Blinken rejects ceasefire calls during meeting in Amman
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has rejected calls for a ceasefire during a meeting with his Arab counterparts in Amman on Thursday.
He said that a truce would leave Hamas in a position to regroup and carry out similar attacks to the one on 7 October which killed around 1,400 Israelis.
Blinken added that the US believed humanitarian pauses can be a “critical mechanism for protecting civilians”, as well as for getting aid into Gaza and foreign nationals out of the enclave.
The comments were made at a news conference alongside the Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers, who have both repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire.
According to Blinken, Washington and Arab states believe that a status-quo in which Hamas controls the Gaza Strip could not continue.
He added that the US was deeply concerned about “extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank”, which he said had worsened since 7 October.
“we remain resolutely committed and focused on securing the release of hostages held by Hamas”.
Qatar: Continued bombing of Gaza is ‘complicating’ efforts to release hostages
Qatar’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that the continued bombardment of the Gaza Strip complicated its efforts to mediate the release of hostages held by Hamas.
Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani made the comment in a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the ministry added.
Israeli containment policy has failed: UAE official
Israel ‘committing war crimes’ in Gaza: Jordan FM
Following meetings with Arab leaders and top US officials, Ayman Safadi says Israel is “committing war crimes” in Gaza and it should not be above international law.
He told reporters though he condemned the Hamas attack, the war on Gaza could not be permitted to continue.
“The whole region is sinking in a sea of hatred that will define generations to come,” Safadi added.
“We don’t accept that this is self-defence,” Safadi continued, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
“It cannot be justified under any pretext and it will not bring Israel security, it will not bring the region peace.”
Al-Qassam Brigades says it has killed five Israeli soldiers
Hamas’s Qassam Brigades announced its fighters have killed five more Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza.
In a statement it said: “Qassam forces attacked a Zionist force holed up in a building northwest of Gaza City.”
Fighters confronted Israeli forces “with machine guns and bombs and killed five soldiers and wounded others”, it added.
This week, the Israeli army expanded its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless bombardment.
Israel bombs al-Azhar University in Gaza
Video footage shared by Al Jazeera Arabic shows Israel bombing al-Azhar University in Gaza.
Since the war started on 7 October, Israel has also bombed Gaza University, the Islamic University of Gaza and al-Aqsa University.
Blinken to visit Turkey as part of Middle East tour
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Turkey for two days from Sunday as part of a Middle East tour, according to Reuters.
Blinken is currently in Jordan, after visiting Israel the day before.
Turkey recalls ambassador to Israel for consultations
Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations due to the humanitarian crisis and ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Israel’s envoys to Turkey left the country last month due to security reasons, after protests erupted across the country in support of Palestinians. Tel Aviv later announced it had recalled its envoys to assess bilateral ties.
Ambassador Sakir Ozkan Torunlar was recalled in view of “the ongoing humanitarian tragedy in Gaza caused by Israel’s continued attacks on civilians and Israel’s refusal [to accept] a ceasefire,” the Turkish foreign ministry added.
Generators at Kamal Adwan Hospital ‘completely’ shut down
Generators at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in north Gaza have completely shut down, according to the Interior Ministry in Gaza.
Earlier today, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that 16 hospitals in Gaza have now been rendered out of service due to Israeli bombing and the full siege imposed on 9 October.
Blinken shares “deep concern” about Lebanon-Israel border tension with Lebanese PM Mikati
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his “deep concern” in a meeting with Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Amman on Saturday about the cross-fire along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel.
“Secretary Blinken thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership in preventing Lebanon from being pulled into a war that the Lebanese people do not want, as well as his efforts with regional partners to pursue durable and sustainable peace in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said.
“The Secretary discussed US efforts to secure humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza and noted that Lebanon needs to select a President to lead the country through both the regional and domestic crises.”
Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah has been engaged in daily skirmishes with Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border since October 8.
On Friday, Hezbollah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah hailed the crossfire as an “unprecedented battle” but called for a ceasefire in Gaza, signalling a reluctance to widen hostilities with Israel.
Oman calls for war crimes investigation into Israel
Oman’s foreign ministry has demanded the formation of an international court to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza.
In a statement, the ministry also called for “the prosecution of war criminals in all the massacres committed”.
It also condemned the latest attacks on two schools sheltering civilians, the entrance of a hospital and a public water tank that were all targeted in the past 24 hours.
