A Palestinian woman checks the damages at her family house in Nuseirat following Israeli bombardment overnight on May 23, 2024, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Credit: Bashar Taleb/AFP)


ICJ orders Israel to halt operations in Rafah; Gantz says no intention to heed ruling: Day 231 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress “soon.”

Hezbollah launched several night strikes.

Violent street fighting in Jabalia, in the north of the enclave. 

21:23 Beirut Time

That's it for today's live coverage of the war on Gaza and its repercussions in the region and around the world. Thanks for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow morning with more news updates and analysis. Goodnight.

21:21 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has announced the death of its fighter Hussein Nabil al-Maoula, born in 1996 in the town of Harbata in the Bekaa Valley. The party did not specify where he was killed, but according to our correspondent in southern Lebanon, he was killed in Mais al-Jabal.

In the evening, Israeli aircraft carried out three successive raids on the village of Aita al-Shaab, in Bint Jbeil district, and another on the village of Maroun al-Ras, also in Bint Jbeil, according to a security source.

21:19 Beirut Time

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "surprises" today, after more than seven months of fighting along the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Addressing Netanyahu during the televised speech in tribute to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, killed in a helicopter crash along with several of his companions, Nasrallah said "The Resistance surprised you on Oct. 8 ... You should expect more surprises"

Nasrallah's threat came in response to remarks made the previous day by the Israeli Prime Minister as he was visiting the army's Northern Command headquarters. Netanyahu told troops that Tel Aviv had "detailed, important, even surprising plans" for dealing with Hezbollah. "But I don't share these plans with the enemy," he said, adding that he had two objectives: to restore security in northern Israel, and to enable the displaced to return home.

🎙 Read more about Nasrallah's speech here.

20:37 Beirut Time

Between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Hezbollah claimed responsibility for three attacks against Israel:

• At 6:30 p.m., its fighters targeted and "directly hit" the headquarters of Israeli border forces in the Doviv barracks with Falak-type missiles.

• Its fighters targeted a building housing a military intelligence force in the Israeli town of Manara. The party claims to have destroyed surveillance equipment.

• At 7:30 p.m., party fighters targeted and directly hit the Israeli "Ramta" position in the disputed Kfarshuba hills.

20:25 Beirut Time

Following the ICJ’s ruling demanding Israel halt its operations in Rafah, Israeli war Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz told US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a phone call that Israel had no intention of heeding the order.

According to a statement cited by Times of Israel, Gantz called Blinken from army headquarters and insisted that Israel is “obligated to continue fighting to return its hostages and ensure the safety of its citizens, at any time and place — including in Rafah.”

Gantz’s office said the pair also discussed “the efforts to ensure the return of the hostages and the prospects of advancing with a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia.”

20:20 Beirut Time

Israel says its military operations in Gaza's far-southern city of Rafah do not "risk the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population" after the top UN court ordered it to stop them, and as the death toll from Israel’s offensive in the enclave reaches 35,800.

"Israel has not and will not carry out military operations in the Rafah area that create living conditions that could cause the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population, in whole or in part," Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said — mirroring the ICJ ruling — in a joint statement with a spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry, cited by AFP.

20:13 Beirut Time

Celebrations marking a Jewish holiday this weekend have been moved after its traditional location near Lebanon was closed due to the threat of Hezbollah rocket fire, Israeli police say, cited by AFP.

Every year, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrate the holiday of Lag Baomer by visiting the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on Mount Meron, in northern Israel. In 2021, 45 people were killed in a stampede on Mount Meron during the annual pilgrimage.

Preparations for this year's festivities, which come 33 days after Passover, have been completed in Sheikh Jarrah, a tense neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, a police spokesperson said. . The Sheikh Jarrah lot where festivities installations are erected this year is private Palestinian land.

👉 Read the full report here.

19:58 Beirut Time

Israeli artillery fire targeted residential areas in the village of Houla, in Marjayoun district, according to residents. They also report that houses were directly hit by phosphorus bombs in the village square.

19:18 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced the death of one of its fighters, Hassan al-Sheibi, originally from the village of Tayr Harfa, and resident of Qlaileh, both in Sour district.

Al-Sheibi was killed in an Israeli airstrike that targeted the village of Mais al-JabalMarjeyoun district) earlier today, according to your correspondent in the region.

According to our count, 314 Hezbollah members have been killed in Lebanon and Syria since cross-border fighting began in October.

19:14 Beirut Time

Israeli Opposition Leader Yair Lapid criticized Netanyahu’s government following the International Court of Justice ruling this afternoon, saying that it “could and should have been prevented,” Haaretz reports.

