Israeli settlers march towards the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City calling for increased Jewish control over Muslim Al Aqsa compound, also known to Jews as the Temple Mount. / Photo: Reuters

Thursday, December 7, 2023

18:53 GMT OIC condemns Israel for allowing Jerusalem settler march

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned Israel for allowing a provocative march by Israeli far-right extremist groups into occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

The march is "part of illegal and rejected attempts aimed at impinging on the existing historical and legal status of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Al Quds, especially the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque," the organisation said in a statement.

The Jeddah-based organisation warned of the danger of the Israeli Judaization plans, including the planned construction of 1,792 settler units in the occupied East Jerusalem.

"The city of Al Quds Al Sharif, the capital of the State of Palestine, is an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967," the OIC said, reiterating rejection of any measures aimed at imposing Israeli sovereignty over the city and its holy sites.

19:02 GMT UN chief will remain in post 'until end of his mandate': spokesman

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will stay in the post until his mandate expires, said his spokesman, responding to Israel's demand for Guterres' resignation after his invocation of a rarely used article of the UN Charter regarding the conflict in Gaza.

"You can expect the Secretary-General to be at work tomorrow, and until the end of his mandate," Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

He said that the UN's communication with Israeli authorities is ongoing on a daily basis, "if not round the clock," both at political and operational levels concerning humanitarian systems.

Dujarric added, "We don't always come to an agreement, but I would say that the contacts remain highly professional in that end."

18:18 GMT Israel warns Lebanon of 'Gaza-like consequences' amid tension with Hezbollah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Lebanon of Gaza-like consequences if the Hezbollah group decided to engage in an all-out war against Israel.

"If Hezbollah chooses to start an all-out war, then it will be responsible for turning Beirut and South Lebanon, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Younis," Netanyahu told a group of soldiers.

"We are determined to bring victory, and we will do it with your help," he added.

17:19 GMT US resumes drone flights over Gaza after truce suspension

The US has resumed its unarmed reconnaissance drone flights over the besieged Gaza after they were suspended during a since lapsed truce between Israel and Hamas, the Pentagon confirmed.

"In support of hostage recovery efforts, the US has resumed unarmed UAV flights over Gaza, and we continue to provide advice and assistance to support our Israelis partner as they work on their hostage recovery efforts," Pentagon spokesperson Lisa Lawrence said in a statement.

The US publicly confirmed it was conducting drone flights above Gaza on Nov. 3, saying then that they were being operated to assist efforts to free the hostages.

The US publicly confirmed it was conducting drone flights above Gaza on Nov. 3, saying then that they were being operated to assist efforts to free the hostages. / Photo: AFP

17:05 GMT Muslim nations contact group to hold Gaza talks in Washington DC: Türkiye

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will travel to Washington on Friday along with counterparts in a contact group of Muslim countries to discuss the situation in Gaza, Türkiye's Foreign Ministry said.

The contact group was formed last month at a joint summit of the Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the fighting in Gaza. It includes officials from Türkiye, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Palestinian Authority and the OIC.

16:41 GMT Israeli war on Gaza to 'severely depress' Palestinian economy: IMF

"We do expect the conflict to severely depress economic activity in both the West Bank and Gaza, where even before the conflict GDP growth was set to decline over the medium term," the International Monetary Fund communications chief, Julie Kozack, told reporters.

She added that while the economies of the occupied West Bank, Gaza and Israel will be the hardest hit, "the ultimate impact will depend on the duration and intensity of the conflict."

16:36 GMT Israel's war cabinet member's son killed in Gaza: Israeli army

Israeli army has said the son of war cabinet member Gadi Eiznkot was killed in battles in northern Gaza.

A military statement said reserve soldier Meir Eiznkot was killed in a bomb explosion in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.

16:35 GMT UN relief chief criticizes insufficient humanitarian efforts

"We do not have a humanitarian operation in Gaza that can be called by that name anymore,” Martin Griffiths, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said at a press conference in Geneva.

Although trucks continue to pass through the Rafah border crossing, Griffiths stressed that the current humanitarian operation in Gaza is at best "humanitarian opportunism" that is not sustainable.

He added that the negotiations are underway to open the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to Gaza, describing the negotiations as "promising."

16:32 GMT Israel to reopen Gaza commercial crossing for aid inspections

Israel will reopen the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing with Gaza to inspect trucks loaded with humanitarian aid to the blockaded Palestinian territory, according to local media.

