An Israeli airstrike has killed 76 members of an extended family in Gaza, Associated Press reported rescue officials as saying on Saturday.
Friday’s strike on a building in Gaza City was among the deadliest of the Israel-Gaza war, Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesperson for Gaza’s civil defence department said.
Bassal provided a partial list of the names of those killed, according to AP – 16 heads of households from the Mughrabi family – and said the dead included women and children.
Among them was Issam al-Mughrabi, a veteran employee of the UN Development Programme, his wife and their five children.
“The loss of Issam and his family has deeply affected us all. The UN and civilians in Gaza are not a target,” said Achim Steiner, the head of the agency. “This war must end.”
Water and sanitation services in Gaza are at the point of collapse, Unicef said on Saturday.
Amid Israel’s deadly attacks across the strip which has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians and displaced nearly 2 million survivors, Unicef said that the deteriorating humanitarian situation across the strip is raising the risk of large-scale disease outbreaks.
Children are forced to drink salinated or polluted water, in turn putting them at risk of death and disease, it added.
The US president Joe Biden spoke with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, the White House said.
According to Netanyahu’s office, Netanyahu voiced appreciation towards the US for its stance at the UN security council, Reuters reports.
Netanyahu’s office also added that he “made clear that Israel will pursue the war until all of its objectives are fully met”.
A staunch ally of Israel, the US earlier this month vetoed a security council resolution that called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. In its latest round of voting at the security council, the US abstained from a highly watered-down resolution – which ultimately passed – surrounding the delivery of aid into Gaza.
Two Qatari Armed Forces aircraft carrying aid for Palestinians displaced by Israeli strikes in Gaza has headed to El Arish, Egypt.
In an announcement on Saturday, Qatar’s foreign ministry said that the two aircraft carrying 33 tons of aid consisting of food and medical supplies are en route to Gaza.
Today’s delivery brings the total number of aid planes sent to Gaza by Qatar to 49, with a total of 1,534 tons of aid.
“We are not getting the humanitarian supplies that we need to cater and respond to a humanitarian crisis this size and this scale,” UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma has said.
Speaking to CGTN, Touma added:
The more that we have these evacuation orders that the Israeli authorities continue to issue … we will see an exodus of people continue to search for safety, search for shelter … The combination of the war and the siege and the lack of availability of basic supplies including food has led to … unprecedented levels of hunger and starvation.
The director of UNRWA affairs, Thomas White, reiterated the absence of safety across the Gaza strip as more than 1.9 million Palestinians remain displaced as a result of Israel’s attacks.
In a tweet on Saturday, White wrote:
People in Gaza are people. They are not pieces on a checkerboard – many have already been displaced several times. The Israeli Army just orders people to move into areas where there are ongoing airstrikes. No place is safe, nowhere to go.
In response to the UN security council’s passage of a resolution on Gaza aid delivery, Médecins Sans Frontières said that it “falls painfully short of what is required to address the crisis in Gaza”.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, MSF said:
The watered-down resolution on #Gaza will not ensure the massive scale-up and rapid flow of humanitarian aid needed, as bombs continue to rain down on Palestinian civilians, force mass displacement, and deny access to vital medical care and humanitarian assistance.
“The way Israel is prosecuting this war, with US support, is causing massive death and suffering among Palestinian civilians and is inconsistent with international norms and laws. Even war has rules,” it added.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society remains operating at its medical point in Jabalia in northern Gaza amid Israeli bombardment.
In a video released on Saturday, PRCS workers can be seen treating Palestinians injured by Israeli strikes in a makeshift tent amid a shortage of medical supplies across the strip.
Food aid is failing to reach Palestinian residents displaced by Israeli strikes in Gaza despite a “catastrophic” hunger crisis.
The Guardian’s Kaamil Ahmed reports:
A couple of biscuits and a can of beans is all that many Palestinians in Gaza say is being given to families to live on, if they receive aid at all, and that they are finding donated items for sale in the markets.
The risk of famine is increasing every day, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which said this week that Gaza’s entire population is suffering “catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity”, the highest proportion of a population with acute food insecurity the monitor has ever recorded.
On Friday, the United Nations security council backed a resolution calling for a major boost in humanitarian assistance for Gaza. But the UN secretary general, António Guterres, told reporters: “The real problem is that the way Israel is conducting this offensive is creating massive obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid inside Gaza.”
The World Food Programme has also said it is becoming more difficult to reach people because of intensified fighting, with food becoming scarce and expensive, and fuel for cooking hard to find. The WFP’s most recent food security update said the situation is worst in northern Gaza, where 90% of people have gone a full day and night without eating.
For the full story, click here:
The Hamas-controlled Palestinian health ministry has said in a statement that at least 201 Palestinians have been killed and 368 others injured in Gaza over the past 24 hours.
Since 7 October, the total death toll of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks in the strip has reached 20,258 people, with a further 53,688 injured, the statement added.
Gaza death toll reaches 20,258, Hamas-run health ministry says. A statement issued on Saturday said 201 Palestinians had been killed in the past 24 hours.
More than 90 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes on two homes, rescuers and hospital officials said. The death toll from airstrikes on Friday included 76 people from one family, according to a spokesperson for Gaza’s civil defence department.
