Palestinians salvage items from a damaged building as they prepare to flee Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (Credit: Bashar Taleb/AFP)


Israeli army took control of te corridor running along border between Gaza and Egypt: Day 236 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Algeria will present a resolution on Rafah to the Security Council.

Israel gave mediators Qatar, Egypt and the US an updated proposal for a cease-fire and hostage exchange deal.

An Israeli strike on a camp for displaced people in Rafah killed 21 people yesterday, two days after a similar bombing that sparked international outrage.

A resident of Rafah told AFP that "anyone who moves is being shot at by Israeli drones."

The White House says Israel's operations in Rafah don't "cross a red line" for the US.

21:26 Beirut Time

Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the war in Gaza. Be sure to come back tomorrow for all of the latest updates.


21:22 Beirut Time

The Knesset, in a first reading, approved a bill that would pave the way for the UN refugee for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) to be designated as a terrorist organization

The bill looks to revoke the UN agency's immunities established in the 1940s by the UN and allow for its designation as a terrorist organization. Officially known as the United Nations Immunities and Privileges Ordinance, it passed 58-6 in the 120-member legislative body in the first reading of the draft bill. It will require another three readings before it is officially adopted.

According to the Times of Israel, the legislation is not expected to ultimately pass in the end although UNRWA has become increasingly targeted in Israel.

UNRWA has come under fire by Israel after it alleges that around a dozen of its 12,000 employees in Gaza took part in Hamas's Oct. 7 attack. Since then, Israel has sought to shutter UNRWA and have it replaced but has given little information as to who or what should replace it.

UNRWA has continued to deny the Israeli allegations.

21:06 Beirut Time

Meeting between the foreign ministers of Spain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 in Madrid. (Credit: Susana Vera/Reuters)

“We are here to thank Spain, Norway, Ireland and Slovenia for taking the right decision, at the right time, to be on the right side of history,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah at a meeting in Madrid on Wednesday.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares also received his counterparts from Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Palestine, who were visiting the Spanish capital at the invitation of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who welcomed them earlier this morning at the Moncloa Palace, the seat of the government presidency.

Albares pledged that Spain would continue to work for more European countries to recognize the Palestinian state, and to “normalize relations between Arab countries and Israel.”

20:36 Beirut Time

An Israeli military official said on Wednesday that the Israeli army has taken tactical control of the Philadelphia Corridor, which runs along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

“This does not mean that we have troops on the ground throughout the corridor, but that we can control it and are in a position to cut the oxygen line that Hamas has been using to resupply and move in and around this area,” the official said.

They added that the Israeli military operation in the Rafah area had uncovered 20 tunnels crossing the border between the Palestinian enclave and Egypt in ten days and that this information had been passed on to the Egyptian government.

20:12 Beirut Time

On Wednesday, May 29, the Lebanese Ministry of Health published a new report on the war between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon, covering the period from October 8, 2023 to May 28, 2024. The figures show 1,534 victims, killed and wounded, including 375 dead and 257 wounded who had to be hospitalized.

Read the full story here.

19:56 Beirut Time

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to “implement the indispensable reforms” in “the perspective of recognizing the State of Palestine,” the French presidency said in a statement.

In their call, the French president “underlined France's commitment to working with its European and Arab partners to build a common vision of peace that offers security guarantees for Palestinians and Israelis” and to “inscribe the prospect of recognition of the State of Palestine in a useful dynamic.”

19:43 Beirut Time

An Israeli bombing of Khiam. (Photo provided by L'Orient Today's correspondent in South Lebanon)

An update on the situation in southern Lebanon:

- According to a security source, the Israeli air force bombed a house and a laundry in the eastern district of the village of Khiam (Marjayoun).

- The Israeli army bombed the village of Rashaya al-Foukhar (Hasbaya) according to local residents.

- Hezbollah announced three new attacks. The first targeted the Ramia site (opposite Ramieh, in the Bint Jbeil district) at 6 p.m.; the second took place at 6:10 p.m. on the Israeli site of Samaka, in the disputed Kfar Shouba area, opposite the Lebanese village of the same name in the Hasbaya district; the third targeted the Israeli site of Zebdine, in the disputed Shebaa farms.

