The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has said that its training centre in Khan Younis in southern Gaza has been besieged for five days straight, resulting in repeated fatalities and injuries.
“This shelter has been impacted directly [and] indirectly by military activity 22 times since the war began,” it wrote in a statement.
The statement said at least 13 people were killed and 56 people were injured on Wednesday when a building housing 800 displaced Palestinians was hit by “direct fire”. The attack, which UNRWA chief Thomas White has attributed to Israeli tank rounds, was globally condemned.
The Israeli military has said it is investigating the incident but added that it has “currently ruled out” that Israeli aircraft or artillery were responsible.
Israeli assaults on Gaza leave 14 Palestinians dead, dozens wounded
Israeli forces launched attacks on central parts of Gaza on Friday, killing 14 Palestinians and wounding many others.
According to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Israel continued its attacks on various points in Gaza from the air and ground.
In an attack by Israeli warplanes on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, at least 11 Palestinians were killed and many others were injured.
Separately, three Palestinians were killed, including a young girl, and several others were wounded in an attack on a house in the town of Az Zawayda in central Gaza.
Israeli artillery units and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also launched intensive attacks on the surroundings of the Nasir Medical Complex in Khan Younis city in southern Gaza.
US, Israel seal huge arms deal as Tel Aviv rains bombs on Gaza
The US and Israel have concluded a massive arms deal that includes the supply of F-35 and F-15 fighter jets to Tel Aviv, the Hebrew Channel 12 reported.
The channel cited officials from the Israeli Defence Ministry who participated in the deal as saying an agreement has been reached between the US and Israel in which the Israeli army will be supplied with drones and thousands of rounds of ammunition in the coming days.
According to the officials, the deal includes supplying the Israeli army with a large number of F-35 and F15 fighter aircraft as well as Apache helicopters. The officials said the deal is of an exceptional size as Israeli war continues in Gaza and fighting in the north with the Lebanese Hezbollah group escalates.
They said Israel requested priority from the Americans for the supplies, given the development of the war in Gaza. Israel will be the first country to receive the advanced F-35 aircraft manufactured by Boeing.
The US has declared its support for Israel since the beginning of the war in Gaza on October 7 last year. US never holds back in arming Israel, regardless of alarming Gaza civilian casualties.
The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military dole. Biden has asked Congress to approve an additional $14 billion.
Al-Qassam Brigades say they killed 53 Israeli soldiers, destroyed 68 military vehicles in week
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, has announced that more than 50 Israeli soldiers were killed in operations in Gaza last week.
Spokesman Abu Ubaida said in a release that their fighters also managed “to destroy 68 military vehicles, either fully or partially,” during the period.
He said Al-Qassam fighters “confirmed that they eliminated 53 Zionist soldiers at point-blank range, sniped 9 soldiers, and caused dozens of soldiers to fall between dead and wounded in 57 different military missions,” without specifying the locations.
The statement highlighted the targeting of “Israeli forces advancing with shells, anti-fortification and personnel mines and heavy weapons, as well as the demolition of four houses and the detonation of tunnel entrances and a minefield.”
Abu Ubaida said Al-Qassam fighters also downed “two Skylark reconnaissance drones and seized eight drones, including two suicide drones.”
He pointed out that the fighters “shelled [Israeli] military concentrations with mortar and short-range rocket shells in all combat axes, launching missile barrages of various ranges into the Israeli entity.”
US, South Africa discuss Gaza war ahead of ICJ ruling
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor about the war in Gaza, a day ahead of a ruling at the World Court on urgent measures in a case in which Israel is accused of genocide.
In a call, Blinken reaffirmed US support “for Israel’s right to ensure the terrorist attacks of October 7 can never be repeated,” the US State Department said in a statement.
Blinken and Pandor also discussed the need to protect civilian lives in Gaza, and ensure regional peace that “advances the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” according to the State Department. It a dded the two also reaffirmed US-South Africa bilateral ties.