Hamas says it has lost contact with group holding five Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip. An unverified statement from the Islamist group said it believed the hostages were killed during an Israeli raid.
Biden “heartbroken” over American’s death. The US president, Joe Biden, made the comment after it emerged that an American named Gadi Haggai is believed to have been killed by Hamas on 7 October when it attacked Israel.
UN chief says Israeli military offensive is creating “massive obstacles” to aid distribution in Gaza. The comment from António Guterres comes after the UN security council passed a resolution of Friday urging steps to allow “safe, unhindered and expanded humanitarian access” to Gaza.
Iranian president slams “inefficacy” of international bodies to halt war. Ebrahim Raisi made the comments in Tehran, following the UN security council resolution, describing it as “positive but insufficient”.
Guterres says 136 UN colleagues have died in Gaza. The secretary general added that most of the international organisation’s staff “have been forced from their homes” since the war began.
Hamas has issued an unverified statement, being reported by Reuters, that it has lost contact with the group responsible for five Israeli hostages being held hostage in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli bombardment.
The group believes the hostages were killed during an Israeli raid, Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al Qassam brigades, was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military has said troops arrested hundreds of militants in Gaza over the past week and transferred more than 200 of them to Israel for further interrogation.
The army said more than 700 people with alleged ties to the militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have so far been sent to Israeli lockups.
The Guardian is also unable to verify these claims.
The Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, has slammed the “inefficacy” of international bodies to halt the Israel-Gaza war.
Raisi’s comments during a conference in Tehran in support of Palestinians came a day after the UN security council approved a delayed resolution demanding aid to be allowed into Gaza “at scale”.
The resolution also urged the creation of “conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities”, without calling for an immediate end to the fighting.
Iran has called the vote “positive but insufficient”.
“The inability and inefficacy of international organisations has become clear to everyone in the world,” Raisi told the Tehran conference, AFP reports.
“The security council … officially announced its desperation, and said that there is nothing we can do,” he said.
“International organisations have also announced that there is nothing we can do.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters have marched on London’s Oxford Street urging shoppers to boycott “Israeli-linked” brands.
Several hundred protesters brought traffic to a standstill as part of the demonstration organised by direct action group Sisters Uncut on Saturday afternoon, PA reports.
They gathered in Soho Square chanting “free Palestine” before marching on the busy shopping street.
Security guards blocked the entrance to fashion retailer Zara, while dozens of officers followed the march.
Leaflets distributed by Sisters Uncut said: “No Christmas as usual in a genocide. The UK is complicit. Don’t fund genocide in Palestine. Boycott Israel.”
The presidents of Egypt and Iran discussed recent developments in Gaza and the prospect of restoring diplomatic ties between their countries in what Iranian state television said on Saturday was their first phone call.
The network said the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, had called his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. The two men met in November for the first time on the sidelines of the joint Arab Islamic extraordinary summit in Riyadh.
“Raisi said Iran was ready to provide all its capacities to stop the genocide by the Zionist regime and send aid to the Palestinians,” Iranian state TV reported, adding that it was the first time the two presidents had spoken by phone.
Relations between Egypt and Iran have generally been fraught in recent decades, although the countries have maintained some diplomatic contacts. Their call follows other moves by countries in the region to ease tension in recent months.
Egypt’s Sunni Muslim Arab ally Saudi Arabia and Shia Muslim Iran restored diplomatic relations earlier this year, while Cairo has mended a rift with Qatar and re-established ties with Turkey.
Here are the latest images from Gaza and Israel:
As we reported earlier, the United Nations security council has backed a resolution calling for a major boost in humanitarian assistance for the Gaza Strip but the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has said the way Israel is conducting its military operation there is creating “massive obstacles” to aid distribution.
Here’s a clip of his comments.
A worldwide campaign of assassinations of Hamas leaders announced by senior Israel officials is likely to be counterproductive, impractical and ineffective, targets of previous such efforts have suggested.
Benjamin Netanyahu first announced the new strategy two weeks after the 7 October attacks launched by Hamas into southern Israel which killed 1,200 people.
Officials in Israel have briefed journalists that a new operation called Nili, an acronym for a biblical phrase in Hebrew meaning “the eternal one of Israel will not lie”, would target senior leaders of the militant Islamist organisation.
You can read the full story from my colleague Jason Burke here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/23/israeli-campaign-to-kill-hamas-leaders-likely-to-backfire-say-earlier-assassination-targets
A drone strike damaged an “Israel-affiliated” merchant ship off the coast of India on Saturday, but caused no casualties, according to maritime agencies.
The attack caused a fire on board, according to the British military’s UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
Ambrey, a maritime security firm, said the “Liberia-flagged chemical/products tanker … was Israel-affiliated” and had been on its way from Saudi Arabia to India.
Both agencies said the attack occurred 200 nautical miles south-west of Veraval, India.
The UKMTO said the “authorities were investigating”, and noted the fire had been extinguished. Ambrey said the Indian navy was responding.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the strike, which came amid a flurry of drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a vital shipping lane in the Red Sea.
Iran has also been accused of carrying out attacks near its waters.
Last month, an Israeli-owned cargo ship was hit in a suspected drone attack by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Indian Ocean, according to a US official.