19:38 Beirut Time

Israel needs a post-war plan as soon as possible,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday during a visit to Moldova. “Without a plan for the day after, there will be no day after. That's what we need, as quickly as possible", he told reporters.

These words from the US diplomat come just hours after those of Israeli national security advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, who said that the fighting in Gaza could last “another seven months,” i.e. until the end of the year.

19:11 Beirut Time

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne on Wednesday accused European countries that have recognized the State of Palestine (Spain, Ireland and Norway) of giving priority to “political positioning,” particularly in the context of the European election campaign, rather than seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

18:47 Beirut Time

A photo of the banner removed. (Photo provided by L'Orient Today's correspondent in South Lebanon Muntasser Abdallah)

A group from the Muslim Youth organization removed a banner that Hamas had put up yesterday in front of its office near the Khalid bin Walid Mosque in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Saida. The banner expressed condolences to Iran after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

The Muslim Youth organization protested the banner yesterday and demanded its removal. When they forcibly took it down today, Hamas members responded by firing shots into the air in protest.

This escalation led to a military standoff between the two sides. The Joint Security Committee is now in contact with both parties to prevent the situation from worsening and to find a peaceful resolution.

18:41 Beirut Time

Israel must do more to protect innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, as well as to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the enclave and is distributed safely, US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood said on Wednesday.

“The persistence of significant civilian damage resulting from incidents such as Sunday's airstrikes undermines Israel's strategic objectives in Gaza,” Wood told the UN Security Council. 

18:40 Beirut Time

A new update on the situation on the border between southern Lebanon and northern Israel:

- At around 2 p.m., residents of the Nabatieh district heard the sounds of interceptor missiles exploding.

- After 3 p.m., Israeli artillery bombarded the Kroum al-Shraki area, east of Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun).

- At around 4:30 p.m., Hezbollah announced that it had launched a multi-segment attack using rockets and drones on the Israeli al-Baghdadi site opposite Mais al-Jabal. The party claims to have caused several explosions at this military site, wounding some of the soldiers stationed there.

16:55 Beirut Time

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted the International Court of Justice, the UN's highest court, on Wednesday, calling it a “joke” and its president a “relentless anti-Semite.”

Graham made the comments during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the senator's fifth visit to Israel since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in October.

“We will do everything in our power ... to hold the ICJ accountable for this outrage against the people of Israel,” Graham said. 

16:32 Beirut Time

Yemen's Houthis said on Wednesday that they targeted six ships in the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Mediterranean Sea, including the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Laax, which was damaged by a Houthi missile attack off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday.

16:21 Beirut Time

The Brazilian government recalled its ambassador to Israel and will not be appointing anyone to the post in the immediate future, a diplomatic source told AFP on Wednesday.

The ambassador, Frederico Meyer, had initially been recalled for consultations with his government after Brazil and Israel exchanged sharp words in February about the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip. The conditions were not right “for him to return to Israel,” the diplomatic source explained on Wednesday.

15:47 Beirut Time

The Palestinian health minister has urged the United States to pressure Israel to open the Rafah crossing, used to bring in humanitarian and medical supplies, saying there was no indication that Israeli authorities would open it soon, Reuters reports.

Rafah was a major entry point for humanitarian relief before Israel stepped up its military offensive on the Gaza side of the border earlier this month and seized control of the crossing from the Palestinian side.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that its closure has significantly affected its ability to deliver essential medical supplies into the Gaza Strip, which has been devastated by more than seven months of relentless Israeli bombardment and ground warfare.

"There is no indication when they want to open it," the Palestinian minister, Majed Abu Ramadan, told reporters on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

14:47 Beirut Time

Hamas is prepared to show "flexibility" about the future governance of Gaza, as long as the decision to rule the war-battered enclave is agreed upon by other Palestinian factions and is not imposed by either the United States or Israel, a senior Palestinian source with knowledge of Hamas' policies has told Middle East Eye.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic, also said that Hamas felt the balance of power was "tilting" in its favor as Israel grapples with mounting political divisions over the future of post-war Gaza.

