Palestinians look at smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment on the Firas market area in Gaza City on April 11, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Credit: AFP)


Israel's army announces opening of new crossing point with northern Gaza: Day 189 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Hamas "turns its back" on a "very reasonable" truce offer, claims Israel.

Several towns in southern Lebanon targeted by Israeli bombardments on Thursday.

At least 33,634 killed and 76,214 wounded in Gaza since Oct. 7.

21:32 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage of day 189 of the Gaza war. We will be back tomorrow with more news updates.

21:18 Beirut Time

Hezbollah targeted an Israeli position opposite the Lebanese town Yaroun (Bint Jbeil) at 5:50 p.m.

20:48 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced that they attacked two Israeli positions with artillery shots at 5 p.m. in the disputed Kfar Shuba Hills, which the party considers to be Lebanese.

20:29 Beirut Time

The United States announced today that it was sending reinforcements to the Middle East as fears intensified in the region of an Iranian retaliation against Israel, accused of a deadly strike against the Iranian consulate in Damascus, according to AFP.

"We are deploying additional assets to the region to strengthen regional deterrence efforts and enhance the protection of US forces," said a US defense official on condition of anonymity, without specifying the nature of these reinforcements.

20:01 Beirut Time

The Israeli army says its air force struck Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon.

The Israeli air force struck military buildings in which Hezbollah operatives were staying in Aita al-Shaab in southern Lebanon, the Israel army said Friday. The Israeli army also reported that it attacked Hezbollah targets in the Taybeh area of south Lebanon and that military forces struck the source of fire towards Israel's Upper Galilee region earlier Friday.

Earlier, residents in south Lebanon told L'Orient-Le Jour that a house in the village of Taybeh was bombed and that the Israeli army launched airstrikes on Aita al-Shaab.

The sirens that were activated in northern Israel over a suspected hostile aircraft intrusion were most likely due to a false identification, according to Haaretz.

19:32 Beirut Time

Recent developments in south Lebanon (7 p.m. wrap-up)

• The Israeli army launched airstrikes on the southern Lebanese village Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil), residents of the village told L'Orient-Le Jour.

• A house in the southern Lebanese village Taybeh (Sour) was bombed by the Israeli army, residents told L'Orient-Le Jour.

•  Residents of Aitaroun in the Bint Jbeil district told L'Orient-Le Jour that the Israeli army bombed the village.

• The Israeli army bombed the outskirts of the southern Lebanese villages of Dhaira and Alma Shaab in the Sour district, residents of the villages told L'Orient-Le Jour.

19:27 Beirut Time

Hezbollah's MP Ihab Hmadeh says there are those in Lebanon who are trying to "seize this moment" to ignite [sectarian] tension considering that the resistance is busy in a support front to Gaza and in protecting Lebanon." This came amid high friction in the country after a leader of the Lebanese Forces was killed earlier this week by a Syrian gang, a crime which the LF believes Hezbollah committed.

During a ceremony in Al-Qaa in the Bekaa, Hmadeh said that "no one will be able to push us in internal [sectarian] tension." "We tell them 'calm down, wait and use your brain for a second and get out of your false bettings'," he added.

Click here for context.

18:33 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The United States announced sanctions on Friday against a Hamas spokesman and leaders of the group's drone unit, the Treasury Department said, according to Reuters.

The European Union is simultaneously imposing sanctions targeting Hamas, the department said in a statement.

The US sanctions target Houdhayfa Samir Abdallah al-Kahlout, also known as Abu Obaida, who has been the spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing in Gaza, since at least 2007, the department said.

18:28 Beirut Time

Threats of an Iranian attack on Israel are "credible" and "real," a White House spokesperson said on Friday, declining to elaborate on timing or targets, according to AFP.

President Joe Biden "has been briefed multiple times by his national security team" and the US intends "to do everything possible to ensure that Israel can defend itself," White House spokesman John Kirby also said.

16:52 Beirut Time

Recent developments in the south (5 p.m. wrap-up)

• Hezbollah announced that it attacked an Israeli position at 2:30 p.m. facing the southern Lebanese village of Markaba (Marjayoun district).

• The Israeli army shelled residential areas in the southern Lebanese village of Houla (Marjayoun), residents of the village told L'Orient-Le Jour.

• The Israeli army launched a drone strike on Hanine Valley (Bint Jbeil) at 3:30 p.m., residents of the villages told L'Orient-Le Jour.

16:22 Beirut Time

Five Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have lodged a complaint against the German government, which authorized the sale of arms to Israel, the Berlin Administrative Court told AFP.

