World shaken by death of Iran's Raisi as Gaza war continues

World shaken by death of Iran's Raisi as Gaza war continues
Live Story
20 May, 2024

Fierce fighting continues to rage across Gaza with battles between the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters concentrated in Jabalia in northern Gaza and Rafah in the south.

Dozens of civilians have been wounded and killed by Israeli air strikes over the past 24-hours, according to local media reports. Nine people were killed by strikes on homes in Sheikh al-Radwan in Gaza City and in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza.

Fears are growing for the fate of the Al-Awda Hospital in north Gaza which is reportedly surrounded by Israeli tanks with staff and patients trapped inside and supplies running low. The closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings into Gaza has exacerbated the problem.

Meanwhile, top US official Jake Sullivan is in Israel for meetings with officials following a trip to Saudi Arabia with Washington hoping to broker a Saudi-Israel normalisation agreement which was pushed back following the war in Gaza.

Late on Sunday, after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said that Sullivan had briefed the Israeli premier on the "potential" plans which might be available.

US senator calls for sanctions against ICC, slams prosecutor
5:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called for sanctions to be implemented against the International Criminal Court following its decision to pursue arrest warrants for Israel's prime minister, defence minister and three Hamas leaders.

Graham slammed the chief prosecutor Karim Khan, who he said was "drunk with self-importance" and accused him of damaging "the peace process".

"I will be issuing a detailed statement regarding the outrageous actions by the ICC against the State of Israel and I will feverishly work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers to levy damning sanctions against the ICC," the Republican politician wrote in a lengthy post on X.

Last week, Graham urged Israel to use a nuclear bomb in Gaza as decisive action to end the war, comparing it to the US dropping atomic bombs on Japan in World War II.

ICC Israel war crime charges are 'easier to prove': analyst
5:44 PM
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed Arabic edition

Hassan Jabareen, director of Adalah Legal Centre, explained to The New Arab's Arabic language sister outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the ICC case is investigating "war crimes, not genocide".

"It seems that the ICC prosecutor will leave the genocide issue for the International Court of Justice to handle."

Israel is also facing a South African case in the International Court of Justice accusing it of genocidal acts in its war on Gaza, which Israel denies.

Jabareen said that charges of war crimes are "easier to prove against the Israelis because if there is a serious and fundamental impact on civilians and civilian places such as hospitals, universities, and schools, and on non-combatants in a disproportionate manner, these are considered war crimes.

"It is evident that the majority of the dead in Gaza are women, children, and non-combatants, something even Israel itself acknowledges, making it easy for the prosecutor to prove this."

Read more here.

'No doubt' some countries will obstruct ICC case: analyst
5:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Sonia Boulos,  associate professor of  international human rights law at Antonio de Nebrija University said that the ICC's decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli and Palestinian leaders has "legal, symbolic and political importance".

Speaking to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister edition, the professor said that even if arrest warrants are decreed it does not guarantee arrest.

The implementation of arrest warrants will "depend on the extent of [member] states' willingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Court".

Earlier on Monday, ICC chief prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan announced he was seeking arrest for Israeli's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, defence minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh and Mohammed Deif.

In Boulos’ opinion, there is "no doubt that some countries will obstruct the possibility of executing arrest warrants against Israeli officials if they are issued." 

Pregnant women in Gaza facing grave health risks
4:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Pregnant women in the Gaza Strip have been facing significant challenges since the war. 

In separate interviews with The New Arab, several women described how they are receive little medical care after Israeli attacks have put most hospitals and clinics out of service.

Jenin Al-Buhaisi, a 26-year-old Palestinian woman currently six months pregnant with her first child, fears for her life and the life of her child. "As soon as I wake up early in the morning, I touch her womb to feel the condition of my fetus, whether it is moving inside me or not," she told TNA. "All the time, I'm scared that I will miscarry at any moment."

Many of these women spoke of how they barely get the minimum amount of food and water, in addition to personal hygiene projects, adding that they regularly suffer from infections and sickness.

Read more from The New Arab's Gaza correspondent here.

Three-quarters of Gaza marked as Israeli 'evacuation zones'
3:36 PM
The New Arab Staff

An analysis of the Israeli military's evacuation orders shows that over 75 percent of Gaza's territory are allocated as 'evacuation zones' which have ordered Palestinians to flee the areas to make way for fighting.

As the war has continued, the land not invaded or attacked by the army has increasingly shrunk, a new investigation by BBC Arabic shows.