"Hamas is confident that it is deeply rooted in the region and nobody can bypass it," the source told the UK-based news outlet.

13:26 Beirut Time

Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said Israel’s war on Gaza — which has killed over 36,000 Palestinians and only a third of Hamas’ military wing — will continue for at least seven more months, Reuters reports.

A Haaretz report adds that Hanegbi also announced Israel is in control of 75 percent of the Philedelphi Corridor buffer zone along the Gaza-Egypt border.

12:51 Beirut Time

Further updates from southern Lebanon:

• A security source has reported Israeli machine-gun fire aimed at a Lebanese Army watchtower on the outskirts of Alma al-Shaab, in Sour district. The watchtower has been unused since the start of the war, according to a senior security source, adding that the site is regularly targeted by Israeli fire, although no Lebanese soldiers are directly targeted, and no casualties have been reported.

• According to local residents, several Israeli artillery shells have targeted Wadi Hamoul, on the outskirts of Naqoura, in Sour district.

12:46 Beirut Time

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters yesterday that he has read the Guardian report on Israel’s surveillance campaign against the ICC. “I don’t want to speak to hypotheticals about what the United States may or may not do,” he said. “But of course we would oppose threats or intimidation against any public official.”

Several members of the international law community have said that Israel’s actions – nine years of spying on and threatening senior ICC officials in a bid to derail potential war crimes charges against the country’s leadership – may warrant new indictments, according to further reporting from the UK newspaper.

“It is abundantly clear that many of the examples highlighted in [the] reporting would amount to offenses against the administration of justice at the ICC, pursuant to article 70 of the Rome Statute,” said Matt Cannock, the head of Amnesty International’s center for international justice in The Hague. “Such charges should be brought against anyone who has sought to impede, intimidate or corruptly influence the ICC’s officials.”

👉 Read more here.

12:45 Beirut Time

The situation on the border between Lebanon and Israel over the last two hours:

• Hezbollah claimed responsibility for two attacks on Israeli positions this morning. The first, on "newly installed spy equipment at the Raheb site," located opposite Aita al-Shaab, in Bint Jbeil district, "destroyed the target," according to a party statement. The second strike of the morning was launched with artillery shells against "soldiers" deployed in the forests of Shtula, not far from the site of the previous strike.

• The Israeli army said it had "intercepted a suspicious aerial vehicle over the sea in the Ras Naqoura region," which crossed over the border without triggering any warning sirens. The Israeli army's Arabic-speaking spokesperson also referred on X to night strikes on the Naqoura (Sour) and Ramiyeh (Bint Jbeil) regions.

11:30 Beirut Time

According to security sources, yesterday night was marked by the following events along the border between Lebanon and Israel:

Following rocket fire from southern Lebanon reported by security sources, Hezbollah announced in a statement that its fighters had targeted an Israeli patrol with artillery shells at 11 p.m. The strike was carried out on the Israeli "Bayad Blida" site, located opposite the Lebanese town of Blida, after "observing the movements" of these troops, according to the party's statement.

Around midnight, the area of Wadi Hassan, in Sour district, was hit by Israeli artillery.

11:25 Beirut Time

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) crews evacuated one of the organization’s field hospitals from al-Mawasi area in Rafah yesterday. Artillery shelling, which Israel has denied, hit another displacement camp in the area killing 21 people yesterday afternoon.

In a post on its X account, the PRCS says it was forced to evacuate due to the increased level of threat from the Israeli onslaught, “continued artillery and air bombardments” in the vicinity of the hospital.

The organization added that all residents from the surrounding area were also evacuated. Al-Mawasi is located in western Rafah, along the coast, in an area designated by Israel as an expanded humanitarian zone, according to Reuters.

