A Palestinian boy carries a water container amid the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Feb. 27, 2024. (Credit: AFP)


Israel 'systematically' blocks access to humanitarian aid in Gaza, UN says: Day 144 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Israeli drone strike in an area near Saida in southern Lebanon.

UNIFIL warns of "worrying developments" in the situation between Hezbollah and Israel.

Hezbollah claims responsibility for several strikes, including on the Meron base.

21:26 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our live updates today. We'll be back tomorrow morning with all the latest developments from Gaza, Lebanon and the wider region.

21:17 Beirut Time

The Israeli military is considering opening investigations into operational shortcomings that led to Oct. 7 "without waiting for the end of the fighting," as desired by the government, according to an article published in The Times of Israel newspaper. ➡️ Click here for more.

20:07 Beirut Time

Hamas says a US airman who died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington will "remain immortal" for his shocking anti-war protest, AFP reports

The airman "will remain immortal in the memory of our Palestinian people and the free people of the world, and a symbol of the spirit of global human solidarity with our people and their just cause," Hamas said in a statement issued in English. ➡️ More details here.

19:36 Beirut Time

The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, say its fighters have been clashing with Israeli forces in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City since morning, according to a statement sent via their official Telegram channel.

The Brigades say they attacked a military bulldozer, fired a mortar shell at a tank and targeted a gathering of troops in the area.

19:34 Beirut Time

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says its teams in Jabalia, northern Gaza, are receiving hundreds of patients showing symptoms linked to infectious diseases that are spreading rapidly due to overcrowding, medicine shortage and a lack of clean water.

The PRCS medical center in Jabalia is receiving between 150 and 200 cases per day, and medics say they are witnessing outbreaks of preventable diseases, including hepatitis A.

19:09 Beirut Time

Hezbollah will halt fire on Israel if its Palestinian ally Hamas agrees to a proposal for a truce with Israel in Gaza — unless Israeli forces keep shelling Lebanon, Reuters reports, citing two sources "familiar with Hezbollah's thinking." ➡️ More details here.

18:37 Beirut Time

The United States has announced another $53 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians, Reuters reports.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said the aid would go through the World Food Program and non-governmental groups, as Israel and Western powers criticize the UN refugee agency in besieged Gaza.

Announcing the aid in a video from Jordan, USAID Administrator Samantha Power said the new assistance "has to reach people in need."

18:02 Beirut Time

Here's the latest news from the Lebanon-Israel border:

*Hezbollah targeted the headquarters of the Israeli "146th Division in Ja'atoun [in northern Israel] with dozens of Katyusha rockets at 3:45 p.m., causing direct hits and casualties." This is the first time this Israeli position has been targeted since Oct. 8.

*Hezbollah also "targeted, for the second time, the [Israeli] Meron Control and Surveillance Airbase at 3:45 p.m." The party launched "a batch of missiles" against the base, resulting in "the damage and destruction of a portion of its technical and espionage equipment, rendering it completely destroyed."

17:36 Beirut Time

Parents of soldiers tasked with surveillance operations in northern Israel have warned that their children will refuse to be transferred to a temporary post closer to the border with Lebanon, saying they would rather see their children sent to a military prison for defying orders than exposed to unnecessary danger, according to Israeli public broadcaster Kan 12.

Kan 12 reported that the soldiers had met with their commanders to express their concern that they were not equipped or trained to deal with the potential risks of a position closer to the border, where the Israeli army and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire on an almost daily basis since the war in Gaza began on Oct. 7. According to the Kan 12 report, the concerns of the soldiers stationed in the north were not taken seriously at the meeting, and the battalion commander told the soldiers to calm their parents, who, he said, "harassed" him daily on the subject.

The Israeli army's treatment of surveillance soldiers, the vast majority of whom are women, has been heavily criticized since Oct. 7. 

16:06 Beirut Time

Israeli forces are "systematically" blocking access to people in need in Gaza, AFP quotes a spokesperson for the United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA, as saying.

"Aid convoys have come under fire and are systematically denied access to people in need," Jens Laerke said, adding that such "inadequate facilitation for the delivery of aid throughout Gaza means that humanitarian workers are subject to unacceptable and preventable risk of being detained, injured or worse." 

According to the World Health Organization, all planned aid convoys into the north have been denied by Israeli authorities in recent weeks, with the last allowed in on Jan. 23. ➡️ More details here.

15:49 Beirut Time

Here's what's been happening at the Lebanese-Israeli border iver the past 1.5 hours:

* Israeli shelling targeted the Khiam plain, the outskirts of Markaba, Mays al-Jabal (Marjayoun district) and Wadi Sluqi, residents told our correspondent in south Lebanon.

* Hezbollah announced that it hit the Israeli site of al-Marj, which is opposite the Lebanese border village of Markaba (Marjayoun) with missiles at 3:18 p.m.

* Alarms were activated in many towns in the Upper Galilee due to a "suspected hostile aircraft,"  the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.

