UN Security Council vote on Gaza delayed again, Hamas says no hostage releases without truce

UN Security Council vote on Gaza delayed again, Hamas says no hostage releases without truce
As Hamas rejects further truce and hostage deal talks due to ongoing Israeli "aggression", a UN aid resolution could yield some effort for war-torn Gaza.
28 min read
21 December, 2023

This live blog on Day 76 of Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for the latest news.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday once again pushed back a vote on a much-delayed resolution on the Gaza war, diplomatic sources said.

The postponement to Friday came even as the United States, which has opposed a number of proposals during the resolution's drafting, said it was ready to support it in its current form.

Meanwhile, Israel ordered more displacement of Palestinians in southern Gaza's main city of Khan Younis.

The Palestinian government's media office in the Gaza Strip said Wednesday at least 20,000 people had been killed in the Palestinian territory since the war with Israel began.

It said 8,000 children and 6,200 women were among the dead.

However, hopes that Israel and Hamas could be inching towards another truce and hostage release deal have risen this week as the head of the Palestinian group visited Egypt and talks were held in Europe.

Qatar-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Egypt on Wednesday for talks with the country's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

Haniyeh also met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian but no details were released.

Thank you for following this live blog!
12:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog on Day 76 of the Gaza war has now concluded.

UN Security Council vote on Gaza aid delayed again: sources
12:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN Security Council Gaza vote delayed again: diplomatic sources

Canada announces temporary visas for Gazans with relatives
8:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

People in the Gaza Strip who have Canadian relatives may apply for temporary visas to Canada, the country's immigration minister said Thursday. However, the federal government cannot guarantee safe passage out of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller expects the program to be up and running by January 9. Until now, the government has focused on getting 660 Canadians, permanent residents and their spouses and children out of Gaza.

Miller said the government will start accepting applications for people with extended family connections to Canada, including parents, grandparents, siblings and grandchildren.

He said people will be offered three-year visas if they meet eligibility and admissibility criteria.

Miller said he’s not sure how many people will be able to come to Canada under the program, but he expects the number will be in the hundreds.

Miller said it's been difficult to get Canadians out of Gaza. “We have limited ability,” he said.

Israel's war on Gaza 'among the most destructive in history'
8:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli war in Gaza, experts say, now sits among the deadliest and most destructive in history.

In just over two months, the offensive has wreaked more destruction than the razing of Syria’s Aleppo between 2012 and 2016, Ukraine’s Mariupol or, proportionally, the Allied bombing of Germany in World War II. It has killed more civilians than the U.S.-led coalition did in its three-year campaign against the Islamic State group.

Gaza war 'most dangerous ever' for journalists: rights group
8:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The first 10 weeks of the Gaza war have been the deadliest recorded for journalists, with the most journalists killed in a single year in one location, the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday.

Most of the journalists and media workers killed in the war - 61 out of 68 - were Palestinian. The report said it was "particularly concerned about an apparent pattern of targeting of journalists and their families by the Israeli military."

Hamas says Israel's goal of eliminating it 'doomed to fail'
7:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas's military wing on Thursday said Israel's objective to eliminate the militant group in Gaza was "doomed to fail", more than two months into war triggered by attacks on Israel.

Abu Obeida, spokesman for Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, also said in an audio recording that any further release of hostages held in Gaza depended on a "cessation of aggression".

Neither Israel's continued offensive nor "direct military operations" would bring the hostages home, he said.

"It is not possible to release enemy prisoners alive except by entering into negotiations."

Abu Obeida said there was "no alternative" to negotiations, warning that Israeli fire could lead to the deaths of more hostages.

He took aim at Israel's leader, whose "decision... evades facing and recognising the truth".

US 'actively working' for UN resolution on Gaza: White House
7:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States is still working in hopes of a UN Security Council resolution on Gaza, the White House said Thursday, after repeated delays over language opposed by Israel on aid monitoring.

"We're still actively working with our UN partners about the resolution and on the language itself," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Telecoms gradually return to parts of Gaza
7:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Telecommunication and internet services have gradually returned to several parts of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian media reported.

