Turkey halts all trade with Israel; Hamas says studying Gaza truce proposal 'in positive spirit'

Turkey halts all trade with Israel; Hamas says studying Gaza truce proposal 'in positive spirit'
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday that the group are in a 'positive' spirit studying a proposal for a truce.
26 min read

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday the Palestinian group was studying a proposal for a truce in the nearly seven-month war raging in Gaza with a "positive spirit".

In a call to Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, Haniyeh said he "appreciated the role played by Egypt", which, along with Qatar and the United States, is mediating the talks. He also "stressed the positive spirit of the movement in studying the ceasefire proposal," according to a statement on Hamas's official website.

The mediators have proposed a truce deal that would halt fighting for 40 days and exchange dozens of hostages for many more Palestinian prisoners, according to Britain.

This live blog has now concluded
4:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

US's Austin: No indication Hamas planning attack on troops
4:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday he did not see any indication Hamas was planning any attack on American troops in Gaza.

"I don't discuss intelligence information at the podium. But I don't see any indications currently that there is an active intent to do that," Austin said during a press briefing.


Six killed in Israeli bombing north of Rafah
3:58 AM
The New Arab Staff

Six people were killed and others wounded after Israel bombed a home north of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Palestinian media reports.

US says destroyed three 'uncrewed aerial systems' in Yemen
3:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

US forces destroyed three "uncrewed aerial systems" in a Houthi-held part of Yemen on Thursday, US Central Command says.

"It was determined these systems presented an imminent threat to U.S., coalition forces, and merchant vessels in the region," CENTCOM adds on X.

"These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S., coalition, and merchant vessels."

UNESCO awards press prize to Palestinian journalists in Gaza
2:39 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UNESCO on Thursday awarded its world press freedom prize to all Palestinian journalists covering the war in Gaza.

"In these times of darkness and hopelessness, we wish to share a strong message of solidarity and recognition to those Palestinian journalists who are covering this crisis in such dramatic circumstances," said Mauricio Weibel, chair of the international jury of media professionals.

"As humanity, we have a huge debt to their courage and commitment to freedom of expression."

Audrey Azoulay, director general at the UN organisation for education, science and culture, said the prize paid "tribute to the courage of journalists facing difficult and dangerous circumstances".

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 97 members of the press have been killed since the war began in October, 92 of whom were Palestinians.

Iraq militants fire cruise missiles on Tel Aviv: source
2:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a group of Iran-backed armed groups, launched multiple attacks on Israel using cruise missiles on Thursday, a source in the group said.

The source told Reuters the attack was carried out with multiple Arqub-type cruise missiles and targeted the Israeli city of Tel Aviv for the first time.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has claimed dozens of rockets and drone attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria and on targets in Israel in the almost seven months since the Gaza war began.

Israel has not publicly commented on the attacks claimed by Iraqi armed groups.


Students erect pro-Palestinian camps at major Canada unis
1:56 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said on Thursday the encampment at Montreal's McGill University should be dismantled as more students erected pro-Palestinian camps across some of Canada's largest universities, demanding they divest from groups with ties to Israel.

While McGill had requested police intervention, law enforcement had not stepped in Thursday to clear the encampment and said in a statement Thursday evening it was monitoring the situation.

Students also set up encampments at Canadian schools including the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and the University of Ottawa.

"We want the camp to be dismantled. We trust the police, let them do their job," a spokesperson for Legault said.

There was also a pro-Israel counter-protest in Montreal Thursday. The two sides were kept separate.

On Thursday morning, students at the University of Toronto set up an encampment in a fenced-off grassy space at the school's downtown campus where some 100 protesters gathered with dozens of tents.

According to a statement from organisers, the encampment will stay until the university discloses its investments, divests from any that "sustain Israeli apartheid, occupation and illegal settlement of Palestine" and ends partnerships with some Israeli academic institutions.

A university spokesperson told Reuters it was "in dialogue with the protesters" and that, as of midday, the encampment was "not disruptive to normal university activities".