14:47 Beirut Time

The United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) said that the "Israeli military had stalled a medical evacuation convoy in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, detaining a paramedic and forcing others to remove their clothes," according to Reuters.

The incident happened on Sunday during the evacuation of 24 patients from the city's Al-Amal Hospital, according to the organization.

"Despite prior coordination for all staff members and vehicles with the Israeli side, the Israeli forces blocked the WHO-led (World Health Organization) convoy for many hours the moment it left the hospital," Jens Laerke, spokesperson for OCHA, told reporters in Geneva.

"The Israeli military forced patients and staff out of ambulances and stripped all paramedics of their clothes," he added.

14:30 Beirut Time

In southern Lebanon:

Israel fired at a van on the road to Adaisseh (Marjayoun), local residents reported. A man, in charge of distributing bread in the region, and his wife were in the vehicle. The wife fainted when the shots were fired and was evacuated, while the husband went to a Lebanese army checkpoint where he is waiting for a lull in the firing so that he can collect his bullet-riddled van.

14:00 Beirut Time

Here is what happened at the Lebanese-Israeli borders since 11:35 a.m.:

- Hezbollah announced that it hit the Israeli site of Ruwaisat al-Alam and surveillance equipment at the Ramtha Israeli site in the disputed Shebaa Farms at 11:35 a.m.

- The party also announced that it targeted a group of Israeli soldiers on the hill of al-Taihat at 1:30 p.m.

- Israeli jets struck the villages of Aita al-Shaab and Yaroun (Bint Jbeil), residents told our correspondent in the South.

13:46 Beirut Time

The spokesman for Yemen's Houthis tells Reuters that the group's operations in the Red Sea, where its missiles and drones threaten international shipping, will only cease when Israel's "aggression" against Gaza ends and the siege is lifted, AFP reports.

Asked whether attacks on ships would stop if a cease-fire agreement was reached for Gaza, Mohammad Abdulsalam replied that the situation would be reassessed if the siege ended and humanitarian aid was free to enter.

13:18 Beirut Time

Recent events in southern Lebanon "risk jeopardizing a political solution to this conflict," warns the head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), General Aroldo Lazaro. In the statement, he notes a "worrying development in the exchange of fire" between Hezbollah and Israel.

"This conflict has already claimed too many victims and caused considerable damage to homes and public infrastructure. It has jeopardized the livelihoods and changed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians on both sides of the Blue Line. Yet today we are witnessing an expansion and intensification of the strikes," he wrote. "In recent days, we have continued our active engagement with the parties to ease tensions and avoid dangerous misunderstandings, but recent events risk jeopardizing a political solution to this conflict."

"We urge all parties concerned to cease hostilities in order to avoid further escalation and to make way for a political and diplomatic solution that can restore stability and ensure the safety of the population in this region," the text concludes.

13:13 Beirut Time

(Credit: Screenshot taken from a video sent by residents to our correspondent in the South)

The Israeli airstrike that targeted the village of Mansouri (Sour) earlier today damaged solar panels that power a well used in the village, residents told our correspondent in the South.

It is not the first time that Israel has damaged solar panels since October. On Nov. 2, Israel targeted a solar panel project in Tayr Harfa (Sour).

Read here Sally Abou Al Joud's story about the impact of that November strike

12:52 Beirut Time

Qatar is "pushing hard" for the proposed agreement introduced in Paris to be accepted by Hamas and Israel, says a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman quoted by Reuters. "There is no breakthrough to announce on the Gaza cease-fire agreement for the hostages," he adds, indicating that Doha "has no comment" to make on Joe Biden's recent statements.

The American president said he hoped for a cease-fire "by next Monday" and assured that "there was an agreement from the Israelis that they would not engage in operations during Ramadan".

The Qatari diplomatic spokesman added that "there is no agreement between Hamas and Israel on the main issues related to a cease-fire in Gaza." Doha is, however, "optimistic" about the mediation talks currently underway.

12:30 Beirut Time

Global organization Oxfam has raised concerns about access to agricultural land in northern Gaza and said that “the risk of genocide is increasing in northern Gaza because of Israel’s failure to facilitate access for humanitarian aid," according to The Guardian.

Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Middle East and North Africa director, said “The risk of genocide is increasing in northern Gaza because the government of Israel is ignoring one of the key provisions of the International Court of Justice, to provide urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.”

According to The Guardian, "the aid agency has received reports of people in the north of the territory resorting to drinking toilet water, foraging for wild plants, and being forced to use animal fodder to make bread."

12:27 Beirut Time

The Israeli army said on X that "about 35 launches ... crossed Lebanese territory towards Mount Meron" and that "there were no casualties or damage to the air control unit in the area."

Hezbollah said, earlier today, that it targeted the "Meron Israeli air control base in Jabal Jarmaq with a large missile salvo from several launchers" in response to yesterday's Israeli airstrike on the vicinity of Baalbeck.

