A picture shows smoke billowing after Israeli bombardment in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on Mar. 21, 2024, amid Gaza war. (Credit: AFP)


Israel will continue operation at al-Shifa hospital until 'the last terrorist' is captured: Gaza war, Day 169

What you need to know

Israel has killed 32,142 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, according to Gaza's health ministry.

"The world has had enough of this endless nightmare," said Antonio Guterres about the Gaza war in Egypt.

The Security Council will vote on a new draft resolution calling for a cease-fire on Monday.

20:58 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage of day 169 of the Gaza war. We will be back tomorrow with more news updates.

20:45 Beirut Time

Demonstrators attend a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages kidnapped in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Mar. 23, 2024. (Credit: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

19:50 Beirut Time

The Israeli army claims to have bombed "a Hezbollah military building into which a saboteur entered" in Kfar Kila, a Lebanese village in the Marjayoun district. In a post on X, Arabic-speaking Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee also reported that Israeli helicopter gunships attacked the localities of Naqoura (Sour) and Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil), targeting "military buildings."

A raid also targeted the Khiam region (Marjayoun), targeting a Hezbollah "surveillance site." Attacks were reported earlier in the day on the Lebanese side.

He added that numerous shells had been fired into Israel from Lebanon, targeting the Israeli towns of Har Dov, Margaliot and Shomera. The "debris of an aerial device" was also found in Kfar Blum, added Avichay Adraee. No injuries were reported, he concluded.

19:37 Beirut Time

Hamas has announced a new death toll of 19 from gunfire on Gazans waiting for help, reports AFP.

The Israeli army has just denied these shootings.

19:06 Beirut Time

The Israeli army denies firing on Gazans waiting for aid, reports AFP.

Gaza's health ministry had reported that nine people were killed today by Israeli fire while waiting for aid to be distributed on the outskirts of Gaza City.

19:05 Beirut Time

The last hour was relatively calm in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack carried out at 5:56 p.m. on the Israeli site of Malikiyeh, opposite the Lebanese town of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil district).

18:09 Beirut Time

Recent developments in south Lebanon (past hour)

• Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack by artillery missiles carried out at 4:50 p.m. on the Israeli site of Rouaissat al-Alam, in the Kfar Shuba heights.

• The earlier strike by Israeli warplanes on Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil) targeted a center of the Amal movement and its affiliated al-Rissala Scouts. Businesses were damaged by the strikes, but no injuries were reported.

17:54 Beirut Time

Israel says it will continue its operation at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital until "the last terrorist" is captured, reports AFP.

Earlier in the day, five of the Palestinians injured in the hospital — which is under siege by Israeli forces — had died, the enclave's health ministry said.

The establishment is under siege for the sixth consecutive day, with no water, food or health services, the ministry added.

17:07 Beirut Time

Latest updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border

• Israeli warplanes targeted a house in Naqoura (Sour district), residents told our correspondent in the south. Ambulances headed to the targeted house.

• Israeli warplanes struck the village of Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil), according to residents.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Yaroun (Bint Jbeil district), residents told our correspondent in the south.

• Rocket sirens sounded Shomera and other villages in Northern Israel, Haaretz reported.

17:06 Beirut Time

⚡ Gaza's ministry of health reported that nine people were killed today by Israeli fire while waiting for aid to be distributed on the outskirts of Gaza City.

In a statement, the ministry mentioned "at least nine martyrs and dozens were injured by Israeli occupation army tanks and shells"while "waiting for aid trucks at the Kuwait traffic circle" on the outskirts of Gaza.

Contacted by AFP, the Israeli army had no immediate comment.

16:49 Beirut Time

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz described the UN on X Saturday as an "anti-Israeli organization," following a visit to the edge of the Gaza Strip by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire."

"Under his leadership, the UN has become an anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli organization that harbors and encourages terrorism," Katz wrote on his X account, adding that "Antonio Guterres came today to the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing and blamed Israel for the humanitarian situation in Gaza."

16:43 Beirut Time

Smoke billows from the area of an Israeli air strike on the southern Lebanese village of Khiam near the border with Israel on Mar. 23, 2024, amid Gaza war. (Credit: Rabih Daher/AFP)

16:00 Beirut Time

Recent developments at the Lebanese-Israeli border (past hour)

• Israeli warplanes fired missiles on the village of Kfar Kila (Marjayoun district), destroying a house, and raided the village of Khiam (Marjayoun), residents told our correspondent in the south. No casualties have been reported in both strikes.

• Alarms sounded in northern Israel due to "suspected hostile aircraft," according to Haaretz.

14:48 Beirut Time

"The world has had enough" of "this endless nightmare," UN boss Antonio Guterres said today in Egypt, close to the border with Gaza, after more than five months of war between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian territory.

