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Gaza live: Israel continues bombing central Gaza

Gaza live: Israel continues bombing central Gaza
57 US House Democrats signed a letter urging Biden to prevent Rafah invasion
Key Points
Over 1,600 US campus protesters arrested
Colombian president says will cut ties with Israel
Hamas to respond to truce proposal in a 'short period'

Live Updates

1 month ago

During a tour and a situational assessment at the Lebanese border on Wednesday, Israel's military chief of staff Herzi Halevi said that the offensive operation in Gaza "will continue with strength" and that Israel was "preparing for an offensive in the north".

Reporting by Reuters.

1 month ago

A company owned by an influential Egyptian businessman and ally of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is making around $2m a day from Palestinians fleeing Israel's war on Gaza, Middle East Eye has revealed.

Hala Consulting and Tourism Services has been charging Palestinians crossing from Gaza's Rafah to Egypt at least $5,000 per adult and $2,500 for children under 16.

It has a monopoly on providing transfer services at the Rafah crossing, the only Gaza exit not bordered with Israel and the single route out of the coastal enclave for Palestinians.

In the past three months alone, the company is estimated to have made a minimum of $118m, or 5.6 billion Egyptian pounds, from desperate Palestinians trying to leave war-torn Gaza.

Despite international media scrutiny on Hala and Organi in recent months, including numerous reports by Middle East Eye, the firm doubled its profits from Palestinians in April, with the average daily fees exceeding $2m.

Read more: An Egyptian firm is making $2m a day from Palestinians fleeing Israel's war on Gaza
Egyptian businessman and tribal leader Ibrahim al-Organi presenting his projects to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a presidential campaign event, May 2014 (Screengrab from Mehwar TV/Illustration by MEE)

1 month ago

A Jordanian aid convoy consisting of 31 trucks has entered northern Gaza through the Erez crossing into Beit Hanoun.

The Erez crossing, damaged by the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on 7 October, is the main foot traffic crossing. It is also known as the Beit Hanoun crossing.

The opening coincides with US Secretary of State Blinken’s visit to the Keren Shalom crossing and is the first since 7 October.

The Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is in charge of organising aid, released footage of the Jordanian trucks crossing into Gaza and said the Erez crossing underwent construction to turn it from a civilian crossing into an aid crossing.

1 month ago

During his visit to the Keren Shalom crossing to oversee aid deliveries to Gaza, US Secretary of State Blinken renewed his call on Hamas to accept a deal for a ceasefire and hostage release.

"If Hamas actually purports to care about the Palestinian people and wants to see an immediate alleviation of their suffering, it should take this deal," he told reporters.

"If it doesn't, I think that's further proof it doesn't care a bit.

"Blinken also told reporters that he has been clear that the US opposes a major attack on the city of Rafah and suggested "better ways" to address Hamas.

1 month ago

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelled to a key Gaza crossing a few kilometres from the southern city of Rafah on Wednesday to examine aid shipments to Gaza.

Blinken also used the visit to raise concerns about the rate of aid entering Gaza and reinstated US opposition to a military operation in Rafah in the absence of a humanitarian plan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits the Kerem Shalom crossing on 1 May 2024.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken walks with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant at the Kerem Shalom crossing on 1 May 2024 (Evelyn Hockstein/AFP)

1 month ago

The Lebanese group said its fighters attacked two homes in the Israeli town of Shtola with guided missiles “in support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and in support of their valiant and honorable resistance, and in response to the Israeli enemy’s attacks on the steadfast southern villages and civilian homes”.

The Israeli army confirmed an attack on homes in Shtola and said no injuries occurred.

1 month ago

Around 300 people were detained late on Tuesday by police at Columbia University and City College of New York during pro-Palestine demonstrations, New York Mayor Eric Adams has said. 

1 month ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the families of captives held by Hamas in Gaza to try to persuade the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to issue arrest warrants against him and other senior Israeli officials and military commanders, according to a report in News 12. 

Netanyahu reportedly contacted the headquarters of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, a body established by the families of those abducted and taken to Gaza during the Hamas-led 7 October attacks, and asked them to use their relationship with the ICC to lobby on behalf of him and other Israeli figures at risk of being targeted over Israel's war in Gaza.

