Smoke from bombardment billows in the background as displaced Palestinians flee from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Jan. 30, 2024. (Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP)


Red Crescent says al-Amal hospital under attack, Israel denies: Day 116 of the Hamas-Israel war

What you need to know

Netanyahu said Israel will not withdraw troops from Gaza or exchange thousands of prisoners with Hamas.

Israel warns that soldiers stationed in Gaza are "moving up to the north (of the country) and preparing for what comes next," on the border with Lebanon.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is set to visit Cairo for discussions of a cease-fire proposal.

At least 128 killed last night in fighting in Khan Younis.

Blinken: "Very important and productive work has been done" towards a truce.

22:04 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage from day 116 of the Hamas-Israel war.

We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis, right here at L'Orient Today.

21:56 Beirut Time

(Credit: Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters)

The Pentagon declined to comment on a recent statement by Kataib Hezbollah in which the group announced it would suspend its attacks against US troops in the region, saying only "actions speak louder than words," Reuters reports.

Kataib Hezbollah is an elite Iraqi armed faction close to Iran that has claimed at least 150 attacks on US military positions since the war in Gaza began.

👉 Read the full report here.

21:36 Beirut Time

Saleem Abu Rass, the Palestine Red Crescent Society's relief coordinator, reiterated earlier reports that Israeli military tanks have raided the courtyard of al-Amal Hospital and ordered people to evacuate the medical facility immediately.

“The situation is extremely difficult. People are really afraid. There is nowhere to go,” he said on his Instagram account, as reported by Al Jazeera. “The shelling has not stopped since the morning. And Israeli forces have burned down tents for the displaced that were erected previously in the hospital’s backyard.”

Reports of the raid first came several hours ago in a post on the PRCS' official X account. The Israeli army then issued a statement denying that report. The Israeli army has raided several hospitals in the Gaza Strip, notably al-Shifa Hospital, and the Indonesian Hospital, both in northern Gaza, and al-Khair Hospital, west of Khan Younis.

21:09 Beirut Time

Here are updates from southern Lebanon over the past hour:

• Hezbollah announced its fighters targeted the northern Israeli town of Metula, located opposite the southern Lebanese town of Khiam, at 8:10 p.m.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the southern Lebanese town of Khiam, Marjayoun district, local residents told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the south.

21:03 Beirut Time

Hind Hamadeh, a six-year-old Palestinian in Gaza, and her 15-year-old sister, Layan, reached out for help after the Israeli military targeted the car they were in, in Gaza City, central Gaza.

In a recording of the phone call between the sisters and a Palestine Red Crescent (PRCS) operator, gunshots are heard amid Layan's screams, followed by silence. The PRCS stated, “Layan was killed, and six-year-old Hind remained trapped inside the car surrounded by occupation tanks and soldiers,” in a post on X.

An ambulance team was dispatched to the scene, but their whereabouts, along with those of Hind, are currently unknown, as reported by the Red Crescent. The aid organization said it had lost contact with their team for 24 hours. "Six-year-old Hind was trapped by Israeli tanks inside a vehicle, and the occupation soldiers fired at it, resulting in the killing of everyone inside, including four children, while Hind is the sole survivor."

20:54 Beirut Time

Canada announced that it will provide a new CAD$40 million (USD$29.8 million) in funding to provide food, water, and other humanitarian assistance to Gaza, Reuters reports, after it paused its funding to the UN Palestinian aid agency (UNRWA) in the region.

The bulk of the funds will be allocated to international agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

The announcement comes days after Canada and several other countries paused funding to UNRWA following allegations by Israel that some of its staff were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.

20:39 Beirut Time

(Credit: Michael M. Santiago/AFP)

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the United Nations that the US has reached out to the Israeli government to seek more information about its allegations against UN Palestinian aid agency, UNRWA, Reuters reports.

As of yesterday, according to Al Jazeera, 13 major donors have suspended funding to UNRWA: The US, Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Japan, Austria and Romania.

Bloomberg quoted Thomas-Greenfield as telling reporters that “UNRWA plays a critical role in providing life-saving assistance to Palestinians, including essential food, and medicine and shelter," But, she said, “we need to see fundamental changes before we can resume providing funding directly to UNRWA.”