11:23 Beirut Time

A day after winning a landslide victory in the Israeli Labor party primaries, incoming party leader Yair Golan told Radio 103FM that Israel should have ended the war in Gaza four and a half months ago, “when we completed the step of crushing Hamas’ military wing,” Times of Israel reports.

“Unfortunately, the prime minister doesn’t want to free the hostages because he understands that would lead to the end of the fighting, and he is dragging the country to a disaster,” Golan said. “That’s why we must change course.”

In February, Israel claimed to have killed one-third of the estimated 30,000-strong Hamas military force — a claim that was widely disputed.

Last week, Politico cited US intelligence sources who said that only 30 to 35 percent of Hamas fighters had been killed, seven months into the war, and that 65 percent of the group’s tunnel infrastructure remained intact.

10:59 Beirut Time

Israel gave mediators Qatar, Egypt and the US an updated proposal for a cease-fire and hostage exchange deal on Monday, Axios reports, citing two sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

Indirect truce talks between Israel and Hamas have been in deadlock for the last three weeks. The day Israel began its ground invasion of Rafah, Hamas announced that it had accepted Israel’s latest proposal, but Israel reneged its draft and news later came out that Egyptian intelligence had quietly changed the terms of the proposal after Israel had signed off on it.

Heads of the CIA and Mossad met in Paris on Friday with the Qatari prime minister, and officials say progress was made. However, following the deadly Israeli strikes on a displacement camp in Rafah on Sunday, Hamas said it would not engage in any further truce discussions until the Israeli army withdraws.

The Prime Minister of Qatar is expected to meet on Tuesday in Doha with Hamas representatives and share Israel's proposal to them.

10:10 Beirut Time

Former Republican presidential contender nikki Haley and Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon tour the aftermath of the Oct.7 Hamas attack in Kibbutz Nir Oz, southern Israel May 27, 2024. (Credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)

Former US presidential hopeful Nikki Haley has been photographed writing "Finish Them" on an Israeli shell as she toured sites near the northern border with Lebanon where Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in daily cross-border fighting.

The photograph was posted on X on Tuesday by Danny Danon, a member of the Israeli parliament and former ambassador to the United Nations, who was accompanying Haley on her visit.

"'Finish Them'. This is what my friend the former ambassador Nikki Haley wrote," Danon said in his post that showed a kneeling Haley writing on a shell with a purple marker pen.

Israeli strikes on Lebanon have killed 432 people according to L'Orient Today's count. The majority of casualties have been Hezbollah fighters but the strikes have also killed more than 60 civilians and almost 20 medics.

09:51 Beirut Time

Despite mounting pressure on Israel as its war on Gaza claims more civilian lives every day and its military goals remain largely unachieved, Netanyahu's government has shown no sign of changing course and international efforts aimed at securing a cease-fire remain stalled.

AFP journalists in Rafah reported new strikes early this morning, hours after witnesses and a Palestinian security source said Israeli tanks had penetrated the heart of the city.

"People are currently inside their homes because anyone who moves is being shot at by Israeli drones," resident Abdel Khatib said.

US President Joe Biden has warned Israel against launching a major military operation in Rafah, but his administration insisted yesterday that Israel had not yet crossed its red lines. "We have not seen them smash into Rafah," said the US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

09:33 Beirut Time

At the UN Security Council, Algeria presented a draft resolution demanding an end to the Israeli offensive in Rafah and an "immediate" cease-fire, according to the text seen yesterday by AFP.

At the end of an emergency meeting held yesterday afternoon in New York, Algerian Ambassador to the UN Amar Bendjama announced that his country would circulate to other members of the Council a "short, clear text, aimed at stopping the massacre in Rafah." 

The Algerian ambassador did not specify when he hoped to put the draft resolution to a vote.

09:05 Beirut Time

Good morning. Welcome to our live coverage of the Gaza war and its repercussions in the region, notably in southern Lebanon where cross-bordering fighting between Hezbollah and Israel is ongoing with daily strikes and an increasing risk of fire due to dryer weather and Israel's illegal use of white phosphorous bombs.

🔴 You can catch up on yesterday's live blog here. 👈

You can read the Morning Brief here. 👈