At least 32,490 Palestinians have been killed and 74,889 injured in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since Oct 7, the Gaza health ministry said, Reuters reports. There have been 76 Palestinians killed and 102 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry statement added.

SPAIN

Al Jazeera says that as Spain’s government urged Israel to open land border crossings to avert a famine, Spanish military jets dropped 26 tonnes of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

According to the Foreign Ministry, “Spain insists on the opening of the land crossings as an indispensable measure to avoid a famine situation.”

Over 11,000 food supplies were dropped during the operation, which was partially funded by the European Union and coordinated with Jordan.

Additionally, the Spanish Foreign Ministry reiterated its support for and dedication to the continued functioning of UNRWA, the UN humanitarian agency for Palestinians.

 

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

According to Wafa news agency, which Al Jazeera cites, two civilians who were waiting for help near Gaza City’s Kuwait Roundabout were shot by Israeli snipers and suffered serious injuries.

Israeli forces have fired on Palestinian charity workers in northern Gaza on multiple occasions; the most recent incident, on March 23, at the same roundabout, left 19 persons dead and 23 injured, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

SORAYA ALI

While visiting Gaza, Save the Children’s Soraya Ali told Al Jazeera that she saw “tragic” psychological effects from Israel’s onslaught.

The long-term effects this war will have on families and children as demonstrated by the woman I spoke to yesterday, Ali said: “She needs mental support more than food.”

Relocations have happened frequently to people. They are currently without place to go in the South, and the effect this is having on them is clearly seen.

ISRAELI ARMY ARRESTS 20 PALESTINIANS IN OVERNIGHT WEST BANK RAIDS: PRISONERS’ BODY

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society has said Israeli forces arrested 20 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank in overnight raids, Al Jazeerareports.

The arrests took place in the governorates of Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus, Salfit, Tulkarem and Jenin, where three people were killed in a raid and several wounded.

Since October 7, Israel has detained 7,820 people in the West Bank, the group reported.

’DECLARED INTENT TO FORCIBLY TRANSFER PALESTINIANS FROM THEIR LAND: UN RIGHTS OFFICIAL

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif has highlighted Israeli settler violence in occupied Palestinian territories and a “declared intent to forcibly transfer Palestinians from their land”.

“The line between settler violence and State violence has further blurred, including violence with the declared intent to forcibly transfer Palestinians from their land,” she said while addressing the 55th session of the Human Rights Council.

“Israeli authorities continued to implement eviction and demolition orders against Palestinians based on discriminatory planning policies, laws and practices, including on the grounds that properties lacked building permits,” the UN official said.

ISRAEL BOMBS GAZA, FIGHTS HAMAS AROUND HOSPITALS

Despite the UN Security Council’s demand for a truce, Israeli forces are still bombarding Gaza and fighting Hamas near multiple hospitals. Three Gaza hospitals have been the scene of clashes between them and Hamas, which has left patients, medical personnel, and internally displaced residents fearful.

Nine days of fighting have erupted around the largest hospital in the territory, Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. More recently, fighting has been reported near two hospitals, Al-Amal and Nasser, in Khan Younis, the main southern city.

In order to “avoid harm to civilians, patients, medical teams, and medical equipment,” the army and Shin Bet security service declared that they were “continuing to conduct precise operational activities” in both cities.

The army claimed “troops continued to eliminate terrorists and locate terror infrastructure and weapons” around Al-Shifa. “Thus far, hundreds of terrorists have been apprehended and dozens of terrorists have been killed in the area of the hospital,” it said.

Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles have also massed around the Nasser Hospital, the Gaza health ministry said, adding that shots were fired but no raid had yet been launched.

The Palestinian Red Crescent warned that thousands were trapped inside and “their lives are in danger”. The Israeli army has yet to comment on the situation in and around the hospital.

This picture taken from Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing following an Israeli strike in the besieged Palestinian territory on March 27. — AFP
THIS PICTURE TAKEN FROM ISRAEL’S SOUTHERN BORDER WITH THE GAZA STRIP SHOWS SMOKE BILLOWING FOLLOWING AN ISRAELI STRIKE IN THE BESIEGED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY ON MARCH 27. — AFP

JORDANIAN ANTI-RIOT POLICE USE BATONS TO PUSH BACK PROTESTERS NEAR ISRAELI EMBASSY

Jordanian anti-riot police beat and arrested dozens of demonstrators trying to march towards the heavily guarded Israeli embassy in the capital Amman, Reuters quotes witnesses and residents as saying.

More than two thousand protesters gathered late on Tuesday — the third day of demonstrations which have been marred with clashes — after baton wielding police pushed back hundreds of angry crowds seeking to storm the embassy compound in the affluent Rabae district of Amman.

Many demonstrators chanted slogans in support of Hamas. Jordanian authorities are alarmed that Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza could broaden the popularity of the Hamas movement among many Jordanians. “Oh Hamas…All of Jordan’s people are behind you,” the protesters chanted.

