Israel’s Gaza invasion - Day 258

  • Israel’s siege of Gaza Strip, sparked by Hamas’ Oct 7 attack, enters ninth month

  • Israeli strikes have laid waste to much of Gaza strip and caused major environmental damage

  • Starving Palestinians surviving on less than 3pc of daily water requirements

  • More than 250 killed in Israeli raid on Nuseirat refugee camp to rescue 4 hostages, days after a strike on UN school killed at least 35

  • UNSC adopts resolution based on ceasefire plan announced by Biden as Blinken visits Israel for talks

Updated 20 Jun, 2024 10:56pm

White House calls Netanyahu’s comments on US weapons deliveries ‘perplexing’

The White House has said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments on the US-supplied weapons was “incorrect.”

“It was perplexing, to say the least, certainly disappointing, especially given that no other country is doing more to help Israel defend itself against the threat by Hamas,” White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Published 21 Jun, 2024 08:06am

Blinken tells Israeli officials of need to avoid further escalation with Lebanon

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Israeli officials during a meeting to avoid further escalation in Lebanon amid the fighting in Gaza, Reuters reports quoting the State Department.

Blinken was meeting Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Ron Dermer, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 11:55pm

Blinken to discuss work on ceasefire in meeting with Israeli officials

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss ongoing work on a deal for a Gaza ceasefire and the release of hostages in a meeting with Israeli officials, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said according to Reuters.

Blinken will also discuss the situation along Israel’s border with Lebanon in the meeting with Israel’s minister for strategic affairs Ron Dermer and national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, Miller told reporters.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 11:32pm

Netanyahu says Israel needs US ammunition in ‘war for its existence’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country needs ammunition from the United States in “the war for its existence”, directly addressing the White House after it criticised him for complaining about arms deliveries, AFP reports.

“I am prepared to suffer personal attacks provided that Israel receives the ammunition from the US that it needs in the war for its existence,” he said in a statement.

Updated 20 Jun, 2024 10:48pm

Palestinians say Israeli troops kill teen in West Bank

The Palestinian health ministry has said Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank, amid escalating violence in the territory since the bombardment in Gaza began on October 7, AFP reports.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

Naeem Abdullah Samha, 15, was killed “by occupation (Israeli army) bullets” in the city of Qalqilya, the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah said in a statement.

The Palestinian official news agency Wafa, citing local sources, reported that Samha was shot in the chest.

He was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead of his wounds there, the agency said, which gave no reason for the shooting.

Updated 20 Jun, 2024 10:49pm

Any threat against Cyprus is a threat against EU, bloc says

EU spokesperson Peter Stano says because Cyprus is a member of the bloc, “the EU is Cyprus and Cyprus is the EU,” Al Jazeera reports.

Stano made the comments after the head of Hezbollah threatened the nearby island nation if it opened its airports or bases to Israel “to target Lebanon”.

“Any threat against one of our member states is a threat against the EU,” Stano said.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 07:00pm

Malaysia, China call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Malaysia and China have expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and have stressed the need to protect civilians under international law, Al Jazeera reports.

Malaysia’s PM Anwar Ibrahim and China’s Premier Li Qiang called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian aid delivery, and safeguarding relief and medical personnel.

“Both countries expressed full support for the resumption of the political settlement process based on the two-state solution, and for promoting a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date,” a joint statement said.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 06:29pm

Netanyahu’s relationship with military establishment at all-time low, former general says

Retired Israeli General Israel Ziv says strains between Netanyahu and Israeli military leaders over the aims of the offensive in Gaza are worse than ever, Al Jazeera reports.

The Israeli military and security echelons, he said, feel they have “exhausted the purpose of the war”, reaching a “tactical peak”.

“We are getting close to finishing the job defined by the government and we’ll reach a point when we’re just fighting guerrilla warfare, and that could take years,” Ziv was quoted as saying by US media.

The divide between Netanyahu and Israel’s military played out yesterday when Israel’s military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Hamas could not be rooted out because it is “an ideology”, undermining Netanyahu’s stated goal of fully defeating it.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 06:00pm

Israel should exhaust diplomacy before going to war with Hezbollah, says Israel’s Lapid

Speaking to Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid has addressed the growing threat of war with Hezbollah, saying the current situation is “unimaginable”, Al Jazeera reports.

Lapid said Israel has effectively “abandoned our most flourishing [northern] region” due to the frequent cross-border attacks, which have forced tens of thousands of Israeli residents to evacuate.

However, before going to war, Israel should “exhaust the diplomatic process with Hezbollah”, he said.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 05:30pm

Palestinian journalist describes torture, abuse at Israeli detention camp

A Palestinian journalist from Gaza described multiple instances of torture, abuse and rape that he and other detainees endured at the Israeli Sde Teiman detention camp, Anadolu Agency reports.