The complaint was received on Thursday, said the court's spokeswoman, confirming an article in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

The five Palestinians, who live in different parts of the Gaza Strip, notably Rafah, have all lost family members to Israeli missile fire, according to the European Centre for Constitutional Rights (ECCHR), which represents them in Berlin. They have taken legal action against the German government, represented by the Ministry of Economics, for having authorized the delivery of 3,000 anti-tank weapons to Israel.

Get the full details here.

16:11 Beirut Time

Caretaker Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib expressed concern about the possibility of the war in Gaza spreading to Lebanon, demanding "the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which means ending the Israeli occupation of Lebanese territories."

Read the full story here.

14:43 Beirut Time

There are not many of them, and even the most extreme Israeli officials do not support their demand, but that has not stopped them from making themselves heard this week: They are the "[very few] Israelis who dream of colonizing southern Lebanon," and to whom the daily Haaretz devoted an article on Thursday.

Read the full story here.

14:09 Beirut Time

Several journalists have been targeted by the Israeli army in southern Lebanon since the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah began.

- On October 13, Lebanese videojournalist Issam Abdallah was killed in Alma al-Shaab and six of his colleagues were wounded by Israeli fire. They included Reuters journalists Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, Al-Jazeera reporter Carmen Joukhadar, Al-Jazeera cameraman Elie Brakhya, AFP photographer Christina Assi and AFP video journalist Dylan Collins.

- On October 19, a team of seven journalists covering the south near the village of Houla was targeted by Israeli army machine guns, killing the team's guide and wounding a reporter.

- On November 21, Al-Mayadeen journalists Farah Omar, 25, and Rabih Maamari, 39, were killed in Israeli strikes in Tayr Harfa, along with their guide Hussein Akil.

14:07 Beirut Time

Palestinian gunmen attend the funeral of Mohammad Shahmawi after he was killed during a raid by Israeli forces on April 12, 2024, al-Faraa camp in the occupied West Bank, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. (Credit: Zain Jaafar/AFP)

13:10 Beirut Time

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne "recommends that French citizens refrain from traveling to Iran, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming days," his entourage told AFP.

13:03 Beirut Time

A source at the Electricité du Liban (EDL) branch in Marjeyoun told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the south that an electrician from the private company Mrad, who was carrying out maintenance work on the line, was hit by Israeli fire.

According to the public operator, the man "survived after his car was hit by more than ten bullets fired by the Zionist enemy from the settlement of Misgav Am, as he drove to the eastern entrance of Adaissé to carry out electrical maintenance on the Taybé water project."

On the Instagram post announcing the shooting at al-Mayadeen's car, the channel had referred to the attack on "workers repairing an electrical fault."

13:01 Beirut Time

More details about the Israeli fire that targeted the Al-Mayadeen vehicle, according to the channel:

A video published by the pan-Arab media shows journalist Hussein Sayed at the wheel of the vehicle. " We are right in front of the Blue Line, on the road that leads to Adaisseh. Here is the Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am overlooking the village of Adaissé, from which Israeli assaults are being carried out," the young man reported before heavy gunfire was heard.

"The Israeli enemy fired in our direction," said the journalist. According to Al-Mayadeen, the shots hit the vehicle, but no one was injured.

11:40 Beirut Time

As famine takes hold in Gaza, particularly in the north, and figures for the increase in aid in recent days are disputed by humanitarian organizations, the Washington Post details the list of goods that Israel has banned from entering the Strip.

In addition to food, water and blankets, goods entering Gaza require special authorization from the Israeli authorities, who sometimes reject authorized goods in other cases, or finally authorize them following a request for review. When a product is banned, the entire truck is sent back.

Among the goods in question are anesthetics, oxygen cylinders, crutches, X-ray machines, bullet-proof vests for humanitarian aid workers, pet food, chocolate buns, toys in wooden boxes ... A long list of other products considered by Israel to be dual-use (civilian and military) has also been banned since the blockade imposed on the Strip back in 2007, reports the daily.

Read the full Washington Post article here.

11:28 Beirut Time

An Israeli official allegedly stated on Thursday, according to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, that Indonesia could normalize ties with Israel as part of a deal to facilitate the entry of the world’s most populous Muslim nation into a global forum for developed countries.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that months of talks between Jerusalem, Jakarta, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary-General Mathias Cormann were held, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

On Tuesday, Israel allowed Indonesia to participate in an airdrop relief mission over Gaza for the first time. In March, Indonesia President Joko Widodo’s office denied a report that Jakarta and Jerusalem had intended to normalize relations in October 2023 before the Oct. 7. Moves toward normalization between the countries have been rumored for years, but Indonesia has refused to cement ties until an independent Palestinian state is established, and it has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinians.

