A Palestinian man lifts a child up in the air, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 14, 2024. (Credit: AFP)


Israel weighs potential responses; US officials anticipate attack in coming days; international calls for restraint: Day 192 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Israel is continuing its offensive on Gaza following Iranian strikes.

Thousands of displaced people leave Rafah in an attempt to reach the center of the Gaza Strip.

The international community urges calm in the wake of Iran's strikes on Israel.

23:08 Beirut Time

Thank you for joining us for today's live coverage of the war on Gaza and its repercussions in the region, including the tension between Israel and Iran and the ongoing cross-border fire between Hezbollah and Israel. We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis. Goodnight!

23:05 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced that at 6:40 p.m. its fighters struck an Israeli radar system in the disputed Shebaa Farms, using rockets that hit directly hit the target, according to the party's statement. The party also announced that yesterday it targeted surveillance equipment installed at the same site.

Our correspondent in southern Lebanon has also received reports from local residents that Israeli army aircraft bombed the town of Mais al-Jabal, Marjayoun district, in the last hour.

22:31 Beirut Time

Two mass graves were discovered today in northern Gaza by the Health Ministry and the Civil Defense Forces, Al Jazeera reported — one which included patients from al-Shifa Hospital and another which contained 20 members of the same family killed in Beit Lahiya.

At al-Shifa hospital, which suffered a devastating raid that left most of the complex in ruins, health officials discovered nine bodies before halting recovery operations from fear of being targeted by Israeli drones that hovered in the skies above them as they were digging, the Qatari news outlet stated.

According to the report, some of the recovered bodies — which had not fully decomposed, indicating they were killed recently — appear to have been patients at the hospital; they still had medical bandages and catheters attached to them. Medical staff and family members identifying the bodies confirmed this.

Survivors of the army’s assault on the hospital said they witnessed the summary execution of Palestinians by Israeli forces during the raid, which started in mid-March and lasted two weeks.

👉 Read more here.

21:09 Beirut Time

Israel released 150 Palestinians detained during its military operations in Gaza back into the enclave today and many have alleged they were abused during their time in captivity, Palestinian border officials said, cited by Reuters.

The detainees, including two members of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) who had been detained for 50 days, were released through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza.

Many of those freed said they were subjected to "various kinds of abuse and torture" and several were admitted to hospitals upon their release. "I went into jail with two legs and I returned with one leg," Sufian Abu Salah, said by phone from the hospital.

👉 Read the full report here.

21:07 Beirut Time

Israel's army chief Herzi Halevi, addressing troops today at a military base struck during Iran's retaliatory strike, said Israel will respond, AFP reports.

"This launch of so many [Iranian] missiles, cruise missiles, and UAVs into the territory of the State of Israel will be met with a response," Halevi said when he visited Nevatim base in the country's south, according to a statement issued by the army.

19:19 Beirut Time

The United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT) published a map illustrating a “satellite-imagery based comprehensive damage assessment” of the damage and destruction inflicted by the Israeli army within the “buffer zone” it has been working to establish inside Gaza, running along the entirety of its border with Israel.

The stretch of land is one kilometer wide, which, according to a report from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, covers approximately 62.6 square kilometers, including 35 percent of Gaza’s cultivable land. Haaretz reported in late March that the buffer zone encompasses some 16 percent of the Gaza Strip.

The UNOSAT report shows a rapid increase in damaged and destroyed buildings within the buffer zone, from 15 percent to 90 percent between October 2023 and February 2024.

Satellite-derived analysis from Feb. 29, 2024, of 4042 buildings within the zone, shows 3033 destroyed, 593 damaged (severe or moderately), and 416 with no visible damage.

19:07 Beirut Time

Latest updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

• Hezbollah announced that it targeted, at 4:55 p.m., a group of Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of the Israeli Matat barracks, located opposite the Lebanese town of Rmeich, in Bint Jbeil district, and that the soldiers were killed or wounded.

• Hezbollah also said that it hit a deployment of Israeli soldiers stationed in a wooded area in Hanita with missile weapons and artillery shells at 5 p.m.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Alma al-Shaab, Sour district, according to residents' testimonies relayed by our correspondent in the South.