Erdogan says Netanyahu ‘no longer someone we can talk to’
The Turkish president has stated he is breaking off contact with the Israeli prime minister due to Israel’s actions in Gaza.
“[Benjamin] Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We have written him off,” Turkish media quoted Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.
US special envoy: No record of Hamas blocking or seizing aid
US Special Envoy David Satterfield said on Saturday that there were no recorded instances of Hamas interdicting or seizing aid, according to Reuters.
Satterfield stated that between 800,000 to a million people have moved to the south of the Gaza Strip, while 350,000-400,000 remain in the north of the enclave.
Talking to reporters in the Jordanian capital, Amman, he added that there were no recorded instances of Hamas interdicting or seizing aid.
“Fuel in depots in Gaza has been accessed by UNRWA for aid trucks, desalinisation and hospitals in the south of Gaza,” he noted.
16 hospitals out of service in Gaza
In a live press conference in Gaza, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 16 hospitals in Gaza have now been rendered out of service due to Israeli bombing and the full siege imposed on 9 October.
“The occupation is directly targeting the vicinity of hospitals… around 105 medical facilities have also been targeted,” Ashraf al-Qudra stated.
He also called for the Rafah border to be opened to allow those wounded to receive treatment, “otherwise we will lose hundreds of more lives”, he added.
Here is some more information provided by Health Ministry spokesperson at the press briefing:
- 150 paramedics have been killed since October 7
- 27 ambulance vehicles have been totally destroyed, including two carrying the convoy of victims headed for Rafah on Friday
- 105 medical facilities have been deliberately targeted, 16 of which are now out of service
- 32 primary care medical facilities are out of service, either due to lack of fuel or their total destruction.
2,200 people buried underneath rubble: Health ministry
The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says an estimated 2,200 people including 1,250 children are buried underneath the rubble of destroyed buildings.
The death toll in Gaza has reached 9,488 since the start of the war on 7 October, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The number includes 3,900 children and 2,500 women.
Number of French nationals killed in Hamas attacks on Israel rises to 39: Foreign ministry
The number of French nationals killed in the Hamas attacks in Israel has risen to 39, according to the French foreign ministry.
“France mourns the tragic deaths of further French nationals, bringing the total number of French victims of Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel to 39,” the ministry said in a statement Saturday.
Nine French nationals are still missing following the October 7 attacks, the ministry announced, adding that it has “now been confirmed that some of them have been taken hostage by Hamas.”
The French government says it is in contact with the families of the missing individuals. French President Emmanuel Macron met with the family members of hostages during a recent trip to Israel.
At least 15 killed in al-Fakhoura school bombing
Palestine’s Ministry of Health says that at least 15 people have been killed by Israeli bombing of al-Fakhoura school. More than 54 others were wounded.
Thousands of Palestinians were sheltering at the school after being displaced from their homes by Israeli air strikes. The school is located in the Jabalia area in Gaza.
An Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent described “scattered limbs” all over the school, while a crater in the ground where the bomb hit was shown in live footage.
One survivor told Al Jazeera Arabic: “Shame on the Arab leaders, these are civilians, children’s body parts are scattered everywhere.”
The attack on al-Fakhoora school came hours after a deadly strike on another school sheltering displaced families in the al-Saftawi area north of Gaza City.
Blinken meets with Qatari counterpart in Amman
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Amman.
Neither spoke during a brief photo spray at the beginning of their meeting on Saturday.
Qatar has served as a key negotiator in discussions with Hamas amid the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The US has credited the Persian Gulf nation for its help in securing the release of four hostages held by the group, as well as for the eventual opening of the Rafah gate between Gaza and Egypt.
Jordan has announced Blinken will meet with fellow foreign ministers from key Arab partners at a summit in Amman Saturday to discuss the conflict in Gaza.
Israeli forces target house of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Israeli missiles have targeted the Gaza home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, according to the Al-Aqsa Radio.
It was unclear whether any of his family members were at the house when it was struck.
Haniyeh has been outside the Gaza Strip since 2019, residing between Turkey and Qatar.
In a televised address broadcast on Wednesday, Haniyeh accused Israel of “committing barbaric massacres against unarmed civilians”.
At least 41 children killed in occupied West Bank: Save the Children
At least 41 children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, while thousands of children have been killed by ongoing bombardment of Gaza, Save the Children has confirmed.