University of Toronto graduate student and encampment spokesperson Sara Rasikh told Reuters they will remain until their demands are met.

"If public disruption is the only way to get our voice heard, then we are willing to do that," she said.


Turkey halts all trade with Israel over Gaza offensive
1:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey on Thursday suspended all imports and exports to Israel citing the country's ongoing military offensive in Gaza and vowed to continue to impose other measures until the Israeli government allows the flow of humanitarian aid to the region.

A Turkish trade ministry statement said "export and import transactions in relation to Israel have been stopped, covering all products".

Turkish officials would coordinate with Palestinian authorities to ensure that Palestinians are not affected by the suspension of imports and exports, the ministry said.

The ministry described the step as the "second phase" of measures against Israel, adding that other steps would follow until Israel "allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza".

Live Story
Israel aircraft carry out two raids on Gaza's Al-Bureij camp
12:48 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli aircraft carried out two raids on the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, Palestinian media reports.

Israel confirms death of hostage held in Gaza
11:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli man held hostage in Gaza since the 7 October Hamas-led attack has been confirmed dead, the government said early Friday.

Dror Or, 49, was killed and his body was held in Gaza since 7 October, said the Be'eri kibbutz where he had lived. It was one of the communities hardest hit in the Hamas-led attack.

His wife Yonat was killed in the initial assault while two of their three children, Noam and Alma, aged 17 and 13, were abducted and then freed in November as part of a ceasefire and hostages-swap deal between Israel and Hamas.

"We are heartbroken to share that Dror Or who was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, had been confirmed as murdered and his body is being held in Gaza," the Israeli government said on X

The two children and their brother Yahli are now orphans, it added.

The government did not say how it learned of the death of Or.

Eight soldiers injured in Israeli airstrike: Syrian media
10:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Eight soldiers have been injured in an Israeli airstrike on the Damascus outskirts late on Thursday, Syrian regime state media said.


Woman arrested crossing from north to south Gaza
10:46 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces arrested the wife of journalist Mohammed Ali Al-Hajjar while she was crossing from north to south Gaza via the Netzarim checkpoint, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Sciences Po says closing main Paris site over Gaza protest
9:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France's prestigious Sciences Po university said it would close its main Paris site on Friday due to a fresh occupation of buildings by protesting pro-Palestinian students.

In a message sent to staff on Thursday evening, its management said the buildings in central Paris "will remain closed tomorrow, Friday May 3. We ask you to continue to work from home."

PIJ says worked with DFLP to shell Israeli forces in Gaza
9:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian Islamic Jihad's military wing says it fired a barrage of mortars on Israeli forces in Gaza City, adding that it collaborated with the armed branch of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

While Islamic Jihad is a religiously motivated group, the DFLP is a leftist organisation.

Islamic Jihad's armed branch is called the Al-Quds Brigades.

The DFLP's military wing is the Omar Al-Qasem Forces.

Israeli air raid around Rafah crossing in southern Gaza
9:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli aircraft launched a raid on the area around the Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Israeli strike hits Syrian security building, source says
8:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli strike hit a building operated by Syrian security forces on the outskirts of Damascus late on Thursday, a security source in the alliance backing the Syrian regime told Reuters.

There was no immediate report of a strike by Syrian regime state media.


UN expert calls for intervention after reports surgeon died
8:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

UN special rapporteur Francesca Albanese calls for intervention after reports that a Palestinian doctor has died in Israeli detention.

Albanese says she is "extremely alarmed" by information that Adnan Al-Bursh, a surgeon at Gaza City's Al-Shifa Hospital, has died at the Ofer military jail.

"While I acquire more information, I URGE the diplomatic community to intervene with CONCRETE MEASURES to protect Palestinians," she adds on X.

"No Palestinian is safe under Israel's occupation today.

"How many more lives will have to be taken before UN member states, especially those demonstrating genuine concern for human rights globally, act to PROTECT the Palestinians?"

