Humanitarian aid parcels attached to parachutes are airdropped from a military aircraft over the gaza Strip on March 25, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (Credit: AFP)


Gallant fears 'bigger war' in northern Israel without 'decisive' and 'absolute victory in Gaza': Day 171 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

14 countries voted in favor of the draft resolution submitted by the non-permanent members of the Council. The United States abstained.

Israel expressed outrage at the US abstention of the UN Security Council vote, saying it will damage the war efforts.

Hezbollah "will not be afraid" to retaliate against strikes against civilians in Lebanon, according to the party's deputy leader.

19:25 Beirut Time

This includes our coverage for today. Be sure to come back again tomorrow for more coverage of the war in Gaza.


19:24 Beirut Time

Latest developments in southern Lebanon:

- Hezbollah claims responsibility for a missile attack carried out at 5:45 p.m. on the Israeli Birket Richa site. The site is located opposite the Lebanese town of Boustan (Sour).

- The outskirts of Blida (Marjayoun) were targeted by Israeli machine-gun fire, a security source told our correspondent. Smoke bombs fell near a Lebanese army center in Ras Naqoura.

19:06 Beirut Time

 Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday that if the Israeli army ended the war in Gaza prematurely, Hezbollah would be bolder and could launch a larger attack on Israel from the north of the country, according to remarks reported by the Jerusalem Post and Al Jazeera.

Gallant said: "There is no moral reason to stop the war until we bring all the hostages home. If we don't win a decisive and absolute victory in Gaza, a bigger war in the North will come closer."

According to the Jerusalem Post, Gallant delivered his message from the White House in Washington, an hour after the United Nations Security Council voted on a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

18:54 Beirut Time

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organization, called for, in a post on X, the immediate implementation of the recently passed resolution that calls for a cease-fire for the remainder of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the release of Israeli captives held in Gaza.

18:53 Beirut Time

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the passing of the UN Security Council resolution for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and the release of all captives.

“Implementation of this resolution is vital for the protection of all civilians,” she posted on X.

18:52 Beirut Time

Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to the UNSC, says they “regret” that the resolution did not condemn the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, adding that the UK “condemns” the attacks “unequivocally.”

“The intense suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza shows no sign of abating, and a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding before our eyes,” she said.

“The resolution sends a clear and united message on the need for international humanitarian law to be upheld and for aid to be scaled up urgently, including the lifting of all barriers impeding its delivery.

“We call for this resolution to be implemented immediately. President, we need to focus on how we chart the way from an immediate humanitarian pause to a lasting, sustainable peace without a return to fighting.

“That means the formation of a new Palestinian government for the West Bank and Gaza accompanied by an international support package,” she added.

18:43 Beirut Time

Soldiers operating in the Hamad neighborhood in Khan Younis. (Credit: Israeli Army)

The Israeli army announced that it "ended its operation in the Hamad neighborhood of Khan Younis," during which 300 people were allegedly arrested. According to the army's announcement, during the operation, the forces raided many buildings throughout the neighborhood, dozens of people were killed and "weapons were located."

18:29 Beirut Time

Hamas "welcomes the UN Security Council's call for an immediate cease-fire," reports AFP.

18:23 Beirut Time

A Palestinian Hamas official escaped an Israeli drone strike targeting him in eastern Lebanon on Sunday, a Lebanese security source told AFP on Monday.

A Syrian civilian, driving a utility vehicle, was killed in the strike in the Soueiri region of the Bekaa.

18:20 Beirut Time

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an artillery shell attack at 4:30 p.m. on the Israeli site of Malikia, opposite the Lebanese town of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil).

18:18 Beirut Time

In a statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses that adopting the resolution is a step in the right direction to stop the onslaught of Israeli attacks on Gaza, facilitate the withdrawal of Israeli forces and allow the entry of aid and the return of those displaced.

18:18 Beirut Time

"Our vote does not represent a change in our policy," said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby following the US decision to abstain on a UN resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, quoted by Haaretz.

He added that the US has been clear and consistent in its support for a cease-fire as part of a hostage agreement. He added: "The reason we abstained was that the text of this resolution did not condemn Hamas."

