All cargo offloaded from first aid ship to reach Gaza: NGO

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World Central Kitchen, the US charity working with Open Arms, said it was readying another boat with supplies of beans, canned meat, flour, rice and dates in the Cypriot port of Larnaca. (Israel Defense Forces via Reuters)
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The Open Arms maritime vessel that set sail from Larnaca in Cyprus carrying humanitarian aid approaches the coast of Gaza City. (AFP)
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Updated 16 March 2024
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All cargo offloaded from first aid ship to reach Gaza: NGO

  • 200 tons of food for Gazans threatened with famine after more than five months of war

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: A US charity said Saturday its team in war-ravaged Gaza had finished unloading the first maritime aid shipment to reach the besieged territory.

“All cargo was offloaded and is being readied for distribution in Gaza,” World Central Kitchen said in a statement, noting that the aid was “almost 200 tons of food.”

Earlier footage showed the Open Arms, which set sail from Cyprus on Tuesday, towing a barge that the Spanish charity of the same name says is loaded with 200 tons of food for Gazans threatened with famine after more than five months of war.

World Central Kitchen it was readying another boat with supplies of beans, canned meat, flour, rice and dates in the Cypriot port of Larnaca but stressed the need for more road access to bring aid into Gaza.

“Our ambition is having a highway of aid going into Gaza,” the group’s Juan Camilo Jimenez said in a video posted on social media platform X.

 


The Israeli military said it had deployed troops to “secure the area” around the jetty while the cargo of aid was unloaded. The “vessel underwent a comprehensive security inspection,” it said.
A spokesman for the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry said early on Saturday that 123 people had been killed across Gaza in the past 24 hours, including 36 people in a strike on a house sheltering displaced people in central Nuseirat.
Witnesses reported air strikes and fighting in the southern Gaza Strip’s main city Khan Yunis as well as areas of the north where humanitarian conditions have been particularly dire.
As Muslim worshippers marked the first Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, thousands attended prayers in the revered Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, amid a heavy security presence and restrictions on entry.
“It’s the first year I see so many forces (police), and their eyes... Two years ago, I could argue with them, but now... they’re giving us no chance,” said Amjad Ghalib, a 44-year-old carpenter.
In southern Gaza’s Rafah, the last major population center yet to be subjected to a ground assault, AFPTV footage showed worshippers praying by the rubble of a destroyed mosque.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he had approved the military’s plan for an operation in Rafah, where most of the Gaza Strip’s population has sought refuge, without providing details or a timeline.
The White House, which has said an assault on Rafah would be a “red line” without credible civilian protection plans, said it had not seen the plan approved by Netanyahu.
“We certainly would welcome the opportunity to see it,” National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby said, adding that the United States could not support any plan without “credible” proposals to shelter more than one million Gazans.
In negotiations aimed at securing a new truce and hostage deal, Hamas has put forward a new proposal for a six-week ceasefire and the exchange of several dozen Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, an official from the militant group told AFP.
Hamas would want this to lead to “a complete (Israeli) withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a permanent ceasefire,” the official said.
The proposal would involve the release of some 42 hostages, who would be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners at a ratio of between 20 and 50 prisoners per hostage, the official said, down from a previous proposal of roughly 100 to one.
Palestinian militants seized about 250 Israeli and foreign hostages during the Hamas attack of October 7, dozens of whom were released during a week-long truce in November. Israel believes about 130 captives remain in Gaza, including 32 presumed dead.
Israel said it was sending a delegation to Qatar for a new round of negotiations.
The White House said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the chances for a ceasefire but stressed that talks were far from over.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that things are moving in the right direction,” Kirby said, adding that the Hamas proposal was “within the bounds” of what negotiators had been discussing in recent months.
The United States, which provides Israel with billions of dollars in military assistance, has grown increasingly critical of Netanyahu over his handling of the war.
US Senate leader Chuck Schumer called for a snap Israeli election, describing Netanyahu as one of several “major obstacles” to peace in a speech praised by US President Joe Biden.
“I think he expressed serious concern shared not only by him, but by many Americans,” Biden said.
Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party retorted that Israel was “not a banana republic but an independent and proud democracy.”
The United Nations has repeatedly warned of looming famine, with only a fraction of the supplies needed to sustain Gaza’s 2.4 million people being let in.
With fewer aid trucks entering by road, efforts have multiplied to get relief in by air and sea.
Cyprus, the nearest European Union member country to Gaza, has also said a second, bigger aid vessel is being prepared.
“God willing, they will bring food for the children, that’s all we ask for,” displaced Gazan Abu Issa Ibrahim Filfil told AFPTV.
Hamas’s October 7 attack resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.
Israel’s retaliatory campaign against Hamas has killed at least 31,490 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry.
The ministry on Thursday accused Israeli troops of opening fire from “tanks and helicopters” as Palestinians waited for aid at a roundabout in Gaza City, killing 20 people and wounding dozens.
The Israeli military denied firing on the crowd.
“Armed Palestinians opened fire while Gazan civilians were awaiting the arrival of the aid convoy,” and then “continued to shoot as the crowd of Gazans began looting the trucks,” a military statement said.