Mohammed Saber Arab, 42, detailed his harrowing experiences to his lawyer, Khaled Mahajneh, during a recent visit to the detention center.

The statement highlighted Arab’s testimony as one of many disturbing accounts from released Gaza detainees about the inhumane conditions of their captivity.

Arab said that detainees are kept blindfolded and handcuffed 24 hours a day. He noted that for 50 days, he had not changed his clothes and was only allowed to change his pants before the visit.

Detainees are subjected to continuous torture, physical and sexual abuse and humiliation, leading to deaths among them, he said.

He noted that conversations between detainees are prohibited, with severe beatings as punishment for violations, forcing detainees to talk to themselves and silently pray as they are deprived of religious practices.

Read more here.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 05:00pm

Israeli forces raid West Bank city amid clashes

Israeli army forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin amid clashes with Palestinian residents, according to witnesses, Anadolu Agency reports.

Israeli forces searched several houses and shops in the city, witnesses said.

Armed clashes were reported between Israeli forces and Palestinians in al-Faraa refugee camp near Tubas city in the northern West Bank.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 04:30pm

67pc of water, sanitation infrastructure destroyed in Gaza since Oct 7: UN refugee agency

The UN Relief Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) said that “67 per cent of water, sanitation facilities and infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged” in the Gaza Strip since Oct 7, Anadolu Agency reports.

The agency emphasized the urgent need for action.

“As infectious diseases continue to spread and temperatures rise, the lack of hygiene and dehydration pose a severe threat to the health of people across Gaza,” it wrote on X.

UNRWA plays a vital role in providing life-saving services to registered Palestine refugees; however, the recent destruction of essential infrastructure in Gaza exacerbates an already precarious situation, leaving many without access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 03:52pm

Without a ceasefire, healing mental trauma is impossible: MSF

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has called for an immediate and lasting ceasefire, as healing psychological wounds without it “will be impossible”, Al Jazeera reports.

MSF psychologist Davide Musardo, who recently left Gaza, explained his experience in a statement: “In some sessions we even had to shout to be heard, to overcome the sound of drones and bombs.

“And when there was no fighting outside, the background sound was the cries of children in the hospital. Children maimed, with burns or without parents. Children having panic attacks, because physical pain triggers psychological wounds when pain reminds you of the bomb that changed your life forever.

“Calmer children draw drones and military jets. War is everywhere in the hospital; the smell of blood is unbearable. This is the image I bring back from Gaza.”

Published 20 Jun, 2024 02:26pm

As few as 50 captives still alive in Gaza, US officials estimate

There may only be 50 captives still alive in Gaza, according to a US official and mediators in captive-release talks cited by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

That estimate, which the WSJ said relies partly on Israeli intelligence, implies that as many as 66 captives unaccounted for in Gaza could be dead, a higher toll than Israel has publicly stated.

Hamas took around 250 captives on October 7 and has since released 109 of them alive to Israel, mostly in exchange deals. Seven more captives have been rescued alive by Israel’s military.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 02:24pm

Israeli military claims to kill Hamas sniper commander

In its latest offensive update, the Israeli military claims it carried out an air strike killing a squad commander of Hamas’s elite Nukhba Forces who it said oversaw Hamas’ sniper activities in the Beit Hanoon area and had participated in the October 7 attack, Al Jazeera reports.

Israeli troops and fighter jets killed several more fighters in Rafah and central Gaza over the last day, the military said.

Israel’s latest wave of attacks in Gaza also killed and injured women and children, most recently from the bombardment of a home in Nuseirat camp.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 01:20pm

Israel pounds central Gaza camps, deepens invasion of Rafah

Israeli forces have pounded areas in the central Gaza Strip, killing three people and wounding dozens of others, according to medics, while tanks deepened their invasion into Rafah in the south, Reuters reports according to local residents.

Israeli planes struck a house in Al-Nuseirat camp, killing two people and wounding 12 others, while tanks shelled areas in Al-Maghazi and Al-Bureij camps, wounding many other people, health officials said. Nuseirat, Maghazi, and Bureij are three of Gaza’s eight historic refugee camps.

In Deir al-Balah, a city packed with displaced people in the central Gaza Strip, an Israeli air strike killed one Palestinian and wounded several others, medics said.

Read more here.