"The BBC's analysis shows the cumulative areas designated as evacuation zones amount to 281 sq km (108 sq miles). That is the equivalent of 77% of Gaza's territory," the report said.

Hamas 'strongly condemns' ICC prosecutor bid against leaders
3:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas said on Monday it "strongly condemns" a bid by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for arrest warrants for the militant group's top leaders including Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, political leader Ismail Haniyeh and Al Qassam Brigades commander Mohammed Deif.

"The Hamas movement strongly condemns the attempts of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to equate the victim with the executioner by issuing arrest warrants against a number of Palestinian resistance leaders," the militant group said in a statement.

President Herzog: ICC prosecutor decision 'outrageous'
2:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said that the ICC prosecutor's decision on Monday to seek arrest warrants against the country's prime minister and defence minister was "beyond outrageous" and would embolden terrorists around the world.

"Any attempt to draw parallels between these atrocious terrorists and a democratically elected government of Israel - working to fulfil its duty to defend and protect its citizens entirely in adherence to the principles of international law – is outrageous and cannot be excepted by anyone," Herzog said.

Read more here.


Funeral rites for Raisi to start Tuesday: Iran state media
2:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Funeral rites for Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage who died in a helicopter crash will start on Tuesday in the north-western city of Tabriz, state media reported.

"The funeral ceremonies for the president and his companions will take place Tuesday at 9:30 am local time (0600 GMT) in Tabriz", the official IRNA news agency said, adding that Raisi's body will later be taken to Tehran.

Read more about his death and world reactions here.

'Four Hezbollah fighters' dead in Israeli strikes in Lebanon
1:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A source close to Hezbollah said four fighters were killed Monday in south Lebanon, with the Iran-backed group announcing two dead and a retaliatory attack, while Israel claimed strikes.

The source close to Hezbollah told AFP that "at least four Hezbollah fighters were killed in Israeli raids on two different sites in southern Lebanon", identifying the locations as Naqoura on the coast and Mais al-Jabal, a border village to the east.

The Shiite Muslim movement said two of its fighters, both from Naqoura, had been killed, without providing further details.

Earlier on Monday, the Israeli military said fighter jets struck "a Hezbollah terrorist cell" and a launch post in the Mais al-Jabal area, while Israeli army "artillery fired to remove a threat" in the Naqoura area.

Hezbollah said it launched a heavy rocket attack at an Israeli army barracks in the country's north "in retaliation" for the Naqura strike, while also announcing other attacks on Israeli positions.

Over 100 killed in past 24 hours in Gaza: health ministry
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said on Monday that at least 35,562 people have been killed in the territory during more than seven months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.

The toll includes 106 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 79,652 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.

Israeli strikes kill six pro-Iran fighters in Syria: monitor
1:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A war monitor said at least six pro-Iran fighters were killed Monday in Israeli strikes in Syria near the Lebanese border, in an area where Lebanon's Hezbollah group holds sway.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "Israeli strikes targeted two positions of pro-Iran groups in the Homs region", including "a Hezbollah site in the Qusayr area" near the border where "six Iran-backed fighters were killed".

The Observatory did not specify their nationalities.

A Hezbollah source told AFP that at least one fighter from the group was killed in Israeli strikes in the Qusayr area.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria but has repeatedly said it will not allow its arch-enemy Iran to expand its presence there.

Israeli jets strike south Lebanon, Hezbollah strikes back
12:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah said on Monday it attacked two Israeli military sites including in the occupied Shebaa Farms and an outpost at Al Raheb.

In a statement on Telegram, the Iran-aligned group said that at around 1:30pm local time it "targeted the Zibdin barracks in the occupied Lebanese Shebaa Farms with artillery shells" in a direct hit.

In a separate statement, it said the group hit Israel's Al Raheb military site "with appropriate weapons and caused direct hits."

The Israeli military on Monday also said its air force took out a Hezbollah cell in Meiss El Jabal in southern Lebanon, and hit "Hezbollah weapons storage facility" near Naqoura.

ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Hamas
12:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Monday that it is seeking arrest warrants for Israel's prime minister, defence minister and three senior Hamas leaders.

The court's chief prosecutor Karim Khan said he was filing applications for arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant on grounds of persecution, death by starvation, denial of humanitarian supplies, and the deliberate targeting of civilians.

There has been speculation for weeks that the ICC would issue arrest warrants for senior Israeli figures, and marks the first time the court has targeted a close ally of the United States.