 


Oil tanker hit by missile off Yemen: security firm

Updated 57 min 31 sec ago
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Oil tanker hit by missile off Yemen: security firm

  • The vessel and crew are safe and continuing to its next port of call: UKMTO
  • The incident occurred 76 nautical miles (140 kilometers) off Yemen’s Hodeidah

DUBAI: A crude oil tanker was hit by a missile off the coast of Yemen’s rebel-held city of Mokha overlooking the strategic Bab Al-Mandeb strait, maritime security firm Ambrey said Saturday.
“A Panama-flagged crude oil tanker was reportedly ‘attacked’” about 10 nautical miles southwest of Mokha, Ambrey said, adding that information “indicated the vessel was hit by a missile and that there was a fire in the steering gear flat.”
The British navy’s maritime security agency had earlier said it received a report of a vessel “sustaining slight damage after being struck by an unknown object.”
“The vessel and crew are safe and continuing to its next port of call,” United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) added.
It said the incident occurred 76 nautical miles (140 kilometers) off Yemen’s Hodeidah, without specifying the type of vessel involved.
The Iran-backed Houthis, who control much of Yemen, have launched dozens of attacks on vessels in and around the Red Sea since November in a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestinians in war-torn Gaza.
The milita attacks have prompted reprisal strikes by US and British forces and the formation of an international coalition to protect the vital shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.


Israeli forces kill senior Palestinian militant in Jenin: army

Updated 18 May 2024
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Israeli forces kill senior Palestinian militant in Jenin: army

  • The strike by a fighter jet and helicopter killed Islam Khamayseh
  • Khamayseh was a leader of the Jenin Battalion

RAMALLAH: The Israeli military said on Saturday it killed a senior Palestinian militant during an air strike on an “operations center” in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
“A number of significant terrorists were inside the compound,” the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement posted to Telegram.
It said the strike by a fighter jet and helicopter killed Islam Khamayseh, a “senior terrorist operative in the Jenin Camp” who was responsible for a series of attacks in the area.
The Al-Quds Brigade, the armed wing of militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, confirmed in a statement that Khamayseh was killed and several others wounded during an Israeli raid on Friday night.
It said Khamayseh was a leader of the Jenin Battalion, which is affiliated with Islamic Jihad.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said one person was killed and eight were wounded and receiving hospital treatment as a result of Israel’s operation in Jenin on Friday night.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and its troops routinely carry out incursions into areas such as Jenin, which are nominally under the Palestinian Authority’s security control.
The West Bank has seen a recent surge in violence, particularly since the Israel-Hamas war erupted on October 7.
More than 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers across the West Bank since October 7, according to Palestinian officials, and at least 20 Israelis have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
The Gaza Strip has been at war since Hamas’s unprecedented attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has killed at least 35,303 people, most of them civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.


Fierce fighting in northern Gaza as aid starts to roll off US-built pier

Updated 18 May 2024
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Fierce fighting in northern Gaza as aid starts to roll off US-built pier

  • Residents say Israeli bulldozers demolishing homes, shops in Jabalia
  • Hamas says US floating aid pier no substitute for end to Israeli siege

CAIRO: Israeli forces battled Hamas fighters in the narrow alleyways of Jabalia in northern Gaza on Friday in some of the fiercest engagements since they returned to the area a week ago, while in the south militants attacked tanks massing around Rafah.

Residents said Israeli armor had thrust as far as the market at the heart of Jabalia, the largest of Gaza’s eight historic refugee camps, and that bulldozers were demolishing homes and shops in the path of the advance.
“Tanks and planes are wiping out residential districts and markets, shops, restaurants, everything. It is all happening before the one-eyed world,” Ayman Rajab, a resident of western Jabalia, said via a chat app.
Israel had said its forces cleared Jabalia months earlier in the Gaza war, triggered by the deadly Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel on Oct. 7, but said last week it was returning to prevent Islamist militants re-grouping there.
In southern Gaza bordering Egypt, thick smoke rose over Rafah, where an escalating Israeli assault has sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from what was one of the few remaining places of refuge.
“People are terrified and they’re trying to get away,” Jens Laerke, UN humanitarian office spokesperson, said in Geneva, adding that most were following orders to move north toward the coast but that there were no safe routes or destinations.
As the fighting raged, the US military said trucks started moving aid ashore from a temporary pier, the first to reach the besieged enclave by sea in weeks.
The World Food Programme, which expects food, water, shelter and medical supplies to arrive through the floating dock, said the aid was transported to its warehouses in Deir Al Balah in central Gaza and told partners it was ready for distribution.