“Children across the occupied Palestinian territory are increasingly caught up in a horrifying spiral of violence, while the world is watching. But the conflict’s devastating impact on children did not start on 7 October,” Save the Children’s director for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jason Lee said in a statement.
“Violence and displacement have been ongoing for years, with children paying the highest price for a conflict they have no part in. By September this was already the deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, and we’re nearing the same number in less than a month.”
“Time and time again, children are shot at, locked-up, harassed. This has to stop,” he continued, adding, “The international community must use its influence to ensure that international law is respected, as is their obligation.”
US green lights vicious Israeli strikes against Palestinians in Gaza: Hamas chief
The chairman of the political bureau of Hamas resistance movement has lashed out at Washington over its unconditional support for Israel’s military campaign against the Gaza Strip, stating that the occupying Tel Aviv regime has the carte blanche for its vicious attacks on Palestinians in the besieged coastal sliver.
Ismail Haniyeh denounced the latest meeting between United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli leaders, as Israel intensified its bombing of the Palestinian territory, hitting hospitals, ambulances and civilians fleeing to safety, stating that the White House has given the green light to the Zionist regime to press ahead with its atrocities.
“The massacres being committed by the Zionist regime are a clear manifestation of the quagmire that the occupying regime and its ground forces are bogged down in,” the Hamas leader said.
Haniyeh also called on Arab and Muslim nations as well as freedom-loving people of the world to vociferously express their outrage over the mass killings of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces.
Gaza media office: 46 journalists killed since start of war
A spokesperson for Gaza’s official media office announced that Israel has killed 46 journalists since the start of the war on 7 October.
In a press conference outside Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, he questioned where the international community and international journalists were, and why they are not speaking out about the hostilities journalists and media officials in Gaza face.
“There are no red lines that have not been crossed…these are organised crimes that have been documented. We will not outline a list of demands, all we say is that if you are human, and you see the people here as humans like you, then show your humanity and stand up for what is right,” the spokesperson stated.
Israeli army targets entrance of Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital in Gaza City
The Israeli army has targeted the entrance of Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital in western Gaza City, according to Al-Aqsa TV.
Several Palestinian local media outlets reported civilian casualties.
The Israeli army has recently targeted Palestinian hospitals in the Gaza Strip including Al Shifa Hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, and Indonesian Hospital.
Captives’ families set up tents to stage protest in Tel Aviv
The relatives of those seized and taken into Gaza during Hamas’s attack on October 7 have set up a makeshift camp at the entrance of the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv to pressure the government into doing more for the release of their loved ones.
“We will not leave until they all return home!” read a statement from the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.
“They will stay in tents with mattresses and sleeping bags until all hostages return home. Every Israeli citizen is invited to come and show their support!” the forum said, adding that a rally will start today at 8pm (18:00 GMT).
Survey suggests support for Netanyahu’s party nearly halved
A survey published on several Israeli media outlets suggests that if Israel held a parliamentary election now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would see a steep drop in its seats from 32 to 18.
Overall, his governing ultra-nationalist far-right coalition would get 42 seats compared to 78 for the opposition, according to the poll.
To achieve a majority, a party or coalition must hold more than 60 seats in the 120-seat Israeli parliament, or Knesset.
730 foreign nationals expected to cross through Rafah Saturday: Egyptian source
Some 730 foreign nationals are expected to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing Saturday, according to an official source on the Egyptian side of Rafah.
Here is breakdown of nationalities expected:
- 55 Egyptians
- 386 Americans
- 112 British
- 77 French
- 151 Germans
Honduras joins other countries in calling back its ambassador to Israel
Honduras announced Friday it was calling back its ambassador to Israel, joining a list of other nations that have scaled back on diplomatic ties following criticism of the country’s actions in Gaza.
“Given the grave humanitarian situation that the civil population of the Gaza Strip are enduring, the government of President Xiomara Castro has decided to immediately call the ambassador of the Republic of Honduras in Israel, Roberto Martinez, to go to consultations to Tegucigalpa,” the Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Reina has stated that Honduras is advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza in order to establish a humanitarian corridor and to start peace talks.
Honduras is not the only country readjusting diplomatic ties with Israel. On Tuesday, Bolivia cut diplomatic relations, citing “crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people”, while Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors to Israel for consultation due to Israel’s strikes on Gaza.
A day later, Israel said it regretted the Jordanian government’s decision to recall its ambassador.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement the immediate move was “an expression of Jordan’s position rejecting and condemning the Israeli war raging in Gaza.”