Israeli army storms Jabalia ambulance centre, arrests staff
7:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said it has lost contact with the Jabalia ambulance centre after Israeli forces stormed it, arresting medical staff and paramedics and taking them to an unknown location.

Hamas says 3 Israeli hostages killed in Israeli strikes
6:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas' armed wing said three Israeli hostages were killed in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

"Despite our keenness to preserve their lives, Netanyahu still insists on killing them," Al-Qassam Brigades said, adding that the Israeli prime minister and other officials did not care for the lives of hostages still in Gaza despite calls to end the war and make way for a new prisoner swap deal.

Al Araby TV reporter injured by Israeli attack live on air
6:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

A correspondent for The New Arab's Arabic-language sister channel Al Araby TV was injured by an Israeli strike on Wednesday while reporting live on air.

Islam Bader was wounded in a strike that hit near northern Gaza's Jabalia refugee camp, killing and injuring dozens of Palestinians.

Bader, along with at least three other journalists, were wearing their press vests during the attack.

"Only moments ago, this road was filled with people just as a strike hit one of the buildings here. We were also wounded as we were walking on this road," he said.

"I have suffered some injuries, but I will continue to document this massacre as much as I can and I will then go to the hospital," he added.

Read the full story here.

UK primary school threatened with Prevent referral over Gaza
5:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

A primary school in the British capital of London wrote a warning to parents of children that wore Palestinian flags and stickers, in support of the Palestinian people amid Israel's war on Gaza, that their solidarity would be seen as extremist under the government's Prevent counter-terrorism programme.

In a letter sent to parents in November, Barclay Primary Schoo said that students who dressed in the colours of the Palestinian flag or wearing "badges, jewellery and stickers" that showed pro-Palestine sentiment would be viewed as "overt demonstrations of political beliefs" that could be "deemed offensive".

Hamas armed wing spokesperson releases new statement
5:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Abu Obeida, Hamas' armed wing spokesperson has issued a new statement, where he once again slammed Israel's "aggression" and discussed the Houthis and Hezbollah's allyship with the Palestinian group.

"If the enemy [Israel] wants its prisoners alive, it has no choice but to stop the aggression," Abu Obeida said.

“We salute our nation’s fighters who are distracting the enemy, especially on the Yemeni and Lebanese fronts," he added, referring to the group's alliance with Yemen's Houthi group and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Abu Obeida also said that the armed wing has since struck 720 of Israel's military vehicles since it began conducting its ground operations in Gaza. 

Hamas releases video of captives killed by Israel
5:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian group Hamas has released a video that displayed three Israeli captives that were said to killed by Israeli forces.

According to the video, the three men were filmed during their one of their last moments, bearing smiles on their faces while holding pieces of paper with their names and ID numbers written.

“We tried to keep them alive, but Netanyahu insisted on killing them," the video said.

The men have been identified as Israeli-French citizen Elia Tolidano, Nik Beizer and Israeli-Argentinian Ron Sherman,

Israeli PM: "We fight until victory"
5:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he vows to continue fighting in war-torn Gaza until they achieve "the elimination of Hamas".

“The choice I offer to Hamas is very simple: surrender or die,” he said in a video.

“They don’t have and won’t have any other choice.”

Critics, from academics to activists, have argued that the elimination of the Hamas movement is unrealistic- that does not have a defined endpoint.  

Israeli forces fire tear gas at Palestinians in Ramallah
5:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have raided the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, as media outlets have reported several areas under attack.

Al Jazeera English reported that about 15 military vehicles stormed the city and made their way through the Ein Misbah neighbourhood- as well as stopping by the Ramallah Recreation Complex.

It was also reported that Israeli troops fired tear gas bombs at several young Palestinians who went to confront the raid.

However, there have not been any casualties caused, according to Al Jazeera.

France's Macron in Jordan to discuss Gaza aid with king
5:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived Thursday in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II on aid to war-battered Gaza, where Israel has been fighting in Gaza since early October.

Macron is then due to visit French troops stationed in the Middle Eastern country for a traditional Christmas meeting with forces deployed overseas.

The French president was welcomed by the Jordanian king upon landing at the Red Sea port city of Aqaba, and the two were due to meet later at a royal palace.