Two Palestinian prisoner associations say in a joint statement that Al-Bursh had been detained by Israeli forces while temporarily working at Al-Awda Hospital in north Gaza.

They called his death an "assassination" and said his body remained in Israeli custody.

Reuters contributed to this update.

US calls out Israel and Hamas over Gaza aid shipment
7:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US on Thursday called on both Israel and Hamas to ensure that aid bound for civilians in Gaza is not disrupted, after a shipment from Jordan was attacked by Israeli settlers and allegedly subsequently diverted by Palestinian militants.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken viewed the aid on Tuesday just before it departed from the headquarters of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization in Amman bound for the newly opened crossing into Gaza at Erez.

The visit was part of a US push to increase the aid getting to civilians in Gaza amid warnings of imminent famine after nearly seven months of Israel's war on the strip.

Before the shipment reached the crossing, however, Jordan said it was attacked by Israeli settlers.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters that Blinken raised the incident with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday, and credited Israel for arresting three people involved in the attack.

"That's the step that they ought to take whenever there are attacks on aid convoys," Miller said.

"Furthermore, they ought to prevent these attacks from happening in the first place."

The same aid convoy was later transferred to a humanitarian aid group to be distributed inside Gaza but was "intercepted and diverted" by Hamas, Miller alleged, adding that he believed the United Nations either had or was in the process of recovering the aid.

"It was an unacceptable act by Hamas to divert this aid to begin with, to seize this aid," Miller said.

"If there's one thing that Hamas could do to jeopardise the shipment of aid, it would be diverting it for their own use, rather than allowing it to go to the innocent civilians that need it. So they certainly should refrain from doing that in the future."

UK lecturers' union UCU backs campus Palestine protests
7:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

A UK trade union representing lecturers and other university staff has backed pro-Palestinian protests taking place on campuses.

"The University and College Union (UCU) sends our solidarity to the thousands of university students and staff across the world who are taking a stand against their institutions' complicity in Israel's genocidal war in Gaza," the union says in a statement.

"In standing with the Palestinian people, students and staff taking part in encampments and peaceful protests on campuses across North America and now Britain and Europe are defending the core values of higher learning: freedom, democracy, and human dignity."

The UCU adds that it has been "shocking" to see militarised police invited onto US campuses to "violently shut down peaceful dissent".

It says that as peaceful encampments and occupations spread across Britain, it urges vice-chancellors  the heads of universities  to adopt a different stance.

"We are clear that antisemitism and Islamophobia have no place on our campuses or in our society, but freedom of speech and freedom of assembly within the law are fundamental human rights and civil liberties which must be upheld," the UCU says.

2,000 arrested at US campus Palestine protests since 18 Apr
7:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

At least 2,000 people have been arrested at pro-Palestinian protests on US campuses since 18 April, an Associated Press tally shows.

US says Israel should prevent attacks on aid convoys
6:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel should prevent further attacks on aid convoys bound for Gaza after Israeli settlers attacked a shipment from Jordan, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Thursday.

He also called Hamas actions to divert aid "unacceptable".


Blood drive takes place in Jabalia in north Gaza
6:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

A blood donation campaign is taking place in the northern Gaza city of Jabalia, the Palestine Red Crescent Society says.

The humanitarian group says on X that the drive is happening at its medical post in collaboration with the health ministry's emergency committee.

Israel says Turkey's Erdogan breaking agreements
6:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's foreign minister said on Thursday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was breaking agreements by blocking ports for Israeli imports and exports.

"This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements," Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted on social media platform X.

Katz said he instructed the foreign ministry to work to create alternatives for trade with Turkey, focusing on local production and imports from other countries.

The Bloomberg news agency reported on Thursday that Turkey had stopped all exports and imports to and from Israel, citing two Turkish officials.

The Turkish presidency, foreign and trade ministries were not immediately available for comment.

The two countries had a trade volume of $6.8 billion in 2023.

Turkey last month imposed trade restrictions on Israel over what it said was Israel's refusal to allow Ankara to take part in aid air-drop operations for Gaza and its offensive on the enclave.