Passions have run high among Jordanians, many of whom are of Palestinian origin, over the carnage in Gaza as Israel’s relentless bombing campaign against Hamas has led to tens of thousands of civilian deaths and flattened many parts of the densely populated enclave.

Authorities in Jordan say peaceful protests are allowed but they would not tolerate any attempt by mobs who sought to exploit anger against Israel to create havoc or try to reach a border zone with the Israeli occupied West Bank or Israel.

Demonstrators carry banners and flags as a flare burns during a protest in support of Palestinians, outside Al Kalouti mosque near the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan on March 27. — Reuters
DEMONSTRATORS CARRY BANNERS AND FLAGS AS A FLARE BURNS DURING A PROTEST IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINIANS, OUTSIDE AL KALOUTI MOSQUE NEAR THE ISRAELI EMBASSY IN AMMAN, JORDAN ON MARCH 27. — REUTERS

ISRAEL’S BUDGET FOR GAZA OFFENSIVE LEAVES TOP SCIENTISTS IN LIMBO

Israeli scientist Ellen Graber has spent years researching ways to save chocolate crops from climate change. But with the government slashing spending to fund its offensive in Gaza, her project is one of hundreds now hanging in the balance, AFP reports.

Graber’s research had already been hit by the Israeli offensive — she had to abandon her cacao plants when the area where they were grown was evacuated after the October 7 Hamas attack.

They survived weeks of drought-like conditions in a greenhouse. But the state-funded Volcani Institute where she works is now facing huge budget cuts.

The institute specialises in arid and desert environments, increasingly vital areas of study for a planet wracked by extreme weather caused by climate change. Now the government’s war budget means hundreds of the institute’s projects are under threat.

HEZBOLLAH ROCKET KILLS ISRAELI FOLLOWING DEADLY LEBANON STRIKE

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement has fired a barrage of rockets into northern Israel killing a civilian, after Israel carried out a deadly strike in south Lebanon, AFP reports.

Israeli rescue teams searching a building that had been hit in the border town of Kiryat Shmona “found a 25 year old who was unconscious, with no pulse and not breathing”, and pronounced him dead at the scene, the Magen David Adom emergency service said.

Hezbollah said they fired “dozens of rockets” at Kiryat Shmona in retaliation for what it called “the massacre committed by the Zionist enemy (Israel)” in the south Lebanon village of Habariyeh.

ISRAELI FORCES CHECK THE AREA OF BUILDING THAT HIT WAS BY HEZBOLLAH IN KIRYAT SHMONA IN NORTHERN ISRAEL NEAR THE LEBANON BORDER ON MARCH 27. — AFP
ISRAELI FORCES CHECK THE AREA OF BUILDING THAT HIT WAS BY HEZBOLLAH IN KIRYAT SHMONA IN NORTHERN ISRAEL NEAR THE LEBANON BORDER ON MARCH 27. — AFP

An Israeli strike in Habariyeh overnight claimed “a number” of lives, according to the emergency response arm of the Lebanese militant organisation Jamaa Islamiya.

An official from Jamaa Islamiya told AFP that the seven deceased were “rescuers” who perished when a rural emergency centre was struck, speaking to AFP under condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to speak to the media.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a second Jamaa Islamiya official stated that twelve first responders were present in the centre at the time of the attack and that bodies were being removed from the debris.

Israel’s decision to block UNRWA aid ‘unacceptable’, says Norway
Israel’s decision to deny access to food convoys from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) to northern Gaza is unacceptable, Norway’s Foreign Ministry said, TRT World reports.

“Famine is imminent. More life-saving humanitarian assistance is crucial & urgent,” the ministry wrote on X, citing Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

The agency is investigating the claims but has warned that cutting off funding risks a catastrophe.

Some countries including Canada later revised their decision and resumed funding to the agency amid the crippling humanitarian situation in the besieged enclave.

“Israel must ensure increased access of vital food supplies and aid into and within Gaza,” said Barth Eide.

ISRAEL HAS DESTROYED GAZA, UN EXPERT ON GENOCIDE CONVENTION SAYS

Israel has destroyed Gaza by its relentless attacks since October, the UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory, Francesca Albanese, said at the UN Human Rights Council, Al Jazeera reports.

“The harrowing number of deaths, the irreparable harm done to those who survive, the systematic destruction of every aspect necessary to sustain life in Gaza — from hospitals to schools, from homes to arable land — and the particular harm to hundreds of thousands of children and to pregnant and young mothers,” Albanese said on Tuesday.

She said in a report to the council that Israel’s actions can only be interpreted as constituting “prima facie evidence of an intention to systematically destroy the Palestinians as a group”.

HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT LAUNCHED DOZENS OF ROCKETS AFTER ISRAELI STRIKES

Lebanon’s Hezbollah said it launched dozens of rockets at Kiryet Shmona, an Israeli town over the border, in response to deadly Israeli strikes on the village of Hebbariyeh in southern Lebanon a day earlier, Reuters reports.

At least seven people were killed in the Israeli strikes on Hebbariyeh, two Lebanese security sources told Reuters.