The six-page dossier, seen by Reuters, alleges that some 190 UNRWA employees, including teachers, have doubled as Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants. It has names and pictures for 11 of them. The United Nations has not formally received a copy of the dossier, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

👉 Read more about the dossier here.

19:26 Beirut Time

Here's a security update from the last hour in southern Lebanon:

• Hezbollah announced that its fighters targeted a gathering of Israeli soldiers located in the Israeli "Hadab Aita" position, facing the Lebanese southern town of Aita al-Shaab, Bint Jbeil district, at 6:04 p.m.

• Israeli army aircraft targeted the outskirts of the town of Khiam, Marjayoun district, with two missiles, local residents say. A house was destroyed by the airstrike, but no casualties have been reported. Another targeted house caught fire, and civil defense teams have been dispatched to extinguish the fire. No injuries have been reported in this incident either.

19:17 Beirut Time

Israel claims it has destroyed some Hamas tunnels in Gaza by flooding them with seawater, according to a statement from the military, cited by Reuters.

"During the war, the [Israeli army] has implemented new capabilities to neutralize underground terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip by channeling large volumes of water into the tunnels," the statement reads.

Reports of the army's use of this strategy first surfaced in December. 👉 Read more here. 

18:34 Beirut Time

US President Joe Biden answers questions while departing the White House today in Washington, DC. (Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP)

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he has made up his mind on how to respond to a drone attack that killed US service members in Jordan, as he weighs punishing Iran-backed militias without triggering a wider war, according to a Reuters report.

Biden, speaking to reporters as he left the White House on a campaign trip to Florida, did not elaborate on his decision, which came after consultations with top advisers at the White House. He said the United States does not need a wider war in the Middle East, echoing comments from other officials today that the United States does not want a war with Iran.

Biden has been weighing his options and the expectation has been that there will be retaliatory strikes, but the timing of the response is unclear.

Three US service members were killed and at least 34 wounded in a drone attack by Iran-backed militants on US troops in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border, officials said on Sunday.

18:02 Beirut Time

Israeli forces have stormed the front courtyard of al-Amal Hospital and the Palestine Red Crescent Society headquarters in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, according to a statement from the PRCS on their official X account, saying PRCS teams and displaced individuals are in "severe danger."

The humanitarian organization says that "under threat of weapons, gunfire, and shelling ... Displaced individuals and PRCS teams are being demanded to evacuate." The attack also involves a disruption in communication via VHF (very high frequency) waves.

Earlier this afternoon, PRCS announced that one woman was killed and nine injured by shrapnel from fighting surrounding the buildings. A video showed displaced people sheltering inside a building while gunfire and fighting could be heard close by outside.

17:47 Beirut Time

A baby holds an Israeli flag as members of the Israeli settler community gather at a convention calling for Israel to rebuild settlements in the Gaza Strip and the northern part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in Jerusalem, Jan. 28, 2024. (Credit:

The UK has expressed its concern regarding a conference held in Jerusalem on Sunday called "Conference for the Victory of Israel – Settlement Brings Security: Returning to the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria," saying it is "alarmed" that Israeli ministers participated in the packed event, which called for Palestinians to be displaced from and Israelis to set up settlements in Gaza and areas of the occupied West Bank.

"The UK's position is clear: Gaza is occupied Palestinian territory and will be part of the future Palestinian state," reads a statement from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

"Settlements are illegal. No Palestinian should be threatened with forced displacement," it added.

👉 Read about the "Returning to Gaza" conference here.

17:07 Beirut Time

Armed supporters of Yemen's Houthi rebels attend a rally in solidarity with the Palestinian Hamas movement's armed resistance against Israel in the capital Sanaa on Jan. 29, 2024. (Credit: Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

Yemen’s Houthis are ready for a “long-term confrontation” with the US and Britain, commander of the Houthi forces Mohamed al-Atifi said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

“We are prepared for a long-term confrontation with the forces of tyranny. The Americans, the British, and those who coordinated with them must realize the power of the sovereign Yemeni decision and that there is no debate or dispute over it,” he says.