Asked about Turkey's ongoing trade with Israel despite the harsh rhetoric from Ankara, Erdogan said last month that Turkey no longer continued "intense trade" with Israel, adding "that is done". He did not indicate Ankara had cut off all trade with Israel, however.


Prominent Gaza doctor dies in Israeli prison
5:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A senior Palestinian doctor died in an Israeli prison after more than four months of detention, two Palestinian prisoner associations said on Thursday, blaming Israel for his death.

The associations said in a joint statement that Adnan Al-Bursh, head of orthopaedics at Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest medical facility, had been detained by Israeli forces while temporarily working at Al-Awada Hospital in north Gaza.

They called his death an "assassination" and said his body remained in Israeli custody.

An Israeli military spokesperson said that the prison service had declared Bursh dead on 19 April, saying that he had been detained for national security reasons in Ofer prison. The spokesperson did not comment on the cause of death.


Israel claims over 6 tons of aid entered Gaza
5:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military said that over 6,000 tons of food entered Gaza, while over 4,000 trucks entered the enclave with almost 2,000 trucks of medical supplies.

This comes as the Government Media Office in Gaza said that Israel allowed in an average of 163 aid trucks per day in April.

British police officer pleads guilty to Hamas terror charges
5:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A British police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to terror charges for showing support on social media for Hamas, which is designated a terror group and banned in the UK.

West Yorkshire constable Mohammed Adil admitted sharing two images on WhatsApp supporting the group three weeks after the 7 October attack.

Adil, 26, pleaded guilty in Westminster Magistrates’ Court to two counts of publishing an image in support of a proscribed organization in violation of the Terrorism Act.

Hamas was designated as a terrorist group by the UK in 2021.

Turkey halts all trade with Israel
5:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey stopped all exports and imports to and from Israel on Thursday, Bloomberg News reported, citing two Turkish officials who were familiar with the matter. 


Biden says 'order must prevail' amid campus protests on Gaza
4:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Joe Biden broke his virtual silence Thursday on the nationwide Gaza campus protests, saying the United States was not authoritarian but insisting "order must prevail."

In a televised address from the White House, Biden added that there was "no place" for anti-Semitism or other hate speech on university campuses, which have been roiled by pro-Palestinian demonstrations amid Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza.

Biden to make statement amid campus Gaza protests
3:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden was set Thursday to make an unscheduled public statement on the protests over Israel's war on Gaza that have roiled college campuses nationwide.

The White House remarks comes after hundreds of police cleared a sprawling protest encampment overnight at the University of California, Los Angeles, tearing down barriers and arresting students.

Gaza pier expected to open in days, poor weather a factor
3:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A maritime pier constructed by the US military to speed the flow of humanitarian aid in Gaza should be open within a matter of days, despite poor weather that is hampering preparations, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.

"We were hoping within days. I think that's still a hope," Kirby said at a news briefing.


Gaza encampment set up in University College London
3:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

University College London (UCL) has started setting up an encampment for Gaza. 

Key demands include the university to divest from Israel and pledge to rebuild universities in Gaza.

UCL joins Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, and Sheffield in taking part in encampments in the UK and worldwide in support of the people of Gaza.

Israel issues Sweden Eurovision travel warning
2:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Planned protests against Israel taking part in this year's Eurovision Song Contest have prompted an Israeli warning against travelling to the event.

Israel's National Security Council on Thursday issued an advisory warning against travel to Malmo, citing "a well-founded concern that terrorist elements will exploit the protests and the anti-Israel mood to carry out attacks against Israelis attending Eurovision".

Israel was permitted to compete after it agreed to modify the lyrics of its original song "October Rain", which the EBU said made reference to the 7 October attack.


Police clear UCLA Gaza protest encampment
2:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hundreds of police cleared a sprawling protest encampment early Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), tearing down barriers and arresting students in the latest clash on US campuses over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Officers in riot gear ripped down a wooden barricade around the UCLA protest site and dragged tents away in the fresh round of university unrest.

