Israel-Gaza war live: Hamas ‘rejects’ any military presence in Gaza as aid begins to arrive along US-made pier | Israel-Gaza war

Hamas says it rejects any military presence on Palestinian land

Hamas issued a statement on Friday saying the US-built pier off the Gaza Strip is no alternative to opening all land crossings under Palestinian supervision, adding that they reject any military presence on Palestinian land.

Trucks carrying badly needed aid for the Gaza Strip started rolling across a newly built US pier and into Gaza for the first time.

Friday’s shipment is the first in an operation that US military officials anticipate could scale up to 150 truckloads a day, reports the Associated Press (AP).

It comes as Israeli restrictions on border crossings and heavy fighting hindered the delivery of food and other supplies seven months into the Israel-Hamas war.

But the US and aid groups warn that the floating pier project is not a substitute for land deliveries that could bring in all the food, water and fuel needed in Gaza.

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Key events

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that new divisions have emerged among Israel’s leaders over postwar Gaza’s governance, with an unexpected Hamas fightback in parts of the Palestinian territory piling pressure on prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu came under personal attack from Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant for failing to rule out an Israeli government in Gaza after the war.

According to AFP, the Israeli premier’s outright rejection of postwar Palestinian leadership in Gaza has broken a rift among top politicians wide open and frustrated relations with top ally the US.

AFP spoke to experts who said that the lack of clarity only serves to benefit Hamas, whose leader has insisted no new authority can be established in the territory without its involvement.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war planning has come under recent attack from officials, according to Israeli media reports. Photograph: Gil Cohen-Magen/AP

“Without an alternative to fill the vacuum, Hamas will continue to grow,” International Crisis Group analyst Mairav Zonszein told AFP.

Emmanuel Navon, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University, echoed this sentiment. Navon told AFP: “If only Hamas is left in Gaza, of course they are going to appear here and there and the Israeli army will be forced to chase them around. Either you establish an Israeli military government or an Arab-led government.”

Gallant said in a televised address on Wednesday: “I call on prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a decision and declare that Israel will not establish civilian control over the Gaza Strip.”

Netanyahu’s war planning also came under recent attack by army chief Herzi Halevi as well as top Shin Bet security agency officials, according to Israeli media reports.

Washington has previously called for a “revitalised” form of the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza after the war, but Netanyahu has rejected any role for the Palestinian Authority in postwar Gaza. Speaking on Thursday, Netanyahu said that it “supports terror, educates terror, finances terror”.

With Gallant’s criticism of Netanyahu’s failure to plan for the day after in terms of governing #Gaza, some real fissures are beginning to emerge in the Israeli war cabinet. I’m not sure I know of many people, including the most ardent 🇮🇱 supporters, who have confidence in Bibi.

— Colin P. Clarke (@ColinPClarke) May 15, 2024

“With Gallant’s criticism of Netanyahu’s failure to plan for the day after in terms of governing Gaza, some real fissures are beginning to emerge in the Israeli war cabinet,” Colin P Clarke, director of policy and research at the Soufan Group thinktank, wrote on X.

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Julian Borger

Julian Borger

In case you missed it last night, humanitarian assistance has begun to arrive in Gaza along a US-made pier, but the US aid chief said the new sea corridor could not be a substitute for land crossings, and warned that deliveries of food and fuel entering Gaza had slowed to “dangerously low levels”.

The White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, confirmed on Friday that truckloads of humanitarian aid, including food from the United Arab Emirates, sent by ship from Cyprus, had been unloaded on the Gaza coast and handed over to the control of the UN.

Kirby told reporters at a White House briefing: “Hopefully by the time we’re done here, some of that stuff will actually be in the mouths of some hungry people.”

The Associated Press, however, quoted an unnamed UN official as saying distribution of the shipment had not begun as of Friday afternoon.

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Here are some of the latest images from Jenin in the occupied West Bank after an Israeli airstrike that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said killed a senior Palestinian militant.

A cat looks on near a damaged building after an Israeli airstrike on Jenin in the occupied West Bank, on Saturday. Photograph: Raneen Sawafta/Reuters
Palestinian boys walk near a damaged building in Jenin on Saturday. Photograph: Raneen Sawafta/Reuters
Palestinians inspect damage in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike on Jenin camp in the occupied West Bank. Photograph: Raneen Sawafta/Reuters
The funeral of a Palestinian militant, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Jenin, takes place on Saturday. Photograph: Raneen Sawafta/Reuters
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Austria to resume aid to UN agency for Palestinians

Austria said on Saturday it will restore its funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa) after suspending it over allegations that staff were involved in the 7 October Hamas attacks, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Israel alleged in January that some Unrwa employees may have participated in the Hamas attacks on 7 October and in the weeks that followed, numerous donor states, including Austria, suspended or paused $450m in funding.