"A sane and professional government would have stopped insane ministers from expressing themselves publicly, arrested criminals who set fire to aid convoys, and conducted diplomatic endeavors quietly and efficiently," Lapid said.

Lapid also felt that the ICJ had failed to sufficiently draw a connection between its demand for an end to the fighting with a demand to return Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

19:12 Beirut Time

Hezbollah claimed three new attacks against Israel:

1) Hezbollah announced that it targeted a Merkava Israeli tank with a guided missile while it was operating in the Shtula woods, which face the Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab, claiming that the tank's crew was "killed and wounded."

Hezbollah said that the attack happened today but did not precise its exact time and claimed that the tank it targeted was a replacement of another tank that it had destroyed yesterday. Following the initial attack, Hezbollah says its fighters fired artillery shells on Israeli soldiers who were spotted around the destroyed tank.

2) In response to Israel's attacks on Lebanese "southern villages and homes," Hezbollah said that it fired rockets on a building used by Israeli soldiers in the Israeli village of Margaliot. The party did not precise the exact time of the attack.

3) Hezbollah also announced that it targeted the Israeli site of "Malikiyah," which faces the Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab, with two Burkan missiles at 5:20 p.m.

18:50 Beirut Time

18:48 Beirut Time

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

• Israeli artillery shelling has targeted the outskirts of Qouzah, Aita al-Shaab and Ramyah (Bint Jbeil district), according to a security source relayed by our correspondent in the South.

• Rockets have been fired from southern Lebanon towards Israeli sites, a security source told L'Orient Today.

• Rocket alarms have been activated in the city of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel, Haaretz reports.

17:35 Beirut Time

Latest updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

• An Israeli drone fired a missile on a motorcycle in the village of Hanine, in Bint Jbeil district, residents told our correspondent in the South.

• Hezbollah announced that its fighters destroyed "spy equipment" set up at the "Bayyad Blida" Israeli site, facing the Lebanese village of Blida, at 3:35 p.m.

• Rocket alarms sounded in northern Israel, according to Haaretz.

16:40 Beirut Time

Around 45 minutes ago, Israeli warplanes raided the southern Lebanese village of Mais al-Jabal, in Marjayoun district, targeting the square in the town's center, seriously injuring two people and causing significant damage, according to security, medical sources, and residents, who spoke with our correspondent in the South. The wounded were taken to a local hospital.

16:37 Beirut Time

The International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel “immediately halt” its military offensive in the Rafah governorate.

During this afternoon’s session in The Hague, Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the ICJ, said that the situation in Rafah has “deteriorated further” and is now classified as “disastrous.” To this end, Salam said, on behalf of 13 of the 15 international judges on the panel, the ICJ is handing down additional measures against Israel, having found that Israel’s efforts at evacuating and protecting civilians in Gaza were “insufficient”:

“Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governorate which may inflict on Palestinian group in Gaza, conditions of life which would bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

In addition — "Israel must take measures to ensure unimpeded access into Gaza Strip" for investigators and fact-finding missions mandated by the UN, Salam stated, and "must submit a report on measures taken within one month." Israel's follow-up report on the measures issued by the ICJ in January was drafted by its Justice Ministry and Foreign Ministry and was not released to the press or the general public.

14:22 Beirut Time

The head of European foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, called on Israel not to “intimidate” and “threaten” the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose chief prosecutor has requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister.

“I ask everyone, starting with the government of Israel, but also certain European governments, not to intimidate the judges, not to threaten them,” said Borrell in an interview on Spanish public television TVE, calling for “respect for the International Criminal Court.”

13:51 Beirut Time

Latest updates from Southern Lebanon and Northern Israel:

- ⁠A security source told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the South that an Israeli drone targeted a pick-up truck, used to transport damaged cars, in the village of Hanouiyeh (Sour). According to residents, the pick-up was parked on the side of a road and no one was inside it. No casualties have been reported. Hanouiyeh is located more than 10 km away from the Lebanese-Israeli border.

- ⁠Israeli warplanes struck the village of Maroun al-Ras (Bint Jbeil), a security source told L'Orient Today.

•⁠ ⁠"Hostile aircraft alerts" sounded in Israel's north, near the Lebanese border, according to Haaretz.

11:55 Beirut Time

Witnesses also reported to AFP drone flights around the European hospital east of Khan Younis.

11:34 Beirut Time

In Gaza, the Israeli army said this morning that it was continuing its operations in Jabalia (north) and in the eponymous camp for displaced persons.

“There is no safe place ... We are distraught,” a displaced Palestinian from the Jabalia camp told AFPTV.