UN estimates rebuilding Gaza will cost $30 bn to $40 bn
2:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A UN agency said Thursday that rebuilding war-wracked Gaza will cost an estimated $30 billion to $40 billion and require an effort on a scale the world has not seen since World War II.

"The United Nations Development Programme's initial estimates for the reconstruction of... the Gaza Strip surpasses $30 billion and could reach up to $40 billion," said UN assistant secretary-general Abdallah al-Dardari.

"The scale of the destruction is huge and unprecedented... this is a mission that the global community has not dealt with since World War II."

Hamas chief says group studying Gaza truce proposal
2:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday the Palestinian militant group was studying a proposal for a truce in the nearly seven-month war raging on Gaza with a "positive spirit".

In a call to Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, Haniyeh said he "appreciated the role played by Egypt, and stressed the positive spirit of the movement in studying the ceasefire proposal", according to a statement on Hamas's official website.

Palestinian Embassy seeks temporary status for Gazans
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian Embassy in Egypt is seeking temporary residency permits for tens of thousands of people who have arrived from Gaza during the war on the enclave, which it says would ease conditions for them until the conflict is over.

Diab al-Louh, the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo, said as many as 100,000 Gazans had crossed into Egypt, where they lack the papers to enrol their children in schools, open businesses or bank accounts, travel, or access health insurance - though some have found ways to make a living.

Louh stressed that residency permits would only be for legal and humanitarian purposes, adding that those who arrived since the war began on 7 October had no plans to settle in Egypt.

"We are talking about a category (of people) in an exceptional situation. We asked the state to give them temporary residencies that can be renewed until the crisis in Gaza is over," Louh told Reuters in an interview.

"We have confidence that our Egyptian brothers will understand this. They have already provided a lot," he said. "But ... this is an issue of sovereignty being discussed at the highest level."

Egypt's State Information Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Sciences Po rejects protesters' demand to review Israel ties
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Paris' Sciences Po university has rejected protesters' demands to set up a working group to review its relations with Israeli universities, its interim director Jean Basseres told reporters on Thursday, following a town hall meeting with students and staff.

The town hall was one of the conditions last week for students to call off their protests over the war on Gaza.

Many were also asking for the university to cut all ties with Israel, and Basseres said he was aware that refusing to hold such a working group could anger some protesters.

"I'm calling on all to show a sense of responsibility," he said, urging all to allow exams to go on.

He said the elite political sciences university would work on the best way to organise internal debate on major topics.

"The last ties that should be severed are the ones between universities," said Arancha Gonzalez, who heads Science Po's School of International Affairs. The university already has rules to review partnerships, he added.


Police clash with pro-Palestine protesters at UCLA
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hundreds of police tore down protest barricades and began arresting students early Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles, the latest flashpoint in an eruption of protest on US campuses over Israel's war on Gaza.

Officers in riot gear ripped down a wooden barricade around the protest encampment. They dragged tents away in the fresh campus clashes, which for weeks have seen authorities attempt a tightrope walk between the right to protest and complaints of violence and hate speech.

Students clad in white helmets linked arms and formed a line facing off against officers, who were detaining protesters and leading them away.

Police used flashbangs to disperse the crowds gathered outside the encampment who were chanting, "Let them go!" as helicopters hovered overhead.

Officers blocked stairs accessing the encampment, with students dressed in yellow jackets and serving as medics telling AFP they were being largely prevented from accessing the area.

Israel: US universities 'contaminated by anti-Semitism'
1:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's President Isaac Herzog on Thursday slammed US universities for campus unrest over Israel's war on Gaza, saying these institutions were "contaminated by hatred and anti-Semitism".

"We see prominent academic institutions, halls of history, culture, and education contaminated by hatred and anti-Semitism fuelled by arrogance and ignorance... We watch in horror as the atrocities of October 7th against Israel are celebrated and justified," Herzog said in a statement offering support to Jewish students across these universities.