Many donor countries, including Germany, Sweden, Canada and Japan, had since resumed funding.

“After analysing the action plan in detail” submitted by Unrwa “to improve the functioning of the organisation”, Austria has decided to “release the funds,” its foreign ministry said in a statement, reports AFP.

A total of €3.4m ($3.7m) in funds have been budgeted for 2024, and the first payment is expected to be made in the summer, the statement said.

“Some of the Austrian funds will be used in the future to improve internal control mechanisms at Unrwa,” it added.

According to AFP, Austria said it will “closely monitor” the implementation of the action plan with other international partners, noting that “a lot of trust had been squandered”.

Austria said it has substantially increased support for the Palestinian population in Gaza and the region since 7 October, making €32m($34.8m) in humanitarian aid available to other international aid organisations.

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One person has been killed and other passengers have been severely injured after a car was struck by a drone in the western part of Rafah, reports Al Jazeera correspondent Hani Mahmoud.

Mahmoud, who is reporting from Deir el-Balah, said the car was on the way to central Gaza on the coastal road.

The Guardian has been unable to independently verify the report.

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At least 35,386 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October, says health ministry

At least 35,386 Palestinians have been killed and 79,366 have been wounded in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since 7 October, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The Hamas-run health ministry does not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants.

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South Africa’s ICJ genocide case aimed at defending Hamas, Israel claims

Emma Graham-Harrison

Emma Graham-Harrison

Israel on Friday attacked South Africa’s case against it in the international court of justice as an “obscene exploitation” of the genocide convention, claiming it aimed not to protect Palestinian civilians but to defend Hamas militants.

Israel’s representatives told the court their country was fighting a war of self-defence it “did not want and did not start”. They said Israel had made “extraordinary” efforts to protect civilians, and had complied with orders from the court to let more aid into Gaza.

“There is a tragic conflict going on, but no genocide,” Israel’s justice ministry official, Gilad Noam, told the court. He asked judges to throw out South Africa’s request that the court order a halt to the military offensive in Rafah and impose a ceasefire across Gaza.

The hearing in The Hague came as all G7 countries apart from the US sent a joint letter urging Israel to comply with international law in Gaza and address the devastating humanitarian crisis there, Reuters reported. Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland also signed.

You can read more of the report by Emma Graham-Harrison here:

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Julian Borger

Julian Borger

Julian Borger is the Guardian’s world affairs editor based in Washington.

Humanitarian assistance has begun to arrive in Gaza along a US-made pier, but the US aid chief said the new sea corridor could not be a substitute for land crossings, and warned that deliveries of food and fuel entering Gaza had slowed to “dangerously low levels”.

The White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, confirmed on Friday that truckloads of humanitarian aid, including food from the United Arab Emirates, sent by ship from Cyprus, had been unloaded on the Gaza coast and handed over to the control of the UN.

Kirby told reporters at a White House briefing: “Hopefully by the time we’re done here, some of that stuff will actually be in the mouths of some hungry people.”

The Associated Press, however, quoted an unnamed UN official as saying distribution of the shipment had not begun as of Friday afternoon.

The UK said the aid delivery unloaded on Friday also included 8,400 kits to provide temporary shelter made of plastic sheeting.

You can read more of Julian Borger’s report here:

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Here are some of the latest images on the newswires:

Humanitarian aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip via the US temporary, floating pier. Photograph: Israeli Army/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke rises from the northern part of Nuseirat refugee camp after an attack by the Israeli army on Friday in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images
Passersby observe the photos of hostages, held in the Gaza Strip, that are on the walls of a plaza known as Hostages Square in Tel Aviv. Photograph: Oded Balilty/AP
A food aid truck sits near the entrance to the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Friday. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
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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, south-east and inside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, reports Reuters.

More than 630,000 people have fled Rafah since the offensive began on 6 May, says Unrwa. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa), said more than 630,000 people had fled Rafah since the offensive began on 6 May.

“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 Urwa, told Reuters on Friday by telephone from Rafah, where he said it was eerily quiet.

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British security firm Ambrey said on Saturday it had received information that a Panama-flagged crude oil tanker had been attacked approximately 10 nautical miles southwest of Yemen’s Mokha.

According to Reuters, Ambrey said a radio communication indicated the vessel was hit by a missile and that there was a fire onboard. It did not provide details of the communication.

Ambrey later added that the tanker had received assistance and one of its steering units was reportedly functional. It did not indicate who provided the assistance.

Vessels in the vicinity were advised to exercise caution and report any suspicious activity, Ambrey added in an advisory note.

Earlier on Saturday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said a vessel in the Red Sea was struck by an unknown object and sustained slight damage.

“The vessel and crew are safe and continuing to its next port of call,” UKMTO said in an advisory note, adding the incident occurred 76 nautical miles northwest of Yemen’s Hodeidah.

