US starts building Gaza aid pier; evidence of torture, executions found in Gaza mass grave

US starts building Gaza aid pier; evidence of torture, executions found in Gaza mass grave
Gaza health officials have found evidence of torture and executions on some of the bodies found in the mass graves in two hospitals.
26 min read

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.

On the sixth consecutive day of digging up bodies in southern Gaza, Palestinian Civil Defence officials on Thursday revealed horrifying new details about the mass graves around the Nasser and Al-Shifa hospitals.

Civil defence member Mohammed Mughier said 10 of the bodies were found with their hands tied, while others still had medical tubes attached to them, indicating they may have been buried alive.

Mughier also noted that only 65 bodies had been identified by relatives due to decomposition, mutilation, torture, or other difficulties.

Over 400 bodies have now been recovered from mass graves in and around a major hospital in Gaza's Khan Younis, relief workers have said.

Three mass graves containing hundreds of bodies, mostly of women and children, were discovered at Nasser Hospital, aid groups told Sky News Arabia.

The United Nations human rights chief, Volker Turk, called for an "independent, effective and transparent investigations" into the deaths.

This live blog has now concluded
4:09 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.

Israeli govt seeks extension on ultra-Orthodox draft dispute
3:57 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli government sought another deferral on Thursday of a looming Supreme Court-enforced deadline for it to come up with a new military conscription plan that would address mainstream anger at exemptions granted to ultra-Orthodox Jews.

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 request of the government, which argued it was busy waging the Gaza war.

In a new request, the justice ministry asked for a deferral to 20 May, citing a lag in appointing a government lawyer and "significant national-security events" of recent days which, it said, had halted government work on a conscription blueprint.

That appeared to refer to an unprecedented retaliatory Iranian drone and missile salvo against Israel on 13–14 April, a surge in fighting on the Lebanese front, and Israeli preparations to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

There was no immediate response from the Supreme Court.

The extension request was scorned by Yair Lapid, the secularist head of the parliamentary opposition, who accused the "reckless" government of trying to deceive the country with excuses.

"If we don't enlist together, they should not be spreading slogans about how we will be victorious together," he said on X.


Ilhan Omar visits Columbia University Gaza encampment
2:39 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar says she has had the "honour" of "seeing the Columbia University anti-war encampment firsthand".

"Contrary to right-wing attacks, these students are joyfully protesting for peace and an end to the genocide taking place in Gaza," Omar says on X.

The left-wing Democrat attaches a video to her post.

UK downs Houthi missile targeting merchant vessel: ministry
1:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Britain's Royal Navy shot down a missile fired at a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden by Houthi rebels, the defence ministry said on Thursday.

The HMS Diamond warship used a Sea Viper missile system to shoot down the missile on Wednesday, the ministry said.

"The UK continues to be at the forefront of the international response to the Iranian-backed Houthis' dangerous attacks on commercial vessels, which have claimed the lives of international mariners," Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said.

"I want to thank the brave crew of HMS Diamond for her vital role in saving innocent lives and protecting international shipping from illegal Houthi attacks."

Israeli aircraft launch violent raid in Gaza's Al-Shujaiya
1:14 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli aircraft launched a violent raid in the east of Gaza City's Al-Shujaiya neighbourhood, according to Palestinian media.

Israel artillery shelling on Nuseirat refugee camp
12:57 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli artillery attacked the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, according to Palestinian media.

Violent Israeli air raid in central Gaza
12:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli aircraft launched a violent raid targeting the area around the town of Al-Mughraqa in central Gaza, according to Palestinian media.


Yemen's Houthis say targeted MSC Darwin ship in Gulf of Aden
11:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis targeted the MSC Darwin ship in the Gulf of Aden, the rebel group's military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech on Thursday.

Houthi forces have staged attacks on shipping in the Red Sea region for months over Israel's war on Gaza.


USC cancels main commencement, citing safety measures
11:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The University of Southern California (USC) said on Thursday it has called off its main-stage graduation ceremony this year, one week after canceling the valedictorian speech by a Muslim student who said she was silenced by anti-Palestinian hatred.

New safety measures in place this year, such as additional screening procedures, will increase the processing time for guests "substantially", according to an update on USC's website.

"As a result, we will not be able to host the main stage ceremony that traditionally brings 65,000 students, families, and friends to our campus all at the same time," the update said.