The Israeli strikes appeared to be aimed at the Islamist group’s emergency and relief centre in the village, the sources said.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel to the reported Hezbollah strikes or detail of any casualties or damage.

On Tuesday, Israeli air strikes near two towns in northeast Lebanon killed three Hezbollah militants, the group posted on Telegram. Israel confirmed those strikes.

HAMAS SEEKS HALT OF AID AIRDROPS AFTER 12 DROWN OFF GAZA COAST

Underscoring the desperation of civilians trapped by the fighting, Hamas has asked donor countries to stop their airdrops after 12 people drowned trying to recover parachuted food aid from the sea off Gaza’s Mediterranean coast, AFPreports.

Hamas and the Swiss-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor also said another six people were killed in stampedes trying to get aid.

“People are dying just to get a can of tuna,” Gaza resident Mohamad al-Sabaawi told AFP, holding a can in his hand after a scramble over an aid package.

Hamas has also demanded that Israel allow more aid trucks to enter the territory, which the United Nations has warned is on the brink of a “man-made famine” after nearly six months of fighting.

UNICEF 

The UN children’s fund, Unicef, said vastly more aid must be rushed into Gaza by road rather than by air or sea to avert an “imminent famine”. Unicef spokesman James Elder said the necessary help was “a matter of kilometres away” in aid-filled trucks waiting across Gaza’s southern border with Egypt.

The US National Security Council said in a statement it would continue trying to get aid in by road, but also said it would continue airdrops.

AFPTV footage showed crowds rushing towards aid packages on Tuesday being dropped by parachute from planes sent by Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Germany.

INTENSE ISRAELI BOMBARDMENT HITS SOUTHERN GAZA

The southern Gaza Strip came under intense Israeli bombardment overnight, despite international pressure for an immediate ceasefire in the Palestinian territory where famine is looming, AFP reports.

The health ministry in Gaza said earlier today that 66 people had been killed overnight, including three killed in Israeli air strikes in and around Rafah.

A fireball lit up the night sky in the southern city of Rafah, the last remaining urban centre in Gaza not to have been attacked by Israeli ground forces. About 1.5 million people are crammed in the area, many having fled south towards the border with Egypt.

The sound of explosions was also heard and smoke was seen rising in Gaza City in the north, where Israeli troops have been attacking the city’s largest hospital for more than a week.

Israeli forces have also surrounded two hospitals in Khan Younis, where the health ministry said 12 people, including some children, were killed in an Israeli strike on a camp for the displaced. The Palestinian Red Crescent has warned that thousands were trapped in the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis and “their lives are in danger”.

ISRAELI FAMILIES PROTEST OUTSIDE DEFENCE HQ, DEMAND HOSTAGE RELEASE DEAL

In Tel Aviv, a crowd of around 300 family members of hostages and their supporters gathered outside the Israeli defence headquarters demanding a deal be done to release captives held by Hamas, Reuters reports.

Some locked themselves inside cages in protest, holding placards with photos of their loved ones. “No price is too high,” one of the signs said.

Hamas has accused Israel of stalling at the talks while it carries out its military offensive.

The discussions in Doha are continuing as Palestinians in Gaza face severe shortages of food, medicine and hospital care, and concerns grow that famine will take hold.

People block a road during a demonstration calling for the return of hostages held in Gaza since October 7, blaming Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for the breakdown of US-brokered hostage talks in Qatar, in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 26. — Reuters

ISRAEL TRUCE TEAM LEAVES DOHA, OFFICIAL BLAMES HAMAS FOR ‘DEAD END’

Israel has recalled its negotiators from Doha after deeming mediated talks on a Gaza truce “at a dead end” due to demands by Hamas, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday.

According to *Reuters, the official, who is close to the Mossad spymaster heading up the talks, accused Hamas’ Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar of sabotaging the diplomacy “as part of a wider effort to inflame this war over Ramazan”.

Hamas has sought to parlay any deal into an end to the fighting and withdrawal of Israeli forces. Israel has ruled this out, saying it would eventually resume efforts to dismantle the governance and military capabilities of Hamas.

Hamas also wants hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled Gaza City and surrounding areas southward during the first stage of the almost six-month-old conflict to be allowed back north.

The Israeli official said that Israel had agreed to double the number of Palestinians it would release in exchange for the hostages to 700-800 prisoners and allow some displaced Palestinians to return to northern Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Tuesday that Hamas had made “delusional” demands, which it said showed the Palestinians were not interested in a deal.

LONG ROAD AHEAD FOR PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY REFORMS

Nineteen years after assuming the presidency, Mahmud Abbas has timidly begun reforming the Palestinian Authority under US pressure, though diplomats were unconvinced a revamped administration was ready for a post-Gaza conflict future, i reports.

Abbas, 88, is dogged by low popularity among Palestinians and Israel’s decades-old occupation of the West Bank where his government is based.

In January, just over three months into the Israel-Hamas war, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Abbas in Ramallah and urged “administrative reforms” to benefit Palestinians and potentially reunite the West Bank and Gaza under a single rule.