According to Kirby, the US "looks forward to talking with an Israeli delegation later this week about ... exploring alternatives to a major ground offensive at Rafah. I leave it to the Israelis to say whether they will come or not."

He added that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who is currently in the US, will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

17:59 Beirut Time

The Israeli government deemed the US abstention from the UN cease-fire resolution "detrimental" to its war efforts and to the release of hostages in Gaza, reports AFP.

"This withdrawal harms both the war efforts and the efforts to free the hostages because it gives hope to Hamas that international pressure will enable them to obtain a cease-fire without freeing our hostages," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in a statement.

17:58 Beirut Time

(Photo provided by L'Orient Today's correspondent in southern Lebanon Muntasser Abdullah)

Hezbollah held a burial ceremony for its slain fighter Ali Mohamad Fakih in the village on Ansarieh (Saida district.) Hezbollah said the fighter was killed while "performing his Jihadist duties on the path to Jerusalem" without providing further details.

17:45 Beirut Time

Algerian representative Amar Bendjama welcomed the adoption of the resolution, saying that the Security Council was "finally assuming its responsibility as the principal organ for the maintenance of international peace and security."

17:44 Beirut Time

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack carried out at 4 p.m. on the Israeli site of Zebdine, in the disputed Shebaa Farms area, by artillery shells.

17:17 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled the visit of an Israeli delegation to Washington after the UN Security Council vote, Reuters reports, citing an Israeli TV channel.

17:11 Beirut Time

The UN chief says that the Security Council just approved a long-awaited resolution on Gaza, demanding an immediate cease-fire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

“This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable,” he said in a post on X.

17:10 Beirut Time

A cease-fire can begin "immediately" in Gaza as soon as the first hostage is released, said US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, quoted by AFP.

17:00 Beirut Time

On an Israeli radio station, Major General Nimrod Shafer said that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was currently in Washington to avoid a US arms embargo, adding that the operation on Rafah would not take place if the US did not agree, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"The State of Israel chose not to go to Rafah because there were no concrete plans for the operation and no one wanted to talk about what would happen the day after. We didn't fight at Rafah and, in my opinion, we lost this opportunity," he explained.

If the US says no to an operation in Rafah, "maybe we'll do very small and [targeted] missions," added the major general.

16:59 Beirut Time

The United States abstained from voting at the UN on the Gaza cease-fire, despite threats from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the visit of an Israeli delegation to Washington.

The visit had been requested by US President Joe Biden against a background of growing differences between his administration and the Israeli government, which wants to launch an offensive on the town of Rafah, in southern Gaza.

16:46 Beirut Time

The UN Security Council adopts its resolution for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

Fourteen countries supported the draft resolution presented by the country's non-permanent members. The United States abstained.

16:37 Beirut Time

Here is what you need to know about the vote that has just opened at the UN Security Council:

- The draft resolution, proposed by the 10 elected members of the Council, aims to guarantee an "immediate" cease-fire in Gaza.

- Permanent members Russia and China previously vetoed an American draft resolution because it did not call for an unconditional and immediate cease-fire.

- Some diplomats, speaking to AFP, said that the new draft had been drawn up in collaboration with the United States in order to avoid a potential veto.

- The resolution specifically calls for an immediate cease-fire during the Muslim month of Ramadan, with the aim of establishing a lasting and viable ceasefire thereafter.

- Previous attempts to adopt resolutions concerning Gaza have been hampered by disagreements between the five permanent members.

- The United States, Israel's staunch ally, has already vetoed three draft cease-fire resolutions.

16:31 Beirut Time

The session of the Security Council has begun at the UN. It opened with a minute of silence for the victims of the deadly attack in Moscow last Friday, where 137 people were killed.

16:23 Beirut Time

Latest developments in southern Lebanon:

- Israeli artillery hit an area between Houla and Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun), according to residents. The area has been shelled several times since 3 p.m. and the strikes are continuing.

- Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack carried out at 3 p.m. on the headquarters of an Israeli battalion using artillery shells.