Israel's war on Gaza has inspired a wave of students to erect protest encampments at universities across the US in recent days. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, including more than 90 at USC on Wednesday.

USC's decision to abandon the main commencement ceremony came days after the university announced it had "decided it is best to release our outside speakers and honorees" from attending the commencement ceremony, following the outcry over the decision to cancel the valedictorian's speech.

USC Provost Andrew Guzman said in a statement last week that the decision to cancel the speech of the Muslim valedictorian, biomedical engineering major Asna Tabassum, was aimed at protecting campus security and "had nothing to do with free speech".

Guzman's statement did not refer to Tabassum by name, or specify what about her speech, background, or political views had raised concerns, nor did it detail any particular threats.

According to Tabassum, who described herself as a "first-generation South Asian-American Muslim", USC officials refused to share details of the university's security assessment.


Chef José Andrés mourns killed WCK workers at US service
10:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Celebrity Chef José Andrés called seven aid workers killed by Israeli forces in Gaza "the best of humanity" on Thursday during a memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral that was attended by hundreds.

The seven killed had been working for Andrés's charity World Central Kitchen (WCK).

At Thursday's service, he praised each of the workers – Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, John Chapman, Jacob Flickinger, Lalzawmi Frankcom, James Henderson, James Kirby, and Damian Sobol – during an emotional eulogy, his voice cracking repeatedly.

"The seven souls we mourn today were there so that hungry people could eat," he said, referring to residents of Gaza.

"They risked everything to feed people they did not know."

He said: "They were the best of humanity. Their examples should inspire us to do better, to be better."

The service included readings and prayers from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions and a musical tribute by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

More than 500 people attended, including families of the victims, WCK staff, US officials and diplomats from more than 30 countries, according to a WCK representative.

Vice President Kamala Harris's husband Doug Emhoff represented the White House, while Biden was traveling in New York.


Gaza flotilla's departure delayed by 'Israeli tactic'
10:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

A flotilla due to depart Turkey for Gaza tomorrow has suffered a delay following an alleged "underhanded Israeli tactic".

The Freedom Flotilla is "ready to sail", the coalition behind the effort says in a statement.

"However, today we received word of an administrative roadblock initiated by Israel in an attempt to prevent our departure," the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) adds.

"Israel is pressuring the Republic of Guinea Bissau to withdraw its flag from our lead ship—Akdeniz ("Mediterranean").

"This triggered a request for an additional inspection, this one by the flag state, that delays our April 26 planned departure."

FFC says this isn't the first time Israel has used these sorts of tactics to prevent its ships from sailing.

"We have overcome them before and are diligently working to overcome this latest attempt," FFC says.

"Our vessels have already passed all required inspections and we are confident that the Akdeniz will pass this inspection provided there is no political interference."

The coalition says it expects the delay will not exceed a few days.

"Israel will not break our resolve to reach the people of Gaza," it adds.

Northern Gaza still heading toward famine: deputy WFP chief
9:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The northern Gaza Strip is still heading toward a famine, the deputy UN food chief said on Thursday, appealing for a greater volume and diversity of aid to be allowed into the enclave and for Israel to allow direct access from its Ashdod port through Erez crossing.

Israel pledged three weeks ago to improve aid access, including reopening Erez and allowing the use of Ashdod port.

The move came after US President Joe Biden demanded steps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, saying the US could place conditions on support if Israel did not act.

"We certainly welcome those commitments and some of them have been partly implemented. Some remain to be implemented," World Food Programme Deputy Executive Director Carl Skau told reporters, adding that for WFP there had been an "uptick" in getting aid in and some progress in accessing northern Gaza.

"But it's far from enough. We need volume and we need diversity of goods and we really need consistency," he said.

"We're still heading towards a famine [in the north]."


US State Department Arabic spokesperson resigns over Gaza
9:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Arabic-language spokesperson of the US State Department has resigned, citing her opposition to Washington's policy related to the Gaza war, in at least the third resignation from the department over the issue.

Hala Rharrit was also the Dubai Regional Media Hub's deputy director and joined the State Department almost two decades ago as a political and human rights officer, the department's website showed.

"I resigned April 2024 after 18 years of distinguished service in opposition to the United States' Gaza policy," she wrote on social media platform LinkedIn.

A State Department spokesperson, asked about the resignation in Thursday's press briefing, said the department has channels for its workforce to share views when it disagrees with government policies.


