Thursday, June 20, 2024

Israel-Palestine conflict LIVE: Gaza Strip under total communications blackout

Palestinian group, Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, has announced the start of military the operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel. Thousands of rockets have been fired from the blockaded enclave towards the occupied territories as far away as Tel Aviv, killing over 1,400 Israelis, including both military and settlers. More than 8,500 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

At least 15 Israeli soldiers killed in over 24 hours of Gaza clashes

Palestinian fighters have killed 15 Israeli soldiers in Gaza since Tuesday, the military has announced on Wednesday.

Four troops were confirmed dead on Wednesday while the death of 11 others was announced on Tuesday.

At least 14 more soldiers have been wounded, including seven in critical condition.


‘I never, ever have seen something similar in Gaza’: UNRWA chief

Jordan summons ambassador to Israel over Gaza attacks

Jordan’s foreign ministry has summoned Amman’s ambassador to Israel, the state news agency reported.

The move was made in protest against the ongoing war in Gaza, according to the foreign ministry.


UNRWA says situation in Gaza amounts to forced displacement

China supports peace conference on Palestine to push ‘two-state solution’

UN denounces ‘latest atrocity’ in Gaza

‘This really has to stop’: WHO calls for halt to bombardment

Red Crescent forced to reduce operation of ambulances

Israeli military says troops taking part in ‘multi-branch effort’

Thousands in Gaza need immediate medical help: WHO

Israeli settlers carry out displacement of Palestinians in West Bank: UN

Hamas chief blames war on Netanyahu

Number of Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza rises to 13

The number of Israeli soldiers killed in the ground offensives in Gaza during the last 24 hours has risen from 11 to 13.

The Israeli army provided the update, together with their names.


Palestinian death toll nears 8,800

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has released updated casualty figures from the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

At least 8,796 people have died since 7 Ocotober, including 3,648 children and 2,290 women, according to officials.

Around 2,000 people are still missing, including 1,100 children. The vast majority of these people are believed to be dead and buried under rubble.

At least 22,219 have been wounded.


Hospital for cancer patients ‘completely out of service’: Director

In statements to Al-Aqsa TV, the director of the Turkish Friendship Hospital (TIKA) has announced that the facility has run out of fuel, leading to it “being completely out of service”.

“Do not leave cancer patients to certain death due to the hospital being out of service,” Sobhi Skeik said.

The Palestinian health ministry also confirmed that the TIKA hospital near Nitzarim in Gaza has stopped operations due to fuel depletion and having been bombed twice.

It also warned that Al-Shifa, the primary hospital in Gaza, has fewer than 24 hours of fuel remaining.


Ten Egyptian ambulances waiting inside Gaza to receive injured Palestinians

Ten Egyptian ambulances are waiting inside Gaza to collect injured Palestinian patients, an Egyptian border official at the Rafah crossing told CNN.

The official earlier stated a total of 80 ambulances had arrived at the Egyptian side of the crossing Wednesday morning.

Half the 80 ambulances had made it into Gaza, the official added, but 30 had returned to Egypt empty, for reasons the official did not disclose.

Injured Palestinians from Gaza have begun arriving in Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, the spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Health told CNN.

The spokesperson told CNN that “they are arriving one by one.”


Crowds gather at Rafah crossing waiting to enter Egypt from Gaza

Crowds gathered at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Wednesday morning, amid reports that it was set to open for some foreign nationals and wounded Palestinians, allowing them to leave the besieged enclave for the first time since the war began more than three weeks ago.

Up to 500 foreigners could cross from Gaza into Egypt under a Qatar-mediated deal, multiple sources confirmed.

A fleet of ambulances also arrived at the Egyptian side of the crossing, waiting to receive some 81 injured Palestinians in need of treatment, an Egyptian border official stated.

Israel ordered the “complete siege” of Gaza in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 terror attack, cutting off supplies of food, water, medicine and electricity to the enclave.

The Rafah crossing has partly opened to allow some aid supplies to enter Gaza, but international leaders have warned that the current levels of aid are incapable of meeting the needs of more than 2 million Palestinians living in the territory.

But while some aid has been able to trickle in, civilians have not been able to leave.


Second Israeli massacre in Gaza camp in less than 24 hours

The Israeli army killed and wounded scores of people in a new “massacre” targeting the crowded Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, the Palestinian ministry of health said on Wednesday.