Khan has also filed applications for Yayha Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, Mohammed Dief, commander of Al-Qassam Brigades and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas political leader based in Doha based on actions from 7 October.

The charges against the Hamas leaders include extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention.

Read more here.


Gold stocks surge in wake of Iranian president death
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gold prices touched a record high on Monday as world markets responded to the sudden death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi who was killed in a helicopter crash.

Spot gold rose 1 percent to $2,438.41 per ounce, as of 0852 GMT, after hitting a record high of $2,449.89 earlier in the session. US gold futures rose 1 percent to $2,442.50.

Analysts opined that gold's record high comes off not just the Iranian president's death but against a backdrop of global instability since October.

Village of Mahsa Amini light fireworks after Raisi death
11:11 AM
The New Arab Staff

Footage shared online shows fireworks being set off in the hometown of Saqqez in the Kurdish region of Iran in response to the death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

Raisi was considered a hard line ruler who has been a mainstay of the Iranian political and religious establishment for decades. Many Iranian diaspora have expressed a positive reaction to the death of the ruler, who was killed in a helicopter crash late on Sunday in East Azerbaijan province.

Mahsa Amini, 22, was killed while in police custody in Tehran after she was detained for wearing her hijab incorrectly in 2022. Her death sparked outrage and nationwide anti-government protests.

Iranian-American activist Mariam Memarsadeghi shared a video on X with the caption: "Fireworks throughout Iran, including here in Saqqez, Iranian Kurdistan — home of #MahsaAmini".

Israel will expand Rafah operation, Gallant tells Sullivan
10:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel intends to broaden its military sweep of the southern Gazan city of Rafah, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told visiting US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday.

"We are committed to broadening the ground operation in Rafah to the end of dismantling Hamas and recovering the hostages," a statement from Gallant's office quoted him as saying during the meeting.

Sullivan has been meeting with Israeli officials in the latest set of talks around the war and a post-war plan for Gaza, which has been at the centre of international disputes among the Israeli government in the past week.


Yemen's Houthis: Raisi death a 'loss for Islamic world'
9:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthi group on Monday mourned the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, saying his loss will be felt across the Muslim world, especially among Palestinians.

Raisi's death "is a loss not only for Iran but also for the entire Islamic world and Palestine and Gaza," Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on X, adding that the Palestinians were "in dire need of the presence of such a president who continued to defend" their right to freedom.

Lebanon's Hezbollah mourns Iranian president
9:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Tehran-backed Hezbollah group mourned Monday the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials in a helicopter crash, praising him as a "protector" of anti-Israel groups in the region.

"Hezbollah in Lebanon extends its deepest condolences," the group said in a statement, adding that they knew Raisi "closely for a long time" and that he was "a strong supporter, and a staunch defender of our causes... and a protector of the resistance movements".

The Lebanese government on Monday declared three days of mourning to mark the death of the president.

Fears for staff and patients at Al-Awda Hospital: MSF
8:55 AM
The New Arab

International NGO Médecins Sans Frontières said on Monday that Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia in north Gaza was in a critical condition with drinking water depleted and staff overwhelming with wounded patients.

MSF staff members at the hospital said that they are “surrounded by tanks” and that medics and patients are sheltering inside amid the fighting.

"All warring parties must ensure their protection and that of health infrastructure including hospitals," the organisation said in a post on X.

Israeli military says it killed Hamas operatives
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said on Monday that it killed Hamas officials Zaher Huli and Rami Khali Faki, who reportedly both held roles in "Hamas' Military Wing and the Hamas police".

It said that the attack was a joint operation with its air forces, adding that Khalil Faki was killed in Nuseirat alongside five Hamas fighters.

Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza has been beset by major air attacks in the past days. At least 30 civilians were killed in an air strike on a residential building overnight on Saturday, local media reported.

Hamas mourns Iranian president Raisi’s death
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas has mourned the death of Iran's President Raisi and his accompanying delegation in a statement on its website.

The statement honoured Raisi's "positions in support of our Palestinian cause, the legitimate struggle of our people against the Zionist entity, and the Palestinian resistance".

It went on to praise Iran's "intense political and diplomatic efforts and endeavours to stop the Zionist aggression against our Palestinian people" in Gaza. It voiced confidence that Iran will be "able to overcome the repercussions of this great loss".



The New Arab Staff
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed Arabic edition
The New Arab Staff & Agencies
The New Arab