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Israel-Palestine live: Biden urges Egypt, Qatar to press Hamas for hostage deal

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Israel-Palestine live: Biden urges Egypt, Qatar to press Hamas for hostage deal
Appeal came day after Biden told Netanyahu to intensify ceasefire efforts
Key Points
Israeli military sacks two officers for roles in the aid convoy strike
UK civil servants overseeing arms sales to Israel demand to stop work
Guterres: 'nothing can justify' collective punishment of Palestinians
A boy clears rubble from atop a heavily damaged vehicle outside a destroyed building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 5, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP

Live Updates

1 week ago

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1 week ago

Israel launched air strikes on Lebanon's Bekaa early on Sunday, two Lebanese security sources told Reuters, a few hours after the downing of an Israeli drone over Lebanon.

Lebanon's armed group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for downing the drone in a statement.

1 week ago

Good evening Middle East Eye readers.

Our live coverage of Israel's assault on Gaza will shortly be closing for the evening.

Here are the key developments from the day that marked six months since the conflict began:

Israel has now killed at least 33,137 people in the Gaza Strip and wounded at least 75,815 since the war on the Strip began, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The toll included at least 46 people killed and 65 injured in the last 24 hours.

A Hamas delegation headed by the group's deputy chief in Gaza, Khalil Al-Hayya, will go to Cairo on 7 April for Gaza ceasefire talks, the group said in a statement on Saturday. US CIA Director Bill Burns arrived in Cairo on Saturday evening to attend Sunday's talks. The Qatari foreign minister and an Israeli delegation were expected to take part in the talks as well.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has escalated into a “betrayal of humanity”, the UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, said on Saturday. "It is not enough for six months of war to be a moment of remembrance and mourning," Griffiths posted on X. "It must also spur a collective determination that there be a reckoning for this betrayal of humanity."

Iran on Saturday again threatened retaliation for the deaths of seven Revolutionary Guards in a strike on Damascus, with the army chief saying his country’s enemies would “regret” the killings. Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri said Iran’s response “will be carried out at the right time, with the necessary precision and planning, and with maximum damage to the enemy so that they regret their action”.

The Israeli army said on Saturday that it had recovered the body of a hostage, Elad Katzir, abducted by Palestinian militants during the 7 October attack.

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Saturday as Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza reaches its half-year mark. Organisers said 100,000 people had attended.

1 week ago

A Hamas delegation headed by the group's deputy chief in Gaza, Khalil Al-Hayya, will go to Cairo on 7 April for Gaza ceasefire talks, in response to an invitation extended by Egyptian mediators, the group said in a statement on Saturday.

US CIA Director Bill Burns arrived in Cairo on Saturday evening to attend Sunday's talks, sources at Cairo airport told Reuters. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and an Israeli delegation were expected to take part in the talks as well, Egypt's Al Qahera news reported on Saturday.

Hamas reiterated its demands issued in a 14 March proposal prior to a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip that was passed on 25 March.

The demands include a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, a return of the displaced, and a "serious" exchange deal of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli hostages being held in Gaza, the statement said.

1 week ago

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday as Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza reaches its half-year mark.

Organisers said about 100,000 people converged at a Tel Aviv crossroads renamed "Democracy Square" since mass protests against controversial judicial reforms last year.

Chanting "elections now", protesters called for his resignation as the war in Gaza enters its seventh month on Sunday, AFP correspondents reported.

Israelis protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government in Tel Aviv, 6 April 2024 (Jack Guez/AFP)
Israelis protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government in Tel Aviv, 6 April 2024 (Jack Guez/AFP)

Rallies were also held in other cities, with Israel's opposition leader Yair Lapid taking part in one in Kfar Saba ahead of his departure for talks in Washington.

"They haven't learnt anything, they haven't changed," he said at that rally. "Until we send them home, they won't give this country a chance to move forward."

Israeli media said clashes had broken out between protesters and police at the Tel Aviv rally and police said one protester had been arrested.

Later, the protesters in Tel Aviv were joined by families of Gaza hostages and their supporters.

1 week ago

The European Union's naval mission in the southern Red Sea said on Saturday that it had intercepted a Houthi missile to protect merchant ships.

The EU's mission, known as Aspides, said in a press release that the German frigate Hessen had intercepted a missile attack from Houthi-controlled territories.

"The action performed by Hessen was effective, avoiding any damage to seafarers and merchant shipping," it added.

Aspides was launched in February to help protect the key maritime trade route from drone and missile attacks by Yemen's Houthi militia, who say they are retaliating against Israel's war on Gaza.