It is the second attack in less than 24 hours targeting the camp, the largest of the Gaza Strip’s UN refugee camps housing people forcibly expelled by Zionist militia and Israel in 1948.

Several air strikes hit the residential area of Faluja in the camp on Wednesday, according to Al Jazeera.

Scores of people killed or wounded are arriving at the Indonesian hospital in Gaza City.

Jabalia is the largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps. The densely populated camp in the north of the besieged enclave covers an area of only 1.4 square kilometres (0.5sq miles). According to the UN, there are some 116,000 registered refugees in the camp.

According to the UN, the camp suffers from overcrowding and a lack of living space.


General strike across occupied West Bank

A general strike is being observed throughout the occupied West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem, in condemnation of the continuing Israeli attacks on Gaza.

More than 8,500 people have been killed in Gaza while 128 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been killed since October 7.

The strike has paralyzed all aspects of life, leading to the closure of universities, banks and commercial establishments.


CPJ: War in Gaza deadliest for journalists since 1992

The number of journalists killed in ongoing hostilities is the highest since the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) began tracking the deaths of journalists covering conflicts.

At least 26 Palestinians and one Lebanese journalist have been killed in Israeli shelling, the CPJ said. At least four Israeli journalists were killed during attacks by Palestinians.

An additional eight journalists have been wounded and nine others reported missing or detained.

“CPJ emphasises that journalists are civilians doing important work during times of crisis and must not be targeted by warring parties,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator, stated on Wednesday.

The Israeli army told Reuters and Agence France Press news agencies last week that it cannot guarantee the safety of their journalists.


Devastating toll for Palestinians with disabilities in Gaza: HRW

Israel’s war on Gaza is taking a devastating toll on Palestinian civilians with disabilities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.

Daily bombardment, blockade, and a major ground offensive mean that some of the most vulnerable Palestinians are facing increased hardship fleeing attacks, and in accessing what’s left of Gaza’s healthcare system.

HRW interviewed more than a dozen Palestinians living in Gaza with various levels of disabilities.

Many described the fear of leaving homes adapted to meet their accessibility requirements, including access to their wheelchairs, walkers or hearing aids.

Many of the Palestinians with disabilities in the strip are also the victims of previous Israeli assaults. Their numbers have only swelled in the latest onslaught by Israel.

“The Israeli military’s major ground offensive in Gaza adds immeasurably to the serious difficulties for people with disabilities to flee, find shelter, and obtain water, food, medicine, and assistive devices they desperately need,” stated Emina Cerimovic, senior disability rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“The United States and other Israeli allies should press Israel to take all necessary steps to protect people with disabilities and lift the blockade.”


Hamas says seven civilian prisoners killed in Israel’s Jabalia bombing

Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said on Wednesday that seven civilians held by the group in Gaza were killed in the Israeli bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday, which killed at least 100 Palestinians.

In a brief communique, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades said three of those killed were foreign passport holders.

The Palestinian group previously announced around 50 people out of around 200 in its custody had been killed in the relentless Israeli shelling since 7 October.

Israel confirmed at least 240 people are held captive by various Palestinian groups in Gaza.

Hamas official Ghazi Hamad has stated that Israel is not concerned “with the safety of the prisoners in Gaza, regardless of their nationalities” during its “indiscriminate bombings”.

He added: “We confirmed our readiness to release foreign prisoners, but Israel is obstructing that.”

“Our priority now is to stop the Israeli aggression, the mass killing,” Hamad said in a statement to Al Jazeera.


Israel sends navy boats to Red Sea following attacks from Yemen

The Israeli army announced that it had bolstered its defences in the Red Sea with navy missile boats. This follows several missile and drone attacks from Yemen heading towards Israel.

The Israeli military said the vessels were deployed “in accordance with the assessment of the situation, and as part of the increased defence efforts in the area”.

On Tuesday the Israeli military announced that it had intercepted a missile and two drones launched from Yemen towards Israel.

Another target was intercepted on Wednesday morning in the Israeli Red Sea city of Eilat.

The US military is also deployed in the Red Sea and two weeks ago it intercepted a number of missiles and drones from Yemen.

The deployment also means that the Israeli army is now spread over four fronts: in Gaza, the West Bank, the Israeli-Lebanese frontier and now the Red Sea.


