Boys watch smoke billowing from Israeli bombardment east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 13, 2024. (Credit: AFP)


Israel strikes UN truck in Rafah, killing two; Israeli forces return to northern Gaza, target refugee camp: Day 220 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Israeli tanks are pushing further into Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, residents say. It is the biggest refugee camp in the Strip.

Four Israeli soldiers were wounded, one critically, in Hezbollah attacks on northern Israel.

“There will still be thousands of armed Hamas members,” even after an operation at Rafah, according to Blinken.

By attacking Rafah, Netanyahu wants to “overturn” talks on a truce and hostage release, Hamas accuses. 

21:53 Beirut Time

Thank you for joining us for today's live coverage of the war on Gaza and its effect on the region, notably in southern Lebanon where fighting between Hezbollah and Israel continues unabated, as well as its effect around the world, from students campuses to the White House. We'll be back tomorrow morning with more live coverage and analysis. Goodnight!

21:43 Beirut Time

Updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

• Israeli warplanes bombed a house in the village of Adaisseh, in Marjayoun district, residents told our correspondent.

Several other houses were destroyed. First responders from the Islamic Health Committee, Hezbollah's medical organization, moved in to clear the debris.

20:24 Beirut Time

Israel's High Court of Justice rejected a request by the army and the attorney general today to block the investigation launched by the State Comptroller into the security failures of Oct. 7, according to Israeli media.

High Court Justice Gila Canfy-Steinitz told the army Chief of Staff and the head of Shin Bet to provide by May 20 the classified information that they have said demonstrates how , the State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman's investigation would harm state security.

“I did not see [a reason], at this stage, to provide temporary relief,” Canfy-Steinitz said of the request to have Englman halt his probe.

20:15 Beirut Time

The Israeli military has shot and killed an NGO worker and wounded another in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian officials in the besieged territory cited by Middle East Eye.

According to the local authorities, the pair were in a United Nations vehicle displaying the UN flag and insignia when they were targeted.

The Palestinian government media office in Gaza said both people hit in the attack were foreigners. Local media said the person killed was a Palestinian driver and the wounded worker was a foreigner.

20:12 Beirut Time

The Israeli military has shot and killed an NGO worker and wounded another in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian officials in the besieged territory cited by Middle East Eye.

According to the local authorities, the pair were in a United Nations vehicle displaying the UN flag and insignia when they were targeted.

The Palestinian government media office in Gaza said both people hit in the attack were foreigners. Local media said the person killed was a Palestinian driver and the wounded worker was a foreigner.

19:49 Beirut Time

Israeli protesters blocked aid trucks headed for Gaza today, strewing food packages on the road in the latest in a series of incidents that have come as Israel has pledged to allow uninterrupted humanitarian supplies into the besieged enclave, where the majority of the population is displaced.

According to a Reuters report, four protesters, including a minor, were arrested at the protest, at Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the Israeli occupied West Bank, according to a statement from lawyers representing the protesters.

Videos circulated on social media showed protesters throwing supplies from the trucks on to the ground, with the contents of opened cartons lying spilled across the road. Palestinians in Gaza, under Israeli blockade since 2007, are in dire need of food, fuel, medical and other basic supplies.

19:03 Beirut Time

Updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

• Israeli warplanes targeted the village of Aita al-Shaab, in Bint Jbeil district, residents told our correspondent in southern Lebanon.

• At 5:05 p.m., Hezbollah targeted and "directly hit" the site of al-Samaqa, in the disputed hills of Kfar Shuba, with missile weapons, the group said in a statement.

18:59 Beirut Time

Hassan Nasrallah has finished his speech. He will speak again on May 25, Resistance and Liberation Day, marking the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon in 2000. Nasrallah said he would spend more time on the 25th to speak about the Lebanese front.

18:36 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "The link between the two fronts, Lebanon and Gaza, is very clear. The United States has even told Netanyahu that there is no solution to the northern front [on the border with Lebanon] without an end to the war in Gaza.