18:48 Beirut Time

During this afternoon’s war Cabinet meeting, Israeli officials weighed several options regarding how the country might respond to Iran’s Saturday attack, which was, in turn, in retaliation against Israel’s strike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

According to Israeli media, while officials are planning a “painful” response, they are being calculated in such a way as to avoid triggering a regional war. Israel is also hoping to come up with a plan that would not be blocked by the US.

A US official told Axios that Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin yesterday that Israel has no choice but to respond. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US will not support an Israeli attack against Iran, but today, the American newspaper reported that US officials are anticipating an attack as early as today.

Still, the officials told WSJ that they are still hoping both Israel and Iran could come away from the confrontations with a sense of victory that would soothe tensions and prevent escalation.

18:02 Beirut Time

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

• Israeli warplanes fired six missiles on the area of Bir al-Msalbiyat in Houla, Marjayoun district, and on the outskirts of the same village, residents told our correspondent in the South.

• According to a security source and residents' testimonies relayed by our correspondent, Israeli warplanes targeted a three-story building in the village of Majdal Zoun, Sour district. Ambulances were dispatched to the targeted area.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted an area between the villages of Rmeish and Ain Ibl as well as the village of Hanine, in Bint Jbeil district, according to residents.

• Rocket sirens sounded twice in northern Israel in less than 10 minutes, according to Haaretz.

17:52 Beirut Time

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

• Israeli warplanes fired six missiles on the area of Bir al-Msalbiyat in Houla, Marjayoun district, and on the outskirts of the same village, residents told our correspondent in the South.

• According to a security source and residents' testimonies relayed by our correspondent, Israeli warplanes targeted a three-story building in the village of Majdal Zoun, Sour district. Ambulances were dispatched to the targeted area.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted an area between the villages of Rmeish and Ain Ibl as well as the village of Hanine, in Bint Jbeil district, according to residents.

• Rocket sirens sounded twice in northern Israel in less than 10 minutes, according to Haaretz.

16:38 Beirut Time

New information regarding the explosion that wounded four Israeli soldiers near the Lebanese-Israeli border this morning:

• According to an Israeli army official quoted by Reuters, the Israeli soldiers were "several hundred meters" inside Lebanese territory at the moment of the explosion.

• The Israeli army radio station reported that the purpose of the Israeli operation inside Lebanon was to "scan the Lebanese side of the border." The radio added that the Israeli army "opened fire to rescue the wounded" following the explosion.

16:25 Beirut Time

The head of the Israeli army’s Home Front Command, Rafi Milo, issued a statement saying that schools and related educational activities will resume on Monday, except in the Gaza border areas, Haaretz reports. The closures were announced on Saturday evening as the Israeli government prepared for a potential Iranian retaliatory attack.

The decision to close schools was largely symbolic as most institutions had already gone on holiday in the lead-up to Passover. Gatherings of more than 1,000 people were also prohibited as part of the cautionary protocol. These restrictions were lifted around midnight last night, earlier than expected.

According to Milo’s statement, the lifting of restrictions will be done gradually. "We are in a long war and changes could be made in the coming days," he added.

16:18 Beirut Time

The Israeli army radio station said on X that an "explosion from which Golani fighters were hit" earlier today took place "inside the territory of Lebanon — near the border with Israel," confirming a statement made by Hezbollah regarding the incident.

Earlier today, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an explosion targeting Israeli soldiers who had "crossed the border" into Lebanon. According to the party, the operation killed and wounded several Israeli soldiers. Quoting the Israeli army, Haaretz previously reported that the incident left three soldiers wounded, one of them seriously.

15:58 Beirut Time

WSJ report continued...

Following further discussions with the States, the UAE and Saudi Arabia "agreed privately to share intelligence." Jordan said it would "allow use of its airspace by US and other countries’ warplanes and use its own aircraft to assist in intercepting Iranian missiles and drones," officials told WSJ.

The cooperation between these various players was "forged on the fly, and many details about the role played by Saudi Arabia and other key Arab governments are being closely held," the WSJ report reads.

According to this report, the US had to overcome several obstacles in the days and hours leading up to the Iranian attack, including "in particular the Gulf countries' fear of being perceived as coming to Israel's aid at a time when relations are very tense due to the war in Gaza."

