ISRAEL-PALESTINE ESCALATION

/03/2024 (Day-150)

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Disclaimer: Independent Press takes utmost care to accuratly and responsibly report ongoing developments on the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos. 

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  • At least 30,534 Palestinians have been killed and 71,920 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from the October 7 Hamas attacks stands at 1,139.
  • The number of children who have died as a result of malnutrition and inadequate medical care in Gaza increases to 16.
  • The Health Ministry in Gaza says Israeli forces again opened fire on people seeking aid in Gaza City, killing and wounding dozens in another “horrific massacre”.
  • Kamala Harris, the vice president of the United States, appeals for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza but stops short of calling for a permanent end to Israel’s assault.
  • A Hamas representative says the group’s delegation in Egypt is “working very seriously to reach an agreement”, while Israeli media report Israel has decided not to send its delegation.

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Lebanese PM meets with US envoy

The office of Najib Mikati says on X that he received American envoy Amos Hochstein this afternoon, who briefed him on “the efforts he is making to achieve a cessation of military actions”.

Hochstein is mediating between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel, which have been exchanging fire across Lebanon’s southern border since the outbreak of the war in Gaza in October.

His one-day visit to Lebanon comes as Israeli strikes on Lebanese territory are escalating.

US Ambassador Lisa Johnson also participated in the meeting, Mikati’s office said.

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Yemen’s Houthis confirm missile strike on ‘Israeli ship’ MSC Sky

Military spokesman for Yemeni Houthis Yahya Saree confirms during his latest televised statement that the group successfully hit the MSC Sky in the Arabian Sea, which he identified as an “Israeli ship”.

Saree said the cargo vessel was targeted with anti-ship missiles and was directly hit, appearing to confirm earlier reports by British maritime observers that an Israeli-affiliated, Liberia-flagged container ship sailing from Singapore to Djibouti was hit.

The military spokesman said this came hours after the Houthis launched ballistic missiles and drones at several US warships in the Red Sea.

“Through these two operations,” Saree said, “the Yemeni Armed Forces confirm their ability to target warships and non-warships simultaneously, and that their operations are escalating and continuing in the Red and Arab Seas, the Gulf of Aden, and Bab al-Mandeb, until the aggression stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted.”

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Arab Group condemns UN Security Council deadlock

The Arab Group of 22 nations in the United Nations has condemned the “repeated failure” of the UN Security Council to implement its duties on safeguarding international peace and security, and stopping the bloodshed in Gaza.

“The draft resolution had reflected a balanced position and gave priority to humanitarian dimensions to save hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, yet it was disappointing to see a member of the Security Council using the veto right,” representative Abdullah Ali Fadhel al-Saadi said of the most recent target of a US veto in the council.

“This has allowed the Israeli military machine to continue its massacres against Palestinian civilians,” he added, enumerating the impact of the war on civilians, especially women and children, and the dire humanitarian situation.

The Arab Group said UN member states need to “stop this madness and stop the Palestinian bloodshed.

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US says working on new draft UN resolution on Gaza

US Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Robert Wood says Washington is working on a new draft resolution on Gaza.

He told the UN General Assembly – aimed at reviewing the February 20 US veto in support of Israel – that the draft “would achieve a temporary ceasefire which would allow hostages to go home to their families and would help get aid into the hands of Palestinian civilians, who so desperately need it”.

Wood also reiterated Washington’s claim that the UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire that it vetoed last month could have undermined the framework of the truce agreement between Israel and Hamas. The deal is still under discussion but has so far failed to cross the finish line.

“We remain committed to engage constructively on our resolution in the days to come,” Wood said, shortly after US Vice President Kamala Harris called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza for six weeks.

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UN General Assembly convenes to discuss US veto on Gaza resolution, UNRWA

The meeting, which started at 10am (15:00 GMT) in New York, will look at Washington’s third veto to protect Israel since its war on Gaza started in October.

The UNGA will also be briefed by Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees.

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Israel claims ‘record’ number of aid trucks entering Gaza

Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) agency reports that of that number, 187 trucks were carrying food, 16 carried water, 47 took in shelter equipment, 10 had medical supplies on board and 17 other trucks carried a mix of items.

Overall, COGAT said the trucks that entered the besieged enclave either through Israel or after Israeli inspections carried 5,580 tonnes of aid for Palestinians.

Washington and other governments have resorted to airdropping aid into Gaza due to Israel’s continuous blockages.

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Far-right Israeli finance minister slams Gantz’s US visit

“The US government is looking for places to drive a wedge between Israelis in order to advance its plans with the help of Gantz,” he said.