The Palestinian president has moved to fill vacant governor positions and on March 15 appointed economist and long-trusted adviser Mohammed Mustafa as prime minister.

It is “a start, but it won’t be enough”, said Hasan Khreisheh, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PA’s parliament which has not met since 2007.

Abbas is expected to name a full government by early April, and Khreisheh said the White House is expecting a cabinet “as soon as possible”.

ISRAEL BOMBS HOUSES IN RAFAH, AT LEAST THREE KILLED

At least three people were killed and several injured in early morning bombing raids by Israel on a two residential houses in Rafah city’s Khirbet al-Adas and al-Shaout neighbourhoods, Al Jazeera reports, citing Palestinian state news agency Wafa.

Israeli forces also stormed the Nasser Medical Complex in the west of Khan Younis where they arrested staff and displaced people sheltering inside the compound, Wafa said.

Fierce clashes were underway in the vicinity of Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza City, including shelling by Israeli artillery, with reports of people wounded.

On Tuesday evening, 12 people, including children, were reported killed in an Israeli airstrike on tented accommodation in the Al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

ISRAELI MILITARY DESTROYS PALESTINIAN MONUMENT, STREETS IN OCCUPIED WEST BANK

Video footage has been shared on social media showing Israeli military bulldozers and an armoured vehicle destroying civilian infrastructure in Jenin City.

Verified by Al Jazeera Arabic, the videos capture the Israeli military’s destruction of roads using bulldozers and the knocking down of a Palestinian monument by an armoured car.

Israeli forces also carried out raids in Jenin and nearby towns, reportedly killing a Palestinian teenager and wounding at least four others. Fire fights between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters were reported into the early morning on Wednesday.

PROTECTING PALESTINIANS A MORAL IMPERATIVE, PENTAGON CHIEF TELLS ISRAELI COUNTERPART

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said it was a moral and strategic imperative to protest Palestinian civilians, calling the situation in Gaza a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

According to Reuters, Austin was speaking at the start of the meeting with Israel Defence Minister Gallant at the Pentagon.

GERMANY’S BAERBOCK CALLS FOR UNHINDERED FLOW OF AID TO GAZA

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said international organisations must be able to deliver aid to Gaza without hindrance, adding that the situation there was hellish for civilians struggling to meet their most vital daily needs.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is hell,” Baerbock said while on a trip to the Middle East, during which she met with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

“International organisations must be able to provide vital aid unhindered,” she said in Tel Aviv according to Reuters, adding that Germany had increased its funding to the World Food Programme by an additional 10 million euros.

ISRAEL STRIKES DEEP INTO NORTHEAST LEBANON

Israel has said it struck Hezbollah targets in northeast Lebanon’s Hermel area, the deepest raid since cross-border hostilities erupted in October with the Iran-backed group over the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

According to AFP, the Israeli military said its “fighter jets struck a landing area and several military structures inside a military compound used by Hezbollah’s aerial unit in the area of Zboud, deep inside Lebanese territory”.

A Lebanese security source, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media, said the strikes targeted an uninhabited area where Hezbollah has positions.

Local governor Bashir Khodr said on social media that there were no casualties.

The Israeli military said the raid came in response to an attack on the army’s “aerial control unit” in northern Israel earlier today.

It also said it struck Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon near the border.

ISRAEL STRIKES DEEP INTO NORTHEAST LEBANON

Israel has said it struck Hezbollah targets in northeast Lebanon’s Hermel area, the deepest raid since cross-border hostilities erupted in October with the Iran-backed group over the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

According to AFP, the Israeli military said its “fighter jets struck a landing area and several military structures inside a military compound used by Hezbollah’s aerial unit in the area of Zboud, deep inside Lebanese territory”.

A Lebanese security source, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media, said the strikes targeted an uninhabited area where Hezbollah has positions.

Local governor Bashir Khodr said on social media that there were no casualties.

The Israeli military said the raid came in response to an attack on the army’s “aerial control unit” in northern Israel earlier today.

It also said it struck Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon near the border.

UN EXPERT SAYS ISRAEL HAS COMMITTED GENOCIDE IN GAZA, CALLS FOR ARMS EMBARGO

A United Nations expert has told the global body’s Human Rights Council that she believes that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza since October 7 amounts to genocide and called on countries to immediately impose sanctions and an arms embargo, Reuters reports.

Israel, which did not attend the session, rejected her findings.

“It is my solemn duty to report on the worst of what humanity is capable of and to present my findings,” Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Territories, told the UN rights body in Geneva, presenting a report called “The Anatomy of a Genocide”.

“I find that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of the crime of genocide against Palestinians as a group in Gaza has been met,” she said, citing more than 30,000 Palestinians killed among other acts.

“I implore member states to abide by their obligations, which start with imposing an arms embargo and sanctions on Israel and so ensure that the future does not continue to repeat itself,” she said, prompting a burst of applause.

TEENS IN GAZA HOPING TO BE KILLED TO END THEIR ‘NIGHTMARE’: UN

A spokesman for the UN children’s agency has said the situation in conflict-ridden Gaza is so desperate that teenagers are now saying they hope to be swiftly killed to escape the “nightmare”, AFP reports.