Gaza health officials issue urgent appeal for fuel for hospitals

The Ministry of Health in Gaza has called “anyone who has any quantity of fuel to supply it to the al-Shifa complex and the Indonesian Hospital”.

Al-Shifa, in Gaza City, is the largest medical complex in the Strip, while the Indonesian Hospital is located in the heavily bombarded north.

On Tuesday, the director of the Indonesian Hospital, Atef al-Kahlout, told Al Jazeera that services at the facility could stop within 24 hours due to the fuel shortage since Israel imposed a total siege on Gaza.

“Our absorptive capacity has become very limited due to the ongoing war and we have no beds,” he stated, adding, “We perform surgeries on the ground and without anaesthesia.”


Israeli army says over 11,000 targets hit in Gaza

The Israeli army says it has hit more than 11,000 targets in Gaza “belonging to terrorist organisations” since the war began about three weeks ago.

That’s an average of more than 440 strikes per day for the first 25 days of the war.

Israel has come under widespread criticism for its ongoing bombardment in Gaza, which has seen hospitals, residential buildings and schools hit, leading to the death of more than 8,500 people and injuries to some 21,000 people.


9 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza: IDF

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Wednesday named nine more Israeli soldiers killed during its ongoing ground operation in northern Gaza.

Seven of the troops were members of the Givati brigade, which is focused on fighting terrorism, and the other two were part of the armored corps, the IDF announced. It did not say how they were killed.

The IDF identified those killed as Ariel Reich, Asif Luger, Adi Danan, Halel Solomon, Erez Mishlovsky, Adi Leon, Ido Ovadia, Lior Siminovich, and Roei Dawi.

It comes after the IDF on Tuesday confirmed the first two deaths of Israeli soldiers in Gaza since its ground incursion ramped up on Friday.

This brings the total number of Israeli soldiers killed since October 7 to more than 320.

In a new post on X, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has called the killing of 11 soldiers in ground battles in Gaza “a hard and painful blow”.

The defence minister added Israeli forces paid a “heavy price” during their ground operation despite making “significant” achievements.


Palestinian president calls for permanent humanitarian corridors to Gaza

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a phone conversation with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

“President Abbas called for the necessity of opening permanent humanitarian corridors to bring in medical and food relief aid and to provide water and electricity as quickly as possible,” Palestine’s WAFA news agency reported.

The Palestinian leader stressed that “the massacres committed by the Israeli war machine cannot be tolerated, and that the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip must immediately stop”.

He also urged “to spare civilians from the scourge of war, in light of the barbaric Israeli bombing of defenseless civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

“Targeting safe civilians in their homes and hospitals and demolishing buildings on top of their heads are brutal crimes that cannot be tolerated and must be stop immediately,” Abbas went on.

He also called upon “to end settler terrorism against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem”.


Gaza hit by another communications blackout: Telecoms firms

Internet service and communications went down again in Gaza on Wednesday, according to two telecoms companies, as Israel maintains its bombardment and expanded ground operation in the coastal enclave.

Communications have been repeatedly impacted in Gaza, with independent internet monitoring groups announced that recent blackouts have been the worst since the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7.

In a statement Wednesday on X, formerly Twitter, Palestine Telecommunications (Paltel) said there was “a complete interruption of all communications and Internet services with the Gaza Strip, due to international routes that were previously reconnected being cut off again.”

The Jawwal Telecommunication Company also added its cellphone service was down, according to a statement on Facebook.


Death toll from Khan Younis strike climbs to 12

The death toll from an Israeli strike on two homes in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip has climbed to 12 people, according to Arabic media.

The strike comes amid a particularly bloody day in the war-ravaged enclave, after Israel also bombed Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday.

The Palestinian death toll since the outbreak of war now exceeds 8,500 Palestinians, including 3,542 children and 2,187 women.


Israeli military says it continues to intercept threats on northern and southern borders

The Israeli military said early Wednesday morning local time that it continues to intercept threats on its northern border with Lebanon and its southern border near the Red Sea.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) said in a statement it intercepted a surface-to-air missile that was launched from Lebanon toward an Israeli drone.

Israel has been trading fire with Lebanese-based fighters on its northern border for weeks.

Israel announced it struck the origin of the missile launch and the individuals who carried out the launch in response.