The United Nations earlier reiterated that truck convoys by land — disrupted this month by the assault on Rafah — were still the most efficient way of getting aid in.
“To stave off the horrors of famine, we must use the fastest and most obvious route to reach the people of Gaza – and for that, we need access by land now,” deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said.
US aid was arriving in Cyprus for delivery to Gaza via the new pier, Washington said.
Hamas demanded an end to Israel’s siege and accused Washington of complicity with an Israeli policy of “starvation and blockade.”
The White House said US national security adviser Jake Sullivan would visit Israel on Sunday and stress the need for a targeted offensive against Hamas militants rather than a full-scale assault on Rafah.
A group of US medical workers left the Gaza Strip after getting stuck at the hospital where they were providing care, the White House said.

Humanitarian fears
The Israel Defense Forces said troops killed more than 60 militants in Jabalia in recent days and located a weapons warehouse in a “divisional-level offensive.”
A divisional operation would typically involve several brigades of thousands of troops each, making it one of the biggest of the war.
“The 7th Brigade’s fire control center directed dozens of airstrikes, eliminated terrorists and destroyed terrorist infrastructure,” the IDF said.
At least 35,303 Palestinians have now been killed, according to figures from the enclave’s health ministry, while aid agencies have warned repeatedly of widespread hunger and dire shortages of fuel and medical supplies.
Israel says it must capture Rafah to destroy Hamas and ensure the country’s safety. In the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, 1,200 people died in Israel and 253 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. About 128 hostages are still being held in Gaza.
Israel said on Friday that its forces retrieved the bodies of three people killed at the Nova music festival in Israel on Oct. 7 and taken into Gaza.
In response, Hamas said negotiations were the only way for Israel to retrieve hostages alive: “The enemy will not get its prisoners except as lifeless corpses or through an honorable exchange deal for our people and our resistance.”
Talks on a ceasefire have been at an impasse.

‘Tragic war’
Israeli tanks and warplanes bombarded parts of Rafah on Friday, while the armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they fired anti-tank missiles and mortars at forces massing to the east, southeast and inside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
UNRWA, the main UN aid agency for Palestinians, said more than 630,000 people had fled Rafah since the offensive began on May 6.
“They’re moving to areas where there is no water — we’ve got to truck it in — and people aren’t getting enough food,” Sam Rose, director of planning at UNRWA, told Reuters on Friday by telephone from Rafah, where he said it was eerily quiet.
At the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, where South Africa has accused Israel of violating the Genocide Convention, Israeli Justice Ministry official Gilad Noam defended the operation.
The South African legal team, which set out its case for fresh emergency measures the previous day, framed the Israeli military operation as part of a genocidal plan aimed at bringing about the destruction of the Palestinian people.


Fierce fighting in northern Gaza as aid starts to roll off US-built pier

Updated 18 May 2024
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Fierce fighting in northern Gaza as aid starts to roll off US-built pier

  • Residents say Israeli bulldozers demolishing homes and shops in Jabalia in the path of the advance
  • Hamas says US floating aid pier is no substitute for end of Israeli siege of Gaza

CAIRO: Israeli forces battled Hamas fighters in the narrow alleyways of Jabalia in northern Gaza on Friday in some of the fiercest engagements since they returned to the area a week ago, while in the south militants attacked tanks massing around Rafah.

Residents said Israeli armor had thrust as far as the market at the heart of Jabalia, the largest of Gaza’s eight historic refugee camps, and that bulldozers were demolishing homes and shops in the path of the advance.
“Tanks and planes are wiping out residential districts and markets, shops, restaurants, everything. It is all happening before the one-eyed world,” Ayman Rajab, a resident of western Jabalia, said via a chat app.
Israel had said its forces cleared Jabalia months earlier in the Gaza war, triggered by the deadly Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel on Oct. 7, but said last week it was returning to prevent Islamist militants re-grouping there.
In southern Gaza bordering Egypt, thick smoke rose over Rafah, where an escalating Israeli assault has sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from what was one of the few remaining places of refuge.
“People are terrified and they’re trying to get away,” Jens Laerke, UN humanitarian office spokesperson, said in Geneva, adding that most were following orders to move north toward the coast but that there were no safe routes or destinations.
As the fighting raged, the US military said trucks started moving aid ashore from a temporary pier, the first to reach the besieged enclave by sea in weeks.
The World Food Programme, which expects food, water, shelter and medical supplies to arrive through the floating dock, said the aid was transported to its warehouses in Deir Al Balah in central Gaza and told partners it was ready for distribution.