“The unspeakable is regularly said in Gaza,” said James Elder, spokesman for the United Nations children’s agency Unicef.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva via video message from Rafah in southern Gaza, he said the agency had held a meeting with adolescents.

Several said they were “so desperate for this nightmare to end that they hoped to be killed”, he said.

AID DROP OFF GAZA BEACH LEADS TO DROWNINGS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES SAY

Twelve people have drowned trying to reach aid dropped by plane off a Gaza beach, Palestinian health authorities have said, amid growing fears of famine nearly six months into Israel’s military campaign.

Video of the airdrop obtained by Reuters showed crowds of people running towards the beach, in Beit Lahia in north Gaza, as crates with parachutes floated down, then people standing deep in water and bodies being pulled onto the sand.

The video showed the lifeless body of a bearded young man being hauled onto the beach, the eyes open but unmoving, and another man trying to revive him with chest compressions as somebody said, “It’s over.”

“He swam to get food for his children and he was martyred,” said a man standing on the beach who did not give his name.

“They should deliver aid through the [overland] crossings. Why are they doing this to us?”

UN PALESTINIAN REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS IT HAS FUNDS TO OPERATE UNTIL END-MAY

The head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) has said it has sufficient funds to run its operations until the end of May after many donors paused their funding over Israeli accusations that some staff took part in Hamas’ October 7 attack, Reuters reports.

“What I can say today is that we can run our operation until the end of May, whereas a month ago I had just the visibility for the next week or two weeks,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini told Reuters in Geneva.

“But that shows also how bad the financial situation of the organisation is.”

“I’m hopeful that more of them will come back,” Lazzarini said of donors.

Lazzarini described Israel’s decision not to allow UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza as designed to “prevent people in danger of death” from surviving.

“The plan B is to go back to plan A. It is of utmost importance that convoys have access to the north,” Lazzarini said. “We will definitely be looking at partnerships, who else can do it on our behalf. Our focus is the people in danger of death right now in the north of Gaza.”

HAMAS LEADER SPEAKS IN IRAN OF ISRAEL ‘POLITICAL ISOLATION’

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, on a visit to Iran, said Israel is experiencing “unprecedented political isolation”, a day after the UN Security Council called for a ceasefire in the Gaza bombardment, AFP reports.

“Although this resolution came late and there may be some gaps that need to be filled, the resolution itself indicates that the Israeli occupation is experiencing unprecedented political isolation,” Haniyeh told a news conference in Tehran.

He added that Israel is “losing political cover and protection even in the Security Council” and “the US is unable to impose its will on the international community”.

Haniyeh was accompanied by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who did not comment during the press conference.

QATAR SAYS NEGOTIATIONS ‘ONGOING’ FOR GAZA TRUCE

Mediator Qatar has said that talks between Hamas and Israel on a Gaza truce and hostage exchange are continuing, despite the warring parties trading blame over the lack of headway, AFP reports.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari said the talks were “ongoing”, adding there had not been “any development that would lead to thinking that one of the teams has pulled out of the negotiations”.

Ansari told a Doha news conference that Qatar welcomed the UN resolution, which he said had not had “any immediate effect on the talks”.

The Qatari official said he could not comment specifically on the presence of Israeli technical teams in Doha but said: “Regardless of the comings and goings of these teams, the meetings are still ongoing here in Doha and I can confirm that part of the negotiating teams are still here in Doha conducting negotiations as we speak.”

UN AGENCY CALLS ON ISRAEL TO REVOKE BAN ON FOOD DELIVERIES TO NORTH GAZA

A UN humanitarian office spokesperson has called for Israel to revoke a decision barring food deliveries to northern Gaza from the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), saying people there were facing a “cruel death by famine”, Reuters reports.

“The decision must be revoked,” OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke told a UN briefing. “You cannot claim to adhere to these international provisions of law when you block UNRWA food convoys.”

HAMAS URGES END TO GAZA AID AIRDROPS, MORE LAND CROSSINGS

Hamas called for an end to aid airdrops into Gaza after it said 12 people drowned and six were killed in stampedes trying to reach the food packages, AFP reports.

“We call for an immediate end to airdrop operations […] and we demand the immediate and rapid opening of land crossings to allow humanitarian aid to reach our Palestinian people,” said the fighter group.

HAMAS SAYS 18 DEAD IN GAZA AID AIRDROP TRAGEDY

Hamas has said that twelve people have drowned and six have been killed in stampedes trying to recover aid airdropped into Gaza, AFP reports.

The deaths happened in the starving north of the besieged territory a day ago, with people rushing to collect packages dropped from planes along Gaza’s Mediterranean coast.

UNSC RESOLUTION ON GAZA CEASEFIRE ‘COMES LATE’: ARAB LEAGUE

The Arab League has termed the United Nations Security Council resolution on Gaza as “late” while South Africa has stressed the council’s role was not yet over.

The Arab League’s Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the decision “comes late”, AFP reports.