On Thursday, Bahrain also withdrew its ambassador.
US anticipates shift in Israel’s tactics in the coming days: Senior official
US officials are anticipating a new phase of Israel’s war with Hamas in the coming days in which Israel decreases the scale of its air campaign and focuses on a more tactical ground operation.
As humanitarian aid continues to flow into Gaza, the Joe Biden administration expects that Israel’s air campaign will see “a decrease in what we’ve seen”, a senior administration official told CNN on Friday.
The administration anticipates a move to a “more of a tactical focus on the ground campaign” aimed at clearing out the vast network of underground tunnel complexes Hamas operates out of, the official added.
The official maintained that the administration has been “very direct…about wartime decisions and being deliberate and asking hard questions” in discussions with Israel, even as the Israeli military has drawn international criticism over the targeting of the Jabalya Refugee Camp in northern Gaza.
Asked when the Biden administration might feel compelled to call for a ceasefire — something it has so far declined to do — the official stated that given the scale and nature of Hamas’ attacks on Israel on October 7, a ceasefire was not appropriate.
“A terrorist group takes 200 hostages and kills 1,400 people and is hiding under tunnels, including the leaders — ceasefire is not really the word … to use,” the official told CNN.
The official reiterated that the US is actively calling on Israel to enact so-called “humanitarian pauses”, and that it is stressing to Israel that even as it has a right to defend itself, it must adhere to international humanitarian laws.
Ultimately, “a ceasefire I think, depends on the Israelis feeling secure in ensuring that something like this cannot happen again”, the official added.
Israel bombs school where thousands are sheltering, wounding dozens
Israeli bombs struck the al-Fakhoura school in the Jabalia neighbourhood in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera Arabic and local media.
Thousands of Palestinians were sheltering in the school when the bomb hit.
Dozens have reportedly been wounded in the bombing, with exact numbers yet to be announced.
UNRWA no longer able to provide protection to civilians under UN flag
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is no longer able to provide shelter and protection to civilians under the UN flag, according to its Gaza director.
Speaking in a video address from the besieged coastal territory, Thomas White at least 72 UNRWA staff have been also been killed.
“The reality is we’ve lost contact with many of the shelters in the north,” White told member states gathered to listen to a report on the humanitarian situation.
Some 600,000 people in Gaza have been sheltering in UN buildings since the start of the war.
“These are people seeking shelter under a UN flag seeking protection under international humanitarian law,” White continued, adding, “Let’s be very clear, there is no place that is safe in Gaza right now.”
Average person in Gaza living on two pieces of bread a day: UN official
Thomas White, the United Nations’ top aid official for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, has provided a sobering assessment of the water and food situation in the besieged enclave.
White said in a video briefing to diplomats that the average resident in Gaza is living on two pieces of Arabic bread a day and is increasingly desperate for water, according to the Associated Press.
White added the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is supporting about 89 bakeries in Gaza, but “now people are beyond looking for bread. It’s looking for water”.
White also stated that, based on his extensive travel throughout Gaza in recent weeks, the enclave had become a “scene of death and destruction”.
Israel began allowing limited aid into Gaza on October 21 after earlier imposing a near-total blockade on the enclave, but inspections of incoming convoys have caused lengthy delays.
Last week, thousands of residents stormed a warehouse in central Gaza where the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was storing food.
Samer Abdeljaber, WFP Representative and country director in Palestine, announced the incident showed that people were “losing hope and becoming more desperate by the minute”.
WHO chief ‘utterly shocked’ by attacks on ambulances near al-Shifa Hospital
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus renewed his call for a ceasefire in light of the attack.
“We reiterate: patients, health workers, facilities and ambulances must be protected at all times. Always,” he wrote on social media.
UN chief ‘horrified’ by Israeli strike on Gaza ambulances
The Secretary-General of the United Nations said he was “horrified” by a strike by Israeli forces on a convoy of ambulances in Gaza on Friday.
Antonio Guterres said in a statement early Saturday that the conflict “must stop.”
“I am horrified by the reported attack in Gaza on an ambulance convoy outside Al Shifa hospital. The images of bodies strewn on the street outside the hospital are harrowing,” Guterres added.
“For nearly one month, civilians in Gaza, including children and women, have been besieged, denied aid, killed, and bombed out of their homes.”
He stressed, “This must stop.”