"In Gaza, the Palestinians are mired in a never-ending nightmare," Guterres said from the Rafah border crossing through which humanitarian aid intended for the Gazans trickles into the enclave. He deplored the "homes destroyed, families and entire generations lost, and hunger and famine hanging over the population."

Image: Egyptian Red Crescent trucks loaded with aid queue outside the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian gaza Strip on March 23, 2024. (Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

14:41 Beirut Time

More from southern Lebanon:

* Hezbollah announced a fourth attack today against an Israeli position at 1:15 p.m. in Bayad Blida, opposite the Lebanese town of Blida (Marjayoun district).

* Residents have reported Israeli bombardments in the Shebaa Valley.

14:30 Beirut Time

 Five of the wounded Palestinians at the Gaza Strip's al-Shifa hospital, which is being besieged by Israeli forces, have died, the enclave's Health Ministry said in a statement on Saturday, Reuters reports.

The medical facility is under siege for the sixth day in a row with no water, food nor health services, the ministry added. 

14:15 Beirut Time

⚡ Gaza casualty toll update: At least 32,142 Palestinians have been killed and 74,412 injured in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, Reuters reports, citing the Gaza Health Ministry.

Some 72 Palestinians were killed and 144 injured in the past 24 hours, the news agency adds.

13:48 Beirut Time

Latest updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

* Hezbollah said it launched, at 12:20 p.m., an aerial attack with two drones on two Iron Dome platforms in the Israeli village of Kfar Blum, hitting them "accurately." The party rarely carries out attacks targeting Israel's Iron Dome platforms.

* Hezbollah also announced that it hit the Israeli Ramim barracks, facing the Lebanese village of Markaba, with artillery shells at 12 p.m.

* Finally, Hezbollah said it targeted with missile weapons "spy equipment" at the Radar Israeli site in the disputed Shebaa farms at 1:10 p.m.

12:40 Beirut Time

Here's what has been happening at the Lebanese-Israeli border during the past 30 minutes:

* Three Israeli artillery shells fell on Wadi Slouqi in the outskirts of Houla (Marjayoun district), residents told our correspondent in the south.

* According to a security source relayed by our correspondent in the south, missiles were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israeli sites.

* Rocket alarms were activated in the northern Israeli villages of Margaliot and Misgav Am, according to Haaretz.

12:31 Beirut Time

Image: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (center) walks on the tarmac flanked by the Egyptian Second Army in Sinai Chief Mohammad Abdel Rahman (left) and North Sinai Governor Mohammad Shousha (right), upon landing at Egypt's al-Arish Airport, near the Rafah border with the gaza Strip on March 23, 2024. Guterres is expected to visit Egypt's border with Gaza on March 23, after Israel vowed to send its troops to fight Hamas in the nearby city of Rafah, even without United States support. (Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP)

11:55 Beirut Time

Israeli shelling has hit the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab and Ramaya (Bint Jbeil district) this morning, local residents told our correspondent in the south Lebanon around 45 minutes ago.

No other incident has been recorded at the Lebanese-Israeli border this morning.

11:53 Beirut Time

According to Haaretz, the Israeli army says it is investigating a video published on Thursday by the Al-Jazeera news channel in which Palestinians, who do not appear to be carrying weapons, are killed by an airstrike in the Gaza Strip.

The shocking video, which lasts over a minute and is filmed from an aerial view, shows four men walking along a dirt track before being blown up by an explosion. The next sequence shows a lone man suffering the same fate on what appears to be the same path.

The Israeli army has confirmed that the footage was filmed in the town of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, as Al-Jazeera had already reported.

11:23 Beirut Time

Hezbollah MP Hassan Ezzeddine says his party will "continue to arm" itself and "build capabilities" so that Israel "remains worried, scared and confused by [the] resistance."

"The Israeli army is deterred because we have the tools of deterrence and [we have] weapons that make [Israel] restricted from going far in any adventure against Lebanon," Ezzeddine added during a memorial ceremony held in the southern Lebanese village of Deir Qanoun al-Nahr.

11:12 Beirut Time

UNRWA employees in Lebanon have denounced punitive measures taken against two employees of the UN agency in the country, allegedly for reasons linked to their political affiliation, according to a statement published yesterday.

One of the men was suspended for three months and deprived of his salary, according to the statement. The second was allegedly deprived of his salary for one month "for taking part in a demonstration in support of Palestinian rights."

When contacted by L'Orient-Le Jour, a spokesperson for UNRWA said they were unable to provide any immediate information on the subject.

11:09 Beirut Time

The US military announced late yesterday that it had struck three underground storage facilities in Yemen used by Houthi rebels, who have carried out attacks against ships in the Red Sea. ➡️ More details here.