“The lesson now is to implement the decision on the ground, stop military operations and Israeli aggression immediately and completely,” he added.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor welcomed the resolution on public radio but stressed that “the ball is in the court of the Security Council”.

SPAIN, CHILE SAY TWO-STATE SOLUTION ‘ONLY REALISTIC’ OPTION FOR PALESTINE-ISRAEL CONFLICT

Spain and Chile have highlighted that the two-state solution to the Palestine conflict was the “only realistic and viable solution”.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on X applauded the resolution, and said that “the realisation of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security is the only realistic and viable solution for the region”.

Chile’s foreign office said it was “necessary to progress the two state solution, in which Palestine and Israel can live in peace inside internationally recognised borders.”

ISRAELI OPPOSITION LEADER SAYING NETANYAHU’S GOVERNMENT DRAGGING COUNTRY INTO DISASTER

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid says Netanyahu’s government is dragging the country into an economic and social disaster, Al Jazeera reports.

As before the October 7 disaster, the government ignores all the warnings of the professionals, he said in a post on X.

“I call on the ministers in the cabinet to oppose the law on military service exemption, otherwise this disaster will be on their conscience,” he added.

The bill, favoured by Netanyahu, would increase the exemption age for ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews from military service to 35 — up from 26.

It would also ensure that Haredi men who failed to enlist would not face criminal sanctions.

IMPLEMENTATION OF UNSC GAZA RESOLUTION NECESSARY: PM SHEHBAZ

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stressed that implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution on Gaza passed last night was “necessary”.

He began his address at Tax Excellence Award Ceremony in Islamabad with the mention of the resolution, which called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The premier emphasised that implementation of the resolution was “necessary as without it, that resolution would have no meaning”.

“Pakistan, with all Islamic countries and other countries, has and will continue raising its voice for an independent state for our Palestinian brothers,” he vowed.

PM Shehbaz said that thousands of people — including children, women and elders — were martyred in the past six months in the “worst barbarism and destruction in the current history”.

“Not only is the Islamic world teary-eyed but many other respected countries have strongly condemned this barbarism, worst fascist tactics and destruction,” the premier noted. “In my opinion, our eyes have not seen such heart-wrenching incidents in recent years,” he added.

DEATH TOLL FROM RAFAH ATTACK RISES TO 18

Eighteen people have been killed in an overnight Israeli bombing of a house in Rafah, with nine children among the victims, Al Jazeera reports.

Israeli shelling in the Nassr neighbourhood, northeast of Rafah, has also caused casualties.

The attacks in Gaza’s southern district, where more than 1.4 million Palestinians are displaced, come despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the first such resolution to pass in the nearly six-month conflict.

HAMAS LEADER HANIYEH VISITS IRAN: REPORT

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is in Tehran today for talks with Iranian officials, state media reported, a day after the UN Security Council called for a ceasefire in Israel’s offensive on Gaza, AFP reports.

“Hamas bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, during his trip to Tehran on Tuesday, will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency said, adding that he will also meet with other senior officials.

Haniyeh’s last visit was in early November when he met Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well as other officials. Iran hailed the October 7 attack as a “success” but denied any direct involvement.

Haniyeh’s visit comes after a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on Monday called for an “immediate ceasefire” for the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, leading to a “lasting” truce.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani described Monday’s resolution as a “positive but insufficient step”. He called for “effective measures to implement the resolution and the complete and permanent cessation of attacks”.

GAZA IS ‘AN INTEGRAL PART’ OF PALESTINE, SAYS PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT

Gaza is “an integral part” of the Palestinian state, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said, TRT World reports.

Abbas met with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, where they discussed the latest developments in Gaza and efforts to immediately stop the fighting, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

“The president reiterated the firm rejection of the State of Palestine to the displacement of any Palestinian citizen whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, stressing that Gaza is an integral part of the Palestinian state and any plans of the (Israeli) occupation authorities to separate the Gaza Strip from the rest of Palestinian land and to seize any inch of its land or reoccupy it are unacceptable,” it said.

Turning to the UN Security Council’s recent passage of a resolution on a Gaza ceasefire, Abbas emphasised the importance of implementing it.

ISRAEL CONTINUES WEEKS OF ‘RE-CLEARING’ OPERATIONS IN NORTH GAZA: WAR MONITORS

At least seven armed Palestinian groups are battling Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip and Israel has carried out “multi-week operations” to “re-clear” areas in the north of the territory where Palestinian fighters are based, war monitors report, Al Jazeera reports.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP), two US-based military think tanks, said Israeli forces are also conducting a “second round of clearing operations” in the west of Khan Younis in the south of Gaza.

The focus of the Israeli “re-clearing” operation is Khan Younis’s al-Amal neighbourhood, the ISW and CTP said in their latest battlefield report.

On Sunday, Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired eight rockets at southern Israel’s Ashdod, the first reported attack on the city since mid-January, as well as rockets fired at Israel’s Beeri region. On Monday, rockets were fired at Sderot city, the latest ISW/CTP report states.