Macron and Abdullah II are set to discuss "joint work on humanitarian and medical aid for the civilian population of Gaza", according to the French presidency.

Two French planes laden with humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory are expected to arrive in Amman over the next days.

Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) speaks with France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) [Getty]
Britain's Cameron urges 'sustainable' Gaza ceasefire
4:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

Britain's top diplomat David Cameron called for a "sustainable ceasefire" in Gaza war since early October, stressing to need "to get aid into Gaza".

"I want this conflict to end as soon as possible," the foreign secretary said at a news conference in Cairo, alongside his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, on the second day of a visit to the region.

"What we need is a sustainable ceasefire where Hamas is no longer able to threaten Israel with rockets and with terrorism, and where the fighting can stop and the talks about how we have a long-term solution" can take place, Cameron said.

"Everything that can be done must be done to get aid into Gaza, to help people in the desperate situation that they're in."

His visit comes as talks between Israel and Hamas on a potential truce were underway via foreign intermediaries.

Cameron, a former British prime minister, earlier on Thursday met with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, after a visit to Jordan.

Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry (R) attends a press conference with British FM Cameron [Getty]
UAE foreign minister meets PLO official to discuss Gaza
4:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed met a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) official in Abu Dhabi to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza due to the escalating conflict, state news agency WAM reported on Thursday.

The meeting with Hussein Al-Sheikh, Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the PLO, focused on international efforts aimed at reaching an immediate ceasefire.

UN: Entire Gaza population risks hunger crisis, famine
4:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The entire 2.3 million population of Gaza is facing crisis levels of hunger and the risk of famine is increasing each day, a U.N.-backed body said in a report published on Thursday.

The proportion of households in Gaza affected by high levels of acute food insecurity is the largest ever recorded globally, according to a report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

King Abdullah: Israeli attacks risk "catastrophic" results
4:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Jordan's King Abdullah told French President Emmanuel Macron that Israel's "continued aggression" against Gaza would have "catastrophic repercussions" on the region, the palace said in a statement.

King Abdullah also said the world should pressure Israel to end its military campaign in Gaza and lift obstacles to much needed aid to around two million Palestinians in the besieged enclave, where hunger and disease were spreading fast. 

UN workers: 'Unbearable' scenes unfold in Gaza's hospitals
4:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 UN relief workers on Thursday reported “unbearable” scenes in two hospitals in northern Gaza, where bedridden patients with untreated wounds cry out for water, the few remaining doctors and nurses have no supplies, and bodies are lined up in the courtyard — signs of the worsening humanitarian crisis after 10 weeks of war in Gaza.

The relief workers spoke after delivering supplies a day earlier to Ahli and Shifa hospitals, which are located in the heart of the north Gaza battle zone where Israeli forces have demolished vast swaths of the city while fighting across the besieged territory.

Ahli Hospital is “a place where people are waiting to die,” said Sean Casey, a member of the WHO team that visited the two hospitals Wednesday. Five remaining doctors and five nurses along with around 80 patients remain in Ahli, he said.

All of the hospital buildings are damaged except two buildings were patients are now being kept — the orthopedics ward and a church on the grounds, he said. He described entering the compound, strewn with debris, and a crater from recent shelling in the courtyard.

Bodies were lined up nearby, but doctors said it was too unsafe to move them with fighting still outside, he said.

Inside the church, it was “an unbearable scene,” he said. Patients with traumatic wounds were struggling with infections. Others had undergone amputations. “Many patients said they hadn’t changed their clothes in weeks,” he said. “Patients were crying out in pain but were also crying out for us to give them water.”

Health workers were forced to treat injured Palestinians outside Al-Ahli [Getty]
UN: More than 570,000 people in Gaza are now 'starving'
4:36 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A report released Thursday by the UN finds that more than half a million people in Gaza are “starving” because of not enough food entering the territory since the outbreak of war more than 10 weeks ago.

“It is a situation where pretty much everybody in Gaza is hungry," said World Food Program chief economist Arif Husain.

He warned that if the war between Israel and Hamas continues at the same levels and food deliveries are not restored that the population could face “a full-fledged famine within the next six months.”