Ships are seen near a temporary floating pier built to receive humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip in Gaza Beach on May 18, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS)

The United Nations earlier reiterated that truck convoys by land — disrupted this month by the assault on Rafah — were still the most efficient way of getting aid in.
“To stave off the horrors of famine, we must use the fastest and most obvious route to reach the people of Gaza – and for that, we need access by land now,” deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said.
US aid was arriving in Cyprus for delivery to Gaza via the new pier, Washington said.
Hamas demanded an end to Israel’s siege and accused Washington of complicity with an Israeli policy of “starvation and blockade.”
The White House said US national security adviser Jake Sullivan would visit Israel on Sunday and stress the need for a targeted offensive against Hamas militants rather than a full-scale assault on Rafah.
A group of US medical workers left the Gaza Strip after getting stuck at the hospital where they were providing care, the White House said.

Ships are seen near a temporary floating pier built to receive humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip in Gaza Beach on May 18, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS)

Humanitarian fears
The Israel Defense Forces said troops killed more than 60 militants in Jabalia in recent days and located a weapons warehouse in a “divisional-level offensive.”
A divisional operation would typically involve several brigades of thousands of troops each, making it one of the biggest of the war.
“The 7th Brigade’s fire control center directed dozens of airstrikes, eliminated terrorists and destroyed terrorist infrastructure,” the IDF said.
At least 35,303 Palestinians have now been killed, according to figures from the enclave’s health ministry, while aid agencies have warned repeatedly of widespread hunger and dire shortages of fuel and medical supplies.
Israel says it must capture Rafah to destroy Hamas and ensure the country’s safety. In the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, 1,200 people died in Israel and 253 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. About 128 hostages are still being held in Gaza.
Israel said on Friday that its forces retrieved the bodies of three people killed at the Nova music festival in Israel on Oct. 7 and taken into Gaza.
In response, Hamas said negotiations were the only way for Israel to retrieve hostages alive: “The enemy will not get its prisoners except as lifeless corpses or through an honorable exchange deal for our people and our resistance.”
Talks on a ceasefire have been at an impasse.

’Tragic war’
Israeli tanks and warplanes bombarded parts of Rafah on Friday, while the armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they fired anti-tank missiles and mortars at forces massing to the east, southeast and inside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
UNRWA, the main UN aid agency for Palestinians, said more than 630,000 people had fled Rafah since the offensive began on May 6.
“They’re moving to areas where there is no water — we’ve got to truck it in — and people aren’t getting enough food,” Sam Rose, director of planning at UNRWA, told Reuters on Friday by telephone from Rafah, where he said it was eerily quiet.
At the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, where South Africa has accused Israel of violating the Genocide Convention, Israeli Justice Ministry official Gilad Noam defended the operation.
The South African legal team, which set out its case for fresh emergency measures the previous day, framed the Israeli military operation as part of a genocidal plan aimed at bringing about the destruction of the Palestinian people.


WHO says no medical supplies received in Gaza for 10 days

Updated 18 May 2024
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WHO says no medical supplies received in Gaza for 10 days

GENEVA: The World Health Organization said Friday that it has received no medical supplies in the Gaza Strip for 10 days as Israel pursues a new offensive against Hamas.
Israel’s closure of the Rafah crossing into Gaza has caused “a difficult situation,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said. “The last medical supplies that we got in Gaza was before May 6.”
Israeli troops entered the city of Rafah on May 7 to extend their offensive against Hamas over the militant group’s attacks seven months earlier. They closed the Rafah crossing into Egypt that is crucial for humanitarian supplies.
With UN agencies warning of a growing risk of famine in Gaza, the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings from Israel are also virtually shut down.
Jasarevic said the biggest concern was over fuel needed to keep clinics and hospitals running. Gaza’s health facilities need up to 1.8 million liters of fuel a month to keep operating.
The spokesman said only 159,000 liters had entered Rafah since the border closure. “This is clearly not sufficient,” he added, highlighting how only 13 out of 36 hospitals across the Palestinian territory were now “partially” operating.
“Hospitals still functioning are running out of fuel, and that puts so many lives at danger,” said Jasarevic. “Current military operations in Rafah are putting countless lives at risk.”
The Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in the death of more than 1,170 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. Out of 252 people taken hostage, 128 are still held inside Gaza, but the army says 38 have died.
More than 35,300 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the Palestinian territory since the war broke out, according to data provided by the health ministry of Hamas-run Gaza.