HAMAS LEADER HANIYEH TO TRAVEL TO TEHRAN FOR MEETINGS WITH IRANIAN OFFICIALS

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh will travel to Tehran on Tuesday to meet Iranian officials, a day after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian group, Reuters reports, citing Iran’s official Press TV.

It will be Haniyeh’s second visit to Iran since the outbreak of the conflict on Oct 7.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called Monday’s resolution a “positive step”.

“A more important step is effective action for its implementation,” said Kanaani.

Hamas welcomed the US resolution but said the ceasefire needs to be permanent.

US RAISES CONCERNS ON RAFAH OFFENSIVE WITH ISRAELI DEFENCE CHIEF

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised US opposition to a major ground operation in Rafah with Israel’s defence minister, after a delegation to discuss Washington’s concerns was scrapped earlier on Monday, AFP reports.

In his meeting with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant in Washington, Blinken reiterated US “opposition to a major ground operation in Rafah,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Such a move “would further jeopardise the welfare of the more than 1.4 million Palestinian civilians sheltering there,” Miller said.

Blinken “underscored that alternatives exist to a major ground invasion that would both better ensure Israel’s security and protect Palestinian civilians,” Miller said.

The two additionally “discussed the need to immediately surge and sustain additional humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of civilians in Gaza,” he added.

Israel said earlier in the day that the United States’ abstention “hurts” both its war effort and attempts to release hostages. It was “a clear retreat from the consistent position of the US”, Netanyahu’s office said.

ISRAELI JETS CONTINUE TO PUMMEL GAZA’S RAFAH

On the ground in Gaza, the fighting between Israel and Hamas has raged on unabated, AFP reports.

In Rafah, witnesses said Israeli jets pummelled the city today. According to the Israeli army, anti-rocket sirens sounded in Israeli areas around the Gaza Strip.

While Rafah, like other areas around the Gaza Strip, has come under frequent Israeli strikes, it is the only part of the territory where Israel has not sent in ground troops.

It borders Egypt, and 1.5 million Palestinians fleeing the rest of the devastated territory have sought refuge there.

Netanyahu’s determination to launch a ground operation in Rafah, the city on Gaza’s southern border where most of the territory’s population is sheltering, has become a key point of contention between Israel and the United States.

LEBANON PM CALLS FOR PRESSURE ON ISRAEL TO STOP ATTACKING SOUTH AFTER UN VOTE

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati has sajd countries should pressure Israel to stop attacking Lebanon following a UN Security Council decision calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Reuters reports.

The Israeli military and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah have been trading fire across the southern Lebanese border in parallel with the Gaza war. Hezbollah did not immediately comment on the UN vote.

In a statement shared by his office, Mikati welcomed the move, saying it was “a first step on the path to stopping the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip”.

“When it comes to Lebanon, we renew our call to concerned countries to pressure the Israeli enemy to stop its continued aggression on southern Lebanon,” the statement said.

Mikati told Reuters in February that a ceasefire in Gaza would trigger indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel to reach a halt to hostilities on the southern border and to delineate the disputed border between the two countries.

Hezbollah has also said it would halt its fire into Israel if a Gaza ceasefire was reached. Israeli and US officials, however, have said a ceasefire in Gaza would not automatically extend to Lebanon.

ISRAELI MILITARY ARRESTS 8 PALESTINIANS IN RAIDS ACROSS WEST BANK

The Israeli military has arrested two Palestinian men during its storming of the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera reports, citing the Wafanews agency.

Israeli forces have raided homes in several neighbourhoods and deployed snipers on roofs amid fighting with Palestinian resistance groups in the city.

Israeli forces have also arrested three Palestinians, including a 16-year-old, in the town of Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, and three more men in the town of Dura, south of Hebron.

CHILDREN AMONG PALESTINIANS KILLED IN LATEST RAFAH ATTACK

Videos posted online by Palestinian journalists and verified by Al Jazeerashow the aftermath of an Israeli raid that killed at least 15 Palestinians in the city of Rafah.

Some of the victims were children, according to the footage.

NO LET-UP IN GAZA ONSLAUGHT DESPITE UN CEASEFIRE RESOLUTION

Israeli troops battle Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip, with no sign of a let-up in the escalation despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an “immediate ceasefire”, AFP reports.

The resolution was adopted on Monday after Israel’s closest ally the United States abstained.

It demands an “immediate ceasefire” for the ongoing month of Ramazan, leading to a “lasting” truce.

It also demands that Hamas and other militants free hostages they took during the unprecedented October 7 attacks on Israel, though it does not directly link the release to a truce.

After the vote, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres led calls for the resolution to be implemented.

“Failure would be unforgivable,” he wrote on social media platform X.

Israel reacted furiously to the US abstention, as it allowed the resolution to go through with all the other 14 Security Council members voting yes.

The resolution is the first since the Gaza conflict erupted to demand an immediate halt in the fighting.