The IDF also added it intercepted an aerial threat south of the city of Eilat.

The news comes after a Tuesday incident when Israel noted it thwarted an aerial threat in the same region, an attack that the Houthis in Yemen claimed credit for.


Palestinian ambassador to UN says Israeli strike on Jabalya refugee camp was a crime

Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, said the Israeli strike on the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza was a crime and urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take action.

Mansour made the comments upon leaving a UN meeting on Tuesday, saying the ICC should hold those responsible for the lethal airstrike.

“Those who are responsible for giving the orders for that crime should hear something from Mr. Khan from the ICC,” Mansour told CNN in reference to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan.

“If he has the courage, and I hope he does. We appreciate the fact that [he] came to the crossing, Rafah crossing, and he made a statement there. But it would be also nice to issue a warrant of arrest for those who are responsible for such crimes,” Mansour added.

When asked whether Egypt should allow the entry of refugees from Gaza, Mansour replied “no.”


Dozens of humanitarian aid trucks crossed into Gaza: Officials

Dozens of trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said Tuesday evening it received 59 trucks. By late Tuesday evening, 70 trucks had entered the strip, the spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced in a statement.

The shipments include “only water, food, and medical equipment,” according to the COGAT spokesperson.

The decision was made “at the request of the US Administration, and in accordance with instructions from the political echelon” the statement from COGAT added.

“The transfer, the source, and the destination of the aid are monitored by Israel,” the COGAT statement read.

“Any other attempt to provide supplies, not coordinated with and approved by Israel, will be blocked.”

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it has received a total of 217 trucks so far, but fuel has not been allowed to enter Gaza yet.


Chile and Colombia call ambassadors in Israel for consultation following Israel’s deadly Gaza strikes

Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors to Israel for consultation due to Israel’s strikes on Gaza.

“If Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people, we cannot be there,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro said in translation on X, formerly known as Twitter.

On October 19, Petro met with Gali Dagan, the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric said the country is recalling its ambassador to Israel due to Israel’s “violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Gaza Strip.”

“Given the unacceptable violations of International Humanitarian Law that Israel has incurred in the Gaza Strip, the Government of Chile has decided to recall the Chilean ambassador to Israel, Jorge Carvajal, to Santiago for consultations,” Chile’s foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

Chile’s foreign ministry added it strongly condemns and observes with great concern the military operations, “which at this point in their development entail collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, do not respect fundamental norms of International Law, as demonstrated by the more than eight thousand civilian victims, mostly women and children.”

Chile reiterated its call for an immediate end to hostilities, “which will allow the deployment of a humanitarian support operation to help the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and civilian victims.”

The Colombian foreign ministry has not yet issued a statement.


Bolivia cuts diplomatic relations with Israel citing “crimes against humanity” against Palestinians

Bolivia is cutting diplomatic relations with Israel, citing “crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people” in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas, the Bolivian Agency of Information (ABI) said.

The decision came on Tuesday, and was announced by Vice Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani and María Nela Prada, who serves as the minister of the Presidency of Bolivia and interim foreign minister.

The announcement came one day after Bolivian President Luis Arce met with the Palestinian Ambassador to Bolivia Mahmoud Elalwani.

Bolivia is also preparing to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, the ABI added.

Diego Pary, Bolivian representative to the United Nations, reiterated his country’s stance at an emergency UN General Assembly meeting on Tuesday, saying they “are on the side of the rights of the Palestinian people.”

“[A]s a result the people and government of Bolivia [have] taken the decision to break diplomatic ties from today with the state of Israel because we consider it a state that does not respect life of peoples, international law or international humanitarian law,” Pary stated.


US secretary of state to return to Israel this week

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to Israel at the end of this week, State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said Tuesday.

“Secretary Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, and then will make other stops in the region,” Miller added.

Blinken made multiple visits to Israel earlier this month as part of his multi-nation trip to the Middle East.


Israel downplays intelligence ministry document that proposed relocating of millions of Gazans to Egypt

Israel’s prime minister is downplaying a leaked intelligence ministry document that proposed the relocation of millions of Palestinians to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

“This is a preliminary paper, like dozens of such papers prepared by all political and security echelons,” Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

“The ‘day after’ is a topic that has not been discussed by official Israeli channels, which are now focused on dismantling Hamas’ governing and military abilities.”