The report released Thursday by 23 U.N and nongovernmental agencies found that the entire population in Gaza is in a food crisis, with 576,600 at catastrophic- or starvation- levels.

Israeli group accuses Red Cross of failing Gaza hostages
4:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli advocacy group said Thursday it had filed a legal complaint against the Red Cross, accusing the humanitarian organisation of inaction and bias over Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

The right-wing Shurat Hadin NGO, which wages legal battles worldwide against what it calls "Israel's enemies", filed a complaint in Jerusalem on behalf of the families of 24 hostages, out of some 250 abducted by Palestinian militants during deadly attacks in early October.

The group criticised the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for allegedly "failing to act to fulfil its mandate and moral duty to visit the kidnapped Israelis held in Gaza, assure their wellbeing and fight for their release".

According to news agency AFP, the ICRC had responded by saying it had continuously called for the release of the hostages since the Hamas attacks on October 7, with a spokesman adding that "we are pained and frustrated when we do not have access to people who need our help."

According to Shurat Hadin, the ICRC was slow to intervene and did not act firmly to facilitate visits or "try to supply the medicines required to the hostages".

Clashes continue between Israel and Hezbollah
4:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah has issued a statement to announce it has struck a  “a number of residential buildings” in the Israeli towns of Metula and Ramot Naftali using rockets.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces announced in a post on X that it has attacked Hezbollah sites, that were said to be infrastructure and military targets which contained airplanes, helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery shelling.

However, the locations of the strikes were not specified.

Lebanon's state-run news channel National News Agency reported that a home based in the village of Aita al-Shaab had been burned down, following an Israeli strike.

News publication Al Jazeera had verified another video posted by Hezbollah-affliated TV station Al-Manar, showing the destruction of Kfar Kila by Israeli military artillery strikes.

Al Qassam Brigades confirms attacks in Tel Aviv
3:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Al- Qassam Bridges, the armed wing of Hamas, has claimed responsibility for the rocket launches towards Tel Aviv earlier.

In a post on Telegram, the group said that the strikes were in response to ongoing Israeli attacks against civilians in Gaza.

There have been not been any known casualties reported following the attacks.

US says bid to boost Gaza aid could slow deliveries
3:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States said on Thursday that there are "serious and widespread concerns" that the current draft of a UN Security Council resolution that aims to boost humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip "could actually slow down" deliveries.

"The goal of this resolution is to facilitate and help expand humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza, and we cannot lose sight of that purpose," said Nate Evans, spokesperson for the US mission to the United Nations ahead of a likely vote on Thursday.

"We must ensure any resolution helps and doesn’t hurt the situation on the ground," he said. 

Ramallah based freed detainee shows signs of abuse
2:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

Former Palestinian detainee Farouq Khateeb was pictured following his release from Israeli prison.

The shocking photos details a visible difference before and after he was captured by Israeli authorities.

Khateeb was abducted from his home three months prior from his home in occupied West Bank's Ramallah- he was then detained under adminstrative detention.

There has not been further details on the reason behind his arrest.

Bahrain arrests activist for criticising Red Sea Taskforce
2:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

A Bahraini pro-democracy campaigner has been arrested for criticising the government's role in Red Sea Taskforce, the multinational maritime taskforce led by the United States.

Leading opposition activist Ebrahim Sharif was detained by Bahraini authorities for posting tweets that dissented the government's stance which included joining the operation "without any consideration of the position of the Bahraini people who strongly support our besieged Palestinian people in Gaza".

Authorities have ordered a seven-day detention for Sharif as they conduct an investigation for "spreading false news during wartime", which has reported to be a charge which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Bahrain was the only nation in the Middle East that joined the US-led taskforce, which was created following Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. 

Israeli air strikes hit major industrial estate in Gaza
2:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

Dozens of factories have been decimated by Israeli air strikes, following an attack on the Gaza Industrial Estate in Gaza City.

The Investment Promotion and Industrial Estates Agency (IPIEA) have confirmed the news on Thursday, as IPIEA accused Israeli forces of deliberately striking the factories.

The estate is said to be one of Gaza's biggest- that includes 72 factories from textile manufacturing, food to pharmaceutical production.