In February, about 100 families of the captives travelled to the Hague, the Dutch city where the ICC is based, to file a lawsuit against senior Hamas officials.

Since then, News 12 reported, "friendly" relations have been established between some of the families and the court's prosecutor, British lawyer Karim Khan.

After learning about this connection, Netanyahu asked the headquarters of the missing families forum to convince Khan to drop any plans to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials. 

Read more: Netanyahu 'asked' families of Hamas captives to lobby ICC on his behalf

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a press conference in October 2023 (AFP)

1 month ago

Hamas has said it will respond to an Israeli truce proposal “in a short period”, according to a report by the AFP.

Suhail al-Hindi, a senior official in the Palestinian group, told the news agency that any ceasefire would have to be permanent.

According to the report, Hamas is considering an initial deal that would include a 40-day ceasefire and the exchange of Israeli captives held by Palestinian factions for Palestinian captives held by Israel.

Talks to end the conflict have been taking place intermittently since October with Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

Hindi said the aim of the negotiations was "to reach an end to this war".

An AFP source with knowledge of the negotiations said Qatari mediators expected a response from Hamas in one or two days.

1 month ago

Turkey has joined South Africa in its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and will file a petition soon, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has announced.

Ankara has been a vocal critic of Israel's war on Gaza and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was one of the earliest world leaders to describe its bloody assault on the besieged territory as "genocide".

In recent months, Ankara has taken punitive steps against Israel including a decision to halt the export of 54 product categories to the state.

South Africa filed a case against Israel in late December, accusing it of carrying out a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

President Erdogan attends a pro-Palestine rally in Istanbul in October (AFP)

1 month ago

International Workers' Day is marked in most countries on 1 May and this year, at many rallies, the Palestinian cause is featuring prominently.

In Tunis, demonstrators held aloft Palestinian flags and banners supporting the struggle against Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and its offensive on Gaza.

In the picture below, women hold up flags and banners, including one that reads, "Palestine has the first 'qibla' and is the third of the holy sanctuaries".

A qibla is the direction towards which Muslims pray. Jerusalem was the first qibla for early Muslims before they were directed to pray towards Mecca.

The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam and in Islamic tradition is the destination of the Prophet Muhammad's miraculous night journey.

Women take part in May Day rallies in Tunis (AFP/Fethi Belaid)

1 month ago

The Jordanian foreign ministry condemned in the "strongest terms" an attack by what it described as "extremist Israelis" on a Gaza-bound aid convoy sent by Amman.

In a statement posted on X, the ministry said two convoys carrying food, flour and other humanitarian aid were set to enter Gaza via the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings.

Footage online showed Israelis unloading bags of wheat flour from trucks which local media said were headed for Gaza. 

Middle East Eye could not independently verify the videos. 

"The failure of the Israeli government to protect the two aid convoys and allowing them to be attacked is a gross violation of its legal obligations, as the occupying power, and of its obligations to allow aid to enter Gaza," the Jordanian foreign ministry said.

1 month ago

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated US opposition to an Israeli assault on the crowded Gaza city of Rafah in talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vowed to press ahead, a US official said.

Blinken "reiterated the United States' clear position on Rafah," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, two days after Blinken again voiced opposition to an assault over concerns for the safety of civilians sheltering in the southern Gaza city. 

Reporting by AFP 

1 month ago

France's foreign minister said on Wednesday that there was still work to be done to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian groups after he was updated by Egyptian officials in Cairo on the status of negotiations.

"We came to coordinate our efforts for a truce. The messages given by France and its Arab partners in the region is that Israel pulls back on this offensive in Rafah," Stephane Sejourne said after meeting his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry

He declined to say how optimistic he was of a deal being concluded, but added that if there were a truce he hoped that three French-Israeli dual nationals being held by Hamas would be on the list for release.

Reporting by Reuters

1 month ago

An Israeli air strike in Rafah has killed four people, including two children and a woman, on Wednesday, according to Al Jazeera Arabic. 

Israeli fighter jets have intensified bombardment in Rafah in recent days as officials repeat threats of an imminent ground assault. 

Overnight, a house in the al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah was struck, killing a boy and his baby sister, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.