163 Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Almost 163 Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem under protection from the Israeli military.

The Jerusalem Governorate said the settlers stormed from the Mughrabi Gate, carried out tours and performed rituals near the Bab al-Rahma prayer area.

The military has also tightened its restrictions and increased its military deployments near the mosque, preventing young men from entering.

While Al-Aqsa is considered a holy site for Muslims, many pro-Israelis consider the complex the most sacred site in their religion, believing it to be the location of their two ancient temples.

Yemen University says it will welcome Palestine protesters
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Sana'a University in Yemen announced it had opened its doors to students and academics who have been expelled from US or European universities for taking part in the worldwide campus protests in support of Palestine - Al Jazeera Arabic reports.

Iraq students rally for Gaza
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Dozens of Iraqi university students and professors rallied Thursday at a Baghdad campus in solidarity with Gaza and pro-Palestinian protests at US universities, AFP correspondents said.

Iraqi Education Minister Naeem al-Aboudi earlier this week expressed his support for the "free voices in universities" around the world and called for protests in solidarity with the embattled Gaza Strip.

Students at Al-Nahrain University waved the Palestinian and Iraqi flags.

"With all that is happening to our people in Gaza... of course, I must be among the first to come to raise our voice," student Aya Kader, 20, said.

"It is very positive to see the Palestinian flag being waved at American universities," she said.

Police move in to dismantle UCLA Gaza protest barricades
12:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Police in riot gear moved in to start removing barricades around a protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, early Thursday as unrest over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza simmers on US campuses.

CNN footage showed police removing some railings and wooden boards, with several protesters detained by officers.

Berlin discussed ceasefire, Gaza aid in call with Netanyahu
11:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have discussed in a telephone call the war on Gaza, including a possible ceasefire, according to a statement from the German government.

"They spoke about efforts to release all hostages held by Hamas and about a ceasefire. Further improvements to humanitarian aid for the people in the Gaza Strip were also discussed," a government spokesperson said in a statement. 


Israel continues bombing of Gaza Strip
11:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Dozens were killed and injured across the Gaza Strip as Israel continued its bombardment. 

Wafa reports that six were killed in the shelling of Al-Zahraa, north of the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza. Some were killed, and others were injured in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, including a residential building in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood - many are missing under the rubble.

Areas in the east of the city, Bani Suhaila, Abasan, and Khuza’a, were also targeted. 

Israeli war cabinet to meet on hostages and Rafah plan
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Top Israeli ministers will convene on Thursday to discuss a proposed Gaza truce to free some captives held by Hamas, as well as prospects for an army sweep of the southern tip of the enclave packed with displaced Palestinians, a government source said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet was provisionally slated to meet at 6.30 pm (1530 GMT), followed by the wider security cabinet, the source said. Israel does not generally publish information on the two groups' sessions.

Israel awaits a response from Hamas on the latest ceasefire offer, presented by Egyptian mediators, which would bring about the release of some of the people the Palestinian group seized in the 7 October attack.


Palestine Action block entry to Israeli weapons in Bristol
11:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

Pro-Palestine group Palestine Action have blocked entry at Elbit System's headquarters in Bristol, UK. 

The activists used a van to blockade the road leading to the site and affix themselves to the premises' gates. Some also launched red paint at the site. 

The protesters intend to hold the blockade for "as long as possible", preventing the headquarters from opening, which will hinder its manufacture and supply of weapons to Israel.

Israeli gov't gets new deadline in conscription feud
10:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured another reprieve in a long-running Israeli dispute over exemptions of ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service, with the Supreme Court on Thursday deferring the deadline for a new conscription plan to 116 May.

The court, hearing appeals that described the decades-old waiver as discriminatory, had given 31 March as the original deadline. That was extended to 30 April at the government's request, which argued it was busy waging the war on Gaza, and last week asked for a further deferral.

Netanyahu's coalition includes two ultra-Orthodox parties that regard the exemptions as key to keeping their constituents in religious seminaries and away from a melting-pot military that might test their conservative values.