Updated 20 Jun, 2024 01:59pm

PHOTOS: Israeli protestors block Tel Aviv highway, demand return of Israeli hostages from Gaza

Protesters block a main highway in Tel Aviv on June 20 demanding the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack. — Reuters
Protesters block a main highway in Tel Aviv on June 20 demanding the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack. — Reuters

Protesters block a main highway in Tel Aviv on June 20 demanding the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack. — Reuters
Protesters block a main highway in Tel Aviv on June 20 demanding the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack. — Reuters

Protesters block a main highway in Tel Aviv on June 20 demanding the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack. — Reuters
Protesters block a main highway in Tel Aviv on June 20 demanding the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attack. — Reuters

Updated 20 Jun, 2024 03:58pm

US Senator Warren declines to attend Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

US Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday said she will not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on July 24 as he has “created a humanitarian catastrophe”, Anadolu Agency reports

Responding to reporters’ questions, Warren said, “He (Netanyahu) has also made clear that he does not support US policy for a two-state solution that will let the people of Israel and Palestinians develop their own nation [through] self-determination, live with dignity.

“Look, we need a ceasefire, we need to get those hostages back, we need humanitarian relief and we need to be giving both parties a big shove toward getting to the negotiating table and working out a peaceful solution.”

When asked whether US President Joe Biden should clearly state that Netanyahu should not address Congress, Warren responded, “That’s up to the president, but I’m not going.”

Published 20 Jun, 2024 12:46pm

Israel is fundamental cause of catastrophe in Gaza, says Türkiye’s permanent representative to UN

Israel is the fundamental cause of the catastrophe seen in Gaza, Türkiye’s permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva has said, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The fundamental cause of the catastrophe we face in Gaza today is the Israeli occupation. As long as this occupation persists, resistance against the occupation by Palestinians will also continue,” said Burak Akcapar.

Akcapar’s remarks come after the UN presented a report during an interactive dialogue session held within the framework of the 56th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. He said the report exposes some of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli forces against civilians in Gaza.

Akcapar pointed out that Israel’s continuous refusal to cooperate with the Commission has overshadowed the report, and findings based on Israeli sources regarding attacks on Israel did not pass the objectivity test.

He further said they support the report’s call for an immediate and sustainable cease-fire, the lifting of the Gaza blockade and the uninterrupted, adequate and continuous delivery of humanitarian aid, as well as the mutual release of detainees and prisoners and an end to the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 11:53am

US cancels strategic meeting with Israel following Netanyahu’s criticism of Biden administration

The US has cancelled a strategic meeting with Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised President Joe Biden’s administration for delaying arms shipments to Israel, Anadolu Agency reports according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel,” Netanyahu stated in a video posted on X Tuesday.

“The meeting was set to take place in Washington on Thursday and was set to focus primarily on the progress of Iran’s nuclear program,” Haaretz reported.

“Instead of the delegation that was supposed to travel to Washington, led by Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, there will only be a meeting between National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan,” the daily reported, citing a senior Israeli official.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 11:44am

Israel claims to have detected ‘suspicious aerial target’ launched from Gaza

The Israeli army has claimed that it detected a “suspicious aerial target” launched from Gaza toward a nearby settlement, Anadolu Agency reports.

“A suspicious aerial target infiltrated from Gaza and landed in the Gaza envelope area,” the Israeli army claimed in a statement.

The incident caused no injuries, according to the statement, which did not specify where the target landed or where it was launched from.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 11:34am

Women and children among victims of Nuseirat bombing

Two people have been killed and 12 wounded from Israeli bombardment of a home in the Nuseirat refugee camp, Al Jazeera reports.

The Wafa news agency is now reporting that the two people killed were women, adding that women and children were among the 12 wounded.

Elsewhere in central Gaza, the Israeli military also carried out raids in the Bureij and Maghazi refugee camps, as well as to the north of Nuseirat, Wafa added.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 11:20am

Hamas ‘preserves’ fighting force in Rafah, does not see battle as ‘decisive’: monitors

Hamas fighters are avoiding decisive battles with the Israeli military in Gaza’s southern Rafah city, where Israeli forces have found few of the Palestinian group’s units above ground, Al Jazeera reports quoting the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP).

Hamas fighters are remaining in combat tunnel networks in Rafah, while remotely detonating buildings in the city that were “rigged to explode prior to the arrival of Israeli forces”, the US-based think tanks report in their latest battlefield update.

“The use of prepared explosively rigged buildings and tunnels suggests that Hamas’ units in Rafah prepared to preserve their strength by avoiding direct engagements,” the ISW/CTP said in their joint report.

Published 20 Jun, 2024 10:53am

US military’s stop-start Gaza pier to resume operations, officials say

The US military’s on-again, off-again floating pier in Gaza is expected to resume operations on Thursday to unload sorely needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians, two US officials tell Reuters.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the pier had been re-attached to the shore after being temporarily removed last Friday due to poor sea conditions.

The US military estimates the pier will cost more than $200 million for the first 90 days and involve about 1,000 service members.

It is unclear how much longer it will be operational.