97 journalists have been killed amid Gaza war: media office
2:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian government media office in Gaza has said that Israeli attacks have led to the killing of 97 journalists during the war on the besieged territory since October 7.

The latest report also states that eight others have been arrested, while dozens are also left injured.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has previously called for an immediate ceasefire in the war.

Trudeau says Israel is putting its long-term safety at risk
2:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Canada is worried its military campaign in the Gaza Strip is putting at risk the country's long-term safety, the country's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview that aired on Thursday.

His comments mark the latest expression of concern from allies about the spiralling death toll among Gazans, which local health authorities say has hit nearly 20,000.

Israeli planes continued to pound the Palestinian enclave on Thursday.

Trudeau has consistently said Israel has the right to defend itself after the rampage by Hamas into Israel on October 7. But as the civilian toll in Israel's devastating retaliatory air and ground war in Gaza has mounted, he has gradually hardened his tone.

"Israel has the right and responsibility to defend itself, but it has to be doing so in ways that (are) careful around the impact on civilians," he said.

Dutch civil servants call for Gaza ceasefire in rare protest
1:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A group of Dutch civil servants staged an unusual protest in front of the country's Foreign Affairs Ministry to call for a ceasefire in war-torn Gaza.

Around 150 ministerial workers held up placards and unfurled a banner reading "Civil Servants Demand Ceasefire" over lunchtime, saying they were protesting the government's current stance on the call for an end to hostilities.

"There's concern over the fact that the Dutch government is still not calling for a permanent ceasefire and that is in essence why we're here today," Angelique Eijpe, spokeswoman for the group told news agency AFP.

Eijpe told the news agency that she resigned from Foreign Affairs last month over the continued Dutch position in the conflict.

The Netherlands, like Germany and Italy, last week abstained from voting for a ceasefire during a UN General Assembly meet, despite an overwhelming number of countries voting in favour.

Dutch officials take part in a sit-in at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [Getty]
Iraq sends fuel ship to Egypt to help Gaza
1:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraq said it has sent a fuel tanker to Egypt to help alleviate shortages in the Gaza Strip that have hampered relief efforts amid an Israeli siege which has caused a humanitarian crisis.

"An Iraqi tanker carrying a cargo of 10 million litres of fuel has left Basra port for the Suez Canal as an aid to the Palestinians in Gaza and the government of Iraq is planning to send further aid cargoes in future," said Zedan Khalaf, an adviser to the prime minister for humanitarian affairs.

Gaza residents praise water tasting 'like sugar' from Egypt
1:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza resident Zaki Abu Sleyma says the water now flowing into the devastated enclave from a desalination project in Egypt tastes "like sugar" after weeks of Israel's bombardment and siege left him and many others drinking unclean, brackish water.

The water comes from three plants built by the United Arab Emirates on the Egyptian side of the border and pumped into Rafah that started working on Tuesday, part of an effort to relieve one of the biggest humanitarian challenges in Gaza.

"We were really suffering... we used to bring water from the sea before. This water tastes like sugar, it is drinkable," Abu Sleyman told news agency Reuters.

But while clean water is badly wanted, Gaza's ruined infrastructure means it is hard to distribute beyond the border town of Rafah, let alone pump up to rooftop tanks that allow people to use it in the enclave's remaining buildings.

"We hope they can provide us with an electricity station... as you can see we fill the buckets and take the water upstairs," said Abu Sleyma.

Israel's Eilat Port sees 85% drop in activity amid clashes
1:36 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's Eilat Port has seen an 85% drop in activity since Houthis in Yemen stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, according to the port's chief executive.

The Houthis are playing an escalating role in the conflict in the Middle East, also firing drones and missiles at Israel in a campaign they say aims to support Palestinians in the Gaza war.

Eilat, which primarily handles car imports and potash exports coming from the Dead Sea, pales in size compared to Israel's Mediterranean ports in Haifa and Ashdod which handle most of the country's trade.

It was one of the first ports to be affected as shipping firms rerouted vessels to avoid the Red Sea after the Houthis disrupted a key trade route through the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Without Bab al-Mandab "you close the main shipping artery to Eilat Port. And therefore we lost 85% of total activity", CEO Gideon Golber told news agency Reuters.