Hamas official says Israel 'will not achieve' goals in Rafah
8:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A senior Hamas official told AFP on Thursday that Israel would fail to meet its stated goals of defeating the Palestinian militant group and freeing hostages by invading the southern Gaza city Rafah.

"Even if [Israel] enters and invades Rafah, it will not achieve what it wants," Ghazi Hamad said in an interview over the phone from Qatar, where a number of senior figures from Hamas's political bureau are based.

Hamad said Israel had "spent nearly seven months in Gaza and invaded all areas and destroyed a lot, but so far has not been able to achieve anything of its main goals, whether eliminating Hamas or returning the captives".

Israel has vowed to move on with the planned military operation in Rafah, despite international outcry and concern for about 1.5 million Palestinians sheltering in the city.

There are fears of huge civilian casualties and countries including Israel's top ally and weapons supplier the United States have warned Israel against sending troops into Rafah.

"We have spoken with all parties involved in the conflict… about the seriousness of invading Rafah and that Israel is heading towards committing additional massacres and additional genocide," Hamad said.

"This will undoubtedly threaten the negotiations because it is clear from this declared position that Israel is interested in continuing the war and aggression and has no intention of continuing negotiations and reaching an agreement."

US begins construction of Gaza aid pier
8:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States military has begun construction on a pier meant to boost deliveries of desperately needed aid to Gaza, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

"I can confirm that US military vessels… have begun to construct the initial stages of the temporary pier and causeway at sea," Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told journalists.

The facility will consist of an offshore platform for the transfer of aid from larger to smaller vessels, and a pier to bring it ashore.

Plans were first announced by US President Joe Biden in early March as Israel held up deliveries of assistance by ground.

US officials have said the effort will not involve "boots on the ground" in Gaza, but American troops will come close to the devastated territory as they construct the pier, for which Israeli forces are to provide onshore security.

Israel army withdraws Nahal Brigade from Gaza Strip
7:54 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army has decided to withdraw the Nahal Brigade from the Gaza Strip.

Two reserve brigades will take the force's place.

The decision was reportedly made to allow the Nahal Brigade to ready, alongside the other units of the 162nd Division, for future activities such as an attack on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Hamas says targets Israeli spy site in central Gaza
7:41 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas's armed wing says it targeted a newly established surveillance and espionage site in central Gaza.

The Al-Qassam Brigades say they used mortars, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

3 children killed in Israeli attack near Indonesian Hospital
7:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

Three children were killed in an attack by the Israeli army in the area around the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

Pier site in Gaza came under fire during UN visit
6:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A United Nations team in the Gaza Strip visiting the site for a pier and the staging area for maritime aid operations had to seek shelter in a bunker "for some time" on Wednesday after the area came under fire, a UN spokesperson said on Thursday.

Two rounds landed about 100 metres (300 feet) away, but there were no injuries and the team was eventually able to continue the tour, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said.


Egypt in renewed mediation push for Gaza truce, sources say
6:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt has asked for a follow-up meeting with Israel in renewed efforts to mediate a deal for a ceasefire and the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip, two Egyptian security sources said on Thursday.

Egyptian, Israeli, and US officials held in-person and remote meetings on Wednesday that sought concessions to break a deadlock in months-long negotiations for a truce in the Gaza war, the sources said.

Egypt believed Israel had shown more willingness to allow displaced Gazans to return towards the north of the enclave in a way that limited security checks and procedures for those not suspected of militant activity, they added.

The ability of civilians to return to northern Gaza unimpeded and the pull-back or repositioning of Israeli forces have been sticking points in previous rounds of ceasefire negotiations in which Egypt and Qatar have acted as mediators.

A meeting between Egyptian and Israeli officials was expected to take place on Friday in Cairo, the sources said, with further meetings with the Hamas contingent on the result.


PRCS gives out clothing to hundreds of displaced in Gaza
6:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says it has given out clothing to hundreds of displaced people in Gaza.

The humanitarian organisation says on social media platform X that it "provided two distribution points in clothing stores in both Deir Al-Balah and Rafah".

"Women's, men's, and children's clothing is offered for free, aiming to alleviate the suffering of displaced families due to the ongoing war on the #Gaza Strip," PRCS adds.

Deir Al-Balah is located in central Gaza, while Rafah is in the strip's far south.