Students at University of Manchester set up Gaza encampment
10:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

50 students at the University of Manchester have set up an encampment in support of the people in Palestine. 

Protesters demanded the university end its partnership with companies tied to Israel, including BAE Systems, and end ties with Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

This follows the establishment of camps in support of students in the United States by several universities across the UK, including Warwick University, Bristol, Sheffield and Newcastle.

UCLA Gaza protests continue after attacks
10:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Over 400 pro-Palestinian protesters are continuing their encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) after they were attacked by pro-Israeli supporters. 

The police are encircling the encampment to make them leave, warning that anyone who refuses to leave could get arrested. 

UN: It would take until 2040 to repair all Gaza homes
10:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

If the war on Gaza stopped today, it would still take until 2040 to rebuild all the homes that have been destroyed in nearly seven months of Israel’s bombardment and ground offensives in the territory, according to United Nations estimates released Thursday.

Iran slaps sanctions on US, UK over Israel support
9:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran announced on Thursday sanctions on several American and British individuals and entities for supporting Israel in its war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The Islamic republic, the regional arch-foe of Israel, unveiled the punitive measures in a statement from its foreign ministry.

It said the sanctions targeted seven Americans, including General Bryan P. Fenton, commander of the US special operations command, and Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, a former commander of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

British officials and entities targeted include Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps, commander of the British army strategic command James Hockenhull and the UK Royal Navy in the Red Sea.

Penalties were also announced against US firms Lockheed Martin and Chevron and British counterparts Elbit Systems, Parker Meggitt and Rafael UK.

34,596 Palestinians killed and 77,816 wounded since 7 Oct
9:34 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza Health Ministry has reported that as of today, 34,596 Palestinians have been killed, and over 77,816 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since 7 October.

The tally includes at least 28 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Hamas welcomes Colombia cutting ties with Israel
9:08 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas issued a statement on its Telegram channel on Wednesday in which it welcomed Colombia's decision to sever ties with Israel.

The group hailed Colombian President Gustavo Petro for the decision, which it described as "a victory for the sacrifices of our people and their just cause", and called on other countries to do the same in response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Leftist President Petro announced that his country's diplomatic relations with Israel "will be broken" as of 2 May, calling the Israeli government "genocidal".

Israel had traditionally been one of Colombia's key suppliers of security equipment and training. However, Petro had announced weeks before that Colombia would no longer buy Israeli weapons.

Blinken warns Israel of Rafah operation impacting deal
9:03 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel on Wednesday that an operation in Rafah would risk the hostage release deal with Hamas, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Blinken also added that the move would harm the US efforts to secure a normalisation deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a message he reiterated in talks with Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz and President Isaac Herzog.

Blinken said the US administration had mobilised a broad international coalition to pressure Hamas to accept Egypt's political deal. 

The report added that normalisation between Saudi Arabia and Israel would not be possible without a prolonged ceasefire, emphasising that normalisation "is high on the list of priorities of the Biden administration." 

Saudi Arabia, which is scathing of Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank, has remained cautious, pushing for Palestinian statehood, and reportedly explored the possibility of a US defence pact or permission for a civilian nuclear programme in return for normalisation.

Hamas says it will halt talks if Israel enters Rafah
8:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas has vowed to halt talks on a truce and hostage-prisoner release if Israel moves ahead with their planned ground offensive in Rafah city in southern Gaza.

The Lebanon-based senior Hamas member Osama Hamdan said the group "does not negotiate under fire" and described Israel's repeated announcements that it would enter Rafah as "blackmail", in a televised interview with Al Manar TV.

Hamdan reiterated that Hamas was insisting on "clear texts" in any document related to a deal, particularly in terms of an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and details of the prisoner-hostage exchange, reiterating the group's commitment to its demands for a ceasefire agreement. 

Hamdan said the group's assessment of a recent ceasefire proposal by Egypt was "negative" but could change if "amendments" are made to the text of the suggested deal.