1 week ago

The United Nations under-secretary for humanitarian affairs said the ending of the war on Gaza was long overdue. 

"It is not enough for six months of war to be a moment of remembrance and mourning," said Martin Griffiths on X.

"It must also spur a collective determination that there be a reckoning for this betrayal of humanity."

1 week ago

Hamas confirmed that it plans to send a delegation to Cairo for emergency talks.

A source from Hamas told Al Jazeera that Ismail Haniyeh and negotiators would resume talks in Cairo.

The source added that Haniyeh told mediators that negotiations would start on the basis of a permanent ceasefire. 

US and Israeli officials are also going to Cairo to attend talks after Israel faced international condemnation for killing seven foreign nationals delivering aid in Gaza.

1 week ago

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said Israel had killed at least 33,137 people in the Gaza Strip.

The toll includes at least 46 people killed in the last 24 hours, adding that at least 75,815 were wounded since the war on the strip began. 

1 week ago

Jordan has accused Hamas of leading pro-Palestine protests outside the Israeli embassy in Amman as thousands gather daily to demand an end to normalisation with Israel. 

MEE's Mohammed Ersan reports that Jordanian security have already detained hundreds of political activists since October 7.

The protests have gathered pace even though the embassy has no diplomatic mission, following the departure of Israel's ambassador in October and Jordan's recalling of its ambassador in protest of the Israeli war on Gaza.

Ersan notes that Jordanian authorities have been caught off guard by the size of the Ramadan protests, which average between 6,000 to 10,000 participants. 

READ MORE: Jordan failed to stop pro-Palestine protests. Now it's accusing Hamas of leading them

Thousand gather daily in Amman to demand an end to normalisation with Israel
Thousand gather daily in Amman to demand an end to normalisation with Israel (AFP)

1 week ago

Good evening Middle East Eye readers,

The UN's Palestinian refugee agency, Unrwa, has said that 62 percent of all homes in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed.

"Over 75 percent of the population have been displaced - the majority multiple times. When will it end?" the agency asked on X.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society has said that 200 Palestinian children, including 23 from Gaza, are being held in Israeli prisons.

In other developments:

  • One Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces during their raid on the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem, in the occupied West Bank.
  • 28 Israeli embassies across the world will be closed today amid fears of an Iranian reprisal attack following the deadly Israeli strike on the country's consulate in Syria earlier this week.
  • Around 120,000 worshippers prayed in Al-Aqsa Mosque on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
  • A ground of laywers is demanding that Germany stop arms sales to Israel arguing that it has "a constitutional responsibility to protect human life" and that arms exports to Israel "are in violation of international law."
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Elliott Gould, Chloe Fineman, and over 150 Jewish artists have endorsed an open letter backing Jonathan Glazer's speech at the Oscars.
  • The United States does not intend to carry out an independent investigation into the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian staff, John Kirby, the spokesperson for White House national security, said on Friday.
1 week ago

On Friday, President Joe Biden reached out to the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, urging them to encourage Hamas to negotiate a hostage agreement with Israel, a senior administration official revealed to the Associated Press.

This appeal came one day after Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intensify efforts to achieve a ceasefire in the war in Gaza.

The official mentioned that Biden's national security advisor is scheduled to meet on Monday with relatives of some of the estimated 100 hostages thought to still be in Gaza.

The dispatch of letters to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, coincides with President Biden sending CIA director Bill Burns to Cairo for discussions this weekend focused on the hostage situation.

1 week ago

The United States does not intend to carry out an independent investigation into the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian staff, John Kirby, the spokesperson for White House national security, said on Friday.

Kirby told the press that during their phone conversation on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provided President Joe Biden with an overview of Israel's investigation findings regarding the incident.

1 week ago

On Friday, British Foreign Minister David Cameron said that significant reforms by Israel are necessary to guarantee the safety of aid workers, following the deaths of seven humanitarian staff this week, including three British nationals.

"It's clear major reform of Israel's deconfliction mechanism is badly needed to ensure the safety of aid workers," Cameron said on social media platform X.

1 week ago

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said on Friday that Israel's move to allow new humanitarian aid corridors into Gaza will be insufficient to prevent starvation in the region.

"Following widespread condemnation of the killing of 7 @WCKitchen staffers by IDF and mounting international pressure, the Israeli gov will open some corridors for humanitarian aid. It's not enough to prevent starvation in #Gaza," wrote Borrell on X.

"The binding UN Security Council Resolution 2728 must be implemented. Now." he added.

The UN Security Council resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan and also calls for ensuring humanitarian access to Gaza.