Israel probes Palestinian inmate's death after alleged abuse
1:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli police have questioned 19 prison guards as part of an investigation into the death of a Palestinian inmate, authorities said Thursday, following allegations of torture.

Thaer Abu Assab, 38, from Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank, died last month after being beaten by prison guards in southern Israel, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

"This week, 19 prison guards were interrogated," a police spokeswoman said.

"At the end of their interrogation, (they) were released under restrictive conditions. The investigation continues."

The spokeswoman said the interrogations were part of an investigation into a "suspected violent incident that happened about a month ago in a prison in the south of the country".

A spokeswoman for prison services did not respond to requests for comment, according to French news agency AFP.

Assab, a member of the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas who was serving a 25-year sentence was found dead in his cell, according to Israeli media.

TNA reporter says Gaza aid not distributed to Palestinians
1:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's Gaza correspondent Sanaa Kamal has followed up with further updates in Gaza and stated that humanitarian aid in Gaza cannot be accessed by Palestinian civilians.

"We see that aid enter Gaza, but it is not distributed to the people. We then find these good being sold in shops for very high prices," she said.

"Today, some new goods entered Gaza, and again we haven't seen any of it being handed out, and the prices haven't gone down."

Kamal reported that humanitarian aid, which she said included boxes of bottled water, cheese to piles of clothes, are eventually "all placed on carts and taken away to shops to be sold."

She said that the lack of access to aid has kickstarted fights between civilians and masked men who attempt to retrieve the goods.

Kamal added that starvation is a dire crisis in Gaza and says that families typically have one meal a day, while other households who "go on for three or four days without a meal."

In addition to alarmingly high rates of hunger, the TNA correspondent said that Gazans are also grappling with serious health conditions, as a result of Israel's military offensive.

"There are open sewers everywhere. You can smell and see it, and it is causing a lot of illnesses, and especially to those who already suffer respiratory illness. This is on top of the bombs and gas that Israel is using," Kamal said.

Hamas calls for end of Israeli "aggression"
12:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian group Hamas says it will reject any talks about prisoner swaps until after Israeli "aggression" is ended, according to a statement.

"There is a Palestinian national decision that there should be no talk about prisoners or exchange deals except after a full cessation of aggression", the statement said.

In addition to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad(PIJ), a smaller Palestinian group, is also holding hostages in Gaza.

TNA correspondent reports on Israeli strikes in Gaza's Rafah
12:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's Gaza correspondent Sanaa Kamal has reported that the airstrikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah- which took place on Wednesday- included targetting a mosque where hundreds were sheltering.

"Yesterday, they struck the mosque just after Asr prayers, which resulted in a large number of deaths. Bodies of those killed were scattered all around the nearby roads and because the telecommunications is down, it was not possible to call for ambulances to come here," Kamal told The New Arab.

Kamal described the recent events as "very desperate" for Gazans who had been forcibly evacuated to the south, adding that the area was "supposed to be a safe area".

However, she said that she and others have endured "relentless and intense bombing" for the past two days. 

Kamal added that Israeli's ongoing bombardments in the southern Gaza city have targetted areas such as Tal Al-Sultan and al-Awda "which are full of displaced people and civilians."

"Since Wednesday, the strikes have been targeting mosques. The mosques in Rafah are bigger - unlike those in Gaza City, they are similar to the mosques in Egypt in their size. So they are full of displaced people," she said.

Other than the relentless bombing and killing of civilians, Gazans in the south are dealing with steep rise in prices of very limited goods, including food items, the correspondent says.

At least 25 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes according to the Palestinian official news agency Wafa.

A view of destroyed buildings after Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza [Getty]
UN reports Israeli forces 'summarily killed' Palestinians
12:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations human rights office said it had received reports that Israeli troops "summarily killed" at least 11 unarmed Palestinians in a possible war crime in Gaza.

The OHCHR office in the West Bank city of Ramallah said the killings were alleged to have been carried out in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City this week.

It said on Wednesday it had received "disturbing information alleging that Israeli Defence Forces [Israeli forces] summarily killed at least 11 unarmed Palestinian men".