Moroccan guilty of UK murder over war on Gaza
5:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Moroccan asylum seeker who stabbed a random pensioner to death, telling British police he attacked because Israel had "killed children" in Gaza, was convicted of murder on Thursday.

Ahmed Ali, 45, stabbed 70-year-old Terence Carney six times after a chance meeting in the street in Hartlepool, northeast England, on 15 October, eight days after Hamas' attack on Israel.

Alid also attacked his housemate, Javed Nouri, a Christian convert, and assaulted two police officers.

Israeli land grabs spike in West Bank during Gaza war
5:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

According to Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now, this year has already broken a record for most land grabs, which in many cases led to settlement expansion.

The advocacy group said that 10,971 dunams of West Bank land have been seized by Israel so far in 2024, as much of the world's attention has been focused Israel's war on Gaza since 7 October.

The previous yearly record, according to Peace Now, was 5,200 dunams seized in 1999.

In March, Israeli authorities declared 8,000 dunams (800 hectares), as state land, a move that often leads to restrictions on Palestinians' access.

Morocco condemns Israeli colonists storming Al-Aqsa Mosque
5:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Morocco has condemned Israeli settlers storming the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

Hundreds of settlers have stormed the compound to celebrate the Jewish holiday Passover.

"The Kingdom of Morocco...strongly condemns the incursion by some extremists and their supporters into Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade, as well as the provocative acts they committed in violation of its sacredness," Morocco's ministry said on X.

Israeli strike kills 1, injures 2 at Gaza hospital
4:44 PM
The New Arab Staff

Witnesses told Anadolu agency that one person was killed and two others were injured after an Israeli airstrike hit the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza.

The witnesses say it was a reconnaissance drone that struck a group of civilians.

Satellite photos show new port construction in Gaza Strip
4:32 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The building of a new port in the Gaza Strip ahead of a US military-led operation to bring more desperately needed food and other aid into the besieged enclave as Israel's war on Gaza grinds on is well underway, according to satellite images analysed Thursday by The Associated Press.

Judging from the images, construction appears to have been moving quickly over the last two weeks, and some officials say the port could be ready as early as a week from now.

The port sits just southwest of Gaza City, which once was the territory's most populous area before the Israeli ground offensive rolled through, pushing over 1 million people south toward the town of Rafah on the Egyptian border.

Its construction comes as Israel faces widespread international criticism over the slow trickle of aid into the area, where the United Nations says at least a quarter of the population sits on the brink of starvation.

80,000-100,000 Gazans crossed into Egypt since 7 Oct
4:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Between 80,000 and 100,000 Palestinians have crossed into Egypt from Gaza since the start of 7 October on Israel, the Palestinian ambassador to Cairo said Thursday.

Ambassador Diab Allouh told AFP that they had made their way over the frontier without specifying how. The Rafah border crossing is the sole entry and exit point to Gaza, not directly under the control of Israeli forces.

Aid groups were targeted even after locations were shared
4:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

A visual investigation by the New York Times found that despite humanitarian aid groups sharing their location with the Israeli military, they were still hit by Israeli airstrikes.

The six aid groups affected were Doctors Without Borders (France), Medical Aid for Palestinians (UK), International Rescue Committee (US), International Committee of the Red Cross (Switzerland), Anera (US) and World Central Kitchen (US) - 

Hamas insists Gaza war end for any hostage deal
3:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas reiterated on Thursday its demand Israel end the war on Gaza as part of any deal to release hostages held there, with Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior official in the Palestinian group, telling Reuters that United States' pressure on Hamas "has no value".


UN: Israel cutting off Palestinian banks violate int'l law
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Experts from the United Nations have said cutting off Palestinian banks would be a violation of international law after Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich threatened to revoke a protection waiver that maintains connections between two banks in Israel to Palestinian financial institutions.

"Cutting off Palestinian banks from the global banking system unilaterally also violates the principle of sovereign equality of states, the principle of non-intervention into the domestic affairs of states, the principle of cooperation in good faith," the experts said.

"The impossibility of bank transfers will affect all people of Palestine indiscriminately, exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe, and affect all fundamental human rights, including the right to food, right to water and sanitation, right to health, freedom from torture and the right to life."

Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa mosque amid Passover holiday
3:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least 1,679 Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday to celebrate the Jewish Passover holiday.

“During the morning raids, some 1,128 extremist settlers stormed the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque in successive and provocative groups and another 551 in the afternoon,” the Islamic Endowments Authority in Jerusalem said in a statement.