HAMAS WELCOMES UN CALL FOR IMMEDIATE GAZA CEASEFIRE

Hamas has welcomed a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in its fighting against Israel, and has said it is ready to negotiate the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, AFP reports.

“Hamas welcomes the United Nations Security Council’s call today for an immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip, the group said, adding: “We also affirm our readiness to engage in an immediate prisoner exchange process that leads to the release of prisoners on both sides. “

PALESTINIAN ENVOY SAYS UN RESOLUTION MUST BE ‘TURNING POINT’ FOR CONFLICT

The Palestinian envoy in emotional remarks to the UN Security Council has said that the approval of a ceasefire resolution needed to be a “turning point” in ending the fighting in Gaza, AFP reports.

“This must be a turning point,” Riyad Mansour said, holding back tears. “This must signal the end of this assault, of atrocities against our people.”

US DISAPPOINTED BY CANCELATION OF ISRAELI VISIT: WHITE HOUSE

The White House has said the United States is “very disappointed” by the cancellation of an Israeli delegation’s planned visit to discuss concerns over a possible offensive in southern Gaza, AFP reports.

“We’re very disappointed that they won’t be coming to Washington, DC to allow us to have a fulsome conversation with them about viable alternatives to going in on the ground in Rafah,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists.

NETANYAHU CANCELS DELEGATION TO WASHINGTON AFTER UN VOTE ON GAZA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will not send a delegation as planned to Washington after the United States did not veto a UN Security Council proposal calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Reuters reports.

Netanyahu, according to a statement from his office, said that Washington’s failure to veto the proposal was a “clear retreat” from its previous position, and would hurt efforts against Hamas in Gaza as well as efforts to release over 130 hostages.

“In light of the change in the American position, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided the delegation would not leave,” his office said.

US SAYS ABSTENTION ON UN GAZA VOTE DOES NOT SIGNAL POLICY SHIFT

The White House has said that US abstention from a vote on a UN Security Council resolution demanding a Gaza ceasefire does not signal a change in Washington’s policy, AFP reports.

It does not represent a “shift in our policy”, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists, saying the US backs a ceasefire but abstained because the resolution did not condemn Hamas.

FRANCE URGES “PERMANENT CEASEFIRE” IN GAZA AFTER SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION

France has urged work on a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after the Security Council for the first demanded a truce but for the ongoing month of Ramazan, AFP reports.

“This crisis is not over. Our council will have to remain mobilised and immediately get back to work. After Ramazan, which ends in two weeks, it will have to establish a permanent ceasefire,” said France’s UN representative, Nicolas de Riviere.

FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT UNSC GAZA CEASEFIRE RESOLUTION WOULD BE UNFORGIVABLE: UN CHIEF

UN Security Council demands immediate ceasefire in Gaza for first time

The United Nations Security Council has demanded an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages after the United States abstained from the vote, Reuters reports.

The remaining 14 council members voted for the resolution, which was proposed by the 10 elected members of the body.

Amid growing global pressure for a truce in the fighting that has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, the US abstained from the vote to allow the Security Council to demand an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramazan, which ends in two weeks.

It also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

The Security Council resolution also “emphasises the urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to and reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip and reiterates its demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale”.

NO ENERGY TO GO TO COLLECT WATER’: FOOD SHORTAGES DEEPEN PALESTINIANS’ SUFFERING

Food and water shortages have deepened the suffering, especially in northern Gaza where residents, mostly women and children, were waiting in line to fill up jerrycans and buckets in Jabalia, AFP reports.

“We don’t even have food to give us the energy to go to collect the water — let alone the innocent children, women and the elderly,” said one man, Bassam Mohammed al-Haou.

Another local man, Falah Saed, said “we are suffering a lot from water shortages because all pipes and pumps have stopped working since the beginning of the war”.

More than 50 airstrikes rained down on the Gaza Strip on Sunday, said the Gaza government press office.

Israel’s armed forces gave a similar number and said its fighter jets and helicopters had struck about 50 “terror targets” and “eliminated approximately 10 terrorists”.

BLINKEN HEADS TO ISRAEL TO PRESS FOR ‘IMMEDIATE’ TRUCE IN GAZA

Secretary of State Antony Blinken headed to Israel to press for a truce in Gaza two days ago, ahead of a key UN Security Council vote on a US draft resolution on the need for an “immediate” ceasefire, AFP reports.

Israel’s main backer the United States announced it would submit for a vote on Friday a draft to the Security Council on the need for an “immediate ceasefire as part of a hostage deal”, after repeatedly using its veto power to block other similarly worded resolutions.

Israel said its spy chief would also head back to Qatar on Friday for more truce talks with US, Egyptian and Qatari mediators who are trying to negotiate a six-week pause.

The talks are focused on securing a truce agreement, hinged on the release of hostages held by Hamas militants in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody and the delivery of more aid to Gaza, where famine is threatening its 2.4 million people.

Blinken told reporters in Cairo on Thursday “gaps are narrowing” and that the United States was “continuing to push for an agreement in Doha”. “It’s difficult to get there, but I believe it is still possible,” Blinken said.

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