The incident "raises alarm about the possible commission of a war crime", it said, adding the men were killed in front of their family members.

The report said troops also ordered women and children into a room "and either shot at them or threw a grenade into the room, reportedly seriously injuring some of them, including an infant and a child".

An Israeli official rejected the claims as "nothing but blood libel".

Israel strike kills head of Gaza side of border crossing
12:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli strike killed the head of the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Thursday, Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip said.

Crossing director Bassem Ghaben and three other people were killed as Israeli aircraft targeted the infrastructure, the crossings authority and the health ministry in the besieged Palestinian territory said.

The Israeli army and COGAT, the defence ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to French news agency AFP.

Hamas fires rockets from Gaza in Tel Aviv
12:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and a Reuters camera crew witnessed rocket interceptions on Thursday as Hamas members in the Gaza Strip said they launched a salvo at Israel's commercial capital.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said there had been several impact points in southern Tel Aviv but no immediate word of casualties.

The launches showed Hamas retained some longer-range rocket capabilities even as Israeli forces gain ground in a Gaza war now in its third month. 

Gaza war to throw Lebanon back into recession: World Bank
12:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The impacts of the Israel's war on Gaza war are set to push crisis-hit Lebanon's economy back into recession, the World Bank said Thursday, blaming mainly a "shock to tourism spending".

The impact of the conflict had reversed a slight recovery for Lebanon, which has battled a deep economic crisis for years, the Washington-based bank said in a report.

"Prior to October 2023, economic growth was projected- for the first time since 2018- to slightly expand in 2023," by 0.2 percent, the World Bank said.

It attributed the positive pre-war expectations mainly to summer tourism and remittances from the large Lebanese diaspora.

But, it added, "the current conflict and its spillovers into Lebanon are expected to quickly reverse the tepid growth projected for 2023, as the economy returns to a recession".

The economy will contract "primarily due to the shock to tourism spending", the report said.

Jordan warns UN vote crucial to avoid "double standards"
12:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned on Thursday the failure of the UN Security Council to pass a resolution on Gaza will mean applying "dangerous double standards."

Safadi said the draft resolution that is expected to be voted on later on Thursday focused on speeding up aid shipments that the kingdom says Israel has been obstructing to prevent sufficient life saving assistance from entering.

Former Ireland president calls on Biden to support ceasefire
12:14 PM
The New Arab Staff

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has called on US president Joe Biden to support demands for a ceasefire- as well as the UN resolution to increase humanitarian aid into Gaza and bring an end to the war on Gaza.

"President Biden’s support for Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza is losing him respect all over the world. The US is increasingly isolated, with allies like Australia, Canada, India, Japan and Poland switching their votes in the UN General Assembly to support an immediate humanitarian ceasefire," Robinson said, according to a report by The Irish Times.

"The UN Security Council will vote again today on a resolution to increase and monitor the humanitarian aid urgently needed in Gaza to save lives. The US cannot afford to be further isolated by vetoing this resolution."

Latest Gaza children death toll
11:54 AM
The New Arab Staff

At least 8,000 children have been killed in Israel's war on Gaza, according to the Palestinian government's media office in Gaza.

Additionally, 15,000 children have also been wounded, as thousands are still reported missing in Gaza.

It is assumed that a number of children are buried under the rubble and the death toll may likely be much higher.

Israel says Lebanon is responsible for Hezbollah actions
9:57 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz says he told French foreign minister Catherine Colonna after her visit to Lebanon that "Israel will not put up with the threat that Hezbollah poses to the residents of the north" of his country.

"The State of Lebanon is obligated to take responsibility for [Hezbollah's conduct] that emanates from its territory. The interest in reaching a diplomatic solution in the border area is first of all the interest of Lebanon," Gantz wrote on X.

"The State of Israel will do everything necessary to protect its citizens and allow them to return safely to their homes."

In Gaza, a “huge proportion of children being killed"
9:14 AM
The New Arab Staff

An Australian doctor who helped coordinate medical aid to Gaza has spoken out about the horrors she witnessed, stating that a “huge proportion of children being killed or maimed for life” in the war-torn territory. 