10:27 Beirut Time

Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, has taken to X to urge countries around the world to follow the US example and cut their funding to the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

According to several Israeli and US media agencies, the US House of Representatives on Friday approved a $1.2 trillion funding bill to avoid a paralysis of public services. The text reportedly bans all funding to UNRWA for one year, i.e., until March 2025.

On the same day, UNRWA's head, Philippe Lazzarini, announced that all the Nordic countries had resumed funding the UN agency after having interrupted funds at the beginning of the year following accusations by the Israeli government that 12 UNRWA staff had been involved in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

10:00 Beirut Time

"All 36 of the hospitals in Gaza have been brutally attacked since Oct.7," the Palestinian Red Crescent’s spokesperson in Gaza, Raed al-Nems, told our reporter Ghadir Hamadi this week.

➡️ Click here to read the report.

09:50 Beirut Time

Here's what happened at the Lebanese-Israeli border last night, according to security sources relayed by our correspondent in the south and statements released by Hezbollah:

* Hezbollah said it launched two attacks in response to Israel's "attacks on [Lebanese] southern villages and … homes." The party said that it targeted two buildings "where Israeli soldiers are positioned" in the villages of Doviv and Zarit at 9:30 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. respectively.

* Shortly after 11 p.m.: Israel began combing residential neighborhoods in Kfar Kila and Adaisseh (Marjayoun district) with machine-gun fire. The attacks persisted until shortly after 1 a.m. in Adaisseh, but continued intermittently throughout the night in Kfar Kila. No casualties have been reported.

09:39 Beirut Time

Israel has imposed a complete siege on the Palestinian territory since the start of the war and strictly controls the aid that arrives mainly from Egypt via Rafah.

"Before 7 October, an average of 500-700 trucks entered daily into Gaza: the average today is only 150," Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), wrote on X.

09:36 Beirut Time

A vote scheduled for today on a new draft resolution calling for an "immediate" cease-fire, prepared by eight of the Security Council's 10 non-permanent members, has been postponed until Monday in an attempt to avoid another failure.

According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, 32,070 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7. According to Israeli sources, at least 1,160 people were killed during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.

09:33 Beirut Time

Meanwhile, at the UN, a draft Security Council resolution tabled by the United States on an "immediate cease-fire" was not adopted due to Russian and Chinese vetoes.

Since the start of the Gaza war, the United States had opposed the use of the term "cease-fire" in UN resolutions, blocking three such texts.

The Security Council finally decided to put the new text to a vote on Friday. Reuters reports that a draft copy it had seen "demanded an immediate cease-fire for the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the release of all hostages and an expanded flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza."

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said the US-led resolution was "exceedingly politicized" and contained an effective green light for Israel to mount a military operation in Rafah, Reuters reports. Similarly, China's UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, criticized the text for not clearly stating its opposition to a planned military operation by Israel in Rafah, the agency adds.

09:26 Beirut Time

In a sign of the growing tensions between the Biden administration and Netanyahu, Israel announced the seizure of 800 hectares of land in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank on the day of Anthony Blinken's visit.

"You know our point of view on the expansion of settlements … we have a problem with that," Blinken commented, according to AFP.

The land seizure is the largest such seizure of land in Palestinian territory since the Oslo agreements (1993), according to the Israeli anti-settlement organization Peace Now.

09:22 Beirut Time

Israel's plans for an offensive in Rafah were at the heart of discussions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv yesterday.

"I said that we could not defeat Hamas without entering Rafah and eliminating the remaining battalions there. I told him that I hoped to do it with the support of the United States, but if we have to, we will do it alone," Netanyahu said after the meeting with Blinken.

Blinken, for his part, took to X to say, "We have the same goals as Israel: the defeat of Hamas. But a major ground operation in Rafah is not the way to achieve it. Next week I will meet again with Israeli officials in Washington to discuss a different way we can achieve this objective."

09:14 Beirut Time

The situation in Gaza this morning:

* UN chief Antonio Guterres is due to meet aid workers on the "Egyptian side" of Rafah, the Gaza town next to the border where 1.5 million Palestinians are now sheltering. Guterres' expected visit comes amid growing fears for the population in the event of an Israeli ground operation in Rafah.

* There has been no let-up in the clashes in the Gaza Strip, particularly in and around al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where the Israeli army claims to have killed more than 150 Palestinian fighters and arrested hundreds of suspects since the start of the week.

* Early this morning, the Gaza Health Ministry reported 67 deaths during the evening and night

09:11 Beirut Time

Good morning, 

Welcome to our live coverage of this 169th day of the Gaza war. We'll be here all day with updates from Gaza and on the repercussions of the war in the occupied West Bank, south Lebanon, the Red Sea and the broader Middle East.