The school said in an early morning notice that effective immediately access to the Morningside campus has been limited to students residing in residential buildings on campus and employees providing essential services.

"This access restriction will remain in place until circumstances allow otherwise," it said. "The safety of every single member of this community is paramount. We thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding."

Gaza hospital staff questioned by ICC war crimes prosecutors
12:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prosecutors from the International Criminal Court have interviewed staff from Gaza's two biggest hospitals, two sources told Reuters, the first confirmation that ICC investigators were speaking to medics about possible crimes in the Gaza Strip.

The sources, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject, told Reuters ICC investigators had taken testimony from staff who had worked in the main hospital in Gaza City in the north of the enclave, Al-Shifa, and the main hospital in Khan Younis in the south, Nasser.

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The sources declined to provide more details, citing concerns about the safety of potential witnesses.

One of the sources said that events surrounding the hospitals could become part of the investigation by the ICC, which hears criminal cases against individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and aggression.

The ICC's office of the prosecutor declined to comment on operational matters in ongoing investigations citing the need to ensure the safety of victims and witnesses.

UN 'alarmed' at impact of Lebanon border clashes on children
12:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations children's agency warned Tuesday that conflict on Lebanon's border was taking a heavy toll on children, with thousands out of school and healthcare "critically impacted".

"We are deeply alarmed by the situation of children and families who have been forced from their homes," Edouard Beigbeder, the Lebanon representative for UNICEF, said in a statement.

He further warned of "the profound long-term impact the violence is taking on children's safety, health and access to education".

"We call for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of children and civilians," he said.

"We must redouble our efforts to make sure every child in Lebanon is in school and learning, is protected from physical and mental harm, and has the opportunity to thrive."

Israel awaits Hamas response on proposed halt to fighting
12:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel is waiting for Hamas to respond to proposals for a halt to the fighting in Gaza and a return of Israeli hostages before sending a team to Cairo to continue talks, a person close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

For Netanyahu, any move is likely to be affected by divisions in his own cabinet between ministers pressing to bring home at least some of the 133 Israeli hostages left in Gaza, and hardliners insisting on the long-promised assault on Gaza's southern city of Rafah.

An incursion into Rafah will happen "with a deal or without a deal", Netanyahu said on Tuesday, adding that ending the war before reaching its objectives was "out of the question."

Turkish national shot dead in Jerusalem after alleged attack
12:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Turkish national on Tuesday allegedly stabbed an Israeli border policeman in Jerusalem and was then shot dead by officers at the scene, Israeli police have claimed.

The border policeman was moderately wounded. Police identified the attacker as a 34-year-old Turkish citizen.

"A terrorist armed with a knife arrived in the Old City of Jerusalem ... charged at the border police officer and stabbed him," said a police statement.

The wounded policeman and another officer on scene fought off and shot the attacker, who was later pronounced dead, it said.

UN right chief troubled by treatment of US uni protesters
12:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The U.N. human rights chief said on Tuesday he was "troubled" by heavy-handed actions taken by U.S. security forces during attempts to break up pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses.

"I am concerned that some of law enforcement actions across a series of universities appear disproportionate in their impacts," Volker Turk said in a statement sent to journalists, in which he made reference to arrests and sanctions of students.

"It must be clear that legitimate exercises of the freedom of expression cannot be conflated with incitement to violence and hatred," he added.

Top French uni loses funding over pro-Palestinian protests
12:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Paris region authority sparked controversy Tuesday by temporarily suspending funding for Sciences Po after it was rocked by tense pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

"I have decided to suspend all regional funding for Sciences Po until calm and security have been restored at the school," Valerie Pecresse, the right-wing head of the greater Paris Ile-de-France region, said on social media on Monday.

Regional support for the Paris-based university includes 1 million euros earmarked for 2024, a member of Pecresse's team told AFP.

On Tuesday, the university's acting administrator, Jean Basseres, said he regretted the decision.

Gaza aid not enough to reverse trend towards famine: UNRWA
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Food and other humanitarian aid supplies to Gaza have improved in April, but there is still far from enough to reverse the trend towards famine, said the head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

"It is true that there have been more supply entering during the month of April, but this is still far from enough to reverse the negative trend," said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner general, at a press conference in Geneva, describing a race against the clock to roll back hunger and famine.

He said that only a handful of countries still have a block on their funds to UNRWA following Israeli accusations that members of its staff took part in the October 7 Hamas-ed attacks. The agency has also raised $115 million in private funding, he said.

Lazzarini added that he plans to go to Gaza on Sunday, hoping Israeli authorities will allow his entry.

Troops to enter Rafah with or without Gaza truce: Netanyahu
12:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the Israeli military will launch a ground offensive in Rafah "with or without" a truce with Hamas in Gaza.

"The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there with or without a deal, in order to achieve the total victory," Netanyahu told representatives of hostages' families, according to a statement issued by his office.

US, foreign lawyers call on Biden to halt Israel arms supply
10:54 AM
The New Arab Staff

A group of US and foreign lawyers, including at least 20 working in the Biden administration,l are calling on the US president to halt military aid to Israel over its violations of US and international humanitarian law in Gaza, POLITICO reported.

The lawyers will send a letter arguing their case to Attorney General Merrick Garland and general counsels across the administration in the coming days, the American news site said.

"In the letter, obtained by POLITICO, the lawyers contend that Israel likely violated U.S. statutes including the Arms Export Control Act and Leahy Laws as well as the Geneva Conventions prohibiting disproportionate attacks on civilian populations."

Rights groups demand Biden, Congress reinstate UNRWA funding
10:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

More than 100 immigrant, refugee, human rights and humanitarian organisations sent a letter Monday demanding US President Joe Biden and Congress reinstate funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN body in charge of providing aid to Palestinian refugees.