15:33 Beirut Time

To protect itself against the Iranian strikes, which took place on the night of Saturday April 13 to Sunday April 14, Israel was able to benefit from military cooperation involving several Arab governments, notably the Gulf states, which were informed two days before Teheran's attack so that they "could protect their airspace," revealed the Wall Street Journal in a report published today.

This intelligence was passed on to the US, giving Washington and Israel "crucial advance warning," the WSJ continues. Senior US officials began pressuring Arab governments "to share intelligence on Iran's plans to strike Israel and to help intercept drones and missiles launched from Iran and other countries toward Israel."

Continued above ... 

14:59 Beirut Time

Germany announced that it summoned the Iranian ambassador in response to a similar move by Teheran the previous day against the German, French and British ambassadors in the context of Iran's attack on Israel.

"I can confirm that the Iranian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry this morning and that discussions are underway," a ministry spokesman told a regular press conference in Berlin.

14:25 Beirut Time

Malak Haniyeh, granddaughter of Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, succumbed to her injuries after being wounded in last week's attack on a vehicle carrying three of Haniyeh's sons in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera and several pro-Palestinian media.

14:15 Beirut Time

In Gaza, before dawn, dozens of Israeli strikes hit the Khan Younis area. Eighteen bodies were recovered from under the rubble and transferred to a hospital, according to the Civil Defense.

13:33 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for the explosion that targeted an Israeli army vehicle on the border with Lebanon this morning. "After observing the movement of enemy troops, the Islamic resistance (Hezbollah) planted explosives in the Tell Ismail area (near Alma al-Shaab, in the Sour district). According to the party, "These explosives were detonated when a group from the Golani Brigade arrived on the scene." The text indicates that the operation left some Israeli soldiers killed and others wounded.

13:12 Beirut Time

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said on X that al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, "is partially reopened."

However, the organization said that the partial reopening is "limited to the emergency department only, due to extensive damage inflicted by the Israeli occupation forces, making the operation of other departments impossible."

Between Jan. 26 and Feb. 27, al-Amal Hospital was subjected to a prolonged siege and series of attacks by Israeli forces, resulting in numerous casualties and severe damage to the hospital's infrastructure. The siege led to shortages of essential supplies such as food, water, and medicine, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis within the hospital.

You can read about the full chronology of the targeting of hospitals in Gaza here.

12:47 Beirut Time

A "further deterioration in the Near or Middle East" would have "a heavy economic impact" on the planet, asserted French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

"Whether it's the events in the Red Sea, the risk of escalation in the Near and Middle East, or the continuing conflict in Ukraine, all these geopolitical events weigh terribly on economic growth," said the Minister in an exchange with the press, ahead of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington.

12:36 Beirut Time

Three Israeli soldiers were injured in an explosion while carrying out operations on the border with Lebanon, Haaretz reports. The cause of the explosion was not given. One of the soldiers was reportedly seriously injured. Al Jazeera reported on X that four soldiers from the Golani Battalion had been injured in a mine explosion while in their vehicle near the border.

12:33 Beirut Time

Gaza's health ministry announced that 33,797 people have been killed in the enclave since Oct. 7.

The ministry added that 76,465 have been injured since the fighting began. In the last 24 hours, 68 people were killed and another 94 injured.

12:27 Beirut Time

Iran urged the world to "appreciate Iran's restraint" in its response to Israel's April 1 strike on the annex of the Iranian consulate in Damascus which killed IRGC commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi, AFP reported.

"Instead of making accusations against Iran, [Western] countries should blame themselves and respond to public opinion for the measures they have taken against the... war crimes committed by Israel [in Gaza]," Iran's foreign ministry stated.

12:17 Beirut Time

The Kremlin called on Iran and Israel to show "restraint" to avoid any further "escalation" following Teheran's attack on Israeli territory in retaliation for a deadly strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

"We are extremely concerned by the escalation of tensions in the region, and we call on all countries in the region to show restraint. Further escalation is in nobody's interest," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

11:39 Beirut Time

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on Israel to "contribute to de-escalation" in the Middle East.