Minneapolis is latest city council to pass Gaza truce resolution
A non-binding resolution calling for a ceaseFire in Gaza has been passed by the Minneapolis City Council.
Mayor Jacob Frey, who is Jewish, tried unsuccessfully to persuade council members to soften it, saying the wording tilted too heavily against Israel. The mayor, a Democrat, is now considering whether to veto it.
Minneapolis is the latest of dozens of US cities to pass calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors did so on January 9, and Mayor London Breed said last week that she would not veto it.
Israel kills three Palestinians, including young girl
Israel has launched an air strike on a residence in the Al Zawaida town in besieged Gaza, killing three Palestinians, including one young girl, WAFA news agency reported.
Simultaneously, Israeli warplanes bombed the neighbourhood of Al Hassayna west of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central province of besieged Gaza, WAFA said.
The Israeli forces also continued their intensive shelling of various areas within the blockaded enclave, with the southern province of Khan Younis being subjected to the most intense series of air raids and artillery bombardment, the Palestinian news agency said.
US sets up channel with Israel seeking answers on civilian casualties
The United States has created a channel with Israel to discuss concerns over Israeli indiscriminate bombardment and killing in besieged Gaza, two US officials with knowledge told the Reuters news agency.
The channel comes as a response to the mounting pressure on the Biden administration over the steep toll on Palestinian civilians of Israel against besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
It also comes as Washington strikes a massive weapons deal with Israel, despite Tel Aviv exhausting US-supplied weapons on besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
France vows to respect ICJ decision in genocide case against Israel
France has pledged to abide by the forthcoming decision of the International Court of Justice [ICJ] in the genocide case brought by South Africa against Israel.
Speaking at the Foreign Ministry’s weekly press briefing, spokesperson Christophe Lemoine addressed various questions, shedding light on France’s stance on international affairs.
Lemoine reiterated France’s longstanding support for the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for statehood, affirming the nation’s dedication to advocating a two-state solution in the troubled region.
42% drop in Suez traffic following Houthi attacks
The volume of commercial traffic passing through Egypt’s Suez Canal has fallen more than 40 percent in the last two months after attacks by Yemen’s Houthi group, according to the United Nations, raising concerns for global trade.
“We are very concerned that the attacks on Red Sea shipping are adding tensions to global trade, exacerbating [existing] trade disruptions due to geopolitics and climate change,” UN Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD] head Jan Hoffman told reporters.
According to the UNCTAD, ships diverting from the Red Sea — sailing instead around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope — has led to a 42 percent drop in transit through the Suez Canal in the last two months.
Palestinian women prisoners subjected to ‘physical abuse’, ‘humiliation’
The Palestinian Prisoners Club said it had obtained testimonies confirming that Palestinian women prisoners were subjected to brutal beatings, humiliation and strip searches during their transfer to Hasharon prison in northern Israel.
According to the testimony of one of the prisoners, she said: “Upon our arrival, other prisoners and I were placed in a cell filled with water, and it had a toilet that was not suitable for use. Then we were transferred to another cell.”
“We were subjected to strip searches by women guards, and one of the guards hit me in my face after I had already been brutally beaten during my arrest.”
In another testimony, a prisoner said: “Three women guards treated me very brutally and humiliatingly. They insulted me with the worst words all the time without stopping, forced me to walk while my limbs were restrained and with a blindfold over my eyes, and during my transfer, one woman guard kept saying, ‘This is not your country. Leave.'”
“A group of women prisoners detained on the same night underwent a strip search upon entering a cell, and after being taken out one by one, they tied our hands and legs,” she added.
According to a series of testimonies documented by the Palestinian Prisoners Club, “In the prison corridor, there is a cell with an open window, and the cold air is unbearable, especially at night. The mattresses and blankets are not suitable for use because they are dirty and have a very foul odour, and anyone standing at the cell door can see those using the bathroom.”