16:22 Beirut Time

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that if the United States does not veto the UN Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire, he will cancel the Israeli delegation to Washington, led by Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, several media outlets including Haaretz reported.

US President Joe Biden asked the Prime Minister to send an inter-agency delegation to examine alternatives to an invasion of Rafah during their call last week, as tensions between the two leaders escalate.

15:50 Beirut Time

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez labeled the Israeli military’s actions in Gaza as “forced famine” and “collective punishment.”

“There is no targeting of Hamas in precipitating a mass famine of a million people, half of whom are children,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN.

“It is horrific. The actions of Hamas do not justify forcing thousands, hundreds of thousands of people to eat grass as their bodies consume themselves.

“The Israeli government has a right to go after Hamas, but we are talking about a population of millions of innocent Palestinians. We are talking about collective punishment.”

15:39 Beirut Time

The Israeli army reportedly forced the staff and patients of Khan Younis's Amal Hospital to evacuate the building last night, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

"As they tried to leave the premises through the military checkpoint, the teams found it difficult to move due to the scale of the excavation work and the destruction of the infrastructure," the Palestine Red Crescent said on X. "As they tried to clear the rubble and obstacles on the road, the occupation forces opened fire on two of the teams trying to remove the rubble, directly injuring them," the post continued.

15:35 Beirut Time

Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh says the government expects a UN Security Council draft resolution on Gaza to be unanimously passed later today, according to Al Jazeera.

The draft “demands an immediate cease-fire” for the continuing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, “leading to a permanent sustainable cease-fire.”

15:28 Beirut Time

Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Naqoura (Sour) local residents told our correspondent in the south.

14:30 Beirut Time

A smoke plume erupts during Israeli bombardment on a building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 24, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Credit: AFP)

13:18 Beirut Time

At least 3,000 of the 45,000 Israeli bombs dropped on the Gaza Strip between Oct. 7 and mid-January, according to estimates relayed by Handicap International, failed to explode, warned an official of this NGO specializing in mine action, quoted by AFP.

"Of these 45,000 bombs, 3,000 have not exploded, and it is in fact these that will cause additional danger, particularly for civilians, when humanitarian aid is deployed," said Jean-Pierre Delomier on Radio France Internationale.

13:00 Beirut Time

32,333 Palestinians have been killed and 74,694 wounded in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to a new report published by the Gazan health ministry.

12:43 Beirut Time

Israel has told four European countries that their plan to recognize a Palestinian state is a "price for terrorism" that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution to the conflict, Reuters reports.

Spain said on Friday that, in the name of peace in the Middle East, it had agreed with Ireland, Malta and Slovenia to take the first steps towards recognizing the statehood declared by the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"Recognition of a Palestinian state following the Oct. 7 massacre sends a message to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations that murderous terrorist attacks against Israelis will be offset by political gestures towards the Palestinians," said Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz. "A resolution of the conflict will only be possible through direct negotiations between the parties. Any commitment to the recognition of a Palestinian state only distances the search for a solution and increases regional instability."

12:27 Beirut Time

"Here, in Jordan, but also in Syria, Lebanon, and, of course, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, UNRWA is a source of hope and dignity," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as cited by AFP.

During a visit to Al-Wihdat, a Palestinian refugee camp in the east of Amman, the Jordanian capital, Guterres stated that it would be "cruel and incomprehensible" to interrupt UNRWA's services to Palestinian refugees across the region. "We must strive to maintain the unique services provided by UNRWA ... In an increasingly dark world, UNRWA is the only glimmer of hope for millions of people. I see this hope here. Today more than ever, we must not lose this hope," he added.

This statement follows the announcement by the UN agency that Israel has formally prohibited any delivery of food aid in the northern Gaza Strip.

12:25 Beirut Time

The Israeli army is continuing its military operations around two hospitals in Gaza City and Khan Younis, where it says it has killed more than 20 Palestinian fighters in the last 24 hours, reports AFP.

At al-Shifa hospital in Gaza (north), the largest in the besieged Palestinian territory devastated by more than five months of war, the operation was entering its 8th day on Monday, with a toll of 170 "terrorists" killed and around 500 arrests of individuals "linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad," according to the Israeli army.