17:07 Beirut Time

Here are the latest security updates from southern Lebanon:

• Israeli artillery targeted the village of Aita al-Shaab, Bint Jbeil district, with three strikes, a security source told L’Orient Today. The Israeli army targeted the village earlier as well, destroying a house. No injuries have been reported.

• Israeli warplanes carried out several raids targeting an area between Beit Lif and Yater, Bint Jbeil district, and a house in Mais al-Jabal, Marjayoun district, a security source told our correspondent in the south.

16:57 Beirut Time

Hezbollah and the residents of Harouf, in Nabatieh district, held a funeral procession for party member Hussein Fadel Awada who was killed last night "on the path to Jerusalem," the words often used by Hezbollah to describe someone killed while fighting Israel.

Attendees of the procession were heard chanting "Death to Israel," according to our correspondent in the south, Muntasser Abdallah.

16:55 Beirut Time

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian believes the US "knows very well that the solution to ending the war and genocide in Gaza and the current crisis in the region is a political solution," according to a post shared on his official X account.

"Netanyahu is at the end of his criminal political career," Abdollahian also said.

16:48 Beirut Time

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad will not engage in any understandings regarding Israeli hostages without ensuring a comprehensive cease-fire and the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, the group's secretary general Ziad al-Nakhala said in a statement, Reuters reports.

16:37 Beirut Time

Fighting around al-Amal Hospital and the besieged Palestine Red Crescent Society headquarters in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, has killed one Palestinian woman and injured nine others, according to a statement from the PRCS.

The humanitarian organization reported that gunfire and shelling from Israeli tanks caused shrapnel to fall on the displaced people sheltering inside the two buildings. A video posted on the PRCS account on X shows people huddled together hiding from fighting heard just outside.

👉 Read about the situation at Gaza's Nasser Hospital here.

15:52 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel would not withdraw forces from the Gaza Strip nor would it free thousands of Palestinian prisoners, pushing back against media reports on some conditions of a possible truce deal with Hamas, Reuters reports.

In remarks aired by Israeli TV, Netanyahu added: "We will not end this war short of achieving all of its objectives. That means eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel."

15:47 Beirut Time

The military branch of the Islamic Jihad organization, al-Quds Brigades, declares that it successfully attacked two Israeli tanks and a military bulldozer in the southwestern vicinity of Khan Younis, according to a statement published through their Telegram channel.

They also announced having launched mortar shells at an assembly of Israeli soldiers and military vehicles located to the east of the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza.

The group stated that its forces are currently involved in intense confrontations with Israeli soldiers and vehicles in the western and southern areas of Gaza City.

15:43 Beirut Time

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to continue funding the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), calling Israeli allegations against the UN body a "distraction" from the ongoing onslaught in Gaza, according to Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency.

"The discussion right now is much of a distraction of what is going on every day, every hour, every minute in Gaza," WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told a UN press briefing in Geneva. "It's a distraction from close to 27,000 deaths as of now, out of which 70 percent are women and children."

14:44 Beirut Time

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid gave his green light for a potential hostage deal between Hamas and Israel.

"The government will be given a safety net for any deal that will return the hostages to their home," Lapid wrote on X.

It comes after Israel's National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir warned that a "Reckless deal = Government split," in a post on X.

14:35 Beirut Time

Here is what has been happening at the Lebanese-Israeli border during the past 1.5 hours:

- The Israeli army announced that a missile from Lebanon fell in an open field by the village of Arab al-Aramshe and that the army returned fire, according to Haaretz.

- Hezbollah announced that its sniper force targeted "Israeli spy equipment" facing the Lebanese village of Wazzani (Hasbaya) at 1:15 p.m.

14:12 Beirut Time

A video is being widely circulated of what appears to show CCTV footage of Israeli special forces, dressed as women and wearing fake beards, storming a hospital in Jenin, in the north of the occupied West Bank.

Israeli media, citing Shin Bet and Israeli police, report that the Israeli forces killed three men in the Ibn Sina hospital who, they claim, belonged to a Hamas cell – that was "preparing an attack."