Hundreds of Israeli settlers have been raiding the holy compound since Passover began on Monday. 

US, 17 other countries urge Hamas to release captives
3:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States and 17 other countries on Thursday issued an appeal for Hamas to release sick, elderly and wounded captives as a pathway to end the crisis in Gaza.

"We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza now for over 200 days," a statement by the countries said, in what a senior U.S. official called an extraordinary display of unanimity.

The 18 countries all have citizens held by Hamas six months after the Palestinian militant group launched its 7 October assault on southern Israel.

The signatories were the leaders of the United States, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand and Britain.


Belgium summons Israeli ambassador over aid worker's death
2:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Belgium said Thursday that it would summon Israel's ambassador to explain the death in a Gaza airstrike of an aid worker with its Enabel development agency, as well as members of his family.

"Bombing civilian areas and populations is contrary to international law. I will summon the Israeli ambassador to condemn this unacceptable act and demand an explanation," Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said on X.

Enabel said in a statement that Abdallah Nabhan, 33, along with his seven-year-old son, 65-year-old father, 35-year-old brother and six-year-old niece, were killed "after an Israeli airstrike in the eastern part of the city of Rafah".

The airstrike hit the family home where 25 people were sheltering, including people displaced by the Israeli military operation in Gaza, Enabel said.

Palestinian officials say Israel forces kill teen in W. Bank
2:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian officials said Israeli forces killed a 16-year-old boy during a raid in the West Bank city of Ramallah early on Thursday.

Israeli police said "hits were identified" when forces responded to stone-throwing with gunfire but did not directly address the allegation.

The Palestinian health ministry said Khaled Raed Arouq was shot in the chest and "martyred by the occupation's live bullets".

Palestinian official news agency Wafa said Arouq died after being "shot by Israeli gunfire" early on Thursday morning.

Israeli forces carry out regular raids on towns and cities in the occupied West Bank, and violence has soared in the Palestinian territory since the war on Gaza broke out on 7 October.

Comms and Internet services went down in Gaza Strip
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Communications and internet services went down in the central and southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, Palestinian telecoms company Paltel said.

Anadolu reports that in a statement, the company said the reasoning behind the blackout was “due to Israel’s relentless aggression”.

The enclave has been facing several disruptions to its communications and internet services since 7 October.

Belgian agency aid worker dies in Gaza
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An aid worker who was part of Belgium's development aid efforts died in an Israeli strike on Gaza, the country's development minister, Caroline Gennez, said on Thursday.

"It is with deep sadness and horror that we learn of the death of our colleague Abdallah Nabhan (33) and his seven-year-old son Jamal, last night, following a bombardment by the Israeli army in the eastern part of the city of Rafah", the minister said in a statement.

The UN reported that over 200 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since 7 October.


Palestinian authorities seek probe into mass graves at Gaza
1:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Palestinian civil defence team on Thursday called on the United Nations to investigate what it said were war crimes at a Gaza hospital, saying nearly 400 bodies were recovered from mass graves after Israeli soldiers departed the complex.

"There are cases of field execution of some patients while undergoing surgeries and wearing surgical gowns at the Nasser Medical Complex," the civil defence forces said at a press conference, without presenting any evidence.

Palestinian authorities have this week reported finding hundreds of bodies in mass graves at Nasser Hospital, the main medical facility in central Gaza, after Israeli troops pulled out of the city of Khan Younis.

Bodies were also reported to have been found at the Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, which was targeted in an Israeli special forces operation.


UN calls for urgent stop to arms exports to Israel
1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Francesca Albanese is further calling for the need to stop arms exports to Israel, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories said on Thursday.

The rapporteur said the situation in Gaza has not changed since the International Court of Justice's ruling and stressed the need to hold Israel to account.

"The horror that the people of Gaza are experiencing is indescribable, and the situation is getting worse in the West Bank as well, and the United Nations must shoulder its humanitarian responsibility and provide safety for the displaced civilians," Albanese said.

Israeli minister calls for cutting ties with PA
12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has said that Israel should subvert the Palestinian Authority and hold its funding if the United Nations recognises Palestine as a state or if the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues warrants to arrest senior Israeli officials. 

Al Jazeera reports that in a letter to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Smotrich said the best way to deal with such moves is to cut ties with the governing body of Palestine.