We say this to the settlers who want to return to the settlements in the north [of Israel] before Sept. 1: If you want to resolve the situation, tell your government to stop the war in Gaza! All the internal pressure in Lebanon has come to nothing, all the threats of all-out war against Lebanon have come to nothing!"

18:34 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "From our point of view, Israel has only two choices: continue or stop. It's quite simple. If it stops, it will have lost. If it continues, it is waging a war of attrition and massacre that will only lead to defeat. This war is leading Israel to the abyss, to catastrophe. This means that it is a victory for the Resistance."

18:33 Beirut Time

Nasrallah on the latest truce proposal in Gaza: "All the American officials were saying 'the ball is in Hamas' court.' And Hamas surprised them: it accepted the proposal! The first to be surprised was Israel. That's because the agreement accepted by Hamas is Israel's undoing! If Hamas had refused the proposed agreement, the whole world would have blamed Hamas for this failure! But nobody blames Israel for refusing!"

On Friday, Hamas indicated that Israel had "rejected the proposal submitted by the mediators" from Egypt, Qatar and the USA, while the Palestinian movement had "accepted" it, following talks in Cairo to secure a truce in Gaza to accompany the release of Palestinians detained by Israel and hostages still held in Gaza.

18:26 Beirut Time

Nasrallah on the death toll in Gaza: "In the Arab world, unfortunately, all these deaths do not lead some countries to condemn Israel. Many Arab Zionists remain silent about the enemy's crimes. This shows the treachery and indignity of these people."

The Gaza Ministry of Health announced today that Israel has killed 35,091 and wounded 78,827 people in Gaza since the start of the war. In the space of 24 hours, at least 57 additional deaths have been recorded, according to a statement from the ministry. Thousands more are missing and thought to be buried under the rubble.

18:23 Beirut Time

Nasrallah on Rafah: "Netanyahu says, 'Those who want to prevent us from entering Rafah want to show us as losers in the war!' So, what has happened so far? They're losing!"

18:16 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "Today, voices are being raised in Israel to denounce the stalemate of the war. Yesterday, Antony Blinken said it clearly: Israel has reached an impasse.

We are in the biggest war waged by the Palestinian people since 1948! And Israel is losing it! What does this mean? It means that from now on, Palestine will be able to impose its conditions. Israel has reached a dead end!"

18:15 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "Despite the United States, — the world's leading power — sending hundreds of planes and equipment, the enemy is failing. This is not just a failure. It shows that Israel is a failed state.

In opinion polls, 70 percent of Israelis are calling for the resignation of the Chief of Staff. They wouldn't if Israel succeeded! At least 30 percent of those polled say that Israel is an unlivable country. After eight months, what has happened to Israel's so-called deterrence?"

It is likely that Nasrallah is referring to a poll conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute, which found that 33 percent of Jews in Israel are "not convinced" their children and grandchildren should continue living in the country, according to a Jerusalem Post report.

The institute's survey also found that 70 percent of the public has low levels of trust in the government and 70 percent believe, as Nasrallah said, that army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi should resign.

18:09 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "I follow the Israeli media closely. They're all talking about a failure! None of them are talking about a victory.

[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu keeps talking about a total victory in the near future. But where is it? Nobody sees it! You said you wanted to bring back the hostages, that this was an objective. Where do we stand? None of Israel's objectives have been achieved: neither bringing back the hostages, nor securing Gaza, nor wiping out Hamas."

Around 250 people were taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023. According to Israel, 128 are still hostages in Gaza, 36 of whom are thought to be dead.

18:07 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "Israel, which claims to be progressive, open and at peace with its neighbors in the region, showed its true face to the world after Oct. 7. It killed children and women. It has flouted international laws and moral and ethical values. This is Israel's image in the world today."

18:00 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "The anger and despair of Israel's special envoy to the UN is plain for all the world to see. The issue now is the Palestinians' right to a state. This cause was forgotten just a few years ago. It is now a central issue.

All Zionists are afraid of it, because they refuse the presence of a Palestinian state. Even the lying, hypocritical American state has had to start talking about a Palestinian state and Palestinian rights. That's the real victory! It's a great victory."