"The way Israel succeeded with international partners and those on the ground in repelling this attack is truly impressive. It's a success that perhaps shouldn't be squandered, hence our advice to contribute to de-escalation," said Scholz at a press briefing during a visit to China.

11:38 Beirut Time

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has called on Israel not to retaliate against Iran following weekend strikes by Tehran. "We want to avoid an escalation of this conflict," said the British diplomat on the BBC, "we are making it very clear that we do not support a retaliatory strike."

11:37 Beirut Time

Israel's opposition leader, centrist Yair Lapid, was quoted in Haaretz as saying that to ensure Israel's security, "the current government and Prime Minister" Benjamin Netanyahu "must go home."

10:17 Beirut Time

Iran's airports, including Tehran's two, have resumed their activities, which had been suspended or disrupted by the strikes launched against Israel, a state media outlet quoted by AFP announced. "Flights at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport have been restored to normal" since 6:00 a.m., the state-run IRNA reported. The situation has also returned to normal at Mehrabad airport in Tehran, and in the cities of Tabriz (northwest), Mashhad (northeast) and Shiraz (south), it said.

09:44 Beirut Time

In southern Lebanon last night, an Israeli airstrike targeted a house in Seddiqine (Sour), which left four people lightly injured by broken windows. According to a security source quoted by L'Orient Today's correspondent, the strike was carried out by drone and targeted a house.

In the morning, at 7 a.m., the Israeli air force struck Dhaira, also in the Sour district, and the outskirts of Alma al-Shaab and Labouneh, five times. Artillery fire also targeted this area.

09:41 Beirut Time

"Neither the region nor the world can afford any more war," said the UN Secretary-General at the Security Council, calling for "maximum restraint."

"The Middle East is on the brink of a precipice. The people of the region are facing a real danger of widespread and devastating conflict. This is a time for de-escalation and de-escalation. This is the moment to show maximum restraint," insisted Antonio Guterres.

09:41 Beirut Time

Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan called on the Security Council to "impose all possible sanctions against Iran before it's too late."

09:40 Beirut Time

The UN "failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security" by not condemning the strike against the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, told an emergency Security Council meeting last night. "Under these conditions, the Islamic Republic of Iran had no choice but to exercise its right to self-defense," he said. He assured the council that Tehran did not want escalation, but would respond to "any threat or aggression."

09:39 Beirut Time

In Israel, the army announced the reopening today, in most of the country, of schools that had been closed since Saturday due to the threat of imminent attack from Iran.

09:39 Beirut Time

Hamas and Israel accuse each other of sabotaging truce talks. But "diplomacy is not dead," said John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, on Sunday.

09:38 Beirut Time

Yesterday, thousands of Palestinians could take no more, heading north along the seafront, following a false rumor that the Israeli army was allowing the displaced to return to this area.

"I couldn't stay in the south anymore, it's too crowded. You can't breathe down there. It was terrible," says Basma Salman.

But the Israeli army denied this. "The north of the Gaza Strip remains a combat zone," insisted a spokesman for the armed forces.

And Gazans interviewed by AFP claimed to have come under fire during their peregrination towards the north.

Nour, a man in his thirties, preferred to turn back. "They were shooting at the men, so I had to turn back. We don't want to die."

09:37 Beirut Time

According to the Israeli army, the hostages abducted by Hamas during its attack on Israel on Oct. 7 are being held in Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is determined to launch a ground offensive against this city, which he describes as the last major stronghold of Hamas, the Islamist movement that has been in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007. This is despite warnings from Washington and other international capitals, who fear a bloodbath among displaced Palestinians.

09:36 Beirut Time

Despite Iran's strikes on Israel, the Israeli army continues its operations in the Gaza Strip, asserting that the Iranian attack will not divert it from its objectives against Hamas.

"Even when we were attacked by Iran, we did not lose sight, not for a moment, of our essential mission in Gaza, which is to rescue our hostages from the hands of Hamas, Iran's proxy," said Israeli army spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari on Sunday evening. He announced that two additional reserve brigades would be sent to fight in the besieged Palestinian territory in the next few days.

09:35 Beirut Time
09:34 Beirut Time

Good morning!

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