In early January, Hezbollah had already targeted the Meron airbase and the Israeli army had recognized the strike had caused "significant damage."

Read here Wael Taleb's explanation on the importance of that January strike.

11:44 Beirut Time

Residents provided our correspondent in the South with more details on the Israeli airstrikes that targeted the vicinity of the villages of Mansouri (Sour district) and Jibsheet (Nabatieh district):

- Mansouri airstrike: A three-story house was destroyed, a woman was slightly injured and three persons suffered from shortness of breath due to smoke and dust.

- Jibsheet airstrike: Caused damage to a house, its garden and some cars.

11:21 Beirut Time

Illustration: Jaimee Lee Haddad

11:20 Beirut Time

The Israeli strike that targeted an area between Majdal Zoun and Mansouri (Sour) in southern Lebanon slightly injured a civilian, medical sources told our correspondent. This person did not need to be transferred to a hospital.

This is the same area where an Israeli bombardment killed a woman and a little girl last Wednesday.

10:33 Beirut Time

An Israeli drone carried out a strike in the Tabna region, between the localities of Teffahta, Qaaqayieh and Baissara, an area located in the Zahrani region south of Saida, reports a security source quoted by our correspondent in the region. This area is located more than 20km from the Israeli border.

A second Israeli air strike targeted an area between Ebba and Jibsheet, further south. According to local residents, one strike targeted an area near Majdal Zoun (Sour).

10:31 Beirut Time

The Gazan Ministry of Health has announced a new toll of 29,878 people killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

It also reported, in a statement, 96 deaths in the last 24 hours, and a total of 70,215 wounded since Oct. 7.

09:13 Beirut Time

Here is what has been happening on the Lebanese-Israeli border this morning:

- Hezbollah said that it targeted at 8 a.m. the "Meron Israeli air control base in Jabal Jarmaq with a large missile salvo from several launchers" in response to the Israeli airstrike on the vicinity of Baalbeck. An Israeli airstrike targeted Baalbeck yesterday for the first time since 2006, killing two people after hitting Hezbollah-affiliated supermarket food storage sheds and a house in Addous, Bekaa.

- Israeli shelling targeted the hill of Hamames in the southern outskirt of Khiam (Marjayoun), the village of Yaroun (Bint Jbeil) and Wazzani (Hasbaya), residents told our correspondent in the South.

09:06 Beirut Time

Here's what happened on the Lebanese-Israeli borders last night:

- Hezbollah announced that it hit a group of Israeli soldiers near Margaliot with missile weapons at 8:10 p.m.

- Between 10 and 10:40 p.m.: Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Houla (Marjayoun) and Wadi Slouqi.

- Hezbollah said that it targeted Israeli surveillance equipment at the site of al-Abad at 10:45 p.m.

08:59 Beirut Time

Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, the country at the center of negotiations and home to Hamas, begins a two-day state visit to Paris, the French presidency has announced.

The Qatari leader is due to meet Emmanuel Macron at 4 p.m. at the Elysee Palace, followed by a state dinner. According to Qatar's official news agency, the Emir has just met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Doha and discussed efforts "to reach an immediate and permanent cease-fire agreement."

08:58 Beirut Time

Hopes of a truce between Israel and Hamas were rekindled today, with US President Joe Biden raising the possibility of a truce by next week, just as the humanitarian crisis threatens to turn into famine in Gaza.

Egypt, Qatar, the United States, France and other countries have been trying for several weeks to negotiate a new cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. According to a source within the Palestinian movement, talks are focusing on a six-week truce combined with the release of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, as well as the entry into Gaza of a large quantity of humanitarian aid.

"I'm hopeful that by next Monday, we'll have a cease-fire," said the American president Monday evening in New York. "My national security advisor tells me we're close, it's not a done deal yet," he qualified.

08:56 Beirut Time

Yesterday, multiple Israeli airstrikes on the village of Aita al-Shaab, in southern Lebanon, killed three people: Two Islamic Jihad fighters and one Hezbollah member, the two groups announced on Monday evening.

This brings to 219 the total number of members of Hezbollah killed since Oct. 8, the date of the start of its clashes with Israel, according to our count.

The strikes also slightly wounded two ambulance drivers from the Islamic Health Committee, an organization under Hezbollah's civil defense umbrella, according to a source within the organization last night.

08:54 Beirut Time

Israelis are voting today in municipal elections, originally scheduled for late October but postponed twice due to the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In the midst of the war, some 7.2 million people are being called to the polls in Israel, Jerusalem, the settlements of the occupied West Bank and part of the annexed Golan Heights. However, the municipal elections have been postponed until November in towns close to the Gaza Strip, as well as in towns in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon, the scene of heavy firefights between the Israeli army and Hezbollah.

In all, almost 150,000 Israelis have been displaced by the war or by gunfire in these two areas. Two candidates for elections in the evacuated areas were killed in the Oct. 7 attack.

08:51 Beirut Time
08:51 Beirut Time

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the war in Gaza and its regional impact.