Dr Natalie Thurtle, who worked with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told British news publication The Guardian that "from speaking to colleagues and seeing the images that they’re seeing, the volume of children killed or mutilated in this conflict is very extreme."

 Thurtle, who was based in East Jerusalem, added that between 150 and 200 patients were arriving in central Gaza's Al-Aqsa Hospital daily, but “about a third of those patients are dead on arrival, which is very hard because many of them are children."

Greece to join naval coalition to protect Red Sea shipping
9:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Greece will join a US-led naval coalition to protect the Red Sea global shipping lane from Yemen's Houthi rebels, the defence minister said Thursday.

A Greek navy frigate will join the task force on orders from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said Defence Minister Nikos Dendias.

As a foremost shipping nation, Greece had a "fundamental interest" in addressing a "massive threat" to global maritime transport, Dendias said in a televised statement.

The task force announced by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday initially included Britain, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain.

The Iran-backed Houthis say their missile and drone strikes on passing container ships are in support of Palestinians in the Gaza war.

Northern Gaza no longer has a functional hospital, WHO says
9:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The World Health Organization says that northern Gaza has been left without a functional hospital due to a lack of fuel, staff and supplies.

"There are actually no functional hospitals left in the north," Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative in Gaza, told reporters via video link from Jerusalem.

"Al-Ahli (Hospital) was the last one but it is now minimally functional." 

Palestinian prisoners facing 'Guantanamo-like' conditions
8:39 AM
The New Arab Staff

The fate of hundreds of Palestinians abducted by the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip remains unclear as the Israeli military continues to deny humanitarian organisations access to detention camps amid recent reports of Palestinian detainees dying while in Israeli custody. 

The reported Palestinian deaths elevated concerns over the systematic maltreatment of Palestinian prisoners by Israel. 

"We were beaten and ordered to kneel for hours. We were left for three days in an open field in the cold. They tortured us. We were accused of being members of Hamas, that we're terrorists", said one former Palestinian detainee whom the Israeli army brought back to the Gaza Strip barefoot. 

To read more on TNA's latest report, please click here.

Macron says Israel should not 'flatten Gaza'
8:27 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron has opposed Israel's conduct amid its war in Gaza and should not aim "to flatten Gaza".

Macron called Israel's claims that it aims to eradicate Hamas as "an efficient fight against terrorism" but implied it should not mean "to flatten Gaza or attack civilian populations indiscriminately."

In an interview with France 5 broadcaster, he called on Israel "to stop this response because it is not appropriate, because all lives are worth the same and we defend them".

 Macron said France called for the protection of civilians and "a truce leading to a humanitarian ceasefire".

UN resolution on critical aid for Gaza to take place
8:16 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States, key allies and Arab nations engaged in high-level diplomacy in hopes of avoiding another US veto of a new UN resolution on desperately needed aid to Gaza ahead of a long-delayed vote is set for Thursday morning.

Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates, which sponsored the Arab-backed resolution, said earlier that high-level discussions are underway to try to reach agreement on a text that can be adopted.

“Everyone wants to see a resolution that has impact and that is implementable on the ground,” she told reporters after the 15 council members held closed consultations early Wednesday afternoon and agreed to the delay. “We believe today, giving a little bit of space for additional diplomacy, could yield positive results.”

Nusseibeh said the UAE is optimistic, but if the negotiations yield no results by Thursday “then we will assess in the council to proceed ... to a vote on the resolution.”

Elderly woman killed in Israeli strike on Lebanon: media
8:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli strikes killed a woman in her eighties in a south Lebanon village early Thursday morning, Lebanese state media said, with rescuers confirming the death to French news agency AFP.

The frontier between Lebanon and Israel has seen regular exchanges of fire, mainly between the Israeli army and Hamas ally Hezbollah, since the conflict in the Gaza Strip began on October 7.

"Hostile bombing on the town of Maroun al-Ras this morning killed a woman and wounded her husband," Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) said.

Israeli artillery shells struck "residential neighbourhoods" in the town, hitting the house of the couple in their eighties, the agency added.

Rescuers who transported the pair to hospital confirmed her death to AFP, also blaming Israel for the strike.