Hezbollah denies Israel's claim it killed half of commanders
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah denied on Thursday an Israeli claim that it had killed half of the Iran-backed Lebanese group's commanders in the south of the country, saying only a handful were slain.

The Lebanese group has been exchanging near-daily fire with the Israeli army since the day after its Palestinian ally Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel on 7 October.

Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday that "half of Hezbollah's commanders in southern Lebanon have been eliminated" in the months of cross-border violence sparked by Israel's war on Gaza.

"The other half are in hiding and abandoning the field to IDF (Israeli army) operations," he added, without specifying how many.

Another Palestinian journalist has been killed in Gaza
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Jamal was killed after Israeli fighter jets struck his house in Rafah on Thursday, Gaza's media office said in a statement. Al-Jamal was a reporter with Palestine Now news agency.

Al-Jamal's death has now taken the death toll to 141 journalists who have been killed since 7 October.

Most bodies found in hospital mass graves are unidentified
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Out of the 392 bodies found in mass graves near Nasser Hospital and Al-Shifa, only 65 have been identified due to decomposition or mutilation - the Gaza Civil Defence has said in a press conference in Rafah - Al Jazeera reports.

Palestinian authorities reported over 400 bodies were discovered in mass graves in the Gazan hospitals after the Israeli army's raids on the compound.

20 bodies in mass graves could have been "buried alive"
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

A Palestinian Civil Defence member said that 20 bodies in the mass graves found in Gaza hospitals may have been buried alive, Al Jazeera reports.

Mohammed Mughier said 10 bodies had their hands tied while others still had medical tubes attached to them. The member also said children were found at Nasser Hospital.

Amnesty urges US universities to respect student rights
11:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Amnesty International USA is urging university administrations to respect students' safety and rights to peacefully and safely protest or counterprotest on their campuses. 

"Institutions of higher learning are key in helping students understand and claim their human rights. Any steps taken to silence, harass, threaten, or otherwise intimidate those who gather peacefully to protest and speak out is a violation of their rights," said Paul O'Brien, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. "Becoming a student does not mean leaving the right to protest at the university gates."  

This comes after students across the nation, including international, have been protesting in solidarity with the people of Gaza after Columbia University's encampment formed last week.

French police storm Paris University after Gaza encampment
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

French police stormed the SciencesPo University in Paris after hundreds of students formed an encampment in solidarity with the people in Palestine.

The Parisian university hosts a dual degree program with Columbia University in New York, US, where the encampments first formed, calling for the university to cut its financial ties to Israel and set a wave of protests across the nation.

8,455 Palestinians detained since 7 October
11:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

The number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces has increased to over 8,455 - the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission and the Palestinian Prisoner's Society said.

This was after the occupation forces detained at least 12 Palestinians in a raid in the West Bank, including a child and a former prisoner, from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning.

Houthis claim first maritime attack in two weeks
10:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Houthis in Yemen have attacked what they said were two American ships and an Israeli vessel, the group's military spokesman said on Wednesday, the first such attack in more than two weeks.

The Iran-aligned group said it targeted the US ship Maersk Yorktown, an American destroyer in the Gulf of Aden and the Israeli ship MSC Veracruz in the Indian Ocean, the spokesman, Yahya Sarea, said in a televised speech.

Yemen's Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November in what they say is a campaign of solidarity with Palestinians fighting Israel in Gaza.


Amnesty: Israel must allow rights to inspect mass graves
10:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

Amnesty International is urging the need to grant access to independent human rights investigators after the discovery of mass graves in Gaza's hospitals. 

"The harrowing discovery of these mass graves underscores the urgency of ensuring immediate access for human rights investigators, including forensic experts, to the occupied Gaza Strip to ensure that evidence is preserved and to carry out independent and transparent investigations with the aim of guaranteeing accountability for any violations of international law," Amnesty International's senior director of research, advocacy, policy and campaigns, Erika Guevara Rosas said.

Palestinian officials reported that hundreds of bodies were found in mass graves in Gaza's Al Nasser Hospital in Khan Younes and Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after Israeli raids in the compounds.

Gaza hostage's parents urge him to 'stay strong' after video
10:16 AM
The New Arab Staff

The parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin have told him to "stay strong" after Hamas released a proof-of-live video. Polin's parents are appealing for more to be done to secure a new captive release deal.