Guterres added that there is “not nearly enough” food, water, and medicine; fuel to power hospitals is running out.
“Morgues are overflowing. Shops are empty. The sanitation situation is abysmal. We are seeing an increase in diseases and respiratory illnesses, especially among children. An entire population is traumatised. Nowhere is safe,” he continued.
Palestine Red Crescent urges international community to stop Israeli attacks on medical teams in Gaza
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) urged the international community to intervene and protect civilians as well as medical teams from Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.
The statement Saturday comes after Israel admitted to targeting an ambulance in a medical convoy near the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Friday. Fifteen people were killed in the strike and 60 others were injured, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza.
Two medics were injured in the strikes, according to statements by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza and PRCS.
“[M]edic Shadi Al-Taif sustained minor shrapnel injuries to the leg and bruises, while the ambulance driver, Ahmad Al-Madhoon, suffered chest bruises and extreme panic,” the PRCS said on Saturday.
The PRCS added the strikes directly hit a Ministry of Health ambulance and damaged another one belonging to PRCS, which was carrying a 35-year-old wounded woman in critical condition.
“[PRCS] stresses that deliberately targeting medical personnel constitutes a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime,” the statement said, adding that Israeli attacks have killed four PRCS ambulance staff while on duty, injured 21 staff and volunteers, and pushed eight ambulances out of service since October 7.
Hamas calls on Egypt to fully open Rafah crossing
Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh has slammed the latest Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and stated the “resistance will continue to defend our people with all its might”.
“These massacres are a reflection of the predicament the occupation and its ground forces find themselves in as they are combated by our resistance fighters, who are defending our land and avenging thousands of martyrs,” he said in a statement.
He added that Egypt should fully open the Rafah crossing with Gaza and praised international responses in solidarity with the Palestinians.
“The brutality, coinciding with the new visit of the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is a result of the green light and open support provided by the United States to the occupation at this level of challenge to all human values and international laws.”
Families of 11 Hamas victims file complaint with the International Criminal Court
Families of eleven victims of the Hamas attack on October 7 have accused the perpetrators of “crimes against humanity” in a complaint filed to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Relatives of the victims, who were all civilians, have also called on International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan to investigate Hamas’ actions as “war crimes” that were carried out as part of a “genocidal plan,” according to a press statement shared by their lawyer Francois Zimeray on Friday.
“It was the execution of a genocidal plan assumed by its perpetrators. In the face of denial in real time, the truth must be defended, these atrocities must be known and engraved in the collective memory,” the complaint lodged by Zimeray, a lawyer at the Paris Bar and ICC said.
The complaint concerns 11 victims who were either killed or injured within Israeli borders. Several had been at the Nova music festival, where Hamas gunmen killed more than 260 people.
According to Zimeray’s law firm, Zimeray & Finelle, “the material facts cannot… be disputed” as Hamas has “amply documented and broadcast” its actions, which shocked the “universal conscience”.
Zimeray asked the prosecution to “consider the advisability of issuing an international arrest warrant for the leaders of Hamas, following the example of the warrant issued for the Russian President in relation to the aggression in Ukraine”.
The development comes days after Khan visited the region and where, from Cairo, he gave a speech in which he said that impeding the flow of aid into Gaza could constitute a war crime.
Israeli jets target three Gaza hospitals within hours
Israeli warplanes targeted three hospitals in Gaza on Friday within the space of a few hours, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced.
Bombs were dropped in the courtyards of the Indonesian hospital, the al-Quds hospital, and al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s biggest medical facility.
At least 15 people were killed in the Shifa shelling, according to Al Jazeera.
Dozens of others have been wounded, including people injured during previous attacks.
One of the bombs hit a convoy carrying patients that departed from Shifa and was en route to southern Gaza for further treatment.
UN estimates $1.2bn needed to meet needs of people in Gaza
The United Nations humanitarian office had on 7 October appealed for $294mn to support nearly 1.3 million people but the situation has grown “increasingly desperate”, according to the agency.
“The cost of meeting the needs of 2.7 million people – that is the entire population of Gaza and 500,000 people in the occupied West Bank – is estimated to be $1.2 billion.”
Israeli strike on UN-run school leaves 20 dead
An Israeli air strike on a UN-run school housing displaced Palestinians has left at least 20 people dead, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.
Dozens were also left injured in the attack on the Osama Ben Zaid school, located in the Saftawi neighbourhood of northern Gaza.