“In this way, Gantz is working to advance their plans to establish a Palestinian state.”

Israeli National Security Minister Ben-Gvir also called for the meetings to be cancelled and for the war to move to a more robust phase of fighting.

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Vessel reports incident southeast of Yemen’s Aden: UKMTO

It remains unconfirmed whether the vessel was directly impacted or sustained damage due to nearby explosions, Ambrey said.

Ambrey identified the ship as a Liberia-flagged, Israel-affiliated container ship sailing from Singapore to Djibouti. Neither agency disclosed the vessel’s name.

“The vessel was listed as operated by the Israeli company ZIM Integrated Shipping Services. This may have been an out-of-date affiliation as the vessel was not listed on other public sources,” Ambrey added.

The container ship continued to transmit an identification signal after the incident, it said.

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Israeli air strike reported in southern Lebanon’s al-Adissa

It was not immediately clear what the target was or whether the strike resulted in casualties.

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Qassam Brigades claims two Israeli drones seized in Gaza

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EU foreign policy chief calls for Gaza ceasefire

“There should then be no obstacle for a UNSC resolution to that effect,” he says, referring to the UN Security Council, where the US has been vetoing resolutions calling for a ceasefire.

“VP rightly said that too many people have been killed and urged Israel to allow unimpeded humanitarian access. Time for the UNSC to act,” he added in a post on X.

On Sunday, Harris said, “There must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks.”

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WHO chief shares ‘grim findings’ after agency visits north Gaza hospitals

He said the WHO team found “severe levels of malnutrition, children dying of starvation, serious shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies, hospital buildings destroyed”.

“The situation at Al-Awda Hospital is particularly appalling, as one of the buildings is destroyed,” he said in a post on X.

“Kamal Adwan Hospital is the only paediatrics hospital in the north of Gaza and is overwhelmed with patients. The lack of food resulted in the deaths of 10 children. The lack of electricity poses a serious threat to patient care, especially in critical areas like the intensive care unit and the neonatal unit,” Tedros added.

He said the WHO managed to deliver 9,500 litres (2,509 gallons) of fuel to each hospital and some essential medical supplies.

“We appeal to Israel to ensure humanitarian aid can be delivered safely and regularly. Civilians, especially children, and health staff need scaled-up help immediately. But the key medicine all these patients need is peace. Ceasefire,” Tedros added.

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Israel ramps up attacks over past 24 hours

Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum reporting from Rafah, southern Gaza

There has been a clear increase in Israeli military attacks in the past 24 hours, particularly in the southern parts of Gaza.

At least 17 Palestinians were killed in the latest Israeli barrage of attacks on the Rafah district, which destroyed two houses.

Meanwhile, we have been hearing more loud explosions in the city of Khan Younis, where the Israeli military is still besieging a residential neighbourhood.

The situation is also very dire and critical in the central areas, specifically at the Nuseirat refugee camp, where an Israeli bombardment has wounded civilians.

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Smotrich wants Israel’s war on Gaza to continue throughout Ramadan

“We must not allow Hamas to choose who is released from among our abductors, and the demand must be the release of all abductees,” he said.

His comments came as Qatari and Egyptian mediators met US and Hamas envoys in Cairo for a second day of talks aimed at a pause in fighting before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan starts next week. Israel has not sent a delegation so far.

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Hezbollah claims attack on Israel’s ‘spy services’ in occupied Kfar Shuba hills

Hezbollah said in a statement on Telegram that it carried out the attack “in support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip” at 3:20pm (13:20 GMT).

A map was attached to the announcement with the target marked in a red circle.

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Lebanon’s Hula and Markaba towns bombed in apparent tit-for-tat attack by Israel

The area overlooks the Hunin Valley and the Margaliot settlement in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel.

The attack appears to be a response to an earlier anti-tank missile attack on Israel’s Margaliot that killed at least one and several others injured, according to the Israeli media.

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Gaza Health Ministry: We detected about one million cases of infectious diseases

In a statement, the ministry said it had detected about one million cases of infectious diseases, without having the necessary medical capabilities to treat them. It also confirmed that the residents of the northern Gaza Strip are struggling with death as a result of famine that has exceeded global levels due to the scarcity of water and food.

The ministry said that Israel has killed 364 health personnel and arrested 269, including hospital directors, during the 150 days of the aggression on the Gaza Strip.

It added that Israel has destroyed 155 health institutions, put 32 hospitals and 53 health centres out of service, and targeted 126 ambulances. It also indicated that the occupation also destroyed the infrastructure of hospitals in Khan Younis and northern Gaza.Gaza Health Ministry: We detected about one million cases of infectious diseases

The Health Ministry has described the health situation in the Gaza Strip as “extremely catastrophic” as a result of the failure to bring in the necessary medical aid, and stressed that the Israeli occupation deliberately caused an unspeakable humanitarian and health catastrophe, which contributed to the spread of epidemics and infectious diseases.

In a statement, the ministry said it had detected about one million cases of infectious diseases, without having the necessary medical capabilities to treat them. It also confirmed that the residents of the northern Gaza Strip are struggling with death as a result of famine that has exceeded global levels due to the scarcity of water and food.

The ministry said that Israel has killed 364 health personnel and arrested 269, including hospital directors, during the 150 days of the aggression on the Gaza Strip.

It added that Israel has destroyed 155 health institutions, put 32 hospitals and 53 health centres out of service, and targeted 126 ambulances. It also indicated that the occupation also destroyed the infrastructure of hospitals in Khan Younis and northern Gaza.

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Thai nationals wounded in attack from Lebanon: Israeli reports

The Magen David Adom ambulance service quoted by the Times of Israel said that one of the men, in his 30s, is listed in moderate-to-serious condition while the other man, aged 29, is lightly hurt.

Earlier, the Lebanese state media reported Israeli attacks on a border town overnight and in the morning as well as low-altitude flights by reconnaissance aircraft in several regions.

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Heart attacks rise by 35 percent in Israel after Gaza war: Study

The study, published by Israel’s Channel Seven broadcaster, showed that there was a significant increase in the number of urgent heart cases among the Jewish population, both men and women. The number of hospitalised patients among the Arab population in Israel have decreased.

Nearly 100 urgent heart attacks were treated during the first three months of the war, compared to just 63 in the corresponding period last year, an increase of 35 percent.

“We clearly see the impact of the war period on the public. Stress, anxiety and fear as we have all witnessed and continue to experience to this day are important factors in the development of important heart events,” Elad Asher, director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Shaare Zedek, was quoted by the report as saying.

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UN human rights chief warns of Gaza war igniting regional conflict

“The war in Gaza has already generated dangerous spillover in neighbouring countries, and I am deeply concerned that in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration.

“This would have implications for every country in the Middle East and many beyond it,” he said.

Since the beginning of the war, many countries and international organisations have warned against the war spilling over and its disastrous consequences.

Hamas official: It is the duty of neighbouring countries to break the siege on Gaza

  • It is the duty of our brothers in the neighbouring countries to take the initiative to break the siege on the Gaza Strip.
  • We assure the Zionists and the United States that what is not done on the ground will not be done by the machinations of politics.
  • The resistance launched the Al-Aqsa Flood Battle when Israel was seeking to liquidate the Palestinian issue.
  • The threat of committing new massacres in Rafah reaffirms the criminal nature of the occupation army.
  • The Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood revealed the true face of the American administration and the falsity of what it calls for in terms of freedom and human rights.
  • We call on the people of our nation to go to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound from the first day of Ramadan.
  • We are flexible in negotiations out of concern for our people, and we are prepared to fully defend them.

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Israeli jets attack Lebanese town causing damage: NNA

The attacks caused significant damage to properties, crops and residences, especially targeting power and water networks, the official National News Agency said.

The Israeli jets also targeted the vicinity of Khalil Warde, neighbouring Ayta ash Shab.

The agency said that Israel’s reconnaissance aircraft have carried out flights over southern Lebanon’s Sidon, Naqoura, Chamaa, Majdal Zun, and Tayr Harfa regions.

Death toll in Israel’s war on Gaza rises to 30,534

Israel’s military offensive since October 7 has wounded 71,920 people in the besieged Palestinian enclave of 2.3 million people, the ministry said.

‘Significant progress’ in Cairo talks for Gaza truce: Egypt TV

After weeks of diplomatic efforts, Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been scrambling to lock in a proposed six-week truce in the war between Israel and Hamas before Ramadan starts next week.

Al-Qahera News, linked to Egypt’s intelligence services, quoted an unnamed senior official as saying: “Egypt continues its intense efforts to reach a truce before Ramadan”, the Muslim fasting month which begins on March 10 or 11.

“There has been significant progress in the negotiations,” the report said after the latest talks began Sunday in Cairo, without Israeli representation.

Israel has, however, not sent its delegation to the talks.

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Palestinians hopeful for truce ‘drained’ as overnight attacks continue

People have their eyes and ears on the talks in Cairo and all the leaked reports of either progress or regression in the talks, but also on what’s going on on the ground – the overnight relentless attacks in central and northern Rafah city.

And this has been the most draining part of what’s going on.

Meanwhile, over the past 12 hours, there have been about 92 people, including those who were killed while waiting for an aid truck.

Israeli security heads hold talks over Ramadan measures

The military said on X that its chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet intelligence service and the police commissioner held a joint situation assessment meeting overnight ahead of Ramadan in order to strengthen the coordination and readiness among the bodies.

The statement said that the sides expressed the desire to allow freedom of worship for Muslims under security and safety restrictions.

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Number of children dying of malnutrition in Gaza rises to 16

On Sunday, the out-of-service Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip said 15 children had died as a result of malnutrition and dehydration, and that there were six other children in intensive care.

Most of Gaza’s hospitals have been either shut down or crippled in the wake of more than five months of Israeli attacks.

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Netanyahu playing ‘hardball’ in truce talks – Analyst

“In the first ceasefire, Hamas did not provide a list of names. The list is a new demand and appears not to be a government demand but Netanyahu’s own demand that he made at the last minute,” Khouri told Al Jazeera.

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Ben-Gvir is a threat to national security: Israeli opposition leader

“The Minister of National Security is a threat to national security,” Yair Lapid wrote on X.

“You cannot trust him with sensitive material, you cannot trust him around intelligence personnel and you cannot trust him in the defence cabinet,” he said.

“Any normal prime minister would have fired him this morning,” Lapid added.

Israeli military says it killed group of Islamic Jihad fighters in Gaza

The military said four long-range rockets were fired by the Palestinian group from Gaza towards the Hatzerim kibbutz in the Negev desert, with no reported injuries.

“Terrorists launched rockets towards Hatzeri and Bari. Within less than 30 minutes of the launch, the divisional fire complex of the Nahal Brigade identified the terrorist squad and directed an aircraft that attacked and eliminated them,” it wrote in a post on X providing an update on its operations in the besieged enclave.

The military added that its Nahal Brigade had “eliminated 15 terrorists” with “sniper fire, aircraft, and the help of tanks”.

‘It’s time to destroy Hamas, Kamala’: Israeli minister

“It’s time to destroy Hamas, Kamala,” Ben-Gvir posted on X on Monday before a meeting between the US vice president and Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz.

Israel has been running a brutal military campaign since October 7, when the Palestinian Hamas group carried out a deadly attack inside Israel. Israel has refused to cease fire saying it wants total defeat of Hamas.

Netanyahu is reportedly annoyed by Gantz’s visit to the US without his approval.

Harris bluntly called out Israel on Sunday for not doing enough to ease a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

“People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane and our common humanity compels us to act,” said Harris who also appeared to refute the Israeli narrative of the “flour massacre”.

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‘Child deaths we feared’ in Gaza are here, says UNICEF

“Now, the child deaths we feared are here and are likely to rapidly increase unless the war ends and obstacles to humanitarian relief are immediately resolved,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF regional director for MENA.

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Gantz’s US visit aims to ‘strengthen moderates’ in Israel: Report

According to the source, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is upset about the visit, during which Gantz will meet US Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Any official trip abroad by a minister that is not private but rather in an official capacity requires approval from the prime minister,” the source reportedly said.

Gantz arrived in the US on Sunday and is expected to hold meetings with other senior government officials in addition to Harris, such as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Gantz’s National Unity party is known to be a counterweight to Netanyahu’s far-right allies.

Palestinian teen killed in Israeli raid on refugee camp in Ramallah

Confrontations broke out during which live bullets were fired by Israeli soldiers at the Palestinians protesting the raid. Abu Shalbak was shot in the neck and chest, and was transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex, where he was announced dead.

Several hours after the incursion, Israeli occupation forces stationed themselves at the main entrance to the camp, witnesses said.

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Israeli settlers enter Nablus, beat Palestinian man

The settlers beat the man and attacked him with pepper spray, Wafa reports. Footage authenticated by Al Jazeera’s Sanad verification unit also shows the Israeli settlers singing and dancing in the streets.

They had entered the city to visit Joseph’s Tomb, regarded by some as the final resting place of biblical figure Joseph. The Israeli military escorts Jewish settlers to the site on a monthly basis, but this incursion was done without authorisation.

Israeli forces eventually escorted the group of settlers out of the city.

 

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Will Biden reconsider his unconditional support for Israel?

We speak to Matt Duss, former adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders, for his views.

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Israeli military arrests at least 10 people in West Bank town of Dura

All of the men were former Palestinian detainees, according to Wafa.