The Israeli-American man was among scores of people abducted by the group in the attack that ignited the war in Gaza.

The video was the first sign of life of Hersh Goldberg-Polin since Hamas' 7 October attack on southern Israel, and its release ignited new protests in Jerusalem, calling on the government to do more to secure the captives' release.

34,305 Palestinians killed and 77,293 injured since 7 Oct
10:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza health ministry has said at least 34,305 people have been killed and 77,293 have been injured since 7 October. 

The tally includes at least 43 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Hezbollah: Israeli drone strike hits east Lebanon
9:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

State media and a Hezbollah source said one person was wounded Thursday in an Israeli drone attack on eastern Lebanon following a flare-up in cross-border fire between Hezbollah and Israel.

It came a day after Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israeli forces were carrying out "offensive action" across southern Lebanon as cross-border fire intensified.

The violence has fuelled fears of all-out conflict between Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel, which last went to war in 2006.

"An Israeli drone attack hit a truck carrying fuel" for Hezbollah in the village of Duris, just southwest of the Bekaa Valley city of Baalbek, a Hezbollah source told AFP.

The strike struck the truck driver, said the source, with the official National News Agency confirming the report.

Israeli strikes in Rafah kill at least 5
9:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian hospital officials say Israeli airstrikes on the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip have killed at least five people.

Among those killed in the strikes overnight and into Thursday were two children, identified in hospital records as Sham Najjar, 6, and Jamal Nabahan, 8.

More than half of the territory’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge in Rafah, where Israel has conducted near-daily raids as it prepares for an offensive in the city.

In central Gaza, four people were killed in Israeli tank shelling, and their bodies were brought to a local hospital. Family members told The Associated Press they were killed as they tried to move to northern Gaza, where Israel’s military is preventing people from returning to their homes.

EU and UN demanding probe into mass grave at Gaza hospitals
9:19 AM
The New Arab Staff

The European Union and the United Nations have called for an independent probe into the discovery of mass graves near two Gaza hospitals that were raided by the Israeli military.

Over 400 bodies have now been recovered from mass graves in and around Gaza's Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis and Al-Shifa Hospital. 

UN rights chief, Volker Türk said he was "horrified" by the mass grave reports.

Hamas agrees to 5 year truce if two-state is implemented
9:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A top Hamas political official told The Associated Press the Palestinian group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and that it would lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders.

The comments by Khalil al-Hayya in an interview Wednesday came amid a stalemate in months of ceasefire talks. The suggestion that Hamas would disarm appeared to be a significant concession by the militant group officially committed to Israel’s destruction.

White House seeks 'answers' from Israel on Gaza mass graves
8:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House said Wednesday it wanted "answers" from Israeli authorities after the discovery of mass graves at two Gaza hospitals destroyed in Israeli sieges.

Gaza's Civil Defense agency said the day prior that health workers uncovered nearly 340 bodies of people killed and buried by Israeli forces at the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.

Around 30 bodies were reported found buried in two graves in the Al-Shifa hospital courtyard in Gaza City.

"We want answers," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters. "We want to see this thoroughly and transparently investigated."

The discoveries prompted the United Nations to demand an independent probe into the situation, backed by the European Union.

Read more about it here.

34 pro-Palestine protesters arrested at Texas University
8:29 AM
The New Arab Staff

At least 34 protesters, including a member of a local news station, were arrested during protests at the University of Texas in Austin. While 50 more were detained at the University of Southern California.

US colleges have seen a wave of protests across the nation after students at Columbia University in New York set up encampments calling for the university to cut its financial ties to Israel - where students were suspended and hundreds were detained.

UN: Gaza has largest number of people facing famine
8:22 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza is the territory with the largest number of people facing famine, according to the Global Report on Food Crises released Wednesday. 

The UN report said 24 million more people faced an acute lack of food than in 2022 due to the sharp deterioration in food security, especially in the Gaza Strip and Sudan. The number of nations with food crises that are monitored has also been expanded.

WCK workers will be honoured at memorial
8:18 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A memorial at the National Cathedral in Washington on Thursday will honour the seven World Central Kitchen aid workers killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on 1 April.

José Andrés, the celebrity chef and philanthropist behind the Washington-based World Central Kitchen disaster relief group, is expected to speak at the celebration of life service, and famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform, organisers said.

The Biden administration said Thursday that Douglas Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, and US Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell would be among senior administration figures attending.