Read the full report here.

11:55 Beirut Time

Palestinians mourn over the covered bodies of relatives, killed in overnight Israeli bombardment, at the al-Najjar hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 25, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anesthetist at Gaza's European Hospital near Khan Younis, described the situation inside the medical facility in the southern Gaza Strip as "unimaginable."

"This hospital had an initial capacity of just 200 beds. Today, its capacity has increased to 1,000 beds," she declared. "Around 22,000 displaced people are taking shelter in the hospital's corridors and tents, because people feel it's safer to be here than anywhere else."

▶️ Read a summary of the main attacks perpetrated by Israel against health infrastructures in Gaza since Oct. 7 here.

11:42 Beirut Time

US Vice President Kamala Harris says Washington has been "clear" that a military operation in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, would be a "huge mistake."

"I've studied the maps. There's nowhere for these people to go, and we're dealing with about a million and a half people in Rafah who are there because they were told to go there," Harris told ABC News. The United States, Israel's closest ally, has vetoed three resolutions calling for a cease-fire.

11:41 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has announced the death of its members Mohammad Ibrahim Al-Zein, born in 1995, from Shahour (Sour) in southern Lebanon. He was killed in an Israeli strike on Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun) last night.

This brings to 247 the total number of party members killed since the beginning of the conflict, according to our count.

11:40 Beirut Time

The Israeli army arrested a man from the suburb of Shuweika, north of the city of Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank, reports the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The agency also reports that Israeli forces arrested two men in the Qalandiya camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. Two Palestinians were also shot and wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in the center of the city of Nablus, while a third man was injured by shrapnel.

11:29 Beirut Time

Israeli MP Avigdor Lieberman, member of the opposition and founder of the Israel Beytenou party, wrote on X that he expects the Israeli Supreme Court to reject the bill prepared by Benjamin Netanyahu's government and which modifies the terms of military conscription in Israel. He also called on ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot to resign immediately from Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

According to the Israeli media, the draft does not set a quota for ultra-Orthodox Jews enlisting each year, sets the age of exemption from military service at 35 and guarantees that ultra-Orthodox men who fail to enlist will not face criminal sanctions. It also provides for the creation of special ultra-Orthodox battalions in the ranks of the Israeli army and the addition of Haredim positions in the country's emergency services and administrations.

11:28 Beirut Time

According to our Bekaa correspondent, quoting security sources, the sounds of explosion heard in Baalbeck on Sunday evening were caused by anti-tank weapon (RPG) fire following the natural death of a prominent member of the Shams family.

Some local media had reported that these sounds had been provoked by new Israeli airstrikes in this part of the country, located far from the border between southern Lebanon and northern Israel.

11:26 Beirut Time

China announced on Monday its support for a new draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for an "immediate" cease-fire in Gaza, a few days after vetoing, along with Russia, an American draft text.

"China supports this draft resolution and commends Algeria and other Arab countries for their hard work in this regard," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian. "We hope that the Security Council will approve it as soon as possible and send a strong signal for the cessation of hostilities," he added.

11:24 Beirut Time

Also in South Lebanon on Sunday night:

- After 9 p.m., rescue workers from the Islamic Mission Scouts Association (al-Rissala), close to the Amal movement allied with Hezbollah, and the Islamic Health Authority, claimed to have been able to examine the site of the airstrike that targeted the Al-Safah neighborhood south of the Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun) on Sunday evening. According to them, the strike led to the complete destruction of a two-story villa, in addition to collateral damage to surrounding buildings, but caused no injuries.

- After 10 p.m., three shells were fired by an Israeli Merkava tank located in Maskaf directly to the east of the locality of Adaisseh (Marjayoun), according to a security source.

- After 10.45 p.m., Israeli soldiers positioned near Metula fired machine guns in the direction of Kfar Kila (Marjayoun). One of Hezbollah's overnight operations took place in this area. Israeli artillery also bombarded the outskirts and plain of Khiam (Marjayoun), and Israeli aircraft flew over the eastern part of South Lebanon.