On Friday, an overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly ruled that the Palestinians deserved to be full members of the organization, granting them a few extra rights in the absence of real membership, which has been blocked by the United States in the Security Council.

The symbolic vote, welcomed by the Palestinian Authority, angered Israel. "Violence pays," said Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who believes the move is tantamount to the UN rewarding Hamas for its attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

17:55 Beirut Time

Nasrallah: "At the start of the war [between Israel and Hamas], the Palestinian resistance indicated that one of its aims was to revive the Palestinian cause, to recall the rights of the Palestinians and the forgotten Palestine.

We are in the eighth month of this war. Today, thanks to the resilience of the fighters and the population, the reality of Palestine has changed. The Palestinian cause is now number one in the world.

Many universities in the USA, France, and Australia are holding demonstrations in support of Palestine. It was Oct. 7 that created this support."

17:43 Beirut Time

Nasrallah on Badreddine: "He received God's greatest reward, that of martyrdom. The Resistance exists thanks to the sacrifices of many martyrs. He died at a time when there was a plan to hand Syria over to the Americans."

17:16 Beirut Time

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is about to speak as part of an annual ceremony held as a tribute to Mustafa Badreddine, Hezbollah's former military chief in Syria, killed in 2016 near Damascus.

Badreddine was one of five members of the party charged by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) with the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In his opening remarks, Nasrallah paid tribute to Badreddine and he said he would be addressing several topics: the southern front and the battle against Israel and the issue of displaced Syrians. He also announced that he would speak again on May 25, on Resistance and Liberation Day, if he was "still alive."

17:14 Beirut Time

An update on the situation along the border between Lebanon and Israel since midday:

• The Israeli army targeted the outskirts of Mais al-Jabal, Marjayoun district, with artillery and machine-gun fire

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for three attacks:

• At midday, on the Israeli "Birket Riaha" site, located opposite the Lebanese town of Boustane in Sour district.

• At 1 p.m., an "ambush" attack on Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of the Biranit barracks, opposite Rmeich in the Marjayoun district.

• At 1:20 p.m., targetting the "Jardah position," where Israeli soldiers were entering a "room equipped with spy equipment." The strike, using guided missiles, "destroyed" this infrastructure, killing and wounding several people. As of yet, no casualties have been reported by the Israeli army.

14:41 Beirut Time

The health ministry in the Gaza Strip has warned that the Palestinian territory's healthcare system is “hours away from collapse” due to a lack of fuel.

“We are hours away from a collapse of the healthcare system in the Gaza Strip, in the absence of the fuel needed to run hospital generators, ambulances and staff transport,” warned the ministry, which has been deprived of electricity since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7 and where humanitarian aid is arriving in dribs and drabs.

14:09 Beirut Time

Anti-tank rockets fired by Hezbollah earlier in the day near Yiftah (opposite Blida, in the Marjayoun district) wounded four soldiers, according to the Israeli army, quoted by Haaretz. Three were “slightly wounded,” the fourth more seriously. All were hospitalized.

The party had announced that it had targeted a Merkava tank near the Yiftah barracks at around 10.30 a.m.

12:21 Beirut Time

Egypt announced yesterday its intention to join South Africa in its recent request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to impose further emergency measures on Israel, according to a foreign ministry statement.

The decision comes “in light of the increasing severity and scale of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip,” Israel's systematic targeting of “civilians and destruction of infrastructure,” and its incitement “to the displacement of Palestinians,” according to the same source.

12:11 Beirut Time

An update on the situation along the border between Lebanon and Israel :

At 6:20 a.m., Hezbollah launched an air attack with a squadron of assault drones on a settlement and sleeping tents of Israeli officers and soldiers at the newly created site of the 403rd Reserve Artillery Battalion of the 91st Division, south of Beit Hillel, the group said in a statement. “It directly hit its targets, killing and wounding Israeli officers and soldiers,” the statement added.