11:28 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has announced that it has recovered the bodies of three hostages held in the Gaza Strip since the Hamas attack on Israeli soil on Oct. 7.

“The bodies of hostages [Chanan] Yablonka (Israeli), Michel Nisenbaum (Israeli-Brazilian), and Orion Hernandez [Radoux] (Franco-Mexican) were recovered overnight in a joint operation” by the Israeli army and intelligence services in Jabalia, in the north of the war-torn territory, the army said in a statement.

10:35 Beirut Time

Israel's Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, announced that he has “decided to cut the link between the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem and the Palestinians “in response” to Madrid's recent recognition of the state of Palestine and an “anti-Semitic call” by a Spanish minister.

“I have decided to cut the link between the Spanish [diplomatic] representation in Israel and the Palestinians, and to prohibit the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians in the West Bank,” wrote Katz on the X social network. Asked about the practicalities of such a decision, the Israeli Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to AFP.

10:10 Beirut Time

Hezbollah's night-time attacks:

- After 10 p.m., Hezbollah issued a statement stating that it had bombedthree Israeli buildings in the area of Even Menachem,” an Israeli town opposite Marwahine and Ramieh (Sour).

- After 11 p.m., Hezbollah announced that it had targeted “an Israeli building” in the Metulla area (opposite Odaisseh in the Marjayoun district). At the same time, rockets were launched towards the upper Galilee from southern Lebanon, and intercepted by Israeli missiles, according to a security source.

- At 12:30 a.m., Hezbollah again announced in a statement that it had “targeted Israeli soldiers with missiles” in a town opposite the Lebanese village of Yaroun (Bint Jbeil).

10:07 Beirut Time

What happened overnight along the border between Lebanon and Israel:

- After 9 p.m., Israeli bombardments south of the village of Khiam (Marjayoun) set fire to stretches of dry grass.

- After 9:30 p.m., further Israeli strikes targeted the villages of Marwahine and Ramieh (Sour), as well as the area around the villages of Kawzah and Beit Lif (Bint Jbeil).

- Also after 10 p.m., Israeli bombings targeted Jabal Blat (Bint Jbeil).

- During the night, Israeli aircraft overflew the Zahrani area at low altitude.

10:06 Beirut Time

According to the American website Axios, quoted by AFP, CIA chief William Burns is due to travel to Europe “in the next few days” to meet the head of Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, and the Prime Minister of Qatar, in an effort to relaunch talks.

Citing a “high-ranking source,” the Al-Qahera News media, close to Egyptian intelligence, estimated that “the Israeli position was still not conducive” to a “ceasefire and the release of the hostages.”

10:04 Beirut Time

Following the release of a video showing the kidnapping of female soldiers by Hamas fighters on Oct. 7, the War Cabinet ordered Israeli negotiators to “return to the negotiating table to obtain the return of the hostages,” according to a senior official quoted by AFP. In early May, indirect Israel/Hamas negotiations, brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, failed to produce a truce agreement associated with the release of Palestinian hostages and prisoners held by Israel.

10:03 Beirut Time

Despite the arrest warrants sought against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the International Criminal Court, the latter will address the US Congresssoon,” House Speaker Mike Johnson announced last night after Democratic Speaker Joe Biden blasted ICC prosecutor Karim Khan's announcement.

“Tonight, I'm pleased to announce something else: we will soon welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu to Capitol Hill for a joint session of Congress,” said Johnson at a reception at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

10:02 Beirut Time

Today, the ICJ is due to rule on a request from South Africa, which accuses Israel of “genocide” in the Gaza Strip, to order an “immediate” cease-fire. The orders of this court, also based in The Hague but which settles disputes between states, are legally binding, but it has no means of enforcing them.

10:01 Beirut Time

“A war is being waged against hospitals in the Gaza Strip,” Dr. Khalil Al-Darkan, spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, told AFP, warning that the facility's activities could be interrupted due to a fuel shortage.

10:01 Beirut Time

Early today, Israeli strikes continued in the Gaza Strip, with hospital sources reporting several injuries in strikes on Deir al-Balah. 

10:00 Beirut Time

Violent street fighting also pitted the armed wing of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement against Israeli forces in Jabalia. “We can only hear the sound of explosions and gunfire in the eponymous camp,” assured AFP, Mahmoud al-Sharif, a 31-year-old Palestinian.

10:00 Beirut Time

Civil Defense in Gaza City reported yesterday that two air strikes had killed 26 people, including 15 children. Sixteen of them were killed in a strike on their homes, the other 10 in a bombardment on a mosque and a school.

09:59 Beirut Time

At least 35,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the Israeli offensive in Gaza, according to data from the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

08:57 Beirut Time
08:57 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.