In the video, you can see the Israeli unit comprised of at least seven people, dressed in disguise brandishing large rifles, while they enter the reception area.

You can read the full report here.

13:44 Beirut Time

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel for two days on Saturday, Haaretz reported citing sources in Jerusalem.

It comes amidst reports that Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh will visit Cairo to discuss the Paris proposal that would see a hostage deal in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners and a cease-fire.

Over the weekend CIA Director Bill Burns met his Israeli counterpart and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani to discuss the potential deal to put a pause to fighting.

13:43 Beirut Time

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has responded to reports that the Hamas leader will go to Cairo to discuss the Paris proposal on a potential hostage deal, in return for a cease-fire and Palestinian prisoner exchange.

In a post on X, he said, according to a translation by Haaretz: "Reckless deal = Government split."

13:41 Beirut Time

Some more details on the Paris proposal for a potential hostage deal:

The Jerusalem Post, citing senior Israeli and Qatari officials, is reporting that the plan could have three phases – though the details are still not fully developed, and are unconfirmed.

-⁠ ⁠First phase: about 35-40 women, children and the elderly being held hostage in Gaza would be released in return for a six-week cease-fire and the release of Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.

- ⁠Second phase: The release of men and soldiers being held.

- ⁠Third: The release of the bodies of those who have been kidnapped and then killed while in captivity.

13:23 Beirut Time

Around twenty international NGOs said they were "revolted" by the announcement by twelve countries that they were suspending their aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) while Gaza is experiencing a situation of "humanitarian catastrophe."

UNRWA is the “main provider of aid ” in Gaza and the region and ceasing funding “will impact the lifesaving assistance provided to more than two million civilians, more than half of whom are children, all of whom depend on [its] aid," point out 21 non-governmental organizations, including Oxfam, Médecins du Monde, Save the Children and the Danish Refugee Council, in a joint press release, relayed by AFP.

13:19 Beirut Time

The controversy surrounding UNRWA, some employees of which are accused by Israel of being involved in the massacres of Oct. 7, "distracts attention" from the humanitarian crisis and the nearly 27,000 deaths in Gaza, the World Health Organization (WHO) deplored on Tuesday cited by AFP.

“Criminal activities must never go unpunished. But the current discussion only distracts from what is really happening every day, every hour, every minute in Gaza,” a WHO spokesperson, Christian Lindmeier, said during a regular press briefing in Geneva. “Let’s not forget what the real problems are on the ground,” he added.

13:02 Beirut Time

Nearly 200 people took part in a demonstration in support of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, outside its headquarters in Beirut, reports our local reporter Zeina Antonios.

"Stopping funding for UNRWA threatens the future of Palestinian refugees," read some of the placards held up by the demonstrators. "We're here to support Gaza. If they open the borders, we'll go to Palestine," confided Malak, a refugee from the Bourj al-Barajneh camp, to our journalist.

UNRWA has been accused by Israel of involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Many countries, including the United States, have announced that they are suspending their funding to the UN agency in response to these accusations.

(Photo: Mohammad Yassine)

12:47 Beirut Time

The Gazan Ministry of Health announced a new toll of 26,751 people killed, mostly women, children and adolescents, in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war, according to AFP.

The ministry also reports 65,636 people injured in the enclave.

11:58 Beirut Time

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh says he will visit Cairo to discuss the Paris cease-fire proposal,  Reuters reports. He says the group is open to all ideas that will lead to an end to Israel's military offensive on Gaza – and for troops to fully withdraw – Haaretz adds.

It comes as CIA Director Bill Burns has been meeting the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, David Barnea and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani to discuss a potential deal to put a pause to fighting and to free the remaining hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

11:54 Beirut Time

Israel has handed over to the Palestinian authorities the bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza in recent weeks, health officials in the Palestinian enclave were quoted by Reuters as saying.

The bodies, which were in Israel, were handed over via the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing and will be buried in mass graves in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, the officials said. The Gaza Ministry of Health did not immediately say how many bodies had been handed over. Israel did not immediately comment on the handover.

11:41 Beirut Time

UK foreign secretary David Cameron has suggested Britain is ready to "bring forward" the moment when it formally recognizes a Palestinian state, according to BBC News.