The Times of Israel newspaper, citing a senior official, said the move aims to facilitate the entry of aid trucks into Gaza.

While the trucks will be inspected at the terminal, they will still need to enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

“Israel is capable of facilitating the entry of up to 250 aid trucks each day through Egypt’s Rafah Crossing into Gaza,” said Col. Elad Goren, from Israel’s COGAT military liaison to the Palestinians.

16:05 GMT Gaza near humanitarian 'collapse,' lasting ceasefire imperative: UN migration agency

"The scale of displacement in Gaza is massive; the humanitarian conditions are deeply alarming and at the brink of collapse," said a statement by Amy Pope, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

"An immediate ceasefire is needed to deliver adequate food, water, and other essentials to save lives and alleviate the tremendous suffering of civilians," said the statement.

16:05 GMT Hezbollah: 3 members killed in clashes on Lebanon-Israel border

The group said in a statement that two fighters were killed in the town of Hermel, while a third was killed in the town of Mjadel in southern Lebanon.

At least 93 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces since Oct. 8, according to figures released by the group.

15:09 GMT Iran's Raisi condemns Gaza "genocide" at Moscow talks with Putin

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi accused the West of supporting "genocide" by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, at the start of talks in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin.

As part of a burst of meetings focused on the Middle East, Putin greeted Raisi in the Kremlin a day after visiting the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where he discussed oil prices and the wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

In televised opening remarks, Putin said it was very important to discuss the situation in the Middle East, especially in the Palestinian territories.

Raisi responded via a translator: "What is happening in Palestine and Gaza is of course genocide and a crime against humanity."

15:04 GMT US seeks to 'revitalise' Palestinian Authority amid Gaza conflict

The United States is seeking to "revitalise" the Palestinian Authority amid an ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.

White House envoy Philip Gordon met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior officials in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss the situation in Gaza.

Gordon emphasised the US administration's "commitment to support the Palestinian people and their right to security, dignity, and self-determination," the White House said in a statement.

The US envoy said Washington is committed "to the future establishment of a Palestinian state and made clear that the Palestinian people must have a hopeful political horizon.”

According to the statement, Gordon discussed with Palestinian officials the revitalization of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile, The head of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says that Gaza faces a catastrophe extending far beyond a humanitarian crisis. / Photo: AA

13:49 GMT Gaza has gone 'far beyond' a humanitarian crisis: medical charity MSF

The head of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said that Gaza faces a catastrophe extending far beyond a humanitarian crisis, describing the situation in the densely populated enclave as chaotic.

"My people on the ground keep updating me on the situation, and I can tell you that it has gone far beyond the humanitarian crisis," Dr Christos Christou, international president of Doctors Without Borders, told reporters in Geneva.

"It is a humanitarian catastrophe. It is a chaotic situation, and I'm extremely worried that very soon people will be in a mode of just trying to survive, which will come with very severe consequences."

13:38 GMT Palestinian death toll in Gaza tops 17,000

Authorities in Gaza said the overall death toll of Palestinians has risen to 17,177 since the start of the Israeli war on the enclave.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said 350 Palestinians have been killed and 900 were injured just in the last 24 hours. Around 46,000 people have so far injured, the ministry added.

“Around 70 percent of the victims are children and women,” ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al Qudra told a press conference.

"At least 290 medics were killed, 102 ambulances destroyed and 160 health care centres targeted in the Israeli attacks, while 20 hospitals and 46 primary care centres were forced out of service," Al Qudra said.

12:37 GMT UN urges Israel to stop its 'relentless war' on Gaza hospitals

A UN expert urged an end to Israel's "unrelenting war" on the health care system in Gaza, calling it "darkest time for the right to health in our lifetimes."

On the airstrikes that hit hospitals in recent weeks, Tlaleng Mofokeng, the UN special rapporteur on the right to health, said in a statement that Israeli forces reportedly hit the vicinity of the Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza several times this week alone.

"The practice of medicine is under attack," said Mofokeng.

"As a practicing medical doctor, I cannot fathom what my Gazan colleagues are enduring. They are working while their colleagues and loved ones are under attack. Many have been killed while treating their patients."