At 10:35 a.m., Hezbollah attacked a Merkava tank in the Yiftah barracks with a guided missile, "directly hitting it, destroying it, and killing and wounding its crew," according to a Hezbollah statement. These barracks are facing Blida, in Marjayoun district.

Israeli drones struck the town of Shihine (Sour). No casualties were reported so far, a security source told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the south.

Commenting on this morning's drone attack, the Israeli army said, according to Haaretz, that "two drones launched from Lebanon entered into Israel and exploded in the Beit Hillel area." "A fire broke out, which was extinguished shortly after, and there were no casualties," according to the army.

11:15 Beirut Time

Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, considered the mastermind of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and now Israel's number one target, is still believed to be hiding in tunnels beneath his hometown of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, according to US officials speaking to the New York Times on condition of anonymity.

This information was published in the NYT at a time when the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insists on launching a ground assault on Rafah, a large city in the south of the enclave, in order to eliminate, according to him, any Hamas presence.

In February, the Israeli army broadcast for the first time a video allegedly showing Sinwar in a tunnel on Oct. 10. The Hamas leader in the enclave has not been seen since the Oct. 7 attack.

10:33 Beirut Time

In Lebanon, the night was marked only by Hezbollah's claim of responsibility for an earlier strike on Israeli surveillance equipment in Malkia (opposite the Lebanese town of Aitaroun in the Bint Jbeil district).

In the morning, a Hezbollah official asserted that the party's “drones” “are capable of getting where they need to go," as far as “Acre or Haifa and beyond.” Sheikh Nabil Qaouq, a member of Hezbollah's central council, also declared that “the Iron Dome and [Israel's] F16 fighter jets have failed to cope” with the attacks launched by the party.

09:51 Beirut Time

“Tonight, we have neither peace nor silence” in our hearts, declared Israeli President Isaac Herzog last night at a ceremony at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. At his side, army chief Herzi Halevi said he bore “responsibility for the failure of our mission to protect the citizens of the State of Israel on Oct. 7.

09:51 Beirut Time

After sounding their first blast on Sunday evening, the sirens are due to sound again at 11:00 am on Monday in Israel, to mark the start of the annual commemorations for soldiers who have fallen in defense of the country and victims of terrorist attacks, on the eve of Israel's 76th anniversary. This will be followed by a series of ceremonies in Israel's military cemeteries.

On Monday evening, mourning will give way to celebrations marking Independence Day, the anniversary of the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Part of this year's festivities were canceled due to the war. 

09:50 Beirut Time

By attacking Rafah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to "overturn" talks on a truce and the release of hostages held in Gaza, Hamas accused yesterday. The movement claimed to have accepted a proposal from mediators Egypt, Qatar and the United States for a truce, but Israel had replied that the accepted proposal was “far from [its] demands.”

09:48 Beirut Time

On foot, in vehicles or on three-wheelers, Palestinians continue to flee areas of Rafah in an attempt to find refuge elsewhere in the Palestinian territory.

“We went through hell for three days and the worst nights since the start of the war,” 24-year-old Mohammed Hamad told AFP, one of the 300,000 Palestinians who, according to Israel, fled the bombed-out areas of eastern Rafah following the army's evacuation orders.

09:48 Beirut Time

A vast operation on Rafah would risk creating “chaos,” “anarchy” and “enormous damagefor the civilian populationwithout solving the Hamas problem, warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday.

“There will always be thousands of armed Hamas members,” even after an operation at Rafah, especially as the armed Islamist movement has “returned to areas Israel has liberated in the north, even Khan Younis,” added Blinken in an interview with NBC.

09:47 Beirut Time

“The Israeli authorities continue to issue forced displacement orders ... This forces Rafah residents to flee anywhere,” wrote Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), on X yesterday. “Talk of safe zones is false and misleading. No place is safe in Gaza," he said.

09:46 Beirut Time

Israeli strikes multiplied early this morning in the Gaza Strip. In the early hours after midnight, AFP crews reported strikes in various parts of Gaza.

The strikes were aimed in particular at the southern city of Rafah, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, the majority of whom have been displaced by the bombardments and fighting.

08:56 Beirut Time
08:56 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.