Britain has long supported a two-state solution, where Israelis and Palestinians could live side by side in separate countries. But Cameron is suggesting Britain could give formal, diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state not as part of a final peace deal, but earlier, during the negotiations.

He also said the last 30 years had been a story of "failure" for Israel because it had failed to provide security to its citizens, and that only by recognizing this will there be peace and progress.

10:42 Beirut Time

Air defenses "failed to stop" an attack on a US military outpost in Jordan that killed three American soldiers – two US officials have told the New York Times. They say that the system "mistook" a hostile drone for a US drone, which happened to be returning to the base at the same time.

President Joe Biden is under pressure to respond to the attack which the Pentagon says has the "footprints" of Kataib Hezbollah – an Iranian-backed milita group.

The US government has released the names of the three troops killed: Sgt William Jerome Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23.

09:39 Beirut Time

The Guardian is also reporting that there are deep divisions within Hamas, according to informed sources close to the group. It says that there are fierce rivalries among the political leadership in exile and a split between those in Gaza and those outside the territory.

09:38 Beirut Time

Hamas militants have returned to northern Gaza, where they are mobilizing against Israeli forces and rebuilding a system of governance, aid officials, Gaza residents, analysts and Israeli officials told The Guardian.

Michael Milstein of the Institute for National Security Studies, a Tel Aviv-based think tank, said Hamas had re-established control in parts of Gaza that the Israeli military seized after bloody fighting last year.

This included much of the ruined northern zone, including Shaati camp, the refugee camps of Jabalia, Shejaiya and Gaza City.

09:18 Beirut Time

Here is what happened last night at the Lebanese-Israeli border last night, according to security sources, who have been speaking to our correspondent in southern Lebanon:

- At 8.20 p.m., Hezbollah says that it hit a deployment of Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of the Ramim barracks with Falaq-1 missiles.

- 9 p.m.: Israeli artillery shelling targeted Wadi al-Maabour near Wadi Hujjair, Wadi Slouqi in the outskirts of Houla (Marjayoun) and the banks of the al-Khardali River, north of the village of Deir Mimas (Marjayoun).

- After 10 p.m.: Israel's artillery shelled the outskirts of Labouneh, south of Naqoura (Sour), and fired flares over the area.

Simultaneously, Israel fired heavy machine guns at Lebanese territory from the Israeli sites of Hadab Yarine and Barkat Risha.

09:14 Beirut Time

"Very important and productive work has been done" towards a truce, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday evening, adding: "There is real hope for the future."

At a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Blinken told reporters that he believes there has not been "such a dangerous situation in the Middle East since the 1973 Yom Kippur War." He warned that "the region is going through an incredibly unstable period."

09:12 Beirut Time

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday evening that soldiers stationed in Gaza were "moving up to the north [of the country] and preparing for what's to come," a reference to the Israeli-Lebanese border, the scene of exchanges with Hezbollah.

09:11 Beirut Time

Intense fighting raged in Khan Younis, the main town in southern Gaza. During the night, witnesses reported Israeli strikes in several areas of the southern and central Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Red Crescent reported artillery fire around al-Amal hospital in Khan Younis.

The Gazan Ministry of Health counted at least 128 dead between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, including "dozens" in Khan Younis, where the situation remains critical in the main local hospitals.

09:10 Beirut Time

Members of the Israeli army killed three people this morning inside the Avicenna Hospital in Jenin, in the north of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced, quoted by AFP, while the Israeli army said it had "neutralized" three "terrorists" in the hospital.

"Three martyrs [were] shot dead by the occupying forces inside Avicenna Hospital," wrote the Palestinian ministry. In a joint statement, the Israeli army, internal security and police claim to have "neutralized" in a joint operation a "Hamas terrorist" who was "hiding" in the hospital, as well as "two other terrorists."

09:06 Beirut Time

Here is the Morning Brief to make sure that you are caught up with what has been happening.

Morning Brief

Border tensions rise, UNRWA schools reopen, Gaza death toll rises: Everything you need to know to start your Tuesday

09:05 Beirut Time

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza.