A worker of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) inspects damage to the rooftop of an UNRWA-run school that was hit by Israeli bombardment in the Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip on June 7, 2024. (Credit: Eyad Baba/AFP)

Live Gaza War

Blinken to visit the region next week to promote latest cease-fire proposal: Day 245 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Yemeni Houthis have taken around 15 people hostages, including 9 UN employees

UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini accused Israel of striking a school “without prior warning.”

Hezbollah claimed to have repelled an Israeli fighter jet for the first time.

Exchanges of fire intensified this week on the border between Lebanon and Israel.

21:48 Beirut Time

Thanks for following today's live coverage of the war on Gaza and the parallel fighting along the Lebanese-Israeli border. We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis. Goodnight!

21:46 Beirut Time

Israeli artillery fire targeted the outskirts of Rashaya al-Fawqar, in Hasbaya district, reports our correspondent in southern Lebanon. Israeli drones also targeted the outskirts of Kfar Hammam, also in Hasbaya district.

20:24 Beirut Time

Palestinian men and boys sit watching the news on a communal television in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip on June 7, 2024. (Credit: Bashar Taleb/AFP)

19:45 Beirut Time

Rafah border crossing has been closed for one whole month as of today. Thousands of trucks are lined up on the Egyptian side of the border, its food supplies rotting in the sun.

U.S., Egyptian and Israeli officials met last Sunday to discuss reopening the crossing, Axios reports. However, they failed to make any progress on the matter after the Israeli delegation refused to allow any role for the Palestinian Authority in operating the crossing, according to four U.S. and Israeli officials.

Between May 7 and May 28, an average of just 58 aid trucks entered Gaza daily, as opposed to 176 per day in April, and the 500 required to meet basic needs, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.

👉 Read more here.

19:38 Beirut Time

Following an unusually calm morning and afternoon along the Lebanese-Israeli border, Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Naqoura, in Sour district, according to residents' testimonies relayed by our correspondent in the south.

The sirens heard in Nazereth, 40 kilometers south of the Lebanese border, earlier today were due to the "launching of intercepting missiles at a suspicious aerial target and were activated due to fear of shrapnel falling," Haaretz reported. The Israeli newspaper added that the "interceptors did not hit the suspicious target, and the incident is still being examined."

Hezbollah has not yet claimed any attack against Israel today. The party has never attacked an Israeli city as far from the border as Nazareth in all of its cross-border attacks since October.

19:33 Beirut Time

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East next week, the U.S. State Department announced, as Washington is trying to put pressure on Israel and Hamas to take a cease-fire proposal that U.S. President Joe Biden laid out last week.

In his eighth visit to the region since Oct. 7, the top U.S. diplomat will visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Qatar and meet with their senior leaders, Reuters reports.

17:16 Beirut Time

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) successfully reestablished the temporary pier off the coast of Gaza around 2 p.m. this afternoon, “enabling the continued delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza,” it announced in a post on X.

The pier was shut down on May 25, not even 10 days after opening, when a large section of the causeway broke apart in stormy weather. The American project has been criticized by several aid agencies as being largely for show, incapable of sufficiently responding to the needs of Palestinians in the besieged enclave. 

17:05 Beirut Time

In a post on X, The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) announced it had started preparing and operating its field hospital, Al-Quds, after relocating it from the Mawasi (Rafah) to the Mawasi (Khan Yunis).

This comes after the PRCS reported that their crews evacuated from the Mawasi (Rafah) on May 29, following increased threat level from the Israeli army, continued artillery and air bombardments in the vicinity, and the evacuation of residents from the surrounding area.

16:39 Beirut Time

Israeli war Cabinet minister Benny Gantz is set to address the press at 8:40 p.m. tomorrow, which is the deadline he set for his National Unity Party’s withdrawal from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government, Israeli media reports.

This follows Gantz's criticism of both the draft exemption law for ultra-Orthodox Israelis and Netanyahu’s handling of the war.

Last month, Gantz accused Netanyahu of allowing personal and political interests to get in the way of Israel’s security. Gantz had laid out six ultimatums and demanded that the war Cabinet develop a comprehensive plan for achieving them, warning that otherwise, his centrist party would resign from the government.

The Times of Israel reports that there are no ongoing negotiations or efforts by coalition parties to bridge the gap or prevent Gantz from leaving.

15:40 Beirut Time

Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek during his Friday sermon in Baalbeck. (Photo provided by our correspondent in the region, Sarah Abdallah)

The Head of Hezbollah's religious council Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek said that the "resistance is defining the rules" for Israel, and in case the latter crosses them, Hezbollah is "on the lookout."

During his Friday sermon in the city of Baalbeck, Yazbek added that Israeli threats won't work because the "resistance will hurt Israel as much as it hurts others."

15:22 Beirut Time

Al-Masirah TV, the main TV news outlet of Yemen's Houthi movement, said on Friday that US and British forces had carried out four airstrikes on Hodeidah airport and the northern seaport of Salif, according to Reuters.

15:10 Beirut Time

Israel should suspend fuel supplies to Gaza and reduce humanitarian aid entering the strip,” said Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir in a message posted on X.

15:01 Beirut Time

A few days after Slovenia officially recognized the Palestinian state, following in the footsteps of Spain, Norway and Ireland, a new poll conducted by the international YouGov institute reveals that around 40 percent of Germans think their government should recognize the state of Palestine, reports Al Jazeera, whose information was picked up by several media outlets.

26 percent of those questioned are opposed to such a decision, while 33 percent are unsure.

According to a statement by its Chancellor Olaf Scholz on May 24, the German authorities consider that they have “no reason to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a separate state now,” adding that the conditions were far from ripe for a “negotiated solution between Israel and the Palestinians that amounts to a two-state solution.”

14:27 Beirut Time

Since Friday morning, Reuters reported that at least 23 Palestinians were killed in Israeli aerial bombing and tank strikes in central and southern Gaza.

Israeli strikes killed eight Palestinians and wounded several others, including children in Rafah, medics said.

The Israeli military reported killing "dozens" of militants, discovering more tunnels and destroying militant infrastructure during ongoing operations in al-Bureij and Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

14:12 Beirut Time

More than 36,731 Palestinians have been killed and 83,530 wounded in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, Gaza's Ministry of Health said in a statement on Friday, quoted by AFP.

Some 77 Palestinians have been killed and 221 wounded in the last 24 hours, the ministry added.

13:45 Beirut Time

According to Haaretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet secretary responded to calls from Israel's attorney general to set up a state commission of inquiry into the war in Gaza, saying that “the time has not yet come” to launch an investigation into the events.

12:33 Beirut Time

The Houthis in Yemen are holding at least 9 U.N. employees hostage, according to the Associated Press. Reuters reports at least 15 people total were detained.

12:12 Beirut Time

Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli security cabinet, may resign from the Israeli government on Saturday, following the expiration of a self-imposed deadline for the development of a clear plan to "achieve victory" in Gaza, according to Israeli public broadcaster KAN.

The families of Israeli prisoners in Gaza have urged Gantz to postpone his resignation until a prisoner exchange agreement has been reached with Hamas, the source added.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has scheduled an expanded ministerial discussion for Sunday.

11:48 Beirut Time

MP Hassan Ezzedine giving a speech during the ceremony in Abbasieh (Photo provided by our correspondent in the region, Muntasser Abdallah)

Hezbollah MP Hassan Ezzedine said cease-fire negotiations are “useless” if Israel does not submit to the Palestinian demands of a “permanent ceasefire and the exit of Israel from Gaza.”

Ezzedine made these comments during the honorary ceremony in the village of Abbasieh (Sour) held for Hezbollah member Hussein Nasser al-Din. The member was recently killed by an Israeli strike.

He added that the resistance in Lebanon today has "progressed and developed in terms of targeting” as well as the “intensity and strength of fire on the target and the concentration of several weapons on one area.”

11:33 Beirut Time

The Washington Post reported that, according to five weapons and munitions experts, the bomb used in the Israeli strike on a UNRWA school on Thursday was most likely a Boeing-manufactured GBU-39.

The Israeli military claimed that it was targeting two Hamas officials who were based in the school and that they were using smaller, more precise bombs to minimize civilian casualties.

However, Wes J. Bryant, a former targeting professional with the U.S. Air Force, said that even with supposed Hamas activity at the school, the fact that civilians were living there "automatically places the target at the highest possible risk level for collateral damage and civilian casualties."

Bryant added that, if the U.S. was leading the operation, "a formal targeting package would have been developed and pushed up for approval at the most senior levels of military command, given that the civilian casualty estimate would be extremely high. It would most likely not be approved."

You can read the full report by The Post here.

11:31 Beirut Time

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip has reached almost 80 percent since the beginning of the war with Israel last October, the United Nations employment agency said on Friday, bringing the average unemployment rate in the Palestinian territories to over 50 percent, Reuters reports.

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip reached 79.1 percent and almost 32 percent in the West Bank, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reports in its fourth assessment of the war's impact on employment. 

11:28 Beirut Time

Palestinian mourners carry the body of a victim of Israeli bombardment, outside a hospital in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, on June 7, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (Credit: Bashar Taleb/AFP)

11:06 Beirut Time

Update on the situation on the southern border:

* At around 8 a.m., the Israeli army claimed to have bombed "buildings belonging to Hezbollah in several locations in southern Lebanon," according to Haaretz.

* Around 9:30 a.m., the Israeli army fired three shells on Naqoura (Sour).

10:30 Beirut Time

US President Joe Biden told ABC News on Thursday evening that he believed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had taken on board US concerns about a military operation in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.

"I think he listens to me. They were going to enter ... Rafah ... full force, invade all of Rafah, enter the city, take it, move, move with full force. They didn't,” said Biden. “They have accepted a meaningful agreement,” Biden added, referring to the three-stage Israeli-American proposal he unveiled earlier this week.

09:56 Beirut Time

On Thursday evening, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a cessation of hostilities along the UN demarcation line between Israel and Lebanon, expressing concern about the risk of a “wider conflict with devastating consequences for the region.”

“As the exchange of fire continues around the Blue Line, the Secretary-General reiterates his call for an urgent cease-fire,” his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

09:56 Beirut Time

In southern Lebanon, several incidents were reported during the night:

•⁠ ⁠At 9 p.m. on Thursday, Israeli artillery targeted the outskirts of Boustan, Dhaira, and Alma Shaab (Sour)

•⁠ ⁠Around 10 p.m., Israeli artillery targeted Yarin and Jibbayn (Sour). The al-Rissala Scouts Association, affiliated with the Amal movement, reported intervening to extinguish a fire caused by Israeli attacks of white phosphorus in Kfar Kila (Marjayoun).

•⁠ ⁠Hezbollah announced in a statement that at 11:15 p.m., it bombarded a deployment of Israeli soldiers near the Zar'it barracks opposite Marwahine (Sour).

•⁠ ⁠Around midnight, a woman was hospitalized after fainting in Kharayeb (Sour) due to the noise of Israeli jets breaking the sound barrier.

•⁠ ⁠Around 1 a.m., Israeli jets bombed a house in the town of Kfar Kila. Ambulances were dispatched to the area.

09:45 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the U.S. Congress in Washington on July 24, a congressional source told AFP on Thursday.

The invitation was extended in late May by Republican and Democratic congressional leaders amidst the ongoing war in Gaza.

American media reported on Monday that Netanyahu was scheduled to give this speech on June 13. Netanyahu's office later denied this information, stating that the date had "not been finalized."

The invitation comes after months of unease from President Joe Biden's administration regarding Israel's conduct in the Gaza war, and ahead of Biden's reelection campaign.

09:43 Beirut Time

Meanwhile, Israel continues its offensives in the Gaza Strip. In addition to the strike on the UNRWA school, witnesses reported rocket fire in central Gaza.

According to a local source, Israeli planes also conducted several strikes in the eastern and central parts of Rafah, where the Israeli army launched ground operations in early May.

At least 36,654 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since Oct. 7, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

09:42 Beirut Time

US President Joe Biden and 16 other leaders urged Hamas to accept a cease-fire agreement after eight months of war.

Hamas will present its response to this proposal “in the coming days,” a senior official quoted by Al-Qahera News, a media outlet close to the Egyptian intelligence services, said on Thursday.

The roadmap proposed by Israel provides for a six-week cease-fire in the first phase, an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of some hostages kidnapped by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, according to Biden.

But the contradictory demands of Hamas and Israel leave little hope for the cease-fire plan announced by Biden on May 31.

09:39 Beirut Time

An Israeli attack on a UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) school killed at least 37 people, as reported by a hospital on Thursday. Approximately 6,000 displaced individuals were sheltering in this school located in the Nuseirat area (central Gaza).

The Israeli army claimed responsibility for this strike, stating that it was targeting "a Hamas base."

UNRWA Chief Philippe Lazzarini said that Israel struck the school "without prior warning," which had been converted into a shelter for people displaced by the fighting.

09:38 Beirut Time

Be sure to check out the Morning Brief so that you are caught up with what has been happening. 

Morning Brief

Hezbollah attacks Israeli jets and Israeli strike on UNRWA school: Everything you need to know to start your Friday

09:38 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.