- After midnight, Israeli artillery fired on Tal al-Nahas, north of Kfar Kila.

- Between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., Israeli artillery shelled Wadi Slouqi (Bint Jbeil), while Israeli soldiers positioned towards Metula again fired machine-gun fire in the direction of Kfar Kila. Israeli aircraft flew over Saida and the surrounding Palestinian camps, several dozen kilometers from the border on the coast.

11:22 Beirut Time

Also in southern Lebanon:

- Hezbollah claimed responsibility for its 7th and 8th attacks on Sunday in two statements: The 7th targeted Israeli soldiers with rockets in the vicinity of the Biranit barracks, opposite the Lebanese town of Rmaish (Bint Jbeil), at 9 p.m.; the 8th targeted another contingent of Israeli soldiers positioned towards Metula, opposite Kfar Kila (Marjayoun), at 10.20 p.m., without specifying the type of weapon.

- During the night, the party also announced its first attack this Monday, claiming to have targeted and wounded, with artillery shells, a gathering of Israeli soldiers on Tayhat hill, not far from the Israeli town of Manara, opposite Houla (Marjayoun).

11:19 Beirut Time

On the border between southern Lebanon and northern Israel, where exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israel regained intensity last week, the Israeli army, at 5 a.m., struck a house in the western part of Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun).

According to a security source contacted by our correspondent in the region, the house is located in the Ras al-Dhahr neighborhood and there are no reports of casualties as of yet.

11:18 Beirut Time

The Israeli army continues its ground and air operations in Khan Younis. More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army since the start of the war, according to figures from the Gazan Ministry of Health.

"When you look at Gaza, it's almost as if the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are galloping overhead, sowing war, famine, conquest and death," alarmed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday, on a visit to Egypt.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is expected in Washington on Monday, his first visit to the United States since the start of the war.

11:15 Beirut Time

The latest version seen Sunday by AFP "demands an immediate cease-fire for the month of Ramadan" – which already began two weeks ago – to "lead to a lasting and permanent cease-fire," and "demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."

According to Israel, some 250 people were kidnapped on Oct. 7 and 130 of them are still hostages in Gaza, 33 of whom are thought to have died in the enclave, which has been relentlessly and indiscriminately shelled by the Israeli army for almost six months.

Unlike the American text rejected on Friday as ambiguous, the new draft resolution does not link these demands to the diplomatic efforts of Qatar, the United States and Egypt, even though it "recognizes" the existence of talks aimed at obtaining a truce accompanied by an exchange of Palestinian hostages and prisoners.

On Friday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the previous version of the text did not support these diplomatic efforts and "worse, could give Hamas an excuse to reject the agreement on the table."

The new draft resolution also calls for the "removal of all obstacles" to humanitarian aid, without which the 2.4 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip risk starvation.

It also condemns "all acts of terrorism," but makes no mention of the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

11:13 Beirut Time

On Monday, the UN Security Council will once again attempt to adopt a text calling for an "immediate cease-fire" in Gaza, a call that was previously repeatedly blocked by the United States, which has recently shown signs of changing its tone towards its Israeli ally.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. New York time (4 p.m. in Beirut), according to information published on the UN website.

The draft resolution to be put to the vote is the result of the work of the non-permanent members of the Council, who negotiated all weekend with the United States to try to avoid another failure, according to diplomatic sources, who expressed a certain optimism about the outcome of the vote.

"We expect, barring any last-minute twists, that the resolution will be adopted and that the United States will not vote against it," a diplomat told AFP on Sunday.

11:11 Beirut Time

The situation in Gaza:

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) announced on Sunday night that it was now formally prohibited by Israel from delivering any food aid to the northern Gaza Strip.

"Despite the tragedy unfolding before our eyes, the Israeli authorities have informed the UN that they will no longer approve UNRWA food convoys to the north" of the Gaza Strip, announced Philippe Lazzarini on X, stressing that the agency remains "the main lifeline for Palestinian refugees."

11:10 Beirut Time

Good morning!

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