12:14 GMT Israeli strikes on journalists in Lebanon must be investigated as war crime: Amnesty

The watchdog said it had verified videos and photos and checked the scene of the incident, adding that "the group was visibly identifiable as journalists” and “the Israeli military knew or should have known that they were civilians yet attacked them anyway in two separate strikes 37 seconds apart."

"There must be an independent and impartial investigation into this deadly attack," the rights group said.

12:00 GMT — Israel tank fire killed journalist in Lebanon: Reuters probe

Two Israeli tank rounds were used in the attack that killed a Reuters journalist and wounded six others in southern Lebanon on October 13, an investigation published by the news agency found.

An AFP investigation conducted with Airwars, an NGO that investigates at tacks on civilians in conflict situations, showed that the first strike involved a 120-mm tank shell only used by the Israeli army in this region.

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch also concluded that the first strike that killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and severely wounded AFP photographer Christina Assi was most likely a tank round fired from Israel.

11:35 GMT Israeli army raids, seals orphanage in southern West Bank

The Israeli army raided and sealed an orphanage near Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank, and seized all its assets and material.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli army raided the headquarters of the Beit Ummar Association for Orphan Care in Beit Ummar town, and seized the association's files, computers, and other material.

Before leaving, the army sealed the association’s building with iron bars, the eyewitnesses added.

The association's Director Youssef Abu Maria told the Palestinian news agency Wafa that the association provides services to approximately 200 orphan children, in addition to 470 students who attend the association’s school.

11:07 GMT — 'Israel is not waging a war against Hamas but against people of Palestine'

Israel is not waging a war against Hamas but against the people of Palestine and whatever is happening in Gaza is a genocide, and a war crime against humanity, said Mahmoud Al Habash, top Palestinian Sharia judge and religious affairs adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas.

Speaking at the European Summit for Palestine organised by the European Muslim Forum in Istanbul, Al Habash said: "Israel's war is not against Hamas. This is a lie. This is a war against the people of Palestine."

Speakers at the event called Israel’s war on Gaza a genocide and demanded a permanent ceasefire and an end to the humanitarian disaster.

10:42 GMT All hospitals in northern Gaza out of service - Health Ministry

All hospitals in northern Gaza are currently "out of service," despite efforts underway to get any of the hospitals in the area devastated by Israeli attacks operational again.

In a statement, Gaza-based Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al Qudra said medical teams are facing difficulties trying to work at the Al Shifa Hospital, in the western Gaza City – the largest medical complex in Gaza.

"Despite the difficulties, we will keep up attempts to run any hospital in the Gaza Strip," Al Qudra added.

The spokesman noted that Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis, southern Gaza, is crowded with about 1,000 wounded people, with patients and injured people lying on the hospital floor.

The Government Media Office in Gaza also quoted Maher Shamiyya, a ministry official, as saying Al Shifa is without electricity and is full of displaced people.

10:09 GMT Israeli strikes on journalists in Lebanon 'deliberate': Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that Israel’s deadly strikes on journalists in Lebanon were an “apparently deliberate attack on civilians and thus a war crime.”

“Two Israeli strikes on a group of Lebanese, American, and Iraqi journalists in south Lebanon on October 13, 2023, were apparently deliberate attacks on civilians, which is a war crime,” the rights watchdog said.

HRW stressed that “evidence indicates that the Israeli military knew or should have known that the group of people they were firing on were civilians.”

It called on allies of Israel, namely the US, UK, Canada, and Germany, to suspend their military support to Tel Aviv.

09:11 GMT Hezbollah targets 3 Israeli sites near Lebanon border

The Lebanese group said in a statement that it targeted the Marj and Harej Rameem Israeli sites (in the occupied Lebanese village of Hunin) “with appropriate weapons.”

Hezbollah also targeted the Israeli site Ma'ayan Baruch with "appropriate weapons," achieving direct hits, the statement added.

Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of the towns of Houla, Markaba, and Wadi al Salouqi in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) said.

The towns of Alma al Shaab, Tyre Harfa, and Dahirah in the western part of the border were also targeted by Israeli artillery shelling, but no damage was reported, the agency added.

09:09 GMT Israeli army arrests 44 Palestinians in West Bank raids

The Israeli military has conducted raids in the occupied West Bank, detaining at least 44 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The detainees included 19 workers from Gaza who reside in the Tulkarm province.

Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank amid an Israeli military offensive on Gaza following a cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7.