11:26 Beirut Time

The Israeli army opened fire on the vehicle of a team of journalists from the Al-Mayadeen channel in Adaisseh (Marjayoun), in southern Lebanon, the media outlet announced on X.

No one was injured in the attack, it added.

Al-Mayadeen journalists Farah Omar and Rabih Maamari were killed in Israeli strikes in the south on Nov. 21.

11:18 Beirut Time

Gaza's health ministry said that 33,634 people have been killed in the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Another 76,214 have been injured since fighting began on Oct. 7. In the last 24 hours, 89 people were killed and 120 injured.

10:59 Beirut Time

Israeli air force and ground troops are operating near the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, with the aim of reinforcing their control over the area known as the Netzarim corridor, Haaretz reports.

This area, whose center is occupied by an east-west road, crosses the Gaza Strip and enables the army to control the movement of Palestinians between the north and south of the enclave.

According to the Israeli media, the troops said the operation, which is expected to last around a week, was aimed at killing Hamas members and destroying its assets in the region. It also claimed to have hit dozens of surface and underground targets before the ground troops entered.

09:54 Beirut Time

The Palestinian Red Crescent has announced the death of a 22-year-old Palestinian, killed in clashes with the Israeli army in the al-Fara refugee camp near the town of Tubas in the northeastern West Bank.

According to local witnesses, the clashes took place at night, when forces entered the area to arrest wanted persons. Two people were also injured. One of them is in serious condition and another, aged 17, in moderate condition.

09:53 Beirut Time

The US military command for the Middle East (CENTCOM) said that it has destroyed an anti-ship ballistic missile detected yesterday over the Red Sea.

The missile had been launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and posed an "imminent threat" to shipping in the region. No injuries or damage were reported.

09:52 Beirut Time

In Lebanon, the situation remains tense on the southern border, where Hezbollah and Israel are engaged in deadly fighting. On Thursday, Israeli bombardments targeted several localities in southern Lebanon. The party claimed to have targeted Israeli sites.

Italy's Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, said on Wednesday that Lebanon could "play a de-escalating role" in the region.

09:51 Beirut Time

Against this tense backdrop, the Russian Foreign Ministry asked its citizens to refrain from traveling to the Middle East, particularly Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

German airline Lufthansa has announced that it is extending the suspension of its flights to and from Teheran, "probably until Saturday."

09:51 Beirut Time

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh maintains that the deaths earlier this week of three of his sons in an Israeli strike in Gaza would not soften his position in the negotiations.

The Islamist movement also wants"enough time and security" to be able to locate the hostages who "are in different places in the hands of different groups," said Bassem Naim, a member of the Hamas leadership, on Thursday.

09:50 Beirut Time

Mediation efforts have so far failed to reach a compromise. On Thursday, Israel accused Hamas of "turning its back" on a "very reasonable offer."

The latest proposal put forward by Qatar, the United States and Egypt calls for a six-week truce, the release of 42 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 800 to 900 Palestinians incarcerated by Israel, and the return to their homes of northerners displaced by the war, according to a Hamas source.

Before any agreement is reached, Hamas is demanding a definitive cease-fire, Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, a major increase in humanitarian aid, the return of displaced persons and a "serious" agreement to exchange Palestinian hostages and prisoners.

09:48 Beirut Time

Against this tense backdrop, the White House said on Thursday that it had "warned" Iran, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by telephone with his Chinese, Turkish and Saudi counterparts, calling on them to pressure Tehran against any attack on Israel, according to the State Department.

"We are in the middle of a war in Gaza, which continues at full throttle ... but we are also preparing to face challenges in other theaters" of operations, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

09:47 Beirut Time

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Israel would be "punished" after the murderous attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1.

"If Iran carries out an attack from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran," replied Israel's Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, in Persian.

09:47 Beirut Time

Threats of retaliation by Iran against Israel are ratcheting up tension in the Middle East, prompting calls for restraint at a time when progress towards a truce in the Gaza Strip is lagging behind.

Iran "is threatening to launch a major attack against Israel," declared US President Joe Biden earlier this week, assuring his ally of his "unwavering" support.

As a "precaution," and a concrete sign of the tensions, the United States announced on Thursday that it was restricting the movements of its diplomatic personnel and family members in Israel.

A US general in charge of the Middle East, Michael Erik Kurilla, is in Israel to discuss "security threats in the region" with the country's military leadership.

08:44 Beirut Time
08:43 Beirut Time

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