The document is dated October 13 — just days after the Hamas attack — and was published on the website Sicha Mekomit. In it, the intelligence ministry lays out three options for dealing with civilians in Gaza after the Hamas attacks and the outbreak of war.

The paper’s authors concluded that “Alternative C,” which calls for relocating Gaza’s civilian population to the northern Sinai, would be best for Israel’s long-term security.

As part of the plan, tent cities would be constructed in the area, with more permanent cities being constructed at a later date. The plan also calls for a humanitarian corridor to aid the resettled population and a security perimeter to be created to prevent them from entering Israel.

The acknowledgment of the paper by the Israeli government will likely intensify suspicion amongst Arab nations in the region that Israel is deliberately trying to displace Palestinians permanently. Egypt and Jordan have warned that any plan to transfer Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank to their respective countries would escalate conflict in the region.


UN human rights official quits over “genocide” in Gaza and blames West

A United Nations human rights official is leaving his job over what he calls a “genocide” in Gaza that the UN has failed to stop.

Craig Mokhiber, the director of the UN’s New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a letter that Gaza is a textbook case of genocide. Mokhiber added he lived in Gaza working on human rights for the UN in the 90s.

He accused the United States, the United Kingdom and European countries of giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.

In the letter, which began with a statement acknowledging it would be his last official communication in his position, Mokhiber wrote that after witnessing what happened in Rwanda, Bosnia, and to Rohingya civilians in Myanmar, the UN has repeatedly failed to stop genocide.

“High Commissioner, we are failing again,” he stated.

The letter was sent to the UN’s human rights chief Volker Turk in Geneva.

The UN Secretary-General press secretary confirmed Mokhiber is retiring as of Tuesday.


Palestinian embassies around world receive ‘direct threats of violence’ and ‘vandalism’

The foreign ministry for the State of Palestine has issued a statement calling for the protection of ambassadors and diplomatic staff in embassies around the world, following direct threats of violence and vandalism.

The statement says: “Attacks against Palestinian ambassadors, diplomats and diplomatic staff have already taken place. The Foreign Ministry reminds host nations of their responsibility to provide protection to our embassies and diplomatic missions as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”

“The degree of incitement against Palestinian diplomats caused by the exceptional circumstances of the Israeli occupation’s destructive war has reached unprecedented levels. Several Palestinian missions have reported receiving death threats, harassment of staff, in addition to acts of vandalism that have caused criminal damage to property,” it added.


Protests break out in West Bank over Israel’s bombing of Jabalia refugee camp

Protests have engulfed the occupied West Bank cities of Ramallah and Hebron, following Israel’s bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza.

Hundreds of people marched in the streets, denouncing Israel’s bombing of Gaza and supporting Gaza’s residents.


US “in a heightened threat environment” following attacks in Israel: Homeland Security secretary

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers Wednesday that the United States is in a “heightened threat environment” following Hamas’ October 7 attacks in Israel.

Mayorkas listed a series of actions that President Joe Biden’s administration is taking to assist communities and law enforcement, including providing information and intelligence, issuing a joint intelligence bulletin in the immediate aftermath of the attack, distributing funding to help secure places of worship and communicating with faith communities.

“We are engaging extensively with faith communities, speaking with them about the steps that they can take to ensure that the individuals who practice, continue to practice, their faith, which is so foundational are able to do so with a sense of security,” Mayorkas said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray echoed those actions during the Senate hearing, stating that his agency is also involved in outreach and tackling hate crimes.

“This is a threat that is reaching, in some way, sort of historic levels,” Wray added.

“The reality is that the Jewish community is uniquely, uniquely targeted by pretty much every terrorist organization across the spectrum. And when you look at a group that makes up 2.4% roughly of the American population, it should be jarring to everyone that that same population accounts for something like 60% of all religious-based hate crimes, and so they need our help,” Wray said.

Wray added that propaganda may encourage violent extremists or other lone-wolf actors within the United States.

“Lone actors, homegrown violent extremists inspired by foreign terrorist organizations, are in many ways the biggest threat we face here in the homeland.”

He continued, “To have this many foreign terrorist organizations this explicitly calling for attacks significantly … takes the threat level, the threat environment, the risk to a whole other level here.”

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