The Israeli army has since detained more than 3,640 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to Wafa.

08:31 GMT — Probe into strike on journos in Lebanon points to Israeli attack

An AFP investigation published into the strike in southern Lebanon on October 13 that killed a Reuters journalist and injured six others, including two from AFP, points to a tank shell only used by the Israeli army in this high-tension border region.

Issam Abdallah, 37, was killed instantly in the strike.

The others present — two other Reuters journalists, two from Al Jazeera, and two from AFP — were all injured.

AFP photographer Christina Assi, 28, was seriously wounded, later had a leg amputated and is still in hospital.

In a separate attack, Israel killed a journalist from Anadolu Agency who was performing his duties in the field in the besieged enclave of Gaza, Palestine.

Since Israel commenced indiscriminate bombardments in Gaza, 2023 marks the deadliest year on record for journalists.

07:14 GMT Israeli air strikes on 2 refugee camps in Gaza kill at least 23

Israeli fighter jets early Thursday targeted two houses in a refugee camp in central Gaza as well as a camp in the southern part of the enclave, leaving at least 23 dead and many more injured.

At least 17 Palestinians were killed and scores more injured in an Israeli air strike on a house in the Al Maghazi refugee camp, as reported by the Palestinian news agency Wafa, citing local sources.

The agency also reported that at least six Palestinians were killed and others injured in an Israeli military air strike on a house in the Al Shabora refugee camp in Rafah, southern Gaza.

Palestinian women carry food near a donation point provided by a charity group in southern Gaza city of Rafah, on November 30, 2023. / Photo: AFP

05:31 GMT - ICC prosecutor warns obstructing aid could be war crimes

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan has issued a stern warning that intentionally obstructing the delivery of aid to civilians in Gaza could be considered a war crime.

In a statement from his official account, Khan referenced a letter sent by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the UN Security Council (UNSC), employing his exceptional authority under Article 99 to call for an immediate permit for widespread humanitarian aid access to Gaza in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and maintain global peace.

Chief Prosecutor Khan emphasized the urgency of allowing comprehensive humanitarian aid to Gaza, pointing to the potential classification of deliberately impeding aid materials to civilians in Gaza as a war crime under the Rome Statute of the ICC.

04:40 GMT - Hamas, Israeli troops battle in southern Gaza

Hamas resistance fighters have battled Israeli occupation troops in the heart of southern Gaza's main city where a top resistance leader is believed to be present, while Israel pressed its invasion across the besieged territory.

Israeli troops, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers rolled into Khan Yunis, forcing already displaced civilians to flee again, witnesses said.

Hamas said late on Wednesday on Telegram its fighters were engaged in fierce battles against the invading troops "on all axes of the incursion into the Gaza Strip" , as it claimed they destroyed two dozen military vehicles in Khan Yunis and Beit Lahia in the north of the territory.

03:50 GMT - Israel calls Antonio Guterres' tenure 'danger to world peace'

Israel's hardline Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has said the UN chief's tenure is "a danger to world peace", saying his calls for a ceasefire in Israel's war on besieged Gaza constitute "support for Hamas".

"His [Antonio Guterres] request to activate Article 99 and the call for a ceasefire in Gaza constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organisation and an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies and the rape of women," Cohen said in a tweet.

"Anyone who supports world peace must support the liberation of Gaza from Hamas," he added.

03:26 GMT - Israel approves 'minimal' fuel increase to Gaza

Israel has approved a "minimal" increase in fuel supplies to besieged Gaza in what it says is an attempt to prevent a "humanitarian collapse", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.

A "minimal supplement of fuel — necessary to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics" had been approved to enter "into the southern Gaza Strip", Netanyahu's office wrote on X, formerly Twitter, adding that the "minimal amount" would be reconsidered "from time to time by the War Cabinet."

03:00 GMT - Arab countries seek ceasefire in new UN push

Arab states have sought to leverage UN chief Article 99 activation to push the Security Council to call for a ceasefire within days.

The United Arab Emirates gave the council a brief draft resolution, seen by the Reuters news agency, that would act on the letter from Guterres by demanding an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in Israel's war on Gaza.

Diplomats said the UAE aims to put the text to a vote on Friday when the council is due to be briefed by Guterres on Gaza. To be adopted, a resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, France or Britain.

For our live updates from Wednesday (December 6), click here.

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TRT Afrika and agencies