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Israel recovers bodies of three hostages taken by Hamas, including Shani Louk

The bodies of three hostages kidnapped by Hamas, including the German-Israeli Shani Louk, have been retrieved from Gaza by the Israeli military, it announced.

The other two hostages were identified as Amit Buskila, 28, and Itzhak Gelerenter, 56, according to the military spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, who said the three victims were taken to Gaza after being killed by Hamas at the Nova music festival.

L-R: Itzhak Gelerenter, Shani Louk and Amit Buskila. The Israeli military said they were taken to Gaza after being killed at the Nova music festival. Photograph: AP

Footage of what appeared to be the body of Louk, 22, on the back of a pickup truck on the streets of Gaza was one of the first images to surface after 7 October, as the scale of the horror of the attacks became clear.

The young woman was initially believed to have been kidnapped alive during Hamas’s assault in Re’im. However, on 30 October, Louk’s sister Adi confirmed Shani had died, probably during the attack, after the discovery of human remains that suggested fatal injuries.

The Israeli military did not give immediate details on where the bodies were found.

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Hamas says it rejects any military presence on Palestinian land

Hamas issued a statement on Friday saying the US-built pier off the Gaza Strip is no alternative to opening all land crossings under Palestinian supervision, adding that they reject any military presence on Palestinian land.

Trucks carrying badly needed aid for the Gaza Strip started rolling across a newly built US pier and into Gaza for the first time.

Friday’s shipment is the first in an operation that US military officials anticipate could scale up to 150 truckloads a day, reports the Associated Press (AP).

It comes as Israeli restrictions on border crossings and heavy fighting hindered the delivery of food and other supplies seven months into the Israel-Hamas war.

But the US and aid groups warn that the floating pier project is not a substitute for land deliveries that could bring in all the food, water and fuel needed in Gaza.

Share

Humanitarian assistance has begun to arrive in Gaza along a US-made pier, but the US aid chief said the new sea corridor could not be a substitute for land crossings, and warned that deliveries of food and fuel entering Gaza had slowed.

This video explainer runs through the latest updates.

Humanitarian aid reaches Gaza via new US pier – video

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Israeli forces say they have killed senior Palestinian militant in Jenin

The Israeli military said on Saturday it killed a senior Palestinian militant during an airstrike on an “operations centre” in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

“A number of significant terrorists were inside the compound,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement posted to Telegram, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The IDF 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 injured and receiving hospital treatment as a result of Israel’s operation in Jenin on Friday night, reports AFP.

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Opening summary

It has gone 10am in Gaza and Tel Aviv. This is our latest Guardian live blog on the Israel-Gaza war and the wider Middle East crisis.

Hamas has said it rejects any military presence on Palestinian land, adding that a US-built pier off the coast of Gaza is no alternative to opening all land crossings under Palestinian supervision.

As fighting in the north of Gaza reportedly ramped up, the US military said trucks started moving aid ashore from the temporary pier, the first to reach Gaza 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.

More on that in a moment, but first here is a summary of the latest developments:

  • The bodies of three hostages kidnapped by Hamas, including the German-Israeli Shani Louk, have been retrieved from Gaza by the Israeli military. The other two hostages were identified as Amit Buskila, 28, and Itzhak Gelerenter, 56, according to military spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, who said the three victims were taken to Gaza after being killed by Hamas at the Nova music festival. Footage of what appeared to be the body of Louk, 22, on the back of a pickup truck on the streets of Gaza was one of the first images to surface after 7 October, as the scale of the horror of the attacks became clear.

  • Israel on Friday defended its Gaza offensive at the international court of justice (ICJ) after South Africa asked judges to order it to halt operations in Rafah and completely withdraw from the Palestinian territory. Israeli justice ministry official Gilad Noam called South Africa’s case, which accuses Israel of violating the genocide convention, “completely divorced from facts and circumstances”.

  • Noam told the ICJ hearing that South Africa’s charge of genocide was “an obscene exploitation of the most sacred convention”, referring to the international treaty banning genocide, agreed after the Holocaust in the second world war. Noam said that Israel’s military operations were not aimed at civilians, but at Hamas terrorists using Rafah as a stronghold, who have tunnel systems which could be used to smuggle hostages and militants out of Gaza.

  • Hearings at the ICJ were briefly interrupted on Friday by a protester who called out “liars” as an Israeli official was presenting arguments. Reuters reported that a woman was seen being removed by court security guards.

  • 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.

  • Israeli airstrikes on Friday hit an area of southern Lebanon far from the border killing an adult and two children, according to Lebanese official media. Hezbollah announced a fighter from Najjariyeh had died, while Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said two Syrian children were killed in the Najjariyeh strike, identifying them as Osama and Hani al-Khaled.

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