Some countries have resumed funding after a report showed Israel had no evidence to back up its claims that UNRWA took part in Hamas' October 7 attacks.

Gaza aid pier to cost US at least $320 mn: Pentagon
10:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The temporary pier being constructed by the US military to boost aid deliveries to Gaza will cost Washington at least $320 million, the Pentagon said Monday.

"That's about our rough estimate right now, approximately $320 million," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told journalists, adding: "That's an initial cost for the temporary pier."

The Pentagon announced Thursday that construction of the pier had begun, saying it should be operational in early May.

Russia says US is being hypocritical over ICC and Israel
9:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia said on Tuesday that the United States was being hypocritical by opposing the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation of Israel but supporting the court's warrant for the arrest of President Vladimir Putin.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday the United States did not support the ICC's investigation of Israel and did not believe that the court had jurisdiction.

"Washington fully supported, if not stimulated, the issuance of ICC warrants against the Russian leadership," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a post on Telegram.

But "the American political system does not recognise the legitimacy of this structure in relation to itself and its satellites," Zakharova said, adding that such a position was intellectually "absurd".

China says Hamas and Fatah met for talks in Beijing
9:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China said Tuesday that rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah met in Beijing recently for "in-depth and candid talks on promoting intra-Palestinian reconciliation".

"Representatives of the Palestine National Liberation Movement and the Islamic Resistance Movement recently came to Beijing," foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian said, referring to the groups by their formal names.

"The two sides fully expressed their political will to achieve reconciliation through dialogue and consultation, discussed many specific issues and made positive progress," he added, without specifying when the sides had met.

Houthis claim attack on Greek merchant vessel off Yemen
9:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for attacks on Monday along the Red Sea shipping route, including on a Greek commercial vessel, according to a British maritime agency and the US military.

The US Central Command, or CENTCOM, said the Houthis had targeted MV Cyclades, a Greek commercial vessel flying the Maltese flag, with three anti-ship ballistic missiles and three drone strikes.

"Initial reports indicate there were no injuries and the vessel continued on its way," CENTCOM posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Earlier, the UK maritime security agency (UKMTO) reported explosions "in close proximity" to a commercial ship sailing off the Yemeni coast northwest of Mokha.

"Vessel and crew are reported safe," the agency, run by the Royal Navy, added.

Maritime security firm Ambrey said the Malta-flagged container ship was en route from Djibouti to Jeddah and was likely targeted "due to its listed operator's ongoing trade with Israel".

Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for firing at the Cyclades, MSC Orion and two US vessels.

Gaza death toll reaches 34,535
9:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that at least 34,535 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory during almost seven months of Israel's offensive.

The tally includes at least 47 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 77,704 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war broke out on October 7.

Blinken heads to Jordan to push Gaza aid
8:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken headed Tuesday to Jordan where he will discuss ways to boost aid deliveries into Gaza and quietly thank the kingdom for its help during recent Iran-Israel clashes.

The US top diplomat will meet Jordan's King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi as well as the UN humanitarian aid and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag.

Later in the day, Blinken will head to Israel where he will discuss the latest negotiations aimed at securing a temporary ceasefire and a release of hostages.

Columbia suspends students after call to end camp unheeded
8:43 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Columbia University began suspending student demonstrators on Monday after they defied an ultimatum to disperse.

In the latest crackdown, authorities at the prestigious university in New York demanded that the protest encampment be cleared by 2:00 pm (1800 GMT) or students would face disciplinary action.

A few hours later, Columbia vice-president of communications Ben Chang said the university had "begun suspending students as part of this next phase of our efforts to ensure safety on our campus."

He said students had been warned they would be "placed on suspension, ineligible to complete the semester or graduate, and will be restricted from all academic, residential, and recreational spaces."

Top UN court to rule in Germany 'genocide' case over Gaza
8:42 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations' top court will on Tuesday rule on charges by Nicaragua that Germany is breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention by supplying arms to Israel for the Gaza war.

Nicaragua has hauled Germany before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to demand that judges impose emergency measures to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other assistance.

The ICJ in The Hague is scheduled to issue an order at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT).

US, Egypt presidents discussed Gaza ceasefire talks
8:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call on Monday from U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss the latest developments in negotiations regarding a ceasefire in Gaza and the dangers of a military escalation in Rafah, a statement from Egypt's presidency said.

The spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency said the call also touched on the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, a main sticking point in any comprehensive ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel.

The danger of a military escalation in Rafah was also stressed, in how it would add catastrophe to an already worsening humanitarian crisis that would impact stability and security in the region, the statement said.

"President Al-Sisi stressed the necessity of full and adequate access to humanitarian aid, reviewing the intensive Egyptian efforts in this regard. The two presidents also stressed the necessity of working to prevent the expansion of the conflict and reaffirmed the importance of the two-state solution as the means to achieve security, peace, and stability in the region," the Egyptian presidency statement said.

Blinken, MBS discussed achieving peace, security in Gaza: US
8:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday in Riyadh, where they discussed the urgent need to reduce tensions in the region, the U.S. Department of State said in a statement.

Blinken also underscored the need for sustaining an increase in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, reaching an immediate ceasefire that secures the release of hostages and preventing the possible further spread of the conflict, the State Department said.

Blinken is in Saudi Arabia as part of a broader trip to the Middle East aimed at discussing with Arab partners post-war Gaza and to press Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps U.S. President Joe Biden demanded this month to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

5 Israel military units responsible for gross violations: US
8:34 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The U.S. State Department found five units of the Israeli military responsible for gross violations of human rights in incidents that took place outside of Gaza before conflict broke out between Israel and Hamas in October, the State Department said.

Four of the units have effectively remediated the violations, while Israel has submitted additional information regarding the fifth unit and the U.S. is continuing conversations with the government, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.